Even in the land of opportunity, entrepreneurs often tread a rough path in the first few years of setting up shop. About 30% of new businesses in this country fail within the first two years of operation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Half sputter out after five years, and 66% crash and burn before making it a full decade.
Those aren’t great odds, so it must take something special for a business to keep its doors open for multiple decades. This week, as Infinite Energy celebrates 25 years of being in business, we take a look at some of the specialness that has made this company such a success.
Darin Cook, co-founder and co-CEO:
We’ve all built something special here at Infinite Energy—a Xanadu, a Shangri-La, a Camelot, a beacon in the dark.
Rich and I are entrepreneurs. And that means we look at the impossible and think we can do it. But we’re astute enough to know we can’t do it on our own. The idea that anyone can do it on their own is self-indulgent and untrue.
Through the years, we’ve had well over a thousand employees that have worked here making Infinite what it is today. This clearly shows that we’ve all contributed to the building of this company, piece by piece, year by year, until it stands before you now—25-years strong—a beautiful living organism made from the efforts of good people working toward a common purpose and for something greater than themselves.
Rich Blaser, co-founder and co-CEO:
Twenty-five years is a huge milestone for all of us here at Infinite Energy. We’ve all worked really hard to build a great company. But it’s more than that. We’ve also worked hard to help build great communities in the areas we serve—on a financial level and through donating our time. I’ve always believed that time is our greatest asset. So giving your time to another, when you’re present and focused and working in the other person’s best interest, is a special thing.
It’s like that poem “The Dash,” by Linda Ellis, where it talks about the dates on a tombstone and how the in-between years—the dash—are what matter most:
For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
Bill W., key account sales manager (and longest-running employee):
The 20 plus years I’ve been with Infinite have flown by, and it’s hard to believe it’s been so long since the company was started. When I first got here, we were a ‘starter’ company just making our way into the brand new Florida and Georgia markets, drawing our corporate seal in pen and cold-calling from payphones—no, they’re not a myth. The best car in the parking lot was a 1996 Nissan.
A lot has changed. But the most impressive thing is that Rich and Darin have not. I was impressed day one with their honest and straightforward way of doing business—treating people fairly and doing the right thing even when it’s tough or costing us time and money. They’re still the same. And I know this place will still be a great place to work in another 25 years. I’m proud to have been a small part in the growth of this company.
Samantha B., operations director (18 years):
When I started at Infinite, I was looking for a job. I didn’t know anything about the company or founders. I just knew I needed a paycheck. What I found was so much more. I found a place where I could grow, a community full of co-workers who care for and support each other, and a never-ending desire to continuously improve.
A lot of things have changed since my first day in 2001, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is the amazing culture and sense of belonging that Rich and Darin created. There isn’t another company out there quite like Infinite, and for that, Rich and Darin should be extremely proud. I feel honored to have been part of this extraordinary company for almost 18 years and look forward to being here for many more.
Walter K., billing production coordinator (15 years):
As young employees of a local utility, Darin and Rich had a great idea: to start a business of their own where they could sell natural gas (and later electricity) at a more competitive rate and with better service. Twenty-five years later, they’re still in business, managing a company that operates in multiple states and employing more than 300 people.
Three hundred employees equals a lot of families! A steady paycheck and great benefits provide a way for people to provide for those families and their own future. And that’s what Rich and Darin and all the great people who work here have done: make this a place where we can all watch our families grow and feel better or more secure about what’s ahead of us. I feel fortunate to have been a part of this place for so many years.
Liz O., customer experience center training lead (7 years):
I’ve been at Infinite Energy for about seven years now, and one thing I love about this company is the culture that Rich and Darin have created. It’s not like anywhere else, and it’s had a big impact on my life.
A few years ago, I was in a car accident that left me paralyzed from the waist down, as well as other injuries. I was in the hospital for 50 days, and every day someone from work would come by. They brought their smiles, their support. They gave thousands in donations. My co-workers even donated 45 days in sick time. Everyone was so great.
Later, they transferred me to a medical facility in Georgia, and then one day I find Rich there in my room, waiting for me with a smile. It really meant a lot to me. And when I came back to work, everyone was super supportive. I even got promoted a few months later. I’m not sure that would have happened at any other job. I’m not just a number here at Infinite Energy. None of us are just numbers at this company.
All of us here at Infinite Energy are so excited to be turning 25 this month. We thank Darin and Rich, who had the bright idea to begin with, and all of our employees, vendors and partners who’ve made this company such a special place.