Writer: Joey Garrand
4 min read March 2021 — The past year has been eventful, to say the least. Transformation is a good word to sum up what has happened and it is a significant theme in Invest: Philadelphia 2021, the critical annual review from media platform Capital Analytics launching at the Invest: Philadelphia 2021 Launch Conference on April 8.
The conference, taking place virtually on Zoom Webinar from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., will feature local leaders speaking about how their industries and companies have been transformed, and what the future might hold as a result.
Many of the speakers at the launch conference are featured in Invest: Philadelphia 2021 and addressed the transformation they’ve faced as part of their conversation with Invest:.
Education has been among the sector’s that have faced the greatest transformation, with many school models changing or adapting almost overnight as the pandemic gathered pace. “The model of delivering education in the way we have for the last 50 years is changing dramatically with various emerging modalities. We are never going to go back to where we used to be, and I don’t think we should try to go back,” said Aaron Walton, president of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. “We now need to assess what modalities that are out there that will impact a wide range of students. For instance, what we need to look at offering certificate programs, because not everyone is interested in a four-year degree.”
Walton went on to discuss the near-term priorities of the education sector, focusing on reversing the negative impact the pandemic has had. “In the short run, in our role as educational institutions, we need to upscale a large segment of the population who find themselves unemployed or underemployed. We have to take an entirely different look at what is happening in society and adjust to that. We have lost momentum in terms of properly and adequately educating not only college students, but K-12 as well. We have a lot of catching up to do. We have to be extremely intentional about what we do over the next 12-18 months to bring our students to a baseline again.
Concerning a transforming energy space, Clint Zediak, vice president of sales and marketing at WGL Energy, discussed the growing focus on green, sustainable initiatives and their implementation. “We see more non-capital green energy projects. (Small and medium-sized) businesses don’t necessarily have the capital to install solar panels or batteries, but they want to differentiate their brand so they’ll buy Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) or Carbon Offsets (COs), which will support renewable energy and help offset their carbon production. We have been seeing those purchases become increasingly popular as brands try to differentiate themselves to a greater population demanding sustainable initiatives.”
Zediak also addressed the initiatives among larger businesses and the public sector that have more capital at their disposal. “When you look at the large commercial and public sector segments, not only do the commodity products get more complicated with respect to fixed versus index pricing, the consumers who have the mandate, capital funding, and/or a longer term investment horizon tend to focus on behind the meter installation of renewable energy generation and energy storage, using RECs and COs to bridge their sustainability goals. We tend to see greater demand for new solutions and technology in this sector as consumers look to take greater control of their energy spend and reliability. This should ultimately foster innovation and lower capital costs for these technologies over the years.”
Steve Meyer, executive vice president and head of global wealth management services at SEI, discussed the rapid acceleration of trends that were already underway in the financial services segment, pointing to results related to the customer experience. “This pandemic has driven more on-demand thinking and a culture of personalization, instant access, and higher customer service expectations that are permeating throughout our lives. This isn’t just in retail and the Gen X consumers, but it’s across all buyers and the entire spectrum of financial wellness. That’s a path we were already on, and the pandemic has completely sped that up.”
Meyer also said that technology would become increasingly important in creating those experiences and developing relationships. “As with any good long-term relationship, our clients come to us for advice, and our strong counsel is that they have to get out in front of their investors, constantly and consistently, just like we’re getting out in front of them. In the past, the best way for them to do that was to pick up the phone and call. Today, digital technology has emerged that didn’t exist even a few years ago. Digital engagement, particularly of end investors, is now front and center and critical to how our clients run their businesses.”
The Invest: Philadelphia 2021 Launch Conference on April 8 will feature these speakers and more. It is expected to attract a broad audience of business and political leaders.
For more information and to register, please visit: Click Here