The Silicon Review
We spend an incredible amount of time working to solve client problems through customization and development. We look for unique opportunities from various researchers to bring very interesting products to the market: J. Scott Kleppe
Technologies that have traditionally been used in fixed installations to detect gas leaks, like IR Open Path Sensors and Catalytic/IR Point Sensors all have one restriction: in order to detect a leak, the gas itself must either be in close proximity to the detector or within a specified area. Traditional gas detection systems frequently fail to detect the gas, as the gas does not reach the detector due to unfavourable outdoor environmental conditions like quick dispersion of the gas cloud from a leaking outdoor installation and changing wind directions.
SENSIT Technologies LLC designs, manufactures, and services a complete line of gas leak detection instruments, combustible gas indicators, and toxic gas monitors. SENSIT’s products include a complete line of gas detection and monitoring equipment as well as an acoustic pipe locator for finding underground utility infrastructure. Recent product releases include the Gas-Trac hand-held and fixed-point instruments for the remote detection of methane, instruments for the monitoring of odorant in gas systems, and a complete line of products focused on improving the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of gas system leak surveys.
In addition, SENSIT offers toxic gas detectors, carbon monoxide measuring instruments, flue gas analyzers, hydrogen cyanide detection equipment; data management, and SMART-CAL and SCAL instrument calibration stations and comprehensive instrument data management software.
The company serves customers in the Energy, Fire and EMS, industrial health and safety, and HVAC Industries.
SENSIT was incorporated in 1980 and is based in Valparaiso, Indiana.
Interview Excerpt: J. Scott Kleppe, CEO
Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?
In 1979, an opportunity came to distribute a gas leak detector called the Gas-Trac, which was developed by a major mid western natural gas company in conjunction with a Chicago area technical university. Through the years, Gas-Trac became one of the most successful leak detection products in the industry. Ultimately, we went from a distributor to manufacturing the product in the 1990’s, and it remained in production until just a few years ago when more modern technology overtook it.. As you can imagine with reinvestment came other products to expand our market – one of which was the SENSIT line of gas detectors that ultimately became our identity. Our offerings continued to grow within the two markets we have been most successful; natural gas distribution and fire service.
What kind of responses have you received from your consumers over the years? How have they motivated you to shape your offerings/grow the company?
Like the greatest sluggers in baseball, not everything goes perfectly. Failures are a great source of information and, along with success, determine the course forward. We help clients keep their people and customers safe. Between regulatory requirements, customer demand and the ever-evolving technology, we develop deployable solutions to meet those needs. There have been a number of times where we missed the mark but that only caused us to refine our process in identifying and confirming what must be delivered.
“Earning trust and respect of consumers all around the world is through consistent focus on delivering high quality in all of our actions.” How do you interpret this statement?
This is to the core of how we operate. When I read this it immediately reminds me of our QMS (quality management system) and the effort our team puts forward to delivering quality. From the design phase through deployment into the field, we are recognized for delivering high quality as one of the strongest aspects of our value proposition.
About adaptability, how do you stay relevant to the consumer interests and needs in this high volatile market?
Communication – you were born with two ears and one mouth for a reason. We constantly communicate with clients to discuss their challenges. Our challenge is to determine if it is a one-off problem or something systemic that may translate to the industry as a whole. If it’s more systemic, we then look at any project through the development process. Lots of questions must be answered before any project begins. We want the development time (and that is usually 12-18 months or more) to be fruitful.
How often do you innovate? Is it only when there is a need in the market?
Our team constantly reviews new technology that can be deployed in the products and services for which we are known. In fact, we begin to look at updating our most impactful products every 7-8 years. Technology allows so much innovation and disruptive innovation in the marketplace. I would say our company strives to implement various forms of innovation continuously. Our culture is one that encourages our team to always explore the unknown.
We spend an incredible amount of time working to solve client problems through customization and development. We look for unique opportunities from various researchers to bring very innovative products to the market.
Fostering a culture of feedback is crucial to the success of every organization. How is this true with your company?
Internally, the feedback begins with our own associates. We spend resources on education, management meetings and even employee surveys. These are the people that are on the frontlines every day. They know what is going on. Our culture of open and honest communication allows us to react appropriately. Externally, we are in constant contact with our clients. SENSIT’s sales people as well as technical service, product management, and even our R&D folks interact with customers frequently to insure we are meeting the needs of the field employees that use our products every day.
Do you have any new products ready to be launched?
We have several. One, in particular, is our new Gas-Trac LZ30. This is a handheld laser-based product to detect natural gas up to 100 feet away from the user. The uniqueness of the product is its compact size, simple operation, and competitive price. Obviously, it brings a whole new level of safety to the natural gas or fire service worker, allowing them to remotely detect gas leaks without having to enter the gas plume. Laser and infrared gas detection offer clients innovative solutions to some of their biggest daily challenges.
As a question on sustainability, where do you see your company a couple of years from now?
Not only do SENSIT’s products help customers achieve their goals with respect to decreasing leakage of hazardous gases, Environmental issues are also an important aspect of SENSIT’s internal operation. Reducing lead (from solder) and other hazardous substances in various processes, and a reduction in our overall carbon footprint are always part of our discussions from a management perspective. We are committed to protecting the environment through the continuous improvement of our processes, products, and services.
Meet The CEO: A Brief Background
Scott Kleppe: J. Scott Kleppe serves as Chief Executive Officer and President of Sensit Technologies, LLC. Mr Kleppe has spent over 30 years working to build the family business. He began his career in 1984. His affiliations include Midwest Energy Association Board of Directors (2009-2015), American Gas Association OESA Committee Chairman (elect) (2013-2015), and Eastport Owners Association Board member (2011-2014). His education spans from Chemical Engineering at Purdue to Electrical/HVAC Systems studies at Indiana Vocational Technical College and various business classes through University of Wisconsin Business School.
“For 35 years, we have been committed to providing our customers innovative detection solutions that help protect life and property from natural gas leaks.”