Yesterday, Opower had the honor of hosting Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who stopped by to check out the office and talk to some of the Opower team about entrepreneurship and consumer engagement in energy efficiency. Governor McDonnell who pledged to make Virginia the “clean energy capital of the world,” has been a strong promoter of energy efficiency and conservation. Having him here yesterday, coupled with a recently released ACEEE’s case study featuring us as a successful job creator, is evidence that we have become a model for achieving those goals.
Hanging out with the Governor was an absolute blast. We gave the Governor a demo of our wi-fi enabled thermostat and shared some deep insights we have into the residential energy management space. In addition to gaining a better understanding of how our solutions motivate residential customers to become more knowledgeable about and involved with their energy use, Governor McDonnell was very pleased to hear about how quickly we are adding people to the Opower team. This year, we have hired 133 new employees and about half of them are based in our Virginia headquarters.
Under McDonnell’s leadership, Virginia has been ranked second nationally in Forbes’ Best State For Doing Business In 2011” list. He told us that our growth and killer company culture are proof of the kinds of companies that the Governor wants to recruit and grow in Virginia. “I’ve declared 2012 the year of the entrepreneur because, while Virginia is generally ranked in the top for business – 1, 2 or 3 – we realize that for Virginia to continue to grow we need more companies like yours,” said Governor McDonnell. “This is an American dream story. In five years you’ve gone from 2 people to 200 people plus, you’ve found an incredible niche and now you’re the leader in this space. This is exactly what we want more of in the state.”
We credit much of our growth to states that have energy policies that encourage utilities to run energy management programs that provide customers with the tools and insights needed to save energy and money. In April, Governor McDonnell signed into law an energy efficiency bill as part of a broader energy package. The bill was an important step towards creating a more robust energy efficiency marketplace in Virginia.
Governor McDonnell, thanks for spending the afternoon with us. You are welcome to come back anytime!