Part 3 of 3 – Interview with Excel CEO Deb Yamanaka on STEM Camp

Part 3 of 3 – Interview with Excel CEO Deb Yamanaka on STEM Camp


Excel Technologies and its mobile, incident response vehicles are en route to the STEM Camp in Pocatello, Idaho, where they will partner with the Forest Service and Idaho State University to provide young, Indigenous Americans with a unique learning opportunity. The week-long camp will provide high school students, primarily from the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, with hands-on activities to ignite their passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. This article is part three of a 3-part series to spotlight this event and the role Excel Technologies plays in building a brighter future. Here then, is the concluding article from the interview with Excel’s Chief Executive Officer, Deb Yamanaka.


Q: What goes on behind the scenes to get the mobile communication vehicles ready?

Deb: First, we find a vehicle that makes sense to add to the “fleet.” We look for a couple of key things: mainly nimbleness and affordability. Our Class B vans are 18 feet long and fit in a regular parking space. They are our most fuel efficient and portable options. They are outfitted with basic satellite communications, have onboard generators, and are modified to include solar panels with 400-800 amp hours of lithium ion storage onboard. The batteries charge either via the engine, the generator, or the solar panels and store excess energy sufficient to provide communications and power non-stop for more than 24 hours without having to recharge. Of course, if we’re in the sun, recharging is happening passively which minimizes fuel consumption and emissions pollution. The vehicles have onboard water storage and tanks that handle gray water. There are toilet and shower facilities on each van as well and we can sleep 1-2 people per unit.

Our larger vehicle serves as a “base” – with greater fresh water capacity which is helpful when supplementing the vans. It sleeps 3-4 adults but can support 6-8 during base camp operations. Modified to include 1680 watts of solar along with 1600 ah of lithium ion storage these units can run off grid with communications and laptops running for 24 hours and much longer when the sun is lending a hand. As with the vans, this vehicle can be charged also by running the engine or the onboard gasoline generator.

While none of our vehicles broadcast communications out over a broad area, satellite and power roll with us at speeds greater than available over limited networks and really only requiring that those who need to use the capability get close enough to sip off our infrastructure.

And we do this for less than $120K per vehicle – a fraction of the cost for most mobile communications infrastructure.


Q: Anything you want to add before you start packing!?

Deb: We share some common outlooks in our respective missions; Excel Technologies harbors a corporate culture in keeping with sustaining the health and productivity of natural resources. Our collective efforts and workplace collaboration meet the needs of people today and in the future. Our actions impact other life on this planet and, in turn, come back around to impact us. That is at the core of how we view our work and it’s similar with the Forest Service and, from what I’ve seen, Idaho State University as well.

I know without a doubt that this STEM Camp will reach, in very positive ways, the kids and their families. The experience through the hard work of the participating host organizations will touch the kids’ future employment, quality of life improvement and, quite frankly, the world around them.

Our belief in the potential of humanity’s future underpins Excel’s actions and focus on helping those we work with to move “Ever Upward.”



Deb Yamanaka is the Chief Executive Officer of Excel Technologies LLC. She has spent the last 40 years shaping her passion for technology, organizational resilience and crisis management. She has focused on advanced analytic and collaboration tools and continuity of government. She is as comfortable talking about transformational goals and modernization experience as she is monitoring bloom patterns in a pandemic. She attributes that to her work with the National Security, Defense, Civilian, and Commercial sectors.