by Jeff Risley
editor’s note: Our new Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Risley has been part of the Brightergy team since August, but last week he got a full dose of solar at the Solar Power International Conference in Orlando, Florida. As he took to recording his experience of SPI so naturally, we thought we’d share some snippets of his diaries. Enjoy!
Wow. It’s big. And I haven’t even been on the trade show floor yet.
Adam (Blake, CEO), Susan (Brown, VP of Public Affairs) and I arrived yesterday afternoon. Susan went straight to the SEIA annual meeting, while Adam and I checked into our condo. (Note to self: A condo is a cost-effective idea for a large team attending a conference).
We attended the opening general session where Rhone Resch, President and CEO of SEIA, and Julia Hamm, President of SEPA, gave brief presentations, followed by a CEO panel discussion. I was very impressed with everything. Rhone strikes me as a true Washington insider that can get things done. Although Rhone’s presentation was “tough love” for the industry, I appreciated his straight talk. And the CEO panel didn’t pull any punches either.
Lou (Brouk, Director of Marketing) arrived last night and is staying with Adam and me at the condo (which I’ve now dubbed the Brightergy Annex).
We arrived early at the Orange County Convention Center. Susan attended a solar-swap (knowledge exchange) session; Adam hit the show floor right away while Lou and I met to discuss marketing.
We hit the trade floor in earnest after lunch SPI is one of the largest trade shows I’ve been to in my 20 years of marketing. And one of the coolest. Adam and Susan introduced us to the many folks they know, including our racking and panel suppliers.
We all attended an afternoon education session and the returned to the trade show. By 5:30, our dogs were bark’n, so we headed back to the Brightergy Annex, freshened up, and took off for the SPI Block Party at the Hard Rock Live in Universal Studios.
The Hard Rock is huge! The food was just ok, but the beer was cold. I even met KISS and got a tattoo!
We were back at the Annex early, and like a kid on his second night after Disney World, I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.
Day Three started with a big ol’ breakfast at IHOP, followed by morning meetings. Then it was back to the trade show floor. I think we scoured every inch yesterday. We had great conversations with inverter and racking manufacturers.
The highlight of the day was most definitely the keynote presentation from President Bill Clinton. We started lining up at 2:30 for a 4 p.m. start, so we got pretty good seats. They didn’t allow us to to take photos or video, so I don’t have anything to show you. But it was one of the best keynotes I’ve ever seen. I lived in Washington, DC while Clinton was in office, so I have a vivid memory of what that time was like. The man hasn’t lost his ability to tell great stories or fire up an audience. And his mind is still a steel trap.
What I liked most about his speech was his message of hope and action. He was very hopeful about the future of our industry, but he pushed us to be involved in shaping our own destiny. I’m not doing it justice via this simple summary, but suffice it to say, it reinforced my decision to come to Brightergy and make a difference in the world.
I’ve met great people, had a great time hanging with and getting to know my new Brightergy colleagues, and I’ve learned more in 3 days about the industry than I could have learned in 3 months not attending the show.
Can’t wait for SPI 2013!
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