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Finding Purpose: Coaching for Concerto

I recently finished reading “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. Simon explains the golden circle in which you picture a bullseye with the inner circle being your ‘why.’ The middle ring is your ‘how,’ and the outer ring is your ‘what.’ You must start from within your ‘why’ and be able to communicate what you believe. It inspires people to act. My favorite quote (there were quite a few) was when he stated, “people don’t buy what you do, but why you do it.” Of course, this is more related to business, but it also applies to our personal lives. When we are motivated by our purpose, success happens.

I thought I had found my why when I became a software engineer. My daily work at Enbala, now Generac Grid Services, consisted of leveraging Elixir and other software development tools to advance a platform capable of keeping the grid stable for communities around the globe. My love for creating something out of code fueled me each day until, one day, it didn’t. I felt lost. My hard work wanting to become a successful software engineer went to waste. Then, my coworkers called to attention something I did not recognize as valuable: I love helping people.

The Role of Scrum Master

After numerous conversations with my colleagues, I became Generac Grid Services’ Scrum Master. As a Scrum Master, I am responsible for clearing obstacles the engineering team may face and establishing an environment where they can be effective. I have implemented many software development ceremonies to help increase both the morale and efficiency of our Concerto™ development teams. One is called Sprint Retrospective. This meeting allows a safe space for team members to discuss how the previous sprint went for them. It is a chance to call out what has worked well and to ensure we continue enhancing that process. Conversely, Retrospective is also an opportunity to voice any concerns that may jeopardize our overall goal to deliver quality Concerto releases on time.

Additionally, we’ve implemented an Engineering Iteration Demo. Our engineering team uses this time to demonstrate the Concerto features they have built during a given iteration. The Iteration is an opportunity for internal stakeholders, such as our Customer Success Team and Product Team, to ask follow-up questions to help us put our best foot forward in serving the needs and wants of our customers.

A Career in Software Development Coaching

This career is not only for me but also for my purpose. My job is to coach and guide people to reach their full potential, thus helping us deliver a quality platform to our current and prospective customers. There are still plenty of things for

me to learn regarding guiding our engineering team to deliver timely and scalable distributed energy resource platform features. Still, I am inspired to do more research to become a better coach, facilitator, coworker, and friend.

I found this career by mistake, but everything that has happened in my life has its purpose. Finding your purpose is a challenging task. Sometimes you don’t necessarily look for it; it just magically appears before you. I recommend grabbing the opportunity once you see it.

Patrick Isaac
Scrum Master, Generac Grid Services

On the Plane Again – April 2023


As Generac Grid Services’ SVP of sales, I get the opportunity to lead a global team of hardware and software sales leaders who help utilities and other energy companies solve their grid problems. This blog continues the series I kicked off at the start of 2023. In it, I intend to anonymously share what’s on the minds of peers in this industry actively working to modernize the grid. So, whether you’re a utility representative, industry vendor, or other grid enthusiast – reach out if any of this speaks to you!

Keeping April Weird

I started the month by attending Zpyme’s Energy Thought Summit (ETS) in Austin. The conference’s 10th Anniversary theme was “Keep Earth Weird,” a play on Austin’s longtime use of “Keep Austin Weird.” As a part of the conference, I had a chance to partner with my friend, Santosh Veda of Dominion Energy. We hosted a workshop entitled “So, You Think You Want a DERMS?” It was an excellent session to help discuss what distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS) are and are not. There seems to be a great deal of confusion around this topic created by vendors chomping at the bit to state they have a DERMS, regardless of their technology’s use cases today. We worked to set the record straight while discussing the challenges and needs for implementation.

I got to hear some great discussions, especially in the area of EVs, capacity needs, and resiliency. These all seem to be a common theme and interwoven: more EVs lead to the need for more capacity to maintain a resilient grid.


With any sales organization, I feel having a regular operating rhythm with your key accounts is essential. We call these Quarterly Business Reviews, or QBRs, and I had a chance to join one mid-way through the month. The QBR is a chance to share our new activities and learn about a given customer’s needs: what keeps them awake at night and what opportunities may be on the horizon. With any big meeting such as this, it’s important to plan ahead and debrief afterward.

On this particular QBR, we spent time discussing security, integrations and overall project status. We walked away knowing what Generac Grid Services needs to get done and in what new areas we can provide value.

Speaking at the State Capitol

Toward the month’s end, a friend in the utility space invited me to speak at the Texas State Capitol. I addressed the Texas Senate’s Committee on Business and Commerce on a bill that would open opportunities to use grid-edge resources for emergency purposes. If grid operators’ mission is to keep the lights on for everyone, then we must give them access to the resources already in place to do so. It was my first time getting involved in the legislative process. I rather enjoyed it and look forward to doing it again someday.

Closing the Month with Monetization… Again

Like last month, I spent time on the road visiting our industrial generator (>250 kW) dealers to discuss the monetization of Generac assets. What does “monetization” mean? Simply put, it’s a way the end customer can make money from granting access to their asset for use in utility programs or wholesale markets; in some cases, an asset owner can do both, which provides a chance to stack values and increase return on investment. To enable monetization, you need hardware, connectivity and a platform to optimize the available opportunities.

May will be a fantastic month! I have a chance to visit with friends at the PLMA Spring Conference. I also have trips planned for the Northeast, where I will introduce a customer from down under to some of our customers here in the U.S. It’s a chance to share lessons and ideas. So, until next month, I will see you around the terminal!

Jonathan ‘J.T.’ Thompson
SVP, Sales, Generac Grid Services


On the Plane Again – March 2023

Preface — March 2023

As Generac Grid Services’ SVP of sales, I get the opportunity to lead a global team of hardware and software sales leaders who help utilities and other energy companies solve their grid problems. This blog continues the series I kicked off at the start of 2023. In it, I intend to anonymously share what’s on the minds of peers in this industry actively working to modernize the grid. So, whether you’re a utility representative, industry vendor, or other grid enthusiast – reach out if any of this speaks to you!

This month was very short due to taking a break and dealing with a personal loss. Regardless, the time spent in the field was full of great discussions, as always. Here’s a look at what my team and I often found ourselves discussing during the month of March.

TechAdvantage: Good Times in the Music City

For the second year in a row, I had the pleasure of attending NRECA’s TechAdvantage Expo in Nashville, TN. For those that don’t know, this is the largest event catering to the electric cooperative space; it was great to see some old faces and meet many new ones.

A recurring theme throughout the conference was the desire to grow the distributed energy resource (DER) install base. Many groups were keen to understand how they could provide access to Generac products to their members. More importantly, they wanted to recruit Generac units to be dispatchable as grid resources. Fortunately, between Generac’s PowerINSIGHTS and Energy Alliance Program, we can meet both of those needs. Sharing this understanding with booth visitors has led the team to keep busy with TechAdvantage follow-up calls and meetings.

The co-op space is growing its interest in having a platform that can solve for more than just capacity and load needs. This meant that another major topic for discussion was our Concerto™ control and optimization platform. Our team experienced many more requests for demonstrations of our virtual power plant (VPP) and distributed energy resource management system (DERMS) software relative to the 2022 show.

Finally, the third star of the booth was our integrated meter automated transfer switch (ATS) which combines the meter socket and automated transfer switch and can even include an intelligent load management solution. Typically, these products are separate units. However, combining them makes life easier for dealers to install our generation products and supports customers in efficiently sizing the generator to their home load.

A Time to Relax & A Time to Mourn

After Nashville, I had a chance to relax as my kids were on spring break. It was great to stay home and catch up, as life on the road is exhausting. The weather wasn’t great, but we made the most of it.

Soon after, I was met with a bit of tragedy. I learned of the passing of my father. This was hard as it had been some 11 years since we last spoke; pride and stubbornness can often get in the way. However, I recall his dedication to his work and his being a master storyteller. I will miss our talks about Alabama football and his ability to create very colorful metaphors.

Closing the Month with Monetization

Following my return to the office, I spent ample time meeting with groups to discuss the ability to monetize assets. I see more and more groups looking to promote Generac’s — and other vendors’ — products and then monetize those assets in wholesale markets and/or utility programs. This monetization is typically through a third-party ownership (TPO) model whereby a company owns the assets and leases them back to a residential or commercial customer.

Interested prospects include groups seeking to participate in the Aggregated Distributed Energy Resources (ADER) pilot in ERCOT. I have the honor of serving on the Task Force guiding the pilot, and we had our quarterly meeting this past month. The effort has made significant progress, but much is left to do.

Our role is simple in all the above opportunities – provide the hardware and software.

As I look ahead, April will be jam-packed with travel. Between hosting a DERMS Workshop in Austin and client trips on the east coast and Midwest, my calendar has very few days at home. Nevertheless, I look forward to the discussions as I work with groups to address today’s problems and future planning challenges. As always, until next month, see you around the terminal!

On the Plane Again – February 2023

February 2023


As Generac Grid Services’ SVP of sales, I get the opportunity to lead a global team of hardware and software sales leaders who help utilities and other energy companies solve their grid problems. This blog continues the series I kicked off last January. In it, I intend to anonymously share what’s on the minds of peers in this industry actively working to modernize the grid. So, whether you’re a utility representative, industry vendor, or other grid enthusiast – reach out if any of this speaks to you!

DISTRIBUTECH, How I’ve Missed You

I always look forward to DTECH. It’s like a big class reunion and catching up with longtime friends in the industry is always a plus. The week started with our kick-off happy hour event, where we had a great mix of friends, customers, and prospective customers. The team asked me to give a welcome speech, so I briefly thanked everyone for joining us amidst preparations for a busy week and talked about how we view them all like family; after all, many attendees have been around since our early days as Enbala.

During the week, the conversations focused on three areas:

  1. DERMS: What is it? Why does every vendor think they have one? Why is our platform different? The answers came down to focusing on differentiating demand response management systems (DRMS), virtual power plants (VPPs), and distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS). We talked through the use cases of each because, let’s be honest with ourselves, a DRMS cannot do what a DERMS can and neither can an advanced distribution management system (ADMS).
  2. Hardware & PowerINISIGHTS: As has been the case for the past several months, the PowerINSIGHTS tool was a hit. It supported many discussions around what Generac devices are in the ground today and how those DERs can support grid reliability. Where Generac Grid Services’ Concerto platform is not yet in the mix, we discussed how to use our Grid Services API to access Generac devices.
  3. Electric Vehicles: I will preface this with the statement that EVs were the buzz of DTECH. Between charging infrastructure and cars, it was certainly top of mind for many vendors and utilities. Our discussion centered around our new Generac Level II EV Charger for the residential space and our partnership with RER to bring telematics into the Generac Grid Services’ ecosystem. Every utility grid will uniquely experience EV load growth, and management solutions will require the ability to meet utilities at their distinct points in the managed charging journey.

A Chance to Keynote at Smart Energy Summit

It was great to be back on the stage at Parks Associates’ Smart Energy Summit, as it’s been roughly 12 years since I spoke at the event. My keynote focused on “the good, the bad, and the reality of program design.” During the “reality” part of the discussion, I even took a few shots at groups that aren’t “playing nice” in this space. If DER vendors are going to support maximizing customer choice in utility programs, they must play fair by providing control and optimization platforms with some level of access. Some great questions were posed, but the one that really stood out was, “What’s your favorite Western?” The answer is The Sons of Katy Elder with John Wayne.

A Trip to New Orleans

I must admit, in all the years I have been in this industry, this was my first trip to AESP’s Annual Conference. It was a good event with some familiar faces and plenty of new ones. There were plenty of questions about Generac, specifically about Generac’s vision and plan for the Grid Services business. My takeaway is that many groups within our industry still don’t know the value we can provide by coupling our hardware and software. Further, they’re unfamiliar with the various use cases Concerto™-enabled solutions offer to help stabilize the electric grid. Some would see this as a challenge, but I view it as an opportunity.

Some of the sidebar discussions I had at AESP centered around focusing our efforts on existing installations, both residential and commercial, to help in grid emergencies. There is real value there. We must provide a business model that works with the regulatory and programmatic confines. Stay tuned — more to come on this subject in future posts!

In all, it was a good month, but a quick one. Great discussions all around! March could be full of surprises as we end the first quarter. By the time this is posted, I’ll be at the TechAdvantage Expo event in Nashville. Visiting with representatives of the electric cooperative space always presents an opportunity to learn about what challenges they are facing. I plan to spend some downtime during the month as spring break draws near. Until next month, see you around the terminal!

On the Plane Again – January 2023


As Generac Grid Services’ SVP of sales, I get the opportunity to lead a global team of hardware and software sales leaders who help utilities and other energy companies solve their grid problems. This role provides me with the opportunity to sit in on meetings with both current and prospective customers. In these conversations, I get a better sense of what’s really on the minds of peers in this industry and what it will take to truly modernize the grid. As a result, I’ve started this monthly blog to share summaries of what I have been hearing as I suspect there are commonalities across the industry, whether you’re a utility, vendor, consultant, or are otherwise following the grid transformation. The stories you read here are true; only names have been withheld to protect the innocent.

Team Culture Comes First

The year started quickly, with a trip to our Denver office for a team meeting to hone our focus for 2023. A quarterly meeting, I believe these team gatherings need to be less about pipeline reviews and more about how we answer to the market’s evolving needs. More importantly, the group also level sets on what tools and other support we need to be successful in our respective roles. After a couple of days of lively discussion, it became apparent that our team is excited about the challenges and opportunities ahead. However, the Grid Services take-home message remains the same: be who we are, solve grid problems, and be epic.

Value Hiding in Plain Sight

As January always turns over a new leaf, I spent time conversing with prospective clients about the year ahead. A common theme across all meetings was participants’ desire to understand what Generac can do with the assets it sells in the global market. A recent series of articles about our PowerINSIGHTS tool likely drove some of this interest. Questions routinely included:

• Can Generac share how much capacity exists at a street-by-street level?
• Are all of Generac’s assets connected and controllable?
• Can these devices be used for building programs?
• Are there limits to how these resources can be used?
• How can I gain access to anonymized install base data?

Needless to say, answers to those questions set the stage for many more follow-up meetings and discussions – more on that next month.

If You Aren’t Innovating, You’ll Be Left Behind

Later in the month, a client challenged our team with what inventive solutions we had planned for 2023. It was a fair question because if you aren’t innovating, you’ll be left behind. We focused the discussion on three areas:
• Virtual power plants (VPPs) for wholesale energy trading
Electric vehicle load as a grid resource
• C&I customer acquisition into programs

These subjects differ from the pure distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS) discussions we typically have. Still, I enjoyed the change of topic as it advanced my understanding of what solutions customers are looking for. In addition, I feel both sides walked away with a clear vision of what the future holds, both for 2023 and beyond.

The closing week had me back home, preparing for a chaotic February. Generac Grid Services will kick off the month with our industry’s largest event, DISTRIBUTECH, and end with AESP’s Annual Conference. Along the way, I’ll also deliver a keynote address at the Smart Energy Summit. I’m sure there will be a meeting (or ten) thrown in for good measure.


About the Author

J.T. leads a global team of sales and commercial operations leaders who help utilities and cooperatives solve their grid problems. Over the course of his career, he has held myriad roles in the energy business across companies including ICAP, Constellation NewEnergy, GE, Noble Americas Energy Solutions and others. He’s been an energy broker, sales leader, and, most recently at Generac Grid Services, the VP of enterprise accounts.