Meet the Mid-Market Elite
Superior growth rates, a track record of innovation, an exceptional corporate culture, charismatic leadership, compelling business models—these are some of the qualities we sought in choosing the Chief Executive’s Mid-Market Elite. Applying that criteria, our researchers and judges selected 100 companies that stand out amid the middle-market universe.
January 10 2014 by Steve Rosenbaum
North American Power: Network Marketing Maven
“North American Power is the most perfect reflection of everything that is important to me.”
North American Power is the result of Kerry Breitbart’s inability to retire combined with his desire to transform a moribund marketplace.
Before co-founding the company, Breitbart had already achieved success, spending 30 years in commodity and energy trading at United Companies. During his tenure, United Companies became the first over-the-counter energy broker in the derivatives and futures markets, opened offices in London and Singapore and was a market leader in brokering energy products, including crude oil, gasoline, heating oil and fuel oil. Breitbart began his career at United as a crude-oil broker and worked his way up to president and CEO. When the company was sold in 2005, Breitbart retired.
Sitting on the sidelines, however, did not mesh well with Breitbart’s persona. Spotting potential in the $70-billion retail-electricity industry, which was undergoing deregulation, the then-59-year-old came out of retirement to create North American Power in 2009.
North American Power supplies electricity (much of it generated using renewable sources) along the East Coast, including Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The company competes with traditional utilities by buying energy in the wholesale market and delivering it at lower cost (using the same utility’s own infrastructure). Breitbart’s innovation lies in the vanguard concept of network marketing. Via network marketing, customers switching to North American Power can earn cash rewards through referrals. “We looked at Amway, Mary Kay [and] Avon and realized that one bad element was that [customers] did not earn money,” says Breitbart, who set about revolutionizing the retail-electricity space. “I wanted to give a robust financial incentive, as well as [to] give people the tools to educate others to do the same.” Empowering consumers paid off. Today, North American Power boasts 260,000 customers and growth prospects remain strong.
North American Power plans on moving aggressively into the renewable-energy segment. Breitbart hopes to leverage people’s desire to take control of their individual energy needs by offering a methodology to promote renewable energy.
“I have no ego because I am not foolish enough to believe it is all me,” says Breitbart of his leadership style. “I am not humble but a very self-aware CEO.”