The National Inquirer, 1983

Computer whiz, 13, saves giant companies $$ millions with weather hookup

WHEN giant corporations need fast and accurate weather information they turn to a computer genius with all the facts at his fingertips—a 13-year-old whiz kid.

Among eighth-grader Tei Gordon’s nearly 50 customers are General Mills, J.C. Penney and General Telephone and Electric—all of whom depend on Tei’s weather data for their energy-conservation efforts.

They also save money because he sells his data at bargain rates.

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) raised its price to $400 a year—kept mine at $47,” says the youngster from Corvallis, Ore.

Tei explains that degree-day information helps the companies determine how much energy they will need to heat or cool their plants and offices.  “I also send it out faster than NOAA,” Tei adds.  “After all, they may have 500 customers, I have only 50.”

Despite full school days and swimming practice, Tei runs his company—Energy Advisor—and makes a profit.

“Nobody else is doing it because of the time that goes into it—it’s not enough money for a big businessman.  I make $3,000 to $4,000 a year,” says Tei, who pays $400 for the NOAA data before selling it to his customers for the minimum $47, or for as much as $77 for extra information.

After getting his degree-day information—which shows when the temperature exceeds or falls below 65 degrees he distributes it to his customers through his computer and telephone hookups.

“The figures are used for setting their furnaces and air conditioners,” says Tei.  “I don’t know just how they use the data, but General Mills has saved $10 million through energy conservation.”

Despite all the complications that go along with computers, Tei says the toughest thing to handle is the bookkeeping.  And, suddenly turning from businessman to young teen, he adds, “My mother helps me with the typing in that area.”

And the bottom line is that the bookkeeping chores are always worth the trouble.

“The money’s the best part,” says Tei.  “That’s my main thing.  It all goes toward the cost of my going to Stanford University (in Palo Alto, Calif.), where I’d like to study computer science.”

PICTURE CAPTION
Tei Gordon keeps giant corporations like J.C. Penney happy with his computerized weather service—and still finds time for schoolwork and swim-team practice.  “I don’t like to brag,” he says.

 

 

The National Inquirer

1983