“Baltimore continues to work hard to overcome many socioeconomic issues impacting the long-term economic health of the region, and it is incumbent on area leaders and businesses to also focus on achieving energy equity for all,” stated Phil Croskey, CEO and Co-Founder of MD Energy Advisors. His comments were generated during a recent webinar sponsored by BGE’s Strategy and Regular Affairs Division which showcased the work of current minority-owned suppliers. Additional participants were Kristyn Berger, Founder and President of Berger Solutions and Kenji Morgan, Owner and Founder of Freedom Energy.
“There exists a strong emphasis on improving job opportunities, providing quality education and affordable housing in the city, but these efforts must not overlook the critical need to make energy affordable and attainable for all economic classes,” Croskey explained. “This is especially needed for low-income residents, the elderly and people challenged with disabilities. The energy burden should be shared by all residents and businesses to provide an even playing field because this impacts everyone. The importance of providing affordable energy for basic needs and bringing clean energy to every community in Baltimore cannot be overlooked. This issue impacts all stakeholders in our City.”
Moderated by BGE’s Bill Wolf and Antonio Biondo, the webinar addressed the genesis of each of the minority-owned businesses, including specific challenges faced by its founders.
“I didn’t know many business owners growing up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh and certainly didn’t have knowledge of any women-owned companies, so there were few opportunities for me to watch and learn,” explained Kristyn Berger, who leads a full-service human resources company. “My background working with a major financial institution taught me what I needed to know about my particular industry and business in general, but I had a fear of business development. A marketing executive that worked with my husband took me under his wing and showed me the way forward. It is all about access and generating opportunities. That is why I work so hard now to help others that are in my position. I am passionate about paying it forward.”
Cutting his teeth purchasing natural gas and acting as an Energy Manager and Trader for several companies enabled Kenji Morgan to found Freedom Energy. “This is an extremely complicated industry and there is no replacement for on-the-job training and learning from mentors. This industry is also constantly evolving and it is vital to remain abreast of changing regulations to place yourself in the best position to succeed. BGE has an impressive group of professionals that are expert in their craft and interested in providing information and new ideas to assist its vendors.”
“The founders of MD Energy Advisors recognized the opportunity to seize the moment when energy became deregulated,” explained Croskey, whose company provides energy solutions to utilities, private companies and residential clients. “We were self-taught, self-financed and self-motivated. Resourcefulness is a major component for our enduring success. It is critical for businesspeople to identify a value proposition, craft a feasible plan and then execute the strategy with confidence and conviction.
“Our team had a front seat view of the challenges Baltimore faces during our time spent with the Baltimore Development Corporation. “It is nothing that we cannot overcome. There is considerable effort being undertaken to improve educational and job opportunities and progress is being made. We continue to preach the gospel of bettering yourself and providing resources to minority businesses. BGE remains the gold standard in this regard.”