This was the first AESP conference I had attended and was pleasantly surprised by the both the speaker sessions, and quality of conversations I had with attendees throughout the conference. Organizations from across the U.S. and Canada attended, with a focus on technology and software. I was able to attend the conference as a scholarship recipient which included DSM training and access to the 2 day conference.
I also had the opportunity to partake in AESP’s mentor program, with – Kristin Laursen from Michaels Energy as my mentor. Leading up to the conference Kristin and I had exchanged several emails in anticipation for the conference. In our short time spent with each other, we developed an ongoing professional relationship where we were able to share ideas, best practices, and general thoughts on the industry and beyond. The opportunity to connect with a mentor like Kristin, was an invaluable part of the AESP conference. AESP’s ability to connect new-to-the-industry professionals to seasoned veterans is an example of the cooperative thinking that the industry strives for.
Why new professionals should attend – This industry is growing. Why don’t you grow with it? The conference and mentorship program offer a unique perspective for energy service professionals, whether you design, implement or evaluate programs, there is something new to learn for everyone. Connect with professionals in your field, and provide better value for your organization and your clients.
What I learned – One of the most important takeaways from the conference was that energy efficiency continues to be a growing industry in a semi-stagnant economy. Energy efficiency – the fifth fuel will be a bastion for future utilities. Though, this decrease in energy consumption does not come from the utilities, instead is tied to customer reduction, and behavior. From conversations with dozens of individuals, it seems like there was a reoccurring theme – customer engagement is key. Driving beyond customer awareness, and beginning to improve how customers view energy is paramount to both program and industry success. There is an opportunity to build trust, and a better relationship between customers and their utilities.
How it applies to my world – At Summerhill, we run customer education/engagement programs for utilities across the country. This gives us the opportunity to connect 1-on-1 with tens of thousands of customer’s right at the point of purchase. It is imperative that the industry begins to improve customer loyalty by creating unique and tangible experiences, educate them on why they should be participating in the program(s), and how their actions have profound impacts.