MYNT Systems Combines Silicon Valley Work Ethic with Santa Cruz Lifestyle

MYNT Systems Combines Silicon Valley Work Ethic with Santa Cruz Lifestyle


By Molly Ressler

Commuting over the hill to Silicon Valley may offer higher wages, but it comes at a price—less time for your family, your friends, and for yourself. MYNT Systems, a turn-key energy efficiency solutions company located in downtown Santa Cruz, understands the sacrifices that come with the commute. They also understand that simply working where you live doesn’t entirely eliminate them either.

In striving to strike a healthy work/life balance for themselves and their employees, founders Derek Hansen, Corrina Hansen, and Doug Fossum have created a company culture that combines a Silicon Valley work ethic with the low-stress Santa Cruz lifestyle. Corrina Hansen, co-founder and CFO of MYNT Systems, shared with Santa Cruz Works how they’ve achieved this balance, what it’s like running a business in Santa Cruz, and what she envisions for the future of green tech.

Work Hard, Play Hard

Founded in March, 2014, MYNT Systems has grown from just the three founders to a 15-person company with numerous subcontractors. “It’s been a wild ride but we’ve enjoyed it,” says Hansen.

The young company is committed to creating a work environment that values both hard work and taking time for yourself and your family.

“We have a Silicon Valley work ethic but we don’t want people working 65-70 hour work weeks,” explains Hansen. “When we’re here, however, we expect everyone to work hard. You don’t need to work even 40-hours a week if you can be here and be focused.”

Hansen feels lucky to have found talented employees who value this work/life balance enough to accept slightly lower pay than they would working over the hill.  

“We can’t pay Silicon Valley wages but people are willing to give up some money because they value their family and don’t want to be away 12 hours a day,” she says.

MYNT Systems offers more than just a short commute. They also do everything they can to make it feasible for their employees to give their all at work and be there for their family.

“We like to be able to give people the flexibility needed to have a family,” says Hansen. “We give [our employees] the option to take maternity leave and come back and work part time. Even though it’s not easy for a small company, it’s important to us.”

Supporting Families in the Workplace

A mother of two grade school kids, ages 8 and 9, Hansen understands how challenging it can be to balance the schedules of your children and your work. At the MYNT Systems office, they’ve set up a playroom upstairs complete with a shuffleboard table and ‘The Golden Tee,’ a golf video game donated by one of their employees.

“There’s intermittent times when kids are sick or Grandma is out of town,” says Hansen. “Sometimes there’ll be 4 or 5 kids back there, reading books, playing on iPads, and just hanging out."

For Hansen, being able to work and live in the same place has made it possible for her and her husband to take a more active role in their children’s lives, even with the many demands of running a business.

“We tend to work long hours and it’s unpredictable, but we’re still able to get to all of their school concerts and maybe half their field trips,” says Hansen. “They’re at Capitola  Junior Guards right now and one of us can go pick them up. No way we could accomplish any of that if we lived somewhere else.”

Top 2 Ways Santa Cruz Businesses Can Reduce Energy Consumption

Hansen shared two simple ways any business can reduce energy consumption in-house: LED lighting and scheduling your thermostats.

“The pricing [for LED bulbs] even in the last four years has come down so, so, so much,” says Hansen. “Small businesses should always start there.”

Many businesses also don’t realize how much energy they’re wasting through unnecessary heating and cooling after hours.

“Check your thermostat settings,” urges Hansen. “Either the clocks got reset because they lost power or someone set it and left it five years ago. Make sure that your thermostat is set to turn off when you leave because if you close at six there’s no reason for your air conditioning to be running until seven.”

The Role of MYNT Systems in Santa Cruz Tech

As a construction company that provides energy efficient solutions, MYNT Systems has to stay up to date on the latest tech available to reduce both energy use and costs.

“One of the things we really pride ourselves in is introducing our customers to the newest technology available,” says Hansen, “and we’ve been surprised to find that a lot of that tech is being made here!”

Hansen hopes that in the near future more businesses will realize how affordable green energy really is.

“I think that there’s a lot of forward thinking people here,” says Hansen. “The entirety of the community is super focused on the environment and what we can do. There’s this myth though that’s still leftover from 15 years ago that green means more expensive. It doesn't necessarily have to cost more. You’re typically making your investment back in less than five years. It’s an investment but it will pay for itself quickly and then after that you’re just reaping the rewards for years to come.”

For more information about energy efficient solutions from MYNT Systems, check out their website, Interested in joining the team? Check out their current employment opportunities here.

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Molly Ressler is a writer and content strategist based in Santa Cruz. Find more of her work at

Doug Erickson