Sylvia McIvor joined McKinstry in March of 2018. Based out of our Chicago office, Sylvia is a senior account executive with the Illinois Energy Services team. In her role, she manages the development of business strategies for education and municipal customers in the Midwest region.
Q: Why did you choose McKinstry?
A: What drew me to McKinstry was the company’s cutting-edge view on sustainability as well as the environmental leadership and stewardship. There is so much opportunity here to grow the business, help our customers reduce their environmental impact and make a difference while doing it.
Q: I understand you are involved in the Climate Reality Project. Tell me more about that.
A: I’m fortunate to be working for a company (McKinstry) that supported me in applying for the opportunity, and I was thrilled to have been accepted into the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training. I was one of more than 2,200 attendees who joined former Vice President Al Gore in Los Angeles from Aug. 28-30 of this year (see the collage image above) to learn how to help lead the global fight for climate solutions.
It was a life-changing and awe-inspiring three days. The information and data presented were eye-opening, compelling and frightening, but also very hopeful. If we take action now to address carbon emissions, we can stop the damage and help the planet heal itself.
Q: What was it like to meet Al Gore?
A: Al Gore is the best presenter I’ve ever seen or heard, bar none. He started on this mission to address climate change over 40 years ago and is clearly passionate about it. He went through 600 slides in two-and-a-half-hours without taking a break or even a sip of water! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time because his delivery and content were so compelling. I have an engineering degree, so I really appreciated how he used current scientific data to verify the issues he presented.
I also got to meet Jonathan Scott from the show “The Property Brothers,” which was an added bonus!
Q: Why are so you passionate about taking energy action?
A: This planet is our home, and it’s up to us to take care of it. In my lifetime, I’ve seen drastic changes to our climate and weather. On the news, nearly every day, we see people in our country and all over the world who are suffering because of flooding, fires, drought and disease. Those who have the least suffer the most. The impact is far-reaching and devastating.
From my perspective, I have the opportunity to leave this world a better place in two ways. I can make good choices that help protect our planet, and I can pass down information to the next generation so they can also make good choices.
Q: What is your biggest energy-waster pet peeve?
A: This may sound strange, but it’s my own country. The United States fails to capture approximately two-thirds of the power it generates, according to federal data. In the most recent International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, the United States—long considered a world leader—was ranked tenth in efficiency among 23 of the world’s top energy-consuming countries behind several European nations, China and Japan.
Energy efficiency is one of the most powerful resources we have for meeting our energy and environmental goals AND it’s good for the economy. At $68.8 billion in total revenue, building efficiency was the largest advanced energy segment in the United States in 2016. Energy efficiency and renewable projects create local jobs (jobs that cannot be outsourced). It’s a win-win, so the U.S. should and could—and CAN—be doing more. We have the resources at our fingertips.
Q: What is your top energy-saving tip?
A: The best and cheapest energy is the energy we don’t use. We have access to relatively low-cost power, so we take it for granted, and we waste it. So, my biggest tip is simply to take daily action through small ways like turning off lights, using a programmable thermostat and lowing the temperature of your hot water heater—to other ways such as getting out and voting for candidates and legislation that support this issue and help save our planet.
October is Energy Action Month! Throughout the month, we’ll be spotlighting employees and powerED clients who are taking energy action every day to drive waste out of the built environment. Check out the first Energy Action Month blog post, “Energized by our Future,” by McKinstry’s Chief Market Officer, Ash Awad. With each action we take, we’re one step closer to our vision of together, building a thriving planet. Have you taken your pledge?