Explore How CEO Mike Sherman and His Team Make Energy Efficiency Projects Easier to Undertake
Vanguard Building Solutions President and CEO Mike Sherman has worked with some of the biggest names in the energy industry over the last three decades, including Honeywell, Sodexo, and ARAMARK Healthcare. He built up his experience in energy, project development, asset management and financing.
Throughout his career, Sherman has worked on commercial energy projects totaling an excess of $400 million and spanning the healthcare, education, manufacturing and non-profit sectors. And over the last few years, Vanguard has found that with their focused approach, any commercial entity over 25,000 square feet finds great success with them. In NJ, where Vanguard has numerous utility program certifications that building size could be as low as 10,000 square feet.
While all businesses need to be agile, it is particularly important in energy, with so many new programs, grants, and technology emerging daily. That is the reason Sherman started Vanguard in 2013, hoping to make energy efficiency projects a possibility for a wide range of industries across the country, from New York City to Los Angeles, CA.
“In larger companies, there’s a set way of doing things no matter what type of business you’re in,” said Sherman. “Now, instead of being a smaller division in a larger company, you can really focus the business. Our clients love doing business with us because we have a lot of resources, but we are small enough to be nimble and be able to pivot to what will be best for our client needs in the future.”
One of Sherman’s primary roles as CEO, is helping clients finance their energy projects. Leveraging Energy Savings Agreements (ESA’s), Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), grants, and traditional financing ranging from two to twenty years, Vanguard makes energy upgrades possible for all companies regardless of their cash flow.
Aside from guiding clients on their financing options, Sherman and the Vanguard team help with all the paperwork and heavy lifting. They put together the project costs, savings, and structures and coordinate with the financing entity on behalf of the client. For example, they were able to leverage grant money, a PPA, and a 25-year payment structure to help a recent client feel comfortable taking on a $3.5 million solar project.
“Having the experience to look at the financing entities in the industry and what will be the best fit for our client and that particular project is really an art,” said Sherman. “You become a financial consultant as part of this. Clients are busier than ever and rely on us to handle all the heavy lifting… so we go above and beyond to ensure they have everything they need to make an informed decision.”
Vanguard also has committed extensive resources to philanthropy, and Mike’s influence is clear. He is a former board president of Habitat for Humanity and has raised over $2 million for non-profits, including Habitat for Humanity, YMCA, Jewish Federation and the Rowan University Cares Institute.
“When you realize how fortunate you are in life and see the less fortunate, you can’t help but get involved, whether it’s Habitat for Humanity, YMCA or donating to the victims of Hurricane Ian,” said Sherman of his motivation behind his philanthropy. “I like to think that if at least one person emulates our passion for giving back and decides to do something themselves, it can make a huge difference. “
Supporting law enforcement has been a huge priority, including sponsoring the Marine Corps and Law Enforcement Foundation in Philadelphia, dedicated to helping the children of fallen military and law enforcement officers attend college and the Patriots of Pasadena In Florida, helping soldiers suffering from mental health issues assimilate back into society.
Fundraising is a huge component of their philanthropy, but Vanguard also helps non-profits take on energy efficiency projects. For example, a recent Habitat for Humanity solar project included a power purchase agreement that forgave all payments owed to Vanguard and included a donation commitment of $50,000 over five years.
“They get better projects for less money, and once we get to see their organization and what they do, we also become a huge fan of their mission,” said Sherman of these partnerships. “We’ve done it for YMCA and Habitat, and we’ll continue to do that for other organizations out there.”
You don’t have to go far to see how this altruistic culture took hold at Vanguard. Sherman and COO Greg Santore vet each hire for the company to craft a strong and capable team that is diverse in thought and background. Relying heavily on Santore’s experience as a business leader and former executive search consultant, they screen candidates extensively to fit the team dynamics.
“I’m so proud to be a part of this team and humbled to lead the organization with the people we have,” said Sherman. “It’s a great group that’s passionate, and that’s the word that’s prevalent with us. They’re passionate about what they do and good at it.”
Each member that joins the team knows that Mike and the rest of the executive team hold an open-door policy and are available to help work through any issue. One reason for this open communication is a genuine interest in helping the team grow. According to Mike, nothing would make him happier than seeing his team members all become CEOs one day.
This great team and culture create a foundation that gives Vanguard the flexibility to generate tailor-made solutions for their clients. Do you want to learn more about the company and how you can benefit from our services? Reach out to our team by calling or filling out our contact form; we’d love to hear from you!