Amy is San Francisco International Airport’s Energy Program Manager, where she is responsible for developing capital and operations projects to advance the Airport’s Zero Net Energy and Carbon strategic goals. She also works to bridge energy-related activities across facilities, engineering, and policy departments.
Take us through a typical workday. What are a few of your ongoing responsibilities?
As the first Energy Program Manager at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO), every day is different. My primary responsibility is to lead the development and execution of projects, policies, and programs targeted to achieve SFO’s zero net energy and zero net carbon 2030 strategic goals. Some days, I may use my technical engineering background to pull disparate data together to inform key decisions while on another day I engage stakeholders to build momentum around a project or idea.
In terms of topic areas, a lot of my time is focused on building electrification and efficiency within our 21 million square feet as well as transportation electrification supporting electric vehicle charging, fleet electrification, and electric ground service equipment for aircrafts. Also, I am actively involved in our electrical infrastructure modernization initiatives and management of our 13 on-site solar generation systems (4.1MW) with plans to scale to over 50MW. I have a lot of autonomy and agency in my work, but a core function is collaborating with internal and external stakeholders to deliver results. It is this spirit of partnership and comradery to build a better SFO in service of our community that is the connective tissue across my days.
What are some of the biggest challenges your company/organization will be tackling in 2023 and beyond?
An all-electric future where natural gas and fossil fuels are no longer used at SFO is a big challenge but also a necessary imperative to meet our energy and climate goals. On our 5,200-acre campus, there is tremendous coordination with staff, tenants, passengers, and airlines for full electrification to become a future reality. Another challenge SFO looks to tackle is modernizing our utility infrastructure and incorporating system resiliency to respond to unforeseen events quickly and efficiently.
What trends do you expect to see in the market in the next few years?
With increases in energy prices and electrification initiatives at home and at work, energy management will become a larger core business competency and thus will help raise energy literacy among stakeholders. While energy efficiency and generation are no doubt key activities, energy storage, and optimization are quickly becoming more mainstream components to the overall energy management strategy. Furthermore, campus owners like SFO are evaluating the feasibility of microgrids and the role of resiliency for critical facilities and functions. To support the operation of these advanced energy systems, interdisciplinary education, and training are essential.
Tell us about a favorite hobby, passion or book you’ve read recently that has had an impact on you and your work.
The intersection of water, waste and energy is a passion of mine. My first job as an engineer was working at a water and wastewater treatment plant in Indiana. One of my big takeaways that ultimately shaped my career path was how much energy was required to provide essential water and wastewater services to the community. Now living in San Francisco, CA, I have enjoyed participating in the Adopt-A-Drain program where residents help keep nearby stormwater drains clear of debris to prevent flooding and minimize trash entering our combined sewer system. A fun perk of being a storm drain “parent” are naming rights for the adopted drain. With thousands of drains adopted, there is a large repository of great storm drain names such as “Brain Drain” or “You’re so Drain.” I encourage everyone to check out their utility for “adopt-a-drain” or similar programs.
Connect with Amy and the rest of her Team at SFO
The Environment+Energy Leader Honoree program is an annual list that recognizes the environment and energy “doers” who break the trail in creating new solutions, programs, platforms, best practices and products to help their companies – or other companies – achieve greater success in commercial and industrial environment and energy management. Meet the Honorees… is an ongoing series that will feature one E+E Honoree from 2022 each week. See the complete list of 2022 Honorees here.