Skip to main content

How Curiosity and History Shaped the Career of a Clean Tech CEO

June 6, 2019 Philip Mezey speaks at the UNC Cleantech Summit.

Philip Mezey, the recent past CEO of Itron, majored in history. While Mezey had the basic technical skills required to work in a technology field, he believes that skills in reasoning, decision making, understanding group dynamics, and the practice of synthesizing information to form opinions, are more important. Mezey is a strong advocate for wide ranges of study that can develop curiosity, reasoning, and organizational skills that are required for long term business success. “College should train minds, not focus on specific content.”

Philip Mezey spent most of his professional career in the energy industry. Prior to joining Itron, he spent 12 years as a vice president of software development for a company that provided integrated asset and customer management software. After joining Itron in 2003 through an acquisition, he was responsible for the operations of Itron’s electricity and gas businesses globally as well as serving as COO for a time.

When he was appointed as CEO in 2013, he was excited to be a part of Itron’s mission in creating greater awareness of the relationship between our use of energy and water and how we focus on efficiency and sustainability. Their way of using technology to measure and manage energy and water to ensure our stewardship of finite and indispensable resources stands forefront in Itron’s work.

On a daily basis, Mezey spends most of his time listening to customers to understand the challenges they face so that everyone can work together to ensure their success. He has worked with commissioners, public officials, vendors and industry alliances to help move their industry forward, and he greatly values the relationships he builds with customers and partners. This is because he understands that Itron’s technology is most successful if it delivers technology that utilities and cities want and need. Mezey believes that understanding our technology, the industry and customers’ needs is a key part of his success as an executive and leader in the energy space.

“Businesses succeed because they make their customers more successful,” said Mezey.   He knows that customers are constantly searching for ways to be more efficient, to lower their costs, and meet the specific needs more effectively.  By providing awareness through measurement and communication, he is giving his customers the tools to understand how efficiently energy and water are being delivered, and how and when they are using it. The opportunity to reduce waste and improve outcomes with that knowledge is tremendous.

When asked about his experience with the UNC CleanTech Summit, Mezey responded, “It [cleantech summit] has helped to inspire me, to know that such bright students care about the environment and are doing something important about their convictions. It helps Itron gets its name in front of this talented group in the hopes that graduates will be interested at working with Itron.  Together, it allows us to understand that while climate change is a huge threat, if we work together we have a significant opportunity to improve environmental and business outcomes.”

About the Author

Jaein Yoon
UNC Class of ’20
Environmental Studies and Public Relations