Tracking Lithium Batteries, IoT, and Beyond with Conley Equipment for CAPRE’s Construction, Design, and Engineering Evolution

DENVER, CO — Walker Rheem joined Conley Equipment Company in April of 2001 when he — along with Kris Albright and Matt Roberts — purchased the company. Since then, Conley has had exponential growth year after year. Walker spends his days both fostering existing partnerships and cultivating new relationships with some of the largest companies in the world, including Level 3, CenturyLink, Cyxtera, Flexential, AT&T, Google, Xcel Energy and many others. Walker is also responsible for leading the Conley sales team, as well as overseeing and supporting all sales-related activities on a nationwide basis. Conley will be a featured sponsor at CAPRE’s upcoming Construction, Design, and Engineering Evolution August 13. In this Q&A, we asked Rheem to share with us what his firm will bring to this event.

CAPRE: Thanks for chatting with us today, Walker. Tell us about Conley Equipment Company and what you do there.

Rheem: Conley Equipment is a full-service provider of back-up power systems in the mission critical space. That involves Batteries, UPS, DC power plants and inverters. We sell, design, engineer, and install them.  Our main customers are Data Centers, Telecom providers, Fiber Providers, Utilities, Oil and Gas and Healthcare organizations. I am the Vice President of Sales and also one of the owners of the company.

CAPRE: What value proposition will Conley bring to CAPRE’s upcoming CAPRE’s Construction, Design, Engineering Evolution Summit in Denver?

Rheem: Our value proposition we bring to the upcoming CAPRE event in Denver is to educate the data center industry about Conley Equipment Company and East Penn Manufacturing. Conley is now an equity partner with East Penn Manufacturing and through that partnership, we have formed a nationwide installation group called Deka Services.  For the data center industry, what that means is that we can offer a best in class battery coupled with a nationwide installation group, focused on a more local presence for our customers, and in turn, present a turnkey package that comes with extended warranties all for a reasonable cost.

CAPRE: Let’s talk about Colorado. What’s setting the pace in the local data center arena?

Walker Rheem, Owner & Vice-President of Sales, Conley Equipment Company

Rheem: Colorado as a whole has traditionally been a high-tech part of the country. We have leading edge companies here like CenturyLink/Level3, Zayo, Arrow Electronics, Flexential and other high-tech companies headquartered in Denver.  We are still trailing Northern Virginia and Phoenix but there are some growth opportunities here in Denver for sure. It’s a great place to live with a solid workforce, great schools and really a very minimal natural disaster risk for data centers to plant their facilities here.  Events like this one will certainly help to drive activity in this region.

CAPRE: What kind of technological trends are driving demand for your product?

Rheem: The demand for the products and services we offer continues to grow because of new technologies and the use of those technologies: AI, 5G, video streaming, the Internet of Things…connected devices are not going away, so how do we continue to offer products and services to meet that demand.  Our first goal is to be aligned with our customers and what they need long term. With our East Penn partnership, we continue to bring the best battery technologies to our customers to fit their needs.

For example, the Deka Fahrenheit battery, a long-life High Rate, 750WPC battery for the data center industry. What has traditionally been a 4 to 5-year life cycle for the 12VDC battery in a data center UPS application, is extending out to 7 or 8 years because of this battery, reducing the number of battery change outs a data center has in their life cycle.  Being able to plan these change outs with our customers gives them the ability to plan their budgets and timelines so that they maximize uptime for their end users.  And then being able to offer turnkey services making it easy for them is what we are all about.

CAPRE: What kind of challenges do you face in reaching that goal?

Rheem: Our biggest challenge at the moment is trying to understand where lithium batteries are going. This technology has traditionally been utilized in cell phones and other home technologies, but now it is gaining some traction in the data center space.  It is creating another battery option for data center users.

Our goal is to continue to educate our customers about VRLA products versus lithium and how they differ. How do the NFPA codes affect Lithium and what is that going to look like in the next 5-10 years? How are Lithium batteries going to be disposed of, what is the Total Cost or Ownership for both products and really give our customers a full snapshot of the two technologies. At the end of the day, our goal is to be a battery partner for our customers and be able to offer solutions that are the correct application and make sense financially.

CAPRE: What are your firm’s goals for the next 5-10 years?

Rheem: We are looking to continue to grow and expand our footprint nationally so we can service the different data center providers from a more local level. Our relationship with East Penn and Deka services will allow us to be more robust and to get more local for the end users.  With 5G and the IoT continuing to be at the forefront of what we do every day, Conley has to be ready to go and we are!

CAPRE: What are you looking forward to about CAPRE’s upcoming CAPRE’s Construction, Design, Engineering Evolution Summit in Denver?

Rheem: We’re excited that this show is in our headquarter city and state. We’re excited to network and have our booth at this show to help educate potential end-users and to say hello to our existing customer base.  We are proud of our partnership with East Penn and Deka Services and can’t wait to share it with everyone.   The panels are full of industry experts which will provide us an opportunity to educate ourselves about the industry.  We are honored that we get to be a part of this great event!

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