Celebrating ei3’s employees: The team behind the company’s growth

ei3's first employees

ei3’s success is rooted in the vision of its founder and the skills of its engineers. This is as true today as it was in 1999 when a handful of talents gathered around Spencer Cramer to lay down the foundation of what would become the world’s longest-running industrial Internet-of-Things (IIoT) company. Over the years, ei3 expanded its footprint and attracted a growing group of talented staff, each new team member adding to ei3’s pool of aptitude and ideas. Of this diverse team, Chad Ifill, Tony Birman (both “first-hour” employees), Donna Meier, and Frazier Sinkler have all had significant influence in helping ei3 become what it is today and stand here representing all of the ei3 family: Their loyalty, teamwork, and dedication have helped ei3 develop from 12 connected machines in 2 countries in 1999 to more than 100,000 connected machines in 113 countries today.

Chad Ifill, one of ei3’s first employees, started as a Help Desk assistant providing 24/7 service to customers. Chad has since held more than six customer-focused positions and has been involved in a variety of projects. He has embraced each role and built most projects from the ground up and now serves as ei3’s Director of Inside Sales. For Chad, the ability to venture into different roles, the work time flexibility, and the independence to shape his own path has helped keep things stimulating. He describes watching projects he helped establish as “having a puppy and watching the puppy grow…It’s an absolutely amazing thing.” He’s also an invaluable part of ei3’s company culture, actively helping and coaching old colleagues, new colleagues, and clients alike.

“We really built a family in ei3. These are people that I consider friends outside of work. Through ups and downs in life, we're all there for each other.”

Tony Birman arrived at ei3 soon after Chad. Tony joined as a software developer and still considers writing software the “thing he does”, though he currently holds the title of Principal Engineer. Tony has had his hands on nearly every project ever conceived at ei3. For example, LightStay, which Tony developed in 2001, has now saved Hilton hotels over $1 Billion in energy costs. Witnessing the impact of his designs has instilled in him a sense of pride and belief in ei3’s vision – using technology to help create a sustainable future. Tony’s vision of change has helped him stay engaged for 23 years. His extensive knowledge and experience have also enabled him to mentor countless younger ei3 employees – sharing a vision of the future with the future.

Donna Meier has worked at ei3 since 2009. Her part-time role as a bookkeeper and accountant quickly evolved into the full-time management of ei3’s finances. The necessity of the position marked a significant point in ei3’s growth: Donna put ei3 on the map of the world of finance. Despite the sudden increase in responsibility demanded by the role, Donna addressed challenges as a learning experience and built confidence in herself. “You can surprise yourself with what your inner skills are when you’re faced with a challenge,” she says. By expanding her accounting skills and building connections with colleagues and mentors, she was able to “embrace every aspect of the job.” Donna has managed the company’s accounting functions for 16 years and contributed to the rapid growth of the company with outstanding talent and professionalism. She also attributes part of her loyalty to Spencer Cramer, the company’s founder and CEO. Spencer’s approachable nature helped Donna build trust and faith in the company during ei3’s early stages. “That’s where the inspiration comes from to want to be loyal to the company.”

Frazier Sinkler began his journey with ei3 in 2010, initially working as a Consultant alongside Tony. Frazier was instrumental in creating ei3’s “e-services” strategy and offerings, which are at the foundation of everything he has accomplished since then. With it, Frazier has overseen an incredible 500-fold growth in the number of ei3’s machine connections while directly enhancing the scalability of ei3’s solutions. He has also played an integral role in helping to establish ei3’s Center of Software Excellence in its Montreal office. He is currently Vice President of Applications and working as a scrum master, overseeing the development and delivery of ei3’s suite of Industrial IoT applications. Frazier describes his journey as that of a “technology nerd to a professional,” and regards the collaborative atmosphere he has experienced at ei3 as a vehicle for valuable personal growth. 

“I haven't bumped into anyone who hasn't in some way taught me something or dropped a golden nugget of wisdom – which I also try to do in return.”

Together, Chad, Tony, Donna, and Frazier have worked hard to help ei3 accomplish its goals, and as Frazier explains, “The culture, the vision, and our mission is one that is often hard to find. It’s a redeeming mission.” Since its foundation, this group of people have all, in various ways, advocated for ei3’s mission to make the world a better place. 

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