American Rainwater National Conference to be held in Austin, TX
Careers for a rainy day
ARCSA (American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association) educates professionals and do-it-yourselfers on the best techniques for harvesting and using rainwater. With over 700 members across the world. Austin was selected for this year’s conference location for various reasons: besides being a great Texas venue, the southern and southwestern areas of the United States have seen tremendous growth in rainwater catchment systems due to recent drought conditions; the city is extremely active in green building initiatives; and ARCSA was founded in Austin. Gardeners, landscapers, architects, builders, retailers, engineers, installers, plumbers, state and local water conservation/policy officials, and any individuals interested in rainwater harvesting are invited to join us at this year’s innovative event.
Kicking off the conference will be Lucia Athens, Chief Sustainable Officer, with the City of Austin. Athens is an internationally recognized expert on green building practices, as the City’s first Chief Sustainability Officer to help guide the City of Austin’s environmental initiatives. Athens has 25 years experience in both the private and public sectors, including 10 years with the City of Seattle’s sustainability programs where she provided leadership in program and policy development. She also has served in key sustainability leadership positions with the board of directors for the U.S. Green Building Council and the International Green Building Certification Institute. In Austin, she worked in the City’s Green Builder Program, was a Water Efficiency Program Manager with the Lower Colorado River Authority and operated a residential landscape design practice specializing in green design, native landscapes, rainwater collection systems and edible gardens.
This year’s conference(10/4-10/6) features the largest, most jam-packed schedule to date. With keynotes by four internationally acclaimed experts; the conference will host over 40 presentations, many on topics never before addressed, and will include another 30+ exhibition booths with the most innovative and advanced products sure to advance our thriving industry. At last year’s conference, vendors announced over 20 new products. “We should handily beat this number at this year’s conference with lots of new products and modifications to existing ones”, says Doug Pushard, chair for the 2010 ARCSA conference.
Some of the other presenters include: Honourable Peter Beattie is Queensland’s Trade and Investment Commissioner for the Americas; Robert Glennon, author of the book Unquenchable; Bob Boulware, President of ARCSA; Dr. Peter Coombes from Australia; Jeremy Delost, CEO and lead designer at Rainwater Harvesting Systems, Inc.; Nate Downey, author of the new book – Harvest the Rain; Randy Kauk, President of RainHarvest Systems; Billy Kniffen with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service; Vessela Monta, Executive Director of the International Rainwater Harvesting Association; Texas State Representative Patrick Rose; and numerous others.
Battery Ventures Hosts Workshop on Public Policy for Cleantech Entrepreneurs
150 Gather to Hear Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA) Discuss Intersection of Legislation and Innovation in Clean Technology
MENLO PARK, CA; Sept 15, 2010 – Battery Ventures, a multi-stage investment firm focused on technology and innovation worldwide, hosted a networking event and keynote address for cleantech entrepreneurs on Monday, entitled: An Uncharted Path: Government Policy Promoting Cleantech Entrepreneurship. The event provided a forum to discuss the critical impacts of government legislation on cleantech innovation and provided direction for entrepreneurs to leverage Washington policy in building sustainable business models and category defining companies.
One of the country’s leading lawmakers on environmental legislation, Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA) of Washington’s 1st Congressional District, provided the keynote address about the role of government policy in pursuing a clean energy future. Key discussion topics included:
- The American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009;
- How Washington’s establishment of renewable energy incentives and mandates will impact the pace of cleantech innovation; and
- The likelihood of Congressional approval of greenhouse gas (GHG) legislation in the near future.
“We must invite and excite investment in our clean energy economy,” said Rep. Inslee. “Innovators, entrepreneurs, and market forces will dictate how we get there, but Congress must establish the goal line in clean energy. That is why the Senate must pass comprehensive energy legislation, as the House did last year. Without it, the clear market signals necessary to spur investment in energy innovation and new technology won’t take place. This is the time for entrepreneurs and investors to make their voices heard so that the United States does not lose out on the greatest job creating and economic growth opportunity of the next century.”
The event was held at PARC, a Xerox company and a center for commercial innovation that works closely with clients to discover, test, and deliver new business opportunities. 150 leaders in the cleantech ecosystem, including entrepreneurs, operating executives and policy experts were in attendance. This is Battery’s second event in the firm’s new “Plugged In” series, to help promote education in cleantech entrepreneurship. The first event occurred in April of 2009, when Battery convened a panel led by Congresswoman Anna Eschoo.
The psychology of interviewing
“I totally freeze when I am in an interview,” a job candidate recently told me. “I have no idea what happens to me when I am in an interview, my mind goes blank, and I can’t think of a good way to describe my skills. I can’t even remember my skills.” While her comments may sound extreme, a lot of job candidates feel the same way. It helps to take a different perspective on interviewing when you feel pressured to market your skills.
The art of interviewing basically lies in your ability to understand the power of nonverbal and verbal behaviors in a conversation. In a nutshell, an interview is a conversation that focuses on the potential employer’s needs and your ability to meet those needs. In order to successfully convey your value to the potential employer, you need to be in touch with your emotions and use them to guide you rather than let them become a barrier. Feelings of doubt and intimidation may be the result of focusing too much on yourself and not enough on the employer’s needs. Always keep in mind you would not be invited to an interview if you did not have the skills or background that interested the employer.
Another job seeker said interviewing felt like being interrogated. Interviewing can feel intimidating when a job seeker is not fully prepared for an interview.
When you go on an interview, it may feel as though every part of you is being judged or evaluated. The more unprepared you are to describe what you bring to the interview table; the more likely it is you will feel the conversation is one-sided. To be successful at interviewing, it helps to understand what it’s all about. Interviewing is a structured two-way conversation designed to determine if you match the company’s culture, and evaluate your skills, abilities and value. Your job in the interviewing process is to build rapport with the interviewer and determine the needs of the employer. Keep in mind these three powerful facts as you interview. You are the one who can: ? Increase profitability ? Reduce costs and/or eliminate expenses ? Make the person you’ll report to/your employer look good for hiring you.
Interviewing can be seen as a business transaction that revolves around “the match.” When you start mixing your emotions (ego) into the process instead of focusing on the potential employer’s needs, feelings of rejection and doubt build. The key is to stay balanced and keep in mind why you are there: To be seen as a valuable contributor.
Posted By: Kim Thompson (Email) | September 07 2010 at 07:30 AM
Listed Under: Career Rescue: SF GATE
10 Great Green Opportunities
By Brita Belli, Kathryn Gutlebar, Julia Hirsch, Jesica Knoblauch, Shawn Query
Everything’s coming up green. Across every industry, new job possibilities are emerging for those with the skills to bridge the divide between the old, fossil-fuel-based economy and the new, energy-efficient one. Corporations once demonized for their role in creating pollution and exploiting workers are being held accountable; they are partnering with nonprofits and hiring corporate social responsibility managers. They are finding that reducing their impact is as good for future profits as for the planet at large. There’s no secret to getting a job in the new green economy. It’s as basic as applying the job skills you’ve already developed (web design, sales, management) to a nonprofit or sustainable industry, or coordinating sustainable practices from within a corporate entity. Sometimes, as in green building or solar panel installing, these green jobs require a specific set of skills—and classes are organizing to fill the growing need. Other times, as in the organic food industry, ecotourism or sales and marketing of energy-efficient technology, anyone with a good work ethic can get in and create a great green career.
Green Globetrotters: Travel and Hospitality
1) Tourism is the largest business sector in the world economy, so it’s no wonder that people are finding entry-level work greening the industry. Ecotourism is growing at three times the rate of the tourism sector itself, and demanding more knowledgeable workers committed to sustainability. “There is great diversity within the field,” says Ayako Etaka of the International Ecotourism Society (TIES). Green travel employees generally work for private companies, government and public institutions and nonprofits.
Openings are also coming from businesses that are looking to turn over a new green leaf. According to the Green Hotels Association (GHA), “Guidance from an employed ‘Green Team’ can turn hotels into educators, showing us simple steps we can take to be more sustainable.” Working within the ecotourism field also provides employees with the opportunity to travel while communicating the importance of the global environment.
“Giving guests an understanding of ecological changes invites them to participate in protecting the environment,” says Mary Jo Viederman of Lindblad Expeditions. Jobs in ecotourism can be high-risk and adventurous, but also limited by season or temporary. Salaries for ecotourism managers, operators and guides can be difficult to predict, because of vast differences between employers and the tourism market itself. But as Etaka says, “There are always opportunities to extend your experience in the field.” —Kathryn Gutleber
CONTACT: International Ecotourism Society, (202)347-9203; Green Hotels Association, (713)789-8889; Lindblad Expeditions, (800)EXPEDITION
Sustainability Stewards: Planning and Land Use
2) Local governments are increasingly interested in how they can reduce their communities’ carbon footprint, and turning to city planning professionals for direction. Megan Lewis, senior research associate for the American Planning Association, says wetlands restoration, stormwater management, transportation and urban design are coming to the forefront of the profession. “The planning community is very interested in climate change issues and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions,” she says. “We need to be thinking about our buildings and how they can be carbon neutral.” New urbanism, which emphasizes sustainable and transit-oriented development is also a growing trend in such places as the Southeast, California and the Pacific Northwest, says Meghan Sharp, assistant project manager for the Livable Communities team at the International City/County Management Association. She says architects and designers are adapting their skills to accommodate this type of city planning.
“There’s a market demand for more sustainable community design,” Sharp says. “As communities change their zoning regulations, there’s a learning curve that architects and planners need to overcome.” Geographic Information System (GIS) specialists are also assets to planning departments, Lewis says. In the private sector, planning consultants can help communities look at the big picture by connecting transportation lines and designing more sustainable living and working environments. —Shawn Query
CONTACTS: American Planning Association, (202)872-0611; International City/County Management Association, 202-289-(ICMA)
Complementary Care: Health and Medicine
3) According to a survey conducted in 2002 by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), 36 percent of U.S. adults use some form of alternative care. NCCAM is a group of diverse medical and health-care systems, practices and products outside of conventional medicine. Victor Kumar, a licensed acupuncturist at Creative Wellness in Michigan, says his job allows him a great deal of doctor-patient interaction. “There are many practices where MDs just aren’t able to spend the time,” says Kumar. “With acupuncture, you have more time to treat people not just the disease.”
Dr. Matthew Fisel, a naturopathic physician based in New Haven, Connecticut, says you can’t just tap into the built-in network that comes with a traditional medical degree. “This field is a lot more dependent on individual talents,”Fisel says. He offers a range of treatments, from detoxification to nutritional counseling, spinal manipulation to adjunctive cancer therapy. “It’s really satisfying seeing people become their own advocates for health,” he says. While both coasts (and the Northwest) are stocked with natural-care physicians, the need for alt-docs is spreading across the rural U.S. —Jessica Knoblauch & Brita Belli
CONTACTS: Dr. Matthew Fisel, (203)294-9772; National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, (888)644-6226; Creative Wellness, (517)351-9240
Power Pushers: Energy and Renewables
4) When Peter Beadle launched the site Greenjobs.com in 2005, he couldn’t charge for the service. “The first year was slow,” Beadle says. Now, with the explosive interest in renewable energy jobs, Greenjobs.com is getting noticed.
With his background in the solar industry, Beadle knows the career potential in renewables. “Solar and wind are already multibillion-dollar industries,” he says, “and hydrogen and fuel cell production are still in the nascent stages.” Industries like hydropower and geothermal tend to recruit engineers from conventional fields, he says. But it’s in marketing and sales where job-seekers will have the easiest time breaking in to the renewables industry. There are also those who install and maintain the solar panels and wind turbines. Installers are in high demand, says Beadle, and certification is readily available.
Renewable energy careers have the potential to re-establish America’s lost middle class. “If we’re going to be serious about building a wind program, it should be local,” says Kate Gordon, program director at the Apollo Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to the creation of clean energy jobs. “It’s the same with solar panels and energy-efficiency technology.” Renewable energy requires more manpower than fossil fuel—wind power creates 2.77 jobs for every megawatt produced, solar PV creates 7.24 jobs per megawatt—but the U.S. lags behind Japan and Germany both in technology and jobs in the renewable energies race, according to industry site Solarbuzz.com. “The U.S. used to lead in solar,” says Beadle, “but it lost some impetus because of incentives offered in Germany and Japan.” —B.B.
CONTACTS: Greenjobs; Apollo Alliance, (202)955-5665
Planet Protectors: Legal Careers
5) When a power plant is polluting more than its fair share, or an imperiled mammal needs recognition under the Endangered Species Act, environmental law groups go to court and fight the good fight.
Bill Funk teaches environmental law at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. “Sometimes you need to go to court to make sure that going green happens,” he says.
Students at Lewis and Clark can get environmental law certification with their degree, and most go on to work in government at the state and federal levels or private practices with an environmental bent. But you don’t need a law degree to help win big cases for the environment.
Earthjustice, a nonprofit which started as the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund in 1971, employs more than 150 people including lawyers, communications specialists, fundraising and general support positions, says Shelie Luperine, Earthjustice human resources generalist. Earthjustice keeps an online list of job openings, and Luperine says most employees have one thing in common—their passion for the environment.
“People seek out this type of job because they want to tackle issues about the air they breathe or the water they’re drinking,” she says.
Earthjustice was instrumental in the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that says greenhouse gas must be regulated under the Clean Air Act. It has fought against mountaintop removal mining, and for endangered species listings. The organization is also always looking for volunteers to help with mailing and fundraising, Luperine says. —S.Q.
CONTACTS: Lewis & Clark Law School, (503)768-6600; Earthjustice, (800)584-6460
Green Geeks: Information Technology (IT)
6) Joe Kosisek, IT specialist for the Washington State Department of Ecology, is trained to work in any type of corporate situation; he just happens to be environmentally inclined. With a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology, a master’s in systems management and extensive electronics training, Kosisek uses his skills for a “green” cause. “People think there is some kind of mystery, ‘Where are the ‘green’ jobs?’” says Marie Kerpan, founder of consulting practice Green Careers, “There are a bazillion companies where you can take your skills and put it to work in a ‘green company.’”
In the nonprofit sector, IT work may not require extensive training. “I fell into the IT side of things by working for a small nonprofit in which people wear many hats,” says Megan Hill, program coordinator at EcoVentures International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development of sustainable communities and livelihoods. For global organizations like EcoVentures, the Internet is a valuable tool. “The idea that the web can be used for outreach, fundraising and political awareness is very powerful,” says Kerpan. But finding the funds to pay for IT or technical services is a challenge for these organizations. “We must be economically sustainable as well as environmentally sustainable,” says Hill.
For those looking to apply their technical skills toward a “green” career, Hill offers a word of advice. “Be open to starting with little to no pay. It will give you the experience you need to be able to be hired by those few organizations and businesses that can afford to provide the salary that you want.” —Julia Hirsch
CONTACT: EcoVentures International, (202)667-0802
Eco Educators: Green Learning
7) Over the past few years, sustainability coordinators—a job position that didn’t even exist a few years ago—have been joining the ranks of educational institutions looking to “go green.”
“We get calls constantly from institutions looking to hire sustainability professionals,” said Tom Kimmerer, executive director of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). In turn, green educators often find job availability in businesses looking for people who have strengths in some aspect of environmental management. “The demand for these people is sector-wide,” says Kimmerer.
Though there aren’t many schools offering degrees in sustainability, that’s beginning to change. “The schools are either converting existing programs or starting new ones,” said Kimmerer.
Dedee DeLongpre, director of the Office of Sustainability at the University of Florida, was part of a pioneer program at Presidio School of Management in San Francisco, which began offering an MBA in Sustainable Management in 2003. “They wove principles of sustainability into all of the coursework,” said DeLongpre. “It was an amazing opportunity.”
DeLongpre says that the best part about her job is working with the students. “Their world isn’t about obstacles,” said DeLongpre, “It’s inspired by possibilities and innovation.” — J.A.K.
CONTACTS: Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, (859)402-9272; Presidio School of Management, (415)561-6555
Better Builders: Design and Construction
8) Green builders already have a competitive advantage over traditional builders, according to Ashley Katz, communications coordinator for the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). And that advantage will continue to grow as sustainable, energy-efficient building practices become the norm.
“USGBC’s vision is sustainability within a generation,” Katz says. “People who are already involved in the green building market are ahead of the curve—they’ll be the ones who are in demand.” USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system, which once applied primarily to commercial buildings, has now been adapted to homes, retail, schools and healthcare buildings, creating a need for more LEED-accredited professionals (LEED APs) and other green-minded engineers, contractors, architects and designers.
There’s also room for more employees in service businesses making green products and materials, from recycled roofing to energy-efficient heating systems.
Montana-based CTA Architects and Engineers employs 47 LEED APs and took on the role of developer for its latest sustainable project, Amsterdam Village. The 350-acre development in Southwest Montana includes sustainable requirements for homes, 50 percent open space, an organic farm, walking trails and wetlands. “There’s a synergy that goes on when your neighbors are doing the same thing you are,” says lead CTA architect Wayne Freeman. “There’s the desire to keep up with the Jones’.” What’s more, says Freeman, “Lots of clients are starting to like this idea. It’s a free market society and that’s where people’s values are shifting.” —B.B.
CONTACTS: U.S. Green Building Council, (800)795-1747; Amsterdam Village, (406)570-9199
Improving Industry: Corporate Social Responsibility
9) In the age of Halliburton and ExxonMobil scandals, the idea of holding corporations accountable for their actions might sound naïve. But with companies working to establish guidelines for social responsibility, the word “corporation” could sill take on new meaning in the 21st century. To make corporations more responsive to environmental, human rights and health issues, corporate responsibility advocates start from business’ bottom line and work their way up. Using the idea of the integrative “triple bottom line,” activists havepersuaded some corporations to move from thinking solely about profits to the three P’s—people, planet and profits.
“Triple bottom line is explicit and disseminated in terms of how a business operates on a day-to-day basis,” says Erica Dreisbach of Social Venture Network, a nonprofit designed to educate businesses on social responsibility. “The fact that corporations are starting to talk about reform means that corporate social responsibility is going to become more mainstream in the future.”
To wield some clout, you need knowledge of labor law and human resource management. As corporations link their future to turning green, they are able to recognize the competitive advantage of an environmental edge. —K.G.
CONTACT: Social Venture Network, (415)561-6501
Organic Occupations: Food and Farming
10) The promise of organic’s higher price tags has not been lost on farmers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, land used for organic crops increased from 48,000 acres in 1997 to 122,000 acres in 2005. That increase has opened doors, especially for students seeking a hands-on experience on a working farm through the likes of WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms). And finding full-time work on an organic farm is not as far-fetched as it might sound. Some manage organic farms without actually owning the land, leasing it through a land trust. “Other people are starting farms on an acre and a half to two acres,” says Bill Duesing, executive director of the Connecticut Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA). And there is more job potential around farmer’s markets. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) figures, farmer’s markets increased seven percent between 2005 and 2006, to 4,385. “The most successful farmer’s markets have this infrastructure of people who run and promote them,” says Duesing, citing CitySeed in New Haven, Connecticut as bringing area farm stands and community outreach under one umbrella. There are also jobs in farmland protection, education opportunities at on-campus student farms and even a need for chefs specializing in local food.
And the market for organic food has opened channels well beyond the local farm stands. Albert’s Organics is the nation’s leading organic foods distributor and its staff is continually expanding, from warehouse workers to operations and sales staff and administration and computer systems. The company supplies 5,000 supermarkets, natural food stores and restaurants with some 250 seasonal fruits and vegetables. They are always actively recruiting new growers, says Frank McCarthy, Albert’s vice president of marketing. “From farming to harvesting and post-harvest handling, distribution, sales and retailing,” McCarthy says, “almost any food industry career is also available in the organic food industry.” —B.B.
CONTACTS: WWOOF; Northeast Organic Farming Association, (203)888-5146; Albert’s Organics, (800)671-0707