Seesmart Technologies, Inc. LED Lighting
July 16, 2012 Issue
The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information
Bringing to Market LED Lighting Solutions, Seesmart Technologies, Inc. is helping Commercial, Industrial, Government and Residential Customers Achiever 55% to 80% Energy Savings with a Quick Return on Investment
Seesmart Technologies is a
manufacturer, distributor and marketer of lighting solutions the exclusively
utilize light emitting diodes (“LEDs”) as their light source. The company
has designed and developed an extensive product line and manufactures
products in both the United States and through several contract
manufacturers in Asia. The company’s products are specifically designed for
use in both retrofit and new construction applications by commercial,
industrial and government and residential customers. Seesmart products are
sold through an exclusive distribution network as well as through direct
Ken has been involved in LED affiliated products since 2003, and founded Seesmart with Raymond Sjolseth in July 2008. Ken brings over 28 years of executive operating experience to Seesmart. He has a strong background in sales, marketing and distribution. His many years of experience in retail markets are vital to the Company’s sales channels and distribution operations.
Ken founded and owned Action Copier Company, a remanufacturing company, which he grew to over $10 million in annual revenue in 2 years, (1984-1986). After successfully selling the company, Ken was a working partner with a high tech manufacturer and importer of touch screen technology which grew from $350 million to $750 million in revenue during his 7 year involvement, (1993-2000). Ken temporarily retired in 2000.
Ken has also consulted for several technology companies on bringing their products into large retailers.
Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – July 16, 2012
Mr. Ames: The vision is to become a leader in the development, manufacture and sale of LED lighting products. We are at the leading edge of a lighting revolution and we believe there is a tremendous opportunity to build a great company that provides the lighting technology that will become pervasive throughout the world over the next decade.
Mr. Ames: Education. The biggest challenge with LED technology today, is that we are pioneering a very new technology. Acceptance today is still less than 1%. When you are changing a technology that has been in place for 100 years, change occurs slowly in the early stages. I think the biggest thing we see at Seesmart is the need to educate the buyer. Oftentimes, we are not really selling product as much as we are educating people so they can make a decision on where their companies go as far as energy consumption. We are more of an educator at this point rather than a salesperson because the technology is so new.
Mr. Ames: We manufacture and sell LED products. Although education is a big part of the sales process, our exclusive dealer and distributor network is on the street every day driving the adoption of LED technology. Our network a big part of what makes Seesmart special. Selling LED lighting is a very different process than traditional lighting. Traditional lighting sales as we know it is basically order-taking. There isn’t a lot of selling because the technology has been around for the last sixty or one hundred years. LED lighting is very different. Therefore, we created a network of people that exclusively sell our product and educate people on what we are doing different from everybody else in the industry.
Mr. Ames: We all have our own technologies and our own approach, but we are different in the fact that we look at the space from a distribution standpoint. We have an exclusive network of people who we have trained in the industry who are exclusive to our products and our products only. They do not sell any other lighting products, they sell our product only, and we deliver the same message across all fifty-one of our exclusive distributors in the United States. Similar to other technology revolutions, it starts in the government and municipalities, then moves to commercial and industrial customers and finally bleeds down to the consumer. This is why we concentrate primarily on government, commercial and industrial customers. We do not believe that the consumer market is ready for this technology yet because it is still too pricey. You are burning the lights in your home three hours a day versus a company that burns twelve to twenty-four, so the return on investment takes a lot longer for the residential customer.
Mr. Ames: Immediate energy savings and significant environmental benefit. You can achieve between 55 and 80% energy savings over florescent technology and 90% over incandescent technology, which is a no-brainer. The biggest challenge is helping customers understand the return on investment because you are comparing a $1 product to a $50 product.
Mr. Ames: A great deal of the Fortune-100 and 500 companies have full-time energy managers and sustainability managers that totally understand the technology, but it just comes down to budgeting, price, and acceptance. There is less than one percent acceptance of this technology in the US at this point. Three years ago, people would talk to you about this technology and were fascinated. Today most people ask about LED when they go out to a bid but whether they understand and are ready to evaluate lighting technology on an ROI basis is totally different.
Mr. Ames: Municipalities are making a push in outdoor lighting. Although we offer great outdoor lighting, we concentrate on the indoor application because if you look at an office building, there are 20,000 lights inside the building and six lights outside the building. We look at what makes economic sense. There is this big misconception of how the lighting industry should work. Streetlights are on twelve hours at most and many buildings burn twenty-four hours and there are several thousand more lights in the building than outside. But when a city official does something for the city, nobody can see the inside; they can only see what looks great on the outside. Sometimes it comes down to politics. The companies that focus on green technology are the real leaders in this industry.
Mr. Ames: You cannot really say it always does, because many times, it comes back down to if the pricing model works. It depends on where you are located. In areas that still have four, five and six cent kilowatt rates, the ROI can be long. If you go to the Northeast, California, and areas with higher rates and rising rates the ROI is often under two years. However, it’s not always about ROI. It is also important to simply reduce consumption of energy for environmental reasons.
Mr. Ames: It is all over the place. You can go from $5k or less for a small retail store to multi-million dollar, multi-building projects. It really depends on the philosophy of the customer that we are dealing with and what they want to do to save energy.
Mr. Ames: Number one is that we have a very large product line. Number two is that we have been in this business for a long time, and we have a large, proven installed base that has been using our products for as long as four years, 24 hours a day with some of the biggest companies in the world. We have a great track record and a great breadth of product. We are educators and we show people the difference with what they are currently using, what they can be using, and what it means to them. We have literally hundreds if not thousands of case studies that we have done on customers and energy savings. We have a great portfolio of some very high-profile customers that love the product and it works for them.
Mr. Ames: We are always looking for opportunities that make sense.
Mr. Ames: I see us completing another year of explosive growth and continuing to build a position of leadership in the industry. We are also working to expand our US-based manufacturing. We feel it is important to be a leader in returning jobs to the U.S.
It is not only Seesmart, but I would recommend that people take a look at
anybody in the LED industry. With less than one percent acceptance of LED
technology, you are at the bottom of a hockey stick that is about to go
straight up, and if you understand anything about the lighting business,
there are thirty nine billion light sockets in the world. If you are doing
$150 million a year in the lighting industry, you are about two-tenths of 1%
of the market. The growth opportunity is enormous.. It is like everything
else, it has its challenges, but we are in a great bubble right now that is
going to last through the decade. It is not just Seesmart, there are other
companies that are doing the same thing. We are all doing the best we can to
not build anymore power plants, to cut the carbon footprint, and to do the
environment some good.
You can achieve between 55 and 80% energy savings over florescent technology and 90% over incandescent technology, which is a no-brainer. The biggest challenge is helping customers understand the return on investment. - Kenneth W. Ames III
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