REVERE — Two locals and a team of millennials began an empire with the hopes of giving back to their own communities, but what they didn’t realize was how much the rest of the country would benefit from their work.
“Dvinci’s purpose is to serve 7 billion people,” said Revere native Walid Halty. “To do so, our mission is to connect, build, and empower communities with 100 percent renewable energy.”
Halty is the 22-year-old CEO of Dvinci Energy, which has set itself apart from other solar companies with its customer-based sales approach, which has generated more than $10 million in revenue in less than 12 months.
“These bigger companies and their systems are outdated,” said Halty. “Millennials make up the majority of the U.S. population and we are unique because we are millennials who have created a system that can drive us, as well as being in a humble position to be able to teach people my age to do better.”
The CEO, who also describes himself as a philanthropist, was raised in Revere public schools throughout his entire education. Halty is the oldest of five children of Moroccan immigrants and was a passionate student-athlete at Revere High School.
“Public school provides an opportunity for people to figure out what they are good at while being a platform where they can discover themselves and learn who they are,” he said. “I learned early on I liked to study on my own and I’d teach myself outside of class by reading, which helped me figure out my own way rather than what was told to me and that was my biggest competitive edge.”
Halty was accepted to Dartmouth College and attended there for a year until realizing this was not the path he was supposed to be on.
“I dropped out of college and was busing tables, but I knew I needed an opportunity,” he said. “I was driven and needed to put that drive somewhere and I was presented with selling solar at SolarCity and I demolished it.”
Halty was 19 years old when he moved to California and was presented with the opportunity to work for SolarCity, becoming the fastest manager there to reach $1 million within the $6 billion company. He was offered a variety of opportunities with SolarCity, but after networking with mentors in the solar industry Halty saw a bigger purpose than what they were providing, which is a mission-centric and community-building approach, rather than just making money.
With the success of his own solar company, the young CEO and philanthropist has also published three self-motivational books and created scholarships for students all over the country.
“If it weren’t for the opportunity in education I had back home I wouldn’t be who I am today and because of that, Revere was the first place I gave a scholarship to,” said Halty. “These are very innovative scholarships that challenge students to think outside of the box with no GPA requirement.”
Although Halty began Dvinci with the help of his mentors, the company wouldn’t be where it is now without the millennial team of employees he brought on board. Jason Prescott Woods, the 20-year-old sales manager for Dvinci’s Massachusetts base, is also a Revere native who grew up with Halty.
Woods went to school in Revere until it was time for high school, where he attended Malden Catholic. He had a great football career there, which awarded him a scholarship to Merrimack College. But he unfortunately broke his back during a game, leaving him wheelchair-bound for a period of time.
“After I got hurt I spent another full semester there and I didn’t have much of a direction,” said Woods.
After getting out of his wheelchair, Woods reconnected with Halty about an opportunity with Dvinci.
“Walid called me one night while I was working at the bar and asked to meet for pizza,” said Woods. “I ended up quitting right there and leaving to meet with Walid, who told me if I wanted to be a part of it I could, but I needed to give up everything I had now.”
Knowing nothing outside of football, beer, and how to kick people out of a bar, Woods decided to drop out of college to involve himself in the knowledge of solar and how he could help benefit Dvinci as a company. Woods quickly went from doing door-to-door sales to being promoted manager of sales by Halty.
“My goal now is to take one of these North Shore cities and make them completely solar,” said Woods. “If we can bring enough change in the community to help push these ideas in the right direction, then it could be possible.”
Jeff Smith, Woods’ former assistant principal and head football coach at Malden Catholic, still keeps in touch with the Revere native to this day. Recently, they were in discussion about establishing a scholarship for the high school through Dvinci Energy. Smith also noted that two years ago MC went completely solar and have received nothing but benefits from it.
“We are really proud of the young man he has become and how he remembered his roots and stayed loyal,” said Smith. “We only continue to see him be a success because he really is.”
Michelle Cyr, of Tyngsborough, is the first woman sales representative for Dvinci and has had much success with the company in a short period of time.
“Being a part of Dvinci has opened endless opportunities for myself and has given me the ability to help hundreds of people,” said Cyr. “We need to take the first steps towards having a positive impact on the environment and our future generations and Dvinci Energy is those steps.”