On The Job – Jeff Paquin

Jeff Paquin

Decorative lighting installation specialist

Jeff Paquin is the co-owner of The New England Holiday Light Co., a decorative lighting design and installation service based in Hooksett.

Explain your job and what it entails.

We put up lighting all year, but for different things, depending on the season. In the summertime, we do landscape lighting, wedding lighting and overhead lighting for restaurants and businesses. Then, May through October, it’s full-blown weddings. We did around 120 weddings this past year, and that number is growing quickly for next year. Starting in September we do holiday lighting.

How long have you had this job?

This is our fourth year in business.

What led you to this career field and job?

My family is huge into Christmas. When I was growing up our house was fully decked out with lights and artificial snow, and we would get an 8-foot Christmas tree and put a thousand ornaments on it. … A friend of mine, who owned a lighting company, encouraged me to start a tree lighting company. … I started out just lighting trees and bushes, and it evolved into lighting for residential homes, large commercial projects, holiday walkthroughs and experiences and stuff like that … and then, eventually, weddings and landscapes.

What kind of education or training did you need?

It’s on-the-job training and experience. … Licensing isn’t needed, but we did take courses … [that are offered] for lighting installation professionals to learn about lighting safety and regulations and how to install lighting the right way.

What is your typical at-work uniform or attire?

We dress for the elements. In the summertime I just wear shorts and a T-shirt. In the winter you’ll see us in all our snow gear — boots and Carhartts and long johns and hats and gloves.

How has your job changed over the course of the pandemic?

We actually grew considerably during the pandemic. … People were still doing small weddings and gatherings. … Since people were spending more time at home, they started turning their attention to making their home a more comfortable place. A lot of people asked us to do landscape and backyard lighting at their homes.

What do you wish you’d known at the beginning of your career?

You can’t do it all by yourself. … We used to do all of the work ourselves — sales, installation, trying to wear all of the different hats. … We’ve hired full-time employees now, but I wish we had hired people sooner.

What do you wish other people knew about your job?

How rewarding it is. Putting up lights may sound like a simple thing, but it’s so meaningful when you’re putting up Christmas lights for a mother whose husband passed away and the kids are running around all excited, thinking that elves put the lights up; or when you’re putting up lights at a wedding and making it a magical experience that people will never forget.

What was the first job you ever had?

Pushing carts at Shaw’s.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

There’s always tomorrow. If something bad happens, treat it as a learning experience and do a better job than you did the day before.

Five favorites

Favorite book:
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Favorite movie: Star Wars series
Favorite music: Christmas music
Favorite food: My grandma’s mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli and meatloaf
Favorite thing about NH: Hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and skiing in the White Mountains

Featured photo: Jeff Paquin. Courtesy photo.

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