Women Rocking Home Performance in All Roles at Ecotelligent Homes
Ecotelligent Homes is a home performance company that has been servicing the Metro Detroit area for six years. Amanda Godward founded the company doing third-party independent energy audits and has grown Ecotelligent Homes into a home performance company with an in-house insulation crew. Ecotelligent Homes has a dedicated staff of nine people, and has women in several key roles from owner and sales to insulation installer and office manager.
Macie Melendez: How did you come about having so many woman on staff in a home performance company?
Amanda Godward: I didn’t set out to hire women, I just kept an open mind in the hiring process. I wanted to hire hard-working folks that shared our focus on customer service and pride in quality work. We didn’t focus on experience in the industry, we focused on people who had the desire and ability to learn more about the industry. It just so happened that the ladies proved to be the best candidates.
MM: Can you tell me about the hiring process?
AG: Jamie’s story is pretty unique, but really shows the concept of hiring people with desire and ability. Jamie is our leading Energy Consultant (sales role, BPI Certified Building Analyst). She toured Europe as a professional figure skater after college, then came to Ecotelligent Homes when her job in Corporate America as an inside sales rep at U.S. Steel proved to be unrewarding. I figured if she could perform the same skating show day and night in front of crowds, she could do audits and make our customers feel like their home was a unique snowflake. And if she could learn about the differences in annealing steel, she could be taught building science.
MM: Did you have to develop any unique programs to train your female staff?
AG: Like most growing companies, our new employee training is become more robust with each new hire we make. We haven’t made any female unique training programs per se, but we do try to make our training fun and relatable to all new hires. It just so happens that the ladies have some funny analogies. Jamie refers to attic evaluations in the summer as ‘hot yoga.’ And my personal favorite is when Fay (Insulation Installer) said that installing spray foam or sealing top plates was like ‘frosting a cake.’
MM: Are your customers or competitors surprised to find women performing these roles?
AG: Sure, we occasionally get comments from customers that seem surprised to see women evaluating crawl spaces or insulating attics. But just like most home performance companies (at least the good ones), our customers are more impressed with our building science knowledge and that our energy audit process has identified the solution to their comfort concerns, than they are impressed by the fact that we are ladies.
MM: In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges for women in this industry?
AG: Don’t take this the wrong way ladies, but I think we can be our own biggest challenge. From thinking that you can’t do something because it’s primarily been a ‘man’s role’ to talking negatively about your female co-workers’ shoes (my work boots have pink accents, and our Office Manger Shelly always wears heels, even when she’s receiving our cellulose delivery). We should support each other, no matter if you are the owner of a consulting company or an HVAC technician. I am pleased to see the Women in Home Performance initiative gaining support!
MM: What advice would you give to a woman starting out in the home performance industry?
AG: Don’t be afraid to be yourself. You don’t have to be a member of the good old boys’ club to be successful. Respect the knowledge that has been gained by those who have worked in this industry, but learn the concepts well enough that you can recite them in your own way. There are plenty of homes out there that need our help, so don’t worry about your competitors or what others may think, just be genuine and support the other genuine folks (male or female) around you.