In many ways last year reminded me of the big winds I encounter sailing in the Columbia River Gorge east of Portland—winds that blow a solid 25 knots and are punctuated by even bigger, sustained gusts. Like any growing company, Ecova has faced some stiff headwinds and 2012 was a foundational year for us. It was a year in which we delivered industry-leading energy management services to hundreds of clients on both sides of the meter, while also developing new and innovative solutions to ensure we continue to meet those clients’ needs for years
That’s why the Pillar Awards, Ecova’s employee recognition program, felt like a much-needed opportunity to take a breather and gain a little perspective. It was a chance for all of us to share stories of the past year and our hopes for this year; a chance to meet colleagues only known through their email signature or the sound of their voice on the other end of a conference call; a chance to revel in a sense of connection and common purpose that is too easily lost in the
Most importantly, it was a chance to recognize those members of our Ecova crew who serve as individual, daily examples of the Pillars on which our organization is founded. I feel incredibly lucky to be counted amongst the 12 finalists—particularly my Utility Solutions colleagues Virginia Ulrich, Dan Coté, Bill Rectanus and, Results Pillar Award Winner, Katy Cagle. Watching my story play out on a screen alongside those of the other finalists was a humbling and inspiring experience. In their stories, I was reminded of my enthusiasm for Ecova and its mission. I remembered how excited I felt when I first started at the Portland office as the receptionist—like the opportunity to make a world of difference was just waiting for me to take it.
Those feelings came rushing back as I listened to the Ecova Executive Team explain the meaning of each Pillar—Client Focus, Results, Innovation and Unparalleled People—and to the words of my colleagues in the finalists’ videos. They ignited in me a renewed sense of commitment to our mission and to the positive impact we are poised to make in this world. So even though I didn’t ‘win’ my category in the end, I consider the experience my reward. The Pillar Awards gave me the new vantage point I needed and reminded me of why I felt so passionate about our mission and our people in the first place. Going forward, I may not have a shiny plaque on my desk, but I have the words of my friends and my peers, I have the memories of the problems we have solved and the clients we have served—time spent and goals accomplishedtogether.
So when the waves get choppy and the wind starts blowing again—as it inevitably will—I’ll remember the feeling I got reading the nominations and watching those finalist videos. I’ll remember the sense of being buoyed by my colleagues’ passion, drive and commitment to one another, to our clients and to our mission. Armed with this inspiration I will steady my rocking boat, trim my sails and head straight for the finish.
Pictured above from left to right:
Back row: Sue McVicker, Zach Bassett, Kathryn Kemme, Leilani Quinata, Jennifer Garcia and Katy Cagle. Front row: Craig Evans, Virginia Ulrich, Jessica Frazier, Trish Olk and Dan Cote.