December 18th marked the first day of my fourth month back at the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. It’s hard to believe that almost 20 years ago my first job out of graduate school was as the Building Operator Certification (BOC) Program Associate and I’ve now returned as the Executive Director. I was so fortunate to have found MEEA then, just as the energy efficiency industry was gaining momentum as the most cost-effective and clean source of energy on the grid, and made my way back again as the industry experiences a once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunity.
My first tenure at MEEA laid a foundation so strong, that have focused my career and professional development based on the passion built here. Since leaving MEEA in 2008, I’ve stayed involved in the important work that the organization does through various partnerships, like the Chicagoland Green Collar Jobs Initiative, through Franklin Energy’s membership in my job as Vice President of Central Region Operations, and most recently as the Market Solutions & Education Chair on the MEEA Board of Directors. These experiences have helped me hit the ground running with existing relationships with MEEA’s amazing staff, an understanding of the foundations and inner workings of the organization, and longstanding connections with our members and broader efficiency community.
Over the past three months, several things have been confirmed for me – that MEEA’s reputation as the source for energy efficiency in the Midwest is undeniable, that we have a team of committed and experienced staff, and that we provide significant value to our members. During my next three months, I plan to work with the Board and staff to create a roadmap, building on our existing Strategic Action Plan, currently set through 2025, to guide our activities and decision making over the next two years as we work to deliver the benefits of energy efficiency policy and funding to communities throughout the Midwest.
When I first interviewed at MEEA, I remember Alecia Ward (MEEA’s first Executive Director) telling me that it was our mission to put ourselves out of jobs by transforming the market to a place where energy efficiency was the standard. But we’re not there yet. Energy efficiency investments need to double by 2030 to meet clean energy targets per the International Energy Agency’s Energy Efficiency 2023 report, which was echoed at COP28. The Midwest is an important part of that equation, with an aging building stock and a large industrial base, we – MEEA, together with our members – can deliver an energy efficient future for our region.
I’m thrilled to be back at MEEA at this pivotal and exciting time in our industry. I can’t wait to see what we can build together in the coming years.
I hope to meet many of you, and see many friends, at this year’s Midwest Energy Solutions Conference. Please join us as we celebrate the industry’s successes and future plans to make energy efficiency the first step to our clean energy future.