Hanley Energy’s path to powering giants of the internet
Innovative solutions and a partnership approach have been central to the success of Hanley Energy, a global innovator in energy and power management delivery.
Headquartered in Stamullen, Co. Meath, Hanley Energy was set up in 2009 by co-founders Dennis Nordon and Clive Gilmore. The pair started out in a Local Enterprise Office incubation centre and, thanks to decades of experience in designing and delivering turnkey solutions for Europe’s most power-intensive users, they quickly built up a portfolio of domestic clients, including CIÉ, Glanbia, Roadstone and Largo Foods.
“Initially all our work was with indigenous Irish companies, providing energy management solutions, in real time, for companies who wanted to see exactly what their energy usage was,” says Nordon.
While the company still operates across a range of sectors, from food production to pharmaceutical, transport and heavy manufacturing, in 2010 it began developing specialist power management solutions for the country’s burgeoning data centre sector.
Powering data centres – lynch pin of the digital world
Used to house the vast banks of computing power required to store, process and distribute an insatiable amount of data, these data centres are the lynch pin of the digital world and one for which continuous, clean energy supply is mission critical.
Hanley Energy developed a range of bespoke solutions to enable its Tier 1 data centre clients to maximise uptime and minimise operational costs. Because of the secrecy that surrounds data centres, it cannot name these clients but suffice to say, “they are the giants of the internet,” says Nordon.
In 2013, the company opened a new headquarters and manufacturing facility in Stamullen. Within 18 months it had doubled in size. Demand is such that in 2018 a further extension will see it expand its physical footprint by 50%.
Today Hanley Energy employs 70 people and has grown by providing clients with a one stop shop solution for energy products, software and service, from consultancy and advisory, to design, build & maintenance, as well as the complete life cycle management process.
“Essentially, we help our clients to reduce their overall energy costs, ensure 100% up-time and optimise their operational competitiveness,” says Nordon.
But it isn’t just technical know-how that accounts for Hanley Energy’s success. “While innovation is our unique selling proposition, a key driver of our growth is relationships,” he says.
“Our commercial tag line is ‘Trusted Energy Partner’ and that is our ethos. It’s by being a trusted partner that you can really add value for clients. It’s about building relationships and working with clients on a partnership model over the long term.”
It is this partnership approach that has helped them develop its significant overseas business, starting with an invitation from a client located in Ireland to deliver a cutting-edge solution to one of its overseas plants.
“They realised we are not some ordinary ‘me too’ vendor and asked us to look into a problem they were having in the United States,” explains Nordon.
“Hanley Energy is not simply a reseller or integrator but a developer of innovative technologies. We’ve been working with big data centres for long enough now that we understand the challenges they face. They are enormous power consumers with a mandate that requires them to keep that power on 24/7 365 days a year. For these clients, an outage simply cannot occur. We are tasked with keeping the power on and we create the solutions to do that,” says Nordon.
“We also provide the metrics that allow granularity as to how much power they are using and where they are using it. When you are using energy at this level, a percentage saving is colossal.”
Leveraging the overseas presence of multinational clients based here has enabled Hanley Energy to establish operations in Germany, Sweden, the US and Australia, with a further office planned for South Africa.
Once Hanley Energy has established a presence in each new market it then seeks out additional opportunities there, which require its skillset and expertise.
Resourcing global expansion
“Enterprise Ireland’s overseas offices have been a huge help to us in that, from providing us with initial office space, to making introductions and identifying opportunities,” he says.
Expanding into international markets can put a massive strain on resources. To avoid this Hanley Energy has implemented a Global Competence Centre model as part of its strategic growth plan, based at its Irish headquarters.
“Our senior management and technical expertise resides in Ireland and all our research & development and new product development operations take place here,” says Nordon.
“Many of our products are IP (intellectual property) protected and have taken years to develop. So when we enter a new market, operating on a Global Competence Centre model allows us to parachute our expert personnel in wherever and whenever they are required, to train up the teams on the ground. This has helped us get up to speed quickly in each new market. It is a very effective way to scale and has been our strategic driver for growth.”