When Ann Eslinger first joined EPB eight years ago she acknowledges she hardly knew what a kilowatt-hour was, let alone how businesses could be encouraged to reduce their energy usage.
But as a former sales account executive at Cumulus Media for more than two decades, Eslinger had worked with a variety of business owners and managers in helping shape their marketing and promotion efforts. She regularly made sales pitches across different industries. Those relationship and communication skills have helped Eslinger in her new career at EPB working with commercial customers, first with fiber optics and for the past seven years on the electric side of EPB's business as a commercial energy analyst.
Eslinger now works on a team to help businesses cut their electric bills by reducing their power use, especially their peak power demand. Eslinger's work frequently results in less money being paid to her employer. As a publicly owned utility, EPB exists to help the community, not to make money, Eslinger says.
"EPB's mission is to make things better in our community," she says. "If the commercial and industrial customers I work with send less money to EPB each month, they will spend it on something else and that will be good for our economy and good for our community."
Eslinger made her career switch at age 50 after reading the New York Times Bestseller "Radical' by megachurch pastor David Platt, who challenges Christians to trade-in false values of success and embrace the notion that each of us is blessed by God for a global purpose.
"I've been able to help hundreds of customers stop buying energy when they don't need it," she says.
In EPB's energy services division, Eslinger works with electrical and mechanical engineers at EPB to help businesses to identify ways to reduce their energy bills through a variety of measures, ranging from the timing when some equipment is activated to sealing leaking windows and air ducts to making investments in more energy-efficient technology, HVAC systems and lighting.
Eslinger also works with EPB engineers to help in economic recruitment by offering low-cost energy solutions for new or expanding businesses, including promoting TVA's Valley Investment program.
"I'm as passionate about saving our customers money as I was about selling advertising," she says. "I don't have another gear."
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