EFCA Executive Director Year in Review
This has been a busy year at EFCA with many changes, the foremost being a new Executive Director.
For the past couple of years, the organization has faced some serious challenges. Many of our revenue generating contracts were not renewed or were shifted to other entities. Our Executive Director moved on, and we were in a state of limbo. Our Board President stepped in, on a part-time basis as Interim ED, to keep things going. We were like many of you struggling to survive while facing an uncertain future. I was on the Board at the time while running my own Home Performance contracting company. There were several discussions about what we should do to find a new ED and where should we go as an organization. In the end, we determined that we needed to restructure, which is never easy.
A bit of history, I have previous experience with trade organizations, serving as President of the Board for several years for a trade organization related to another industry. In my time as President, we too faced restructuring which included replacing our Executive Director and finding new sources of revenue. I am happy to report that organization is alive and well 15 years later.
In February 2015, I took over as the new Executive Director of EFCA after closing down my Home Performance contracting company in 2014. I was brought on to regroup the organization and help get us back on our feet again. Like most restructuring efforts reducing overhead and becoming more efficient are a part of the process. In our case, this meant relocating our office and cutting some staff positions.
My primary goals for last year were to reduce our operational expenses and then define a new direction. In the end, I determined we needed three things moving forward.
- Efficient day-to-day operations, with increased revenue, to ensure our future.
- An active role in Advocacy, specifically in regards to State Policy. It is critical to ensure that the contractors perspective is represented when laws and regulations are being created.
- Provide real value to our membership and work on adding more members.
So the Year is Done and How Did We Do?
First off restructuring is never fun or easy. We made great progress but I would have to say that it took much more effort than I anticipated. Looking back I can say we have streamlined operations, reduced costs and are working much more efficiently now than at the beginning of the year, that’s good news. The downside is the bulk of my efforts over the past year have been focused on operations which limited our membership and advocacy roles.
Energy Efficiency Advocacy Successes
Our role in Advocacy is never ending, nor should it be. There have been several critical concerns regarding our industry this year. These are interesting times in the energy efficiency industry.
The CEC (California Energy Commission) created an action plan on how to meet AB 758 goals, improving energy efficiency in new and existing buildings. These decisions will impact permitting, access to data, home energy rating scores, HERS ratings, and many other aspects of our industry. We were part of the conversation from the beginning to make sure contractors’ interests were represented. We participated in a review by the CPUC to help determine what workforce training and education efforts might look like. In addition, there were many other advocacy efforts that included conference calls, reading lengthy reports and writing official comments. This is all part of the process.
Our biggest win in advocacy was the passage of SB 350 and AB 802, which together will fundamentally transform our industry. In a brief summary, these laws shift energy savings away from deemed or predictive savings and require measured savings for incentives. This trend concentrates on energy savings as the end result and allows for a pay for performance based incentive structure. This is a huge win for Efficiency First California as the origins of the concept were formed by EFCA. We also see this as a huge win for energy efficiency contractors. Measured savings will allow the private sector to design its own incentive offerings. This will lead to new incentives in the market from both the public and private sectors. Soon contractors will have a choice of incentive programs and will be able to select one that best fits their business model rather than having to change their business model to fit a program. Stay tuned as we will be providing much more information on the Pay for Performance model and measured savings. Look for our webinar after the first of the year. Looking back, I think we did a good job with advocacy last year.
We Need to Pay Attention to Members More
As for the third goal, I feel this is where we came up a bit short last year. For 2016, we are focusing on providing more support to our membership. We feel it is critical to keep our members abreast of current happenings in the industry. Information is the primary resource we have to offer. Part of this effort includes a monthly newsletter for our members and adopting a new process that will allow us to get important information out to members as it happens. There are several blog posts in the works and new webinars as well - all with the intent of providing our membership with the latest up to date information. Stay tuned as we intend to be your go-to source for the latest industry happenings.
In conclusion, I would like to say it’s been an interesting year and that things are looking up for our organization.The painstaking process of restructuring and evaluating up our process is mostly complete. We have reduced our overhead, trimmed the fat and tightened up the whole operation. We have been active in the many policy changes that have transpired this year and will continue to represent our members’ interests at the State level. And finally we recognize that information is key to building a successful business and we intend to keep our members up to date on the latest happenings. Now is the time to renew your memberships and support EFCA. We are concentrating on the big picture and the future of the industry and we can’t do it without your support.