I had the honor earlier this week to be invited to speak at an event focused on the release of the 2013 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report keynoted by Governor Deval Patrick. Governor Patrick announced that the Cleantech sector in Massachusetts was ‘booming’ and reported an almost 12% employment growth over last year. Early on, the Governor identified Cleantech as an important new sector that would join Financial Services, Information Technology, and Life Sciences as a growth employer in the Commonwealth. And he was right.  Massachusetts, and other states around the nation that are taking a leadership position in Cleantech are feeling the benefits in employment growth, reduced energy bills, and a new cornerstone industry.

Please find below my remarks at the event.

Building a Massachusetts Cleantech Company

My name is Tom Pincince, President and CEO of Digital Lumens, located just a short five-minute walk away.  I could spend the next few minutes just thanking all of the people in the room, and many of the people that came before them, for creating the environment that helped DL start and grow in the Commonwealth.

But, let me instead take my time to share with you a bit about DL, why we are thriving here in Massachusetts, and what I think we should all work towards to continue the good news that was just reported by the Governor.

At DL, we build smart LED lighting systems.  In fact, our system is installed right here at the Fraunhofer.  When you have a smart light, you get radical energy efficiency and the platform for smart buildings.  What does it mean to be radically efficient?  Well, our customers typically save 90% on their lighting bills and put hundreds of thousands of dollars back into the business every year with the savings.

DL landed in Boston with just five employees.  Now, on any given day, 80 folks show up for work on the sixth floor of 374 Congress Street.  The innovative products designed and sold by our staff have resulted in over 100% year-over-year revenue growth over the past three years, and we see that continuing into the future.

These 80 people represent the diversity that our Commonwealth has to offer:

  • Executives and professionals who built their careers in some of the best lighting, networking, and software companies in the region.
  • Recent college graduates from the finest schools – many of whom started at DL as paid interns.
  • And finally, military veterans represent over 10% of our work force – a rarity among my start-up peers.

These hard working and dedicated individuals are building their careers in energy efficiency after giving service to our country.
But, our direct workforce does not represent the totality of our economic impact. Our solutions require outside skilled electricians and energy specialists for planning and implementation. And, the dollars we save customers are put back into their businesses to hire additional staff, buy capital equipment, or improve profitability.

So what do I think we need to do to ensure that the news next year is as good as this year’s?  We need to keep up the momentum on all fronts:

  • Progressive energy policies,
  • Collaborative support between business, government and utilities,
  • And, a continued focus on making our region the most livable and desirable place to build a career and raise a family.

As one example, the transportation infrastructure of this city and the Commonwealth makes it possible for 40% of my staff to bike to work and 40% to get to work by public transportation, saving energy and reducing traffic for all.

Finally, when a state puts its words into deeds, the impact and results are tangible and far-reaching.  The MassCEC took a chance on DL when we had just started and installed our smart lights into the landmark Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown.  The WTTC became a landmark case study for us and helped develop credibility across all sectors as we offered the product in the state, across the nation, and exported around the world.

We have grown into a vibrant contributor and employer in this strong and growing cluster, and I cannot thank everyone enough for all their help in getting us there.


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