Interview with Greenlight Energy Vice President Michael Hartofilis with Winnie Sun.
Thank you for writing, and for your support of our shared values. Every day, I hear from people who are concerned about energy issues—from the price they pay at the pump today to the energy portfolio we build for tomorrow. I am glad you took the time to share your thoughts.
One thing almost everyone can agree on is the need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. And I am proud to say that after years of talk, America is finally making headway.
Thanks to public investment and private ingenuity, we generate more renewable energy today than ever before. We produce more natural gas than anyone in the world. And for the first time in nearly two decades, we produce more of our own oil here at home than we buy from other countries.
These steps are good for our economy and our security. They are also good for families—because producing more American energy creates more American jobs and lowers energy bills for nearly everybody.
Wasting less energy helps us even more. We set new fuel standards for cars and trucks that will double their mileage and give drivers more bang for their buck at the pump. We also launched initiatives to put people to work making our homes, businesses, and factories more energy efficient. That will save businesses money on energy bills that they can use to hire more workers.
And because we are using more clean energy and wasting less, our emissions of dangerous carbon pollution are actually falling while our economy continues to grow.
This is the way forward: good jobs, cheaper and cleaner energy, and a secure future for our kids. To keep making progress, we need to double down on low-carbon energy—from wind and solar to nuclear and biofuels. We should increase responsible natural gas production that boosts our businesses and keeps costs down for families. And we should keep investing in American technologies that grow our economy while protecting our planet for generations to come.
Thank you, again, for writing. To learn more about my plan to secure America’s energy future, visit www.WhiteHouse.gov/Energy.
New Solar Press Release
New York, NY–November 20, 2015–Greenlight Energy, a New York based green energy company—in its commitment to healing our environment with clean, common sense energy offerings—has launched three renewable energy programs designed to provide the most cost-effective and environmentally-friendly energy solutions for residential and commercial customers.
In October 2015, Greenlight Energy began offering no-cost solar installation, ensuring a guaranteed reduction on electricity rates with a clean, green, solar energy option. Greenlight Energy is also providing LED lighting retrofits for homes and businesses, thereby reducing energy usage and cutting costs even further.
Greenlight Energy has additionally launched 100 percent renewable electricity and carbon-neutral natural gas fixed-rate plans. Filling a void in the green energy marketplace, these fixed-rate plans (currently not offered by local utilities) were developed to help customers avoid volatile rates caused by supply/demand fluctuation, unpredictable weather patterns and a number of other variables. Greenlight sought to develop a program with both environmental benefits as well as a savings model via a consistent approach to monthly billing.
“Greenlight Energy is committed to providing the best, clean energy solutions for our customers,” said Michael Hartofilis, Vice President and Co-Founder of Greenlight Energy. “Through a combination of research, strategic partnerships and customer feedback, we are fulfilling a demand for renewable energy plans that are both environmentally friendly and cost-effective.”
Greenlight has also put their money—and muscles—where their mouth is, donating and planting nearly 400 trees to Randall’s Island parks to commemorate America Recycles Day last month.
For more information on Greenlight Energy renewable energy programs, please visit www.gogreenlightenergy.com.
About Greenlight Energy
Greenlight Energy is a New York based green energy company providing no-cost solar installation, 100% renewable electricity, carbon neutral natural gas and LED lighting plans to homes and businesses in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania. A family-run business, Greenlight Energy seeks to align itself with green, clean, renewable technologies, as well as drive progress for the benefit of its customers, families and our shared future. For more information, please visit www.gogreenlightenergy.com.
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Greenlight Energy celebrated America Recycles Day on November 13 by planting nearly 400 trees in the Sunken Meadow Loop in Randall’s Island Park. We’d like to thank the NYC Parks Department, the New York Tree Trust, Danita King of PR Noir, and the entire Greenlight staff for making the event such a wonderful experience and smashing success. We look forward to revisiting these trees and watching them grow for years to come! Here are some photos of the special day.
To celebrate America Recycles Day, Greenlight Energy, in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and New York Tree Trust, is donating 400 trees to New York City parks on Randall’s Island. Our entire team will be planting trees starting at 10am on Friday, November 13 to beautify our parks, generate oxygen, and offset carbon emissions. Please join us in Greening up our local community. In addition to the trees, we’ll be providing free T-shirts, coffee, donuts, and plenty of laughs!
November 13, 2015
1 Randall’s Island Park
New York, NY 10035
RSVP (if possible)
For those driving, parking can be found along the Sunken Meadow Loop, which surrounds the Sunken Meadow Baseball Fields next to the John McEnroe Tennis Academy. Once parked, follow the Sunken Meadow loop around to the meetup site at the top (North) of the loop back towards Central Rd. and the pedestrian pathway to the Bronx. Several Greenlight Energy tents will be located near the site.
Greenlight Energy is sponsoring ESPN New York Radio for the 2015-2016 NFL season. Listen to our ads during Jets’ Head Coach Todd Bowles’ weekly Greenlight sponsored interview on the Michael Kay Show, on “New York’s Gameday” on Sunday Mornings, and during Jets games all season, as well as throughout other ESPN radio programming. Or check out our original spots voiced by celebrity broadcaster Michael Kay below!
Entrepreneur Interview: Michael Hartofilis, Greenlight Energy
What does your company do?
Greenlight Energy is an alternative energy supplier, providing natural gas, electricity and renewable energy options to over 20,000 customers in New York, New Jersey and Maryland.
Was there a specific turning point when you realized your business was moving to the next level?
After we raised enough capital to take on our first few employees for administrative duties and customer support, I was afforded with the time to kind of look more at the big picture and confirm that we were a well-oiled machine and ready to expand our reach.
What processes or procedures have you implemented that have helped you grow your company?
I’d say, in general, it’s really about locating valuable contributors that you trust executing certain duties you may have previously handled yourself. We’ve built a really impressive, productive, and trustworthy staff. These are good, kind people, and I think we’ve begun to operate almost more like a family. I think that’s important in any endeavor, because you become accountable to each other, and nobody wants to let anyone else down. So, we do have numerous online processes, software and protocols that we constantly implement and evaluate in order to be more efficient. But what I’ve found is that it’s more about tone you set, or the spirit of the environment you create, that inspires and allows people to succeed.
What are some of the best marketing strategies that have worked for your business?
We find our focus shifting more and more to direct marketing, which may sound a bit traditional, but the proof is in the pudding. There’s no better way to connect with a prospect, or any individual even outside of a business context, than to communicate face-to-face. This technique, perhaps counterintuitively, proves more and more valuable as people move away from interpersonal connections and our world becomes digital. We are hardwired as humans to relate most effectively on a physical, personal level, so we find that customers appreciate and respond to that approach.
How have you leveraged the internet to grow your business?
If I am approached by any company or product, one of the first things I do is Google them. If they don’t appear to have a legitimate website, then that could put me off the product. There’s no reason to think every prospective customer we approach doesn’t have the same idea. For that reason, we find it important to invest in our site and some search engine optimization (SEO), and we’re exploring and emphasizing that landscape now and learning a great deal. In short, it’s always good to be learning and staying hungry to learn more. As many know, there are more lessons found in mistakes than successes. It’s our goal to embrace mistakes as opportunities, and to learn and grow stronger with every step.
What is most rewarding about running your business?
Sharing my success with 20 other people and vice versa. There is, of course, added pressure when you’re responsible for people’s livelihoods and, by extension, families, but that’s outweighed by the rewards. I’m grateful to be in this position.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
I think it’s almost like owning or managing a sports team. You try to see the value in people and give them the best opportunities to succeed. But, unlike athletics, you have to rely a little more on your instincts. I don’t have game film on potential employees in the hiring process. So I think the biggest lessons have been learned in evaluating someone’s ability to contribute, in addition to their character, which is just as important, if not more so. I’m a trusting person and tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I’ve found the need to be a bit more diligent in checking backgrounds and holding people accountable for behavior and performance. In an environment where a lot of people’s well-being is on the line, trust must be earned. Goodness of intentions can’t necessarily be taken for granted, unfortunately. It’s probably as simple as that.
If you were starting over today what would you do differently?
When we first started, we had very little capital. Sometimes I think it would have been better to take on more employees in the beginning so I could delegate some of the daily tasks with the utilities we dealt with and I could focus more on growing our customer base. But I am very happy with the position we’re in now, so I doubt I would change much. As I said previously, or maybe it was James Joyce, “Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” I’d have no desire to return through any of those portals to a state of ignorance or naiveté.
What advice do you have for other business owners?
When business started humming and the company became profitable, there was a tendency to coast a little bit on past success. Instead of thinking about taking the business to the next level, I started thinking about taking a day out of the work week to go golfing. This line of thinking is detrimental to anyone trying to grow a company—not just the act of taking a day off, but the mindset itself. I found the best way to extinguish this line of thinking was to commit to reading up on the energy industry, and business in general. Being aware and engaged keeps you connected and hungry. As we all know, energy is an industry of change, and I plan on keeping Greenlight Energy on the front wave of that change, and in fact push change ourselves.
What is something that people might be surprised to learn about you?
I played lacrosse for the Maryland Terrapins and the Irish National Team (my mom is from Ireland).
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’d just like to thank you for the opportunity to discuss these issues. I sincerely hope I can help business owners and entrepreneurs, because I know how essential they are to this great country.
Full article by Bill Murphy Jr. – Visit original article →
Michael Hartofilis was part of a group discussion and interview on Inc.com.
Test your staff.
“My advice would be to not only cherish this essential time, but use it as a testing opportunity for your staff. Will they thrive and lead? Or shirk and coast? You can perhaps most effectively evaluate employees when you’re physically absent,” suggests Michael Hartofilis, vice president and co-founder of Greenlight Energy.
Full article by Bill Murphy Jr. – Visit original article →
There has been much confusion in the energy industry and among consumers as to the exact meaning and benefits of renewable energy certificates (RECs). Frankly, my colleagues and I recently spoke to a specialist on RECs, and there was still apparent ambiguity, if not outright contradiction, communicated as to what these certificates represent. That is a shame because I believe they’re very good for our industry and the planet at-large, and if customers don’t understand what a product is, there’s not much of a chance they’re going to invest in it. I think it’s fair to assume that most people have never even heard of RECs. So it’s probably best that we start from square one.
A renewable energy certificate, as defined on the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website, represents the property rights to the environmental, social and other non-power qualities of renewable electricity generation. This essentially means that the customer purchasing the REC is responsible for that renewable energy generation and its environmental benefits, thereby validating a home’s or business’s claim to be going green.
Of course, electricity is electricity. Electrons are electrons. Utilities companies, which are still entirely responsible for energy delivery even if homes or businesses are enrolled with a third-party supply company, do not parse out which sources of electricity they’re delivering. So unfortunately, there’s no way to isolate renewable sources and make sure the power you’re receiving is coming from solar, wind, wave, geothermal, etc. Even if your home or office is fitted with solar panels, that energy is likely still going back to the grid, and you’re receiving the same supply mix as everyone else.
What RECs do is finance renewable energy production to increase the percentage of renewable sources on the grid available to all consumers, while increasing the likelihood that your home or business is being powered by renewable sources. Essentially, you’re changing the market. You’re a pioneer forging toward a green pasture, if you’ll pardon the poeticism. That is the very reason that third-party energy service companies are so important. They provide options to customers in order to change the market; provide more products, services and competitive pricing; and improve our shared future.
Now, down to brass tacks: How much does it cost? Well, I think everyone will be happy to know that renewable energy supply plans, which are marketed in various percentages, come at a negligible additional expense, meaning fractions of a penny difference in your rate. And if you’re with a company giving highly competitive rates that beat the utility companies and many other ESCOs in most cases, you’re often able to purchase renewable energy at a lower cost than nonrenewable. So given the choice…well, is there really a choice?
The environmental benefits are clear: increasing the amount of clean energy supply going onto the grid; decreasing the amount of carbon emissions and waste going into air, water and soil; and ensuring a brighter future for our planet and all those who inhabit it. But for those out there who don’t particularly care about these benefits — let’s call them Ebenezer Scrooges, Christmas Eve edition — might there be additional advantages for a business? I believe so. Companies are always looking for ways to separate themselves from their competition. And given the choice, with comparable pricing, customers will always go green. That’s the culture we gratefully find ourselves in. Positive actors are incentivized and rewarded — not just by the government, but also by consumers. The pendulum has shifted. It is no longer morally acceptable or even accurate to stand idly by and say “the market decides.” Because we can, and should, decide the market.
48) Doing Something You Believe In & Brings Value
As far as what entrepreneurship means to me, it’s simply about doing something you believe in and something that brings value to people’s lives. It can’t just be about making money. We all want to make money, of course. That’s the only way to stay in business. But, unless you’re in the financial sector, you can’t build a brand around the idea of making money. You can’t build a loyal customer base if you only care about money. You have to focus on why you’re doing what you’re doing, and if those reasons are good and sound, the how will take a much stronger and specific shape. If people can simply find a purpose-and I realize it’s often not so simple-then the direction becomes clear; all of the time, effort, and hard work isn’t a chore but a fulfillment of a promise to yourself, your family, and all the people you’re trying to help.
Thanks to Michael Hartofilis, Go Green Light Energy! Visit original article →