Turning $6 billion into $66 billion

Manufacturers come in all sizes, from small companies with one or two employees to large companies that are household words. Their experiences as people who make things for the world to use are as diverse as the companies themselves.

That’s why it is always interesting to read interviews with successful managers at manufacturing companies. The insights are always a pleasant surprise. So it was recently when a Wall Street Journal reporter interviewed George David, CEO of United Technologies Corp, maker of helicopters, jet engines, air conditioners, elevators and other sophisticated products that most people just take for granted.

During his 15-year tenure as the top executive, UTC’s market capitalization has leaped from $6 billion to $66 billion. With that impressive record, the WSJ asked him about his succession plans and other aspects of the business. It’s an interview worth reading.

What I found most thought-provoking were his comments about energy efficiency and the room there is to dramatically cut energy use in the United States through innovation. He says energy efficiency is a better immediate solution to our energy concerns than alternative energy. He said:

we cool things, heat things, fly things, elevate things, send people to the moon. The common denominator is to convert energy to useful work…..In our internal operations, we dropped the energy consumption at UTC by 19 percent over a decade at the same time the company doubled its size. All of America can drop its energy consumption by 20 percent in a decade easily….

Mr. David notes they are even working with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to devise a building that uses zero net energy. That’s today’s innovative manufacturing at work.

I hope you all enjoy Memorial Day and pause to thank the men and women in the armed forces who have for generations guaranteed our freedoms. Monday is a day to remember and honor them first and foremost.