“Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,” served as the theme for the 2013 Women’s History Month event, sponsored by the Federal Women’s Program and the Equal Employment Opportunity Office, March 27 in the theatre.
Kathy Loftus, Global Leader of Sustainable Engineering, Maintenance and Energy Management for Whole Foods Market, served as guest speaker for the event. She began her presentation with some background information. She said that in high school, Loftus loved poetry and originally aspired to become an English teacher. “Then Proposition 2-1/2 was passed and my teachers advised me to become an engineer,” she said.
After high school, Loftus entered Worcester Polytechnical Institute where she received her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. After college, Loftus said she joined Crowley Engineering, which began her experience in innovative sustainability. Other companies that she worked for that she said gave her invaluable experience were Energy Investment, Eastern Utilities, Shaw’s Supermarkets and EnerNOC, before ending up in her current position at Whole Foods.
After discussing her academic and job experiences, Loftus described what an environmentally conscious business was, illustrating three primary principles of enterprise. She said that one of her company’s core values is caring about the community and the environment. Just a few examples she gave of Whole Foods’ commitment to sustainability were:
- They are a certified Organic Grocer
- Member of the Sustainable Seafood-Marine Stewardship Council
- Institution of a plastic bag ban
- Hold numerous Wind Renewable Energy certificates
- Affiliation with U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Program (LEED), GreenGlobes, EPA’s Green Power Partnership, EnergyStar and Others
According to Loftus, Whole Foods has purchased 4.3 billion megawatt hours of wind-based renewable energy and has 16 stores and one distribution center using or hosting rooftop solar systems. “We are committed to reduce energy consumption by 25 percent per square foot at all of our stores by 2015,” she said.
Other topics discussed included Growth and Industry; Statistics from the World Wildlife Fund; the Environmental Footprint of U.S. Buildings; Projected Increase in Carbon Dioxide Emissions; what can be learned from natural surroundings; opportunities for green design; Whole Foods partnerships and collaborations; Whole Foods current and proposed energy programs; the company’s energy program; fuel cells; environmental benefits and continuous improvements. Loftus concluded her presentation by taking questions from the audience.
Denise Kammerer-Cody, Federal Women’s Program Manager, and host for the day’s event, said she was very excited when Loftus accepted her invitation to speak with he District employees about her innovative work at Whole Foods and she thanked Loftus for her presentation. As a token of appreciation for Loftus’ talk, Col. Charles Samaris, New England District Commander, presented her with a New England District Bunker Hill plaque of appreciation.
Loftus sits on the Steering Committee for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Commercial Builds Energy Alliance, coordinates EPA Program partnerships and has served as an advisor for the Grocery sector for the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program. In addition to past roles as Director of Business Development for a start-up energy technology firm and an electric utility company, Kathy also spent eight years as Director for Energy & Environmental Management for Shaw’s Supermarket and was a past chairperson of Food Marketing Institute’s Energy & Technical Services Committee.
Loftus was a participant on the 2005 New England Roundtable on Federal Renewable Energy Policy and is currently a participant on the Commonwealth’s Energy Efficiency Action Network’s Utility Motivation Working Group. The guest speaker is a certified energy manager through the Association of Energy Engineers. She recently served eight years on the Advisory Committee of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust and currently serves on the Commonwealth’s Large Scale Retail Development Solar, Energy Efficiency& Smart Buildings Committees. She is appointed to her town’s Renewable Energy Commission, and is also Chair of the Board of Directors of Clean Air-Cool Planet.