REI CEO asked to join Obama's cabinet

 
 

Outdoor enthusiast Sally Jewell, CEO of the Kent-based outdoor equipment cooperative REI, has been tapped by President Obama to be the next Secretary of the Interior. She would be the first woman be named to the president's second-term cabinet. She would succeed outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The U.S. Department of oversees many federal agencies, including the National Park Service, the Burea of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Fish and WIldlife Service. Read more about Jewell in this Executive Q&A from our March 2012 issue and about REI in our story on cooperatives in the February 2013 issue.

Jewell, a native of England, joined REI in 2000 as its COO and was named CEO in 2005. She had a long career in banking before that, and started her professional career as an engineer for Mobil Oil.

2016 Community Impact Awards: Green Products & Services

2016 Community Impact Awards: Green Products & Services

Winner: Optimum Energy, Itek Energy, Rice Fergus Miller
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 

Gold Award:
Optimum Energy
Location: Seattle  |  Employees: 60  |  Top Exec: Bert Valdman, president/CEO   |  optimumenergyco.com

“Being green” is not a trend at Optimum Energy. The company, which enables campuses, health care facilities, pharmaceutical plants, data centers and other commercial buildings to cut energy costs by up to 50 percent, believes society must reverse the pace of climate change. The firm’s cloud-based platform and its associated technology optimize heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, the largest consumer of energy in most buildings. This technology has enabled customers to save about 500 million kilowatt hours of electricity, reduce carbon emissions by nearly 290,000 metric tons and save more than 100 million gallons of water. “We have to reverse the pace of climate change, and we can’t do that unless we’re able to do more with fewer economic and physical resources, without comprising the environment,” says CEO Bert Valdman. “Accepting the status quo is not an option. We must develop the tools and technology to become more sustainable. And we must do so on a straight-up economic basis, without subsidies.”

Silver Award: 
Itek Energy
Location: Bellingham  |  Employees: 88  |  Top Exec: John Flanagan, founder/CEO  |  itekenergy.com

Itek Energy manufactures high-powered solar modules in Bellingham. The company also works with nonprofits to power low-income housing, the Bellingham Food Bank, homeless shelters and community buildings. In the past four years, Itek Energy has locally built and sold in Washington more than 160,000 solar modules, which will produce more than 50 gigawatt hours of renewable energy every year. 

Silver Award:
Rice Fergus Miller
Location: Bremerton  |  Employees: 44  |  Top Exec: Steve Rice, principal  |  rfmarch.com

Architectural, interior design, planning and visualization services to several markets, including senior living, fire and emergency services, health care, hospitality and community. For almost three decades, the firm has focused on projects that build and strengthen community. The company is housed in a reclaimed auto service center that is one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the United States.