One of the unique things about working for POWERHOME Solar is the opportunity it gives every one of its employees. Neither CEO Jayson Waller nor chief operating officer Kevin Klink hold a college degree, yet they’ve built a company that has now been named twice to the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. POWERHOME is No. 100 on the 2019 list after being ranked No. 96 in 2017, and it is also ranked as the No. 6 residential rooftop solar installer in the nation by Solar Power World.
As such, POWERHOME’s success story is an incredible one. We’ve already expanded into two new states in 2019 and won’t be stopping there. So for those considering what it’s like to join the POWERHOME team may want to learn more about what the company is looking for in hiring its team. We are a team of 650-plus passionate employees, and having that passion for building this movement of clean, green energy across America is important.
Let Waller, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 Southeast Award winner, tell the story of what he looks for in employees:
“When we started POWERHOME, we envisioned an opportunity to make a difference, but also to be that company that people one day people have ownership in, that have stock options in, that they take ownership in building. That it is not just a job. Our whole message from Day 1 was that this is a career and this is a lifestyle and this is a culture that we want. We don’t want to hire on skill set, we can train skills. We want to hire on someone who believes in what we’re doing. They have a why. They want to make a difference in people’s lives, in our environment, in our world and our kids’ kids’ lives, and then also be able to have an opportunity to have a lucrative paycheck and better their families and tell that story to their kids, and us to really stand up to what’s going on in today’s world of energy and stand up to the [power] companies and draw the line there that we have an opportunity for energy independence.
“As we continue to grow, we tell our leadership team now and our directors and our managers that you necessarily don’t have to hire the best experience and the one with the most education because usually, that doesn’t work out. You want to hire the one that has done the research on POWERHOME, that when you’re interviewing them you ask them why they want to get into this space and what kind of impact they think it has, and what do they truly believe, and when you find those folks that believe it, that are behind it, it’s infectious, and then they’re able to outperform what’s required for their job duties, and they excel.”
The importance of growing a company from within:
“I worked in corporate America at AT&T, Verizon Wireless. I was passed over on promotions that I thought and believed I rightfully earned based on results, but they bring in people with more experience sometimes outside. So I always told myself that I want to build a company that if you put in the hard work and you put in the efforts and you believe and you are passionate about what you do and your why is rowing the same way as everybody else in the company and we’re on the same path, [you’ll do well]. If you are in that and you are busting your butt, we want to be able to grow and give that person an opportunity, and then grow again and then let them train their person to replace them and let them grow again, and really grow within.
“What’s really unique and cool is most of our directors have all started from the bottom. All of our regionals and project managers have all started from the bottom. All of our district managers have all started from the bottom. All of our managers of customer service have started from the bottom. I look at it like I look at sports. We want you to go through Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A in baseball and then you gotta get to the majors. So we want to groom our own talent. As long as they fit the culture and they’re passionate, we feel like we can teach them the skill sets and show them the POWERHOME way, and then they’re able to flourish and shine.
“We try to never bring in outside people that have all this tons of experience unless we really need it. We’ve done it on the training end, we’ve done it on the HR end and the financial end. [But] when it comes to customer care, sales, installation, anybody dealing with our customers or actually building with the product, we wanted them to grow within because they were passionate. We can teach the skill sets, but as long as they busted their butt, we wanted to grow within and give them that opportunity to better their lives and be part of something big.
“We’re big believers that the best way to learn and earn is get out there and do it yourself. That’s been proven for us, it’s worked for us. It gives everybody who starts at the company an opportunity not just to make money, but where do they want to go in their career, what do they want to do here. And our people can see a vision every time, wow, they keep adding markets, I can be a manager. And the manager is like, wow, they keep adding markets, I can be a regional [manager]. It’s the same thing on the install side. I’m an installer, now I can be a crew leader, now I can be a project manager. So there’s opportunity. A year ago, we didn’t have regional [managers]. Two years ago, we only had two markets. Now we’re here with 12 markets, 2 regionals, 12 district managers, 34 crew leaders, and all these folks have been built from the bottom up.”
Why POWERHOME is a place of unlimited opportunity:
“In just a few years, I’ve seen a few people come in as a sales rep, and now they’re regional managers making good six-figure income. We’ve seen sales reps come in and become district managers within 3-4 months. We’ve seen installers come in and become crew leaders making in six figures. Project managers, regional managers, trainers. We’ve also seen those on the sales side become trainers. We’ve seen customer care folks become managers or directors. The opportunity at POWERHOME, these are our only jobs. We make jobs. That’s what we do. We want to make it an issue. We want to create more jobs. We got 2 regionals, we want to be at 12 regionals. We got 12 DMs, we want to be at 50 DMs. We got 12 project managers for installs and 34 crew leads, we want to triple that. We are building jobs every time. The opportunity is unlimited.
“We want to get over a 1,000, 1,500, 2,000 employees, and nothing more do we want than these folks to be able to start and place themselves up high. There is no, ‘Hey, you’ve only been here 30 days, you can’t get promoted.’ We have promoted people within 30 days or years later. It’s all over the board depending on their efforts and their passion, and our need. Sometimes a need pops up and it’s like, hey, this probably isn’t a person we would put in there if we had a lot of time to do it, but let’s give this person a shot. And that’s what excites me most. When you give certain people an opportunity, a lot of them shine, and you’re like, wow, this is exciting. I am always challenging our managers to develop new managers. I look and judge our leadership team not only on results, that’s a part of it, but it’s not the biggest part. It’s how many leaders are they developing in the company. How many people are they making that could replace them and could move on and do other great things in the company. That’s what it about. That’s a great leader. If you can make other leaders, you’re a great leader. It’s one thing to get good results, but when you create other yous?
“I look at it like football, like Bill Belichick, like [Bill] Parcells, like [Mike] Ditka. All these guys that have assistant coaches that become coaches. That’s the tree that we like. We like to see those kind of leaders that get those other guys going to be leaders. It’s exciting, because being in corporate America, that’s hard, that doesn’t happen often. I was top salesperson, top manager, every kudos you think you could win, I’ve done and I’ve won. But you were capped. Someone with more college education or been with a bigger company gets those jobs. I’m just not a believer in that. That’s not best for the company. What’s best for the company is somebody who believes in the company. Somebody who has been in different parts of the company and understands from the job, not just manages from a desk.”