In 2009, David Andalcio, founder and CEO of Chicago-based Wynndalco Enterprises, LLC, expanded his information-technology (IT) skills into a totally new—and promising—field: sustainable energy. Which isn’t very surprising, considering Andalcio’s track record of ingenuity. “Growing up in a third-world country, anything I wanted I had to build from scratch, including once a stereo,” says the native of Port of Spain, Trinidad. “That gave me an interest in technology and taught me to be resourceful.” These days, Andalcio is parlaying his expertise in IT and wind turbines to not only usher minorities into the field of renewable technology, but also make a positive and lasting imprint on the environment on a global scale. We explore some of Wynndalco Enterprises’ best efforts.
1 Wiring Schools
David Andalcio earned some serious bragging rights in the educational field: his company at the time placed the first desktop computer in the Chicago Public School District 30 years ago. It was natural, then, that Wynndalco Enterprises started out as an IT company serving primarily educational institutions. Today, it makes IT deployments of 8,000-plus units. “The computers are delivered to our facility,” Andalcio says. “We unpack them, asset tag them, image them and remediate any problems, then repackage them, deliver them to the site, install them, and do any necessary field maintenance and deinstalls.”
These experiences led to Wynndalco Enterprises becoming involved in E-Rate, a federal program that provides discounts to help US schools and libraries obtain affordable telecommunications, including Internet access. “Right now we have a contract to assist the 1,500 schools in Puerto Rico in developing a master technology plan, which includes obtaining bids and securing funding,” Andalcio says. “As of March 2011, we had secured $17.5 million in E-Rate funding.”
Exactly how Andalcio segwayed into sustainable technology from the educational IT realm traces back to an epiphany. “I was driving on the highway in Texas, near one of my facilities, and I saw a huge semitruck with four trailers carrying a single wind turbine blade, and it was followed by two additional vehicles with red flags,” he says. “All of them were blowing back diesel smoke, so I asked myself, ‘How is polluting the environment to install a wind turbine reducing the carbon footprint?’ I thought, ‘There has to be a better way.’”
Since then, Wynndalco Enterprises has identified and become the exclusive, licensed distributor in the Caribbean and Latin America—as well as a copartner within the United States—of a state-of-the-art wind turbine that is solar-, wind-, and battery-operated. “Could you imagine if every street light in Chicago didn’t need any power to give a bright light and would last for 25 years without maintenance?” Andalcio asks. “That’s what we offer. And because our wind turbine operates independently from the grid, it’s ideal for deployment in rural areas.”
2 Training Minorities in Renewable-Energy Careers
The company’s latest venture also stems from Andalcio’s desire to serve the community. “Minorities were left behind in the great American gold rush, railroad expansion, and dot-com boom, and I thought it was time to change that,” he says. The company developed the Multicultural Education Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3), to help minorities take part in this new technology boom. It [will] operate as an 18-month accreditation program in partnership with the City Colleges of Chicago to train eligible minorities in the operation and assessment of wind turbines. Future goals include expanding this program by opening a wind turbine-assembly and distribution facility on the South Side of Chicago, in an old US steel mill factory. “It will give students from these colleges practical training that will allow them to go anywhere in the world to operate and repair wind turbines,” Andalcio says.
Up Close & Personal
Getting to know David Andalcio
What has been your biggest challenge?
Access to opportunities
What’s your favorite tech gadget?
Smart, handheld, interactive devices
What is your favorite place to vacation?
3 Fostering Community Outreach on a Global Scale
Never one to forget his humble roots, Andalcio recently undertook a new project to install 255 wind turbines in Port of Spain. “Trinidad will now contribute significantly to the reduction of the carbon footprint in the Caribbean,” he says proudly. To help impoverished communities, Andalcio is active in a number of community-outreach programs. He is a member of the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association and the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Chicago. Through strategic alliances with computer manufacturers such as Dell and IBM, he contributes significantly to the community in many ways, including donating computer labs to local schools.
Andalcio’s advice to budding entrepreneurs: “You have to identify a need, develop a unique service, and get into a niche market,” he says. “Then you have to provide great service. When customers call us, they don’t get voice mail; we answer the phone. And when they need something, we’re there.”