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Meline Engineering, Los Rios

Lisa Meline is used to being in unique situations, and Northeastern California Small Business Development Center (SBDC) of Greater Sacramento knows how to advise entrepreneurs who find themselves there. Ms. Meline is an engineering studies graduate, a curriculum in which less than 20% of students are women, according to a 2006 study by the National Science Foundation. She opened the doors of Meline Engineering in 1995, while in graduate school, and in 1998 she came across a relatively unknown niche when she discovered geothermal heat pump systems.

“I knew this niche would differentiate me from other mechanical engineers in the area,” she recalls. “The idea of using the Earth as a heat source was really innovative, and I thought about how much money the average homeowner could save on their power bills. My personal crusade has been to work with researchers, contractors, drillers, and equipment manufacturers to find ways to reduce the installation costs of geothermal heat pump systems. I want every business owner, every new homeowner, every retiring couple, and everyone in between, to be able to afford this type of green technology.”

While Ms. Meline educated herself on the engineering required by such technology, the SBDC of Greater Sacramento stepped in to advise her on accounting, marketing, e-commerce, business planning, operations, labor and cost management, client retention, statistical analysis, strategic partnering, and more. They also helped her establish a line of credit, which would prove key as Meline Engineering grew.

Today, Ms. Meline’s company works with property owners, developers, contractors, and architects as it creates energy-efficient mechanical system designs used in new construction, renovations, and tenant improvements. The firm has developed a reputation for on-time, on-budget work with a customer-centric focus and an internal quality assurance plan that ensures the excellence of each project it undertakes.

Thanks to the SBDC of Greater Sacramento’s support, Meline Engineering has more than doubled its revenue since 2002 and has increased its net income by 20% per year. The company doesn’t expect that growth to slow any time soon as consumers and businesses alike look for energy-efficient ways to heat and cool their homes and buildings.