Tom graduated with a chemical engineering degree...
Prior to his present job at a university, his career was a combination of technical and managerial roles. He began by researching into polypropylene and then moved to a managerial and developmental role working in water treatment. His last job before his present role was a technical and managerial position in whisky manufacturing. This process manufacturing environment is very energy intensive and Tom developed a particular interest in this aspect of the work.
His previous roles and experience of dealing with large energy budgets, energy efficiency technology, commissioning plants and energy consumption monitoring, facilitated his move to working in the built environment. The university job was advertised requiring five years' previous relevant experience and so his previous roles qualified him extremely well: his commercial awareness, problem-solving ability and self-motivation were important factors in securing the position.
He now works with a project services team on a range of sustainability measures such as micro-renewables. The university has a large capital development programme and he is involved in building design and is consulted about energy specifications. He investigates energy conservation problems and meets with the parties involved in different projects, such as university management, estates staff, students, lecturers, design teams and technical staff.
There is a lot of emphasis on mechanical maintenance and so Tom works particularly with building managers and heating engineers. He also gets support from the Carbon Trust that carries out surveys and runs carbon mitigation projects and is available for consultation. Tom has students who assist him: several final year students from a range of disciplines are working on dissertation projects concerned with sustainability and he also works with students on managerial committees.
The role has changed greatly in recent years, with the impact of carbon dioxide emissions and the consequent legislation. The de-regulation of utility supplies has also been a big factor as the university is a large consumer and is thus able to negotiate effectively for contracts. There is a much greater awareness of environmental factors generally and there is great pressure to improve environmental management processes.
In the future he would like to achieve comprehensive control of carbon emissions within his organisation, combining energy, transport and waste, so that the emphasis of the role evolves more into facilities management. He would like to develop a carbon management programme with the support of university officials, where corporate targets would be agreed and he could develop strategies for low carbon management. He would like to get the sustainability message across to all departments.
Tom enjoys the challenge of his role. He likes the variety of the work and enjoys working with a wide range of people. The only drawback is that, since he is working for a university he is never fully resourced. He stresses that anyone wanting to embark on a career in energy management should be good with people and have managerial potential. They should also be numerate and they need to be flexible in their approach as there are managerial and technical aspects to the role and it involves liaison with a wide range of people.
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