Associate Director, Environmental Stewardship
United Technologies Corporation
Please tell us your job responsibilities and day-to-day activities.
My job responsibilities fall into three areas. I work with the four UTC business units (Pratt & Whitney, Otis Elevator, UTC Aerospace Systems and Climate, Controls and Security) on best management practices and other activities to meet our corporate 2020 environmental goals. I also spend a fair amount of time on our CDP and UK CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, reporting and keeping up with SASB and other proposed initiatives for external corporate reporting. The other part of my duties includes analyzing the large amount of environmental program data we collect at UTC and looking for new ways to identify and leverage the measurable business value our program brings to the corporation.
What is your biggest environmental/sustainability challenge in 2017 and how are you addressing it?
2017 has been an exciting and challenging year for UTC’s environmental program. We’ve had successive environmental impact reduction goals since 2006 that require reductions in GHG emissions, water use, air emissions and waste generation, regardless of business growth. For several years we met the goals by finding the low hanging fruit available at over 400 sites worldwide. In 2017, we find ourselves having implemented over 10,000 projects and happily seeing substantial business growth in our aerospace businesses, and as a result hitting our goals is proving to be more challenging than in the past. In response, we’ve looked into our own experience and come up with about 30 environmental best management practices that we think define best-in-class manufacturing facility environmental performance, and 2017 has been a roll-out year for several of the BMPs. Time will tell, but we think that a combination of the BMPs and the efforts of our environmental management pros around the world will result in continuing our streak of goal attainment.
Is there a specific recent project or implementation you worked on at your company that you can share? Any tips you can share that would help colleagues at other companies who are contemplating similar projects?
I’ve worked on a few recent projects, and to paraphrase Cuba Gooding Jr. in Jerry McGuire: “show me the money.” We’ve found that with the right focus on technology and results, environmental impact reduction projects can often be cost competitive and provide real economic value. I have a colleague at UTC, Sean West, who manages our GHG emissions and energy efficiency program, and Sean has made me a true believer in the value of measuring and articulating both the environmental and economic value or projects, and not to settle for projects that claim one at the expense of the other.
Please tell us what you see in the market in the next few years. What will be the biggest challenges the industry will face?
From a regulatory or thematic perspective, I don’t foresee any dramatic changes in the environmental profession during the next few years. Happily, sound environmental stewardship is now expected as the norm, and EH&S professionals are now as integral to company and community operations as just about anyone. We have seen occasional challenges in finding enough entry level people who want to work in industrial settings but that said, we have dozens of young and emerging pros who are exceptionally talented.
Tell us about a favorite hobby, passion, or book you’ve read recently that has had an impact on you.
I’ve recently rekindled an old passion, which is scuba diving. I’d loved it several years ago and in the press of raising kids and mowing lawns in New England woke up to find that I hadn’t been deep under water in two decades. Happily, my oldest daughter was living near the Great Barrier Reef and challenged me to get recertified, and on a visit to her we dove a couple of times and I was again hooked. I’m embarrassed that I let so much time pass, and infuriated by the rapid decline in most reef systems, so I guess I’ve found the perfect hobby – embarrassing and infuriating.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks you to whomever it was who nominated me for the EL 50, and to Environmental Leader for running the program. While I somehow slipped onto the list, I know several of the other honorees and am happy to be in such great company.