Last Updated: June 10th, 2019 at 10:22 pm
Read Time: 3 Minutes
In a crowded room at the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance on Wednesday night, 31 titans of Southeastern business gathered for a celebration of their status as finalists of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Southeast program. Among the 31 was POWERHOME Solar co-founder and CEO Jayson Waller, whose story is a remarkable one.
In four short years, POWERHOME has grown exponentially, reaching $100 million in sales in 2018 for the first time, and 2019 is projected to be an even bigger year for the business. Waller has been the driving force behind that growth, with the company now serving customers in seven states.
Jayson Waller’s journey to being a Southeast finalist
His success in the clean energy industry came after a successful decade-long run in the home alarms industry, where his second business, Power Home Technologies, was even more successful than the first. He delivers what customers want, always finding the trigger for what drives sales.
Waller appreciates the recognition as an Entrepreneur of the Year Southeast finalist and the chance to meet others like himself who have driven growth in their respective companies, along with the judges who will choose the Southeast winners. But he knows his work is a reflection of the team of nearly 700 associates that he and his leadership team has built.
“To learn from [the other finalists and judges] has been fantastic – pick their brain, what it takes to win. I’m here to win,” Waller said. “I want to represent POWERHOME the best way I can. So winning is doing that, and that’s the goal, to bring home the award for POWERHOME and for us to continue to grow.”
Of the 10 judges in this competition, five of them are prior Entrepreneur of the Year Southeast winners, and two more won national honors. The other three judges are plenty successful in their own right. Waller’s story figures to be one that’s tough to top.
Why Waller became an entrepreneur
Waller has successfully sold himself his entire working life, even going back to his first job in 1997 with AT&T. He was mistakenly a day late for his job interview, yet he landed the job and ended up being the top sales representative in the Southeast for over two years. Then came a four-year run as a business account manager for Verizon Wireless, where he was one of two managers in the Southeast and sold one of the largest data cell agreements at the time. But he knew he could do business better himself, so he took money from his 401ks and invested it to start ISI Alarms NC Inc.
“Everyplace I went, I was the top salesperson. I refused to lose, I found a way to win, I wanted to be the best every time. It was frustrating that I was capped or limited to my potential because I was in corporate America,” Waller said. “I wanted to do things my way and grow things my way. In 2005, I decided I can do this and started my home security business right out of the bedroom.”
What lies ahead for Waller
Waller’s time before the judges came Thursday afternoon, and he’s confident that he delivered a message befitting of such an honor. He spent 20 minutes with five of the 10 judges, and then another 20 minutes with the other half. Waller also was interviewed on camera, and footage of that interview will be shown at the EY Southeast Awards Gala in Atlanta on June 27. Winners won’t be announced until that night, and should Waller win there, he would be automatically entered into EY’s national awards program. Good luck Jayson!