April 29, 2015
By Pamela Berns and Tamanna Virmani
For most of us finding a job can be tougher than doing the actual job. We can find it hard just talking about ourselves, no less selling ourselves to others. And first impressions are lasting impressions that can end up having a greater impact on your prospects than your resume or interview. That’s why it’s so important to learn and understand the tools of the trade – like crafting the perfect elevator pitch.
In April, current and future job seekers gathered to get some words of wisdom from veteran energy professional and sustainability career expert Andy Padian on how to successfully deliver an elevator pitch—a quick professional introduction that will convince a potential employer or client to listen to your whole story.
During Andy’s fast-paced and highly interactive workshop, participants received a number of tools to put into their toolkits. Each participant was asked (at random) to quickly deliver a mock pitch. Andy gave pointed feedback (and kudos) and engaged participants in sharing their reactions to each other’s pitches. Here are some strategies that were covered: (more…)
July 29, 2011
Joseph Schaffer, PE, Green Environmental Associates
, Metuchen, NJ
What did your life look like before you started Green Environmental Associates?
Prior to deciding to work for myself, I was doing site civil engineering for commercial developers, projects like big box retail and mega subdivisions. My work has always revolved around design and engineering in land development. This type of work requires the ability to balance hardcore science and site specific conditions in the field with fuzzier disciplines, like urban planning theory, construction tolerance, and environmental concerns.
Describe your “Eureka!” moment that shaped your decision to start your own company.
To make a real impact, I believe that a professional must really understand the existing approach to development and work to change that approach from the inside the system. However, that desire for change must be integrated into the mission of the company. I met my business partners while working on a corporate advisory board and we found that common ground. So we started Green Environmental Associates to reflect a mission of bringing change from the inside. We’re not just consultants, but partners in shaping our client’s future.
September 21, 2010
Beth Forer, Eisner Design, New York, NY
What did your life look like before you worked in the green building field?
I’ve had several careers. I started off in academics, majoring in Russian Studies at the University of Michigan, with the intention of going into journalism or the foreign service. I always liked designing and making things, and when I took an elective in Industrial Design, I loved it and decided to go to graduate school in ID. However, my real love was ceramics, and I worked as a potter for years and got very involved in the fine craft movement. This was a wonderful part of my life. After my son was born, I got a job with a more regular schedule, doing product development for a commercial ceramics manufacturer. Not surprisingly, it barely drew on my knowledge and experience with clay and was more about making objects cheaper and faster with the most mass appeal. However, I did get to travel to China several times, to remote places where the ceramics factories are located, and that was an unforgettable experience.
May 12, 2010
Alison Kling, Assistant Vice President of the Energy Policy Department, NYC Economic Development Corporation.
Alison, thank you for speaking with me. Now what does that job title mean? What do you do – what does your job entail?
EDC is an economic development organization, doing a lot of development, planning and real estate transaction services, and our group – there are seven of us – focuses on energy policy. We’re the advisors to the Mayor and City government on New York City energy policy. So basically that’s everything from energy efficiency and clean supply policy initiatives to representing the City in regulatory cases in front of the New York State Public Service Commission, and working with the utilities. A lot of it is working with the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, working on the PlaNYC energy initiatives. We helped write the energy chapter of PlaNYC and now we’re in the implementation phase, so that’s also everything from supply to regulation to public and private sector energy efficiency to fostering the renewable energy market and making it stronger in the city. In a nutshell that’s what we’re doing – and it’s a lot of policy work and then also project specific things that support that policy and research, and studies and outreach. (more…)
April 6, 2010
Catherine Ryan, Sustainable Infrastructure Research Analyst, Terrapin Bright Green
In simple terms, what did your life look like before you worked with Terrapin?
I was a graphic designer for corporate identity and marketing for about 4 years before I just got tired of doing work that had no real social mission. So, I joined the Peace Corps and moved to Thailand. At least that’s the long story short.
Describe your “Ah-Ha!” moment that shaped your decision to work in this field?
I actually had three “Ah-Ha!” moments that formed my decision. Though they were more like puzzle pieces that had to all fit together before I could figure out my next step.
The first was when I realized that most of the social and economic obstacles encountered by the people I worked with in Thailand had distinct links to environmental degradation, both in their communities and across the greater landscape. (more…)
March 11, 2010
Greg Kiss, Kiss+Cathcart Architects
, Brooklyn, NY
Describe your “Eukera!” moment that shaped your decision to pursue environmentally conscious design.
I actually never had one single moment, rather a series of them that had guided the evolution of our firm’s philosophy over the years. Some people pursue environmental design out of moral conviction, others think of it as good business, but we just think of it as good design. Our primary interest has always been good architecture. Good design can be distinguished by its beauty, functionality, and economy; we believe that engagement with the environmental element is just as an important a component as the other three. If we were to omit it, that opportunity for enrichment would be lost.