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danrubengcc2014

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Presentation at 6th Massachusetts Green Career Conference

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danrubengcc2014

  1. 1. Dan Ruben
  2. 2. Dan Ruben Executive Director, Boston Green Tourism
  3. 3. Boston Green Tourism The Green Hotel Business Why and How I Launched My Unlikely Environmental Career
  4. 4. Doctors start by going to med school, Teachers start by getting ed degrees, Attorneys start by going to law school, Environmental professionals start in dozens of different ways…
  5. 5. BGT’s mission is to help hotels improve their environmental performance, lower their operating costs and attract more guests.
  6. 6. BGT’s original vision in 2005: establish Boston as the east coast green destination, led by green convention centers, hotels and restaurants. BGT’s current vision: spur the green hotel movement in Boston and elsewhere; influence hotel guests and staff to lead greener lifestyles. BGT helps hotels identify the newest and most important green technology and practices; understand and adopt to green trends; adapt to new environmental laws; and achieve green certification.
  7. 7. BGT: is a membership organization for ~30 Boston area hotels improving their environmental performance. We provide for them 8 workshops per year, newsletters and technical assistance. We organize green hotel workshops and webinars for U.S. hoteliers. We consult with hotels and green vendors who serve hotels. We work with Boston’s Green Ribbon Commission to help achieve the city’s climate change goals.
  8. 8. BGT helps hotels: .... reduce energy, water and waste .... improve indoor air quality .... choose greener transportation alternatives .... cccchoose greener food options .... attract visitors based on their excellent environmental performance
  9. 9. BGT staff: Dan Ruben A part-time webmaster A partner on a grant Occasional part-time help Many hoteliers and green vendors help by hosting meetings, giving presentations, etc.
  10. 10. BGT’s Success Many of our hotel members have cut energy and water use by over >30% and have recycling rates of >50%. Boston has the highest proportion of TripAdvisor GreenLeaders of any city. BGT represents hotels on Boston’s Green Ribbon Commission.
  11. 11. With Whom Does BGT Interact? Hotel engineers, green team leaders, GM’s Green product and service vendors EPA State and City environmental officials Environmental non-profits Leaders from other industry sectors
  12. 12. Why Hotels Go Green: ↓ Costs and ↑ Revenue ↓ energy, water and waste bills Attract meeting planners, corporate accounts and leisure guests with green certifications (TripAdvisor, Energy Star, Green Key, etc.) and practices Score well on city or state websites that display commercial buildings’ Energy Star scores Impress guests wanting to live green (recycling bins, allergy- friendly rooms, green cleaning products, local food, etc.) Offer green meetings and green weddings Stay ahead of government regulations Achieve the mandate of your chain (Starwood: ↓ 30% energy, ↓ 20% water by 2020)
  13. 13. Who Greens Hotels? Hotel GM’s, Directors of Engineering and Housekeeping, Green Team leaders from any department Hotel chain and hotel group executives and sustainability leaders Government officials and legislators Utilities that administer the Mass Save Program Green product and service vendors and consultants Engineering firms Green hotel certifiers Meeting planners who favor green hotels Green hotel journalists Where do you fit in?
  14. 14. The Trend: Hotels are Becoming Greener! It makes business sense. There is an explosion of green tech: LED lights, more efficient motors, better building management systems with advanced analytic capability, more water efficient water technology, less toxic products, etc. Stricter regulations, like the MA food waste ban Customers are demanding greener facilities.
  15. 15. My Career Path Masters in Health Services Administration Health care administrator for 17 years; administrator of a Harvard Community Health Plan health center Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’s environmental coordinator Manager, WasteCap of Massachusetts Executive Director, Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Conventions Executive Director, Boston Green Tourism
  16. 16. Why I Switched from Health Care to Environment Improving the environment is my calling I think, read and talk about the environment much more than health care I believed that my skills as an administrator would help me succeed as an environmentalist—even if nobody else did I didn’t switch for the money!
  17. 17. How I Switched from Health Care to Environment, 1 Volunteer work ◦ Greened my life (↓ energy use by 78%, etc.) ◦ Coached 30 Household Ecoteams ◦ Green Decade Newton: President, VP, Chair of Board, etc. ◦ Mass Energy Consumers Alliance, VP of Board Saved money for the lean times Harvard Community Health Plan owed me a favor—and I asked them to create an environmental position for me After HCHP laid me off, I took a risk: abandon my health care career and embark on an environmental career; my first job search took a long time…
  18. 18. How I Switched from Health Care to Environment, 2 I took a giant step backward and accepted a job with WasteCap of Massachusetts—to get my start in this new field After WasteCap laid me off, I took a risk: lead an organization (CERC) with mission to green the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston ◦ I had to raise my own salary—and it wasn’t a good living ◦ I spent > one year as a workaholic ◦ With luck and effort, CERC was a major success, and I made dozens of connections; I became a somebody in the environmental community
  19. 19. The Reluctant Entrepreneur: Starting Boston Green Tourism, 1 No good job prospects. Tired of competing against dozens of applicants for jobs I didn’t want. Decided to start my own business instead.
  20. 20. The Reluctant Entrepreneur: Starting Boston Green Tourism, 2 I wrote a concept paper: Growing Boston’s Convention and Tourism Industry by Making the City a Green Convention and Tourism Destination; I used it to get people behind my vision, and to create the organization I met with hoteliers, convention center officials, restaurateurs and tourism officials, and asked them to join the organization Enough said that they would pay to join, so I formed Boston Green Tourism
  21. 21. Implications of Running My Own Business Freedom / no boss. No paycheck. I’m paid when a check arrives in the mail. For someone who hates to ask for money, this is not ideal! I patch together a living from unpredictable revenue streams: hotel membership dues, grants, consulting jobs and speaking fees. Customers come and go. They don’t have to pay me. I pay my own benefits and earn less than I once did. I do mostly the work I want to do; I love my job! I have become a big fish in the tiny green hotel industry pond. I have had a bigger impact by creating my own position than if I was hired to do a preexisting job.
  22. 22. Next Steps Some funding sources are drying up: hotels turn over, possibly no more EPA grants for the hospitality field. I will make a push for new Boston hotel members. I will seek more consulting work. Business conditions change, so I must keep adjusting and find new sources of income.
  23. 23. I created a great, meaningful, long-term job for myself in the environmental field by: ◦ gaining skills in another field. ◦ volunteering with environmental organizations. ◦ taking risks. ◦ making frequent course corrections. ◦ accepting less pay and an unpredictable income in return for job satisfaction.
  24. 24. Dan Ruben dan_ruben@usa.net 617-527-7950 www.bostongreentourism.org

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