November 1, 2016

Energy Career Trek 2016 student blog: Visiting McKinstry

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

During Fall Break of the 2016-17 school year, the Nicholas School Energy Club sent fifteen graduate students from the Nicholas School of the Environment, Pratt School of Engineering and Fuqua School of Business to Denver, Colorado, as part of the club's annual Career Trek. Coordinated by Master of Environmental Management (MEM) students Leah Louis-Prescott and Eleanor Johnstone, the event was supported in part by the Duke University Energy Initiative.

Below is a student's account of one of the eight companies and agencies included on the trek. Read the others.


By Rajeev Rao
Master of Engineering Management Candidate

I was very excited when I was selected to participate in the NSEC Denver Career Trek '16. On our first day we visited consulting firm McKinstry at their new office in Golden, CO. They are a full-service design, build, operate and maintain (DBOM) firm delivering consulting, construction, energy and facility services. McKinstry targets the educational, municipal, high-tech and healthcare markets with its Energy Services Company (ESCO), advocating collaborative and sustainable solutions to reduce facility operational costs, improve system efficiency and ensure occupant comfort.

We met with Ashley Brasovan, an Account Executive who completed her undergrad and MEM at Duke; Dan Gacnik, Business Development Manager; and Noah Welshans, Technical Services. The team presented on McKinstry's business model in which they leverage potential future utility and operational savings to incentivize their clients to invest in improving their current facilities and operational efficiency. We came to better understand how McKinstry enables its clients to strengthen their bottom line by conducting financial and life-cycle performance analyses to ensure lower costs over time. To achieve this, they offer their clients a detailed estimate on design decisions, cost assessments and financing strategies, but maintain vendor neutrality and have a very open-book pricing policy to ensure accounting transparency.

Additionally, we got to learn more about the day-to-day activities of a consultant/account executive and the specific skill sets that are vital. McKinstry's work in Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) may play a big role in future energy consumption by making it both easier and more economical to invest in energy efficiency.

Read about the next stop on the Career Trek: Xcel Energy.  

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