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Building a Greener World One Disruption at a Time

In 2006, Paul Belair led the purchase of Roth Bros., Inc.– a USD150 million industry-leading HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), roofing and energy services company – from a large publicly traded utility company. 

Realizing he could differentiate the company by positioning it as “green,” he rebranded, focusing on demand reduction through energy management systems, LED lighting and proactive maintenance of HVAC systems. 

“I became aware of the growing importance retailers placed on projecting a green image to their environmentally conscious shoppers,” says Belair, a member of Young Presidents’ Organization since 2005. “The results of the green branding exceeded my expectations. We experienced double digit annual revenue growth right through the recession and grew EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) from USD3 to more than USD15 million.”

By focusing on the information gleaned from monitoring building automation systems (BAS), Roth was able to give its customers the most savings possible from their BAS investment.

“We saved one national retailer more than USD500,000 a year when we took over the monitoring of their systems, simply by putting all their stores back on the proper schedule and set points,” he says. “We also integrated our BAS to a demand response vendor's system allowing retailers to actually get paid from the rebate money available during event days and integrated our BAS to the security vendor's system which ensured the buildings were only lit and conditioned when people where in them.”   

Recently, Belair sold Roth to a large global company; with time on his hands, he began nurturing his green passions, branching out into disruptive green technologies, solar and wind. 

“The energy sector is ripe for disruption within the next 10 years,” he says. “Solar is going to continue to exponentially improve its performance and many more buildings will be off the grid. With the Lab of Things (a flexible platform for experimental research that uses connected devices in homes and beyond) sensors will be in everything making buildings much more efficient. The exponential performance in solar, battery storage and the Lab of Things will change how much power we need and how it is supplied.” 

In 2014, Belair attended a YPO function, where he met founder of BuiltWorlds Matt Gray, a member of YPO since 2002. BuiltWorlds is a new media company dedicated to advancing new and emerging technologies to improve the quality and efficiency of the construction industry as well as that of daily life.

“I got hooked on BuiltWorlds passion and vision for bringing tech content to all segments within the built environment in order to help the industry take advantage of the coming tech disruption,” says Belair. “I became an advisor to BuiltWorlds in order to take a leadership role, helping companies in our industry successfully manage this period of rapid change.” 

Belair is also a part of Peter Diamandis’ 

Abundance 360, a group of CEOs being coached on disruptive technology.

“Companies who don't engage and learn about what is evolving with tech will get disrupted,” he says.

While for many, technology and all its disruptiveness is still new, for the Millennials and Generation Z, it is all a matter of course. These next generation leaders are growing up in a society where collaboration is king and where doing well is synonymous with doing good. 

“I have four millennial children, and since their teens they have grown up with technology, social media and a deep concern about the environment,” says Belair. “I also get to see millennials in action at BuiltWorlds and at the other start-ups I've invested in and have been impressed with how much work they get done and the passion they bring to the job. I would encourage all CEOs to engage their millennial employees to test emerging technologies and redesign business processes using new technologies. The more you engage them in the things they are passionate about, the more they will produce.”

YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) is a not-for-profit, global network of young chief executives connected through the shared mission of becoming Better Leaders Through Education and Idea Exchange™. For more information, visit

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