Innovator Profile – Steven Graves

Innovators |

An interview with Steven Graves of Measured Air Performance.

Your 30-second pitch: Carbon reduction and energy savings are critical objectives for virtually all companies. Lab buildings use 8 -10 times more energy than a commercial building. However, people have spent decades working on solutions to save energy in labs and to a large degree have been successful. To capture the remaining savings requires tremendous understanding of the latest sensing technologies, process controls and lab ventilation. Measured Air Performance has this expertise and leveraged it to develop SmartStack®. This product drives significant energy savings on lab exhaust fans, an application which to date had been ignored.

Who or what was your best resource for starting your company? Our Chief Technology Officer, Eric Desrochers, is arguably one of the top subject matter experts in the country on lab ventilation and the associated monitoring technologies.

What was your biggest obstacle in starting your company and how did you overcome it? Acquiring our first major installation with a new product, particularly in an application like labs, where safety is critical was our largest obstacle. Fortunately, we found a large company very dedicated to carbon reduction and energy savings. They agreed to be our first installation after we proved the product functionality, high reliability and the fail safe features.

What’s the best advice you have received? A long time ago, a systematic product failure created a crisis that I thought would ruin the division I was running. During the crisis, a colleague said, “Things are never as good as they seem nor as bad.” We ended up resolving the product failure in such a way that it actually enhanced our image with our customers. Start-ups can be emotional roller coasters and perspective is vital. It’s easy to find yourself thinking that the next deal, product release, etc. is going to make or break the company, but it is seldom the case. Whenever things seem remarkably good or bad, I think about this advice and focus on perspective.

What about the NH lifestyle appeals to you? NH has tremendous quality of life between the beaches, the mountains and an incredible food scene. In the workplace, I like the culture of hard work, determination and humility.

What does the future look like for your company? Our future looks very promising. We’re getting strong product awareness not only in the North America, but globally. I was recently on a call with a facility in Dubai and the contact mentioned they’d heard great things about our product – and we’ve done no marketing in the Middle East. We also have another very innovative energy saving product for labs that should be in beta early next year.

How has COVID-19 impacted your business, and what adjustments have you made (if any) to address areas of concern?

Yes, we have been affected, but mostly in the way of slight delays to contracts and installations we had scheduled for prior to things shutting down in March. Because a large percentage of our target market is Biotech, Pharma and Life Sciences we are still very much in conversations and believe things will improve soon – we’re already seeing some indications of that. We are starting to schedule site visits again and purchase orders that have been on hold are slowly getting released.