Greg Davis and Justin Gaull of CBS ArcSafe
Greg Davis and Justin Gaull of CBS ArcSafe

Denton, TX, June 17, 2019 — CBS ArcSafe®, a leading manufacturer of remote racking and switching solutions for low- and medium-voltage switchgear, has been named a winner of the Reverse Pitch Energy Challenge hosted by ExxonMobil.

BBL Ventures, a Houston-based innovation partner for the energy and natural resources industry who partnered with ExxonMobil, reached out to CBS ArcSafe in early May to participate in the technology challenge. The event was a “Shark Tank–style” reverse-pitch competition aimed at solving safety-related technical challenges at ExxonMobil refineries.

In a reverse pitch, a company pitches a pain point or problem, and then entrepreneurs offer a solution. The pain points of this challenge fell into two technical categories. The category in which CBS ArcSafe participated focused on reducing risks associated with arc flash for Elliott Type 201 and Type 230 combination controllers, which are typically installed outdoors in potentially hazardous Class I, Division II environments. The product needed to meet three primary requirements: reduce arc-flash risks when connecting and disconnecting the electrical stabs, be lightweight and easily managed by one person, and attach and detach easily. A special request involved the ability to observe gauges and electrical connections remotely with the control boxes. (The other category focused on opening and closing process equipment while reducing the risks of exposure to hazardous materials and chemicals.)

Fortunately, all the requirements were already met with the existing CBS ArcSafe RSA-107, which closes/trips the Elliott controllers. CBS ArcSafe staff demonstrated that the RSA-107 could be modified to include a wireless camera system, thereby satisfying the remote observation request.

Tommy Phillips, president of CBS ArcSafe, encouraged the team to apply for the challenge because it was directly related to ArcSafe’s core competency and mission.


“Our company was proud to be a part of the ExxonMobil competition because the overall idea was to solve problems related to arc-flash dangers and how we can better protect individuals in those situations,” Phillips

says. “That is exactly what our engineering and product development teams do every day at CBS ArcSafe.

The event was held June 4–5, 2019. The first day took place at ExxonMobil’s Baytown refinery, where participants pitched to plant engineers and other technical team members. The second day was held at Station Houston, a technology business incubator that works in partnership with BBL Ventures. Judges on the second day included representatives from NASA, Jacobs Technology, ExxonMobil, and Rice University.

The CBS ArcSafe pitch team included Justin Gaull, Greg Davis, and Jonathan Whitney.

“We were fortunate that we already had a platform-based solution that met most of their required outcomes,” says Gaull, business development manager for CBS ArcSafe. “It was advantageous for us too that we could readily showcase our knowledgeable team, our ability to scale the product, and our impressive regional sales and technical support availability through our Group CBS affiliates.”

BBL Ventures received more than 50 applications for the pitch event and selected the top three to four as finalists in each category. The winners received a monetary prize and the opportunity to pilot the commercial development of the proposed solution. After winning the arc-flash category, CBS ArcSafe will start work evaluating new opportunities with ExxonMobil.

About CBS ArcSafe®

CBS ArcSafe offers the electrical industry’s largest inventory of remote racking and switching solutions for low- and medium-voltage switchgear. The systems operate without modification to existing electrical equipment and allow technicians to operate equipment from a safe distance of up to 300 feet away. All CBS ArcSafe equipment is manufactured in the United States at our Denton, TX, and Charleston, WV, facilities. CBS ArcSafe offers 24/7/365 emergency support and is happy to develop custom remote racking and switching solutions for customers. Learn more at or call us toll-free at 877-4-SAFETY.