Not a day goes by that Lynn Posyton doesn't look forward to getting to work.
The incentives the company offers employees are enticing — awards of dinner for two or big screen TVs for reaching targets — but it's the compassion Consumer Energy Solutions shows for the community that attracts Posyton.
Clearwater-based Consumer Energy helps largely business consumers and some residential customers find the best rate for their electricity and gas in 22 deregulated states. Though the company does not make sales in Florida (since it remains regulated), Consumer Energy still devotes two full-time positions of its more than 120 jobs to giving to the community.
The company supports youth athletics and promotes drug-free campaigns — a focus that emerged after an employee became addicted to prescription drugs after an injury. It's Posyton's job to run and promote Consumer Energy's community programs.
"I have a very — oh, my God — the best job ever," Posyton said. "I love waking up in the morning. It's a family here."
Consumer Energy was started 14 years ago by longtime entrepreneur Patrick Clouden, who cut his teeth on the sale of utility products when the government deregulated the telecoms.
Clouden partnered with professional engineer Jim Mathers, the company's president, who helped build and pilot nuclear submarines while in the U.S. Navy.
As technology increasingly enabled consumers to choose their own providers of electricity, Clouden found a new market for his business acumen. His company boasts major energy clients such as Hess Corp., and NextEra Energy, owner of Florida's largest utility, Florida Power & Light.
Since Clouden created the company, it has grown from 30 employees to the current 120, with some staying with the company almost since it began.
"We treat them with a high level of respect," Clouden said of his employees.
And as a sales company, there is no shortage of incentives.
"We always have contests — dinners, televisions, iPads," Clouden said. "You try to make it a fun, productive atmosphere where people feel they can win. We encourage them through these games."
The company also provides basic benefits such as health, dental and vision insurance as well as 401(k) retirement plans.
Consumer Energy operates on two floors of a small office building close to downtown Clearwater.
Marta Long joined the company four years ago. She works as a trainer and couldn't be happier working at Consumer Energy.
"There's good in everybody, so we validate the heck out of the good," Long said. "Our purpose is to help people. And that's what we do."
Consumer Energy hired Posyton three years ago. Posyton helps the company create and sponsor such projects as an Amateur Athletic Union basketball team that helps at-risk youth. And the company is developing plans to provide support services for area youth.
"We have a CEO who cares," said Vikki Lorentzen, the company's personnel manager. "Yes, they are employees, but they are people who want to succeed in life. (Clouden) wants them to do that."