Somerset Waters was a musician who decided to focus his energy on creating a new masterpiece…a green energy co-op, co-owned by the workers he hired. Born in New Jersey and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Somerset became an electrician and started trade school at a young age. He moved to Boston during the height of the dot com boom. Somerset was an avid music lover who played the cello on the side while he worked full time as an electrician. His music took off in 2003 when he went on tour after recording an album in Los Angeles. He eventually moved to the entertainment capital of the world, where he and his wife found themselves in an Eco-village in Los Angeles. Shortly afterward, Somerset heard a speaker say that because of the way artists minds work, they can be good at business since they know how to make things beautiful. He took that to heart and decided he’d go into solar, and make that business his masterpiece.
Pacific Electric installs solar panels and LED lighting. Waters provides modernization of apartment buildings that need retrofitting, and replaces outdated panels. However, he wanted a way to make the green energy business different. Waters wanted his business to grow, he had a large potential client in mind and had recently received a loan, but didn’t know the best way to land that client. He also noticed that other potential clients didn’t know much about the investments they were making into green energy. But he wasn’t sure about the best ways to communicate what he was offering.
SBDC Business Advisor Don Loewel helped Somerset by working with him to better articulate his business to potential clients. Don also helped Somerset improve his business plan, working on realistic financial projections which helped him land more clients and increase sales.
Somerset Waters started his business in January 2014, and sought help from the SBDC in November 2014. Since receiving consultation from the SBDC Somerset says his gross receipts have doubled. He landed a high profile commercial client, created new jobs and moved in a new location. Water’s future plans include growth that allows for offices of 20 worker-owners in Downtown, Southbay, and other parts of the greater Los Angeles area. Waters plans to make Pacific Electric a publicly traded company so that the worker-owners can work close to home, as they invest in their nearby business and leverage more solar jobs.
“I would absolutely recommend SBDC services to other small business owners. The SBDC vets their advisors. These are people who understand the business climate. The advice we received was cur-rent, manageable, relevant, competitive, and allowed us to really rock out. SBDC knows sales. They helped us figure out our value and how to frame our services to help people.” – Somerset Waters, Founder, Pacific Electric Co-op