TIO Financial Corporate Profile

Download, read and share the new brochure from TIO Financial, our division exclusively geared towards the financial services industry.

LEED with KPRS’ Brian Petersen

We were delighted to have the opportunity to interview, Brian Petersen, a construction project manager and a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) accredited professional, from KPRS Construction. KPRS is the number 1 Green builder in Orange County and ranked top 100 nationwide.

For those of you, who are not familiar with LEED construction, LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using environmentally sound practices in terms of energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

Q: What are the incentives, besides environmental sustainability, companies might have to build with LEED certification?

Of the incentives of LEED building I’d have to say the largest is in cost savings due to energy efficiency.  LEED places a heavy emphasis on energy use reduction, often encouraging Owners to attempt much more extensive energy saving schemes than we find in traditional buildings.  We’re finishing up a project now where the pursuit of LEED Gold led us to changing out fluorescent to LED lighting throughout a large two story bus station.  The payback for the upcharge to LED lighting was estimated at approximately  2 years, with over $100,000 in annual energy savings as well as reduced maintenance costs for each year thereafter.

Other incentives come in the form of marketing and occupant satisfaction.  Green building is gaining in popularity and LEED is by far the most recognized brand in the field.  LEED embraces occupant satisfaction at the core of its mission.  Occupants of LEED buildings are more likely to see more daylight and views, have greater control of their lighting and air conditioning systems, be less bothered by new construction odors and emissions, etc.

Q: Do you find a certain market sector seeking LEED certification, ie businesses creating/manufacturing environmentally sustainable goods, small-batch food production, fashion companies, etc.?

Frankly, the dozen or so LEED projects that KPRS has been involved in have crossed all market sectors.  We’ve done small retail banks (Citibank was making all their new branches LEED a few years ago), large warehouse buildings with no known tenant at the time of construction, office buildings for companies like Bausch & Lombe and Beckman Coulter (both somewhat related to the medical field), etc.  What I can say is the most common by far is public buildings – often by mandate. Cities and states often require buildings funded by the public to be LEED.

Q: What would be a reason companies may want to abstain from obtaining LEED certification for their bulding?

Cost.  LEED has great benefits, but there is an associated cost.  While items like energy efficiency often have a calculable payback, many other items- recycled content of materials, low emitting materials, etc have value to occupants, but associated cost savings may be difficult to determine.  In addition LEED is heavy on paperwork and the costs to manage the process can be high.  This management cost has no real project benefit, besides the designation of LEED on the building, which only the Owner can truly value.

Q: What’s the most frequently asked question you receive from people looking to convert their building/business?

How much will it cost?

Video Games On The Brain


Video games, like many popular forms of entertainment have been undergoing a metamorphosis. With the attention span waning and the demand for more realistic graphics and consumer interaction (i.e. online play with multiple players), it’s becoming more common to see gaming companies everywhere rapidly producing highly stylized, feature film-like episodic stories with intense animation and complicated plot lines to keep up with the public’s demand for exciting, realistic game play. For instance, the Battlefield franchise, which has developed so drastically over ten years doesn’t seem to show signs of slowing down its progression. Starting out as a computer game, the series has grown immensely in popularity and has gotten more complicated with its design. It raises the general question, “When will the evolution of video games cease? ” Though, horrifying thoughts of eXistenZ immediately come to mind when hearing that question posed, it’s exciting to see where the future of gaming is headed.

Read more…

Compost Your Jeans! Anna Blom Writes About Green Fashion


Photo Credit: “Shinobi no mono” Tina Axelsson We invited New York based Swedish freelance fashion writer, Anna Blom, to write something for us. We are delighted to have her insight on an exponentially growing trend among designers who have taken an interest in reducing their carbon footprint by embracing green fashion. Read more…

Inauthentic Authenticity TIO CEO Ponders in Fast Company


In this day and age of Instagram and Hipstamatic, it’s easy to get lost in the onslaught of pseudo-authentic branding styles that play into this growing notion that nostalgia equals to “realness.” However, our own Michael Raisanen discerns, in Co.Design, “The common denominator in this trend seems to be a yearning for the ‘authentic.’ Interestingly, things don’t need to actually be authentic as long as they feel authentic. In fact, they can be completely fake.” Brands like J.Crew have embraced “inauthentic authenticity” without having to fully change their branding styles, bringing in brands that support the new “hipster wave,” with companies like Timex and Barbour. Michael suggests, “This strategy is smart, because it gives J. Crew a cost-efficient way to stay constantly relevant through a curation of brands and products. So when Minnetonkas become passé, the company can simply replace the moccasins with something else.” Head over to Co.DESIGN to read TIO CEO, Michael Raisanen’s latest musings on postmodern branding.

A New Outlet. TIO’s Perspective On Things That Matter To Us

Hello, this is TIO speaking. Intelligencer is our grandly named brand new blog. We would like to use it as a medium to present our way of thinking, our take on what is happening around us, explore what makes our clients, partners and friends tick. We will do our best to be interesting.

Stay Tuned!

Want to Innovate? Don’t be a Slave to Data.

With this new-age of what is, seemingly, a consumer-driven market, the reality is that companies are becoming more accessible and subsequently, a little timid. Michael Raisanen writes for Co.Design about the perils of being consumed by market data rather than sticking with your instincts. Change may be a little intimidating, but  Michael declares, “Stagnancy leads to obsolescence. Brands need to be brave, bold, and confident in their intuition–and stop being slaves to data that doesn’t carry real meaning.” Although people complain about change all the time, the fact is, “…people are exceptionally good at adapting to change, and if done in the right way, it can be tremendously beneficial.” Companies need not depend so desperately on market information and listen more to what they believe will help increase business. In one example, Michael talks about the success of BBC’s The Office although it was received poorly by a focus group, “People didn’t like it at first, because it was different from what they expected a comedy show should be. That is often the case with disruptive, game-changing products and services,” but we’ve all seen its major success. Go to Co.DESIGN and read TIO CEO, Michael Raisanen’s thoughts on how innovation vs. data is like cat vs. dog.

Branding The Start-Up The Five Basic Building Blocks

Startup companies are popping up all over the place, but their success falls on whether or not they can maintain a few simple, yet involved constants. In this article for Co.Design, Michael Raisanen explains the importance of having a strong foundation among other vital components to achieve your goals , “The key to successful brand communications is a trifecta of brevity, clarity, and consistency.” Many startups struggle with creating simple, appropriate wording to describe what it is they want to accomplish. Branding your startup can be borderline terrifying or absolutely horrifying, but there is no need to panic if you have these five basic building blocks.

Click here  to read Michael Raisanen’s article in Fast Company on how to brand a brand new company.