A Conversation with Kitu Leadership: End of Year Review

January 2, 2024

A Conversation with Kitu Leadership: End of Year Review


This year has been filled with major growth and change within the industry, and here, at Kitu. As we close out 2023, it's important that we reflect on our achievements and the transformative shifts we've experienced, as well as look ahead at our goals for the upcoming year.


We've gathered insights from key members of our leadership team including our CEO, Rick Kornfeld; CTO, Gordon Lum; VP of Engineering, Chris Leclercq; VP of Market Development, Austin Chambers; and VP of Finance and Administration, Rhonda Woerner. Reflect on Kitu's year, as our key leaders discuss their biggest accomplishments, emerging trends in the industry, and set goals for the upcoming year.


1. What do you consider to be Kitu's biggest accomplishment this year?


Chris: There has been so much accomplished over the past year, so it's hard to pick which are the biggest. I think I am the most excited about all the work we've done to incorporate the OCPP protocol into our EV charging system, and to define how that protocol can be harmonized with 2030.5 and all the other factors affecting bi-directional EV charging.


Austin: The closing and deployment of fleet charging for a major California utility, with visionary objectives in fleet energy management.


Gordon: Finishing the IEEE 2030.5-2023 version and the V2G AC Profile. 


Rick: All of our teams worked extremely hard to meet company-wide initiatives including exceeding revenue goals and meeting important development milestones. 


Rhonda: Integrating with additional EVSE manufacturers, continuing to lead on 2030.5 and cybersecurity, and successful recruiting across all departments. 


2. What do you consider to be the biggest accomplishment in your department?


Austin: The standardization of EV offerings into meaningful and efficient options for customers across many brands, controls, and feature sets for charging.  


Chris: There have been many exciting accomplishments this year! We have deployed a Virtual Power Plant application for a major utility, launched the OCPP EV smart charging protocol as part of our EV charging platform, participated in V2G vehicle to grid projects, and have deployed functionality for the new IEEE 2030.5 version 2023 as well as the Australia version of CSIP. It has been a busy year!


Rhonda: Employee retention is extremely high this year and we are proud of the team and culture that we are building! 


Gordon: As the sole member of my department, I accomplished the completion of the IEEE 2030.5-2023 version.


3. What trends did you see emerge this year in the industry?


Rick: We have been pushing the convergence of different assets for a long time. This year we have seen this start to be visible in the market. This favors Kitu's approach. We have also seen deployments in EV and BTM generation systems, creating opportunities for Kitu.


Gordon: A lot more focus and interest in V2G. Unfortunately, this has not yet translated into real concrete actions to move V2G forward.


Chris: I have definitely seen more activity and interest around the use of mobile EV batteries as distributed energy resources. For both AC and DC charging, there is a lot happening regarding vehicle to grid applications.


Austin: A tie: 1) Resolution of infrastructure challenges preclude nearly all EV sales and 2) the market for EV charging, batteries, and solar in the US is dramatically changing to fewer companies, commoditized pricing, and more turnkey offerings. Both of these indicate that both professional and energy services in support of deployments will increase in value.


4. Do you expect to see similar trends in 2024? How will the industry evolve in the next year?


Gordon: Regarding V2G, my wishful thinking is that industry will converge on a clearer path and architecture for V2G. Hopefully, this will include IEEE 2030.5 in some form. Also, I think there will be more interest in supporting microgrids.


Chris: I certainly expect that the V2G trend will continue in 2024. I expect that the industry will continue to mature and standardize technical solutions as well as end user incentive plans. I believe we will see new participants engage in V2G activities, from vehicle and charging station manufacturers, to service providers and utilities.


Rick: I expect to see the trends mentioned in question #3 continue and accelerate. But, with evolving ecosystems, there are always ups and downs, and we should expect that as well.


Austin: The introduction of mature legacy American companies with vertically integrated domestic supply chains and new Buy-American requirements will have a significant impact on competitive EV charging opportunities.


5. What goals do you have for Kitu in 2024?


Rhonda: Helping our customers push forward with their EV charging goals from multi-unit residential to workplace and fleets. Enabling utilities, service providers and owners of DER equipment (solar, battery, etc.) to create and participate in programs for the more efficient use of energy across the ecosystem.


Chris: My goals in 2024 center around ensuring that Kitu's products have the functionality, cybersecurity, and scale that our customers demand. I plan to focus on continuing to build a strong engineering team, continuing to evolve our processes, and to make sure that we are constantly looking forward to the latest rends driving the usage of distributed energy resources.


Gordon: Now that IEEE 2030.5-2023 is approved, we should push for its implementation at Kitu as well as support the various standards that will incorporate this update like CSIP, CSIP-AUS, and J3072 profile.


Rick: Aggressive growth in devices connected to our platforms and the corresponding revenue growth. 


Austin: To continue to make it easier to understand and deploy Kitu's broad array of proven use cases at scale.



Our team remains dedicated to advancing the industry amid evolving landscape of electric vehicles and distributed energy resources. We saw significant accomplishments and milestones met this past year and look into the next enthusiastic to reach our goals!


Curious how Kitu can support your team? Fill out the form below and one of our experts will connect with you.


Meet the Leaders


Rick Kornfeld, CEO: Rick has worked for some of the region’s most notable tech companies, including Linkabit, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments. Currently the President and CEO of Kitu Systems, Rick was most recently EVP & Chief Strategy Officer, NextWave Wireless and NextWave Broadband and previous to that served as President & CEO, Staccato Communications from 2004 to 2006.

rick_kornfeldPrior to taking the helm of Staccato, Rick was vice president and general manager of Texas Instruments’ Wireless Chipset Business Unit. He joined TI as part of the acquisition of Dot Wireless, where he was co-founder, chairman, and CEO. Prior to founding Dot Wireless, Rick was a founding member of NextWave Telecom, Inc., where he was the senior vice president and general manager of the Consumer Products division. Previously, Rick was vice president of engineering at Qualcomm, leading the development of the first commercial CDMA subscriber equipment. Prior to joining Qualcomm, Rick held technical positions at M/A-Com Linkabit.

Rick holds a B.S. from the University of California, San Diego where he was named the Alumni of the Year in 2001 and currently serves on the Council of Advisors of UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering.


Gordon Lum, CTO: Gordon holds a BSEE from MIT and a MSEE from UCSD. Gordon 4He spent his first five years, after obtaining his degrees, working in defense communications at Linkabit. Later, Gordon's career was dedicated to the early stages of satellite TV communications. In the mid-90s, he founded and acted as Vice President of Engineering at Corelent (FKA TurboNet) which developed the first certified DOCSIS cable modem, and he remained at the company for 15 years.


With over 23 years' experience in the design, development, and deployment of all types of digital communications equipment, Gordon leads the company's engineering team with overall responsibility for taking the G2H SEP2 Software to production. He joined Kitu in 2011 as Vice President of Engineering and is now the CTO.


Chris Leclercq, VP of Engineering: Chris Leclercq is the VP of Engineering at Kitu Sytems. Chris started her career performing embedded software development in the telecommunications industry, working for notable companies such as Motorola, IBM, and Uniden. Chris Leclercq_HeadshotShe spent 8 years at Texas Instruments in various roles from development to Program Management, where her responsibilities included management of software, integration, and verification teams worldwide.Chris joined Kitu Systems in 2010. During her time here, she has been instrumental in architecting and developing the company's embedded and cloud products and has been a contributor to the development of the IEEE 2030.5 Smart Energy Protocol standard. Chris brings 30 years of experience to Kitu Systems. She holds a BA in Math and Computer Science from the University of Illinois and an MBA from San Diego State University


She holds a BA in Math and Computer Science from the University of Illinois and an MBA from San Diego State University.


Austin Chambers, VP of Market Development: Austin has more than 13 years of experience developing and deploying energy programs. Austin Chambers PhotoBeginning at Comverge in 2009, the industry leader in mass market utility demand response prior to acquisition, Austin grew through telecom and utility network specialist roles into program deployment and operations management by 2014. Managing a utility workforce that spanned the Midwest and Southwest regions, Austin's organization installed and maintained over 200 Megawatts of demand response endpoints at customer residences for both investor owner and public utilities.   


Following the Itron acquisition of Converge in 2017, Austin moved to a business development role supporting distributed energy management solutions for all municipal and cooperative utilities in North America. Over 4 years with Itron, Austin became an Enterprise Client Executive, selling Itron's enterprise-wide products, and leading account strategies for some of Itron's largest global customers. While at Itron, Austin developed business cases and executed long term relationships for electric vehicle, demand response, metering, IOT network, and smart city solutions. Austin graduated from Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.   


Rhonda Woerner, VP of Finance and Administration: Rhonda is VP of Finance and Administration at Kitu Systems. She manages all aspects of accounting, finance, and human resources and supports compliance, legal, and other operational needs of the company.       


Rhonda Woerner_Headshot_2Prior to joining Kitu Systems, Rhonda most recently served as Accounting Manager at Pocket Gems, a San Francisco based mobile game start up. In that role, she managed the day-to-day accounting as well as the company's tax compliance and payroll activities. During her tenure at Pocket Gems, the company raised $155 million in funding and the company grew from 2 employees to over 200. Rhonda holds a Bachelor of Accountancy from the University of San Diego and is a California licensed CPA.



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