The 2015 Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) Contractor Exchange took place at the San Ramon Valley Conference Center on March 3rd from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm. This free educational and networking event was designed for participating contractors and raters in the PG&E Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade and AC Quality Care Programs.

Award Winners Video

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Slideshow

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The 2015 event included:

  • Networking opportunities for contractors, program administrators and suppliers
  • Sharing of successful business and marketing concepts from other contractors and industry experts
  • Important program updates and a review of PG&E's vision for 2015 and beyond
  • Award presentations to the top performing contractors in the Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade and PG&E AC Quality Care Programs

Who was invited?

This no cost event was intended for management, administrative staff, and sales & marketing personnel from contracting businesses enrolled or interested in the Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade and AC Quality Care Programs. PLEASE NOTE: Each individual was required to register him/herself in order to be admitted to this event.

When did it happen?

The Contractor Exchange took place Tuesday, March 3, 2015. Event check-in, exhibitor booths, networking and morning refreshments began at 7:30 am, with the official event starting at 8:00 am and concluding at 5:00 pm.

Where did it take place?

The 2015 Contractor Exchange took place at the San Ramon Valley Conference Center. The address is 3301 Crow Canyon Rd. San Ramon, 94583.

Event Agenda

7:30 - 8:00 am Registration and Refreshments

Opportunity to network and visit the exhibitors booths.

8:00 - 8:15 am Welcoming Remarks

Speaker: Joe Giarrusso, Build It Green

Review of the day's agenda and meeting logistics.

8:15 - 9:00 am PG&E Presentation

Speakers: Joanne (Panchana) O'Neill, Leif Magnuson and Julie Ahner, PG&E

Program Highlights - Joanne (Panchana) O'Neill

  • Customer participation trends
  • Results of 2014 changes

View Joanne O'Neill's presentation

Marketing - Julie Ahner

  • Results of 2014 marketing
  • 2015 marketing plan

View Julie Ahner's presentation

2015 and Beyond - Leif Magnuson

View Leif Magnuson's presentation

9:00 - 9:45 am Morning Keynote Presentation

Increasing Profitability: Essential Building Blocks for a Successful Home Energy Upgrade Business

Speaker: John Tooley, Advanced Energy

A business can spend years never fully understanding and/or paying attention to the essential building blocks necessary for sustained growth and profitability. But a successful business owner will proactively go find these building blocks and use them to position their company as a highly effective market leader. The result will be doing more with less human effort, increased quality, efficiency, profit, and loyalty of employees and customers.

View John Tooley's presentation

Download John's "Cracking The Quality Code" article from Home Energy Magazine

9:45 - 10:15 am Morning Break / Transition Time

Opportunity to network, visit the exhibitor booths and move to breakout rooms.

10:15 - 11:00 am Morning Breakout Sessions

Option 1 - Expanding Your Marketing Roadmap: Best Practices in Building Market Visibility

Speaker: Peter Troast, Energy Circle

As the marketing landscape shifts on a nearly daily basis, contractors are faced with a barrage of new tools, opportunities, and tactics. Nowhere in the country is building visibility as dynamic and fast-changing as in the California market. Peter Troast, Founder and CEO of Energy Circle, has valuable experience and data from working with 350+ contractors across the US and on the ground experience with California Home Performance and HVAC professionals. During this breakout session, he will review the latest changes with a very practical eye toward opportunities California contractors can take advantage of immediately and what they should be watching out for in the future.

View Peter Troast's presentation

Option 2 - Leveraging Multiple Lending Platforms to Maximize Sales

Speaker: Eric Howarth, EGIA

Helping your residential customers move up to higher efficiency equipment and comprehensive installations often comes down to affordability. Offering the right financing options and incorporating them in your sales process helps overcome customer obstacles. Discover the financing options currently available in the marketplace and how to effectively use them to clear the way for increased sales and profitability.

View Eric Howarth's presentation

Option 3 - Earning an A+ in Quality and System Efficiency (Part One of Two)

Speakers: Mike MacFarland, Energy Docs; Dan Perunko and Gavin Healy, Balance Point Home Performance

A two-part series highlighting quality installations and achieving the highest possible performance from ducted air distribution systems in our dry California climate.

Attendees of this two-part series will:

  • See measured data from real world installations
  • Understand the important role that properly installed central heat pumps systems have in our mild climate as we move toward ZNE goals
  • Be challenged to measure and track their installations
  • Discover how to install distribution systems in attics that earn an A+ in distribution efficiency

Part One (Morning Breakout Session) - Where is the opportunity and what does a 'quality installation' look like? A real world example of 67% energy bill savings after a brand new 16 SEER system was removed and discarded.

View View Mike MacFarland's & Dan Perunko's presentation

11:00 - 11:15 am Transition Time

Time for attendees to move from breakout room to main room.

11:15 - 11:45 am Program Awards

Speaker: Joanne (Panchana) O'Neill, PG&E

PG&E recognizes the top Energy Upgrade and ACQC contractors.

Program Awards

11:45 - 12:00 pm Exhibitor Introductions

Exhibitors introduce themselves to the audience and highlight the gift prize that one lucky contractor, who visits their booth during the event, will win.

12:00 - 1:00 pm Lunch Break / Transition Time

Buffet style luncheon, opportunity to network, visit the exhibitor booths and move to breakout rooms.

1:00 - 1:45 pm Afternoon Breakout Session

Option 1 - Expanding Your Marketing Roadmap: Best Practices in Building Market Visibility

Speaker: Peter Troast, Energy Circle

Morning session repeated.

View Peter Troast's presentation

Option 2 - Leveraging Multiple Lending Platforms to Maximize Sales

Speaker: Eric Howarth, EGIA

Morning session repeated.

View Eric Howarth's presentation

Option 3 - Earning an A+ in Quality and System Efficiency (Part Two of Two)

Speakers: Mike MacFarland, Energy Docs; Dan Perunko, Balance Point Home Performance; Gavin Healy, Balance Point Home Performance

Part Two (Afternoon Breakout Session) - How do I get there? Seven HVAC installation details necessary to achieve an 'A+' in delivered system efficiency.

Part two of this presentation focuses on measurable details that guarantee success.

View View Mike MacFarland's & Dan Perunko's presentation

1:45 - 2:00 pm Transition Time

Time for attendees to move from breakout room to main room.

2:00 - 2:45 pm Contractor Roundtable

Speakers: Jerry Unruh, ABC Cooling and Heating Services, Inc; Keith O'Hara, Eco Performance Builders; Ben Dominguez, Oasis Air Conditioning; Ray Broman, Honeys Air; David C. Price, Synergy Companies

Leading contractors share the lessons they have learned as well as their sales and marketing best practices.

2:45 - 3:30 pm Afternoon Keynote Presentation

Speaker: Drew Cameron, HVAC Sellutions and Energy Design Systems, Inc.

Striking Gold with a Problem Solving Sales Approach: Are You a Neiman Marcus
or Walmart Contractor?

What type of experience does your customer want and what experience do you provide? Do customers perceive what you offer as a commodity or concierge-level service experience? In this presentation, contractors will learn how to differentiate themselves, their company, and their solutions and no longer be perceived as high-priced, but rather priced-differently.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Be perceived by prospects as a more valuable differentiated solution that is NOT a commodity that can be comparison shopped.
  2. Neutralize your competition and become the trusted adviser and local expert that people happily refer to others.
  3. Close more sales. Drive revenue & profitability. Increase average sale. Create more satisfied customers and generate more referrals.

View Drew Cameron's presentation

3:30 - 3:45 pm Exhibitor Gift Prize Announcements

Exhibitors announce the winners of their gift prize.

3:45 - 4:00 pm Closing Remarks

Speaker: Joanne (Panchana) O'Neill, PG&E

4:00 - 5:00 pm Afternoon Reception

Hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be served during this opportunity to network and visit the exhibitor booths.

Julie Ahner, Expert Marketing Strategist, PG&E

Julie Ahner
PG&E

Julie Ahner is an Expert Marketing Strategist at PG&E working on all Residential Energy Efficiency programs, which includes Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade Program, Plug Load and Appliance Programs and Energy Advisor programs. In her time with PG&E, Julie has worked on marketing energy efficiency to the large commercial and industrial markets as well as marketing solar generation to both residential and business customers. Julie has a BS degree from California State University, Hayward with graduate work from both San Francisco State University and University of California, Berkeley.

Amy Beley, Contractor Engagement Manager, Build It Green

Amy Beley
Build It Green

Amy has more than 9 years working in energy efficiency. Her expertise spans multiple aspects of the home performance industry, with a strong emphasis on how to enhance the contractor experience. She has designed and supported home performance programs across the country, and provided training to 100's of contractors. Amy also supported the expansion of the EPA/DOE Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. Ms. Beley has presented at multiple conferences and events across the country and consulted with programs designing contractor account services. She has a BA in Environmental Studies and Economics from University of California at Santa Cruz and an MS in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Johns Hopkins University. She currently works at Build It Green, in Oakland California managing Contractor Engagement and Outreach.

Drew Cameron, President, HVAC Sellutions and Energy Design Systems, Inc.

Drew Cameron
HVAC Sellutions & Energy Design Systems Inc.

Drew Cameron is president of HVAC Sellutions and Energy Design Systems, Inc. and has 38 years of experience in all facets of running a residential contracting business. He and his team work with contractors to implement effective lead generating marketing and build multi-million dollar profit-generating sales forces. Drew is a founder of the Contractors Consultants of America (CCA), a founding member of the Contractor Advisory Group (CAG), a member of Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) as well as a Consult & Coach Partner with ServiceRoundtable.com. Drew is a Tom McCart International Consultant of the Year Award Winner.

Joe Giarrusso, Director of Programs, Build It Green

Joe Giarrusso
Build It Green

Joe is currently Director of Programs at Build It Green overseeing the portfolio of internal program and contracts including Home Upgrade and AC Quality Care. His program management experience spans 20 year in both the high technology and energy sectors with companies such as Hewlett-Packard and Honeywell International. Joe has a BA in History from Santa Clara University, an MA in History from San Jose State, and a Masters in Business Administration from Santa Clara University.

Gavin Healy, Co-Owner, Balance Point Home Performance

Gavin Healy
Balance Point Home Performance

Gavin is a co-owner of Balance Point Home Performance. Balance Point is a very busy small home performance contracting and consulting company serving Nevada County, CA. Balance Point provides all the services necessary to guarantee our customers live in health low energy homes. At this point, Balance Point designs and installs all its own, heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical, ventilation, air barrier, and insulation systems. One of the core tenants of our company culture is to learn and improve with each install and to apply that knowledge to future work as well as our training curriculums. Through Balance Point, Gavin offers a variety of HVAC, Ventilation, and Envelop classes, at the utility schools; the lessons learned from our contracting work make us uniquely able to translate research and theory into every day practice for our students. It is our goal to greatly improve every home we work on while continuing to develop the techniques and systems necessary to serve ultra-low energy and net zero homes. To date we have worked on several really interesting low energy projects and are seeing that demand grow, we are positioned to be a leader in this area of the market and we think there is ample opportunity for other contractors as well.

Eric Howarth, Vice President of Contractor Services, EGIA

Eric Howarth
EGIA

Eric Howarth is the architect of EGIA's GEOSmart Financing Clearinghouse, a portfolio of residential, commercial and institutional energy efficiency and renewable energy financing programs and has close relationships with many of the leading banks and financial service providers nationwide. He has extensive experience in developing and delivering programs, sales and marketing tools and training to help contractors be more successful at selling energy efficiency products and services. Eric also serves as the key liaison with EGIA's product manufacturer and distributor partners.

Mike MacFarland, Owner, Energy Docs

Mike MacFarland
Energy Docs

Mike MacFarland is a Home Performance Contractor from Redding, CA who loves to study and analyze the performance of heating and cooling systems. He developed a wireless monitoring system using advanced psychometric calculations to measure and log system delivered heating and cooling performance, and he uses that information as feedback to improve the performance of his company's installations. His company, Energy Docs Home Performance, is a leader in Home Performance in the state, and their work has been nationally recognized by ASHRAE and in the Home Performance Best Practice Guide. With 20 years of contacting experience and a passion for meticulous attention to detail, he hopes to challenge and inspire class attendees as they expand their understanding of building science.

Leif Magnuson, Senior Program Manager, PG&E

Leif Magnuson
PG&E

Leif Magnuson is a Senior Program Manager at PG&E working on the Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade Program. Previously, Magnuson worked as the Residential Green Building Coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in San Francisco implementing Energy STAR for new homes, Indoor airPLUS and Home Performance with Energy STAR programs. He has BS and MS degrees from Stanford University.

Joanne (Panchana) O'Neill, Supervisor, PG&E

Joanne
(Panchana) O'Neill
PG&E

Joanne O'Neill is Supervisor of the Energy Efficiency Residential Buildings team at PG&E which includes the Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade Program, Multifamily Upgrade Program, residential HVAC programs, Residential New Construction, Multifamily Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs, and residential Third Party Programs. In her time with PG&E, Joanne has worked on many programs and initiatives focused on educating contractors and customers about energy efficiency, demand response, and self-generation. Joanne graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies from California State University, Chico and earned a MBA in Sustainable Business from San Francisco State University.

Dan Perunko, Co-Owner, Balance Point Home Performance

Dan Perunko
Balance Point Home Performance

Dan is a co-owner of Balance Point Home Performance. Balance Point is a very busy small home performance contracting and consulting company serving Nevada County, CA. Balance Point provides all the services necessary to guarantee our customers live in health low energy homes. At this point, Balance Point designs and installs all its own, heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical, ventilation, air barrier, and insulation systems. One of the core tenants of our company culture is to learn and improve with each install and to apply that knowledge to future work as well as our training curriculums. Through Balance Point, Dan offers a variety of HVAC, Ventilation, and Envelop classes, at the utility schools; the lessons learned from our contracting work make us uniquely able to translate research and theory into every day practice for our students. It is our goal to greatly improve every home we work on while continuing to develop the techniques and systems necessary to serve ultra-low energy and net zero homes. To date we have worked on several really interesting low energy projects and are seeing that demand grow, we are positioned to be a leader in this area of the market and we think there is ample opportunity for other contractors as well.

John Tooley, Sr. Building Science Consultant, Advanced Energy

John Tooley
Advanced Energy

John is one of the most exciting, humorous, and enlightening presenters in the industry. John started building houses in 1979 and by 1982 had begun to diagnosis and retrofit homes across the nation. He was inducted into the Building Performance Institute's Hall of Fame for lifetime commitment and dedication to the Home Performance Industry and was the 2013 recipient of the Tony Woods Award for Excellence in Advancing the Home Performance Industry. He has been the principle designer of some of the largest building programs in the nation. John has a refreshing approach to the old adage "do it right the first time." He presents a real life, blue-collar approach to building a more profitable business. John consults, and trains thousands of contractors from every trade each year. His messages are filled with solutions for today's issues, a must hear.

Peter Troast, Founder and CEO, Energy Circle

Peter Troast
Energy Circle

Peter is a leading advocate for energy retrofits and communicating the value of energy reductions and is recognized as one of the country's foremost marketing authorities on green building and home performance. He authors the widely-read Energy Circle PRO blog and is a passionate but practical student of high-impact social media for the home performance category. He and his team have helped 300 companies in 49 states grow their business through services like website design and development, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and strategic content production. He speaks frequently about marketing for contractors at ACI, RESNET, ACCA, NESEA, BPI, EGIA and AIA conferences and events.

Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP)

ADP is one of the largest providers of business processing and cloud-based solutions - including payroll, talent management, human resource management, benefits administration and time and attendance - to employers and automotive dealerships around the world. We build configurable solutions that can fit your organization's unique goals and increase your productivity. ADP serves about 620,000 organizations in more than 125 countries, including 425,000 small-business clients. Over 80 percent of FORTUNE 500® companies and more than 90 FORTUNE 100 companies use at least one of ADP's services. www.adp.com

Build It Green

Build It Green is a membership-supported Bay Area nonprofit established in 2005. The organization works with building and real estate professionals, local and state governments, and homeowners to increase awareness and adoption of green building practices. Build It Green’s mission is to promote healthy, energy- and resource-efficient building practices in California through outreach and education. www.builditgreen.org

Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI)

The Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) is the nation's premier developer of technical standards and professional credentials for residential energy efficiency upgrade work. BPI develops standards using an open, transparent, consensus-based process built on sound building science. From these standards, we develop professional credentials for individuals, accreditation for contracting companies and a rigorous quality assurance program that raise the bar in home performance contracting. BPI is approved by the American National Standards Institute, Inc. (ANSI) as an accredited developer of American National Standards and as a certifying body. www.bpi.org

CaliforniaFIRST

The CaliforniaFIRST Program is a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program for residential and commercial properties. Administered by Renewable Funding, a national clean energy finance company, CaliforniaFIRST allows property owners to finance the installation of energy and water improvements on homes or businesses through the issuance of a municipal bond, which can then be paid back as a line item on their property tax bill. CaliforniaFIRST financing doesn't rely on a credit score and does not require any money down, opening the program to a wide range of Californians. californiafirst.org

Efficiency First

Efficiency First is organized so that the Home Performance Workforce can be represented in both National and State level policy conversations. Efficiency First is dedicated to the retrofitting of America’s homes, building the industry infrastructure to create jobs, and reducing energy consumption, carbon emissions, and our dependence on foreign oil. Efficiency First represents America’s Home Performance Workforce, ranging from energy auditors and raters to contractors who are the front line of our climate battle, embodied in green-collar jobs from weatherization to HVAC. www.efficiencyfirst.org

Electric & Gas Industries Association (EGIA)

EGIA is a nationwide non-profit organization that provides member contractors and affiliate organizations focused on delivering energy and water efficiency and renewable energy solutions with the knowledge, tools, training and networking that accelerate their business growth and profitability. EGIA also supports utilities and government in achieving their goals related to the development of sustainable markets for energy efficiency and renewable energy products and services by providing energy efficiency rebate processing, project financing, utility contractor network management, recruiting and training and trade ally and sales channel development. To learn more about EGIA, visit www.egia.org

Energy Circle

Energy Circle helps energy efficiency and renewable energy companies excel at traditional and digital marketing through our unique and industry-specific products, tools, and services. We're constantly on the look-out for the most effective strategies with the highest ROI, so our clients can invest only in what works best. Although based in Maine, we're proud to support over 300 successful home performance contractors, HVAC companies, sustainable architects and low-energy builders across 49 US states. www.energycircle.com

Goodman Distribution, Inc.

Goodman has been building quality brand air conditioning and heating equipment since 1982. With decades of experience in the heating and cooling business, Goodman customers can be assured that Goodman brand air conditioning and heating systems meet the highest industry standards and are installed by some of the best and most experienced professionals in the industry. Goodman has become one of the largest manufacturers of residential and light commercial air conditioning, heating, and indoor air quality products and systems by focusing on just one thing-building the most reliable and refreshingly affordable indoor comfort products in the market. www.goodmanmfg.com

Home Energy Magazine

Home Energy magazine's mission is to disseminate objective and practical information on residential energy efficiency, performance, comfort, and affordability. It is the only magazine that thoroughly covers residential comfort issues from the only approach that really works, systems engineering. www.homeenergy.org

HVAC Sellutions and Energy Design Systems, Inc.

HVAC Sellutions and Energy Design Systems, Inc. is the residential contracting industry's premier sales growth network for the HVAC, Home Performance, and Home Service industries. The HVAC Sellutions and Energy Design Systems, Inc. team works with clients to implement effective lead generating marketing and build multi-million dollar profit-generating sales forces. Core competencies include creating a culture change; developing a shift in mindset; breaking down barriers; shattering self-limiting beliefs; adjusting attitudes; providing systematic process and procedural development, enhancement, implementation, execution, and accountability in order to drive sales performance, revenue, profits, and sustainability. www.hvacsellutions.com

Lennox

Lennox HVAC systems, air conditioners and generators provide a balance of comfort and protection. Lennox products include high-efficiency furnaces and air conditioners that save energy and money, and air filtration systems, humidifiers and dehumidifiers that keep indoor air quality healthy and clean. Lennox offers customizable solutions to match your family's lifestyle and comfort level. www.lennox.com

Pentair Aquatic Systems

As the global leader in pool and spa equipment, Pentair Aquatic Systems produces a broad line of products from leading edge pumps and filtration equipment to thermal products, automated controls, lights, automatic cleaners, water purification and treatment technology. Pentair has made a strong commitment to develop and offer the most environmentally responsible products available. The Eco Select brand is the keystone of this green program to meet the objectives of a growing number of pool owners-to save energy and money, conserve water, reduce noise, and minimize the use of harsh chemicals. www.pentairpool.com

TruTech Tools

TruTech Tools is your one-stop shop for Energy Audit and Building Performance Equipment. Helping true technicians to better perform with the best tools and know-how. At TruTech tools, it is our desire that you not only own the best test equipment, but also know how, when, and where to use it. www.trutechtools.com

Lodging

Overnight lodging was available onsite at the San Ramon Valley Conference center for $145/night. To learn more about the available accommodations, visit www.sanramonvalleyconferencecenter.com/accommodations.

The Location

San Ramon Valley Conference Center, 3301 Crow Canyon Rd., San Ramon, CA 94583


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Award Winners Video