2011 40 Under 40: Ian Dempster, 37

Senior Optimization Consultant, Optimum Energy LLC, Seattle


Ian Dempster, 37

Senior Optimization Consultant, Optimum Energy LLC, Seattle

University of Johannesburg (South Africa), B.Tech Eng

Dempster’s engineering career spans 16 years, three continents, and a variety of project types. After graduating from the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, he worked for four years in Johannesburg and another four in London, where he applied his interest in controls to increasingly large and complex industrial plants and building systems. In 2005, Dempster became one of the first members of Optimum Energy, and he is now in charge of development, implementation, and commissioning of the company’s HVAC optimization and energy management tools. Today, Dempster’s projects are realizing 30% to 60% reductions in HVAC energy consumptions. The University of Texas-Austin, a 350-acre campus with more than 200 buildings, saved about 6 million kWh in the first 12 months, reducing annual HVAC operating expenses by approximately $500,000. Dempster also played a large role in implementing optimization solutions for the 250,000-sq-ft Aventine office building, and now it is one of the three buildings more than 20 years old to earn LEED Platinum. The multi-use complex saved about 500,000 kWh in the first 12 months and reduced HVAC operating expenses by almost half while keeping two existing chillers to minimize capital expenses. He also helped the firm to win the Frost & Sullivan 2009 North American New Product Innovation of the Year Award for HVAC application software. Outside of work, Dempster serves on the Testing and Balancing advisory council for Clover Park Technical College. He has a wife and two daughters, Lucinda, 4, and Veronica, 7, whom he often takes sailing on their 22-ft boat around Lake Washington or flying with his private pilot’s license. He served as a volunteer sailboard instructor at Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center. After settling down in Seattle, Dempster still loves to travel with his family to exotic locations and to learn about new cultures.

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