Paul Oswald, president of Environmental Systems Inc. (ESI)

Paul Oswald


Environmental Systems Inc. (ESI)

Offices in Waukesha, Chicago and Houghton, Mich.

Industry: Integrated systems solutions for building controls, automation, energy and security

Number of employees: 65

Family: Wife, Linda,and four children.

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“We stuck to our strategy of delivering improved building performance and security systems that reduce operating costs, improve productivity and generate measureable return on investment for our customers. Considering the current state of the economy and the impact we have on our customers’ bottom lines, we invested in creating more awareness of our brand and the value we deliver.”

What’s new at your company?

“We are putting the finishing touches on our new corporate headquarters building in the Gateway West Commerce Center in Brookfield. We expect it to be LEED certified, and it will be a living example of best-in-class technology, design, engineering and operation.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“We expect continued top-line growth this year as executives in health care, manufacturing, commercial real estate, education and government seek to reduce operating costs and improve their bottom line. Our rate of growth will definitely drive hiring decisions, and we do plan on adding personnel in 2010.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“Executives responsible for operational and financial performance often seek a silver bullet to improving cash flow as it relates to building performance and security systems. Educating those executives about adopting a lifecycle management approach to achieve improved building performance is not so much a challenge but an opportunity for us. Our people are especially talented in providing solutions that are innovative and help our customers achieve their business goals. We also need to help educate executives on how this creates an opportunity for them by reducing their environmental impact, because tenants and employees are choosing companies committed to environmental responsibility. Suppliers are finding that more business partners are demanding sustainable practices to help them reduce their environmental impact.”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

“Since we are a systems integrator with an open source approach to building automation, security and life safety, the only constant trend is change, with the evolution of technology leading the way. One of the key benefits we provide our customers is the ability to sort through all the trends and changes to ensure we are offering them best-in-class solutions that add value. One other key area is education. New technology is one thing, but you have to have people who can make the most of it in order to maximize your return on investment. To address this need for education, we created Environmental Systems University. ESU helps our customers stay current and informed on how to get the most from their investments.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“Success is assured if you understand your customers’ needs and do what you say you will do. This approach guides everyone in our organization to deliver results that add value for our customers.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“I admire all business owners who create value in a positive way for their employees, their customers and the community. Whatever our pursuits as business owners, we are only as good as the people around us, the way we treat customers, and the health of our community.”

What was the best advice you ever received?

“I pick up things from everyone around me. Whether I’ve worked for or with people, the good and the bad have given me opportunities to learn.”

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