Pink Energy’s Jayson Waller has his shot at national honor this weekend
November 14th, 2019 | By Roger Kuznia
November 14th, 2019 | By Roger Kuznia
PALM DESERT, Calif. – Hard to believe nearly five months have passed since Pink Energy CEO Jayson Waller was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 Southeast Award winner in the Emerging Services category, but the calendar does not lie. That win is the reason Waller is in southern California this week, as EY is hosting its national awards gala on Saturday night at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa. That gala is just one part of EY’s week-long Strategic Growth Forum, an invitation-only event that brings together more than 2,000 of the nation’s top executives, entrepreneurs, advisors, investors and other business leaders.
Among the approximately 250 regional award winners like Waller, 11 will be named U.S. Entrepreneurs of the Year, which is an additional layer of recognition and prestige for these honorees. Adding to the excitement and suspense of the evening is that four finalists will be named for each of the 11 categories, and from those 11 categories, one overall winner will be named. That person will be automatically entered to have a shot as EY’s World Entrepreneur of the Year in 2020.
For those that don’t know Waller’s entrepreneurial story, it is beyond remarkable. He came to the solar energy sector in 2015 after selling two home securities businesses, believing in solar as the future energy source for this country and for the world. After a rocky first year of operations, where Waller sold his home and invested life savings to prolong the life of the business, Waller assumed more control of Pink Energy himself and saw things turning the corner in June 2016, setting the stage for massive growth that has led to being part of this week’s event.
To get a taste of Waller’s accomplishments and what he is most proud of, check out the video produced by EY that touted his candidacy as a Southeast Award finalist. And then check out the photos from that June night.
Another extraordinary aspect of Waller’s success is that he essentially has a 10th-grade education. He graduated high school from a vocational school, did not attend college, and had his first child at 18. What he lacked in formal education, he made up for with passion and hard work as a salesman, first with First Union, and then with Verizon. If you think you’re more passionate and harder working than Waller, he will show you that you’re wrong.
Waller and his business partners, COO Kevin Klink and president Steve Murphy, have built this company together, to the point where Pink Energy now serves customers in nine states, features a commercial division, and has developed partnerships with six professional sports franchises in the Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers. Running the business can be consuming, but again, that goes back to Waller proving time and again that he’s ready to outwork the competition. He helps to set the direction and vision, and his employees follow.
“It’s the purpose and it’s the people,” Waller said of why he does what he does. “Because the people believe in the purpose, and they make the difference. You know how cool it is when you see employees sharing their families on Instagram and they’re wearing a BAM (Pink Energy’s in-house acronym that stand for Building a Movement) shirt and they’re excited and they love what they do? That’s exciting, that’s purpose and they get it. It’s nothing against other products you could sell. But what we do changes the world. I don’t look at it any other way. Any time we put another system on, we have just put renewable energy on the grid.”
As we get closer to Saturday night, where the best in American entrepreneurship is honored, Waller stands toe to toe with elite company. We all at Pink Energy hope he can take two more steps forward in this competition, because he’s earned every bit of it.