Curious about the people behind BOOM! Power? Read on to find out more...
Alex can talk underwater. And if you could hear him, there is a good chance he would be talking about scale, social impact, energy and sustainability. For good reason too. He cares about it deeply.
Alex grew up in England, lived in public housing, and eventually worked in the public housing sector, applying an undergraduate degree in history to help manage large scale housing redevelopment programs.
Life brought him to Australia, where his work in public housing continued, but increasingly with a sustainability focus. Alex helped drive some of the early Victorian innovation around fuel cells, district energy schemes, and enhancing public housing liveability more broadly, on major projects such as the Carlton redevelopment.
After years in the public service, Alex took the plunge with business partner Tosh Szatow, setting up an energy consulting business in 2012, Energy for the People, and then BOOM! Power in 2016 when David Perry joined the team. Alex has led our engagement with the community housing sector across Australia, helping to shape and develop projects with industry peak bodies, government agencies and community housing providers — working to solve long-entrenched issues such as the split incentive between landlord and tenant, and an absence of large-scale finance suited to the housing sector. To date, Alex has helped deliver over $3M in solar and energy efficiency retrofits within Victoria, with much more in the pipeline.
Tosh will happily admit he can be a bit aloof at times. It’s not something you can take personally though, its just that his brain and body are most often in two different places, the brain always thinking about what has to happen next for the world to be a better place, the body just wondering where the next meal will be.
Throughout his career, Tosh has typically halved his salary to chase his dreams. First from a career as a recruitment consultant (weirdly), to a project officer and student part-time. Then from a CSIRO scientist to running a small business called Energy for the People with Alex, which evolved into BOOM!
Probably more than anything, Tosh loves big and bold ideas with a sustainability or social justice flavour, and is happy enough combining a background in economics, social science and engineering to make them happen. Perhaps the thing he enjoys most is talking to people about clean energy, electric cars, battery metal mining, and all things related.
Tosh has always been drawn to breaking new ground - he led one of the first consumer-focused research studies on barriers to distributed generation in 2006, played lead editor and 2nd author on a 600 page CSIRO research report into distributed energy, and led the first (and we think still the only) bottom up research study, designed to identify off grid tipping points in the Victorian context. For a while, he enjoyed creating and refining The People’s Solar - an experiment in people’s willingness to pay for environmental and social goods.
For Tosh, BOOM! is the coming together of over a decade of thinking and tinkering, and solves a lot of problems he sees in the energy consulting and services market. As a software platform, it creates a platform for large scale uptake of clean energy and complementary energy efficiency opportunities. It integrates and streamlines energy assessment and business case reports, with competitive procurement, overcoming traditionally strong barriers to uptake including a lack of capacity and funds to run large scale energy programs. It is a platform that enables scale.
As far as we are concerned, David can design and build just about anything. As far as David is concerned, he is just a guy that reads the manual and figures stuff out.
With an odd education of electrical engineering and neuroscience, David completed a PhD on cochlear implant physiology, since tinkering in everything from agriculture to supercomputers. With an ongoing interest in renewable energy, David is a long-serving director of Australia's first community-owned wind farm, Hepburn Wind.
Alex and Tosh met David in 2015 when he was finishing up at global NGO, The Climate Group, and contemplating his next move. The more we talked, the more we realised we were all thinking along similar lines. Tosh and Alex had the eager customers and spreadsheets, while David had the know-how to turn them into an ongoing software business, which evolved into BOOM! Power. Drawing upon his experience as a scientist, David has built systems that can pull together multiple (sometimes messy) data sources, run detailed simulations, and deliver tangible insights that are accessible to everyone.
Not satisfied by business-hours tinkering, David has countless backyard projects on the go, including gardening, home brew, and far too many things where a computer is needlessly involved somehow.