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.