Inside the INCubator With EES Consulting

Holly Ashley

Startup Name:  EES Consulting – Chattanooga (a franchise of EES Consulting in Houston, TX)
Year Founded:  December 2012                                       
Founder:  Daniel LeVan

Q&A with Daniel LeVan

Title:  Managing Director

Describe your startup’s purpose in five words.
Onsite. Efficiency. Energy. Engineering. Finance.

What are you selling and how is it better than what your competitors are selling?
EES Consulting Chattanooga offers a portfolio of energy solutions to reduce the operating expenses of facilities. EES is better because our services are the perfect marriage of engineering and smart financial decisions. We have the best engineering talent around. Combine that with our ability to contract with a wide range of service providers and we’re able to find the most financially sound, unbiased and efficient energy solution for the client.

Where and how can people buy your product(s)/services?
Call us at (423) 602-5393, email me at [email protected], or visit us online at Scope of work has ranged from $1,800 for a local restaurant to a major $10M project.

What level of success do you envision for your company in the next few years?
I can honestly say I expect us to surpass revenues of $100M in the next few years. Our franchise here in Chattanooga is roughly 60% of EES Consulting’s total revenues and we are continuing to capture more of that market with our on-staff engineering expertise. Local engineering talent is our biggest asset in Chattanooga and why we’ve been so successful. Additionally, the overall energy efficiency market, in Tennessee for example, is bookended by the smaller providers and the mega providers – there really isn’t anyone serving that middle market besides us. So $100M in revenue is completely attainable given our current growth plans. We have some big plans.

Any specific business advice for other startups?
Startups are hard. Really hard. I’ve held executive finance roles, including CEO, in major companies and this is by far the hardest I’ve ever worked. BUT – if you’re an entrepreneur and the work you do energizes you, you’ll be fine. Mostly.

Was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to launch/work for a startup?
One of my top employees at a former corporate job offered to buy me out and I took the opportunity to invest in the EES Consulting franchise. I always had these two motivating forces driving me towards this endeavor. The first is the basic knowledge that pollution just isn’t good. We aren’t taking care of the world around us and I have always felt passionately about sustainability and how business can succeed through efficiency. Secondly, I believe there is a bridge between businesses being profitable and treating people well. I’ve worked in cultures that treated employees badly, which is one of the reasons I’m so motivated now to create a profitable work environment where employees feel appreciated and actually are.

Any recommended reading for other startups? For other humans?

For startups, we have a collection here in the office of great books including some of the greats from Covey, Collins and others. For humans in general – the bible. I don’t want to preach, but the bible is essentially a book about the human experience. Whether you’re a believer or not, which I happen to be, anyone can learn a great deal from it.

Favorite places in Chattanooga to work away from the office?
The best place to take a mental holiday for me at the INCubator at the BDC is right across the street at Renaissance/Coolidge Park. I just walk over sometimes to clear my head so I can think better when I’m kicking around ideas. A close second would be Whole Foods next door. I think I go there every day.

The best thing about startups?
They are run by people who want to change the world.

The hardest thing about startups?
Cash flows – managing and predicting them!

About the business
EES Consulting in Chattanooga is a franchise of EES Consulting, which is headquartered in Houston, Texas. The Chattanooga franchise, covering Tennessee and Georgia, delivers customized energy and waste solutions to commercial and industrial clients that produce a minimum ROI of 25%.  These cost savings are achieved by applying customized solutions that reduce energy consumption, water consumption and waste management expenses. Clients have included distribution centers, auto dealerships, manufacturing warehouses and more.

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