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Q&A: Meet Renee Eddy, Rinnai's New VP of Innovation

Dec. 10, 2021
Doubling down on data analytics, the HVAC manufacturer has added an experienced innovation specialist with an eye for product change. Learn about her plans for 2022.

In September, Rinnai America Corporation announced that it had hired longtime industry innovator Renee Eddy to be the manufacturer's new Vice President of Innovation, reporting directly to Rinnai America President Frank Windsor.

To the new post, Eddy brought with her a wealth of high-level product development experience, spanning more than three decades at such industry titans as GE, Lockheed Martin, Carrier, United Technologies, Victaulic, and Eaton Corp. Her job description now at Rinnai?

Drive the development of the IoT-connected solutions platform by partnering with customers, internal and external stakeholders and developers. Use predictive analytics and innovative technologies to build and deploy the internal incubation and external partnership innovation strategy and roadmap for the North America market leader.

“My passion is transforming data and technologies into cool, new products and that passion is sure to come through while at Rinnai,” said Reddy upon her hiring. Last month, HPAC Engineering had the chance to ask a few more questions about her new role...

HPAC: Renee, congratulations on this new post. What does your hiring say about Rinnai's focus on data analytics now and in future product development? 

Renee Reddy: The VP of Innovation role has been in place at Rinnai and has continued to evolve as technology needs have changed. In its current form, developing products based on data and analytics is a critical element of our success. At Rinnai, we have a robust product history providing us a solid database to mine and look for opportunities to continue to evolve our products. Linking this data with customer insights gained from our extensive PRO Network and internal marketing, sales and customer care teams, provides us a rich data set that generates intelligence for products today while allowing us to see what is possible for the future. 

HPAC: What is your strategy toward driving the development and implementation of new technologies at Rinnai? 

Reddy:  Every time Rinnai enters a space, our goal is to be the leader, fueled by coming to work every day to delight our customers and “Quality is Our Destiny”. At the same time, “our space” is changing at an unprecedented rate. Increasing energy efficiency requirements, electrification driven by decarbonization demands, connectivity and digitalization trends, are all accelerating our product and technology development. To be successful, we must look at everything – including technologies that are part of our business space and can be applied from others.  

Our product and technology strategies are focused on delivering products that continue to lead in safety, quality, performance, sustainability, and energy efficiency while positioning us for meeting the new and accelerating market trends head-on. This strategy begins with leveraging Universal Product Design – a design framework that considers everyone’s needs - across our entire product portfolio. Combining our customer insight data with the Universal Design framework will drive efficiency across current and future product development efforts. In parallel, we are continuing to evaluate our “make vs. buy” strategy and identifying/leveraging strategic partnerships to build our technology strengths/capabilities and expand our product roadmaps beyond our core markets.  

HPAC: With energy efficiency and decarbonization a driving force across most industries now, how important will those factors be in your new role? 

Reddy: They will be key elements. As I mentioned (above), electrification and sustainability-driven by decarbonization and increasing energy efficiency are playing a role in the products we are developing today and for the future, while driving the need for us to accelerate our product development efforts. Our goal is to be the leader in the markets we play in and the products we launch. We are executing on and building technology and product portfolios that will establish our clear leadership position in these areas. 

HPAC: As we continue to emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic, we all see now how it has touched our lives in so many ways. Rinnai's stated commitment is "Creating a healthier way of living." How do you see that weighty pledge influencing your daily work? 

Reddy:  One of the reasons I joined Rinnai is because it is built on products and services that make people’s lives better. We are developing products that truly help people. We achieve this by understanding our customer's needs and always putting our customers first. Rinnai America has built a culture focused on connecting with our customers, understanding their pain points, and sharing customer insights across the organization every day. These insights define the features, products, and services we develop. Then from a technology perspective, our recent acquisition of Industrias Mass S.A. de C.V. brought water treatment products and technologies into our portfolio, product lines Rinnai did not previously have to offer. Leveraging this technology across our portfolio will continue to build upon our commitment to “Creating a healthier way of living.” 

HPAC: Finally, you have referenced "zeal and passion" in your career, and I see that you are very active in the Society for Women Engineers. Do you foresee that part of your new role will also include mentoring and recruiting young female engineers at Rinnai? 

Reddy: The short answer on this one is – Yes!!!  Mentoring and recruiting female engineers is a passion of mine. I look forward to having the opportunity to continue this in my new role!

HPAC: Thank you very much for your time here, Renee. We wish you continued success in the new year. 

Reddy: Thank you, as well, Rob. We look forward to seeing everyone at AHR Expo.