William & Mary

Doug Borden

Independent Associate at a green network marketing company specializing in responsible energy

Mr. Borden graduated from William & Mary in 1982 with a physics degree. He traded stocks on Wall Street for 25 years before becoming a single dad and deciding he wanted to work from home. He works for two green companies, one of which will be focused on in this interview. He works for a third party energy supplier that offers energy that comes from 50% renewable sources in states with deregulated energy grids.

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  • How does your company work? 0:28 to 1:36

His company is a third-party supplier of energy that can supply you with electricity and some natural gas depending on what state you live in. The natural gas comes with a carbon offset program, and they can also refer their clients to solar programs.

  • Did you always know you wanted to have a green career? 1:36 to 2:15

The Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 in Alaska shaped Mr. Borden’s view of the environment. After that event, he started thinking about where his energy was coming from. He was generally concerned with nature, but he did not see it as a potential career when he first entered the workforce.

  • What does a typical day look like for you? 2:15 to 2:58

He makes three to four appointments with potential clients in a week. He talks to people he knows and educates them about their options for energy providers.

  • How do you find new clients? 2:58 to 4:00

Mr. Borden reaches out to people he already knows. Social media is a great tool to network, and he is constantly reaching out to old friends to help him build his business. He uses his already-established relationships to educated people about energy and find new clients.

  • What is a third-party energy supplier? 4:00 to 4:58

Electricity used to be exclusively produced and delivered by one company. Now, you can order different energy sources through your delivery company. All of the energy produced is available through the electric grid, and a company keeps track of how much you pull from the grid. A third-party energy supplier, like the one he works for, provides a greener energy source to the grid, and in some states you are eligible to get your energy from these third-party suppliers.

  • What skills do you need to do this job? What are your recommendations to students? 4:58 to 6:27

“You have to have the ability to talk to someone,” he explains. He uses the materials his company produces to educate potential clients about their options. Being a good salesman means being trustworthy and having a lot of nice relationships already. He insists his product is a no-brainer, and it can save his clients money while also saving the environment. He urges people coming out of college to join the green energy industry, through engineering or finance. Roofers and electricians are also in demand because of the increasing usage of solar power.

  • How has your career changed over time? 6:27 to 7:12

Mr. Borden was a single dad with four kids, and he wanted to reinvent himself and saw an opportunity to join the green energy field after deregulation in his state. He was able to work from home through this company, and he liked the freedom to choose his own hours.

  • What are some of the hard parts about your job? 7:12 to 7:30

“You rely on other people,” and his entire schedule revolves around his customers. Even when his clients cancel on him, he insists it is not a very stressful job because his clients are eager to learn about his product.

  • What is your advice to current students? 7:30 to end

Keep in touch with your friends from every stage of your life. His clients are his friends and family, and he has used technology to stay in touch with those people and someday they may help you build your business. It is so easy to stay in touch, and even sending a text to an old friend can keep the relationship alive. He loved the conversations he had in college, and he urges that those relationships are extremely valuable in your future endeavours. 

You can contact Gina if you have further questions for Doug at [[e|gmsawaya]].