Engineering procurement construction company GenPro Energy Solutions focuses on energy efficiency and energy production in commercial, governmental and residential markets. The sustainable energy company has grown considerably over its fifteen years and now serves over two hundred energy dealers across the United States and projects around the world.
Dwight Patterson, founder and Chief Executive Officer of GenPro Energy, believes that the company has come about its success naturally.
“There is a myriad of different reasons that the company has grown over the past fifteen years. We started out as a distribution company; then we focused on a niche market in the renewable energy sector, and over the years, we created some pretty incredible relationships with our dealer network. As a result, we acquired certain dealers through the years to help create our market approach.”
Dwight recognizes that by observing the needs across the energy market, the company was able to build a healthy growth plan. “We were a distribution company originally until we realized that there was a distinct lack of education and expertise in the market space to be able to implement the technologies. We sought out and acquired dealers and contractors that were capable in these different market spaces and integrated them into our approach.”
The company has also needed to look inwards and is comfortable making changes to processes. This is something that Dwight feels has brought customer satisfaction. “We have developed a lot of internal software that is proprietary to our business which allows us to have a unique approach to our clients’ needs, and we can address those through our software and return a comprehensive solution to them.”
However, the company has experienced, along with all other sectors and industries, a severe shortage of skilled employees. Owing to the positive employment levels nationwide, the company has had to try different approaches.
“Growth is always challenging in any industry. In our industry specifically, there was a real lack of education and places to go to find qualified individuals in our Region. We are in the Midwest, and so compared to East and West Coast markets, there were a lot less renewables and energy-efficient technologies being implemented, so that obviously makes it more difficult to find qualified people to do the job. We created internal processes to take people that were in our electrical industry and train them specifically for our market.”
Making real changes in the way we produce and consume energy is not as easy as many companies would have you believe. While advertising may refer to efficient, ethically-produced and environmentally-minded products, this, in many circumstances, is just lip-service. Dwight believes that, regardless of the intentions and values a company has, real sustainable views and products are hamstrung by the much bigger challenge of profitability.
“Renewables are becoming more mainstream over time, but honestly, to have true sustainability, you have to start with the economics. In the past five years, we have started to see the economics of renewables become the main driver in the adoption of our technologies; it is no longer just an environmental or social choice.”
It is disappointing, but it seems as though true change only happens if it has a monetary value. While it would be ethically and socially reassuring to see companies make changes for their own sake, Dwight accepts that is not the case. “These technologies are being implemented because it makes financial sense. It changes formerly negative attitudes when people are making decisions based on financial drivers.”
On the other hand, the result is sustainable energy which is a positive thing regardless. One factor that plays a large part in the financial appeal of sustainable energy is that the industry is now old enough to have grown itself. “Part of it is that technology is changing and evolving. There is a lot more capability in terms of production. It you compare the cost of a producing a solar cell with that of twenty years ago, it is completely different. It is less than ten percent of the cost that it was. Also, the cost of energy continues to go up from traditional energy sources such as coal and natural gas, so it is now a more viable solution when they are competitive with traditional energy sources.”
In business, it is important to stand out. That can be a challenge in itself when a company is in a market as competitive as energy. However, GenPro Energy allows the customer to come to it, adapting its products and services when needed.
“We are involved in multiple markets and the challenges we face differ because of this. We design projects around technologies of our own choosing so we can assure reliability.”
This approach means that, while it may not be in a position to flood the market with standard products, the company can instead work with its customer to identify a specific energy consumption design. This allows for a more tailored solution for the client. “In the lighting and energy efficiency sector, this is a very competitive sector which can be challenging. However, we have developed proprietary software that allows us to go in and address very specific customer challenges that may or may not be able to be quantified by a competitor. We are able to go in and show exactly what the savings will be for the customer, exactly what sort of performance they can expect, and we guarantee both. That is a distinct advantage that we have over many of our competitors.”
This customer-led approach is one key factor that sets GenPro Energy apart from its competitors. Dwight has built a company that is responsive rather than aggressive, and there is a genuine drive to work for the client to produce the most cost-effective and sustainable solution for their particular set of circumstances.
“We tend to look at a customer, what their goal or objective is, and then we apply the particular technology that solves their specific challenge. So for example, if a customer is simply looking for energy savings, we don’t just go in there and install a solar system to produce power for that customer. We look at how they are actually consuming the energy, what technologies they are currently using, and if there is a more cost-effective technology to perform the same duty or function. The goal is to provide better performance top to bottom.”
This full product solution, from approach through design and execution, is at the heart of GenPro Energy’s journey to the top of the energy solutions’ market. “I think the key is that we provide the complete package. We provide auditing, product selection, energy savings analysis, and the full installation.”