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Campus Talk Explores Green Careers

Preparing For Green Careers

Building Green Skills, The New Economic Stimulus Package
September 25, 2009

“Green is a tagline. Sustainable is a world view, it’s a way you live,” said Brian Kuhn, VP at Aeronautica Windpower LLC, to explain the importance of focusing on sustainable business practices as opposed to marking slogans. Mr. Kuhn was one of five panelists at a recent event held at Brandeis International Business School (IBS) on Friday, September 25, entitled ‘Building Green Skills, The New Economic Stimulus Package.’ 

The session was organized to tap into the current unprecedented interest in sustainability and alternative energy among businesses, policy makers, and students.

The program, part of the Global Green Initiative at Brandeis IBS, was co-sponsored by the Asper Center for Global Entrepreneurship at Brandeis, Executive Minds for Social Innovation, and TiE Boston. It provided participants with suggestions on developing the skills necessary for obtaining ‘green jobs’ across the globe.

The panelists included: Robert Bry (IBM), Marybeth Campbell (Massachusetts Clean Energy Center), Brian Kuhn (Aeronautica Windpower LLC), Matthew Laudon (Clean Technology & Sustainable Industries Organization) and Efrain Viscarolasaga (former Mass High Tech reporter). They represented a cross section of industry, government and entrepreneurs, all of whom are highly involved in green and sustainable business.

Moderator: Michael Appell, M.A. '79, Executive Director of Development and External Affairs and Adjunct Professor.

Michael Appell, Executive Director of Development and External Affairs and Adjunct Professor at Brandeis IBS, moderated the discussion. In welcoming the group, he referred to the Obama administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as an important change in the American business environment which will be “helping Americans to think and train for a new generation of jobs.”

During the discussion, the panelists conveyed a wide array of information on the different emerging areas of the green energy industry. The growing interest in the green energy sector has spurred funding for R&D and other investments, but Efrain Viscarolasaga mentioned that these investments have to make sense in a business perspective for funding to take place, which depends on the demand for green products and green practices throughout the industry. For example, IBM’s current efforts to help build green IT skills around Green infrastructures, Sustainable solutions, and Intelligent systems in colleges and universities through their partnerships with faculty at these institutions is affected by the growing IT energy consumption trend that “will grow 35% in 5 years 1, a growth of ten-fold compared to non-IT consumption,” as stated by Robert Bry, Relationship Manager with IBM’s Academic Initiative.

The speakers highlighted energy literacy, marketing and sales knowledge, and the ability to communicate clearly, as being the necessary tools required for landing a green job. Campbell and Laudon both work in organizations involved in the growth and development of green energy companies, and they addressed technical and sales knowledge as the major skills required for working in the industry. Kuhn said, “When it comes to finding a green job, it’s the same skills and tools that you’ve been using the rest of your life. They are just applied a little differently.”

‘Building Green Skills, The New Economic Stimulus Package’ Panel, hosted by IBS.

The audience was comprised of Brandeis students and professionals from various industries who engaged the panelists with insightful questions about the future trends and challenges faced in the green energy industry.

1 IDC forecast, December 2008