Meet our new CTO, Paul GutekunstHear Paul and our former CTO, Dave Harroun, talk about their new roles and the challenges of developing robust software specifically for building operations.
Hear our two CTOs talk about their approach to building IT.
He may be our new CTO, but he's not at all new to us. Paul Gutekunst has been our main software developer since 2007, so he starts his new role with 15+ years of experience in building, maintaining, and integrating our software. He also brings a wealth of experience in mechanical systems from his former life/current hobby as a circle track racer and race car maintenance guru (his brother is also a motorhead and works for Nascar). That car engineering background helps him understand the problems customers face with their building systems.
"The buildings industry is very dynamic from a technical perspective. You're not going to get bored. And it aligns with some of my interests too. Growing up in my teens, I wanted to learn everything about a car, including its wiring and all of the mechanical behind it. Now I'm kind of scaling that up into large scale buildings and campuses," Paul said.
Paul’s innate curiosity and ability to look at issues holistically are a big part of why Dave Harroun – our OG CTO – thought first of Paul when he decided he was ready to step back and take more of an advisory role after 4+ decades in operations controls and software.
Paul's got a unique blend. He has that inner watchdog that a lot of developers don't have, but they should. If Paul sees bad code or if he sees a system, you know, not performing the way it should or he sees a security breach, he takes it personally.
In the CTO role, you have to have an inner watchdog for both process and systems, because people will find ways to use them and do things they should not be doing. The winds of change in the industry are moving, and you’ve got to have the right discipline and inquisitiveness to take advantage of that.
Immediate priorities for Paul in his new role include maintaining and improving our apps as well as our eternal endeavor to enhance our data collection system to provide the granularity operators need to optimize performance and address emissions. But that's only where the challenges start. After all, this is an industry teeming with legacy systems, each of which has to be treated as an individual, because each has been customized over its lifetime. These older systems can’t necessarily be replaced and are difficult to alter or enhance – providing endless challenges for an inquisitive engineer.
Those legacy systems make cybersecurity a particularly “interesting” challenge for our new CTO. Without national (or international) standards for data communication, building data has no set collection or delivery method. Paul describes his approach to this mishmash this way:
"We have a lot of flexibility in how we receive client data. The challenge comes from working with clients on how to pull data from (sometimes legacy) systems in a way that keeps the data and IT connections secure. Once the data reaches our system, we organize and 'scrub' it (remove nulls and other problem artifacts) and maintain its security. Getting data out of our system requires secure user access to our system and APIs."
Paul's skill with utiliVisor and client systems has made this a no-hiccup transition for the entire utiliVisor team. “I have worked with Paul for over 16 years, from when he started on the original architecture of our billing system through his design of smart performance alerts for our energy plant clients. Having been mentored by Dave, Paul brings not only a technical aspect to our platform but a level of engineering that most developers lack. We are excited for 2024 as we are preparing to redesign our application, making it faster, smarter, and, more importantly, digestible for all of our clients. Paul brings a level of technical mastery as our CTO that will make it easy for us to accomplish our goals and provide our clients with top-notch service," said Chris Angerame, vice president of operations.
Your tenant submetering and energy plant optimization services are an essential part of your operation. You deserve personalized energy insights from a team that knows buildings from the inside out, applies IoT technology and is energized by providing you with accurate data and energy optimization insights. When you need experience, expertise, and service, you need utiliVisor on your side, delivering consistent energy and cost-saving strategies to you. What more can our 40 years of experience and historical data do for you? Call utiliVisor at 212-260-4800 or visit utilivisor.com