David is our VP of Sales. He leads all aspects of the sales effort, including managing a fast-growing team of Sales Executives and Sales Development Representatives, as well as scaling sales operations to support an expanding customer footprint. Before joining Comfy, he spent over five years as the Director of Sales at Opower, and three years as a Manager of Public Policy at General Electric.
Tell me about the path that led you to join the Comfy team.
I guess it all goes back to when I was volunteering for the Peace Corps after college. I spent two years in Turkmenistan working as a Community Health Educator. Turkmenistan was rich in natural resources, but faced tremendous political challenges. I found the complex relationship between energy and politics intriguing, so it was a pretty natural path to do public policy work for General Electric. That was exciting because I had the chance to work on these large-scale, international projects involving wind farms and locomotives. But after a few years, it struck me that I really had zero understanding of how these huge projects actually impacted the average person.
So, I started looking for companies in the energy space with more of a B2B2C focus and came across Opower. Opower uses behavioral science to enhance utility customers’ understanding of their energy use in order to increase energy efficiency. I was there for five years when I first heard about Comfy and I knew right away that it would be a game changer. You see, there’s this idea that buildings are a black box; they are monolithic, complicated, uncontrollable, and unyielding. So the fact that an app like Comfy could dispel this notion while providing an impactful solution to the end-user was, and still is, very exciting.
"I truly think we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of what buildings can do."
Where do you think building technology is headed?
I truly think we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of what buildings can do. Traditionally, when it comes to technology in the built environment, there has been an emphasis on making buildings cheaper to operate. This is sort of a strange concept, because the primary focus of most companies is to enhance the quality of their product. Of course, cost reduction is always important, but it doesn’t have to come at the expense of the occupant experience. As we move forward, there’s going to be a much greater focus on the occupant-facing technology within buildings and how it impacts the actual humans inside—from a productivity standpoint and also with regard to health and wellness. I think that’s also probably going to include some of the things we’ve been adopting into our consumer lives, like wearables and other devices that track and measure our activity.
Essentially, a truly smart building will do more than just use energy efficiently, but it will also deliver real time responses to people, providing them with more personalized and subsequently more optimal environments.
Describe the Comfy office culture in 3 words.
Humble, collegial, and dedicated. First off, I don’t think I’ve ever met a more humble group of people than Andrew, SDH, Lindsay, and Beau. If you look at the original squad, these are four pretty brilliant people. Honestly, you’d think their heads should be exploding, but they’re all incredibly and genuinely humble, and I think that attitude really permeates throughout our team. The Bay Area, in particular, is overflowing with smart and talented people, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to beat your chest all the time...they can leave that up to the sales and marketing teams. We certainly do that for them.
Working on this team, you also get the sense that there’s not a lot of ego here. I think the collegial culture emerges really naturally when you have a group of people working together with a strong vision toward a shared goal, in our case, optimizing the built environment. That also bleeds into the dedication you see here. There are people from a variety of different backgrounds, but everyone kind of coalesces around this one idea and you can really feel the dedication to making it happen.
What actor would play you in a biopic?
So this is kind of funny, but I do get compared to John Travolta a lot. In my defense, this is what my coworkers say…but I don’t hate it. If we could take John Travolta and make him look like he did in Saturday Night Fever, I would be down with that.
What is your ideal day off?
Well I would definitely try to sleep in past 6:00 am for once, that would be nice! Then probably take a couple hours for myself and go for a run, or mountain bike, or hike...just be outside alone for a little bit. And then frankly, I would love to do a lot of what I already do—spend a lot of time with my daughter and my wife and our families. At this point in time, that’s an ideal day for me. A little me time, a little downtime, and a little time chasing my daughter around, pretty much like any regular Saturday or Sunday at the Kirkland household.
I like to unplug for a little bit, but I’m not very good at it…Okay, I’m actually pretty horrible at it. Don’t get me wrong, I can totally veg out for a short stint to recharge the batteries, but anything more than a couple days, I kind of get punchy. Weekends are perfect for me, I can fit a lot in those two days and really enjoy them. It’s funny, even after a long weekend my wife will be like, “You’re just chomping at the bit aren’t you?” I think that’s a pretty good sign that you love what you do, when you’re excited and ready to get back to work after a couple days off.
Want to work with Dave? Well, we're hiring! Check out all open positions and apply here.