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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives
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Dean Danowitz

Founder & CEO

STARLITE

Location: Moorestown, NJ

Founded: 1983

Industry: Entertainment

Dean Danowitz had a unique fascination with nightclubs at age 11 and registered the business name “Starlite Productions” in 1974. A year later, Danowitz had business cards made, before he had any clients. The company found momentum in the 1980s building and designing nightclubs, then it shifted gears to the emerging casino market in Atlantic City. The business provided lighting, sound and special effects for concerts and other entertainment.

A pivotal moment for the company came when it sold the lighting and fog machine setup at a casino for $400,000. Soon, Starlight’s name spread, and today the company operates out of its 53,000-square-foot headquarters in Moorestown, New Jersey, with Danowitz still at the helm as chief executive officer.

Danowitz said his greatest professional risk was purchasing the company’s own facility and headquarters.

“I started the business from my parent’s two-car garage and over time we rented several facilities which allowed us to grow incrementally,” Danowitz said. “However, it soon became apparent that we needed a purpose-built facility for our fledgling operation. But I was conservative with money, and we practiced controlled growth. Nonetheless, I bought a 60,000-square-foot facility despite my trepidation. We recently had an appraisal of the building north of $10 million.”

The company has a dedicated staff of account executives, creative designers, technical engineers, service technicians, fabricators and other specialists, as well as one of the largest inventories on the East Coast of audiovisual, lighting and control equipment to meet the needs of clients. “We never want to be thought of as salespeople, as we continually strive to be considered as trusted advisors, and we are grateful for the confidence our clients and vendors have placed in us over the years, as well as the many long-term relationships we have cultivated and maintained,” the company said.

Starlite has been featured in Inc. Magazine’s annual list of America’s 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies multiple times and has received prestigious honors from the Philadelphia Business Journal and Commercial Integrator Magazine. The company received an Integration Award for the Best Casino Project by Commercial Integrator Magazine, and it even received a certificate of appreciation from the White House Communication Agency.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Starlite takes pride in its team members, who have been instrumental in the company’s success. Many associates have been with Starlite for 15, 20 and even 30 years, a testament to the strong team Danowitz has built.

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Did you know?

Many people may not know that Dean was a magician when he was younger.One great story Dean remembers from his early days of Starlite was when he went to Texas with one of the first manufacturers the company partnered with, High End Systems. He had broken his arm and when he was in Texas, the team from High End Systems took him out to dinner. At dinner they had to cut his steak for him since his arm was broken!

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