Why I Made the Switch – to Work with Switch

Jessica & Kevin

Intro

Hey there, reader, my name is Kevin Whalen and I am the CMO for Switch Energy. This blog post was written by me as I wanted to share the story of how I Made the Switch – to work with Switch.

Finding a Path

I remember back in the late summer of 2013, I was entering my final year of high school, but also getting worried about what I wanted to do after I graduated in June of 2014. I knew I was going to college and that business would be my field of study, but other than that I wasn’t quite sure.

While I did enjoy the business world in general, I wasn’t particularly passionate about anything at the time and I wanted to make sure I figured it out before going to college.

I was very fortunate to be raised by entrepreneurs who gave me plenty of insight into the business world and exposed me to a lot at a young age, giving me a distinct advantage over my coevals.

This ultimately led me to the path I am on now, and I am always extremely grateful to my parents for laying down the foundation for my success. As the summer of 2013 was wrapping up, I found my inspiration from an unexpected source. YouTube.

Anti-Inspiration

There is a content creator on YouTube named Philip DeFranco who covers news and current events on YouTube, and I have been subscribed to him since May of 2011. On one of his daily news videos, he covered an environmentally topic that changed my whole outlook on life. He was breaking down a report that comes out yearly concerning humanities’ resource consumption.

The report, in the simplest of terms, is broken down as such: Earth is capable of creating 100 resources every year, these are things like oil, natural gas, wood, and other natural resources that we need for everyday items. While the planet is capable of creating 100 of these resources every year, humanity is consuming more than what can be made. By August of 2013, humanity had already consumed 100 resources in less than 8 months.

I knew that this was bad, especially considering that we have been consuming resources on a global scale for well over a hundred years and that it was not going slow down anytime soon. This is when I decided to take action.

In the report, it noted that resource extraction for energy was at the top of the list. Coal, oil, and natural gas were at the top of the list. To me, this didn’t make any sense. Why go to all that trouble digging up some oil when you just burn it a few weeks later and it’s never heard of again? I thought; why don’t use the resources we extract to make something to create energy for a lifetime and not a couple of hours? This is what got me into solar power.

Going Solar

As grade 12 started I was doing a ton of research on solar panels and the renewable energy industry. I wrote class papers about solar and I would tell people around my school that after I graduated college I was going to start my own solar energy company. Looking back, I know it seemed like I was just talking the talk, but now I am very happy to say I am walking the walk.

One of the most important things I learned throughout conducting research, is that climate change is not about saving the planet, it’s about maintaining a sustainable global eco-system so humanity can survive on Earth. The planet doesn’t care for what’s going on – it’s been hit with gamma-ray bursts, solar flares, and asteroids and life always finds a way – but we should care because of how it affects us and our survivability.

College

During college, I worked tirelessly to determine what field I enjoy most and if I excel in it. I didn’t want to go into something I was not good at or didn’t enjoy because that would mitigate the impact I could have. For the first year and a half of my program, there were only general business courses, and for the second half, you pick one of 6 options to major in, in case my title wasn’t making this obvious, I picked marketing.

The last half of my program was stellar. I worked with some amazing people and made some many awesome friends along the way (shout out to my teammates Anna, Alyssa, and Tim!). We put together some amazing projects together. Our team was handpicked on multiple occasions to present to clients, had a report archived as a references from one of our professors, and had a whole lot of a fun along the way. If I didn’t work with such an awesome group of people, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

After school was over, I volunteered at a non-profit organization called Ecology Ottawa. Ecology Ottawa is a grassroots volunteer-driven organization dedicated to make Ottawa a greener city to live in. At first, I was just a volunteer going to events to help hand out tree saplings and other administrative work at their office. After the summer ended, they had an open Communications Coordinator position they needed to fill, so I volunteered.

Pitch Perfect
My Algonquin College marketing team, Pitch Perfect, after having just delivered our final presentation to our Product Development class.

Good Luck

It was a volunteer position, but I didn’t mind because I was doing what I loved. Broadcasting awareness and information to people on how to be more environmentally friendly. It was excellent timing for me as well because Ecology Ottawa was hosting an event in October to celebrate their 10-year anniversary called Eco-Fest, and this would lead me down the path to Switch Energy.

In the weeks leading up the event, I was pumping out a lot of content to promote the event to make sure we sold as many tickets as possible. The day prior to the event, I pre-scheduled a ton of content across all the Ecology Ottawa digital channels because I was going to live-tweet during the event and promote all the businesses with booth set-ups at Eco-Fest.

Before the event opened, I networked with as many solar energy companies as I could before things got crazy, but as the doors were opening there were still a couple I didn’t speak to. I made it my mission to speak to them all before the night ended.

The event itself was jam-packed and it was non-stop for me and my thumbs live-tweeting the event. As things started to cool down I was able to speak the remaining solar energy companies. All but one, in fact, I missed them even though the area for the Ecology Ottawa staff was literally right in front of their booth.

As I was approaching it, someone from the Ecology Ottawa staff was trying to pull me away to help put away desks and chairs, and I told them they had to wait a minute, and I am sure glad I did. The booth was Switch Energy’s, and the person attending was Forrest (the COO and co-founder). I spoke with him briefly, exchanged business cards, and then continued on with my night.

Kevin & Forrest

Forrest & I on Halloween, I was obviously not ready for this selfie!

Made the Switch

A couple of weeks went by and I got an email from Forrest saying he would like to meet with me to chat. So we set up a date and time at his office, had our chat and a few days later he offered me a job. The rest is pretty much history. At that time, the Marketing department was just one person (myself) but now it has grown to include four wonderful marketers helping others Make the Switch (check out Erin, Jessica, and Morgan on our website).

A lot of what led me here was good luck, there’s no doubt about that. But by putting myself in a position where I would have this luck was important. By working hard and taking advantage of the tools at my disposal, I was able to find a career in my field and it’s also something I love to do so it really doesn’t feel like work at all.

I Made the Switch to work with Switch, and I hope many others will do so too.