Chattanooga group buys global energy efficiency firm

Three years after Daniel LeVan moved to Chattanooga and opened a consulting office for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability (EES) in Hamilton County's business incubator, the former banker, controller and CFO has assembled a group that has purchased the worldwide operations of EES.

The new owners already are adding offices for their energy consulting business in London and Toronto and LeVan said he expects to grow company operations around the globe.

LeVan, who moved to Chattanooga for family reasons after serving as chairman and managing director of TD Reinsurance in Barbados, said he expects growing environmental interest by more companies, and public policy initiatives to promote more energy conservation, should help grow the Chattanooga-based company.

But LeVan says he isn't just pushing the business to improve the environment and to help cut pollution and emissions from power generators. EES helps companies make good returns while doing good, he says, noting that most projects his firm recommends and conducts have a 20 percent return after taxes.

"The projects we work on help businesses save money on their energy bills and often make their operations less vulnerable to power disruptions," he said.

The new owners, organized as En3rgy LLC, purchased the national EES Consulting practice for an undisclosed price. The company will be headquartered in Chattanooga and include offices in Chicago, Boston, Houston and Austin, Texas.

Thanks to TVA, EPB and Oak Ridge National Labs, the Tennessee Valley is one of only a few epicenters with electrical and efficiency talent that the nation and North America needs, LeVan said.

The business works on projects ranging from $5,000 to $10 million.

"We have projects where 70 percent of the capital costs are paid through grants, and projects funded through Power Purchase Agreements costing the business nothing while reducing utility rates," LeVan said.

The new team of owners for EES includes:

- Levan, the company CEO who has worked in top management jobs for AIG, AEGON, TD Bank and GE Capital.

- Alan Wheal, who developed the Renewable Power Network in the United Kingdom and does specialized fire systems technology work.

- Punkaj (PR) Rishi, founder of Vastera, a company who created the GTM Software which tracked daily changes in import and export taxes/laws.

- Hubert Vanderharst, an electrical engineer with experience on five continents.

- Robert Kwasnik, president of Dunlap Industries.