My Sustainability Heroes

Mon, 2012-07-16 08:54

I’ve worked for Everblue for a little over three years. In that time, I have been granted the opportunity to attend four conferences: Greenbuild 2010, ACI National 2011, ACI Home Energy Trainer Conference 2011, and ACI National 2012.

I enjoyed each of these conferences, but for different reasons. I first attended Greenbuild 2010, when it was held in Chicago, IL. This was the first large conference I had attended, and what I saw was not what I was expecting! There was a sea of booths in the exhibition hall, as far as you could see, and the place was swarming with knowledgeable, passionate industry representatives. I felt really lucky to be surrounded by so many influential leaders.

My exposure to these individuals increased when Everblue hired Layla Thomas. At that time, Layla and I worked together to manage and coordinate the BPI training program. ACI National is Layla’s second home, and the well-known industry leaders at the event are Layla’s neighbors. It was at this trade show event that I met Matt Schwoegler (The Snell Group) and encountered Steve Baden (RESNET’s Executive Director) and John Krigger (author of Residential Energy). Having recommended the Residential Energy book to numerous BPI students, I was pretty taken aback when John Krigger was standing before me in the flesh! The man knows his building science and can write about it in an easy-to-understand format.

At the ACI Home Energy Trainer Conference, held in Charlotte, NC, I attended workshops led by Dr. Bob Ash and Dr. Ann Atkinson. Although these sessions were not exclusively about energy efficiency, I learned a great deal from the duo about adult learning and business development. The “Teaching Building Science” track was led by John Tooley, Doug Donovan, Anthony Cox, and David Keefe. This track was very helpful because it spoke directly to what Everblue does as a company. It was another one of those experiences where you couldn’t believe you were in the same room as the men who wrote the standards and the books that so many professionals and organizations base their work on.

ACI National 2012 has been my favorite experience so far. As a marketing guru, I was so excited to be in the presence of Alison Bailes (Energy Van Guard) and Peter Troast (Energy Circle). I attended every workshop session hosted by these two individuals. I feel as though “marketing for the building science professional” is such a foreign concept. Graduates of Everblue’s BPI training courses often go on to start their own businesses, and although we have equipped them with the technical knowledge to succeed, their weakness lay in their ability to market the new business they have created. This is where Alison and Peter come in. Not only are these individuals competent when it comes to building science, but they are extremely knowledgeable about web marketing and search engine optimization. Energy Circle, in particular, helps BPI professionals by developing a webpage, as well as creating social media profiles, for their business. Having been a follower of Energy Van Guard and Energy Circle on Twitter, it was exciting to see these leaders speak and introduce the ACI attendees to their services.

The sustainability industry is at the point where anyone can be a hero. It’s a new, cutting-edge movement, and the leaders are the people who take chances and put themselves out there. This industry should never have been classified as a fad because the people who comprise the workforce are incredibly knowledgeable, passionate, experienced, and receptive. Everyone wants to learn from everyone else and take in best practices for the betterment of the industry. You can become a sustainability hero by immersing yourself in the industry, achieving a certification, attending conferences and tradeshows, and participating in projects and committees that add value to the industry.

Who are your sustainability heroes? Leave a comment below with the names of people you think have played a large role in developing this industry, and let us know what actions they have taken to deserve this praise.

By Lesley Cowie

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