Patrick Meier began his career in a pretty traditional fashion. After earning his CPA license, he spent four years in public accounting, doing a lot of auditing and tax work—“all that fun stuff,” as he describes it. That training gave him the background he needed to pursue the kind of job he wanted.
“I knew after that I wanted to join a company and be a part of something exciting that’s growing and building,” he remembers. So he joined medical device start-up Ulthera in 2010. “We had just gotten market clearance in the European Union and were close to getting FDA approval at that time. I was one of the people on the ground floor of that company.”
The next step of Meier’s career was as corporate controller for She Knows Media, an online digital media platform, where he reorganized the accounting and finance function to make significant strides around timeliness and accuracy of reporting. After the ship was righted, he explains, he didn’t see a path for upward mobility. Then came the opportunity to join energy-efficiency construction contractor Midstate Energy—a forerunner of Veregy.
Meier currently serves as Veregy’s CFO, but when he joined Midstate in 2017, it was a private, equity-backed firm. Meier was its first accounting and finance employee, and he built out the financial team and established accounting finance systems and processes.
“A lot of those lines in the early days of a company get blurred with IT and HR, so accounting becomes a catch-all bucket,” he says. “It was hands-on and building from the ground up.”
Acquisitions and mergers between several companies focused on energy efficiency have led to Meier’s post at Veregy. Over the last three years or so, his work has focused on integrating the accounting, finance systems, and reporting among Veregy-owned enterprises.
“There’s a lot of other ad-hoc things that come up,” he notes. “What are our next opportunities to expand any of our offerings? What states can we grow into that are hot markets for our energy-efficiency services? Which of our offerings can we roll out across the country in an integrated fashion?”
One project he has recently stewarded is the realignment of a software package Veregy developed for one of its companies to roll out on a national scale.
“As we’ve grown and merged with these seven entities, we have a single ERP platform,” Meier says. “We want to all be on the same systems so that all the information deals and flows very similarly, whether you are in Chicago or Dallas. Everybody gets the same functions, at least in the same basic manners, so you can cross-train and rely on each other.”
As a leader in its field, Veregy has experienced significant growth, both organically and through mergers and acquisitions, and much of Meier’s work involves balancing those.
“Our core markets—Phoenix, St. Louis, Chicago, and Columbus—have a lot of organic growth from our great sales team and its strong relationships and service offerings that our customers continue to come back for,” Meier says. “We also simultaneously look for acquisitions.”
Veregy looks for companies that are within the energy-efficiency sector and in a state that would be advantageous to work in. For example, Veregy leaders wanted to expand into Texas because the state offers a strong market, so they identified a company there to fold into its umbrella.
Another factor is if the company provides a service or product that is unique and complementary to what Veregy already has in its portfolio. “A lot of times, these smaller entities might not have the capital or resources to really grow these products and services to where we feel they could be,” Meier notes. “With our expertise, our sales organization, our national relationships, and our capital resources, we can really help these companies refine those products and services and bring them to market.”
Meier has not only enjoyed the opportunity to build a company from the ground up, but he’s also proud of the work Veregy does.
“It’s a company that is making a difference by reducing our reliance on traditional electricity and gas through innovative technology, such as LEDs, solar energy, and battery-storage technology,” he says. “It can take people off the grid when electricity rates are at their peaks, and its new technology involves monitoring and managing energy use in municipal and commercial facilities.”
The work he does at Veregy meets his professional goals while allowing him to contribute to a company that wants to make the world better.
“It’s nice to be in a company and an industry where I really feel we are making a difference,” he observes. “Energy efficiency right now, anybody would agree, I think, is a hot topic.”
And it’s a topic Meier, and the team at Veregy are experts in.
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