The Billings Gazette, December 18, 1983 - Montana

At 13, he advises major firms

CAPTION:  Tei Gordon uses computers in energy conservation advice.


When 13-year-old Tei Gordon types on a computer keyboard, some 50 corporate clients await his product.

The companies, including J.C. Penney Co. and General Mills, depend on Tei’s information to conserve energy in thousands of buildings across the nation.

“By this time next year, my business will probably have quadrupled,” said the Corvallis, eighth-grader, who has kicked off an advertising campaign in magazines.

For more than a year, the youngster has used his father’s computer to obtain climate data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration every week.

Tei translates the information into readable form and mails it to his clients months before they could receive it directly from the government.  

At $47 per year per subscription, Tei makes more than $2,000 annually from his business.

“The most fun part of this is making the money and spending it,” Tei said.  “I spend it on traveling and on computer games that I trade with friends and things.”

Every Monday at 7 a.m. Tei receives statistics from Washington, D.C., concerning degree-days in 210 U.S. cities.  Degree-days are calculated every 24 hours by determining how many degrees the average temperature in a city exceeded or fell short of 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tei arranges the information on a computer screen, prints it out and photocopies it for mailing.  Figures received from Tei’s Energy Advisor services are used to evaluate energy conservation in his clients’ buildings.

Tei began his enterprise when an adult friend, Arthur N. Orans of Philomath, passed along the idea.  The youngster sought out Lewis J. Ebner, a computer programmer who works for the energy consulting company operated by Tei’s father, for advise on writing a program to handle the information.



Billings Gazette Newspaper

December 18, 1983