Spotlight on… Travis Benn
|Topic: all||Read Time: 4 mins|
|Landowner type: All||Energy: all|
As part of our ‘Spotlight On’ series, we caught up with one of the minds behind Lumify Energy- Co-founder and Technical Director of Lumify Energy, Travis Benn.
First things first, tell us about your daily commute.
I have a love-hate relationship with my commute. I took up running at the beginning of 2020 to keep fit during the covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdown. When we began transitioning back to working in the office, I used my runs as my commute—there and back—three to four times a week.
When I first started out it was really difficult; I’ve never been a distance runner, but a friend and I decided it’d be a good (questionable) idea to set a challenge and run a sub-21-minute 5K by the end of 2020. That, followed by a marathon within the next couple of years (just to make things easy for us). I have to say, I slightly regret our resolution every morning! But once I get going, I perk up. And like most things, fortunately, it gets better with time. It’s really rewarding to see the improvements too.
Describe a day-in-the-life of Travis Benn.
I start my day around 7:30am and I’ll spend some time with my two-year-old son, Lemuel, playing and reading books. I don’t tend to have breakfast before I get into the office because of my run to work, which is where I’ll refuel after a gruelling commute.
Once I’ve settled at work, I try to sort through my inbox first thing and respond to any pressing matters. I’ll then usually catch up with our team to assist to see if they need any support or advice regarding projects that they’re currently working on. After that, I prioritise our clients as much as I can; it’s really important to me that I keep in touch with them and ensure that they’re being serviced in the best possible way. Nothing really beats an open line of communication. So I set aside some time each day to speak with our clients before I get stuck into client work and turn my attention to meetings.
Outside of work, I’m a member of the ICAEW Sustainability Committee (and was also, until recently, a Trustee of a charity) so on occasions when we have meetings, I’ll finish my working day early enough to prepare for those.
My goals for Lumify Energy are centred around improving the renewable energy industry by making it simpler and more transparent for everyone.”
What would you say is your most memorable career moment?
That’s a tricky one because there have been a quite few, but if I was pressed, I’d say that completing my chartered accounting exams was one of the greatest reliefs and without a doubt, a significant highlight.
Truth be told, when I first qualified, I wasn’t sure about which accountancy route to go down. But soon into my career, I found that I really enjoyed and quickly developed a passion for the renewables space. I’ve had the privilege of working with some exceptional colleagues and clients over the years. And over time, my love for working in the renewable energy industry grew and grew. Eventually, I decided to take the plunge into starting my own business, which has been one of, if not the biggest career highlight.
What about your outside of work, what do you do to relax?
When I’m not immersed in all-things renewables, I do enjoy listening to podcasts. I’m currently listening to Unbelievable with Justin Brierley (which I highly recommend). I’m also quite an avid reader; Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (a wonderful gift from my wife) is one I’m enjoying at the moment along with The Great Alone by Tim Voors, which I accidentally stumbled across on our office bookshelf while I was waiting for a meeting to start. I love the (great) outdoors, and Tim’s stories of hiking alone for six months from Mexico to Canada absolutely fascinated me. I’d love to try something like this one day.
What are your Lumify Energy and beyond goals?
My goals for Lumify Energy are centred around improving the renewable energy industry by making it simpler and more transparent for everyone, really. That’s why we’re developing a number of services to help landowners and site operators across the lifecycle of their renewable energy projects to better understand and be adequately equipped to manage, monitor, and maximise their site performance. In the longer term, I’d like to see more renewable projects evolve around the world, especially in developing countries, and it’d be an honour to spend some time abroad working on them.
What’s something you wish you’d known before you founded Lumify Energy?
I wish I could’ve jumped into renewables sooner and scaled the business quicker. However, we have learnt countless lessons along the way that might’ve been otherwise missed if we had raced ahead. I would’ve also encouraged my wife to get involved in more areas of the business from the very beginning. She has brought with her an incredibly broad skill set that has propelled the business forward in ways we just didn’t realise at the start of the journey.
When you’re a new business, it can be so easy to get your head stuck in the details (especially as an accountant), which can take an enormous amount of time and energy, but that’s not always efficient. Getting others involved as early as possible can help to ensure that each area of the business receives its fair attention without getting bogged down by one corner.