Edison International launches energy consultancy arm

12 May 2016 Consultancy.uk

Edison International, a utilities holding company in the US, has launched an energy consultancy arm. ReD Associates, a boutique strategic consultancy, worked with Edison to better understand the needs of potential clients – Fortune 500 companies seeking to reduce costs and bolster their ecological footprint. The partners found that many companies have a fragmented understanding of distributed energy technologies and federal incentives – the new consultancy aims to fill the gap in expertise.

The development of solar power, and its uptake by households, is rapidly transforming the energy sector. More and more relatively self-sustaining households and businesses are selling energy back to the grid, which in turn, is transforming the supply equation for both generators as well as distributors. Distributed energy resources have the potential to create considerable disruption in the market, with energy players seeking to develop creative measures to diversity their offerings – by leveraging their expertise, as well as getting involved in startups in the energy landscape through M&A and partnerships.

One such player is California based Edison International, which was founded in 1886 as Holt & Knupps. Today it is a public utility holding company, owning a number of energy generation, and distribution and energy related subsidiaries. The company, which controls revenues of $11.5 billion and employs a workforce of around 12,700, recently unveiled that it is going to launch its own consulting arm to support companies to leverage new technologies, propositions and incentives in areas including energy efficiency, storage and renewables. The utility giant is one of the first in its segment to make the step towards providing a management and advisory proposition.

Edison International launches energy consultancy arm

“This industry has historically been the ultimate in, “You get it one way – our way  and at one price,” says Theodore F. Craver Junior, Chief Executive of Edison International. “But as customers experience much more customisation in other industries, they start to ask, “Why can’t I have that here?”

The development of the new practice follows a year long process, involving a partnership with ReD Associates, a consulting firm that uses techniques from social sciences, sociology and anthropology, to develop different perspectives on market changes. The research highlighted that corporate energy strategies are changing, with companies more and more looking to cut costs but also to take concrete, visible actions to meet sustainability goals. Many of the businesses, however, did not have the knowledge or understanding of what technologies worked for their often different requirements, to meet both goals.

The new business, which functions separately from the company’s energy businesses, aims to support particularly Fortune 500 companies to, for instance, negotiate contracts to buy energy from a wind farm, or navigate the complex requirements for federal incentives and rules governing installing solar panels or storage equipment.

“Just because you’re comfortable making investments in real estate doesn’t mean you’re comfortable making investments in energy within your assets,” says Louis Schotsky, Vice President for investments at Equity Residential, and a participant in ReD’s research. “It’s really, really hard to find people who can take a broad perspective on energy and come back to you with an even somewhat unbiased recommendation around what’s best for your property.”

The new offering from Edison aims to fill a gap in the market, as well as diversify the company’s offerings in a time of potential disruptive change within the utilities market. The development of an internal consulting firm, provides the company with better insights into future changes as it continues to acquire other companies, including, most recently, a rooftop solar installer and a business that helps large organisations buy clean energy.

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Robert Park on the launch of his consultancy RWG Enterprises

18 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Following a lengthy spell as a General Manager at an international materials corporation, Robert Park was keen to rediscover his inner entrepreneur. With the launch of his new consulting firm, RWG Enterprises, Park spoke with Consultancy.uk to outline his hopes for the future of the company, and how he believes his boutique will be able to challenge the market.

Robert Park commenced his career in retail, taking up a string of General Store Manager positions with companies – including Poundstretcher and The Gadget Shop – before making the 2005 move that would lead him to a 13-year stay with Morgan Advanced Materials. First taking up a role as Production Supervisor with the organisation, Park quickly worked his way to the upper echelons of the group. By 2013, he held the role of UK Operations Manager for the company’s UK ceramic core business, Certech UK, before seeing out his final four years at the firm as General Manager, leading the senior management team and strategic direction of the business.

Despite his success with the firm, however, Park found himself getting itchy feet. A change of career seemed increasingly appealing, and by February 2019, the time to take a new path had arrived.

Park explained: “I was losing the ability to to use the entrepreneurial flair that I had enjoyed in the past; the organisation was moving more towards a structured and common approach for doing things, and that made me feel restricted. I also really enjoy the troubleshooting, problem solving side of my role. However, having been in my last post for four years, the troubleshooting and firefighting was long behind me. I realised that I am really energised by tackling difficult issues or turning around things that are clearly struggling.”

New consulting firm RWG Enterprises launches

His criteria for a new career seemed to point conclusively in the direction of management consulting, and while his CV has no formal experience in the sector, Park believes his career to date has provided him with a wealth of transferable skills. During his time with Certech at Morgan Advanced Materials, he became a Senior Manager at the age of just 21, and went on to succeed in a harsh factory environment where six former candidates had previously failed to deliver results.

Later, he became the group’s youngest General Manager in its history, and was involved in the turnaround of numerous departments. He also developed vast experience dealing with a wide range of ‘people’ challenges, including re-organisation, talent development, talent acquisition and leadership development. Along the way, Park noted that he learned to deal with large, blue chip organisations such as Rolls Royce, securing major long-term contracts worth upwards of £25 million.

Now, he hopes to take that know-how and apply it to the diverse world of consulting work. Park elaborated: “I really want to be able to help organisations that feel that there is no hope or have lost faith in the business… Having been there myself I know how helpful it would have been to have someone to refer to in times of crisis… The firm will also focus on leadership development, as I spent a lot of time with the global graduate program during my corporate career… and I was really motivated to see these individuals grow and develop… helping them to find their own way through challenging situations.

New enterprise

Park’s new Derby-based consultancy, RWG Enterprises, will focus on five key operational fronts. As stated, leadership development and business rescue will be two of these areas, as well as manufacturing – where the firm will tackle challenges such as new product introduction. RWG will also offer financial advisory services and strategic business planning offerings.

While Park is understandably guarded about the firm’s initial engagements, he revealed that he has been “speaking at length to a well-known university and business school about providing mentoring and coaching support to students.” In the long-term, the aim is for RWG Enterprises to take on engagements from clients across the industrial spectrum. He added that as “the company is very embryonic”, it would be “foolish” to become too focused on target clients at this stage.

When asked how RWG Enterprises intends to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack, in an ever-more-crowded UK consulting sector, Park is undaunted by the task ahead. He stated, “I think the main differentiator is that we are small... I have operated at a very senior level for many years but I have enjoyed a very diverse background having worked in most functions within my last organisation. I also won’t take on any work or clients that I feel I cannot deliver value for, I am honest and ethical and am really motivated by seeing others become successful… The main thing I am focused on is 'can I add value' and 'can I help?'”