At Correlate, our team is our biggest asset and we’re proud to have an incredible group of individuals who bring a wide range of backgrounds and expertise to the table. We recently sat down with Vice President of Sales Jim Fiorentino to get to know him better, learn what brought him to Correlate and what he’s most excited for as he looks ahead.
Have you always been in the clean tech space? What led you to it?
My introduction into the clean tech space came in 2008, when I started working in residential HVAC systems design and sales. At that time, multiple state energy incentives had just launched in Massachusetts in an effort to get wider adoption of energy efficient technologies. I quickly identified the value of programs like high efficiency HVAC and lighting cash incentives as the future of energy efficiency scalable adoption. In turn, we grew topline revenue three times over in a 12-month window for the company.
This was when I became very aware of the importance of energy efficiency and how state and federal funding was supporting its growth. The idea that it was possible to create economical, cost-effective, and high-impact energy programs for any customer regardless of residential or commercial properties was what intrigued me to push further.
How long have you been with Correlate? How did you end up there, and what is your role specifically?
While I started with Correlate in February 2022, I first met Todd Michaels, our President & CEO, six years ago when I had started my own energy service company in New England. I found myself working within an ecosystem of entrepreneurs who all held similar industry beliefs around efficiently designing energy projects for commercial and industrial customers without traditional roadblocks and overly engineered approaches and processes. Data was the north star.
At that time, Todd and I shared a colleague who built a project development platform based on energy use disclosure mandates, which was essentially open data requirements in cities like New York City, Boston, and San Francisco. This allowed us to remotely audit a building and design an energy optimization project without having to send engineering and auditors to the building. This was the catalyst that brought Todd and I together years ago on what became the first iteration of Correlate.
Todd and I stayed in touch over the years and last year it was clear that everything he had been working on with Correlate was ready for mass adoption. As a result, I jumped at the opportunity to build upon the strengths of this team.
What’s your favorite part about working at Correlate?
Firstly, we’re building long term sustainability planning and driving NOI for our customers at every phase. Secondly, watching the market respond positively to our tech-enabled development work, in a remote environment that removes high engineering expenses. It has validated our methodology of using data and intelligence to expedite large corporate portfolio carbon reduction initiatives. We are making a huge impact and we’re doing it quickly.
Our team has a strong camaraderie and understanding of our purpose at Correlate. This is a group of people who have all experienced and fought through some really challenging times in the industry and we’ve come together to build upon those strengths and experiences. We’re implementing advanced technologies and workflow processes while trying to break the old habits that have made this industry stagnant and slow-moving. We approach each day with a disruptive mindset of scaling energy project development by using great solution technologies, partner organizations, and industry leading standards, all while making an important global impact toward decarbonization.
What’s your team like? What’s the culture like?
How we operate at Correlate is the one thing that will always differentiate us. We’re actively working to break the model of how things have been done in the past and are open to new arrangements and partnerships that will keep us ahead of the market. If it’s hard, complex, or too advanced, then it’s probably the space we should be pushing.
Culture is incredibly important in any organization but often it’s treated as a corporate mandate instead of allowing it to organically grow into one that resonates with your company. We utilize workflow and communications platforms ubiquitously that keep constant dialogue and collaboration happening in real-time.
At Correlate, we truly enjoy what our role is in energy, development, construction, and project funding.
What do you think are the biggest challenges to overcome in clean tech? And the biggest opportunities?
This industry is changing every day and there are a lot of advancements in technology that are making smart buildings, microgrids, and project funding more effective and less confusing to property owners. That’s why working with a company like Correlate, that’s been around a long time, knows how to implement these solutions, and takes a true portfolio approach, will help to exceed corporate carbon reduction goals.
The biggest challenge we have is the lack of awareness and dangers associated with our current electrical grid. Decentralization of our power systems and networks will need all sides of the table to work in coordination. Currently, the utility regulations restrict the customer’s ability to be decentralized from the grid. If processes were in place to streamline the installation of microgrid technologies, for instance, we would be able to address the massive issue of electric grid instability, as we’ve seen in Texas and Southern California in recent years.
Correlate not only aims to be a solution to the problem in the years to come, but we also sit right at the impetus of property owners and businesses paths to net zero goals and sustainable operations. To me, that’s a really good place to be.
Where do you look for inspiration? What do you like to do outside of work?
Most of my time outside of work is spent with my children coaching youth soccer and hockey for teams in Massachusetts. Ironically, this may be where I receive my inspiration as well. Having volunteered this time for a decade now, I’ve learned a greater appreciation for hard work, dedication, teamwork, and simple fun. Watching young children grow year over year through these values has provided me with more gratitude.
If I can fit in 18 holes of golf or a music festival, that would be cool, too.