Green-Lighting the Future: Tina Bennett '89
To Tina Bennett ’89, her job as president of Conservation Services Group (CSG) isn’t just work. The company’s mantra of energy efficiency is illuminated throughout her household in Medway, Mass.“We’ve invested in energy-efficient windows and high-efficiency appliances. We also recycle as much as we can and get our two kids involved in that as well,” Bennett says. “It’s part of our daily routine and conversation.”The former Economics-Finance major brought that passion for living green — and 20 years of related experience — to CSG in late 2011. The national, nonprofit, energy services company works in tandem with utilities and state agencies, including National Grid and NSTAR, to deliver residential energy efficiency programs. Under the umbrella of its clients’ programs, CSG works directly with consumers; the outreach includes everything from conducting home energy audits to facilitating upgrades needed to make a home more eco-friendly.
As president, Bennett oversees daily operations and works closely with the rest of the executive team to manage CSG’s growth – which has been exponential. Company revenue has increased more than 60 percent over the past three years, and its staff has nearly doubled.“It was an opportunity to take my years of experience in energy and do something that was much more meaningful for my community and the environment,” Bennett says of her jump to the clean energy sector.She joined the male-dominated energy utility industry soon after graduating from Bentley. In roles such as vice president of asset management and information technology at International Power and director-level positions elsewhere, Bennett built skills in growing companies and other relevant areas.“One of my primary goals is to look for opportunities to streamline processes and increase operational efficiencies,” she says, noting that CSG staff includes 800 employees in 23 states.
Sustaining growth at CSG over the long term requires expanding the larger market for energy efficiency. That is a challenge that Bennett and her colleagues aim to address by promoting policy initiatives in Washington, D.C.; supporting cutting-edge technology; and, perhaps most important, educating consumers.Right now, she says, the top green technologies from a home-use perspective are insulation, air sealing and compact fluorescent lighting.“One of the biggest hurdles is in making sure that consumers understand the opportunity here and how they can achieve great results in their home,” she says of these and newer innovations such as smart meters, which track electricity, natural gas or water use in real time, and can potentially lower energy costs. Bennett has plans to take the education mission on the road herself in upcoming months. She hopes to join CSG energy audit teams to meet with homeowners and advance the company’s conservation ethic.“I love that I can come to work and feel I’ve done, not only a good job with what I love to do in my professional career, but something that improves the quality of the communities I’m leaving for my children,” Bennett says. “It’s a great place to be.”