The Economic Development Growth Extension (EDGE) Program offers local, regionally-based access to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) energy efficiency, renewable energy and research and development (R&D) programs.
NYSERDA works with 27 Regional Outreach Contractors (ROCs) strategically located throughout New York State’s 10 regions to extend NYSERDA’s program outreach to commercial, institutional, municipal, industrial and residential customers. Sam i soine of them; he works at Solar One.
Tell me about your background.
I was born in Manhattan, attended Brooklyn Tech High School then enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves as a communications technician. I graduated from SUNY Albany with a BA in Urban Planning and am currently taking classes at CCNY towards a graduate degree in sustainability.
What was your childhood dream occupation?
I always wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps and open my own business. Since my folks were in the restaurant business and I was practically raised in them, I’ve always had an affinity for the food service industry. I also love to cook and am fascinated by the various techniques and flavors used around the world.
What inspired you to seek a career in the energy field? What drew you to the ROC position?
I’ve always had an appreciation for architecture and industrial design. After studying how people interact with the built environment I became aware of the inefficiencies involved in building construction, operation, and maintenance. Prior to joining Solar One, I helped small business owners with energy efficiency evaluations and retrofits. It was a most rewarding experience and I wanted to bring that approach to the community level.
What are the three best things about your work as an EDGE ROC?
It’s great to be part of an organization that is dedicated to promoting urban sustainability and education. I’m incredibly grateful to work in a career I’m passionate about and working alongside such a knowledgeable and enthusiastic team makes it that much better.
Do you have an energy-related success story you wish to share?
Two of my favorite projects were St George’s Episcopal Church and Dosa Hutt, both in Flushing. Everyone at St George was such a pleasure to work with and they were so happy with the results, especially with the ambient quality of the LED lighting. The other project was Dosa Hutt. I never had South Indian vegetarian food before doing an energy evaluation for them but once I did I continued to eat there several times a week, every week. After about two months and numerous dosas (a crepe of sorts), we developed a more meaningful relationship and they decided to go ahead with the energy efficient retrofit.
What are some interesting things you have learned on the job that most people are unaware of?
I’ve learned that Queens is really the world’s melting pot and the food in this borough is fantastic.
What are your top three favorite things to do in NYC?
Rooftop barbecues, biking along the Hudson River and admiring NYC’s architecture (my favorite buildings are Grand Central Station and the Midtown Library)
If you had the opportunity to give one piece of advice to a large group of people what would it be?
I would offer them Baz Lurhmann’s “Sunscreen”.
Keep an eye out for more profiles in the coming months!