What is EverPower and what path did you take to your current role at the helm of public relations and community affairs?
EverPower is a quickly growing developer, owner and operator of utility-scale wind projects in the United States. Wind power is one of the fastest growing sources of electricity worldwide. Our first wind farm became operational in 2008. Since then we have consistently delivered best-in-class wind projects that provide a strong foundation for continued growth into the future.
EverPower’s mission to honor our core values and apply integrity and innovation to all we do has made us the success we are today. We take great pride in the positive influence our work has on our industry and the nation’s clean energy supply, as well as on the people and places integral to our efforts. We strive to be a good neighbor in the communities in which we operate by working together with local stakeholders from early in the development process right on through the operational life of our wind farms.
The company currently owns and operates 752 MWs of wind turbines across seven sites, and we are now expanding into other markets. EverPower uses a mix of greenfield development and strategic acquisitions to fuel its growth and continues to seek out opportunities to grow the business.
EverPower's current wind pipeline includes 20 projects capable of delivering over 2,000 MWs of clean power into the grid in eight states. 1,000 MWs of that capacity is targeted to come online within the next three years. We are also now progressing targeted solar and battery storage projects where they complement our core wind activities.
I came to the company from sales and marketing roles and after doing development work for several years. I now handle public relations and government affairs for EverPower. As part of my role, I am frequently on site and in communities, helping the company to build and maintain our brand as a positive factor for the neighborhoods in which we do business.
Why did you and your colleagues decide to hire outside experts for the development and implementation of a comprehensive Crisis Communication Plan?
At EverPower, our expertise lies in the field of wind energy – developing and operating plants that deliver green energy. We understand the importance of building a sustainable, positive brand for our company, our industry and the communities where we are neighbors. We strive to be a sustainable, world-class renewable energy company that empowers employees, partners with communities and creates value for our stakeholders. Furthermore, our core values are clearly defined as focused on health and safety, fair dealing, achieving excellence and our people.
To help us connect these ideals to our ability to be prepared for any type of adversarial situation or crisis, we felt it was important to bring someone on that had lots of experience and expertise in the area of crisis preparedness planning. Working with C4CS® gave our team the opportunity to learn from experts, develop and hone our skills and, ultimately, to be much better prepared to manage crises successfully while simultaneously embracing our mission and core values.
You and other members of EverPower’s leadership team at headquarters and sites recently went through scenario-based crisis communication training. How would you describe the value of the training and what did you find particularly useful?
The value of the training was immense. We are professionals trained in many different disciplines, but communicating with the media as part of the response to a crisis incident is not one of those skills. Having C4CS® come in and train us was excellent and valuable for the company as well as our careers. This was a full-day session that really put our team through its paces. We now understand how to formulate our key messages and talking points, and we have the benefit of experience in the hot seat. None of us were in a comfort zone. But if a situation arises that puts those skills to the test, we now have a foundation upon which to leverage and build. Plus, we have a partner that has trained us and will be immediately available to assist should a crisis occur.
Was it also helpful that the crisis communication training was designed around a realistic crisis scenario and included multiple on-camera media interview practices?
Absolutely. Having it be a real-world example and something tailored to our business was great. We could all concentrate on the subject as a result. At EverPower, we conduct drills to effectively handle – and perfect – how to operate in a crisis situation. The training helped us to put on a different hat and also look at the optics of the situation from external points of view. This was of tremendous value to our team. Not only was the situation realistic, but the interview techniques and the questions that were posed forced us to really think about everything from the words we said, our body language, and especially the key messages that we needed to convey. Again, it all comes back to sustaining a powerful and positive brand. And because C4CS® has deep expertise in both strategic communication and crisis management, the operational, managerial and communication aspects of a comprehensive crisis response were effectively addressed during the training.
How regularly should crisis communication responsibilities, tools, procedures, and corresponding plans and training programs in your opinion be reviewed and updated?
To keep everything fresh and relevant, I think this should be something we do annually. In this way, we can all stay on top of our game.