The ‘Utility’ of Speaking Out

The ‘Utility’ of Speaking Out

Posted October 16, 2019

Sometimes all it takes is a day or two out of the office to remember why what you do is so important. Working hour by hour in our own little cells can be very productive, but also seclusive. I was able to have that day or two the other week in Denver, Colorado. I’ve returned to my office, re-inspired by one of our very own. Meeting our peers allows us to develop a sense of what is occurring at the “street level” and to benefit from contacts with like-minded industry professionals. These interactions broaden our perspective, provide insights that we might not have considered previously, and allow us to receive frank assessments (hopefully) of our efforts. In short, it makes all of us a bit wiser.

This all hit home for me at the recent E Source Forum 2019 in Denver. TRC’s Director of Utility Relationships, Tom Murray, gave a sharply condensed yet engaging five-minute presentation during lunch to a group of utility executives and managers. He spoke about the need to recycle mercury-containing thermostats, the role that TRC plays in the process and how utility companies can contribute to our mission. (I’m pleased to report that we were only one of six companies offered this speaking opportunity at lunch.) His delivery and content were first-rate as he gave a quick overview of mercury dangers, what we didn’t know (until the science caught up) and the role of our partners who support the recycle and disposal process.  He also communicated why companies and utilities should be involved with TRC by offering a three-word mantra — Simple, Free and Easy — which perfectly captures the essence of what we offer.

The point of this all might not be profound, but it is worth repeating.  We can’t repeat the message of sustainability too frequently. Nor can we assume people somehow “just know.” And finally, the forum or platform that you deliver the message from almost doesn’t matter as long as you’re delivering it.

Added to this is a message that we offer to everyone in our industry. If you have a forum, seminar or gathering and would like us to explain the “who, what, where, when and how” of the mercury-containing thermostat world and how TRC can help, just reach out. I’m sure we can help.

I work in the practical world of recycling and yet I need, as do most of us, a touch of optimism and idealism. I thought Tom Murray captured those sentiments perfectly with a closing slide that’s worth sharing. It said, “Ensuring their future: Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Tom Murray’s closing slide had philosophical merit. The future, in one sense, is here, right now.

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