Can a company thrive for over two decades in the clean energy sector by steadfastly adhering to its core values, all while refusing outside investment and navigating the highs and lows of the renewable energy market? Bob and Maria Kingery, co-founders of Southern Energy Management (SEM) in North Carolina, have demonstrated that it’s not only possible but can also set a new standard for success in the industry. Founded in 2001 with a mission to improve the way people make and use energy, SEM is a certified B corporation and named one of the best places to work by Inc Magazine.

In this episode, Bob and Maria share their journey, from working at Burts Bees to founding SEM. As they navigated the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, they eventually landed on the business model that works for them and keeps their core values and mission at heart. They authentically share how they’ve:

  • built a culture centered on empowerment and continuous learning
  • formulated a strategic approach to marketing that prioritizes education and fosters long term relationships, 
  • and created frameworks to ensure their business operates efficiently and grows sustainably.

Additionally, listeners can expect to learn:

  • The importance of maintaining a values-driven mission in the face of industry pressures and opportunities;
  • Strategies for building a resilient and adaptable business
  • The impact of distributed decision-making and inclusive leadership on employee empowerment and company culture;
  • Lessons from riding and surviving the solar coaster and a near-extinction event

Through their candid conversation, Bob and Maria Kingery offer insights into the power of principled management over short-term gains, showcasing how Southern Energy Management’s approach to business and sustainability has not only stood the test of time but also paved the way for hundreds of team members and thousands of families to leave a generational impact on our planet.