Nexant's Network of Sustainability Coordinators
Apr 15, 2018
This Earth Day, we’re recognizing some of the amazing commitment and leadership our staff has shown in guiding green practices and awareness throughout North America. At Nexant, aside from lessening our own environmental impact, we like reminders that the work we’re doing really matters. That’s why the Hinsdale (Chicago area) office set up a live monitor in the kitchen that shows real-time data of the total kWh and therms their office has saved. Additional offices are working to install these monitors as well.
Sharing sustainability best practices is a part of our culture, whether through word-of-mouth or internal newsletters, we share information on topics from “5 ways to a sustainable Halloween costume” to starting a vermiculture (worm farm). Project Coordinator Megan Petraitis says, “For me, I feel like that is how I become excited about sustainability—hearing what others are doing.” (Stay tuned for our blog next week that will talk about our Green Scorecard system and how we use it to encourage sustainable practices. )
I spoke with some of our Sustainability Coordinators about their backgrounds, how they work, and what’s next for greening Nexant.
Evan Foster, Senior Project Coordinator, Certified Energy Auditor
Evan studied alternative energy in school because he wanted to change the way our energy worked. He has an Associate’s degree in Energy Management, as well as a BA in Business Information Systems. He was the co-founder and VP of the US Green Building Student Council via the Office of Sustainability at his college. Aside from his studies, he was part of the organic gardens at his college, tending to two six-foot plots, and worked for the Director of Utilities and Energy Management.
“It’s pretty obvious our society is currently set up with the environment as an afterthought, but being a part of the society, I feel I can be part of the solution, rather than the problem. In 2012, when I moved to Detroit, I sold my car, not because I didn’t need or want one, but because it was bad for the environment. To this day, I still don’t own a car and commute year round by bicycle. Two years ago I became a vegetarian, not because I don’t like meat, but because plant based diets are less straining on our natural resources and I’m trying to practice what I preach.”
“The Utility Services business unit is focused on energy efficiency programs and we have really creative innovative ways to save energy and to build programs that are profitable and still save energy. I think most people think that those two don’t go hand in hand – saving energy and being profitable. The fact that we can do that and be successful at it and grow is really exciting.”
Megan Petraitis, Project Coordinator, LEED Green Associate
Megan actively works to reduce how much garbage she creates and maintains a sustainable diet.
“I’d say my sustainability journey started in High School, I took an AP Environmental Science class and that opened my eyes up to what’s going on, how we’re polluting the earth, and how we could improve things. In college, I switched my major to Environmental Health because I knew I wanted to work in sustainability somehow—saving the world, basically. I was president in the Student Environmental Action Coalition.”
Megan worked on a campus bike rental program, started a garden, and raised funds for sustainability efforts. After graduation, she “came to Nexant because we work on saving energy.” Her favorite part of working on Nexant sustainability is seeing the numbers and impact we have on the real-time office monitors. She helps the team create the office’s sustainability newsletter, which often highlights green activities people are doing inside and outside the office.
Cathy Newquist-DeJesus, Communications Coordinator
“We weren’t very sustainable back when I was in college,” says Cathy. “Since then, I’ve been a Girl Scout Leader for nine years and a big part of that is reduce, reuse, recycle. Every event we have we are really aware of leaving something better than how we found it and not producing any waste. So even before the concept of sustainability hit me reduce, reuse, recycle was my mantra.”
Cathy gardens and composts in her backyard and was an early adopter of rain barrels in her community. “Part of my incentive was monetary because my water bill was over $400. And immediately I saw the many benefits of reusing rain water… it all just kind of fell into place.” She is working to lessen the amount of trash her home creates and cooking with sustainability in mind. When she joined Nexant over a year ago, she was excited about how everyone was thinking green. “It makes it a better place to come to work on a daily basis when there are these really good initiatives,” she said.