Interview with Adam Brouwer of EKM Metering
Adam Brouwer, of EKM Metering, a business that originated here in Santa Cruz, saw what was going on around the world, with the pandemic, and wanted to help in some way. They kept hearing about a shortage of personal protective equipment and started reading blogs and articles about people printing and laser-cutting and all sorts of things to make PPE’s and figured they could do the same. So they started using their 3D printers, and began printing without a plan, and figured out how to make protective face shields.
They have family members who are healthcare workers, and some family of their employees are as well, so they began sending face shields to them. Now they are just printing away and trying to find people to send them to, as a way of serving our world and our community.
If you, or someone you know, are in need of a face shield, feel free to reach out to Adam Brouwer! You can reach him by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
What does EKM Metering do exactly? They design and sell metering systems, sub-metering systems for electricity, water, and gas. Sub-metering is sort of a behind the utility meter metering system where it’s like if you have a rental property and you don’t have utility meters for each rental, you can install some metering systems like ours to sort of equitably divide up the utility bill amongst your tenants. All of a sudden the tenants, the onus is on them to conserve energy because before, they could use as much as they wanted and it was entirely subsidized. As soon as they’re paying, they’re basically incentivized to use less and so it’s more common to see a 30% reduction, but even still, it’s a huge efficiency measure to install meters where there aren’t meters. Which in turn, is a bonus for our environment and the globe! To learn more about EKM Metering, visit: https://www.ekmmetering.com/
At Fox Realty Group, in an effort to stay connected during this time, I am now offering complimentary, 15 minute, Real Estate or business strategy calls. My office hours for these calls will be between 2-4pm daily. To sign up for a call, please use the Calendly link here:https://calendly.com/fox-realty-group/15min I look forward to strategizing with you!
Santa Cruz Realtor
David Lyng Real Estate
Hi, Adam. Hi, Shemeika. Adam Brouwer is one of the owners of EK Metering and what is EK Metering? What do you guys do? EKM Metering, actually. Yeah, yeah. What we do is design and sell metering systems, sub-metering systems for electricity, water, and gas. Sub-metering is sort of a behind the utility meter metering system where it’s like if you have a rental property and you don’t have utility meters for each rental, you can install some metering systems like ours to sort of equitably divide up the utility bill amongst your tenants. That’s awesome! that’s essentially the high level of what we do. Wow, for some reason I thought that you were more on the side of metering like car-charging stations. That’s another sort of growing industry that we’re selling to. Okay. But it’s essentially the same idea. As your car chargers are installed on like a shopping center property and the chargers are being sub-metered so that whoever owns the property gets paid back for electricity that’s going towards those chargers. Got it, that’s cool. How did you get into this industry, and who are you in business with, because I like that story, too. Yeah, it started about my dad. Basically started because he had a need for metering. He has a rental property in Watsonville. It’s a warehouse with something like ten units and he was paying all the utilities, basically, he was subsidizing the cost of the utilities for his tenants, and so he started looking for metering systems and was pretty unhappy with what he found. It was super expensive and the capabilities were pretty poor and he basically installed some of those meters and in so doing, started a relationship with some companies in China and just started to dialogue with them, eventually went over there and visited and bought more meters and started developing, iterating on different designs. Along the way, my brother came on-board and started turning it into less of a hobby and more into a business. Eventually, I came on-board after school and yeah. So, family owned and operated? Exactly, yeah. Do you serve just Santa Cruz county, or are you guys shipping? Yeah, it’s primarily an internet eCommerce business so we’re selling mostly within the US but also in Canada, Australia, and really anywhere in the world that wants a metering system. Definitely our focus is the US just because it’s far easier to deal with, time zones are easier and stuff like that, but yeah, it’s international. Yeah, that’s cool. I like what you said, I feel like a lot of innovation and growth comes out of me, so the fact that your dad recognized this need in the marketplace because of an experience he was relating to personally, that this was born and developed and that it turned into a really cool business serving our community and the world, essentially, internationally. The reason that my brother and I were interested was based on his experience, because as soon as he installed meters on an unmetered rental like his warehouse, the electricity use was cut in half because, yeah, right? All of a sudden the tenants, the onus is on them to conserve energy ’cause before, they could use as much as they wanted and it was entirely subsidized. As soon as they’re paying, they’re basically incentivized to use less and so it’s more common to see a 30% reduction, but even still, it’s a huge efficiency measure to install meters where there aren’t meters. That’s really cool, ’cause then it’s like obviously also has the direct effect on our world, on our globe, and on our environment, so. We thank you for that. Right. My brother and I are coming at it from sort of an environmentalist angle. That’s really our main interest. Okay, what about your dad? I mean, initially, he likes that angle as well, but initially, for him, it was just more of a financial decision, Yeah It just turned out that it turned into an efficiency measure as a bonus. That’s cool. The nice thing about it is if you structure the agreement with your tenants properly, everybody sort of wins at the end because if tenants are using less, they should also be spending less, ’cause if you don’t, if it’s sort of a flat rate bill where utilities are included in the rent, the landlord typically just jacks up the rent to cover the cost of utilities. But if there’s no way of determining who in this rental property’s using electricity, everybody’s just gonna use a ton. Yeah. So, it turns out to be a win-win. Yeah, so you’re in your shop even during this pandemic, which is your home, your living room, so how have you shifted? For anybody who’s gonna be watching this, Adam sent me this really cool picture of a face guard mask that I’ve actually seen on doctors that are front line and taking swabs and serving communities. So, how did you kind of shift and start doing that? Well, we have a few 3D printers in our shop that we use for prototyping and stuff, but more often than not, they’re just sitting idle, and so we were watching, obviously, what’s going on in the country and around the world with the pandemic and just wanted to help in some way, so we figured… We kept hearing about a shortage of personal protective equipment and started reading blogs and articles about people printing and laser-cutting and all sorts of things to make PPEs and figured we could do the same, so we just really started printing without a plan and figured out how to make them. We have family who are healthcare workers, and so we just sent them some. And family of our employees, as well, so we sent them some and that’s really where we are, we’re just printing away and trying to find people to send them to. That’s so cool. And this is a give-back? This is not like a money-making plan, Right. this is like you’re serving our world and our community. Right. I mean, they’re very, very cheap to make, it just takes about two and a half hours to print a couple of them per printer, and it’s, you know, a few cents worth of plastic, and then a clear transparent shield, which is also pretty cheap, so. You have one that you can show us? I have a sort of prototype. I’m gonna grab it, I’ll be right back. Okay, we’ll wait. This is it. That’s so cool, it covers your entire face. Right, yeah. If I didn’t have a hat on, it would go on basically like that. If you have a mask on, it sort of keeps the clear part of it away from your face. And you guys make the little holder thing, the green part, you print that whole thing on a 3D printer? The clear part, not. This comes as basically an 8 1/2 by 11 clear sheet. Okay. You use the three-hole punch, a couple punches to cut out these little holes, and it just snaps into this thing around the edge. Oh yeah. That’s awesome. It’s super simple, super easy to make. Apparently, they’re needed, Yeah, okay. I’m happy to do it. Can I put your contact information so if anybody needs one, they can reach out to you? Sure. Okay. Yeah, contact me at email@example.com. I’ll put it in the notes. Awesome. Cool. Yeah, happy to set it up so it can be picked up locally or we can send them out, really, to anywhere. Okay, and with all of this pandemic, I mean, I’ve never lived through anything like this and as far as I know, you haven’t either. How has your life shifted? We were doing– Or has it? It’s definitely shifted a little bit. I mean, we’re doing the social distancing thing as sort of a family unit. My brother’s here with his wife and my dad and step-mom. That’s sort of our quarantine unit. We don’t really go out very much. This really is like my home. I’m in the office or around here pretty much all the time. Wow. But business continues. No employees in the office. Everybody’s able to work from home through your company? Most of them are. I mean, we do have to ship products, so, that’s me, these days. Me and my brother doing shipping, and then all that customer service and development and all that stuff can happen remotely so we’re pretty lucky. That’s great. And then if we could support you, if people in the community could support you guys and your business, how can we do that? Just buying and ordering and getting the word out? Yeah, I mean, if you’re interested in metering, if you have a rental unit that’s unmetered, water, gas, or electricity, you can go to our website ekmmetering.com, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and start a conversation. We can help you out, figure out what you need, and yeah. Or just reach out to us about the face shields. We’re happy to send them out. Okay, perfect. I’ll put all of your contact info in there so nobody has to remember anything and they’ll know what to do and how to do it. They don’t even have to take a note, but I appreciate what you’re doing. I think that for me watching this, that the most beautiful thing out of what’s happening is that people are taking time to actually give back and serve the community and get really grounded with what my core value is which is serving our people and taking care of each other. Mm hmm, yeah. I think that’s huge. Yeah, I think we’re perfectly aligned. Thank you, Adam. Yeah, thanks for having me. Say hi to your family, too, for us. Will do. All right, cool. See ya. I’m gonna stop recording.