ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

Office Hours

Posts tagged: Itron Inc.

Itron’s next CEO offers management ideas online, via HBR.org

On Monday Itron Inc. announced that Philip Mezey, who's been at Itron since 2003, will step into the CEO and president's role at the end of the year. He's taking over for LeRoy Nosbaum, who is retiring for the second time in three years.

Nosbaum retired in 2009 and then came back in late 2011 to fill in as interim CEO. Nosbaum said at the time he would help until the next CEO of Itron was found.

Mezey, 52, joined Itron after being one of the principals at Silicon Energy, which Itron acquired in early 2003. He was VP of product development for the company, which developed apps and software tools for large customers and utilities.

Mezey said in an interview this week he knows the CEO job at Itron is demanding. The job he's held at Itron, COO of the energy group, has kept him busy traveling. “Traveling is pretty much my full-time job,” Mezey said. The CEO's job will be just as itinerant.

When he doesn't travel, those days he considers his happy breaks from the routine.

He's busy enough that Mezey doesn't have a home in the Spokane area, he said. He still maintains a home in Northern California, where Silicon Energy was based.

As a stroke of timing, Harvard Business Review's online site Monday ran an opinion piece today by Mezey, titled “A New CEO's Reinvention Road Map.” Mezey offers comments there on why he subscribes to the notion that a company has to balance maintaining its core assets while also committing to making big changes.

All I know is, if I worked at Itron, I'd go to the HBR site and post some serious apple-polishing comments. Seriously, guys, here's your new CEO offering some major thoughts and as of Tuesday, not one person has posted a response.

You can thank me later for the suggestion.

Itron selects from inside, choosing Philip Mezey to replace LeRoy Nosbaum

About 20 months ago Itron (based in Liberty Lake) announced Malcolm Unsworth would take over as CEO from longtime top guy LeRoy Nosbaum.

That didn't last too long. In September 2011 the company board brought back Nosbaum and asked him to right the ship. Nosbaum said at the time he'd only be aboard as long as it took to get results and help find a successor.

Monday the board chose the successor, Phillip Mezey, who has been with Itron since 2003 and has been 2003. president and chief operating officer for Itron’s Global Energy segment since March 2011.

The 2009 photo above is one of Unsworth on the left, Mezey on the right. Mezey was not yet head of Global Energy at Itron.  Does anyone know where Unsworth is today?

Itron is a maker of software, services and meters for electric, gas and electric utilities.

Nosbaum steps down agains on Dec. 31 but will remain a consultant with Itron and assist Mezey as he moves on with the job. Mezey will also become board president after Jan. 1.

Investors remain concerned and hopeful; in 2010 Itron shares lifted off into the high $70 range and then started a long retreat. In fall of 2011 the price per share dropped to around $34.

Since then, the share price is up, but only in the $40-41 range, and investors and customers are hoping to see Itron battle back and have Mezey work some magic with new deals and with existing customers.

Itron makes a move in the solar market by introducing a meter for power use

Liberty Lake-based Itron, Inc. announced recently it's developing and selling energy meters for the solar market.

This is an annoucement altogether focused on the growing number of third-party companies that are producing solar power systems for residential or commercial buildings.
 
In that light, what Itron is proposing is a specific solar meter that identifies how much solar power goes into the local property, and how much of it is used.
From the Itron release:
 

The revenue-grade solar meter, which utilizes an Itron cellular communication module, is ideal for monitoring the energy production of residential and commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

 The availability of third-party-owned residential solar systems has driven rapid growth in the solar market. Itron’s solar offering takes advantage of this growth by enabling third-party solar providers to collect, store and upload a solar system’s production data over an existing cellular network link.
With developments in renewable energy increasing, so does the need to effectively monitor and manage the integration of these energy resources into the electrical grid. Itron’s solar offering gives solar providers an accurate, reliable way to measure and manage solar production data with a secure, low-cost communication network for data collection.
 
“Cellular is a natural fit for the solar market,” said Campbell McCool, marketing communications for Itron Cellular Solutions. “Cellular communications leverage existing infrastructure, making solar meters easy and affordable to connect, and can easily and cost-effectively scale as more solar resources are added in various locations. In addition, increasingly low rates make cellular an appealing option for solar providers.

 

Itron one of several ‘smart grid’ firms helping push ‘apps for energy’ contest

A good app may be worth $30,000 in prize money. And Spokane-area Itron Inc. is taking part in a nationwide effort to find and reward the best apps that use and analyze energy use.

Itron has positioned itself as a major component as the nation makes a slow but inevitable swing toward the “smart grid.”
 
The Obama administration has decided to work the tech street a little harder and is urging software developers to get in the smart grid game; As part of a “apps for energy” contest, a total of $100,000 will go to developers of apps that change how utilities and consumers understand and use data related to power. The money is provided from the U.S. Department of Energy.
 
The Energy Department’s “Apps for Energy” competition is summarized here. The deadline to submit is May 15 at 8 p.m. ET.
 
Along with Itron, other companies involved include Pacifc Gas & Electric Company, and Gridwise Alliance.
 
The judges of the contest include Sharelynn Moore, Itron’s vice president of corporate communications. 

How Itron makes its smart meters, a video; and it announces an acquisition

Let's do a daily-double, compliments of Itron Inc.  Yesterday we mentioned its role in a smart grid test back in the Northeast and we published its year-end earnings report here.

Today it's about its Smart Meters and other efforts to make them a bit smarter.

Itron announced it's spending $100 million to acquire a Mississippi tech company, SmartSynch.

The key detail is that SmartSynch has done a solid job of using existing cellular communications into utility networks. As utilities develop reliable networks that move data back and forth, from customers to distribution centers, the need for consistent and affordable communications becomes central.

SmartSynch does that. Here's a summary from SmartSynch.com about how its system works with smart meters: “SmartSynch's SmartMeter System facilitates two-way wireless communication with each meter, making continuously updated information available to utilities and their customers. All components of the SmartMeter are encased under the glass of the meter.”

Itron has used wireless connectivity to its meters for years. We need to ask: what does SmartSynch offer that's $100 million better than the system Itron has been using?

And as the second half of today's deal: Here is a video that shows how Itron's South Carolina company makes the OpenWay meter, Itron's workhorse smart meter.

Source: this video was produced by the Discovery Channel for it's How It's Made TV series.

Itron regains investor confidence by announcing major layoffs, factory closures worldwide

Itron Inc.'s board brought back retired CEO LeRoy Nosbaum this year  in part to help correct the company's plunging stock price over the past 14 months.

Despite kinda scary 3Q earnings (see below for details), Nosbaum has begun to fix that issue.

The publicly traded stock gained more than $3 on Wednesday after Itron officials announced tghey will undertake a massive restructuring. It will close six production sites, most of them in Europe and Latin America. One unidentified US site will also be closed and one in Asia as well.

It will also lay off 7.5 percent of its global workforce, about 750 jobs.  

Also relevant to the stock uptick: Itron also announced on Wednesday it will repurchase  up to $100 million of Itron common stock during the next 12 months.

“This program reaffirms our commitment to increasing shareholder value and underscores our confidence in the long-term prospects of the company,” said Nosbaum in a press release.

The good local news: Liberty Lake, with about 500 workers, is not affected by the layoffs, Nosbaum said in an interview.

Itron is considered the leading manufacturer of metering systems and software services for the utility industry.

Layoffs will be either in the closed production sites or seven other facilities that will downsize.

At the same time, the goal is to increase overall production capacity by consolidating work and investing money in new technology at other key production sites, said Barbara Doyle, vice president of investor relations for Itron.

“We will move work to other sites and actually be adding workers to provide more production capacity” than Itron now has, Doyle said. She said the increased production will come online in 2013.

The sites to be shut down in Europe include some acquired by Itron in 2007 when it bought Brussels-based Actaris Metering Systems.

Barbara Doyle joins Itron as the firm’s new VP of investor relations

Barbara DoyleBarbara Doyle is the new vice president of investor relations at Itron Inc., the Liberty Lake company announced Monday.

She has more than 10 years of investor relations experience in the tech industry, serving recently as VP  of investor relations at Lawson Software, Inc., a global provider of enterprise software that was acquired recently by Golden Gate Capital, an equity firm.

She has several years of experience working with IBM as well, in the areas of budgeting and planning, business development and controllership before moving into the investor relations group in 2000.

She has an MBA from Duke University.

Say a big welcome back to LeRoy Nosbaum, Itron’s ‘new’ CEO

The SR posted this story a few minutes ago, announcing the return of former CEO LeRoy Nosbaum, to the same job at Liberty Lake-based Itron Inc.

Itron announces major water meter sale to Delhi, India

Itron has a strong presence in many overseas markets, particularly in Europe and in parts of Asia.

The Liberty Lake utilities technology provider on Tuesday announced it's made a major water meter sale in India.

Larsen & Toubro, one of the biggest construction firms in India, will supply Itron's residential water meters as part of an infrastructure upgrade project in Delhi.

Itron is providing 250,000 water meters to accurately measure water usage in the metropolitan area—the largest water contract for Itron in India to date. One of the main Delhi water utilities is Delhi Jal Board (DJB).

An Itron release noted that water customers in Delhi are traditionally charged for water service on an estimated average basis, not on actual consumption.

The utility estimates more than 60 percent of metro water connections are either unmetered or have defective meters installed, resulting in major losses and waste across the entire Delhi metro area, the release said.

DJB is embarking on a phased upgrade to provide better monitoring and oversight of  water consumption while improving the overall efficiency of water supply, and ensuring water loss is minimized.

The press release also said: “This contract strengthens Itron's presence in Delhi as this project follows an earlier one of which 100,000 water meters were delivered to DJB.”

Itron execs to ring NASDAQ bell

Itron Inc. Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Unsworth and other officials from the Liberty Lake company will ring in the start of NASDSAQ trading Wednesday.

The ceremony at the NASDAQ MarketSite Studio in Times Square, New York City, can be viewed at 6:15 a.m. at http://www.nasdaq.com/about/marketsitetowervideo.asx

Itron has scehculed its Investor Day for analysts and investors Thursday at the Roosevelt Hotel.

The  

Itron announces reorganization into water, energy units

Itron Inc., the Liberty Lake provider of products and services for the utility industry, announced Monday it's reorganizing into two divisions, to move the company to faster, more efficient growth.

Itron will now have two divisions, one for energy, the second for water.

Philip Mezey will become president and chief operating officer—Energy. Marcel Regnier will become president and chief operating officer—Water.

A company release offered this statement: “This new alignment provides a deeper focus on solving Itron’s customers’ critical business challenges through technology investments and global best-practices. Itron’s ability to successfully deliver across many markets reinforces its competitive position.”

Malcolm Unsworth, Itron’s president and CEO, said in the statement: “This reorganization gives us more agility to execute on our vision for the company, which includes growing revenue, expanding our global presence, broadening our product portfolio and streamlining ouroperations.

The goal, he noted, was unifying back-office IT and financial systems and looking for ways to lower operating expenses.

Itron signs deals for 800,000 payment meters in Indonesia

Wednesday turned into a big day for Itron news. The Liberty Lake maker of smart devices and meter solutions for utilities reported record quarterly and nine-month sales.

It also announced it signed deals with the Indonesian state-owned electric power utility, PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara, to provide 800,000 smart payment meters to the Java Bali region.

The release said those meters will be provided by the end of the year; with a few months left, one wonders if most of those are already deployed.

In Indonesia, power payments are unlike what we do in this country. Instead of getting a monthly bill for consumption, many locations in Indonesia — some of which are semi-rural — rely on a different metering system.

With the new Itron-provided keypad, consumers pay for future energy by entering a 20-digit code which credits the equivalent kWh onto the meter. The credit can be purchased by consumers from a supply authority or approved vendor.

Itron could use more visits with Obama

Did it make any difference when Itron Inc. CEO and President Malcolm Unsworth met with President Barack Obama in a Rose Garden ceremony last week?

The Itron stock symbol seems to tell the story.On Friday morning, April 30, Itron shares opened at $80.45. That morning Unsworth, with two Itron manufacturing workers, met Obama and listened as the president praised efforts by U.S. firms like Itron in helping meet the pressing needs of a more efficient electric grid.

At 11:40 a.m., shortly after the White House event, shares of Itron hit their recent high point, at $81.75. That’s the high price point over the past two years.

Since then the Itron share price has slid southward. As of today, it’s trading at $75 and change. To see the earlier Office Hours blog entry on the Rose Garden event, it’s here.

Deloris Duquette, who is vice president for sales development and operations at Liberty Lake-based Itron, said the real reason for the spike was the April 28 Q1 financial results.

“We released earnings after the market closed on the 28th and beat expectations by quite a bit and saw a (roughly) $5 uptick in the price on the 29th on very heavy volume.”

Right after the earnings report, the Thursday and Friday total volumes of shares traded also soared to more than one million shares, Duquette pointed out.

McKinstry buys Itron’s enterprise energy management software group

Seattle-based McKinstry, a major company in the design, build and management of energy efficient facilities, said it’s purchased the Enterprise Energy Management Suite of software services from Spokane’s Itron Inc.

The goal is using the technology to help integrate smart-grid planning into the other services McKinstry offers, the company CEO, Dean Allen, said in a release.

The Web-based EEM Suite is described as an integrating software platform that collects utility-related data (billing, energy use, times of highest consumption) so that owners and managers can better plan water and energy use. No sales price was disclosed.

McKinstry has an office in Spokane.

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.

Sign up for our business email newsletter
Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Office Hours.

Contributors

Alison Boggs (@alisonboggs) Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on spokesman.com and its social networking accounts.

Recent work by Alison

Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here