A crew of Net Impacters set off for Washington DC on Thursday, November 13th. Matt, Colin, Jared, Chris, Rob, JP, and myself piled into various automobiles, mopeds, and rickshaws to make the trek down to or nation’s capital. Our goal was to visit a few companies in the DC area who ultimately each practice what we like to call the Triple Bottom Line – People, Planet, and Profits. Our first stop on Thursday morning was with PNC Bank to meet with Larry Miltenberger in order to discuss plans for their new Platinum LEED certified building. We talked about not only the obvious benefits of creating a building that consumes less energy and water on a daily basis, but what went into convincing executives that undergoing this endeavor was worthwhile.
Next we dashed off to the metro (I still say it looks like a Stanley Kubrick film) and were off to the Calvert Group. We met up with Ian Joseph, a former PSU MBA-er and active member of the DC Net Impact group and he joined us for our next visit. The Calvert Group is a company that focuses on investing in sustainable and environmentally responsible companies. We spoke with a panel of employees from various sectors of the firm who each shared with us how they go about analyzing a company to see if it’s right to go into their respective mutual funds. They noted they were heavy in IT firms, which is not surprising considering it’s not a manufacturing industry but still dominant where investors may see a large return on their investment.
Later that evening we decided to wind the night down with the first ever (and probably last ever) Unofficial Net Impact Burrito Fest at Qdoba (mmmm Dos Manos y mango salsa). We then stopped by Buffalo Billiards to talk to Ian Fisk and kick back with a couple of brewskies. About two hours later about foundation chit-chat (by the way, have a business plan you want funding for? Check out http://www.williamjamesfoundation.org), we were ready to hit the hay to get ready for a busy second day.
Day 2 began at NCB, a company first chartered by congress in 1978, that was created to help fund previously misunderstood company structures such as Cooperatives. Both Diahann and Richard were great hosts informing us on how NCB functions as a lender and has even grown to launch a program specifically for funding solar energy systems.
After feeling reenergized by knowing that you could still work with money save the world, we headed off to ICF via our police escort. Ok, no police escort… But it was an entourage. We had an enlightening time at ICF hearing about how they are brought on by corporations and brands to help them strategize for product placement or increasing market penetration among other things. We were joined by a troupe of eco-minded braniacs: Brian Carroll and his polar bears, Josh Smith who is a PSU grad working primarily with Energy Star, and Jackie Garet and Amanda Byrne both Penn State undergraduates who are working in Residential Energy Efficiency and with the Clean Energy Team respectively. Each brought a unique perspective to the table that left me feeling nothing short of refreshed and rejuvenated when we left.
But alas, our trip had finally ended and it was back into the hatchback with JP for the arduous trip home. Just kidding JP, you’re an excellent car-mate. PS – I’ll get that Celine Dion cd back to you ASAP.
- Christy Conley, Smeal Class of 2010