Industry: Software and Services for Utilities
Where some may see the risks inherent with such large-scale, abrupt change, Aaron Patterson sees opportunity.
The utility industry is undergoing rapid, multi-dimensional changes, from the way energy is distributed via solar panels and wind farm operations to significant upgrades in the underlying Esri GIS platform that provides the spatial data and analysis utilities required to optimize operations. Having helped implement Esri at many companies, and with his finger on the pulse of the utility industry generally, Patterson is well positioned to help shape the future of how utilities do business, with technology leading the way.
Patterson began his work in the GIS space in the early 90s after graduating college, primarily focusing on the use of geographic information system mapping within the utility business. From the nascent years of his career, he has been involved in one growth story after another. He’s consulted with some of the largest utility companies in the world, including Eskom in South Africa, EDF/GDF in France, and the U.S. companies ConEd, Southern Company, and PG&E, to name just a few.
Patterson served as the Director of Engineering at Convergent Group, which eventually went public, before helping to build Enspria Solutions from its inception into an industry-leading consulting and systems integration firm. After the sale of the company to Black and Veitch, he co-founded Paleon with Adam Tonkin, a company specializing in Smart Metering Software. When Paleon was acquired by SSP Innovations, both Tonkin and Patterson remained on board, with Patterson filling the role of President and Tonkin serving as CTO. SSP was a natural fit for Patterson, who served as a significant mentor to the company’s CEO in the early years of its operation, a relationship that continues to this day. His innate abilities and rapid ascent through the ranks of the utilities-focused software consultancy industry afforded him the breadth of experience to anticipate trends before they develop fully, and thus to help clients take advantage of his vision.
Asked what he’s learned in his years in the industry, Patterson is quick to point out that “the job is never done – there are always other ways to inspire your team to greater things.” Patterson is committed to that attitude and putting it into action as he leads SSP into and through the utility industry transformation that he sees unfolding in the near term.
Now, Patterson sees SSP Innovations continuing its double digit profit growth over the next 5 years as the company continues to onboard new employees, imbue them with the “SSP way,” and continue to help utilities navigate and capitalize on the changes and trends Patterson sees ahead. And, despite the fact that change is coming rapidly, the one thing will remain the same for Patterson is the approach that he takes day in and day out. In-depth technical knowledge and experience are the foundation of his success, and as he sees it, the key to his company’s future growth centers on just two things – hard work and providing the best possible environment for his staff to succeed.
For Patterson’s dedication to the industry, technical knowledge and experience to shape the future of how utilities do business, he has earned a spot as a Titan 100.
Greatest Leadership Lesson
The job is never done - there's always another way to inspire your team to great things.
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things - "Whenever I meet a successful CEO, I ask them how they did it. Mediocre CEOs point to their brilliant strategic moves or their intuitive business sense or a variety of other self-congratulatory explanations. The great CEOs tend to be markedly consistent in their answers. They all say, I didn't quit"
Aaron is a high performance driving instructor for the BMW Car Club.