Going Green in a BIG Way – Debra T Johnson of Eco-Edge

People you will meet and hear from at AZEC10

EcoEdge_Debra JohnsonWhen CorePurpose was just getting started in 2002, I made what was, at the time, a BIG investment (at least it was big to me since it was my personal money and we were not making any yet) as a Mentor Sponsor at AVCC (The Arizona Venture Capital Conference which has evolved into Invest Southwest .)

I was standing at the back of the room getting the lay of the land when I struck up a conversation with an entrepreneur with a vision to help preserve our environment and help companies save money at the same time. That CEO was Debra T. Johnson of Eco-Edge. She’ll be sharing her story and what she has learned along the way at AZEC10 this year.  Here is a sneak peek.

Balancing the needs of keeping fleet operations going, making them more cost effective, and trying to do the right thing for the environment can often stress even the strongest management teams. Evaluating the ever increasing array of technologies with claims of “green” is a project that most companies find daunting and many simply pass on incorporating environmental initiatives into their operations. (Source: www.ecoedgeco.com)

Eco-Edge addresses this challenge by:

Taking companies with diesel fleet and industrial operations to new levels of profitability, performance and sustainability:

Eco-efficient Solutions

Unprecedented Credibility

Award-Winning Technologies for

Improved Fuel Economy

Reduced Maintenance Costs

More Efficient & Effective Operations

Reduced Environmental Footprint


JKW:  How do you see your role in AZ’s entrepreneurial eco-system?

DTJ: As a survivor of the Great Recession, a pioneer in the current business push toward sustainability, and a woman operating in male dominated industries, I like to think of myself as a harbinger of change and an example of “it can be done.”

JKW:  How long has Eco-Edge been in Arizona and how has it  grown?

DTJ: We started here in 2002, working out of my house, dealing mostly in Mexico as “Emissions Product International.” We gradually outgrew our name as we expanded our product line and focus. We learned that the technologies we represent are not yet mature enough for international markets, so our primary focus has been on growing domestically since about 2005 or so.

JKW:  Who helped you/Eco-Edge along the growth path?

DTJ: Wow – so many people that I can hardly begin to name them all! We have been really blessed by having a lot of people really believe in what we do. The most significant ones have been our people at Eco-Edge (and spouses who put up with us). Others whose contribution was critical to where we are now: AAAME and Rena Huber, Frank Thomas, Rick Johnson at Renaissance Forum, Greg Mischel, and so many others.

JKW:  What do you plan to achieve between AZEC10 and AZEC11?

DTJ: Return to consistency in our monthly revenues. The Great Recession really took its toll there because of our heavy reliance on construction related businesses through 2008 (almost 70%), but we have clawed our way back and have diversified extensively, which is showing results. We will also launch at least two of our own technologies developed in house;, whereas in the past, we have strictly sold others’ products.

JKW:  As a leader – did you ever get stuck?  What was your “reset” ?

DTJ: Yes. Many times. There are a couple solutions I try when I am stuck:

· The old “Fake it till you make it” philosophy – which to me means that you have to tell yourself affirmations that get you through the moments of doubt.

· Step back and use the Stephen Covey principle of “sharpening the saw.” Do something you enjoy and that completely clears your head of work.

· The Covey planning and prioritization tools are also something I often come back to when I am stuck. Those tools organize my activities into little steps that can be tackled in a logical order, give a sense of direction, and give a sense of accomplishment that feeds my enthusiasm whenever I cross something off the list.

JKW:  WHY did you choose to support OTEF and AZEC10?  Why will you be there?

DTJ: AZEC10 has grown over the year’s into an outstanding resource for entrepreneurs to learn about tools available to us, as well as that we are not alone. Others are facing the same challenges, something which is often not realized as we entrepreneurs try to slay our dragons. I am thrilled that some of the lessons we have learned from issues we have battled through might inspire or help other entrepreneurs in their own quest.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned… there will be more entrepreneurial profiles and AZEC10 behind the scenes glimpses between now and AZEC10.

Joan Koerber-Walker

Note:  Joan Koerber Walker serves as Chairman of the Board of The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship foundation,which is the host organization and sole beneficiary of AZEC10.  To learn more about OTEF, visit www.otef.org.

Note:  If you have not registered for AZEC10 yet, use discount code PhxBiz and save 10% off the ATTENDEE ticket price.

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