From the start, Alexa Stone wanted to help organizations achieve their sustainability and resiliency objectives. That meant knowing the organization and its environmental needs at the depth necessary to target any capital investment and process improvement for greatest impact. It also meant documenting relevant energy use, waste management, and workplace wellness strategies. Consultants must be catalysts for valuable change. So was born ecoPreserve, the strategic consulting firm that Stone founded.
Aiming high and considering global impact as a small business requires more than a bit of strength and stamina. Ask any business owner or startup participant. The burden is easier with the right team members and state-of-the-art business development resources. With those, the team’s strengths can be applied to the right places.
The Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida has helped in mapping ecoPreserve’s future and advising on day-to-day improvements. This has been a productive partnership.
As company president, Stone and her team of sustainability professionals champion and enable building wellness and operational efficiency. Leading regional and national organizations – commercial and governmental alike – trust ecoPreserve to bring about long-term cultural change through data-driven planning, policy development, and implementation. “Our end goal is the benefit that people, organizations, and the planet gain from carbon neutrality” says Stone, “Nothing is more gratifying then when our clients share their progress toward Net Zero, and have recognized the balance sheet benefits that sustain the sustainability. As they do that, they become more resilient to business challenges as well as environmental challenges.”
In the midst of a successful corporate career as a lighting and energy management executive, Stone decided she wanted to do more for the planet. “I wanted to do comprehensive sustainability and that meant I had to start my own business. That’s why I went to the FSBDC,” she recalls. “I’ve now been working with the FSBDC for twelve years and, to this day, it has been an invaluable resource.”
Early on, Stone took advantage of the FSBDC’s business training and workshops. From there, she moved on to its expert, no-cost, and confidential consulting services which helped her with registrations, certifications, and the initial marketing for her company. Since then, she has participated in an FSBDC Advisory Board Council (ABC) (a no-cost, customized team of volunteer professionals acting as a quasi-board of directors); is currently a member of its CEO XChange program (a confidential, peer-to-peer executive roundtable learning, sharing and mentoring program); and is working with the FSBDC’s government contracting affiliate, the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center at UCF (Florida PTAC at UCF). Most recently, Stone and her team has participated in the FSBDC’s Business Recovery Team program which has helped the company pivot to meet the unexpected challenges of the COVID-19 epidemic.
“In the last year, the approach the FSBDC provided was very business oriented, growth minded, financially focused and very useful to ecoPreserve because that was our weakness,” states Stone. “We are all about our mission, but the truth is to be sustainable as an organization you have to stay in business, you have to make money, you have to be focused on the bottom line. The FSBDC helped us transition and be resilient during these very tough economic times.”
“I started working with the FSBDC when I first founded EcoPreserve,” concludes Stone. “It’s now 12 year later, and we’ve grown significantly. We have an amazing team of people; we’re over 20 sustainability and resiliency professionals; and we’re doing over a $1 million in revenues. If you’re an entrepreneur or a business owner considering working with the FSBDC, I highly recommend it. Don’t let anyone get in your way.”
For more information about ecoPreserve, please visit https://www.ecopreserve.net/.