The world is increasingly reliant on connected devices and smart accessories – this technology has impacted building systems as well. KMC Controls is a leader in building control technologies, bringing building automation systems to the Internet of Things (IoT). These smart systems make the buildings more efficient, while increasing occupant comfort and indoor air quality.
KMC is an independent American manufacturer of building automation solutions for system integrators, system distributors, and OEM partners. When Ken Kreuter founded the company, KMC Controls specialized in pneumatic HVAC controls for the OEM market. Over time, the company became an industry visionary – looking for voids and developing and building on new technologies to fill these needs. This led to expansion of the KMC product line, such as the addition of digital controls in the 1980s and configuration software in the 1990s.
Under CEO Richard Newberry’s leadership, KMC Controls continues this spirit of innovation and market awareness with KMC Commander, the company’s IoT solution for building automation. Newberry recently shared the story of his and KMC’s success.
How do you define success?
I define success as living my true purpose. I want to have a positive impact on my family, those who work for me and the community by uplifting them and inspiring them to think and act in ways that they may not have considered.
There is nothing more important for a successful small business than well-defined mission and vision statements. Can you explain your M&V statements in brief?
The KMC advantage is found in our company mission and vision statements: “Innovative and intuitive solutions by responsive and supportive people.” And “KMC Controls will provide innovative, easy-to-use building management and automation solutions. We will be known for our market focus, creativity, and dedicated, passionate employees.”
We develop products that are customer-minded, using state-of-the-art technologies. KMC looks and listens to the customer, working with them to fill their needs with solutions that are easy to purchase, install and use. The customer commitment doesn’t end there. KMC products are backed by a knowledgeable team that supports the client and ensures successful implementation and use of the products.
Tell us about KMC Control’s journey to date.
We were founded by Ken Kreuter in 1969. KMC originally focused on the OEM HVAC market. From the pneumatic products offered at its founding to the cloud-based IoT platform produced today, KMC has come a long way, staying at the forefront of technology throughout its history. From early on, KMC has been a global company, selling in North America and spreading to Asia and the Middle East in the 80s. We still operate out of our headquarters in New Paris, Ind.
KMC continues to serve the buildings market across verticals, big and small. From single-floor offices to multi-floor high-rises and multiple-building portfolios, we have a solution to fit the needs of nearly every building application. This deep understanding of the operational technology side of buildings, as well as years of experience in IT networking, gives KMC a stark competitive advantage with regards to IoT opportunities.
An organization is defined by its core values. What are your company’s core values and how are they helping you succeed?
Our vision statement is our guiding principle. We’ve been innovating the industry since our founding. KMC Controls has more than 40 patents in its name. This is a source of pride, and these documents line the hallway at our facility to remind us daily of the constant need to analyze the industry and see where technology can take us.
Without the dedicated, passionate employees portion of the vision statement, the innovation, creativity and market focus would not be possible. The KMC Controls crew is integral to the client relationship building and high-quality products, nearly all of which are manufactured in the USA at our headquarters.
What is your advice on staying relevant to the consumer interests in this uncertain market?
You must work to build the relationship with a client. KMC’s dedication to our clients is palpable. We listen to their needs, offer them assistance and training, and work with them to make sure our products are the solutions they are looking for.
An example of this continuous innovation and customer awareness, we’ve recently released the KMD Translator, a device that translates our pre-BACnet proprietary protocol, KMDigital, into BACnet. This was created based on customer demand. These clients now can bring their KMDigital devices up to date, even allowing them to join the IoT with the addition of KMC Commander. This gives our clients these benefits, without replacing their entire system.
Can you please talk about the products and services that bring best out of KMC?
We have many examples, but the biggest is our IoT platform, KMC Commander. It began as a vision to unite building systems across networks, protocols and locations in a single, web-based mobile platform. Committed to making the solution truly open, affordably scalable and as secure as possible, KMC set out with tech leaders Intel and Dell to promote IoT and prove that collaboration is the only way to be successful when approaching this new connected concept. After advising Dell on what to include in an IoT gateway, the 5000 and 3000 series Edge Gateways, with Intel inside, were born. All the while, KMC developed the cloud platform that would drive the solution and finally make IoT a real possibility.
This is a perfect example of KMC’s dedication to open solutions, as well as our commitment to always look for ways to help better our customers’ experience.
Can you share with us your most satisfying moment in business?
My most satisfying moment in business has been my role at KMC over the last three plus years leading a great team. Together, we have transformed KMC Controls into an impactful disruptor of the building automation industry. We set out to be the most innovative and intuitive provider of building automation and technology solutions and we are well on our way in achieving that vision. We knew we could not do it alone, so we have built an ecosystem that is second to none by partnering with Intel, Dell, Arrow and others.
‘It is difficult to start a venture. But far more difficult to maintain it’ - How would you and your team interpret this saying?
I’ll give you a real-world example: KMC Commander will never be a complete solution. This means we will always be improving and always adding features. It’ll never be pronounced “done.” In that sense, starting a project is protected and behind closed doors, away from public criticism. Once the product is released, then it’s a matter of keeping customers engaged and excited, while delivering on the roadmap of improvements. The KMC team wouldn’t say it’s “far more” difficult. Rather, it’s just a different set of struggles and demands.
What are the factors that made KMC successful?
Our success stems from our company culture, which involves the following:
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
My first thought is I would do nothing different, as I have been very blessed in my career. But with more reflection, there have been times where if I could go back I would have been more patient and taken more time to reflect on major career changes.
What is your advice to students and dreamers who want to become entrepreneurs?
Here are my key pieces of advice. First, you need to have passion for what you plan to do. This is what you’ll be doing every day in your career, so you need to enjoy it and have drive for it. Your passion and excitement will be contagious to your staff and supporters. You also need to have a well-thought out plan. Establishing a business requires one. No flying by the seat of your pants here. Another thing: you must treat your team members the way you want to be treated. Demonstrate and expect this respect to be shared among the crew, establishing it into the company culture. One more thing, you need to use common sense and be willing to make decisions. As the creator of the business, you need to guide the vision.
Richard Newberry’s career history
Richard Newberry is the CEO of KMC Controls, a leader in energy management, IoT, and building automation solutions. Newberry has led corporate development, new product innovation, and competitive strategy for the company since 2014. With more than 30 years of executive and general management experience in energy, oil and gas, technology manufacturing, and building automation segments, Newberry applies a total solution view to guiding innovation and forging strategic partnerships with industry-leading technology firms.
He currently leads KMC’s collaboration with Silicon Valley tech giants developing a revolutionary solution for connecting building automation systems to the Internet of Things. Newberry was named the 2017 Control Trends Executive of the Year for Large Manufacturers. He serves on the Intel North American Board of Advisors and the Channel Company’s IoT Board of Advisors.
Newberry holds undergraduate degrees in Economics and Accounting from the University of dianapolis and a Masters’ degree in Business from DePaul University.
“KMC Controls will provide innovative, easy-to-use building automation and technology solutions. We will be known for our customer focus, creativity, and Dedicated passionate employees.”
"We are committed to providing unique building controls solutions."