Human Highlight: Art Formas, Sales Director
February 15th, 2019 marked our Sales Director Art Formas’ 41st anniversary in the energy industry. Well before we became known as NRG, Art worked for our predecessor, Houston Lighting and Power Company, as a Power Consultant—one of seven job titles he’s held in the industry to date.
“As a Power Consultant, I would work with developers; they’d want to build something. And of course, there was cost involved. Whether it be a subdivision or high-rise, when you see those white trucks putting stuff underground or overhead, it all started with a conversation with someone like me. I would work with the engineering team, the construction folks, and the Right of Way agents. I would do whatever it took.”
To this day, Art is respected and revered for his extensive expertise and for doing right by his clients. He also believes Houston’s deregulated market works in the best interest of his customers as well.
“On this side, the retail side, we see all the innovation around us. Some of these things customers get nowadays, they would have never gotten in a regulated world. They wouldn’t have gotten all the emails and all the weekly updates they get now. These are direct results of companies competing for their business,” said Art.
Technological innovations aren’t the only way customers benefit from a deregulated market. In most cases, it affords them a better price.
“Before the electricity marketplace was open for competition, everyone had a regulated rate. The Public Utility Commission would rule on what the utility could charge. Large users and cities would intervene, but the homeowner and small business person had little to no say. But nowadays, with deregulated electricity, by separating the elements of the old utility business, and keeping the safety and grid part of it regulated—it’s like, may the best team win,” said Art.
He continued, “If gas had fallen for five or six years as it had been doing up to a few years ago, it would have taken a while for the regulators to say, ‘Okay, you need to lower your price.’ But in the market world we live in, it's pretty quick. Things drop off, and I can give somebody a better price the next day.”
Art’s strategy has always been to win, sustain and even re-enlist clients by earning their trust. “Right now, fixed price deals are more popular. But if we’ve got them for 24 months, and all of a sudden, prices drop six months down the line, we have the insight to reach out to them and say, ‘Hey, let’s add ‘x’ number of months to your term because I can blend that lower price into your term price and get you a lower price today.’”
As successful as Art has been, he’s just as excited about the future—especially when it comes to the team we have here at NRG and our new products like Renewable Select— an innovating, exciting, sustainable solution for organizations looking to tap into solar power.
“I had seen three different buyers with Sysco, but I hadn’t been able to finish first place in price. But, in a routine meeting, a new buyer asked if we do anything sustainability-wise. I grabbed Bradford, our very sharp Director of Strategic Solutions, to introduce her to Renewable Select—and it worked.”
“I see technology always changing and I think we are at the cusp of all this change. I see it in this team and in this room. I see it in leadership. I see it in Mauricio Gutierrez, Elizabeth Killinger, and Robert Gaudette. I see a commitment there and true passion.”
At NRG, we believe that the real power is in our people. And with the quality of the relationships Formas has built, and with the strength of the service he has provided over the past 41 years, there is no greater example of this idea than Art.
Stay tuned for more of our Human Highlight series in the coming months and get to know more of the NRG team.