AIMS Power Inverters and the Man Behind the Business, Bruce de Jong

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AIMS Power inverters will be at their first-ever tradeshow, the ICUEE (International Construction & Utility Equipment Expedition), October 1 to celebrate 12 years in business.

AIMS Power president and founder

AIMS Power president and founder, Bruce de Jong, laughing during his interview for this story.

Every time you sell an inverter, it feels like you're doing the world a little bit of good

AIMS Power inverters were born from one man’s garage, one man’s sanctuary in Reno, Nevada.

“That’s where I built the foundation of the business,” company founder and president Bruce de Jong said. “But it became apparent that shipping truckloads out of my garage wasn’t exactly appreciated by the neighbors.”

de Jong utilized the resource for about a year starting in February 2001, dedicating late nights developing inverter designs and researching renewable energy markets, waking up at sunrise to land deals and ship them the same day — all from the limited space normally meant for parking his car.

Part of his motivation came from the prospect of building a family, as he married his now wife of 12 years, Laura de Jong, that same year. Part of it came from the desire to do business better than the “horrible bosses” he had in the past, but most of it came from the simple desire for more freedom and security in life.

With a college degree and more than a handful of business experience under his belt, an inspired de Jong led the way in developing the most extensive line of inverters available on the market today, boasting 52 different models to meet customers’ varying needs.

Some of the most innovative contributions he’s made to the inverter market include a low frequency inverter charger product line that offers a consumer price while still meeting industrial-grade needs and a modified sine line that now boasts an 8, 10, and 12 kilowatt models.

Along the way, AIMS Power moved operations from de Jong’s garage, then to a storage facility before finding a home at an office in South Reno. He hired his first employee, his wife Laura, and the company continued to grow, eventually adding a staff of 10 and moving to a bigger building with two warehouses to keep up with demand.

“I never really envisioned the company to be as successful as it currently is, but I’ve always worked hard to make it that,” de Jong said. “Really it’s the staff we have now that’s really helping us take it to the next level.”

His wife has since moved on to start her own business, but de Jong added a core of individuals to raise the bar, including but not limited to: vice president of sales, Sean Nichols, tech support lead Andrew Frey and his assistant John Ho, graphic designer, Joseph Clark, national sales rep Mike Shepherd, public relations director, Eric Lee Castillo, systems and sales specialist Sarah Hays, warehouse manager Summer Schopper and her team led by Walter Portillo and Jared Hyer.

de Jong says he has created a culture at AIMS Power that prides itself on taking care of consumers, while bigger companies like Xantrex and Outback have shifted their focus overseas and narrowed their product lines to chase bigger deals, catering to larger companies.

That doesn’t mean large companies don’t use AIMS Power inverters, as organizations like NASA, the Department of Defense, and Princeton University are frequent customers. However, it does mean that whether it’s providing mobile electricity for a fleet of work trucks or emergency backup power for someone’s house, de Jong says there’s no job too big or small for AIMS.

Helping customers along every step of the way in designing off-grid power systems, ensuring the timing of inventory matches the needs of customers, and delivering on time without making excuses are a few examples of what de Jong says separates AIMS Power from the competition.

“Some of those bigger companies just don’t listen to customers as much as we do,” de Jong said. “We’re able to move quicker and make changes quicker than they do based on feedback.

“We try to balance options, weight and performance of the inverters within the product lines to optimize their effectiveness for the customer’s application."

This customer-service mentality led AIMS Power to expand their product offerings even further.

The decision to carry solar panels, charge controllers, and deep-cycle batteries doesn’t impact AIMS Power’s profit margins much, but it increases customer satisfaction by making them a one-stop shop for off-grid and/or renewable energy power systems.

“People kept asking us where they could get solar panels and stuff to build a full system, so we answered the call and became the place where you could get everything you needed and shipped from one place,” de Jong said. “Selling these things hasn’t been a profit center for AIMS, so it’s been more about customer service.

“But that’s what we’ve always been about.”

de Jong is especially grateful for the success of AIMS Power, because now he does have a family of his own with a son and two daughters.

He’ll tell you that having children has changed his life a lot, but the only thing that’s changed for the business is that sticking to those core values is no longer a desire, but a necessity.

About AIMS Power

AIMS Power has become a multimillion dollar company because of commitment to the inverter industry. Inverters will be sold worldwide regardless, but innovation combined with excellent customer service separates AIMS Power from the competition.

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Eric Lee Castillo
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Sean Nichols
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