Star City Six – Don Krattenmaker
WoodRiver Energy LLC (WoodRiverEnergy.com) is a Certified Natural Gas supplier to Black Hills Energy commercial and industrial customers and works on a no cost, utility-backed program. Don Krattenmaker is a partner at WoodRiver Energy LLC.
Tell us a little about your business.
The program we offer at WoodRiver Energy simply allows our customers to choose who supplies their natural gas while still using the local utility for delivery and customer service. WoodRiver Energy guarantees monthly savings with no upfront cost, no monthly fees, and no long-term contracts.
How did you get started in the business?
My brother’s company had a need for a salesperson, so I got my start 22 years ago selling gas to commercial customers in Colorado. Since then I have been involved in all aspects of the natural gas marketing business. In May of 2014 we opened up WoodRiver Energy, where I am currently responsible for business development.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
It is one we are currently facing in this very market. I have trained our representatives to adhere to three simple rules in natural gas sales; work hard, always be honest, and act professionally. However, we have faced adversity due to a diminished ethical standard to use whatever means necessary to retain customers. We have regularly had to overcome slanderous statements against our reputation. This has required staying above the fray and a level of patience and perseverance to ultimately prove to the community who WoodRiver Energy really is as a company.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
I don’t think I have done it yet. Being a partner at WoodRiver and being responsible for 22 livelihoods is amazing. However, there is a lot of work to do and there are still goals to achieve.
Tell us a little about your family.
I am the youngest of seven with three brothers and three sisters. I love being from a large family, the diversity of age and the chaos that it brings. From there I married the love of my life and we just recently adopted our son from China. I’m very blessed with my family and am grateful every day for all of them.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
Selling Cutco Cutlery when I was a sophomore in college. It really helped me develop self-confidence and taught me to communicate. As you can see, selling became my career, so it was a very important summer in my life.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
Spend a quiet day at home with my family enjoying each other’s company.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
I’m an introvert. My family, friends, and job have me around people and out all the time. I like doing it and I love people, but I’m most comfortable at home with my family.
What are you the most proud of?
Developing and mentoring people. There is nothing more important than working with your people, understanding what their goals are and helping them achieve those.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
One that probably sums it up best is “Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band. I’m not from Georgia, nor am I southern, but I truly believe in the simple things in life. That is where true happiness lies.
Which talent would you most like to have?
What is your favorite local restaurant?
I am sucker for wings and the best I have had around the country are from The Watering Hole.
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