Irv Lebovics has worked at POWWR for 10 years, after having co-founded the company back in 2011. Today Irv starts a new journey as he begins his #retirement, and we've interviewed him about his future plans, his biggest professional achievements and how POWWR has changed over the years.
Name: Irv Lebovics
Job Title: Director, Business Development.
How many years have you worked with POWWR? 100 years, oh wait it’s only 10 years this June. I am one of the two founders of the company. Back then our name was ESCO Advisors.
Before working at POWWR, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had? I ran global sales for an Active Noise Attenuation company. The technology used inverse sound waves to cancel low frequency noise—like the Bose headphones. It was also used to create sound waves that produced vibrations in solids. One of the more fun products was a line of speakers that combined both approaches. They were very thin, with printed speaker covers. It was really fun to work with MTV to offer a custom version that included their original designs.
What drew you to set up POWWR originally? Desperation, I needed a job.
And how has the company changed since? Prior to starting POWWR/ESCO Advisors, I was the VP, Sales for a retail supplier. I was responsible for setting up a broker network. I enrolled and trained over 620 brokers but that required me to have a large staff to support those brokers. When we started POWWR/ESCO Advisors our goal was to create a software platform that would automate many of the processes that a supplier had to deal with on a daily basis. Back then, most processes were done manually and suppliers were working out of spreadsheets. Our software would allow them to get more done with less staff reducing overhead and increasing profits. Today that original product has evolved into Sales360.
What challenges have you faced in founding a company from the ground up? Truly understanding the needs of the market so that our development was based on what the market told us they needed and not what we perceived the market needed. Capital was another. We needed investment to hire the developers with the right skill sets to get a product to market more quickly.
Can you describe your term in this organization in one word? Exciting.
What has surprised you most about working for POWWR? How quickly the market requirements and the market participants change.
What do you see as the major milestones in POWWR’s journey? Raising the capital to hire key employees. The development of our Risk Management software, Risk360. Finally, our merger with the UD Group. Prior to the merger our products and services were targeted at the retail supplier market. The merger allowed us to address the Broker market so that we could provide solutions for all players in the deregulated market.
If you could switch your job with anyone else within POWWR, whose job would you want, and why? I’d give this more thought but wait! I’m retiring! So none.
What is your proudest work-life achievement?. Marrying my childhood sweetheart and at one point working with her. No not Michael Parrella, my wife. Although I have worked with Michael on numerous challenging entrepreneurial endeavors.
What will you miss the most about POWWR when you retire? The people. Many of them are like family to me at this point.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? Like most young boys I wanted to play professional sports. I played college basketball and semi-pro football but no one ever told me you had to be really, really good! That information would have been very helpful.
How do you intend to spend your retirement years? I look forward to not turning on my pc to check emails first thing in the morning. I will now prioritize morning coffee and the newspaper. –before turning on my pc. I look forward to playing lots of tennis and golf, maybe even getting to understand what the deal is with pickleball, visiting family and friends more, just finally relaxing.
What dreams do you have for your future? A healthy, fulfilling and long life.
Do you have any words of wisdom that you’d like to share? Having been in sales for the past 50 years. I’ll quote someone that I am sure Michael will know. Selling begins when the customer say no. I guess my philosophy was never to give up. I actually believe that sooner or later I will close every sale that I go after.