Two Ciatti: Before green was even green

However flawed the selection process for Downey's newly-formed green task force was (one resident dismissed it as a 'green task farce'), the incontrovertible fact is that it is now a reality. Finally.Astute readers of this paper should by now be familiar with the names of Harold Tseklenis and Downey Museum of Art executive director Kate Davies, just two of a number of concerned residents who in their own ways have over time consistently championed green awareness and practices in Downey. If they felt snubbed by the powers that be, they kept their counsel. They've accepted another of life's bitter pills: life is unfair. Everyone knows that the greening of Downey does not translate into mere cost savings due to energy efficiencies, although these are awfully important, especially in times like these. There is a larger benefit involved: less fossil fuel-based consumption, the better for the environment. Now, with the formation of the task force, it is time for sustained, purposeful action that should benefit the businessman, the cost manager, and the homeowner. Because of this paper's continuing coverage of energy efficiency issues, it takes a look at one of the task force's 11 members. Bob Ciatti, selected by Councilman David Gafin to represent District 1 in the task force, is a 21-year resident of Downey and has been known to donate sizable chunks of time and resources to the community. He is a member of the Downey Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, the Association of Professional Energy Managers, and the Association of Energy Engineers. He also sits on the advisory board of Wyotech University in Long Beach. For his work mentoring Downey Unified School District students, he won the Mentor of the Year Award in 1999. He learned the ins and outs of the electrical business from the ground up, some 25 years ago, when he worked as a sales rep for California's largest lighting company. Even then, he tried to help his clients with energy-saving products and ideas. Ciatti notes that the catchphrase, "going green," didn't catch on until recently. "Well, I've been in the energy-savings business before green was green," he says. Today he owns and runs Energy Solutions Inc., dba Efficient Lighting & Electrical, which operates in three major areas: electrical contracting, signs, and lighting. In addition, he owns Key Lighting Supply Co., which carries such familiar brands as GE, Sylvania, Philips, and Maxlite. Today these companies manufacture more and more efficient energy-saving products. The trend is away from Thomas Edison's inefficient incandescent bulbs (which, according to a GE study, "generates 90 percent heat, and only 10 percent light"), towards longer-lasting, more energy-efficient fluorescent halogen and LED (light emitting diodes) light bulbs. They may cost more, but the savings in the long run are said to be considerable. Because of his supply arm, Key Lighting, Ciatti can buy his products direct from the manufacturer, thus cutting the middleman's costs, and he can thus pass on these savings to his clientele. He says he accepts orders from large-size companies (e.g., Edison, Disney, Cal-Trans, hospitals, universities, restaurant and retail chains, etc.) to small ones. Having earned status as a preferred electrical contractor, his clientele has even included the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. His company has served clients located in other states ("We even have a customer in New Zealand"). That smoke and fire-belching volcano greeting customers of the Hawaiian Gardens Casino is one of Efficient Lighting & Electrical's more spectacular projects and is indicative of the range of its service capabilities. The company recently landed a huge lamp/ballast disposal and recycling contract from the City of Los Angeles. More than pricing, his favored and well-documented selling pitch is quality of service. Ciatti says his outfit is known for honesty, reliability, thoroughness, and accessibility (24-hour emergency service, personal follow-up, etc.), backed by 17 service trucks, including four high-reach trucks. Ciatti's daughter Carli, who will be a junior at Warren High School next school year, holds the pole vault record at the school and her CIF performances have already caught the attention of UCLA sports officials. She also sports a 4.00 GPA. Son Justin pitched for Warren and is now enrolled at Cypress College. Wife Christina is in her 23rd year of service at a podiatrist's office. Noting "Our company has been saving energy and money for all our customers and has been on the cutting edge of energy-saving technology for a number of years," Bob Ciatti finds himself at the right place at the right time.

********** Published: June 19, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 9