Travis Smith, a graduate of the Mechanical Engineering program at the University of Florida, envisioned an engineering career that focused on understanding the complexity of large buildings and plants. That drive towards the complex led him to New York City. He worked at engineering firms for a handful of years, but was not satisfied with their approach and was getting burned out. Early on, Travis recognized the future was using data to drive the engineering space. Ultimately realizing his vision had outgrown the companies he had worked for he decided to start his own firm.
In 2011 Travis had retained enough loyal customers to start Smith Engineering. This kept him very busy until he gained a new customer, Princeton University, only six short months later. Once he landed Princeton, he knew his company required growth. Travis wanted Smith Engineering to specifically focus on performance improvement solutions for Central Energy Plants and large building energy users; while eliminating operational problems and reducing operating costs for clients who own and operate large, complex central energy plants and building mechanical systems. This targeted approach is what has led the company to have such an impressive list of clients.
Due to the level of achievement Smith Engineering experienced, 5 years later Travis decided to start a second company and in 2016, BEP Analytics was formed. BEP is a hydrodynamic abbreviation for Best Efficiency Point yet succinctly describes the fundamentals of the company. BEP focuses more on using analytics to improve facilities operations, drive down energy costs, and reduce carbon emissions. BEP’s machine-learned economic asset dispatch saves customers like World Financial Center and UC Davis, tens of thousands of dollars daily.
Travis’ tenacity and passion for his work are just a couple reasons he’s able to run two thriving companies. Making existing facilities more dynamic, resilient, and efficient has been an effective business model and pivotal in the success of both Smith Engineering and BEP Analytics. Travis is aware that a majority of infrastructure providers focus on new construction, even though existing infrastructure outnumbers new 100:1. During the beginning of COVID-19, many new construction projects had to halt their work, while Travis was busy working remotely on updating existing infrastructure.
Recent Smith Engineering accomplishments:
Prior to the COVID pandemic, Travis was able to complete what at the time would have been a capstone project for many engineers with the successful project at the World Financial Center in NY. The project was an $11MM project with a $4MM energy rebate. Smith Engineering was able to reduce the energy demand of the site by 5MW and reduce carbon by roughly 3,000 tons of CO2e annually. The project ended up not becoming that capstone project but was the beginning of a new era at Smith Engineering.
The work of engineers and building operators is normally done in the shadows or basements of buildings and plants. That changed for Smith Engineering and Travis when one of his recent projects was recognized on CBS News and was mentioned by the CEO of Carrier Corporation, Con Edison, and the Urban Green Council.
The project was the optimization of One Court Square in Long Island City, NY a $5MM project with a $4.8MM energy rebate. Reducing the energy demand of the site by 1MW and reducing carbon by roughly 1,000 tons of CO2e annually.
Like all markets, there was an immediate pause due to the pandemic, but by 2021 that pause had shifted into an avalanche of opportunity. That growth has not slowed with a record 2021 year and new projects that include training or providing onsite energy management for at least three dozen of the preeminent buildings in New York City. The growth has also included helping 5 large hospital systems on expansion and reliability, multiple pharmaceutical campus systems around the United States and a handful of projects at universities including Travis’ first new customer back in 2011, Princeton University.
The growth of Smith Engineering and BEP Analytics has been a challenge and a blessing. What has made the biggest difference is that finally after 11 years Travis has the company he envisioned, the strongest team he has ever assembled, and he feels prepared and excited for what is next.