April 2017

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Jason CooperEMAIL INTERVIEWJason Cooper and Ken Sinclair

Jason Cooper, is Switch Automation’s Vice President of Global Sales, where he’s responsible for accelerating the expansion of Switch's real-time SaaS platform for the global smart buildings market. Cooper brings more than 15 years of technical sales management to Switch, with expertise in buildings, smart grids, energy efficiency, health, data centres and resources.

Cooper joins Switch Automation with 14 years of experience at Siemens, where he most recently served as Executive Manager of Sales, driving sales in the Infrastructure & Cities sector. Cooper’s professional experience, in addition to his familiarity with the industry challenges and his knowledge of smart buildings, make him ideally suited to lead Switch Automation’s growth. Having earned an electrical engineering degree from RMIT in Australia, an Executive MBA from HEC Paris and an Entrepreneurship & Innovation certificate from Babson College in Boston, Cooper has consistently developed himself at some of the world’s finest institutions.

The Switch at Switch

Jason Cooper joins Switch Automation with 14 years of experience at Siemens, where he most recently served as Executive Manager of Sales, driving sales in the Infrastructure & Cities sector.

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SinclairYou spent 15 years at Siemens. What shift have you seen from the way that people manage buildings from your early days with Siemens to now?

Originally, the way that people managed buildings was very reactive, based on information from the BMS. Decisions were made in isolation and with relatively limited information. There wasn’t a strong focus on energy efficiency, consumption or optimization.

Now there’s a greater focus on asset management and enhancing the tenant experience. Landlords realize that energy optimization boosts ROI and occupant satisfaction, while healthy energy ratings generate positive brand association; all of which attract higher paying tenants and drive retention.

We have technological solutions available today to help us achieve these real estate goals. Fortunately, innovative organizations are leading the migration from reactive decision-making to proactive, predictive analysis, using real-time data to pinpoint the performance of their portfolio. Then, data scientists add a layer of value by advising customers about cost-impacting trends in their buildings.

Buildings are broken. Technology can fix them. But organizations must have the burning desire to change if they’re truly going to capitalize on the benefits.

SinclairWhy did you join Switch as VP of Global Sales?

I thoroughly enjoy the built industry and the lasting global impact that it can have on future generations. It’s why I’ve spent more than two decades pushing for evolution. Switch’s unique cloud-based SaaS platform, and highly specialized team represent an opportunity to solve a big problem for property owners and operators.

Co-founders Deb Noller and John Darlington devoted the last decade to creating a product that would fundamentally disrupt the CRE industry. They wanted to provide a welcome reprieve from the challenges that facility managers contend with every day. They also cultivated a best-in-class engineering services team that lifts a tremendous weight from users and ensures every customer sees results. I’m joining the team at a time where we have the success stories, and it’s time to tell them so we can help new customers replicate the wins.  

SinclairWhat do you think is the most important consideration when evaluating a smart building platform and partner?

There are five factors that deserve thoughtful consideration before embarking on a smart building program:

  1. Product Alignment – Experience the platform, compare features and prioritize your success metrics. A solid understanding of functionalities, limitations and tangible customer results is paramount.
  2. Credibility– Determine your tech partner’s credibility by testing their product in a pilot to understand your unique ROI. Don’t waste time with a platform that doesn’t significantly improve your bottom line.
  3. Scalability – Ensure that your smart building partner can grow with your organization, from a tech perspective and a team perspective.  Avoid buyer’s remorse by ensuring the product and support services are future-proofed and scalable.
  4. Domain expertise – Select a team with proven domain expertise– not just in software or hardware—but from a holistic, portfolio operations perspective. Don’t assume your partner has energy engineers, building integrators or data scientists in-house.
  5. Collaborative alliance – A commitment to reciprocal participation for meaningful change is essential. Investing in a platform will not magically trigger results. The people behind the technology play a vital role in maximizing the opportunity, and both parties must be willing to communicate effectively.

SinclairWhat patterns do enterprise organizations display that indicate to you that their smart building program will succeed?

Companies that optimize their building efficiency and productivity normally share three constants:

  1. There is buy-in from the field all the way up to the C-Suite that limits roadblocks and internal politics. 
  2. There’s a clear strategic roadmap that details the ’why’ behind each business goal, sustainability initiative or OPEX budget pressure. Adequate resources are available to support these defined objectives. 
  3. There’s an appointed sustainability manager, ‘building technology evangelist,’ or superuser who cares, about understands the importance of and knows how to steer efficiency projects that benefit the organization as a whole.

Sinclair What keeps you up at night and what gets you up in the morning?

As a father, I feel my collective generation has a responsibility to our children to be good stewards of the environment. Urbanization across the globe necessitates forward thinking about how we improve city infrastructure to protect our children’s generation. This doesn’t mean making decisions purely for “green” altruistic motives – it means making financially sensible decisions that will also improve the way that we do business. When my feet hit the floor in the morning, I’m motivated to find those answers.


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