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Hamilton, Ohio

Dan Buchanan of Pathian

Meet Dan Buchanan, founder of Pathian, an energy consultancy company.
What is Pathian?
Pathian is an energy service company. We focus in the health care industry. Basically we help hospitals reduce their energy costs.
How did you come up with the idea?
I actually wrote commissioning software. We started off as a commissioning company. We go out and we verify that work performed by others is done correctly.
Really what happened was that we spent all this time writing this software, and I knew we were saving people a lot of money by commission their mechanical system, upgrading and making them work more efficiently. But I didn’t a have a way to prove it. So I developed another software. It’s energy verification software. Basically we can compare how they consumed energy to the past and we can predict what they’ll do in the future. That’s the backbone of our company now.
What was the biggest surprise in starting your business?
I guess the biggest surprise is how much energy large commercial buildings waste. Once we could start quantifying what it was that was actually being wasted by these buildings, it was amazing. I would say large hospitals; it’s not uncommon for them to use twice as much energy as needed for the mechanical system. We recently received American Society for Healthcare Engineering awards. These were for 30 percent, 25 percent and 25 another percent in energy reduction at different hospitals. We really saved them a lot of money doing that.
Where did you find your first employee?
I used to work with Steve Rohrs. I met him from another engineering company I worked at. We had a great past relationship.
What does a typical day in your business look like?
We identify energy conservation opportunities. We make a prioritized list, we figure out what their number one problem is, and we go out there and try to eliminate it.
What are some of the advantages to doing business in Ohio?
Basically there’s a very large health care network in Ohio. I’m originally from Idaho and there were two hospitals in the entire state of any size. There are hundreds of hospitals in Ohio.
What resources or organizations in Ohio did you take advantage of and how did they help?
We developed a partnership with the Greater Cincinnati Health Council. They’re affiliated with all the hospitals in the Greater Cincinnati area. They helped get the word out about who we are and what we do.
Can you share a funny or amazing entrepreneurial experience with our readers?
It goes back to how much energy that hospitals in general consume and how much they waste.
What inspires you?
I like helping people. We get to set goals in what we do. We want to save so much energy and we have a method to evaluate how much we’ve saved and we can see if we did it. It’s setting high goals and obtaining those goals.

What founders do you admire and why?
Probably Henry Ford. One of the things he said is, “You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do.” He really changed the world with the assembly line. It changed everything. He’s one I look up to the most.
What’s next for you?
Just to keep expanding our business and move out to neighboring states.
Interview by Joe Baur

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