As a football player Thomas learned the value of teamwork, and has brought that element into the business world teaming with Energy Curltailment Specialists, BidURenergy and ACE Energy to lower consumer costs on energy and providing affordable sustainable and renewable energy to all.
What follows is an interview with Thomas about his company, his impact on energy savings and the future of the industry.
New York House: When did you launch the Energy Group? What brought your attention to energy savings?
Thurman Thomas: We launched in the early months of 2010. Energy and energy savings has become a hot topic, whether you are talking about gasoline, electric, natural gas or renewable energies it is something everyone is talking about and concerned with these days.
NYH: How do you save people money? How much do you think your company can help save?
TT: We offer three services, each of which assists our customers in different ways. Energy Curtailment Specialists able to create thousands of dollars of additional revenues for our customers simply by being on stand-by to reduce power during critical times on the electric grid. This allows our customers day-ahead notice of times when the grid will be unstable and allows them to safe guard their facilities from damage due to voltage fluctuations. BidURenergy is able to leverage our base of over 12,000 customer facilities to help customers obtain the lowest rates on gas and electric supply. BUE utilizes an online blind bidding platform that pits suppliers against each other; they have to come in with their best foot forward. BUE sits on the same side of the table our customers and fights to get them the best possible rates. These first two services are completely free services; our customers will never pay us a cent. Ace Energy is focused on energy efficiency. Ace Energy upgrades have a payback period of 11 to 18 months from energy savings and are usually able to obtain funding to cover up to 50 percent of project costs. The money we can save and revenues that can get generated through these programs will vary on a case to case basis depending on size but overall are endless.
NYH: You teamed up with Energy Curtailment Specialists, BidURenergy and Ace Energy. Why did you choose them? How did you initially get connected with them?
TT: When I made the decision to enter into the energy business I looked into different options. In the end I chose ECS, BUE and Ace because of many different factors. First they are a privately held company which allows them to be dedicated to their customers first and foremost; many other companies are publicly held and focused on shareholders. Also, ECS has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and has never had a customer complaint filed with over 12,000 facilities enrolled into their program. Overall, I felt that this group of companies had the best group of programs on the table and care about their customers.
NYH: Who else has been influential in your company?
TT: We are blessed to have several motivated and intelligent people working hard to make Thurman Thomas Global Energy Group and Legends Energy successful. Ashley Reimers and Jeffery Bonerb have contributed greatly to our growth, and Ashley, who is our operations supervisor, has been excellent in managing all the former athletes working in Legends Energy. The company wouldn't exist in its current form without the leadership, guidance, and influence of Glen Smith and Steve Lynch, the two principals of ECS.
NYH: What is your educational background in business and energy?
TT: I studied hotel and restaurant management at Oklahoma State. We also have constant seminars and continuing education classes in house and out. This is a business where the education never stops. Being a professional or former professional athlete is akin to being your own business entity. Handling endorsements, appearances, speaking engagements and the rest, prepare you for many of the things you need for business success. In addition to that, I have been involved in several small businesses, and even though not all of them worked out, it was a great learning experience. I have always been interested in energy, going back to my days growing up in Houston. Being from Texas, it just seemed natural to me to have an interest in all things energy. Playing at Oklahoma State allowed me to meet and become friends with Boone Pickens, which really fired up my interest in the energy business, and I always knew one day that I would be in the energy field; I just needed the right opportunity.
NYH: What is your ultimate goal?
TT: To be part of an honest and successful company that provides a necessary and valued service to our clients. And to offer a positive and fulfilling work environment for our employees.
NYH: How has your fame assisted your life as a business entrepreneur?
TT: Well, it certainly allows me to hear a great many business proposals. The best things are, it usually gets my phone calls answered and it is an icebreaker for people who haven't met me. For example, there are many times when someone will come up to me and introduce themselves and after a little football talk, the conversation sometimes leads to business, which can lead to great leads.
NYH: What is more satisfying scoring a touchdown or saving money on energy?
TT: That's easy, being 45 years old, helping someone in my energy business is more satisfying. Scoring touchdowns was fun 15 years ago!