What’s your top story for today?
As a green business/green technology blogger covering Connecticut, I’d have to say that the big story of the day, or last couple of weeks, is the build-up of the state’s electric vehicle (EV) charging station infrastructure.
Connecticut is a testing state for the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf and we need charging stations to support the expected increase of EV owners. At the start of 2011, we had a handful of “juice bars” but the state now has close to 40 charging stations. EV installations can be found in public parking garages and at small, medium and large sized businesses. Everybody’s doing it. Now if EV charging station manufacturers and car manufacturers can just figure out how to reduce the charging time for a society that’s on the go, we’ll be all set.
Tell us about your dream assignment.
Having been brought up and raised in the Philadelphia area, my dream assignment would be to play second base for the Phillies–but they got a guy named Utley there now so I’m out. But I actually believe that I have a pretty good assignment right now. It relates to grass-roots green job development and trying to enhance the lives of inner-city youth in Hartford, CT. And for the record, I believe that most jobs are green jobs because jobs create wealth and wealth creates sustainable communities.
Three years ago I became associated with the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology at Hartford Public High School as a business advisor. It takes up about 10-20% of my time but it gives me 80% of the satisfaction. As an advisory board member, I get to organize and implement grass roots green stuff for high school students such as rain-water barrel parade/contests, clean-ups during the spring in neighborhoods around Hartford, field trips to technology-based companies and green buildings and inviting leading experts in green technology fields as guest speakers for student lunch and learns. I also help get students paying internships at high technology companies; all in hopes of enhancing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills, environmental stewardship and social responsibility. In addition, I also enhance their basic professional and networking skills. It’s great to watch them take responsibility for their lives and establish college and career goals. I think in a little way, I am making a difference. That’s what I consider green job development at the grassroots level.
It should be noted that Hartford is one of the poorest cities in the country, relative to other metropolitan areas similar in population.
Describe the wackiest story you’ve written.
When I first started blogging about green business activities in 2006, I was doing some research and I found out about a green business certification program in Marin County California that had certified an adult novelty store. I started to use it as an example; if they can do it, any business could.
Pleasures of the Heart, at the time, was a great green business case study. Three of the four employees used public transportation, the store’s restrooms had dual-flush toilets and the owner had an energy audit/lighting retrofit done as well. But the kicker was the boutique only sold “toys” that used rechargeable batteries. That killed me.
I found out a few weeks later that Pleasures also made a case for an increase in ROI when implementing green business strategies. It seems that the store’s sales tripled after the announcement. Of course they did. I’m sure there were folks that wouldn’t step foot in the place but because it’s green, must be OK.
What is your PR pet peeve?
While I embrace social media and respect the impact it has had on society and industry as PR tools, I’ve noticed that the generation that is entering the workforce, while way adept at using these technologies and the various platforms, their interpersonal social skills are very poor. I believe that marketing is about developing relationships and I may be a bit old school but I actually like to talk on the phone or face to face with existing or potential customers. That being said, I’m still amazed that I can sell ad space on buildingctgreen.com and never meet the buyer in person. Now that’s trust.
Top trend in the industry you’re currently covering or are interested in.
See answer number 1.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am truly blessed to have a job in this economy but I’ve also been given the opportunity to expand my horizons and develop other talents.
For the last 23 years, I’ve worked for a state-wide business organization here in Connecticut in the public affairs department. This has afforded me the opportunity to be exposed to various aspects of business and industry throughout the state. And our mix is pretty diverse. While my focus is in legislative and regulatory grass-roots activities, I am also involved with workforce development initiatives and manage the content for three blogs that cover green business, small business and manufacturing in Connecticut.
In addition to the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology Board, I also sit on the boards of CT FIRST Robotics and Knox Parks, Hartford.
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Be sure to check back next time for another installation of “Meet the Media.”