"The best reason for another WBE to get certified is all the possibilities to grow & develop their business through collaboration & new channels of business opportunities either with other WBEs or Sustaining Members."


Melinda Zito O'Brien is the CEO & Chief Energy Strategist of Energy Utility Group (EUG). In her 4 years as a certified Women Business Enterprise (WBE), Melinda has effectively utilized the WBCS network to create new business opportunities for EUG and value for her clients. Melinda currently serves on the 2017 Austin Committee. 

How has WBCS membership benefitted your business? 

WBCS membership enabled EUG to immediately use the WBENC certification to participate in the unique California wholesale utility market.  EUG was selected as a subcontractor for Navigant as part of the Independent Review Board for the Austin Energy combined cycle plant.  EUG provided review of solar, wind, various combinations and battery energy storage solutions.  Due to the high quality of EUG’s work, EUG is Navigant’s preferred subcontractor for Texas.  EUG is the WBE subcontractor on the Austin Energy Shine project for battery energy storage beginning in July 2017. Membership has provided EUG with the ability to collaborate with other WBE businesses and Sustaining Members to bring a more compelling solution and competitive advantage to the market place customers.

What is your favorite WBCS event and why? 

Power to Potential 2017 was the favorite of all 4 years.  Being selected for a 10-minute presentation created more business connections to Sustaining Members and possible future business.  Can’t tell you yet – very exciting!

What is the best reason for another WBE to get certified?

The best reason for another WBE to get certified is all the possibilities to grow and develop their business through collaboration & new channels of business opportunities either with other WBEs or Sustaining Members. 

What is one thing you wish you knew about WBCS before joining? 

I believe I went into joining with my eyes wide open.  This is about building relationships which happens over time.  It is not a sprint; it is consistent and persistent effort over time.

How has WBCS helped you connect to other WBEs for mutually beneficial partnerships/business deals?

WBSC has helped EUG in the area of collaboration with WBEs and Sustaining Members.  Collaboration is the new business strategy to bring more value to the customer.  By collaborating, even with competitors, companies can leverage their respective core competencies, brand equity, etc. and create a competitive advantage in the market place.  Energy Utility Group has a very high trust level with customers and suppliers, which has created a strong brand equity in the industry.  This strong brand equity and customer demand was the driving force behind Energy Utility Group creating an Outsourced Energy Management program.  It was business strategist and fellow WBE, Darlene Templeton that encouraged EUG to look to collaborate with other WBEs & Sustaining Members in EUG’s program.

Here’s an overview of how collaboration within WBSC has worked for EUG:

EUG collaborated with another WBE and a sustaining member to provide an Outsourced Energy Management project with a long-time EUG customer, a McDonald’s franchise owner.

Case Study

Our customer was looking to EUG to provide an outsourced energy management solution and a 100% renewable option for two locations. After analysis, EUG created a unique and fully integrated solution, which used WBE, Demand Lighting’s LED for retrofit combined with a unique energy procurement which included a monetary incentive for LED with a Sustaining Member supplier. The benefits for EUG’s customer were:

  1. Energy rate savings of $0.01 per kWh with an incentive for LED of $1,000 per store
  2. A 17% reduction in energy usage from LED retrofit
  3. A $4,500 per store savings over McDonald corporate LED option & 2 year longer replacement warranty

Compelling Financial Results:

This EUG’s Outsourced Energy Management solution increased EUG’s customer’s profitability by $312,000 (includes Sustaining Member’s incentive) and saved $67,500 in LED costs.

Collaboration among WBEs & Sustaining Members creates even more business opportunities all & is very beneficial to the customers we serve.