Business

How do traffic lights know you’re there? An expert shares tips

Lamey Electric maintains the traffic lights in Biloxi. The company is changing hands as Robert Rockco, who has owned the business since 2001, sells the business to his daughter and son-in-law.
Lamey Electric maintains the traffic lights in Biloxi. The company is changing hands as Robert Rockco, who has owned the business since 2001, sells the business to his daughter and son-in-law.

The company that keeps traffic signals and street lights operating in South Mississippi is getting new owners.

Robert Rockco, who has owned Lamey Electric in Biloxi since 2001, will turn over the company on Jan. 1 to his daughter and son-in-law, Tracie and Nicholas Strayham.

The company was founded in 1940 by Paul Lamey and celebrated 75 years in 2015.

In the 15 years since Rockco purchased Lamey Electric, he has grown the business from two employees and a small fleet of equipment to 10 employees.

“Lamey Electric has been extremely successful for 76 years now,” said Tracie Strayham, president, who will take over the administrative functions of the company

“It is our goal to ensure it is as successful for the next 76 years and beyond,” said Nicolas, vice president. He has worked for Lamey Electric for two years and recently passed the Master Electrician exam, in addition to the exam for the contractor’s license needed to keep Lamey’s status as an electrical contractor.

The company’s primary niche, accounting for 50 percent of its work, is servicing traffic signals and street lighting. Lamey Electric has been maintaining the traffic signals and street lights since the first traffic signal was installed in downtown Biloxi. It now handles the maintenance for the city’s 64 signal intersections in Biloxi, along with all traffic signal and street light maintenance for D’Iberville and Gautier.

Among the other jobs in progress or recently finished by the company are the conversion and retrofit of Biloxi’s street lights to LED, replacing all the traffic signal vehicle loop on U.S. 49 in Gulfport, the miniature golf course at Scarlet Pearl Casino, construction of Happy Tails Animal Hospital in D’Iberville, remodeling of the Shoe Carnival in Gulfport and all electrical scopes for the $350 million infrastructure improvements for Biloxi.

The Strayhams have backgrounds in business management. Tracie owned and managed Tracie’s All Star Tumbling and Cheerleading for the past 11 years. Nick worked at Hertz Equipment Rental, handling the management of sales functions for the Southeast region of the U.S. before joining Lamey Electric.

Five facts you may not know about traffic signals

1. The cameras you see on traffic arms in South Mississippi are not for speeding tickets. They are vehicle detectors.

2. A vehicle’s presence at an intersection with signals is detected by cameras; radar; inductive loops, the squares you see cut in the roadway; magnetometers, which measures magnetism; and recently in South Mississippi by infrared technology, which detects vehicle engine heat.

3. If you want your vehicle to be detected at a signalized intersection, do not drive more than 3 feet from the white stop bar. Beyond that you will not be detected and will not get a green light.

4. Pressing the little yellow or silver pedestrian buttons does not give you a “walk” signal any quicker if you push it more than once. The first time you hit the button, the call is registered in the controller. It will not forget you.

5. The cost of an average intersection with traffic signals is $150,000 to $200,000, just for signals, poles and related equipment.

Nicholas Strayham, Lamey Electric

  Comments