A Conversation with Bill Morrissey

We recently sat down with member contractor Bill Morrissey, to ask him a few questions.

How long have you been in the business, and what led you here?

Eight years ago, I was doing general contracting, and we were having constant problems with insulation. We were taking things apart and finding all kinds of issues, like fiberglass being mashed into cavities, and I knew there had to be a better way. I started researching, looking at more high-performance installation, and realized there weren''t enough people in the field. I knew we'd have a niche if we could provide the right level of service, so I applied for the Building Performance Institute training through Efficiency Vermont. Now we earn a living by cutting carbon emissions and making Vermonters more comfortable while saving them money on heating bills. It's a pretty great gig.

How does Efficiency Vermont factor into the work you do?

I reach out to Efficiency Vermont all the time. Usually when I call it involves complex assemblies—what to do next, how to test it, etc. Just the other day I asked [Energy Consultant] Steve Spatz about expanded polystyrene, and he was able to help me on the spot.

Efficiency Vermont has been instrumental in helping to move the market forward, too. Almost every project we've worked on, they've provided an incentive to offset project cost for the homeowner. Sometimes people need a carrot in order to commit to doing a project (or to doing it right), and the rebates and incentives are handy there.

Wha's the secret to your success?

My wife. I married an accountant. I can do the sales and the technical part of the job, but it's even more important to be financially savvy, because with this business it's feast or famine. This time of year, the fall, is incredibly demanding—this is when we're making hay. And then we have to make sure we're able to survive the lean times without cutting staff, because good people are so important. In this field, there are a lot of skills needed that you can't develop overnight. You have to hire good people, train them, and keep them.

Anything else you'd like to add?

One of the biggest advantages of working with Efficiency Vermont is the continuing education they offer—especially the Better Buildings by Design (BBD) conference. Every year before I go I think maybe I've already learned it all, but by the second day I'm blown away. There's always so much new to learn, and the speakers are fantastic. It's also nice to get face time with the other contractors—I don't often get to see them in person.When I win a Best of the Best Award the conference is even better, because it's free; but even if I don't win, it's worth every penny.

Bill Morrissey is founder and partner of Weatherization Works, providing home insulation and heating and cooling services throughout southern Vermont and surrounding areas.

Making Vermont more energy efficient would not be possible without a strong network of independent contractors. The Efficiency Excellence Network was created in order to better support and encourage Vermont contractors to provide energy-efficient solutions in the field. Interested in becoming a part of Efficiency Vermont's Efficiency Excellence Network? Visit the Efficiency Excellence Network page to learn more about the participation requirements and to register for upcoming contractor trainings.