GreenCorps alumnus: Katie Jones Schmitt

Minnesota GreenCorps alumnus: Katie SchmittKatie credits Minnesota GreenCorps with her professional trajectory. “My undergrad degree was in soil and water engineering,” she explained, “so Minnesota GreenCorps was my entry into the energy world. The network that I built through my Minnesota GreenCorps host site is the reason why I am where I am today.”

As a 2010-11 Minnesota GreenCorps member at Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), she learned the basics of the energy landscape: who works where, how to find funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy, the psychology of outreach, and energy benchmarking tools.

She also learned basic professional skills not typically taught in college, like how to write professional emails, conduct calls, speak up at meetings, and interact at conferences.  “Being in the supportive atmosphere at CERTs helped me learn these simple, yet crucial lessons,” noted Katie.

Connections she made through her service led to a job at The Weidt Group doing technical assistance and development for the state's B3 Benchmarking software program. In turn, Katie’s skills and knowledge “in this very niche part of the energy industry,” she said, helped her secure a position with Center for Energy and the Environment (CEE), her current employer.

The highlight of her service, according to Katie, “was the opportunity that I had in my unique position.” She explained, “As someone who was assisting public building managers at schools, cities, and counties throughout the state on benchmarking, I had no hidden agenda or biases beyond helping public buildings better manage their energy use.”

She added, “When I noticed deficiencies in the benchmarking software and barriers to public managers being able to use it fully, I reached out to the software developers, The Weidt Group, to talk about these things.  They appreciated the discussion, and I relished the opportunity to have some influence to make their product better for the benefit of public entities. “

Now, as Benchmarking Outreach and Policy Coordinator at CEE, Katie now consults for the building benchmarking program at the city of Minneapolis. She also conducts trainings, manages websites and newsletter communications, conducts building energy data analysis, and connects building managers and officials to energy efficiency resources.

“If you want to enter into the environmental field in Minnesota, starting with Minnesota GreenCorps is one of the best ways to learn, make an impact, and develop connections."