The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. CERTs is highlighting these leaders during the month of March in 2017, which is Women’s History Month.
As part of the series we interviewed Leah Hiniker, Energy Manager of Facility Services at Hennepin County, to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and how other women can get involved in the industry. Read on to learn more!
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in the energy world in Minnesota?
As the Energy Manager for Hennepin County, I manage the energy use for 85 county facilities totaling over 6 million square feet. My work includes tracking and reporting energy use, identifying energy conservation opportunities and developing and implementing energy management initiatives.
How did you get into this work?
I guess it was my passion for saving the environment. My previous employer recognized my passion and starting putting me in charge of the “green” projects and it took off from there.
What is a typical day like for you?
My job typically includes a bit of data analysis, a lot of communication and a little getting dirty at site visits. While most of my day is in the office, my favorite part is getting out in the field and finding opportunities and engaging with staff.
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
The best part is feeling good about the work I am doing to protect the environment and our natural resources and really who says no to saving money. The most challenging can be working within the governmental bureaucracy. While important for a safe and fair process, it can be frustrating at times.
What about your job inspires you?
I get inspired by new technology and the capabilities it has to save energy. It allows me to think outside of the box and discover new ways to save energy. Also, saving energy is a lifestyle. It is more than just changing a lightbulb; it is about commuting by bike, reusing products, using renewable bags, and living without wasting. That’s inspiring to me.
What advice do you have for women who are thinking about working in energy?
Lead by example. Start by being energy efficient in your home and with your family. Your passion for energy conservation will be contagious.
Energy Manager, Facility Services
Leah Hiniker has a degree from Iowa State University in Environmental Civil Engineering. She has working in a wide variety of jobs ranging from environmental cleanup to transportation design to her current passion in energy conservation. Leah has been the Energy Manager at Hennepin County for the past 8 years.
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MN Women in #Energy: Leah Hiniker
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The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries during Women’s History Month.