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