Meet The Disruptors: David Fenton Of ECM Technologies On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Look a person in their eyes when you are speaking so they know you can be trusted.

As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing David Fenton.

David Fenton, managing director at ECM Technologies, is a creative, analytical and responsive entrepreneur and business executive with a proven history of success and leadership. A former residential and commercial real estate developer and founder and CEO of Twin Oaks Construction Company, Fenton is a persistent problem solver with a passion for green building and sustainable solutions that contribute to reducing a building’s carbon footprint.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Over the course of my development and construction career, and not by my choosing, I became much more entrenched in understanding HVAC equipment due to it causing the biggest ongoing headaches along with customer complaints. Most of the issues were around thermal degradation due to oil-foiling which attributed to lost cooling capacity. So, when I became aware there was a recent technology that cured this issue and the opportunity to bring it to market, I jumped in with both feet.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Like I mentioned above, oil-fouling is something that occurs with almost all HVAC systems, and it can leave units operating at 70% or less of their original capacity. It creates excessive work for compressors in delivering called for BTUs, leading to substantial energy loss, higher electricity bills and a shortened system or component life.

Our technology at ECMT is remedy for this issue, making HVAC equipment more efficient therefore extending its operating life. A single treatment of our ThermaClear solution lasts the life of the equipment, improves HVAC efficiency by 10–15% and has a payback period of 24 to 36 months.

In turn, equipment manufacturers do not sell new replacement units and component parts as fast.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I am not sure if this is the funniest story, but certainly one of the best eventual outcomes. Early in my career, I arrived at a co-working space for a meeting with people I had never met. I was a bit early, as I like to always be prepared. I walked into the reserved conference room to find two people already sitting down. I introduced myself and we began talking. After about 10-minutes, they realized they were in the wrong room and not who I was supposed to be meeting. Impressed with the start of our conversation, they asked if we could schedule a time for an actual meeting. I ended up forming great relationships with both and they later helped me in my business. This situation showed me how a quick unintentional conversation could lead to something great. You never know who you are speaking with — always be polite and professional.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

There is a big difference between a “hand up” and a “hand out.” Having been a recipient over my business career of a “hand up” had a tremendous impact on where I am today. All of us, when having the ability to do so, should always be willing to extend a hand up to those that deserve it and just need that little break. I have had the privilege of having some remarkable mentors in my life that not only gave me a hand up but also gave me some of their best wisdom that did not fall on deaf ears. No question, I would not be where I am at today if not for all of them. (Out of respect for the individuals, I cannot disclose names, but let’s just say they are well-known leaders in their respective areas.)

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

I am not sure if it is never good to be disruptive within an industry. A big part of disruption is changing, and change is good. It’s one of the main ingredients that build capitalism. “Withstanding the test of time” can have many interpretations; to me, it simply means that nothing new or better has been developed yet. Just because something has withstood the test of time does not equate that it is the best and only way. Take our technology — We will always look for better ways to improve what we have now and not just rest on what it is today.

Can you share five of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey?

1. Show up early before anyone else and make sure you get noticed.

2. Only pay the same tax once.

3. Invest in yourself as much as possible.

4. Always start your day with a complete breakfast.

5. Look a person in their eyes when you are speaking so they know you can be trusted.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

At this time, I am not really focusing on what’s next to shake up. But when I do, it will be big because at this stage in my life, I do not need any more practice.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

One book, “Tuesdays with Morrie,” changed my life when I was 30 years old. If you have not read–do so and you will understand why it had a profound effect on me then and still does today.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Don’t confuse efforts with results.”

This taught me grit, determination and how to focus on what matters.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Having physical conditioning and nutrition coaching be part of every employee’s workday. I encourage employers to include this for everyone in their dedicated work week schedule.

How can our readers follow you online?

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Meet The Disruptors: David Fenton Of ECM Technologies On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up Your… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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