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Making electrical work safer and more efficient.

​Dave Crowell was inspired to invent a safer electrical panel three years ago while working in an energy safety group for a large financial services client. At that time (and to this day) safety standards required workers to shut down an entire electrical panel even for simple m​odifications. While this protects them from potentially dangerous shocks, downtime is disruptive and costly. To maintain uptime, companies cut corners and accidents happen.

"I wanted to bridge the gap between staying productive and staying safe." So he took to his garage workshop, built a prototype and brought it to leadership.​​


Dave Crowell presents his revolutionary electrical panel at JLL's 2017 Da Vinci Awards.

Dave’s prototype was met with unanimous support and one minor road block: JLL doesn't manufacture things. Stalled, but not discouraged, Dave shopped the idea around to a few more people who all said talk to Innovation & Product Development (IPD).

Terry Harris, who leads IPD, says this is exactly why the platform was created. “Our goal is to support innovative thinking and remove obstacles so we can bring great ideas to life.” Terry connected Dave with Gabriela Cleveland, Chief Counsel, Technology & Intellectual Capital in September 2014. 18 months later, a patent was born.

"That all of these teams would collabo​rate and invest in this patent speaks volumes about JLL's commitment to safety and doing what's best for our people and our clients," says Dave.

With this cover, workers will be protected while working on live panels, preventing potential life-threatening injuries and saving companies billions of dollars in lost productivity​. The positive impact will be felt not only across the industry, but close to home as JLL’s 16,500 engineers deliver employee comfort, safety and productivity across 1.4B square feet of managed properties, including over 800 critical environments and data centers, as a part of our Integrated Facilities Management service. ​Dave's idea fell far outside JLL's experience or comfort zone, but the firm's commitment to innovation and safety and the partnership between Dave, Terry and Gabriela's teams created a true industry disruptor.

On being a part of Da Vinci

Gabriela attends the Da Vinci presentations every year, always looking for the next patent opportunity. "The volume and quality of ideas that come out of JLL is remarkable. We're not just supporting innovation, we're incubating it. And now to be included on a Da Vinci team is an incredible honor."

Dave sees the Da Vinci win as more than a personal victory. "This represents a huge step for the world, for the firm and for the field of engineering. We have the power to change an entire industry. And I wouldn't be able to do it without JLL behind me. I've worked for other firms. I've worked for the largest privately-owned property management firm in the world. I've also worked for one of the biggest publicly traded firms in the world. And now I work for the best."

Hyperbole aside, Dave's story is a testament to the fact that good ideas just need a good advocate.

What are the Da Vinci Awards?​

Explore our past Da Vinci winners