It’s November 11 as I write this blog. Veterans’ Day sort of snuck up on me this year. I’m not sure why—perhaps I have gotten so used to celebrating every national holiday on the artificial Monday. As I was reflecting on the significance of the day, and the freedoms protected by generations of U.S. servicemen and women, it seemed particularly appropriate to offer a Veteran’s Day tribute to an air force veteran who we know well at EnergyCAP, as well as the energy management industry that sparked within him a unique but passionate patriotism.
EnergyCAP CEO Steve Heinz served his country as a Civil Engineering Officer in the U.S. Air Force, and in a lot of ways he has been working “under the radar” ever since. After all, what does energy management have to do with serving your country, right?
But to really appreciate some of Steve’s motivation for doing the things he has been doing for 40-plus years, I think it’s helpful to read this short excerpt from a speech he gave to the Association of Energy Engineers when he had just won their prestigious International Energy Engineer of the Year award:
“Forty years ago I was a cadet at the Air Force Academy.
The country had just limped through OPEC oil embargoes when the price of a gallon of gas had spiked to something exorbitant like 52 cents a gallon, I think it was, and everyone was talking about energy.
Now my classmates, a lot of them, were thinking about energy in terms of consuming it. They had pictures on their dormitory walls of the latest jet fighter, the F15. Their idea of the perfect day job was to fly a $50 million jet at Mach 2, burning four gallons of jet fuel per second on full afterburner with the bonus being—when you get to where you’re going in such a rush you can blow something up.
I was a little odd because I didn’t have posters on my wall. I had thermocouples draped over my furniture in my dormitory room. I was studying the heat flow in the cadet dormitories trying to devise a way to save energy by improving the heating system—a project that by the way was later implemented. So my idea of the perfect day job was not to consume vast amounts of energy but to conserve energy.
And it occurred to me … that maybe if we did a better job of energy efficiency and energy independence, we wouldn’t need all of those F15s. And so I took that on as a challenge, and have been working in this area for almost 40 years now, and I have found energy efficiency to be challenging, to be fun, to be interesting, to be profitable, but most of all, it’s important. And I recognize all of you … have seen the same thing—that energy efficiency is important. And I thank you for all your participation in the industry. Thank you very much.”
You can hear the full speech (delivered with Steve’s notoriously dry wit) on YouTube by clicking this link. Thanks, Steve, for your patriotic service, past, present, and future. And may God bless all our veterans.