Telkonet grows in Milwaukee market

Wauwatosa-based Telkonet Inc. is positioned for success and plans to take advantage of the region’s growing innovative workforce to help drive its growth.

The company is looking to hire 10 new employees immediately and plans to continue adding employees well into 2012.

“We see potential for significant growth in 2012,” said Jason Tienor, president and chief executive officer of the company, whose stock is traded publicly over the counter. “Our plan is to continue to foster our relationships within the industry both here in Milwaukee and across the globe. We see the clean technology arena as a market with significant growth potential.”

Tienor was named president chief executive officer of Telkonet in December of 2007. According to Tienor, the company was operating ‘significantly in the red,’ when he was brought on board. His goal was to make the company profitable again.

“As you can imagine, 2008 was not the best year for any company,” he said. “The recession delayed our progress.”

However, through constant evaluation of product offerings and the streamlining of operations from multiple locations to one centralized office in Wauwatosa, the firm has reported positive earnings every quarter during 2011 for the first time in company history, Tienor said.

Telkonet provides high-speed internet and networking solutions for its clients through its EthoStream division, as well as a line of EcoSmart solution products for occupancy-based energy management, Tienor said.

Tienor, a Marquette alumnus, co-founded Wauwatosa-based EthoStream with Jeff Sobieski in 2001. The company was acquired by then Maryland-based Telkonet Inc., in 2007. Sobieski currently serves as chief operating officer of Telkonet. Nevada-based Smart Systems International (SSI) was acquired by Telkonet the same year, Tienor said.

After the acquisitions, Telkonet had five office locations across the country.

“Originally, my partner Jeff and I decided that the EthoStream Operations would remain in Milwaukee,” he said. “This is where we founded the company and the strong manufacturing capabilities and workforce we had in place was stronger and better quality than we could get elsewhere.”

When the board approached Tienor to become chief executive officer near the end of 2007, he brought up the idea of consolidating the company’s locations.

“I decided to take a close look at whether or not the company really needed multiple locations,” he said. “We approached the state of Wisconsin, which was able to give us a small business loan to help us relocate the company to our offices in Milwaukee.”

According to Tienor, the Midwestern work-ethic, the proximity of educational institutions in the area and the growing trend and support for innovation and green technology in the region were all driving factors for the decision.

“I’d like to think it was all about me and where I was located,” Tienor said. “The truth is though that we couldn’t beat this location. This is an accessible, centralized location in the country, and the proximity of educational institutions from which we could attract new talent from made moving the company here a no-brainer.”

Being able to give back to the Marquette community as a mentor was also important to Tienor.

Telkonet sold its original product line to focus on EthoStream and the original SSI products which have been updated and rebranded as Telkonet’s EcoSmart solutions.

“Once the acquisition of Smart Systems International was complete, we immediately began working on a wireless version of SSI’s energy management products that could be implemented over the EthoStream or any other wireless network,” Tienor said. “The company saw great value in being able to provide that additional product line to EthoStream’s existing client database.”

The EcoSmart solutions wirelessly function with a facilities HVAC system to control room temperature, Tienor said.

According to Tienor, the system is designed to ‘intelligently’ reduce energy consumption in a given environment by 30 percent or more by using patented algorithms to detect specific variables and real-time movement.

“The products are designed to account for a room’s intermittent occupancy rate and adjust the heating and cooling of the room based on that,” he said. “Statistics show that guests in a hotel usually are out of the room for 60 percent of their stay there. The EcoSmart systems are programmed to adjust the HVAC heating and cooling system so energy is not wasted when no one is present in the room.”

According to Tienor the company is also working on implementing similar technology with lighting and other electrical uses in their facilities. 

Telkonet’s core target market is the hospitality industry. At the start of the recession though, Tienor and his team began taking a look at other vertical markets and expanded the company’s offerings to include education, military and public housing and health care facilities.


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