A Building in Your Pocket – Luther Garcia of ECS Global Solutions

Luther Garcia, CEO of ECS Global Solutions

Luther Garcia, the CEO of ECS Global Solutions, from $7 million in 2014 to $18.1 million in 2017, a 158% increase, and to around $28 million in 2018.  

ECS Global Solutions provides comprehensive energy efficiency solutions.  

In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, Luther shares how he and his team accelerated their high value sales by:  

  • Focusing on large accounts with extensive real estate holdings.  
  • Partnering with commercial real estate brokers and service providers.  
  • Hiring people with technical expertise and/or key business relationships.  
  • Leveraging the Internet of Things to disrupt the business intelligence market.  

Computer generated transcript - ECS Global Solutions (transcribed by Sonix)

Download the "Computer generated transcript - ECS Global Solutions" audio file directly from here. It was automatically transcribed by Sonix.ai below:

Malcolm Lui: Welcome to the High Value Sales Show of Eversprint.com. I'm Malcolm Lui, the Managing Member of Eversprint, and today we're speaking with Luther Garcia, the CEO of ECS Global Solutions, a provider of comprehensive energy efficiency solutions. Welcome to the call Luther.

Luther Garcia: Thanks Malcolm. Thanks for having me.

Malcolm Lui: Luther, you grew your company's revenue from $7 million in 2014 to $18.1 million in 2017, a 158% increase, and in 2018 you hit around $28 million. Before we talk about you grew your company so fast, can you briefly share what your company does beyond my quick intro, and how your company differs from the competition?

Luther Garcia: Sure we have two core businesses. The first business is a turnkey sustainable lighting business. So we do large scale commercial LCD rollouts on a national level. We do that for customers like Macy's Citibank. J.P. Morgan Chase Goldman Sachs Avalon Bay a number of large companies that have significant real estate portfolios across the country. That was the core business. It was a business we got into in 2010 and we actually bought UCSD in 2013 when it was much smaller. So when we bought it our first year we sort of did two point eight million and then we did 70 million the following year than the rest of the numbers that you provided about two and a half years ago. We saw an opportunity and another shift in the marketplace and we launched our building intelligent studio which does building automation. So that is control systems for heating and cooling and various other mechanical devices in Class A commercial buildings. The focus of that business is primarily New York. And that business is growing from basically 1 million last year to about 8 million this year. That's a significant leap for 2019 actually so that's basically an overview of what we do.

Malcolm Lui: Rate. And can you share how you differ from your competition the ones that do the large scale LCD rollout that you currently and also the ones companies that also do that. Building intelligence building automation

Luther Garcia: Well I would say that let's start with the building automation that is a business that's basically dominated by five players especially the top four JCI which is Johnson Controls Honeywell Siemens Schneider Electric and then you have another company called this tech that is very innovative and up and coming and basically the incumbents have for years you know sold hardware and new construction to a lot of these real estate investment trusts or owners of real estate that require control systems and complex mechanical systems. Once you get that material in there it's very expensive and very hard to pull it out. So very often the biggest buildings and biggest accounts their local branch which they own the manufacturer also owns basically will manage and service the customer but because their material used to be so hard to remove you know they basically they've been very expensive from a maintenance standpoint and from a customer service standpoint because it's so difficult for them to be removed. Most of them haven't done a great job with regards to servicing the customer. There's a big wave in the market going on right now where basically the Internet of Things I'm sure you know we've all heard of that. It's happening in buildings. So things like fans and valves and you know heating controls and all these sorts of things. Air handlers all these widgets and devices that are in these large scale commercial buildings are now being released with IP enabled basically.

Luther Garcia: So now that allows us to at a greater level of control you can actually manage and maintain these devices. So with that along with that is an opportunity for analytics platforms something called a digital twin and all sorts of innovation is going on in the market and we're better positioned to take advantage of it because we are it's more important to us that the customer is service correctly. We can't afford mistakes because we're playing in the big leagues in New York City. So we can't afford mistakes. We can't have customers that aren't happy with our service because we're not you know JCI or these other guys Honeywell or whoever. So that's a first thing and that's a first approach that we have. And that's an approach that's unusual to most of the building owners and developers because they're not used to it. The second thing is that the architectures for all these devices for the controls of all these devices there's a big technological wave. They're opening up. So we have the technical expertise which a lot of the older shops that that sort of services buildings don't have. So my background is you know I built a couple of other technology companies previously. So in terms of developing software in terms of delivering you know the networking infrastructure now that goes along with IP enabling all these devices we are sort of cutting edge.

Luther Garcia: So the combination of moving quickly adapting to what the market what the market is demanding and servicing our customer caring more about the service of our customer because we're hungrier and it's more important to us this is what differentiates us from our competitors and cracking open into the class A building market in New York City is very very hard. And we have been able to do that and currently have about 15 million square feet of some pretty iconic buildings that were either under service contracts or modernizing there's some very large new construction project that we're we've made it to as a finalist we probably would be one of the smallest companies in the history of any York. To actually win a project of that nature. So it's pretty exciting. So that that's that's a combination of all those factors is what differentiates differentiates us you know on the building automation or the building intelligence business in the lighting business. It's a similar story lighting business is much older. It's been around for 20 years. It was a smaller business. We bought it. We know we took advantage of of the adoption of LCD technologies across the country. But that that business model changed all of a sudden. It used to be. It too used to be dominated by four or five major players. You know acuity General Electric Philips Sylvania that's us rooms those guys and saw the same name now but their product became a commodity a lot of cheap product came out of China and all of a sudden it old loyalties that they had to their distribution channel which we're no longer working for them.

Luther Garcia: So we were more nimble and had the ability from a customer acquisition standpoint to go in and you know really do the project development pieces which would help really drive the selection of the materials such surveys and the site surveys and the lighting audits and all that. You know when you when you have an opportunity to collect the data for an RFP for a bid it puts you in a really in a winning position because you have you know whatever the the RFP is you put it out there but you may also have more data that's not in the RFP because you actually visited all the sites and sometimes this could be as many as 200 different locations at the same time. So anyway that's that's kind of it's it's a similar recipe for both businesses that they both have market dynamics that are changing rapidly where there's no big incumbents are being challenged and their business models are changing. So it's an opportunity for a well positioned company that's hungry and capable and able to take advantage of those circumstances

Malcolm Lui: Okay got it. Now can you elaborate what's meant by a Class A building

Luther Garcia: Sure. Big skyscrapers service classy buildings that are a million square feet or more. Basically so think

Malcolm Lui: Like

Luther Garcia: Chrysler Building Empire State Building Rockefeller Center. You know that kind of stuff.

Malcolm Lui: Is it clearly based on square footage or is it also have to do the quality of the building.

Luther Garcia: It's really the. Yeah. It's the size and everything that goes with that. So the size and complexity cost value. You know it's it's only the there's only a handful of companies that can bid on those those buildings in New York.

Malcolm Lui: Okay got it. Now can you share what the three biggest drivers were of your sales growth over the past four years and you grew from seven million in 2014 to about 28 million. Yeah I know you touched upon it a little bit already but maybe we can review those again and maybe eat a little bit deeper into the

Luther Garcia: Sure. So I guess from a customer acquisition standpoint we really focused on Look it takes the same amount of effort to close at one hundred thousand dollar deal as it does to close a five billion dollar deal. It really does so. So in terms of investing your time and targeting customers you get a much better return by targeting in our case it was customers with large real estate portfolios or more you know multiple presence in multiple markets. So that's the department store. So it was banks real estate investment trusts. So we focused our effort towards things that would give us the greatest return in the lighting business. There is no recurring revenue. So we're always chopping wood. So we have to have a deep pool of buildings to upgrade. The second thing was partnerships that could provide indirect sales referrals and revenue opportunities to us. Specifically we started we really developed our partnerships with G.E. current with CBRE for example Cushman Wakefield. And they brought us into a lot of opportunities. So when you're when you're scared when you can when you can do that get either indirect channel sales or go after big accounts with multiple opportunities then you can grow your sales quickly on the building intelligence side. It's a little bit different because there are service contracts that last a long time. So there's recurring revenue there. They're tenant fit outs. So there's recurring revenue there. There's modernization because you've got the market dynamic of the Internet. The IO T waves it's just beginning to sweep over everything. And then of course we're developing technology to take advantage of that and capture you know add more value deliver more value to our clients and add even higher margin and more recurring revenue for us. So you know those are the that's the secret for for both of those why they've been we've been able to grow them to the way we've been able to

Malcolm Lui: Ok so on the on the lighting side the side it's it's a one is is focusing on larger accounts directly. We get multiple sales out of it. And the second one is through partnerships with the

Luther Garcia: Channel

Malcolm Lui: Likes of it with like CBRE and Christian Rayfield. And then the building intelligence side I know you mentioned how a lot of the dynamics that are changing there but could you clarify what the and what the drivers were of the sales growth. You talked about growing your sales in one market in New York City market from 1 million to 8 million I believe in this in a span of a year

Luther Garcia: Yeah. There was a major manufacturer that was having issues with one of their major clients in the New York City market. We hired some people from that manufacturer that were well regarded and that happen to have a relationship with that with that customer. You know they they gave us the opportunity to go in and and help service them because you know there were issues with the way they service them. We did a great job and then we ended up owning that customer. And you know having being armed with the ability to you know sell products and solutions from one of the major manufacturers in that market. I mentioned who they were earlier as well as being armed with one of the biggest real estate investment trusts are as our customers. All of a sudden gave us an opportunity to to really grow this up. Obviously we're able to leverage the assets in the balance sheet of the Lighting business so that we could get on the approved vendors list and play on that level. And then we can also invest in and in and build the resources of that that new business unit and we hired people you know some of the best people in the industry. So it was really a unique look. The bottom line is sometimes you have to either maneuver yourself into

Malcolm Lui: It's

Luther Garcia: Or identify a unique set of circumstances that you are in a position to take advantage of. So timing and luck really

Malcolm Lui: Right. Yeah I mean it's on the building intelligence side. Seems like you were the right company at right time to take advantage of the hiccup that the director had and

Luther Garcia: Truly.

Malcolm Lui: That kind of gave you the upper Keys for the future ones. Okay great. So on the on the lighting side here and now you talk about the same effort to close a 500 thousand dollar deal as opposed to a 10 million dollar deal. But isn't the sales cycle much longer with larger deals.

Luther Garcia: Well that's good and bad it is. But the SA pipeline and the lighting side is about I don't know 80 million dollars. So the good thing about that is we have a pretty good close rate. So you working on these deals. You're always working on rollouts and you know what the rollouts are. You can kind of plan your revenue and plan around that. I mean

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Luther Garcia: So

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Luther Garcia: We have visibility into what we can kind of predict what our 12 18 months out. That's pretty good. We know what our revenue should be for projects that we've been developing maybe since last year or whatever.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Luther Garcia: So that's good. I would say that on the other hand you know if you the other thing is if you did have a certain amount of churn with some of those kind of deals the one hundred thousand two hundred thousand or deals those could help as well from a cash flow standpoint. But it just depends on where you are in terms of your cash flow. We've been able to secure pretty good credit facility. So you know it while it's always a challenge in a business like lighting you know we we have the resources we need to be able to support those kind of deals that kind of growth

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay. Got it. And for the second driver on the lighting side you talk about the partnerships. Can you talk about how you were able to start forming those partnerships.

Luther Garcia: Well we've been informing them you know for decades. We've got like said we Bobby see us in 2013 and to this yes it's 20 20 years old so the lighting businesses that own the building automation business is basically two and a half years old. It's something that we incubated and created in that lighting business. So you know there's just when we looked at acquiring that business we felt that there was infrastructure knowledge track record but also customer assets and you know that we called partnerships put them in the same bucket that we could leverage and really use that to grow. So then it became a matter of well we have credibility with these customers or with these companies what do we need to do to you know allow us to scale up and be able to handle larger volumes of work for them. So you know that became you know growing expanding our staff really know putting adding efficiencies into our processes and we developed some technology to do the project development the data collection that's involved for all the lighting audits and surveys. So you know we position ourselves to be able a more valuable partner that could do bigger and larger projects for them. And then as we got opportunities to prove ourselves we really knocked it out of the park and and developed those relationships to the point now where we continue to get a volume and new customers from them every year

Malcolm Lui: And at stake now on the how you decide. You talked about leveraging the assets of the Lighting business to get on the approved vendor list. Can you get it. Give a little bit more detail about what that true vendor list is all about and what's typically required to get on those lists

Luther Garcia: Yeah. So. So if you would like the class A building let's give an example of let's say a company like let's say a very large real estate investment trusts that you know there's one in particular they own one hundred and ninety six million square feet across the country they own 30 million square feet in New York City alone. You know if you're going to be an approved vendor on that list then you know you have to be able to have the you're going to subcontract some work you're going to be you can have to be able to purchase and have credit lines to purchase materials from the many relevant manufacturers for that work. So you know lighting business because it was established we had a very strong D and B rating we had a good balance sheet so we could acquire you know we qualify for you know lots of credit. We had a track record of having completed large complex projects. So you know starting a new business out of that we were able to leverage all of that track record for the new business and then you know because we could hire a good team quickly build a good team that could execute quickly then we could go after the big customers and leverage all of that track record and strengths financial strength from the lighting business into opening up new doors for our new business to building animation business to suit

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Luther Garcia: I mean

Malcolm Lui: Yep.

Luther Garcia: All of a sudden it makes it a lot easier if you are a 20 million dollar company going to applying to be on an approved vendors list versus if you're a company that has a million or less in sales you know they're not good they might not like you they might not even consider you. You said I

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Luther Garcia: Mean

Malcolm Lui: Yep. Definitely. So it sounds like this these approved vendor lists does keep out new competition at least new startup competition.

Luther Garcia: They owe it shirk. It's a barrier to entry that can be significant.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. All right. And can you also recap again that key event on the building intelligence side where you were able to you mentioned about how a manufacturer somewhere along the process had some issues of some sort. Some more details about that and how you were able to learn about it and how you able to capitalize on it.

Luther Garcia: Yet again we we we hired a team. Some guys just coincidentally because we wanted to build this business and we were able to find someone that you know that was worthy that we could build and invest in and build a team around. You know we felt like we found someone who was young but that had the knowledge connections everything that was required to really build a new business. So that's the first thing we identified and we start building the team so

Malcolm Lui: Was

Luther Garcia: That

Malcolm Lui: It

Luther Garcia: Mr.

Malcolm Lui: Just was it a sales team and you knew but people in their Rolodex or was it

Luther Garcia: No it wasn't a sales team at all. Quite the opposite. It was a execution team. So it was a team that had the skills to be able to do design drawings estimation service engineers their engineers most of them. We have technology programmers you know this is quite a bit of sophisticated infrastructure that you have to have. Once we had that team we were able to sign up to manufacturer that that team came from. Right. And

Malcolm Lui: Like

Luther Garcia: Because we were already certified on that line because we hired like five guys to start

Malcolm Lui: Right like

Luther Garcia: Right now. Now we've grown it's like 15 guys that we have about 50 people total in both businesses maybe fifty five anyways so. So that that was the first thing is we were able to get we were the first new channel partner that they certified and the New York market for that manufacturer in five years. There aren't that many players that are here. So then the manufacturer all these manufacturers whether it's Siemens or Schneider or Honeywell or Johnson Controls they all have their own local branches for service. Now what we've noticed is that they're really good at making hardware and technology but they're not necessarily that great a service. That's the truth. So. That that manufacturer had a very large customer that's a very iconic buildings in New York that quite frankly they were doing a poor job of servicing. So they didn't want to lose the hardware. So the corporate not the branch said give these guys a chance to go in and see if they what they can do. So we were able to go in and provide a level of service to that client that the big manufacturer and their branch could not largely because of a culture that basically takes advantage or takes for granted the fact that they have their customer because it used to be used to be hard to rip that material out but because of this Internet Society wave all these buildings now are modernizing. So all of them are vulnerable to having their equipment be replaced and there's all sorts of new technology down to whereby you know you don't necessarily need their software to manage their controllers things like that. So they're all very vulnerable now to being replaced. So for us having the track record and capability to do all this work at that sort of level and level of complexity and size having the tech the team that can a world class team that can execute having the ability to create demand driven technology that the customer wants and puts us in a tremendous opportunity to have captured a tremendous amount of business and it's just it's this store is just opening and we're just getting started

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Now for the large manufacturer that didn't want to lose the the customer. Right. I assume it's a it's a real estate investment trust that goes well beyond New York of

Luther Garcia: Exactly

Malcolm Lui: What they own. Now did they just say reach out to your new team that you just formed or is it the other way round you kind of heard some rumblings and you

Luther Garcia: Now I think the customer said we don't want to deal with your your branch or service branch anymore. They were upset they were very unhappy. So they made a decision they said okay we'll open it up to their channel partners. There's only a few of them in the New York market. We were a new one. We were brand new.

Malcolm Lui: Okay.

Luther Garcia: And we did a better job than the other ones did. So we were selected by the read it and all of a sudden you know for us our priority was servicing the. And then next thing you know we end up owning the customer not

Malcolm Lui: Thanks

Luther Garcia: The management.

Malcolm Lui: For that

Luther Garcia: It was intentional and of course we'd have a good great relationship with that manufacturer. Don't get me wrong

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Luther Garcia: But that's what ended up happening. You know I say this you know a customer in many ways is like your wife right. If you pay attention to to your wife if you show her you care if you love her treat her with love. Then she should love you back. Right. And it's the same thing for the customer. So from our standpoint you know we we seem to care more than what others we're showing them. And that was something they hadn't seen before our response times were you know ours or you know as opposed to weeks or did

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Luther Garcia: It change it. It changed the. And we have the competence and the capability to fix and solve their problems. And then it's like all of a sudden then the customer you become the customers trusted adviser and they give you more and more opportunities. And that's kind of how how we find ourselves in this. So it's an extraordinary set of circumstances that we were positioned to take advantage of. And we're making the most of it now. We continue to take

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Fantastic. The the the reach. Consider the other three channel partners as well. Or that they just start with you first and then you ran with it

Luther Garcia: I think that they talked to some of the others but we impressed them so they went with us first and then they never looked back

Malcolm Lui: Fantastic. You share what buildings in New York that people would know about that you are currently doing work on or have done work in.

Luther Garcia: I would say three of the 10 most famous buildings in New York

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. And when you say that you

Luther Garcia: Let's

Malcolm Lui: Think

Luther Garcia: About a total of about 15 million square feet

Malcolm Lui: K now about the entire building or just talking about it some pieces of the building

Luther Garcia: The entire building.

Malcolm Lui: Very cool. So you're involved the lighting the AC doors opening and closing all that stuff.

Luther Garcia: It's really. OK. So. So it's it's control so most of this is on the building automation side. But we are cross pollinating and bringing the lighting business into these opportunities as well where it's relevant. Also there's a big movement. What's a lot of these. You know I don't know if you ever heard of Regis back in the day but before we work there was Regis and then then we were it came out and these reach kind of we're looking at we work and they were just saying hey wait a minute I see what you're doing this. Basically you're taking they're leveraging they're there and their real estate assets and they're trying to make them more profitable and generate more revenue a flexible office space plus flexible working and potentially living spaces like a work model. So they're like we can do that too. So there's a there's a big movement for these guys as a couple of them in particular. I can tell you Tishman Speier has one called Studio and CBRE has one as well. Another service member with the name there. But these guys own hundreds of millions of square feet. So for them it's pretty easy to have this flexible working space and to convert it and make it high tech. So we're short of we have an opportunity to be partnered with them with these kinds of activities where we're converting you know floors entire floors and a lot of these buildings to be flexible workspace. And there's a lot of new technology and ways that you can make them smart and ways where they can basically offer their tenants more value and also charge for that extra value whereby they can basically leverage more value or squeeze more value out of the real estate asset. So there's all these sort of forces that are you know that are sort of coalescing in this space. The Internet of Things sustainable energy and then making everything smarter. What what what can you do with that. How can

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Luther Garcia: You know for

Malcolm Lui: Can

Luther Garcia: Example

Malcolm Lui: You

Luther Garcia: For simple things like like tying your key card access into lighting and heating and HPC controls. You know that would you all of a sudden when you when you walk in and you walk into the lobby and you put your key card in so you get into the building so that you can get into the elevator bank that's going to take you to your floor. You know we can integrate that with the lighting control system so that we'll say Okay now let's turn this guy's lights on in his office. Let's make sure the temperature is set to know the you know the standard that that was chosen for that. That kind of stuff it makes it a good experience for the tenant. And it makes it as efficient as possible to operate for the building owner. So it's you know things like that

Malcolm Lui: Right. And I imagine a lot of it it is also a creativity driven I imagine there's some applications you haven't thought of yet.

Luther Garcia: So

Malcolm Lui: When

Luther Garcia: Cool it is it is so cool and we because we have the ability to develop software you know we've got a great chief technology officer so that I've known for 20 years. Again my background comes from that that that that world and we have the we're up we're inside the building we have customers ask us to build stuff plus we're the ones servicing them. So we're also a consumer. So that's why I say we have really a demand driven development approach. So we're building stuff that we know are you know we're going to monetize because our customers are asking for it or we can bundle it make our service better. You know there's a lot of app guys coming out of Silicon Valley. We're building all these apps but it's really hard for them to get them in the building whereas we're in the building and we can build the apps. So we're actually really well positioned

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Luther Garcia: To take advantage of that. So all of a sudden an analytics company now if we haven't analytics at all of a sudden look at a company that could be trading at 30 to 40 times EBITDA versus you know companies that aren't. Which maybe you'll be a mass company. Maybe you're looking at you know a really good one maybe eight to twelve times even done maybe 15 if you're really growing. So it's a big it's a it's a big deal.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Can you share some of the leading edge maybe bleeding edge applications ideas that your team has been creating for the buildings beyond what you just showed of turning lights on and off and heating on and off.

Luther Garcia: Yes.

Malcolm Lui: Something

Luther Garcia: One of the big things is there's different frameworks out there. So some of the heavy lifting on this has it's new but it's a lot of it's been done. You know I'm not going to get into a specific framework for using but for example there's something called a digital twin. So the whole idea is you would have it's almost like you have the building in your pocket. So you have a digital three dimensional representation of the building that is actually plugged into all the relevant systems that are important to getting real time data. And then you can interact and you can do all kinds of things with that data but you can also have machine learning and artificial intelligence so that you can really solve problems in a way that used to require a lot more time and cost to identify and then solve. So the digital twin is a really big deal. It's something that we're working on it's something that we've been asked to work on and you know it's a huge gap in our industry. It is kind of a something we're not the only ones I'm sure that are working on it but it's pretty exciting.

Malcolm Lui: Very cool so something like this might be useful if just one of the problems I've seen like when I trade when the companies work with these major conferences right in the elevators you get totally backed up or I imagine now that you can collect more data you can probably analyze that and find better ways of redirecting people so that

Luther Garcia: Well

Malcolm Lui: If

Luther Garcia: I mean you know again we live in. I live in a building surrounded by skyscrapers. I lived in. I. I'm always in this skyscraper surrounded by skyscrapers right. So the new elevators a lot of them they're just really smart. So you don't even push the floor I mean you push what floor you want to go to and it tells you what elevator to get into

Malcolm Lui: Right

Luther Garcia: And you get into that elevator. You know it's it's a much smaller elevator. Just going in and trying to push a button the elevator algorithms are pretty funny. I don't know that the long time ago we were looking at that kind of stuff when I was doing programming a long time ago but that was more for fun than anything else. But you know everything's just more and the smarter things get the more ideas there are to leverage them and create new things that add new value for users owners whatever

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Luther Garcia: We live in exciting time.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah definitely. For 2019. And what are the most interesting sales opportunities that you see

Luther Garcia: Well what we're trying to do is have our analytics platform our software platform to a point where we could take a strategic investment not so much because we need the money but that would maybe with a manufacturer. One of the big manufacturers that would open up an opportunity for our platform to be bundled with with their offerings so that they could since they have since a lot of them are struggling with service perhaps if they put it through their branches or their their distribution channels you know we could sit back and be the platform that could help them service all these buildings. So that's kind of the strategic direction that we're going we're looking at that. There are some really there's some new construction projects that are very very large that we're really fortunate enough to find ourselves really being seated at the tables. That's really exciting in a place called Hudson Yards which is in sort of the West Side of Manhattan at mass in terms of billions of dollars are being spent on putting up all these huge new buildings are we have an opportunity there on the lighting side. I think there's about 70 department stores with Macy's that we're looking to to start upgrading and another several hundred Citibank branches. So there's some pretty exciting sales opportunities. So we're pretty excited about that. There's also a couple of new reads that we seem to have sort of got our foot in the door on the building automation side. So you know when you when these service contracts are fantastic you know you're there for you're there until they throw you out but it could be decades. You know it's exciting when you have predictable occurring revenue. That's a beautiful thing.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. It is it allows you to do much better planning on so many different dimensions.

Luther Garcia: Absolutely.

Malcolm Lui: So what are the challenges you see in 2018 to do all the things that you mentioned

Luther Garcia: The challenge is is that we're going after the most coming. We're going after the most coveted customers and properties on the market. We've been disruptive disruptive within the channel the manufacturer that we've been dealing with. When you're disruptive people come to you. So you know we're going to have to keep our head on a swivel and we're going to have to keep carrying more than anybody else. And we're going to have to be smarter than our competition because our competition is so much bigger than we are. We have to be smarter than that. So we just don't have much of a margin for error

Malcolm Lui: Right now. Getting into more specifics in terms of finding a new opportunity. I know you're targeting the class a buildings the bigger reach that have properties throughout New York. I imagine at one point you look for a reef to have properties throughout the nation seeing you work there.

Luther Garcia: Absolutely. Know

Malcolm Lui: Is that a pretty short list of reach. Or is it pretty big and you need to

Luther Garcia: It's not a long

Malcolm Lui: Get

Luther Garcia: List. They're the ones that we're targeting. You know they're huge though. They're down tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of square feet across the country. Well

Malcolm Lui: Said

Luther Garcia: You know one of them right now our best one owns one hundred and ninety six million square feet across the country. That's our best customer.

Malcolm Lui: Right now. How do you go about engaging these people. How do you find them. How do you initiate contact

Luther Garcia: All very well. So you know these are big buildings and there's a there's a ecosystem of people who manage them that work for the rich. And so sometimes they go to new buildings. That's one way the other way is you know again at this at this when you sit down and build a big skyscraper you know there's quite a few people at the table that's a sponsor which is the rate usually. And then there's these large construction companies companies like Turner Construction for example. You know some of these just these are the best construction companies in the world. And you know once you have a seat at that table if you could prove yourself and do a great job then they will. But other work out to you they might they might use you again. They might call you in for other opportunities. So it's a migration of people that you know maybe we're running one building for example for one week and we had another shot we got an opportunity at CBRE really. And the person you know liked what we did there and he went to CBRE. And we were able to get an opportunity there right away. He's got a building that you want to upgrade organize. So migration of people and then just as you keep doing work and sort of playing in this in this league you know you get those opportunities in the last ways it's been expected. So we have a ecosystem of what you call MEP firms mechanical electrical plumbing. And these are big contracting companies that that bid work out. So for all of it there's an ecosystem that you know in the New York construction market whether it's retrofitting or new construction. And so you know we get opportunities a lot of bid requests sent our way. So I think expanding expanding that that base of any piece that we work with maybe you know potentially expanding the amount of products that we carry. There's some things that we can do to increase the incoming volume

Malcolm Lui: Right now what does what does your sales people do to find new business. What's their process.

Luther Garcia: What sales people.

Malcolm Lui: You have no sales people.

Luther Garcia: Yeah. We don't really have too many sales people we have a two sales people in the lighting business and really one in this business down and we're probably gonna hire and that's why I'm talking about it. We might will pay higher one or two that will bring on you know some more MEP firms so we get more spec stuff. But you know what we've done is we've you know I just recently returned from safari in the Serengeti and you've watched this incredibly to these private lions lions their favorite meal because you know to feed a pride you know it takes a lot of energy to hunt so that they sleep for 20 hours they're really active for four hours a day they usually hunt. So what they prefer their favorite was a Buffalo because a buffalo could feed an entire pride for a week. So from our standpoint you know it's getting elephants. Then we get the elephant. You can feed on that elephant for you know for a long long time. So going after the really big customers once you land them then your effort becomes more of customer management developing the opportunity within that customer you know. So one customer that has 100 buildings is like one hundred customers. You see I mean

Malcolm Lui: Yep

Luther Garcia: That

Malcolm Lui: So

Luther Garcia: Looks

Malcolm Lui: Your your growth now is really more focused on developing and working with your current customers as opposed to finding new ones.

Luther Garcia: It is a combination of both. But you know for us we haven't even begun to tap all of the opportunities that we currently have. Just with what we have on the table now. So for us it's more a matter of investing in the resources necessary to continue and develop and deliver excellent service and quality work to this customer so we can get more

Malcolm Lui: Yeah because

Luther Garcia: So

Malcolm Lui: Like

Luther Garcia: It's

Malcolm Lui: You

Luther Garcia: More

Malcolm Lui: Say

Luther Garcia: About building building opportunities so we can scale for the opportunity that we already have the opportunities that we already have.

Malcolm Lui: Right

Luther Garcia: That's a great position to be

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Because like you said you were doing work or Citibank and if you got hundreds of branches right. You can do work

Luther Garcia: That's

Malcolm Lui: On

Luther Garcia: For sure. Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: That

Luther Garcia: That's on the lighting side. Absolutely.

Malcolm Lui: And then and then the reed side these guys own more than just one building. Right. So

Luther Garcia: They added tens and hundreds of millions of square feet.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Luther Garcia: And it's not just one but there's one that's our best customer. But there's some others as well so

Malcolm Lui: Yet

Luther Garcia: It's pretty exciting. So you know

Malcolm Lui: I

Luther Garcia: As as these buildings you know modernize. You know we find ourselves that you know we might distinguish ourselves a bit from our competitors.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Right.

Luther Garcia: One of the things that we've already talked about so that's our hope

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Now you make it before about hiring one or two people to bring in more NDP firms. Are these companies difficult to reach out to

Luther Garcia: Not. I mean it's really look business is all about relationships. Right. So you know this is New York. You just reach out to people. You've got to know people you've got to know somebody you know someone. So you know bringing in people who have relationships that they've developed over 10 years five years whatever it is. That's that's the key. They can bring in some new MEP firms. It is about trust. You know

Malcolm Lui: Yet

Luther Garcia: I trust if I give this bit up to me to you that you're not going to screw us over Make me look stupid give us a bad price or screw us over that kind of thing. So.

Malcolm Lui: Right

Luther Garcia: So that's what that's what this is New York New York is pretty unique and this is New York in the construction market which is really unique. So bringing technology into that and all the dynamic changes that are happening happening to it are very interesting. And you know we are very disruptive and we enjoy being disruptive. So that's kind of what our job is to continue to be disruptive but in the right way

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay. Three last questions for you. If you had a billboard on a fast moving freeway turnpike in the northeast what would your billboard message say and keep in mind that people were driving by these billboards on a freeway. They only have about six seconds to read it at all. So what's your six second message

Luther Garcia: What is my six second message. You know what. That's a really good question. I you know the way we acquire customers we don't do it by advertising. We don't really do it by marketing that way. So I don't even I don't even think of it that way.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Luther Garcia: It's

Malcolm Lui: Okay

Luther Garcia: A really good question but I really don't have an answer but you know what. If you don't mind I'd love to think about it and maybe e-mail let's see if I come up with a good word.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah definitely. No I mean there's I mean just from growing through it you shared you know there's some good good ideas that can come with it. The disruption is a probably good thing to think about. That's exactly what you guys are doing. Sam

Luther Garcia: Yeah it is it really really is in an old very established market with some pig and old and very established players with billion dollar about multi-billion dollar challenges.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Luther Garcia: That's disrupting

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. We want you maybe the message might be a better way to turn off lights.

Luther Garcia: Better wait. No no no no no no no. I mean

Malcolm Lui: Okay

Luther Garcia: I was sitting in a construction meeting the other day. They're talking about all sorts of things. You know you're talking about sensors for irrigation leak leak sensors heating sensors automatically locking terrorist doors so that people you know don't go out jump out all sorts of sort of intelligence you know integrating security systems khaki access is with all control systems. I mean eventually having things so that in the future you can have power of reason. And then it's cheaper to run electrical cables and all this kind of stuff to deliver

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Luther Garcia: Power. I mean it's so big and so complex I can't get my head around it.

Malcolm Lui: Hmm. How

Luther Garcia: But

Malcolm Lui: About how about this one. A building in your pocket

Luther Garcia: Yes around the digital twin how would you like to have a building. Steve Jobs once said a thousand songs in your pocket

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Luther Garcia: About

Malcolm Lui: Now you're going to do a building.

Luther Garcia: A skyscraper

Malcolm Lui: How about a hundred buildings in your pocket.

Luther Garcia: Yeah. How about a city in your pocket.

Malcolm Lui: Oh yeah.

Luther Garcia: Absolutely. So that's all my idea is that the digital twin is also meant to be you know across a portfolio. So you know each building in each thing in that building and each device all the way down to the device. It's really exciting time to

Malcolm Lui: Yeah it is.

Luther Garcia: Be in this business. So people talk about the Internet of Things and I don't know how many people are doing what with it but I can tell you it's it's a real thing it's a real thing and it is. It is a big wave and it's it's it's it's not only coming it's here.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah and it's this a matter of coming up with ideas. I mean there are some ideas I'm sure I haven't thought of and then once I hear about it I'm going Wow that's amazing. Why didn't I think about it first

Luther Garcia: Man I love the building. I'm going to set it. But then you reminded me of a building in your pocket. That's exactly that's that's it's on the billboard. Thank

Malcolm Lui: All right.

Luther Garcia: You.

Malcolm Lui: Awesome.

Luther Garcia: That. Go

Malcolm Lui: Am I to ask questions for you. Who are your ideal customers or partners and what's the best way for them to reach you and your team.

Luther Garcia: Are ideal customers is anybody who owns large portfolios of real estate. Or if you have you could be retail chains or whatever. Basically large portfolios of real real estate and the best way to reach us is just to go to our Web site ECI stock global. Or you can email me Luther Garcia at a stock local

Malcolm Lui: Thanks for joining us today and sharing how you accelerated your company's high value sales

Luther Garcia: It was a pleasure Malcolm I enjoyed the conversation.

Malcolm Lui: I did too in that building in the pocket that might be the title of this interview. When I posted on my Web site

Luther Garcia: Building in your pocket will by rip it off. No but that's OK. I dig it. We have a record of who created it.

Malcolm Lui: Yes you'd be here first

Luther Garcia: That's right.

Malcolm Lui: We've been speaking with Luther Garcia, the CEO of ECS Global Solutions, about his company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing, high value sales companies, or to learn how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit Eversprint.com.

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