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Doing the right thing for you and the environment

Resident Ric Miles toasts his daughter Taylor for her inspiration and encouragement in his second-half-of-life career path.

By Joe Gschwendtner; photo courtesy of Ric Miles

It’s not often one listens to his children for career advice.  Neighbor Ric Miles had never struggled with success in his business ventures using traditional market strategies, but was challenged at mid-life by conscience and his older daughter Taylor to build a business that would make a difference on the planet.

Today he is driving strategy and business development for Rachio, a Denver-based manufacturer/developer of Evapo-transpiration (ET) irrigation systems that are managed through the shared resources of cloud computing and smart-phone applications.

When Miles first moved to Castle Pines Village in 1998, he was a captain of technology, having midwifed several start-up software technology companies.  After his last business platform was acquired by Equifax, he sought to be more holistic in his business life.  Rather than rush into something, Miles went on his own Walden Pond sabbatical.  After time for deep, uninterrupted reflection, an opportunity most never have, Miles decided his next venture would have to make not just a profit, but also make life itself more sustainable for its customers.

Thus it was that he discovered Rachio (, a fledgling irrigation company with a revolutionary concept: a digitized, intelligent, ET-controller.  Traditional ET-controllers are devices hard wired to a sprinkler system that receive signals telemetrically from a master controller, directing it to sprinkle lawns in the precise amount of water needed for the current moisture conditions.  That master unit is periodically updated with weather and precipitation data from a local weather station.

Miles said that what sets Rachio apart from others is that its controller is a sophisticated Wi-Fi receiver that takes intelligent instructions from the “cloud” or, if the user desires, directly from the owner’s personal computer or smart phone.  Rachio has moved these devices from constraining mechanical control to that of digitized intelligence issuing from the cloud – remote servers and software with Wi-Fi connectivity to your home system.  Simply put, Miles and team have brought ET-controller irrigation into the internet of things (IoT).  

Digitized intelligence that controls our everyday world through smart personal devices is a growing trend.  In five years, it could be that most mechanical functions in the home may be managed similarly.  A trendsetter already, his product “Iro” is unparalleled in its ability to process watering decisions resulting in optimal outdoor water utilization for the user.

Miles is nothing if not proud.  He asserts that if every Castle Pines homeowner installed an Iro system, a 30 percent irrigation savings could be realized annually saving no less than 30 million gallons for the community.  In last month’s state of the state speech, Miles was recognized by Governor Hickenlooper as a technology visionary.  Iro is a green/green win for Coloradans.  It has payback for the consumer in under a year and extends our aquifers many more generations into the future, also paying it forward.  Now that is saying something.



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