Different Backgrounds, One Goal: 2011 Climate Corps fellows sent out to find energy

Last Thursday in Cambridge, Mass., Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) unleashed its largest ever class of EDF Climate Corps fellows into the wilds of Corporate America to seek out energy efficiency solutions for 49 of the country’s leading corporations. In light of the incredible opportunities for savings unearthed by past Climate Corps fellows, they’ve got big shoes to fill. In the past three years, Climate Corps fellows have identified opportunities for companies to save $439 million in net operational costs and avoid more the 557,000 metric tons of GHG emissions annually. To date, participating companies report that projects representing 86 percent of the energy savings identified by Climate Corps fellows are complete or underway.

But this new class of Climate Corps fellows knows that expectations go beyond identifying opportunities for companies to save on energy. EDF charged the 2011 class to create practical, actionable plans for companies to implement identified projects and break down organizational barriers to allow for long-term systemic change.  With such a hefty task at hand and only 10 weeks to accomplish their goals, the 2011 Climate Corps fellows dove right in to last week’s intensive EDF Climate Corps training held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Sloan School of Management. By the end of the training, the fellows were eager to arrive at their respective companies to identify energy efficiency opportunities, calculate the financial and environmental benefits, overcome barriers and inspire organizational change.

While it was exciting to see these data-crunching business students scrutinizing costs, risks, incentives and theories, it was during the networking events where we learned more about their unique stories and impressive backgrounds:

  • Jaxon Love (University of Oregon Lundquist College of Business) is working at Shorenstein Properties in San Francisco this summer. Jaxon worked as an energy efficiency associate for Pacific Gas & Electric before business school and spent two years serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Jordan where he worked for an economic consultancy. Jaxon’s experience in Jordan honed his desire to advance renewable and efficient energy technologies in emerging markets.
  • Shujing Man (George Washington University School of Business) moved to the United States to pursue an MBA after spending four years at Singapore Airlines, where she worked as a senior business analyst. Shujing is working at Microsoft near Seattle this summer.

  • Sarah Meyers (MIT Sloan School of Management) is working at CA Technologies near Boston this summer. A high school math teacher for 10 years, Sarah enrolled in business school upon realizing she could leverage her mathematical and people skills to act as a catalyst for change in the private sector.
  • Christopher Reynolds (Columbia Business School) is a LEED AP architect and aspires to integrate the economic, environmental and social investments in the built environment. Christopher is spending this summer working with JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York City.
  • Matt Schmitt (Yale School of Management) completed his undergrad degree at West Point and spent five years as an officer in military logistics. Matt looks to translate his leadership experience and problem-solving skills into the private sector to create change. He is working at RBS/Citizens Bank near New York City this summer.

These five stories offer a small window into the variety, passion, and expertise of the 2011 Climate Corps fellows. These students will be the organizational change agents and future business leaders at the heart of the energy efficiency movement that EDF Climate Corps is creating. We look forward to seeing what they will accomplish this summer in moving America toward more aggressive energy efficiency. See below for a full list of the business schools represented in this year’s class of Climate Corps fellows, and stay tuned to our blog for updates from each of them about their energy findings within their companies over the coming months.

Babson College – Olin School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University – Tepper School of Business, Case Western Reserve University – Weatherhead School of Management, College of William & Mary – Mason School of Business, Columbia University – Graduate School of Business, Cornell University – Johnson Graduate School of Management, Dartmouth College – Tuck School of Business, Duke University – Fuqua School of Business, George Washington University – GW School of Business, Harvard University – Business School, HEC Paris, IE Business School, Johns Hopkins University – Carey Business School, MIT – Sloan School of Management, Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management, Pennsylvania State University – Smeal College of Business, Presidio Graduate School, Stanford – Graduate School of Business, Tufts University – The Fletcher School, UCLA Anderson School of Management, University of California, Santa Barbara – Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of Houston C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Michigan – Erb Institute, University of Michigan – Ross School of Business, University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management, University of Notre Dame, University of Oregon, University of San Diego, University of Virginia – Darden School of Business Administration, Vanderbilt University – Owen Graduate School of Management, Washington University – Olin Business School, Yale University – Yale School of Management

EDF Climate Corps matches trained students from leading business schools with companies to develop practical, actionable energy efficiency plans. Sign up to receive emails about EDF Climate Corps, including regular blog posts by our fellows. You can also visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter to get regular updates about this project.