Interview: Carlos Diaz

Park Slope native Carlos Diaz founded a successful energy efficiency company in Miami

By Palmer Hasty

A Park Slope native, Carolos Diaz, now lives in Miami where he co-founded the large scale energy efficiency company ENTIC (energy analytics). Maintaining connections in New York, ENTIC clients include Yankee Stadium, the New York Mets, and many other commercial buildings. Other high profile clients include Trump Hotels in Puerto Rico and the Miami Marlins. Diaz recently spoke with the Brooklyn Eagle about his early years in Park Slope and how he built a company that saved Broward General Hospital in South Florida $315,000 in energy costs during the hospital’s first year of using ENTIC technology.

BE: Where in Park Slope did you grow up?

CD: “I lived on the third floor of my grandmother’s brownstone at 1507 8th Avenue. I was the first of four children born there. My grandmother lived on the ground floor.”

BE: Would you say your family background has an interesting ethnic mix?

CD: “Yes, absolutely. My mother’s family immigrated from Syria. They came from Syria, through Venezuela, to Brooklyn. So my grandparents on my mother’s side were Arabic. My grandfather , and my father’s family, are from Puerto Rico. My father was raised in New York where he met my mother before they moved to Brooklyn. Certainly a clash of cultures there, only in New York can that mix happen. And my wife is Cuban. We have three kids, so my kids have a nice mixture of Arab and Latino features.”

BE: What was it like growing up on 8th Avenue in Park Slope?

CD: “Most of my memories of Brooklyn are related to large family events, mostly in my grandmother’s brownstone. My days were pretty much spent with the other neighborhood kids on 8th Avenue, playing football and stickball in the streets. The image of the stoops is always in my memory, we spent a lot of time on the brownstone stoops. I remember the 3rd Avenue Festival in Bay Ridge, and we did a lot of family outings on Sundays in Prospect Park.”

BE: Playing in the streets seems to be a prevalent memory of people who grew up in New York isn’t it?

CD: “Yes it is. Living now in South Florida and thinking back, I realize the limited space we had in New York. You were confined to one city block and there were just so many things you could do. Where in Florida we have large yards both front and back, and we have lakes, well, you know, lots of space. I hear kids today complain about not having anything to do, I mean, it’s incredible, what we did in Brooklyn with all the hustle and bustle and such a small amounts of space.
And we grew up in the heart of Italian, Jewish, and Latino communities; it was a very multi-cultural scene in Park Slope. When I was there it was like a very blue collar town. Today Park Slope isn’t what it was when I was growing up.”

BE: Can you tell us something about your family?

CD: “My uncles were firefighters and first responders who hung out in an old style tavern called Farrel’s Bar on the corner of Prospect Park and 16th Street. That was a major hangout then. It’s still there today.
My father was one of the early employees for HBO. He was a cameraman and became a quality control engineer. He worked for HBO for about 20 years before he opened a 3D Animation and Post Production Company down here in South Florida. In the past 15 years though, he’s gone back to HBO Latin America in Miami. He’s now one of their longest tenured employees.”

BE: How did you get into computer software development?

CD: “I have a computer engineering degree from Florida International University. After college I went to work for a software integration technology company called TIBCO. I was the global architect. From there I went into consulting and started my own consulting practice with TIBCO software.

BE: What was the origin of your current company ENTIC?

CD: “My wife and I were expecting our second kid and we bought a house across the street from my sister-in-law. The previous owner of our new house who we were acquainted with, had moved to Panama, and five years later moved back into the neighborhood just two door down from us. He worked with Johnson Controls for over twenty years and was familiar with the systems that operate commercial buildings. He knew I was a software expert. He came to me and said he’d been studying how commercial buildings were using software technology and decided there was something missing. I remember him saying; It’s not smart.”

BE: What happened then?

CD: I took a look at the research and his ideas, and I immediately saw an opportunity where I could apply what I had learned about what is called business intelligence, big data, as it could be applied to commercial buildings. I suggested we build something, and a few weeks later, that was in 2011, ENTIC was born.
We built a prototype of the software and luckily for us, the largest hospital in Broward County, Broward General, wanted to buy it. So Broward General and a commercial office building in Coral Gables became our first customers. We were fortunate, we got off to a good start.”

BE: How would you describe the “business intelligence” your company provides?

CD: “Basically, it’s the merging of energy and analytics. A software program with a cloud based platform that provides the owner with the necessary insight to address and correct the issues, as opposed to relying on outside vendors to tell you where your problems are. We’re saying you don’t need any more software, more servers and you don’t need to download more CDs, you just need total access to your building’s information, and that’s what the software provides. You could say that ENTIC is doing for commercial buildings what the ‘nest thermostat’ technology is doing for the residential sector.”

BE: Why did you move to Florida?

CD: “We made a natural progression, like a lot of New Yorkers do, to get away from the cold winters and get into the warmth of South Florida.

BE: Any specific future plans for the company?

CD: “We’re talking to school districts, water management districts and a lot of public utilities. We’re also in talks with some government entities because they are wildly inefficient.”

BE: Could you develop a “Political Efficiency” software program that Washington, DC, could subscribe to?

CD: Diaz laughed: “Exactly, that would be the greatest invention, but if someone did invent that they would probably have to go under the witness protection program because inefficiency is what keeps most of them there, right? But seriously, we believe this is the smarter way, not only because of the obvious economic benefits, but it can also lead to positive environmental impact.”

Photos Courtesy of Entic, Inc.