Pink Energy’s Jayson Waller wins prestigious Ernst & Young honor
June 28th, 2019 | By Roger Kuznia
June 28th, 2019 | By Roger Kuznia
ATLANTA — Pink Energy formally known as POWERHOME SOLAR has plenty of experience being No. 1 in all eight of its markets, and it was all too fitting how the company’s latest “first” came to be on Thursday night at the Coca-Cola Roxy.
Thirty-five finalists, including Pink Energy CEO Jayson Waller, descended on this gorgeous Georgia locale to see if they were among the 10 winners of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Southeast competition.
The Emerging Services category was the first to be announced, and Waller was one of three finalists for the honor. After video vignettes of Waller and the two other finalists played on the large video screen, the moment of truth came.
“And the winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year for Emerging Services is … Jayson Waller!”
We captured the moment via Facebook Live, giving everyone the opportunity to see how Waller thanked his wife, his executive team and the entire Pink Energy family for making this possible.
“Our whole company is built on our culture and our people, that’s our backbone,” Waller said. “Me winning this is really a reflection of who we are and what they do. This is for them and Team Pink Energy. I just wanted to make sure that I came to win like they go to win every day and bust their butt. I want to make sure that I brought it and represented them correctly. It’s exciting and huge.”
Waller’s candidacy was validated based on written submissions along with a series of two interviews – the first round that served in identifying finalists, and the second round in selecting the winners. Waller’s accomplishments and that of his company shined through to the panel of nine judges. Those accolades included reaching $100 million in revenue for the first time in 2018. Growth from 15 employees in 2015 to nearly 700 four years later. Partnerships with the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers, where we’ve installed solar panels for each franchise (and we’ve added additional partnerships since). A+ ratings with the Better Business Bureau in all the markets we serve.
While Pink Energy’s success seemingly happened fast, it did not come with ease. Waller was forced to sell his home in 2016 to keep the company afloat after the first 18 months of operations proved difficult. After making important personnel changes and spearheading most everything in day-to-day operations, Waller and co-founder Kevin Klink righted this vessel and have brought it to the heights seen today.
Interestingly, Waller and Klink were childhood friends who grew up on the same street in Glendale, Arizona. Klink remembers selling lemonade with Waller to golfers near their homes along with golf balls they rescued from water hazards. Their entrepreneurial spirits started early and served as a basis for working together as men.
“Looking back on that to now, it’s crazy. It’s surreal, thinking about where this all started and where we are today, it’s humbling,” Klink said. “It’s a proud day, it’s much deserved, but at the same time, it’s very humbling.”
And as much as the two founders have done in building a formidable brand, they knew they needed to bring on another partner to raise Pink Energy’s tide even further. Enter Steve Murphy in 2017. With his knowledge of taking healthcare businesses to the next level, this trio has gotten the company to that upper echelon, and they aim to push the boundaries of success even further.
Murphy, the organization’s president, said in meeting Waller for the first time that it was very apparent that he had the vision to make Pink Energy’s goals a reality.
“Energy, passion and belief,” Murphy says of his first impression of Waller. “He truly believed in what it is that what he wanted to do and we wanted to try to do with the company.”
Waller’s victory in the Southeast competition automatically enters him into the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year national competition, with all the winners from the respective regions vying to join an even more exclusive club. Winners will be announced in Palm Springs, California, in mid-November.
But there’s still plenty of time between now and then, and plenty of work to do to continue building this movement of clean, green energy in the eight states Pink Energy currently serves.
“We’re going to celebrate as a team at Pink Energy and get jacked up about it, rally around it,” Waller said. “Hopefully it helps a little bit with some recruiting and builds more value for our company. But as we get closer to November, we’re going to go to Cali to try to win. We believe in what we do, we believe in the Pink Energy brand. We believe in the people, and hopefully I can share that reflection as the leader of our team and go in there and try to win again.”
In hearing the acceptance speeches of Waller and the other nine winners, it was clear how much this award meant to them. Their enthusiasm for building their businesses was as clear as their visions for making it happen. And while Waller isn’t afraid to be blunt and honest when the time calls for it, Pink Energy controller James Carroll also loves the passion Waller exudes.
“The way that he just has a positive outlook on everything, the way that he encourages the team, even on the directors’ calls, he’s always positive,” Carroll says.
As much as Waller being named an EY winner completes quite a journey, it is still also only the beginning. Any entrepreneur knows it’s not about what you’ve done, but what you do tomorrow. Waller is always ready to attack that next day.
“I believe global warming and climate change are real,” Waller said. “I believe that whether you’re a Republican or Democrat or Independent, left, right, white, black, doesn’t matter. We all know there’s a problem. Us giving choice to homeowners and customers and an opportunity not just to save money but an opportunity to change their lives, their kids’ lives is huge.”
We congratulate Waller and his team for having the vision to make clean energy reality for thousands of customers. And we look forward to seeing what’s next for this standout company.