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Episode #83: 'Embracing The Utility Role Of Community & Economic Development' With Patrick Smith [an Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast]

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The ‘Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast’ features conversations with thought leaders in the utility sector. Each two weeks we’ll connect with an Energy Central Power Industry Network...

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While most U.S. utilities operate in a regulated market, meaning competition from other utilities for providing service in their given region isn't a concern, that doesn't mean that these power companies opt to sit back and wait for the customers to come to them. In fact, the business development departments of utilities serve some of the most critical functions. By providing a business case for major facilities and companies to set up shop in their service area, the utility can expand its customer base and thus provide more affordable and beneficial services to existing customers. Further, serving as community pillars that strive to elevate the entire economy is a unique proposition for utility companies, one that is unique among other businesses operating in a given region.

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To discuss what the challenges, motivations, and success stories of such efforts in major utilities, this episode of the Energy Central Power Perspectives Podcast brings on Patrick Smith, the VP of Economic, Community, and Business Development at Ameren Missouri. Patrick has seen it all in his career in the energy sector, starting as a journey lineman and climbing the ladder over the decades to ultimately end up at this latest challenge. He shares with podcast host Jason Price and producer Matt Chester how this development focus is able to open up new opportunities and offers his best practices for succeeding in this function.

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Thanks to the sponsor of this episode of the Energy Central Power Perspectives Podcast: West Monroe

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TRANSCRIPT

Jason Price: 

Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the Energy Central Power Perspectives podcast, where we bring in to the podcast booth leading voices in the world of power and utilities to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and trends they see as transforming and modernizing our energy systems and the utility industry of the future.

Jason Price: 
And a quick thank you to West Monroe, our sponsor of today's show.

Jason Price: 
Now, let's talk energy. I'm Jason Price, Energy Central podcast host and director with West Monroe, coming to you from New York City, and with me as always from Orlando, Florida is the Energy Central producer and community manager, Matt Chester.

Jason Price: 
Matt, I'm really excited to welcome today's guest to the podcast as he's one of the rare utility lifers in that he started working with utility as alignment over 30 years ago, and has, in those decades, worked his way up the ladder to become VP.

Jason Price: 
Specifically, our guest is the VP of economic community and business development at Ameren Missouri.

Jason Price: 
Matt, when you think of business, economic, and community development for utility, what comes to mind?

Matt Chester: 
Well Jason, typically it sounds to me like a job I would expect for the government to try to attract new businesses or maybe local trade groups who want to ramp up activity, and honestly, before chatting with our guest today, I wasn't terribly aware of the importance of these activities from the utility perspective, so because of that, I'm really eager for him to peel back the curtain a bit for us today.

Jason Price: 
Yeah, likewise. So, while I'm sure our guest today will provide some key insight into what this critical arm of the utility business operation does, I anticipate we will have much to discuss in the limited time to cover it all so without further ado, let's welcome our guest who serves in the role of VP of economic community and business development at Ameren Missouri.

Jason Price: 
Patrick Smith, welcome to the Energy Central Power Perspectives podcast.

Patrick Smith: 
Wow. Thank you, Jason and Matt. I appreciate the warm greeting and I'm excited to be with both of you today. It's a good day today and I'm looking forward to a great conversation.

Jason Price: 
Well, fantastic, and we're thrilled to have you here.

Jason Price: 
So, Patrick, let's jump in. I'm intrigued by your title of economic community and business development. What exactly is the role and are you wearing three different hardhats on your job?

Patrick Smith: 
Well, Hey, Jason, I'll tell you, in moving into this role, I was intrigued by the title as well and as you mentioned, I'm a journey line worker and I actually started my career as a meter reader, so other than maybe a year as a strategic analyst, I spent my entire career in operation; seems like maybe since second grade almost, but it's been a long time and my efforts were influencing and focused on the performance engine of the organization and doing the things to execute on the deliverables associated with the energy grid, and along with things that optimize our performance and practices to ensure we were cost defective.

Patrick Smith: 
Now, in this role, and this is what I really like about it and why I jumped at it, it's because it's all about growth.

Patrick Smith: 
You mentioned three different hardhats. It's more like five but it starts with understanding, and now I'd like to touch on this briefly, three core tenets of Ameren's strategy.

Patrick Smith: 
Investing in regulated energy infrastructure. That's one. Two, enhanced regulatory framework and advocating for responsible energy and economic policy. And our third is optimizing our operating performance, and we like to capitalize on these opportunities to benefit our customers and shareholders, and we land in that pretty heavy in the group I'm in so in support of this strategy, the title of our department is community economic development and energy solutions, and I'll talk about that as CEDES for short.

Patrick Smith: 
It's a long title but our core deliverable in the energy space for our company is customer affordability, so we talk about growth but what we're delivering is customer affordability. We're designed to do this by generating new net revenue, and we do that to offset these company expenses and putting downward pressure on the revenue requirement for all customers.

Patrick Smith: 
This enables Ameren Missouri to continue to invest millions in grid modernization; you mentioned that, with the reduced rate pressure for our customer base, and that's key.

Patrick Smith: 
So I mentioned in the strategy, enhancing the regulatory frameworks, and it's part of our strategy, and we did just...

Patrick Smith: 
Let's see, back in 2018 we achieved regulatory reform with our Senate Bill 564. It resulted in us creating an infrastructure investment plan, dubbed the Smart Energy Plan, heavily marketed here in Missouri and really successful, and we actually just secured a measure of stability in that execution of that plan here in 2022 with the passage of what we call Senate Bill 745, so it was an extension with key enhancements.

Patrick Smith: 
So the CEDES functioning, and really getting into the nitty gritty of how we deliver the affordability, and I'm going to tell you this really quickly but it's in five, and I'll say it, five fun and exciting ways helping drive economic and community development in Missouri and the bi-state region.

Patrick Smith: 
Number two, influencing efficient electrification, especially just like everyone else in the transportation sector, and promoting the adoption of beneficial electrification. We're initially focusing on space, water heating and cooking.

Patrick Smith: 
Three, facilitating the build out of renewable energy resources are mainly solar in my particular lane. And then four, driving the continued evolution and effectiveness of our massive energy efficiency and demand response programs, and with some of the energy supply concerns, demand responses, front and center.

Patrick Smith: 
And then five, developing new products and services for our customers, and this is really aspirational but in a regulated market it can be challenging.

Patrick Smith: 
So those are the five things that we call ourselves doing, and we try to focus on with my group.

Jason Price: 
Certainly not a dull moment, I can imagine.

Patrick Smith: 
Not at all.

Jason Price: 
Yeah, not at all.

Jason Price: 
All right, so let's unpack some of that. I want to make sure we all understand and appreciate all that you've just said.

Jason Price: 
So as a regulated utility, you have this natural monopoly privilege, which is the non-competitive nature of your business, and you're always working to deliver the best product to keep customers satisfied, and of course, regulators content, but if you fall short, it's not like a customer can just switch and you lose market share. It's a bit more nuanced than that.

Jason Price: 
Talk us through that, please, given your role that you do.

Patrick Smith: 
That's interesting. That was interesting for me as I began to mature in the organization and learn, and Ameren, as a corporation, as about 2.4 million customers, we're split 50/50, Illinois and Missouri.

Patrick Smith: 
Illinois is a retail choice state, so we have some awareness of operating in a deregulated market but my role as an officer in the Missouri company is in a regulated environment, so we have the right to serve and we have the obligation to serve customers in the Missouri geographic area, so when you think about market share in the regulated space where you're not really competing for customers, what you had really a couple things.

Patrick Smith: 
There's this notion of grid defection, and you probably heard more about that in the past than you do now but grid defection, where customers in theory develop customer owned distributed energy resources, and they basically generate their own supply.

Patrick Smith: 
So in generating their own supply, obviously that's a bit of a business risk to us because we think we can do it better, and in Missouri, we are very affordable, especially against our peers, and we're also developing more renewable energy options for our customers, so that helps us maintain the provider of choice in Missouri.

Patrick Smith: 
The other dynamic I'll speak to when you think about the market share, is innovative evolution of energy efficiency. I mean, just over time you think about Lowe's or Home Depot, whatever, but washers, dryers, even other...

Patrick Smith: 
Anything electric that was already electric is more efficient. What you bought 20 years ago does not use the same amount of energy it does today, and this is not a bad thing. We support anything becoming more energy efficient. We call that efficient electrification, and where it exists now is the devices I mentioned is good, but we also want to help drive innovation where it does not exist, so there are many opportunities that remain to leverage the benefits of electrical energy.

Patrick Smith: 
So market share then, the way we see it, it's about the continued evolution of the use of electricity to power the quality of life for our customers in our communities, in a equitable and just fashion.

Jason Price: 
Okay. So then growing market share is really basically an economic development question here. It's how to basically grow the economy in your territory to maintain and capture new business as the form of market share. So I guess you want to woo new projects by attracting community growth in industry and commercial activity growth.

Jason Price: 
All these are important characteristics of a thriving territory. Am I accurate here?

Patrick Smith: 
Yes, you are, and we certainly do. We want to attract investment and new businesses, and there's a correlation between growing energy demand and economic development, and thinking about this for some of our residential customers, energy costs can typically run in the background and that's generally because the Missouri rates have been among the most affordable in the Midwest at Ameren.

Patrick Smith: 
These costs become more of a focus for our commercial customers, our industrial customers, and our residential customers navigating some economically disadvantaged circumstances, but as we attract new business and industry, the fixed costs that everyone shares, the fixed costs of the grid are spread across more participants and it lowers the cost for all customers. We basically call this lowering the revenue requirements.

Patrick Smith: 
Now, with that said, currently I know we're all failing, and some certainly more than others, the impacts. You got the macroeconomic and geopolitical factors that are driving increased costs for everything; I mean food, gas, energy, and Ameren Missouri's sensitive to these issues so I have to really put this plug out there that for anyone listening, if that's a issue, energy bill assistance resources can be found on our website.

Patrick Smith: 
So often we want to remain, keep a lens on that and be sensitive to that, but even in this challenging market environment, economic development is good for energy rates because it lowers the revenue requirement for all customers, and that's in addition to all the quality of life benefits that economic development brings to a community.

Jason Price: 
I find this topic fascinating. I really want to understand more about how you interact with your counterparts at other utilities, because at the end of the day, if a community or a corporation wants to settle down on a certain site, there's a desire to win that business and have them settle down in your site versus another site, so are you keeping more of your offerings and strategies close to the chest to keep the competitive advantage? Or is there still a sense of collaboration across the industry players when it comes to economic development?

Patrick Smith: 
Yeah, that's a terribly interesting question, and it's certainly a lot.

Patrick Smith: 
As I think about it, there's always some element of proprietary thought and innovation in any industry, but I would suggest it is less among utility companies than other commercial entities, and the reason I'm saying that, given the defined service areas, the competition for existing customers is minimal.

Patrick Smith: 
Now, it does exist on the edges of the service areas where you're dealing with co-op. There's some skirmishes along those areas, therefore it's competitive areas but basically it's pretty static, and major utilities probably mostly compete for capital investment, so that's one of the things for capital investment, and the other is, as you mentioned, Jason, for business attraction in to the service area.

Patrick Smith: 
Now, this has become really more intense with the growth of the electric vehicle market because they come with such a robust supply chain industry, and I'm going to tell you some of these battery manufacturing plants, they're coming in at 1 billion, 2.3, 2.5 billion dollar investments with pretty good paying job, so there's a lot of competition for those type of businesses, and even some of the smaller stuff, so that's where you see the competition.

Patrick Smith: 
Where you see the collaboration among utilities, you see it... And you're familiar with EEI, Edison Electric Institute, association that represents all utilities.

Patrick Smith: 
I'll give a quick, great example of just a recent collaboration, and that was with the National Electric Highway Coalition, and really that's really leaning in on collaborating across states, across electric companies, to join in on a memorandum of understanding that we're committed to providing EV fast charging across these highway corridors, because when you think about being successful, you have to dispel that range anxiety that any consumer might have, and if folks want to travel, they need to feel comfortable traveling from state to state.

Jason Price: 
All right, so back to your title because I'm still fascinated with all the different hardhats you wear as you noted.

Jason Price: 
So you're a business developer, you're a economic developer, but you're also, in essence, a community developer.

Jason Price: 
Talk to us, what are the typical roles and activities around the industry that you would put under the category of community development?

Patrick Smith: 
Yeah, in the community development piece, that's part of our economic development framework, and I'll couch it like this. When you talk about the economic development piece, it's the piece right now for 2022 that's really driving us toward our revenue targets, but you're starting to see the economy cool off, just from organic influences, just how economies work, but also from federal monetary policy interest rate increasing, so it's slowing things down but we're focused on business retention and expansion, the most reliable and cost effective economic development because you're working with people who are already there, to help them grow, stay where they're at, and expand, and so there's less risk. This is the traction that...

Patrick Smith: 
Just talked about that a bit so I won't go into that, but one of the little unknowns that has really moved to the front is site development, and this is just having sites that are ready to go with infrastructure and the right amount of acreage, rail, interstate, waterways, electric, gas, sewer, water, and then labor.

Patrick Smith: 
Having your enterprise where there are people who will work is a key one, but it all is wrapped around our community engagement team, and our community engagement team creates the relationship to help us engage early in these opportunities and understand how we can pull people together to help drive collaboration, at least in our market, to get more things done.

Patrick Smith: 
And the other piece, and I'll wrap with this, the other piece it does is to help us ensure that we're fostering inclusive economic growth, meaning that we have a lens on the entirety of our service area and to make sure everyone is competing

Jason Price: 
Great.

Jason Price: 
Well Patrick, why don't you share with us... I mean, I have a general idea of what the answer may be but I'd really love to hear from you, what does good look like? How do you measure success?

Patrick Smith: 
Yeah, and I touched on it earlier. The core mission is to generate new net revenue to offset the expense, and we have a great deal of grid modernization investment, and that basically the way people live, work and play now is to the benefit of the folks in Missouri and even in Illinois, but we have to offset this type of investment so that we don't have rates that can increase beyond what our customers can afford, so we're generating revenue that we take to the top line on the income statement and help drive down these costs, and our target, for myself and our team, by 2025 we have a goal of achieving 75 million dollars in recurring new net revenue, and that increases every year, and the 2026 goal is 86.6 million dollars.

Patrick Smith: 
We'll travel along like that with increasingly larger sums of recurring revenue, but that's how we're measured on being successful.

Jason Price: 
Interesting. This area is also fascinating. I'd love it if you could make it a bit more tangible. Give us a use case.

Jason Price: 
For our audience, can you talk about any specific projects you work to get into the Ameren service territory and what that process looked like from initial bidding to identifying opportunities for the customer, and overall the ultimate decision making process on your end and their end?

Patrick Smith: 
Yeah, I can, and sometimes it'll be a two or three year process. It'll start with a business lead and that's why the relationships are important. It might start with some of our business development executives being out at a conference, and understanding might start with business intelligence coming back from the state government coming back from a trade mission, but understanding that people are marketing Missouri not only across the country but across the world, and we're looking to leverage and follow up on those insights and so we've had 10 wins, what we call bringing new industry to the state, just this year, but I'll talk about one good example is an international company.

Patrick Smith: 
It was already here but their work is WEG Transformers, so they build large transformers that you might see in substations, and what's interesting about how we engage this customer with our key account executive and understanding what they need, our smart energy plan grid investments actually drove a increase in the demand for their product, so the legislation we were able to achieve, and then the investment plan, it created a demand for them to create more product and because of that, they had an opportunity to expand, and then expanding and growing their business we also had our economic development incentive, and it's one of the best economic development incentives in the nation. It was able to help them expand with a number of years of reduced energy rates, but they were providing some valuable jobs and a tax base into the local and state communities.

Patrick Smith: 
Couple other quick points of interest, energy efficiency team created a pay as you save program and we call it PAYS, and this is interesting because heat pumps and...

Patrick Smith: 
You put caulking and things, you think about energy efficiency and put some more insulation in here, but those major deals, what you're talking HVAC and heat pump, sometimes the entire service area can't participate because you just don't have their upfront capital, so this pay as you save program, we incur all of those upfront costs and the customer can pay just on the installments in their monthly bill, so now you get the benefit of everyone participating and getting the energy efficiency benefits that previously were not available to them.

Patrick Smith: 
That's something, as I read the Biden Executive Order, it's directly written in that executive order to increase HVAC production, and so I think there's some good alignment there.

Jason Price: 
Yeah. That leads to my next question, which is really about the future of the grid.

Jason Price: 
We're talking about someone who, like yourself, knows the landscape of the utilities and your territory better than anyone, especially when it relates to clean energy goals, distributed assets, new technologies on the grid, and much more, so what are you doing and how is the modernization of the grid and the evolution of utility priorities impacting your focus from a BD and ED standpoint?

Patrick Smith: 
Yeah. What I've noticed, and I've been in the industry for 37 years or so and probably had an awareness of what was going on for at least 25 of them, and the evolution, the cycle, it's just gotten faster.

Patrick Smith: 
Things are changing now much faster than they did in the past, and you can point to labor and utility companies like Ameren and others across the country. I mean, it's filled with folks with 35 years and 40 years, and now you're seeing the talent come in now, they'll give you five, seven years and they want to go do something else, so just like it is with laborers, it's like that with everything, and because of that, we like to envision CEDES.

Patrick Smith: 
Our team has a conservative mutual growth fund for Ameren Missouri, and what that means is we remain nimble and poised to allocate and reallocate any of our five value drivers that I mentioned earlier, to exploit the current and emergent market and regulatory conditions, and the reason for that is because they changed.

Patrick Smith: 
I mean, just earlier...

Patrick Smith: 
The economy is changing every day and maybe next year, I said it was our biggest driver, maybe in '23 or '24 it won't be and we'll have to get our new net revenue and subscriber renewables or electrification.

Patrick Smith: 
So that's our business model, to be nimble and poised and allocate and reallocate resources to any of our five value drivers. But to best do this, we need to be able to exploit all five options, and they need to all be viable, and so the one that's really not as viable now is the product and services and so we're putting some focus on trying to have a win there.

Patrick Smith: 
Now, we acknowledge continued evolution in every of the value streams, but economic development has been fairly successful; demonstrated success, efficient electrification. We've done well there. Subscriber renewables. We have a lot of solar out there, but they've had big, significant wins and demonstrated ability to create a revenue, and to my point, we've not yet had a significant regulatory milestone or approval with our new products and services, so we're really leaning in there to help build out our model.

Patrick Smith: 
So that's how we look at it; just ensuring we have a model that can provide robust revenue streams in any kind of market, and so when I look at this, the way we aim to model is take a four-one approach, and so that's ensuring we're focusing maybe on the vital few four or five things, and then we always have that one thing that is leaning into aspirational objective that can be a quantum leap for the business. We just don't want to be incremental.

Patrick Smith: 
And I'll put it in this way, if either you are golfers, if you can envision.

Patrick Smith: 
So, five holes. Four of the holes are just straight par fours. You can stand at the T. You can clearly see the flag. There may be a sand trap here or there, but you can see where you're going.

Patrick Smith: 
And then we always have that one dogleg par five. You can't see the flag.

Patrick Smith: 
I mean, you know it's out there but you don't know where, and that's our aspirational piece. It's out of sight but from our early vantage point, we're not there, and so we just know we have to work directionally to get there, so we'd like to keep something on the table for that. So for us, it's about flexibility, focus with a farsighted view.

Jason Price: 
I like that. And I like the analogy.

Jason Price: 
Patrick, we're going to give you the final word, the last word in this podcast, but before we get to it, we have what's called the lightning round. It's where we have an opportunity to learn more about the people driving the energy industry.

Jason Price: 
So in this lightning round, we will ask you a few questions and you'll limit it to one word or phrase.

Jason Price: 
Are you ready?

Patrick Smith: 
Yeah. I'm ready.

Jason Price: 
Okay. Let's get going.

Jason Price: 
Is there an app on your phone you couldn't live without?

Patrick Smith: 
WAZE. 

Jason Price: 
What's your preferred way to wind down after a long day at the office?

Patrick Smith: 
Watching Family Feud.

Jason Price: 
Who do you look up to?

Patrick Smith: 
Most definitely my father.

Jason Price: 
What would be an alternative career path if you hadn't found yourself in the energy industry?

Patrick Smith: 
Oh, I would be coaching basketball for sure.

Jason Price: 
What are you most optimistic about?

Patrick Smith: 
The recovery from so much trauma; political, health, financial, safety. I mean, it has to happen at some point.

Jason Price: 
Fantastic.

Jason Price: 
All right, so you expertly navigated the lightning round which means we are here to give you the final word of the podcast, and knowing that your peers and partners across the industry are listening in, what is the final takeaway message that you hope that they take away from today's conversation?

Patrick Smith: 
Yeah, I've said a lot of things; some technical things. I just try to be a bit transparent.

Patrick Smith: 
You know, I'm still learning a lot about that area and I appreciate this opportunity to share some of what we do. And let's also be clear, I'm here today as a proxy for many talented people, and I'm lucky to work with on these missions, but I'll leave with this quick antidote.

Patrick Smith: 
One of my teams in the past, we initiated a thing called Patriot Games, and it's motivated by what I perceive the new England Patriot business model to be, which we all know resulted in at least six Super Bowl wins, and so I just watched and I saw their coach Bill Belichick, and as I watched how he did things year after year, he seemed to focus on raising the floor of an organization year after year, raising the floor. And I mean, relatively speaking, always, and his worst players were always better, always better, than everyone else's worst players.

Patrick Smith: 
He had a star too of course, but his investment was really in the marginal and the ordinary. It really, it was epiphany for me. It's clear to me that this, at least in my humble opinion, is the best way to deliver benefits for all, so what I'm saying is there is a tremendous amount of attention and resources that is allocated to the top, the high potential employee, the best employee, the areas where business is growing near the stadiums and this and that, this and that, but I would ask my colleagues and other leaders to consider disrupting that trend and investing in your coworker and your communities, and your investment plans.

Patrick Smith: 
Inclusive economic growth is sustainable economic growth. So thanks for having me.

Jason Price: 
Absolutely. We appreciate your insight. We certainly enjoyed learning from your experience and expertise, and I know that our community members will feel the same as well.

Jason Price: 
So if listeners have comments or questions, we encourage you to leave them at the Energy Central podcast post, where you can learn more and keep the conversation going.

Jason Price: 
And until then, thank you so much Patrick Smith, VP of economic community and business development at Ameren Missouri. Thank you for your insight and sharing your wisdom today.

Patrick Smith: 
Yeah. I had a great time and I appreciated the opportunity to share.

Jason Price: 
We also want to give a quick shout out to our podcast sponsor that made today's episode possible. Thanks to West Monroe. West Monroe works with the nation's largest electric, gas, and water utilities in their telecommunication grid, modernization and digital and workforce transformations.

Jason Price: 
West Monroe brings a multidisciplinary team that blends utility operations and technology expertise to address modernizing aging infrastructure, advisory on transportation, electrification, ADMs, deployments, data and analytics, and cybersecurity.

Jason Price: 
And once again, I'm your host Jason Price. Plug in and stay fully charged in the discussion by hopping into the community at EnergyCentral.com, and we'll see you next time at the Energy Central Power Perspectives podcast.

 


About Energy Central Podcasts

The ‘Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast’ features conversations with thought leaders in the utility sector. At least twice monthly, we connect with an Energy Central Power Industry Network community member to discuss compelling topics that impact professionals who work in the power industry. Some podcasts may be a continuation of thought-provoking posts or discussions started in the community or with an industry leader that is interested in sharing their expertise and doing a deeper dive into hot topics or issues relevant to the industry.

The ‘Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast’ is the premiere podcast series from Energy Central, a Power Industry Network of Communities built specifically for professionals in the electric power industry and a place where professionals can share, learn, and connect in a collaborative environment. Supported by leading industry organizations, our mission is to help global power industry professionals work better. Since 1995, we’ve been a trusted news and information source for professionals working in the power industry, and today our managed communities are a place for lively discussions, debates, and analysis to take place. If you’re not yet a member, visit www.EnergyCentral.com to register for free and join over 200,000 of your peers working in the power industry.

The Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast is hosted by Jason PriceCommunity Ambassador of Energy Central. Jason is a Business Development Executive at West Monroe, working in the East Coast Energy and Utilities Group. Jason is joined in the podcast booth by the producer of the podcast, Matt Chester, who is also the Community Manager of Energy Central and energy analyst/independent consultant in energy policy, markets, and technology.  

If you want to be a guest on a future episode of the Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast, let us know! We’ll be pulling guests from our community members who submit engaging content that gets our community talking, and perhaps that next guest will be you! Likewise, if you see an article submitted by a fellow Energy Central community member that you’d like to see broken down in more detail in a conversation, feel free to send us a note to nominate them.  For more information, contact us at community@energycentral.com. Podcast interviews are free for Expert Members and professionals who work for a utility.  We have package offers available for solution providers and vendors. 

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Stephanie Giraud's picture
Stephanie Giraud on Jun 14, 2022

I really enjoyed this podcast! The lightning round was really cool too! The fact that your dream job is so far removed from your actual job is awesome! Great podcast! I guess my only question is as a Community Development leader, is there training being provided to workers in rural areas where these energy companies are looking to advance the grid, for those persons who may not have the technical know-how that live in said communities?

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