Meet the 100: Taimur Burki, Global Green Building Program Manager – Intel

by | Jun 18, 2019

The E+E 100 are the VPs, directors, managers and engineers who are making significant strides in driving our industry. Watch for the report featuring all 100 at the end of June, or see the complete list here. And stay tuned for the Call for Submissions coming in the fall, when you can nominate your favorite sustainability or energy management professional!

Now, meet Taimur Burki, global green building program manager with Intel.

Burki has been focused on environmental leadership at Intel for more than 20 years. Among his many accomplishments, he led the development of company-wide construction, building, and landscape specifications as well as a green building policy that incorporate the energy and water savings of LEED certification across the globe.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in the last year or two?

In the last year we’ve kicked off some very large projects. A lot of the head construction managers I used to work with have retired. There’s a whole new crew and it’s relearning how to positively work together to achieve our aims – recycle 90% of our solid waste, minimize haz waste-to-landfill.

Then the question comes in: Who has the data? That’s the hardest. It’s knowing whom to call, how to get the data, and how to present it effectively.

How have you addressed that challenge?

The most important thing is how I add value to a project. Whether I’m building a wafer factory or an office, how do I show I’m adding value and helping them drive change while at the same time not being a burden? If I can bring “here’s what we need to do” and “here are options for cost savings,” suddenly a lot of the roadblock goes away.

I’ve had the pleasure of having some fabulous mentors. They were all about “you have to be a partner.” I call into meetings at 11 o’clock at night to work with teams in Asia. I’ll call into meetings at 6 in the morning to work with teams in Ireland. I need to show that I’m willing to be there for them.

What advice would you give other professionals as they try to accomplish their sustainability or energy management goals?

A lot of people look for the silver bullet. There are many ways of doing things. Let’s not close our minds, let’s work together. It’s okay to fail. Learn from your failures. Have that willingness to say, “I don’t know. What do you know?”

To quote Operation Ivy, “I don’t know nothing.” I know very little, but if we all get together we know more.

The other thing I would say for anyone coming into the field is you need to have a technical skill set. In the world I live in for work, someone will want to be involved, they’re passionate, but they don’t have the technical skill set to be at the table yet. And “yet” is the key word.

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