Friday, April 1, 2016

My love note to the Public Sector

Somehow I ended up as the co-chair for the Public Sector subcommittee (really, I volunteered and people were crazy enough to say, 'welcome aboard!') and I've spent the last two months in recruitment mode.  If you work in energy efficiency in the public sector, you've probably seen an email from me or from someone forwarding it on my behalf.  I'm persistent like that.

What you haven't read or heard is my personal plea to the people I respect most, my colleagues on the Rural Hard to Reach LGP Working Group.  In lieu of trying to write out another recruiting message I'm publishing what I shared with my people. 

This all began with an earnest email from my colleague at the Mendo-Lake Energy Watch

"...So I guess my questions back to you and the group are this: do you see the value in attending purely for our LGP-specific (selfish) reasons? Or do you see our attendance more as representatives of RHTR? Will you be speaking as Courtney from SJVCEO or Courtney from RHTR? What do others think about this?  
I hope this doesn’t take us too far afield, but I do feel that both the trip and an all-day webcast will be a significant expense for most RHTRers. Before we all jump in it may be good to get some clarification." 
For the record, Mendo-Lake Energy Watch never asks the easy questions and yes, my response probably took a full half hour to craft.
"Oh [Mendo-Lake EW], why must you ask such thoughtful questions that require real answers?

Let’s start with March 16th.  Yes, it is the kick off for the Public Sector subcommittee.  However, it is an incredibly wonk-ish meeting; think datadatadata.  The five PAs will present their data analysis.  That’s it.  If you’re into data and can manage the expense, fantastic.  If you’re looking for an entry onto the statewide platform, fantastic this is the place to be.  Overall, it’s not a critical date.

Where things get real is in the subcommittee meetings in April, May and June.  That’s where the bones of the business plans start coming together and the greatest opportunity for influence exists.

As to which Courtney is speaking? Well, that’s a tough one.  In this effort I’m doing my very best to just be Courtney, Public Sector subcommittee co-chair.  In that I view my role as a harvester of people.  I have a decent crop of contacts and I know who needs to be engaged.  Now, I can’t force anyone to get involved but I can nudge and cajole to the very best of my ability.  I’m less concerned about having my voice heard because frankly I’m always talking and furthermore I can only speak really well about my region, my communities, my people.  I can BS pretty well on a larger scale but it’s not authentic and authenticity always sways more than a good talk.

You all are the real deal; the authentic voice of Mendocino. Of Redwood. Of Monterey. Of San Luis Obispo. Of the north Valley. Of the Sierras, north and south.  I’ve seen each and every one of you work your magic and can only imagine how that could play out in this process.

On a final thought, and thank you for the complement about representing RHTR well, but it can’t just be me.  I can get emails opened and people to look up for a moment but I have so many initiatives that I am engaged in that it may start to blur and the importance of one may get lumped in with another.  I encourage each member of RHTR to get involved for their own reasons, for their own community.  We all align nicely, but the truth is there’s just as much different about us all as there is the same.  I can be an advocate for rural California, but gosh, I am so much better as a chorus of many than a voice of one.

Okay, that wasn’t the final thought. Regarding that we’ve already taken a lead, sure.  We did. We issued a lovely memo that had a positive response.  Parts are even getting included in initial presentations. You know as well as anyone that leadership isn’t just showing up at the beginning and letting things run their course.  In this effort it is going to take strong, persuasive presence through September 1.  I’m in it for the long haul.  I’ll go up to bat against every other public sector interest out there, but if it’s just me the numbers game of the saaaaaaaaaaa and aaaaaaaaaaaaa and sssssssssssssssss and ssss are going to eventually outnumber me.  Program design will sway the way of the strong influence and in this scenario strong numbers of really smart people are going to have the advantage.

I encourage you to jump in.  If not on the 16th then later in the game, but it would be a shame for all of our communities if any one of you sat this one out. 
Now, that was my plea to my rural people, but my plea to the rest of California is no different. We are all part of the public sector.  We pay taxes.  We receive services from National, State and regional governments in our communities.  In the next five years the landscape of California energy will have more to do with economic growth and resiliency than it has in the past ten.  This is a monumental opportunity to get engaged and shape what energy efficiency programs look like in your community.  

To get get engaged start by signing up for the Public Sector contact list--provide your email address and make sure you select the 'Public Sector Subcommittee' button.  Once you're signed up take some time to go through the CA Energy Efficiency Coordinating Committee website at There you can review the presentations from the Public Sector kick-off meeting on March 16th, learn how to make comment and provide input in the process, and see other's comments.  You can even read a very important memo issued by a group of really smart people who just happen to live in the most rural parts of California (yeah, I heart them, they know it). 

At risk of repeating myself, I've never known a more passionate group of people than those that work in energy efficiency in the public sector--you're all a bunch of crazy motivated, highly intelligent, sleep lacking individuals and if you're not involved in this effort we all miss out.  Please, engage today. Let your voice be heard! 

*If you need to play catch up as to what this whole Public Sector subcommittee and Energy Efficiency Coordinating Committee stuff is, go ahead and check out Jordan Decker's EE Coordinator blog; she's done the best distillation of this highly complex issue that I've read to date.

**Yeah, I redacted some of that email.  Can't let all our secrets out! 

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