Eric Strickland - March 2015 RFP Spotlight
Senior Director Eric Strickland of Chicago believes in social entrepreneurship, and he believes that Viridian’s RFP is a great model for raising funds for non-profits while earning money for Associates.
He’s been on board with Viridian since March 2011. “We’ve had our mini-challenges here in Illinois, but I love the business,” he says, adding that the company seems to be overcoming past market difficulties, especially since 3DOM™ was created. “That’s a good product.”
Eric holds a master’s degree in Community Economic Development Management and previously served as Executive Director of the Lawndale Business and Local Development Corporation. This social economic enterprise helps local businesses and offers employment training to residents. While he was there he recruited individuals among the companies he was helping and signed up other non-profits under the Residual Fundraising Program (RFP), which boosted his Organizational Customer Credits (OCCs). He now focuses on his Viridian business and works as a consultant on the side.
“I know that social enterprise works,” he says. “I have chosen entrepreneurship as an economic development strategy, in the deregulated energy market,” he says. The RFP model has been successful for him as an Associate because he’s signed up two other Associates, Ralph Murphy and Isaac Lewis, who are both heading RFPs of their own, Art Forms22 and Strategic Human Services, respectively. “We’ve grown together,” he says.
The non-profits he works with have adopted earned income strategies and social-purpose businesses in order to create jobs and to support the mission of the organization. “It’s working extremely well,” he says. But he immediately adds, “Just like anything, it can always be better. In Chicago, it’s a struggle to raise money, simply because there’s not enough grant money to go around to all the organizations.”
“When Chicago aggregated their utility with another supplier (the city negotiated a long-term contract with another energy company to save money), I think it actually helped us. A lot of people weren’t educated on what third-party electrical suppliers were, and this provided education for a lot of Customers.”
Eric tends to sit down with potential Customers to go over their past electric bills. Sometimes they don’t know which energy company they’re signed up with. “In Chicago we’ve got a lot of different players in the market. I feel Viridian sells a relationship; it’s not just about cost. Responsible, renewable energy appeals to some; price appeals to others; and then there’s always those who want to do you a favor,” he shares.
“My goal is to make Partner and to create as many Partners on my team by end of this year. My team’s doing pretty good. I’ve got folks who have 500-600 Customers. I’ve got 1,900 OCCs (Organizational Customer Credits).” Eric speculates that the numbers could explode once 3DOM for natural gas comes to Illinois. “That’s going to help the Chicago market as a whole.”
Eric quotes one of his favorite success statements by J. Paul Getty: “I would rather earn 1% off of 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own efforts.” He feels that with that philosophy, plus the ability to earn residual income from Viridian’s products, his earning potential is unlimited.