A couple of the original Energate team members include Jorge Deligianni and Jerry Kathnelson. Short bios about more team members will be added in the coming weeks. Check back to learn more about the people behind HōlHōm.
In Grade 1 Jorge Deligiannis discovered he had a passion for teaching, tutoring his classmates, and exploring the world through his inseparable friends—books. He read everything he could from math to physics, from biology to psychology.
The world continued to fascinate him, especially nature’s rhythms, the expanding and regrouping, the cycles and constant movement that create the dynamics of our environment. This fascination led to his philosophy in life: Everything is interconnected. A system, therefore, is better defined by the interaction among its parts rather than the description of the parts themselves. In nature, intelligence is distributed and multiple feedback paths make systems more reliable and resilient.
Jorge’s philosophy was the cornerstone of his future success. Applying his philosophy in his first week in his first job he challenged the existing Argentinian rural telephone systems (precursors of cellular telephony) by designing a new system from scratch. He was rewarded with the position of project leader and developed a product with performance that beat the competition at half the price. In fact, there were five telephone system patents that Jorge developed and they were internationally licensed to the competitors.
Naturally optimistic, Jorge found he couldn’t live in the environment of distrust and negativity that his native Argentina had developed. He wanted to pursue a life and career in a compassionate, democracy-based country and moved to Canada in 1990.
As an amateur singer in Argentina he sang at school ceremonies and functions. He continued to sing in Canada and joined community choirs and organized dancing and talent events for his friends and their families. On certain nights you can hear his beautiful tenor voice singing at local pubs in Ottawa.
Jorge’s philosophy and deep passion for community and the arts is reflected in everything he does, even his career. He appreciates what has been given to him, his talents, successes and especially his beloved wife, Jennifer, who was recently inducted into the Brockville Music and Performing Arts Hall of Fame. His passion for singing, dancing and acting led him to join the cast of “Meet me in St. Louis,” the musical comedy. His other pursuits include video and music editing, photography, hiking and cycling.
For over 25 years, Jorge has lived and worked in Canada where he has become a world renowned expert in HVAC controls and communications.
Jorge happens to be the CTO at Energate and brings his passion and philosophy to his work, joining the many talented employees who are also passionate about delivering quality, meaningful products to Energate’s customers.
Jerry Kathnelson has always tinkered. From his early years to today, Jerry’s life has been linked by his inventions. His tinkering, as he calls it. When he wasn’t playing competitive table tennis during and after school, Jerry tinkered with electronics, which were just becoming affordable for the average consumer. His first major invention, and one of which he is proud, was the “TV Commercial Killer.” He found a way to remotely kill commercials from where he was sitting. This was in 1955. He also invented electronic dice, building and selling them to Birks, one of Canada’s premier luxury jewelry brands.
Jerry specialized in electronics and electricity at Ottawa Technical High School. From high school, at only 18 years of age, he joined the Physics Department of Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, as a Research Technologist and Laboratory Demonstrator. Jerry discovered that he couldn’t buy a lot of off-the-shelf equipment so he had to build his own research equipment. His work at Carleton University was just the beginning of his distinguished career.
In late 1963, Jerry joined the National Research Council (NRC) Division of Applied Physics, Ottawa, where he spent 18 years in the Temperature Standards Section. During that time, he collaborated on many research projects involving the finite measurement and control of temperature and developing measurement techniques and instrumentation that earned him international recognition.
In 1974, the oil embargo hit and the price of heating oil rose dramatically. The Canadian government gave its departments such as NRC a mandate to come up with ideas on how to save energy. This led to Jerry’s most significant accomplishment at NRC. Working with his colleague Chris Kirby, he developed the world’s first microprocessor-based digital electronic thermostat: Energy Saving Thermostat or Enerstat. This invention helped NRC to fulfill its mandate.
When the thermostat was made available to private industry under license, Jerry resigned from NRC and joined the newly formed company, Enerstat. As one of the original shareholders, Jerry was instrumental in establishing an engineering department and a manufacturing facility to further develop and manufacture the thermostat. The result was Enerstat Ltd., Brockville, Canada. At Enerstat, he held various senior positions including Vice President and General Manager responsible for identifying, securing and maintaining major International OEMs such as Johnson Controls, Lennox Industries, and American Standard. During his tenure he was granted a U.S. patent (#5,495,887) for one of his inventions.
Enerstat soared to success, reaching worldwide annual sales of US$12M. In 1997, Jerry and his family were faced with a major decision. When Enerstat was acquired by Siebe, a large UK-based multinational company, Jerry was offered a business unit management position with Robertshaw Controls, a major division of Siebe, based in Long Beach, California. As it was a longtime dream of his to retire and live in a warm southern climate, Jerry was only too happy to accept.
From 1997 to December 1999, Jerry was Business Unit Manager for the Space Heating Division of Robertshaw Controls with US$20M annual sales and responsibility for all aspects of the business unit such as strategic and product planning, marketing and profitability. In January 2000, he joined the executive staff of BitFlash Inc. as Vice President, Business Development, US. In early 2004, Jerry joined the founders of Energate as Vice President of Customer Development. Today, some of Jerry’s pioneering work remains in Energate’s latest generation of smart thermostats – including the HōlHōm/Foundation Home Energy Gateway.
Jerry lives with his wife Karen in Laguna Woods, California. When they visit their two daughters in Canada, one in Ottawa, Ontario and one in Vermilion, Alberta, they prefer to visit between May and September, which is understandable. In the meantime, whether at work or at home, Jerry continues to tinker and invent.