SEM's spring 2019 Shine On Champion accepting the cash cooler award

Meet Robert Thornton – Spring 2019 Shine On Champion

Southern Energy Management is excited to announce our Shine On Champion award! Each season our teams will be nominating our partners in the field that exemplify our core values and share our passion for improving the way people make and use energy. 

We are happy to introduce our first Shine On Champion, Robert Thornton! Robert is a Construction Manager with Garman Homes, and relatively new to the building field. Although unexpected hurdles are to be expected during most builds, Robert remains unphased and dedicated to getting the job done right. Robert’s attitude and leadership are what helped the Garman team complete two model homes just in time for the Triangle Parade of Homes last fall. All of their hard work paid off, and the Garman Team was able to bring home the prestigious gold award on their Southern Beau model home!    

Wood plank sign of SEM's core SHINE values
SEM's SHINE core values - Seek solutions, Have to - to get go, Invest in the greater good, Never Settle, Enjoy the journey.

Robert was nominated by Ulysses Cann, one of our awesome Lead Building Performance Analysts. Here’s what Ulysses had to say about Robert:

Robert stepped into his role with limited experience in the construction industry, and took over for another shine-worthy construction manager, Stacey Painter. He had fairly big shoes to fill, but hit the ground running. Robert has been eager to learn about the benefits of our trade partnership, is open to best practices, responsive to corrective work communication, and has held his trades accountable to a standard of high quality work.

Seek Solutions
Since I first met Robert he has shown genuine interest in learning about how the ecoSelect and HERO programs help to create an improved product for their customers in regards to comfort and energy efficiency. He asks great questions about why specific corrective items need to completed in order to gain a better understanding of the benefits. We've had several conversations to dive into best practices and options related to corrective work. Robert has been very receptive and diligent about gathering as much information as possible in order to make well informed decisions. He is highly invested in working together to create the best results possible.

"Have To" Shifts to "Get To"
I realize that the schedule of a construction manager can be hectic, and implementing the best practices in regards to energy efficiency is not always the path of least resistance. Robert has demonstrated the foresight to realize that time saved on the front end can lead to additional challenges down the road when it comes to home performance testing. He always weighs out all options for corrective work, considering his production schedule, interconnection of trades, return on investment of time and resources, and quality of the finished product. Sometimes the corrective work lists we distribute can be time consuming and even perceived as a hassle, but Robert always seems to value the input provided by our field inspectors and is appreciative of our guidance, while making educated decisions on the best courses of action.

Invest in the Greater Good
Robert is quick to pick up the phone for clarification on corrective items and pictures. He also consistently follows-up with photo verification of corrective items when requested. We put a lot of trust and accountability in the hands of our builder partners to reduce interference with their production schedule. Robert's timeliness and consistency in photo verification validates this trust and accountability, and I have a deep appreciation for Robert's responsiveness.

Never Settle
There is a high level of interconnection between trades when it comes to energy efficiency. Each trade's quality of work can affect the others', and it can be difficult to keep everyone on the same page, working towards the same goals. Robert has done a great job balancing the quality of work between trades to meet all program requirements. When trades fall short in one area or another, Robert makes sure corrections are made, and even jumps on a ladder with a foam gun to get things completed himself when necessary.

Enjoy the Journey
Robert has been a pleasure to work with, regardless of the circumstances. We like to deliver good news after inspections, but this is not always the case, and Robert has made a habit of taking both good news and bad news in stride. When presented with a negative inspection result, Robert always works hard to make things right. Despite the stress that can be associated with the schedule and responsibilities of a construction manager, Robert has remained well poised in all situations. Robert's work ethic inspires me to do my best work, and I believe this has the potential to elevate the work of others as well.

Ulysses Cann - Lead Building Performance Analyst, Southern Energy Management

What does a Shine On Champ win you might ask? It’s really a win-win-win situation. By building with top-notch perfection to high-performance standards, the builder is able to boast more value in their home and better compete in a hot market. At the same time, homeowners are able to rest assured that their home offers the quality they were sold on because their home was third-party inspected by an independent verifier. And finally, everyone wins with higher efficiency, reduced energy consumption, and real savings that can be spent elsewhere in the community instead of on utility bills and home maintenance.

But we realize this might not be the most exciting prize to carry home at the end of the day (although we’d beg to differ), so we’ve put together a more tangible award for the Champs that make this all happen. We think a cooler full of cash is a fitting way to say thanks to our Shine On Champs for going above and beyond in holding their projects accountable to high quality standards so we can make sure our partners are (properly) insulating their homes and their value.

Way to go Robert and keep up the great work! Be on the lookout for our next nomination this summer. You might be Southern Energy Management’s next Shine On Champion and the lucky winner of our Yeti #cashcooler.

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