It occurs to me that I haven’t introduced myself properly. I am Education Corporation of America’s (ECA) Manager – Environmental Operations, based at our corporate office in Birmingham, Alabama. But what does that job title mean? What are environmental operations, and just how does one go about managing them? I believe the tale of how my position was created will help answer all of these questions.
In 2010, with our first Ecotech Institute already under construction, Ron Maillette, ECA’s Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer, and Chief Security Officer had what he refers to as an “epiphany.” Ron’s epiphany to CEO Tom Moore brought up this question, how could we advocate energy efficiency and recycling at one campus if we were less-than-efficient and did not practice recycling at our other campuses? In other words, ECA needed to “Walk the Ecotech talk,” both here at corporate and across all campus brand lines.
To Tom and ECA’s credit (and thanks to Ron giving up a Senior Database Administrator position in his IT budget), this new Manager – Environmental Operations position went from proposed to budgeted in a week’s time. And I wound up with my “green dream job” right here in Birmingham! That’s the tale in a nutshell, but let’s dive a little deeper into what I am charged to do.
My job description reads:
Manages the company’s overall approach to and programs in support of environmentally responsible operations. Leads the development and implementation of policies, programs, and procedures that enable the company to operate in a manner consistent with ecological and environmental best practices. Prepares operational analyses and reports, and audits current procedures to monitor and improve efficiency of operations. Makes recommendations around environmental sustainability process and programs using ROI as a core basis for the decisions.
My first three responsibilities under this job description are:
1. Establishes a long-range strategy for the company that positions it as an environmentally friendly/responsible operation at all levels. And, makes recommendations for short-term tactics consistent with that strategy.
2. Works closely with senior leadership to ensure that new and ongoing environmentally sensitive programs and projects align with the teaching and direction of the Ecotech operation.
3. Integrates environmental issues into business operating practices and decisions, and provides direction, assistance and support to senior leadership regarding environmental issues. This is at both HQ and across all campuses.
My day-to-day activities have evolved over the course of my two years here at ECA. These days, I spend a great deal of time researching and writing blogs such as this one. I supposed this activity is covered under responsibility #7 of my original job description, “Works with the company’s PR firm(s) tasked with ECO friendly positioning of the company to ensure consistency with their direction and provide input into their overall campaigns.” However, I don’t believe any of us envisioned the important role that our regular blogs here on Ecotext and such sites as The Green Register and Sustainable Industries would now play. Not only am I thankful for change—I love to blog, as you might imagine—but evolving is part of acting in concert with nature. It’s one more way we can make our operations more environmental, that is, responsive to external conditions, and able to grow and adapt to those ever-changing conditions.
Kyle Crider is Manager – Environmental Operations at Ecotech Institute and Education Corporation of America. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree with a double-emphasis in Urban Planning & Policy Analysis. He is also a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional, Neighborhood Development (LEED AP ND). He is currently in the Interdisciplinary Engineering Ph.D. Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and not necessarily those of Ecotech Institute or Education Corporation of America. Email Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org