Conversation with John Doss

General Manager, Renewable Resources, Bridgewell Resources

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Tell me a little about your position and role at Bridgewell Resources.

I’ve been with Bridgewell Resources since its inception, mostly in a sales role. I was an international sales manager for the utility and construction division. Several months ago, the company formed its renewable resources division. They asked me to be the manager of that. So I moved out of utility and construction division and into the renewable resources.

What is Bridgewell Resources, and what products and services to they offer?

Bridgewell is actually comprised of eight operating divisions. We basically span the gap between our suppliers and customers as a global wholesale distributor, sales organization and supply chain manager. Among our product offerings are: Wood products; food and agricultural products; heavy industrial products; building materials; specialty building products; and renewable resources.

You mention that the renewable resources division is rather new. How did it come about?

Until recently, Bridgewell was promoting the wind and solar business as part of its utility pole business through our utility and construction division. We first started on a couple of wind projects and then picked up a few solar projects. The president and the chairman of the board of the company took note of the size and scope of the projects we were planning to undertake, and the need to devote more resources to these projects down the line. A separate division allowed us to promote the individuality of the products that we were trying to sell, as opposed to being focused on utility companies. The renewables products are aimed at a lot of different applications—commercial, utility, even residential applications.

Where does wind energy stand in comparison with Bridgewell’s other products?

From an overall sales perspective, our renewable energy division will contribute between 4–5 percent of total gross sales for Bridgewell next year. That’s been a pretty steady number historically­—going back to before the creation of the renewables division.

What are some of the products and services within the wind/renewable segment that you offer to your customers?

Currently, we’re involved mainly in small and community wind. We’re not in utility scale. Our other renewable products are solar and biomass. What we offer to project developers, EPCs, and in some cases construction firms is a wholesale equipment package. This could include towers, turbines, minor materials, and in some cases wires and transformers. The equipment package is crafted and tailored for their individual project needs. We also offer logistics, procurement support, and warehousing as necessary. Our goal is to make sure that the product mix that they need for their specific project arrives in an efficient manner and that we support them through the development stage of the project.

When you say “not in utility scale,” does that mean you work with community wind or small wind or both?

An example project would be a large agricultural farmer in a remote location who is looking for an efficient way to offset some of their electricity bills associated running their irrigation systems. It’s the same think with same way the wastewater treatment facility or a school or a local municipal district. That’s really our target customer. Our role is to provide the product and support the development of the project through the commissioning and construction phase. Typically, our customers are behind-the-meter, distributed generation projects.

What is the biggest advantage that Bridgewell can offer to a project developer?

We’re more than just a typical distributor, in that we partner with the project developer and we bring a lot of technical expertise, and we’re really flexible. When we get into a project with a project developer, we’re their partner. Our interests are aligned with project developers and we think we can be a very valuable resource to them. Wind is a growing segment. As costs continue to come down and efficiencies in the supply chain continue to improve, wind will become more competitive with other renewable technologies, specifically solar. We want to be a driving force in that.

Bridgewell is a member of the Distributed Wind Energy Association. Tell me a little bit about that partnership.

We’ve been members of DWEA for the past two years. We think they provide a fantastic resource for many of the participants. We’ve uncovered and been very pleased with the ability to network with other distributors, installers, suppliers, project developers. We’ve learned a lot about technical aspects of the distributed generation market as it pertains to wind. In many cases, we lent our weight to policy initiatives which are supportive of this particular segment of the wind market.

What does the future look like for Bridgewell’s renewable division?

We’re looking at a number of different projects. Energy efficiency is a project we’re very motivated about, but solar, wind, and biomass are our top three. We’re looking into selling overseas. There’s a lot of interest around the world about green energy. The federal and state government programs are behind what the renewable resources industry is doing. We’re focused on trying to increase our exposure and our ability to help finance some of these projects through the purchasing of equipment, etc. Our projected sales this year are in the $12-15 million range. We think that we can grow probably at a rate of 8 to 10 percent a year.

For more information about Bridgewell Resources, visit www.bridgewellresources.com or call 800-570-3566.