Meet the Team – Jamil AhmedJanuary 19, 2023
Putting all the pieces together is what makes Jamil Ahmed, one of Transparent Energy’s very first employees, tick. The fact that he is so good at is a major reason why he recently got promoted to Executive Vice President, Operations, and is the subject of today’s “Meet the Team” profile.
Jamil, first, congratulations on the big promotion! Can you put becoming Transparent Energy’s Executive Vice President, Operations, in some personal and professional context for us?
Thank you. As one of Transparent Energy’s first employees – I began interning for the company in 2013 and was hired a few months later in early 2014 – I can say I am delighted to be here working for a company that puts the interests of its customers first. Also, as an “energy guy,” I am genuinely excited about the increasingly strategic significance of energy, both as the fuel of industry and economic output, and also as critical to the health and wellbeing of the planet. Talk about being in the right industry!
When I graduated from Boston University after majoring in international relations with a focus on environmental policy, I knew I wanted to play an active role in the energy transition. After returning to my home state of New Jersey and researching the job market, I stumbled on Transparent Energy, a small company at the time that was growing like gangbusters and that had an opening for a business development intern. I applied, got accepted, and jumped right in, drinking from the proverbial “firehose” and learning more about the retail energy industry in the first few months than I ever could have imagined. I also spent time outside my real-life classroom of Transparent Energy to get smarter about database creation and organizing and using data to help make my life easier and some of our internal processes more efficient
Not long after, Dustin and Paul offered me a full-time position in Operations and Sourcing, where I began learning just about every aspect of our business, from pricing and client service to supplier relations and pre- and post-contractual support. In short, I got thrown into the deep end – learning by doing – but I always had great mentors ready to help.
I know that you are passionate about creating a structured process for new employees – the next generation of “Jamils” – to help them learn the industry and succeed here at Transparent Energy. Can you share more detail about what the Executive Vice President, Operations role will entail?
Yes, I’d be happy to. I think the first thing to understand is that I have been the Director of Operations since 2020. I’m an “operations guy” through and through – that means I like to know how things work, and I like to think about how to make things work better. I think that’s the best lens to understand my vision of the EVP of Operations role – I want to elevate beyond just “doing” and real-time problem-solving to a deeper, more thoughtful analysis of all aspects of our operations, from sales support and client service to pricing, engineering, and HR. This kind of thinking is critical to an organization like ours that is continuing to experience explosive growth even in our 13th year!
As someone who has experience working across operations, I am in an ideal position to see best practices in action around the company, which will streamline adoption in other parts of the organization. Put another way, I want to be a “silo buster,” someone who can readily port the best ideas in the company – and introduce new ones – and ensure they are cross-pollinated throughout the organization.
I will also be focusing keenly on process optimization. What I mean by that is we have many end-to-end processes, for example contracting, that touch – or move through – every pillar in the organization. Like any company, we face challenges here with friction and bottlenecks. I am positive that by my spending more time objectively analyzing our processes, brainstorming with our functional leaders and their teams, and involving our very talented software team, that there are a number of fixes – both technological and philosophical – that can streamline our essential processes to the benefit of our customers, suppliers, channel partners and staff.
Data is also key. At Transparent Energy, we are a transaction machine, i.e., we are in the market every day helping thousands of customers navigate the complexities of energy and successfully procure it, but we have an opportunity internally to leverage our data better to scale and better manage our business and employees. Our use of data already distinguishes Transparent Energy from our competitors – we present our clients with the data they need to make the best energy-procurement decisions possible vs. “telling our clients what to do” – but I know that deepening our focus on making data more available, more quickly, to our decision-makers will have a transformative impact on our company and the value we create for our customers.
A lot of what I am talking about here is taking the time to be intentional about being the best, something that is hard to do when you are growing fast. We already have the best processes and technology in the business for helping large energy buyers extract the best prices from the market for green and traditional energy. That’s why leading organizations, including the Urban Land Institute (ULI), Fortune 500 companies, large REITs, and top PE firms, are turning to us to help execute their renewable-energy transitions and sustainability plans. I want to aim that same thinking “inward” to ensure everything we are doing is as efficient and effective as possible – I sound like an operations guy here, don’t I? – and that also extends to new hires.
I joked earlier about drinking from the firehose when I first began here, and lots of our “lifers,” our earliest employees, say the same thing and wear it as a badge of honor. I’m with them, but I also want to improve that process for new people coming to Transparent Energy, those just out of college or switching careers who don’t know a lot about the practical world of energy. I’m keen to implement a rotation system that will help our new employees – and we have a lot of them as we continue to hire to meet increasing client demand – become well-versed in all aspects of our business so they can grow into the role that is right for them here. Done right, this will not only ensure a smart, savvy “graduating class” of energy professionals, but also one that will want to stay here at Transparent Energy long term.
Well put. Any parting thoughts?
There are so many opportunities in the energy business; this is a dynamic field with massive upside growth potential both for individuals and companies. That certainly holds true for Transparent Energy, and I’m happy to have learned the ins and outs of this business here. My biggest takeaway from my experience at Transparent Energy is that when your job is to provide the best service possible to your customers, you can’t go wrong. Providing real value to our customers is our “true north,” and I’m proud that my work as Executive Vice President, Operations will make providing that service easier, more efficient, and even more effective!