Eben Perkins, Vice President, Consulting joined Competitive Energy Services in 2016. Eben manages CES’ consulting practice, helping customers complete targeted energy market assessment, understand state and federal legislation and regulatory activity, evaluate on-site and offsite project opportunities, and develop long-term strategic plans for energy infrastructure investment for their facilities.
Eben authored this month’s CES Insights blog, titled “An Update from a (Mostly) Electrified Home” about how his family’s efforts to electrify their home in South Portland, Maine, including making energy efficiency improvements, installing an air-source heat pump system, and purchasing an electric vehicle. The blog details how these measures have impacted energy costs for the Perkins’ household and other adventures along the way.
Each day, Eben shares his energy expertise with colleagues and clients and finds great enjoyment working with the CES team and helping clients be successful. Many of you know and work with Eben and rely on his wisdom and guidance to navigate an ever-changing energy landscape. In a recent interview, Eben shared a bit more about his career trajectory, personal interests, and insights and inspirations along the way.
How did you first get involved in the energy sector? And why energy?
When I was in college, I took a course focused on climate change and through that experience I became aware of how important energy is to address the climate crisis. As a result of that class, I became more and more interested in the energy sector. It was clear to me that this was the space I wanted to work in.
Beyond climate change, I find the electric industry fascinating. The power grid is also a remarkable piece of technology. It’s amazing how the grid has developed over time, what it allows us to do every day, and how important it is going to be for enabling decarbonization.
Following school, I worked a couple of different jobs, getting some initial experience in the energy industry, and ended up working for Iberdrola USA, CMP’s parent company. In that position, I met Rich Silkman and thankfully was given the opportunity to come to Competitive Energy Services.
What was your initial impression of the energy field and how has your viewpoint changed over the years? What have you learned?
My initial impression of the energy field was that it is overwhelming. Energy touches so many different parts of our lives each day, and the opportunities to work in the field cover so much ground. Finding your niche in the energy industry can take time, and it’s important to be patient to find where and how you can excel.
I’ve enjoyed being able to experience working at a large company like Iberdrola and being able to transition to a small company like CES. CES has such a distinct focus on serving our customers, and the size makes everyone an important part of the team. It has been a refreshing change.
The biggest thing I’ve learned since joining CES is the need to slow down and listen to what a customer wants and needs. Figuring out what matters to our customers and giving them advice that helps them do their jobs and contribute to their organization’s success has been a rewarding learning process.
What has surprised you most about working in this industry?
How quickly it has changed, even within the last 10 years. I’m slightly more than a decade out of school and the industry and opportunities in the field seem completely different, especially with respect to the pace of technological change and the acceleration of policy to deal with climate change.
This summer, you will celebrate your 7th anniversary with CES (Happy Anniversary!). How has CES influenced your life and professional trajectory? And what do you enjoy most about your work?
First and foremost, the CES team is a great group of people. It makes a difference when you genuinely enjoy being around your colleagues. The company offers young professionals a significant opportunity for professional growth and expansion, which is something that can be really challenging to find in a many industries especially larger corporate environments. The thing I enjoy most about my work is being able to get a glimpse into our customers’ worlds and helping them and their organizations succeed.
Share about someone who has influenced you and has supported you over the years?
Both my parents have been major role models for me. My father is retiring at the end of this year and watching his work ethic and passion throughout his career showed me how important it is to find what you enjoy doing and to fully throw yourself into that space. My mother went back to university when I was in high school, so watching her juggle full-time school and family had a big influence on how I approach work and remaining calm when I feel like my plate is full. More recently, my wife has helped me understand how to balance work and life, be present, and enjoy Maine, which is a great place to live.
What would you tell young professionals who are trying to understand and enter the energy markets?
Find an opportunity where you’re truly interested in the material and mission and where you can try different tasks and wear different hats. Being pigeonholed into a role early on in your career can limit your understanding of where you are most effective for a team and what you want to do long term. The energy industry as a whole is lacking in diversity and youth, so for young people looking for an opportunity for growth and the ability to contribute to a vital part of our lives, it’s a great place to be.
What do you do when you’re not working? What are your interests?
I love to be outside. It doesn’t matter what season, when my wife and I aren’t working we’re finding a way to be outdoors with our dog either on the ocean, in the mountains, or somewhere in between. We also love to eat. We have a joke in our family that whenever we’re eating together, we just talk about what we’re having for the next meal. We can be terrifying with low blood sugar, but thankfully we live in a place that has amazing food and plenty of opportunities to avoid becoming hangry.
Photo by: Nina Callanan