Welcome to the second edition of “We are Direct Energy,” where we introduce you to some of the people that who are part of the Direct Energy team. Today, we’d like you to get to know two awesome members of the Direct Energy team, Sam Blaylock and Warren Ashworth.
They work at Direct Energy in Houston, TX and are known around the office for celebrating silly holidays with delicious treats! On Toasted Marshmallow Day, the guys brought in S’mores supplies and on Talk Like a Pirate Day, they brought in Captain Crunch cereal and eye patches and temporary pirate tattoos.
They even invented Payday Pancakes Day, when Warren thought it had been too long since they had celebrated a holiday and cooked (from scratch!) pancakes for the whole office! Yum!
Well, we couldn’t keep these fun guys all to ourselves any longer so with out further ado, meet Sam and Warren!
1. What do you at Direct Energy?
Sam: We are Information Services support for Upstream Power, which includes all the power generation assets (wind farms and power plants), Power Trading and Upstream Power Asset Management. The support that we do is very unique in the normal Information Services sense. Warren and I support the business versus a specific system, and at times perform duties not normally in the realm of our job descriptions.
We split being on-call for one month at a time. We receive calls any hour of the day or night from the traders and/or power plants when there is an issue. In order for us to support the generation sites, we make at least one visit a month to the power plants in Bastrop, McAllen and Paris, TX. Depending on the projects we have, there are times that we make more visits.
Warren: Sam did a great job explaining what we do at Direct Energy. It is a very challenging and fulfilling environment.
2. How did you come to Direct Energy?
Sam: I worked for Enron in Information Technology for several years until they went out of business and I found myself out on the street. I was hired at Direct Energy first as a contractor for setting up the Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery processes for the United States in conjunction with a project going on in Canada. After a year, Direct Energy purchased their first power generation site in Bastrop, TX. and needed someone from Information Services to assist with the integration. Direct Energy asked me to act as Project Manager, and then primary support as an employee.
Warren: I came to Direct Energy a little over ten years ago, first working contract, when we were known as Republic Power and Energy America. I started off as a one-man-band supporting most of the technical needs of the office from PCs to network, telephones, blackberries, remote communications, etc. I was on the Integration team for all three of our power plants and was part of the team that won a Platinum Award for the Bastrop Power Plant project. I feel like a valued and appreciated member of the Upstream Asset Management group.
3. What is your favorite part of living where you do?
Sam: I live north east of Houston and love the green areas and nature.
Warren: I live on the Northwest side of Houston, close to Willowbrook Mall. I live in an established neighborhood with my wife, son, a dog and two cats. I have a daughter that is getting married in April. I like the neighborhood for the large trees, generally quiet surroundings and great neighbors. We have good restaurants and many different stores within a very short drive. Day and weekend trips to Austin, Brenham, San Antonio and Galveston are always fun.
4. How would you spend a stay-cation in your city?
Sam: When I spend a “stay-cation” here, it is usually with my family or out enjoying nature or seeking new adventures. There is always something fun going on in Houston, so there are always plenty of opportunities to occupy your time.
Warren: I love to keep my yard looking good, so for a “stay-cation” I would probably work up a few projects to improve the landscaping and borders. I would take the family to the Zoo and Museum of Natural Science. I would probably host a family and friends cookout. I love to grill in the backyard. We love going to festivals in and around Houston. We also love to Geocache. I might also work in a round of golf with my next door neighbor, Bobby.
5. How do you save energy at home?
Sam: I recently replaced all my air conditioning and heating in my home with high efficiency units, which were purchased through Hallmark/Direct Energy. I also replaced light bulbs with higher efficiency units and installed a computer controlled thermostat.
Warren: I have replaced all of our light bulbs with CFL bulbs. We have a programmable thermostat, and practice “if it is not in use, turn it off”. We also had a radiant barrier installed when we had the roof replaced over ten years ago. The pets love it when the weather is cooler and we turn the A/C unit off and raise the windows.