Russ: This is The BusinessMakers Show, heard on the radio and seen online at TheBusinessMakers.com. Its guest time on the show and our topic is energy, actually Total Energy, because with me today I have Vincent Polito, President of Total Energy USA. Vincent, welcome to The BusinessMaker Show.
Vincent: Russ, thank you very much for having me, I’m excited to be here.
Russ: You bet. Well tell us about Total Energy USA.
Vincent: Total Energy USA is a trade show and conference that will be running in Houston, uh, at the George R. Brown November 27th through 29th. It’ll be the first time this concept has run in the United States. It is an event that brings all forms of energy together under one roof in a comparative environment for people to be able to make choices – businesses.
Russ: Okay, so you said first time in the USA (Vincent: right), I assume that means its been done elsewhere.
Vincent: The concept exists in Aberdeen, Scotland where it’s been running for about fifteen years and in Melbourne, Australia where it’s been running for maybe eight or nine years. Prior to launching here in Houston we went to the Aberdeen meeting and spent a majority of the time just talking to attendees; asking them what kind of value do you find from being here. In a lot of cases they would say I’m a wind guy or I’m a trade-I’m a oil and gas man, but it’s really great to see everything in a comparative environment in order to make decisions and to understand the issues that touch us all.
Russ: Okay. Well there’s always been lots of discussion that it benefits the alternative energy people to see the legacy oil and gas people that have – that’ve been producing in this space for a long, long time and so that’s part of the mission of this show.
Vincent: I would say that, yes. Um, what’s interesting is that globally oil use will go up in the next thirty years. You know, as much as we think about cleaner alternatives or other things, oil use will be going up. We often don’t just say clean energy, we say cleaner because a lot of the existing forms of traditional fuels have been doing things that improve the processes and make it cleaner.
Russ: Right. Well it seems, uh, appropriate that, uh, such an event should be held in Houston, Texas, after all, uh, a lot of people call this the energy capitol of the world; what motivated the idea to put Total Energy USA, uh, in business?
Vincent: Well a couple things; one, when we were introduced at our press conference, the mayor kept saying we are the oil and gas capitol of the world, but we really want to be the energy capitol of the world. Most people look at Houston today and believe they already are the energy capitol of the world and it makes sense for the event to be here. I work very closely with many city officials and the thought process here was to create an event that mirrors the – some of the economic mainstays of – of the city and energy obviously is one.
Russ: Okay, and that sort of came out of the city government here?
Vincent: It did (Russ: okay), it did. I worked very closely with the Greater Houston CVB (Russ: okay), the Greater Houston Partnership, the Houston Technology Center and as we were building this program, we worked with them and had – had various check points to talk about, you know, is this the right path to pursue?
Russ: Okay. Well it truly is extraordinary times in the energy space right now, my goodness, with all of the success lately in the exploration and development, particularly the shale; so I would assume it would be, um, a big, popular event.
Vincent: Well, that’s obviously our hope (Russ: right), eh, I think so. In the trade show business whenever you have a launch it’s always kind of white knuckle time (Russ: sure) and right now we’re in the midst of white knuckle time, but we feel really good about it. Our biggest sponsors are Shell, NRG, Halliburton, Waste Management, have all stepped up and supported the event and its launch here, so I really think that we’re going to be a lot of really exciting things on the floor that people will enjoy and our attendee list thus far, you know, we have sort of representative samples of who’s coming and it does look like a really strong list.
Russ: Really cool. So just give us a little bit of an overview about what one might expect to see if they went there; keynotes, uh, breakout sessions, trade shows?
Vincent: I think what’s interesting by covering all forms of energy is that we can talk about issues that maybe a single slice energy event can’t talk about as well. We can talk about the electric grid, we can talk about water, we can talk about workforce development and now everybody can talk about workforce development, but it really is an issue that touches all of the energy industry. Everybody, whether they’re looking in newer forms of energy looking for scientists and engineers and technologists, or the existing forms as they try to refine and evolve, there’s a need for workforce development at – at our school children age and so we’re doing a lot there, touching on the stem issues that drive the group. Another very exciting and interesting Keynote features Jonathan Craft and Jonathan Craft is part of the ownership of the New England Patriots (Russ: right) and they’re a company that makes several energy buying decisions for their entire complex and also for, uh, the stadium, they do a lot energy efficiency wise; and so I think that’s gonna be really exciting.
Russ: Really cool.
Vincent: So there’s a – Mayor - Mayor Parker is involved in a panel with city officials from other cities to talk about issues that drive cities. I think you’ll see things in the University level, you know, Universities talking about how they make energy buying decisions. It really is – I mean, I could go on and on but what’s interesting is there are series of keynotes each day – it’s not just one keynote each day – and then a series of breakouts. But we’re not really – in the keynote sessions we’re not covering, well this is your solar session or this is your wind session, but in fact we’re talking about these cross cutting issues and then in the breakouts you’ll get a little bit more down into the various energy disciplines.
Russ: Okay, so it’s Total Energy USA, energy is global these days, do you expect to have attendees from outside the USA?
Vincent: It’s int–it’s interesting, um, and another f-another event I did, well another session I want to talk about too is that PKF, uh, is producing, uh, an event talking about energy decisions in challenging times. How do energy companies make the right financial decisions (Russ: cool) and I think that’s gonna be really compelling as well. As far as attendance; I don’t expect a lot of international attendees, but I do expect a fair number of international exhibiters – not so much the first year, but as we continue. Houston being such a great city for Consulates and Embassies, we do have a Consular outreach and I expect it will get attendance that way, but most of our exhibiters will be – we have an international network of sales people all over the world, so I expect China will – will have exhibiters in the future, Germany, Italy, but I do think the attendees will largely be people making energy buying decisions in the USA first, and I would say North America second.
Russ: Okay. And you said in future years, so this is planned right now to be an annual event?
Vincent: Right, I often say that we’re holding dates from now to infinity (Russ: okay) and, uh, in Houston, annual event, most likely always staying in the fall. I think what it does is it’s a – it’s another event in the Houston portfolio of events that is unlike any of the others and provides a good compliment to some of the great existing shows we have here.
Russ: Okay. Vincent, I really appreciate you telling us this story.
Vincent: Russ, thank so much.
Russ: You bet. That’s Vincent Polito, the President of Total Energy USA. And this is The BusinessMakers Show, heard on the radio and seen online at TheBusinessMakers.com.