New Power Tour, Inc. makes management offer to HEET

HOUGHTON – Local energy-focused nonprofit New Power Tour, Inc. made a bid to take over much of the management of the Houghton Energy Efficiency Team at HEET’s regular monthly meeting Wednesday.

HEET is seeking a paid, part-time energy manager to lead its two-year push toward the $5 million Georgetown Energy Prize. On Wednesday, Lynn Artman, President of NPT’s board of directors, proposed that NPT take over the energy manager’s role, with NPT founder and Managing Director Melissa Davis handling the manager’s daily duties. Oversight and major decision-making would be handled by both groups’ boards, probably operating in joint session.

“We would like to take all our resources, equipment and knowledge, and help HEET move forward at a faster pace,” Artman said. NPT, she said, has been working closely with HEET since the beginning of the Georgetown Prize effort, and has extensive experience with the same types of weatherization and energy efficiency efforts HEET plans.

“NPT has been around 10 years, and will be another 10,” she said, noting that HEET formed recently and will likely disband after the Georgetown drive. “Melissa Davis has done more weatherizations than any 20 people.”

HEET, Artman added, will hopefully bring the human energy and volunteers to increase NPT’s current pace of home weatherizations about 20-fold, to about 200 weatherizations per year.

HEET members at the meeting decided to give Davis and NPT’s proposal equal consideration with other candidates for the energy manager job, rather than decide on it separately. They chose a five-person hiring committee to pick the manager, to be led by HEET board member and Hancock Mayor Lisa McKenzie.

Board member John “Brad” Barnett, who’s been handling energy manager applications, said there are currently four applicants for the job, but he could not yet release names of other applicants.

Abhilash Kantamneni, who spearheaded the first phase of HEET’s Georgetown drive, noted that it’s crucial to fill the role quickly as the team now has less than two years in the Georgetown competition. He suggested a two- to three-week deadline for applications.

“I would like to establish a deadline, would like to hire this person ASAP and move on from there,” Kantamneni said.

The energy manager position, which will be funded by a $30,000 grant from the Joyce Foundation, is currently defined as a one-year, full-time position to coordinate and lead numerous committees that will tackle various aspects of HEET’s effort. Anyone interested in applying should send a cover letter, rsum or curriculum vitae and list of three references to admin@energizehoughton.org.

While one HEET member at the meeting questioned whether Davis might be “tapped out” from her current duties with NPT, Davis quickly responded that wasn’t the case.

Later, she added that “it would be like expanding my current job to do more of what I do. Either way, NPT will work with HEET, but I think we could get a lot more done here.”

“I’ve had my finger in these pies all along,” she added. “I know all the people already and want to attract more. The idea is to make it fun. That’s what we’re going to do.”

Efficiency Team members also learned that HEET would be holding a home weatherization training session for prospective volunteers on Sunday, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Michigan Technological University Memorial Union. The training requires pre-registration and only a few spots are still available, said HEET’s Maria Janowiak, one of the event’s organizers. For more information and to sign up, go to the Houghton Energy Efficiency Team page on Facebook.

Janowiak said she hopes to get at least one more training organized before the end of the school year.