Alumnus Philip Kopp Keeps It Green In San Diego

San Diego, CA: In recent months, Alliant alumnus Philip Kopp has been discussing sustainable business with researchers from the University of California, San Diego. Kopp's company, Energy Eye Inc., which he founded with fellow alumnus (and former roommate) Jeremy Deal, has been providing wireless energy-saving products to commercial businesses since 2001, and is a great case study for the researchers.

The discussion is part of the Global CONNECT program. Launched in April 2007 as part of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders' Clean Technology Initiative, it assesses the city's existing clean technology companies, investors and entrepreneurs. "We're kind of out there on the edge, trying to explore this," said Kopp. "Maybe five or 10 years from now San Diego will be well known for environmental businesses."

That's the plan. Since 1990 California's second largest city has been experiencing success with industry-based cluster models that use an integrative and coherent approach to innovative product and service development. San Diego has already experienced success in its telecommunications and biopharmaceutical clusters, and is eager to develop a clean technology one. "We're trying to figure out how to make the city more sustainable and more attractive to green businesses," said Kopp.

Kopp and Deal have been running Energy Eye, Inc. since 2001. (Deal is now an executive for Secure Wireless, one of the leading suppliers of wireless sensors to the security industry. He remains in San Diego and in close contact with Kopp.) When Kopp was still an undergrad, Deal, who was working for electronics conglomerate Honeywell developing products for the hotel industry, began hearing similar complaints from the representatives he was meeting with.

"They kept telling him the same things," said Kopp, "that they needed ways to cut back on their energy. That was eight years ago. That was a long time before this green thing came about. Back then it didn't have so much to do with global warming as it did with economics. It was standard business practice to figure out how to save money."

At the time Kopp was a finance major in his junior year of college, with plans to go into banking or the equity market. "I really had no intention in going into this field," said Kopp. But his discussions with Deal continued and both soon realized the viability of a business that creates and sells energy-saving equipment to the hotel industry, which Kopp calls 'early adopters of the green movement.' "We wanted to show them how you can be more efficient and make more money," said Kopp.

And that's exactly what they did. The company is now in its eighth year of designing and manufacturing wireless guest room energy management systems for the hospitality industry. In the past two years, they began distribution of their Energy Eye(tm) System to Canada, Hawaii, and the Islands of Grenada. The system reduces guestroom HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) consumption by 25% - 45% and has a guaranteed return on investment.

Going green has never been more profitable than it is now, but Alliant alumni Philip Kopp and Jeremy Deal have always been ahead of the curve, saving energy - and money - since 2001. Even the city of San Diego is taking their lead - learning from their success in hopes of creating and courting more green businesses.

For More Information

Energy Eye company website

MGSM - sustainable business concentration