GCP Energy Audits ... GCP Part I: The Planning Begins

Editor’s note: This is the first in a multi-part series that shows what goes into an energy audit by chronicling its own energy audit.

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    Our team’s job is to encourage you to improve the energy efficiency of your building. Well, guess what? We just put our money where our mouth is! What do I mean by that? We recently conducted an energy audit of our own building that we now proudly own.

    And now that we are recently minted property owners, our facilities and finance teams are laser-focused on saving energy in own building. That’s important because the money we don’t spend on energy costs represents that much more of an investment we can make in our members and broader business community.

    Anyway, what I’m trying to say is we’re a lot like you. When it comes to a commitment to energy efficiency, our first step in the decision process is to bring key stakeholders to the table. We involve them in the planning process from the very beginning because this facilitates stakeholder buy-in and decreases the likelihood of major pushback or changes down the road.

    It might look a little different at your company, but here are our stakeholders:

    • Our finance team is tasked with running a well-designed building as efficiently and comfortably as possible for ourselves and our tenants, while managing operating expenses and efficiently managing expenses.
    •  Our marketing team wants to highlight our innovation and efficiency.
    • Our in-house energy team seeks to identify, prioritize and maximize resources where possible for members.
    • Our senior staff wants to ensure our investments are justified for a nonprofit organization.

    Looking inward

    During the past 7-plus years, we have conducted “health checks” on more than 1,000 buildings and identified opportunities for energy efficiency and operational savings. And then the time came we did the same for our own building and so we began to develop a long-term plan.

    As such, our energy team recently spent a day assessing the building from top to bottom, interior and exterior, inside and out, including a thorough review of mechanical drawings and feasibility studies that have been performed over the years. Our next steps will be to build the energy model from our software program to help us estimate cost and savings projections, payback and return on investment from identified opportunities. Our energy team will then align those recommendations with available incentives and rebates to provide a plan of action for the facilities and finance team at GCP.

    In addition to these future investments, we know it is imperative to create cultural change. Giving employees the information they need to become better energy stewards has a profound impact on our ability to save energy and money. We know behavioral change is not only effective but also creates a culture that facilitates the adoption of technical measures. So, the two must complement each other to be the most effective.

    For now, we crunch numbers and lay out a plan. Stay tuned for the action steps we develop during our audit.

    Learn more about the energy audit process by contacting GCP’s energy team at 216-592-2205 or energy@gcpartnership.com. And explore more of what the team does by clicking here.

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    Next up: Hy-Tech Camps: Get an early start on your awesome tech career!
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  • Hy-Tech Camps: Get an early start on your awesome tech career!

    “What do you want to be when you grow up?” This is a question we repeatedly ask children, and it’s always interesting to hear their answers. Studies show that students are influenced by their surroundings from a very young age. These influences could be family members or even things they see on TV and in the movies. The most popular jobs kids learn about are usually attorneys, doctors, nurses, police officers, etc. Unfortunately, their chances of exposure to a Software Developer role – among other jobs in the information technology field – are very slim. That’s what we’re trying to change here at Hyland.

    “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

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    This is a question we repeatedly ask children, and it’s always interesting to hear their answers. Studies show that students are influenced by their surroundings from a very young age. These influences could be family members or even things they see on TV and in the movies. The most popular jobs kids learn about are usually attorneys, doctors, nurses, police officers, etc.

    Unfortunately, their chances of exposure to a Software Developer role – among other jobs in the information technology field – are very slim. That’s what we’re trying to change here at Hyland.

    In 2020, there will be 1.4 million computing jobs available. However, there will only be 400,000 computer science students looking to fill those jobs.

    That’s 1 million more jobs than students available!

    Encouraging high-tech education
    Obviously, we see a huge educational gap that we can help close. As Hyland continues to grow as a company, we will need to continue hiring skilled individuals for our technical positions. If we don’t do our part to help students down paths in computer science, this gap means – among other things – we might have trouble filling those roles.

    How can we help fix that problem?

    If we start exposing students to the different opportunities within computer science at an early age, we can work towards closing the gap. So Hyland started a series of Hy-Tech Camps this summer, inviting incoming 7th grade students through outgoing high school seniors to attend.

    All the camps are free to students and are led by Hyland employees. Each camp is a one-evening session that teaches students about a technology topic. The topics range from learning how to build a webpage to learning how to build a PC.

    Enabling high-tech education
    If their schools don’t teach it, these camps could be one of the only opportunities for students to learn about computer science. Our goal is to provide students with resources and expert guidance, so they walk away from our camps with an interest in technology and motivation to learn more.

    Through these camps, we aim to give students a way to learn about the career paths available to them.

    As the largest software company in the area with hundreds of technical employees, Hyland has a huge opportunity to give back to the community and make an impact on the younger generation. Through our summer camps and other technical outreach programs, we can help close the computer science gap.

    See you at camp!

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    Next up: GiveCamp Crushes Support for Local Non-Profits Again in 2015
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  • GiveCamp Crushes Support for Local Non-Profits Again in 2015

    What happens when 200+ developers and tech folks convene for a weekend in Cleveland?  Magic, that’s what.  Oh, and really great website and software projects for non-profits in Northeast Ohio too. Cleveland GiveCamp http://clevelandgivecamp.org/ makes this magic happen, and they’ve been doing it for six years now.  Annually GiveCamp recruits 100s of volunteers and selects worthy tech projects from local non-profits.  It’s an incredible, intense weekend that’s huge and so very beneficial to organizations doing important work in our community. Folks from Cleveland GiveCamp shared some details on this year’s weekend, which ran 7/17-20. 

    What happens when 200+ developers and tech folks convene for a weekend in Cleveland?  Magic, that’s what. 

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    Oh, and really great website and software projects for non-profits in Northeast Ohio too.

    Cleveland GiveCamp makes this magic happen, and they’ve been doing it for six years now.  Annually GiveCamp recruits 100s of volunteers and selects worthy tech projects from local non-profits.  It’s an incredible, intense weekend that’s huge and so very beneficial to organizations doing important work in our community.

    Folks from Cleveland GiveCamp shared some details on this year’s weekend, which ran 7/17-20.

    OHTec:  How many volunteers did you have this year?  How many non-profits were supported?  How does that compare to the last couple of years?

    GiveCamp: Our volunteer numbers remain relatively consistent from year to year. We had about 200 volunteers supporting 19 nonprofit projects. Our project number was down slightly, but that was by design. We had a few larger projects that we wanted to make sure were staffed properly and could succeed within the weekend timeframe.

    OHTec:  What kind of projects did the volunteers work on this year?  What kind of impacts can the non-profits expect from some of those projects?

    GiveCamp:  The largest percentage of projects was websites. Given the changes coming via Google for search and SEO, it was important for many organizations to update their sites to be mobile responsive.  

    But we had some really different and amazing projects this year. One was an online game, another was a mobile GPS-enabled web app, and there were a few really cool database projects that will create major efficiencies for nonprofits.

    And all 19 projects launched successfully at the end of GiveCamp! That’s pretty amazing considering the scope of some of them.

    OHTec:  What were some of the most unique skills shared by the volunteers?  Like writing code while juggling or reciting Shakespeare?

    GiveCamp:  Everyone at GiveCamp has unique skills to help their team. But some that stuck out were a 3-D animator and some game designers, which were critical to the success of one of the projects. We also had a volunteer with Salesforce for nonprofit experience, that skill helped keep a team from having to develop a fully custom product.

    OHTec:  We heard there were some really cool projects this year, very different from projects in the past.  Can you share some details on those?

    GiveCamp:  We produced a children’s educational game for Veggie U. There was a team of 19 on that project and this is the first time we ever produced a game at GiveCamp. There was also a mobile GPS-enabled web app for the Cleveland Cultural Gardens to help people navigate the gardens AND find out information on the different sculptures and features in the gardens. The nonprofit has the ability to easily add and update the data on its own. It works really well on a phone for those who are walking through the gardens.

    There was also a project for ESOP that will greatly improve efficiency for the organization. The online data collection platform will allow their staff to enter information remotely into a repository that automatically aggregates information. In the past, staff entered information on a spread sheet and that information was manually calculated by a staff member every Monday. It would take that person a whole day. Now, it is done automatically. It creates efficiency so that person can do other things to help that organization. That’s pretty cool.

    OHTec:  Completing this work in just one weekend is demanding, how did the volunteers deal with “sleep deprivation”?

    GiveCamp:  RedBull, coffee, ice cream on Saturday night…. Also, we have an amazing team of volunteers that we call Team Z. They are the food committee. We feed all of our volunteers during the weekend and I must say that we eat pretty well at GiveCamp!

    I also have to put in a plug for our sponsors here. Thanks to sponsors like OHTec, BlueBridge NetworksOnShift  and others,  we’re able to do this whole event. We feed and supply the necessary caffeine/supplies for our volunteers Friday – Sunday as thanks for their dedication to the event. Our sponsors make this possible. 

    Cleveland GiveCamp is an amazing group of folks committed to using their skills to make the CLE an even better place to live, work and thrive.  We can’t thank them enough for their efforts and we’re really proud to help out in our small way. 

    And here’s some great (and kind of embarrassing) pictures from the weekend 

    Well done, Tech and great job GiveCamp!

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    Next up: Green Leasing
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  • Green Leasing

    COSE and the Institute for Market Transformation are currently working together and collaborating with the Cleveland 2030 District throughout the greater Cleveland area to help commercial buildings save money and energy by connecting landlords and tenants around energy efficiency—particularly when it comes to the lease. Watch to learn how a green lease can be a competitive advantage to your business.


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    Next up: Growing the SMB in the Wake of Big Data and Social Media
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  • Growing the SMB in the Wake of Big Data and Social Media

    As technology continues to take over our everyday lives and create efficiencies and complexities, it leaves the small to medium sized business (SMB) with a myriad of options to reach their audience and manage ever-growing data volumes across every department of an organization. So what can you do as a SMB to keep up with technology and marketing trends in order to support growth in the wake of big data?

    As technology continues to take over our everyday lives and create efficiencies and complexities, it leaves the small to medium sized business (SMB) with a myriad of options to reach their audience and manage ever-growing data volumes across every department of an organization. So what can you do as a SMB to keep up with technology and marketing trends in order to support growth in the wake of big data?

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    Start by creating a plan around the privacy, security and compliance of Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC). In 2015, Forrester predicts that 60% of enterprises will discover a breach of sensitive data. You need to think like the big guys even if you are a three-person shop. If you plan to host an e-shop, take payments via your website or simply collect data via an online form, do your research and align yourself with vendors that exhibit cyber best practices. Remember, your security practices are only as strong as the vendors you choose.

    Take the time to establish an ongoing incident management program. An incident response plan, like a business continuity or IT disaster recovery plan, is your immediate response to a specific threat. To be effective, you need to establish an ongoing incident management program that lets you identify the potential risks so that you can create appropriate response plans, test those plans and keep them current. The plan should include the privacy, security, and compliance around SMAC.  

    Next, get your message out. Experiment with budget-friendly ways to build your customer and prospect list. Social media can be a great tool when you find the right outlet or mix. Creating and pushing out content that showcases your organization as a thought leader can really move the meter, but using social media to help build your audience can be your biggest ally. Test various sites and make sure the mix of your posts are equal parts about your organization, its messaging and products/services, as well as equal parts about your friend/connection and what matters to them. While people are always thankful to gain important nuggets from a pertinent blog post or article, they may also enjoy seeing your organization in a less formal setting like in photos from a team building event. Engage with them to see what is resonating; remember to keep it light. Offer life hacks that make their work experience even the tiniest bit easier.

    Letting your customer know that they matter, showing your cyber responsibility, especially with their personal data, can go a long way in building trust and fostering a lasting customer relationship. They need to have confidence in your organization beyond products and services. Make them aware that you are doing everything possible to keep them safe from a cyber attack.

    Nicole Ponstingle is the Director of Client Services and Marketing at BlueBridge Networks in Cleveland.

    This article originally appeared in the May 25, 2015, edition of Small Business Matters.

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    Next up: Here's to Tech in the CLE: 2015
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  • Here's to Tech in the CLE: 2015

    What do we want next year for local tech?

    I think we’ve had a pretty good year for tech, here in the CLE:

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    • our quarterly survey results show strong performance;
    • hiring was on a torrid pace pretty much for the entire year;
    • local media provided significantly more coverage of the industry in 2014;
    • Tech Week grew by another 23% and has quadrupled in just four years;
    • we had a big exit with Oracle’s acquisition of TOA Technologies;
    • and more.

    So, what do we want next year for local tech?

    • Even more publicity for the industry, not just locally, but nationally too.
      • We’re poised for explosive growth, we need national recognition.
    • Breakout companies from local tech accelerators, Bizdom, FlashStarts, and The Bit Factory
      • Some are on their second and third classes, we’d love to see traction leading to growth and hiring
    • An in-migration of talent to the region
      • The CLE is a great place to start or grow a tech career, let’s get some folks in from elsewhere to help propel our growth even faster
    • And selfishly, we want to see Tech Week grow even more strongly in 2015
      • Let’s double it and get 4000+ to connect, engage, support, and celebrate local tech next year

    Tech in the CLE…let’s rock it in 2015!


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