Board of Directors, The TechnoWise Group, Inc.
Financial investors have an uncanny ability to analyze risk, a talent Brad Griffith honed in on long before moving to Chicago in 1978.
The son of two schoolteachers, he grew up in Lafayette, Indiana, home of Purdue University, where his father was on staff for 35 years. But rather than follow in his father’s footsteps, Mr. Griffith pursued a degree in business at Indiana University, then moved to Chicago “because it was a big city close to home.” He joined the Chicago Board Options Exchange. A trader for nearly 30 years, Mr. Griffith worked his way up to become the CBOE’s vice chairman from 2007 to 2009.
Mr. Griffith hadn’t traveled much when he moved to Chicago. That changed when he met a young woman determined to see the world. “I had just started as a trader when I met Tiffani in an elevator,” recalls Mr. Griffith, who is now married to Tiffani Kim, founder of Tiffani Kim Institute Medical Wellness Spa. “We were total opposites. She was wild, artsy and a brightly dressed student at the School of the Art Institute, and I was a Hoosier in blue jeans. We walked along the lake and talked. She wanted to go to Paris, London, all over. I always wanted to travel, but to meet someone who was actually going to do it blew me away. We’ve been together ever since…for 34 years…and traveled everywhere together.”
Living and working in Chicago, and spending weekends in Michigan, the couple finds time to travel extensively to Europe, South America, Africa and Asia. Their favorite destination? Bali, Indonesia. “In fact, Tiffani designed our Michigan home interiors with custom-made furniture from Bali,” explains Mr. Griffith. “There’s no part of the world we don’t want to see.” Lucky for Mr. Griffith, his latest business venture has taken him to destinations worldwide due to one of his most innovative investments.
A couple of years ago, Mr. Griffith invested in a company, which ultimately led to a Board of Directors seat at The TechnoWise Group, Inc., a relatively young firm based in Boca Raton devoted to energy conservation solutions through innovative technology. The firm has developed a technology that, when applied, can conservatively save end-users 20 to 30 percent of electricity costs and reduce carbon omissions by 25 percent, resulting in sustainable energy at substantial savings to consumers.
“This technology is being used and tested on several continents,” says Mr. Griffith, who notes that governments in many third world countries subsidize electricity costs to make it more affordable. So on behalf of The TechnoWise Group, Mr. Griffith travels to these countries and meets with government officials to educate and encourage them to adapt the company’s energy-saving technology. “We’re testing in the Caribbean, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. It’s cutting edge…and it’s going to make a big difference.”
Because of the many issues power utilities face, especially those in exotic locales, Mr. Griffith had to learn the nuances of the industry and learn them fast. He had to converse comfortably with topics like energy reliability, regulatory perimeters, emission controls, smart grids, data management systems, environmental concerns…and overcome the language barrier when communicating with these complex areas of the power utility industry.
“I’m not intimidated by being in a foreign culture with a foreign language,” he affirms. “I have translators with me, but I do know a little Spanish and I’m learning more. Honestly, I can be anywhere and feel at home.”
Mr. Griffith’s most recent trip was to Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic; he spent days in the field where engineers were performing lab tests. “When they see the test results and realize the impact the cost savings have on their governments, their eyes light up,” says Mr. Griffith. “It’s very gratifying and energizing.”
John Reilly Photograph