The Intern Diary: Passing the Baton at ServiceMaster

by Aman Singh Das | August 11, 2010

  • My Vault

Any member of a sprint relay team knows how important the baton handoffcan be for the success of the team. A smooth handoff can give the teamthe advantage it needs to win the race, while a fumbled handoff can wasteprecious seconds—allowing competitors to catch up—or even result indisqualification if the baton is dropped. Thankfully for me, my relaypartner just showed up.

Leg One:

The first leg of the race was ServiceMaster deciding to participate in the EDF ClimateCorps program,hiring me as the fellow for this summer. Jamey Jones, ServiceMaster'svice president of Environmental Stewardship, had already worked to develop ServiceMaster's first corporate social responsibility report[PDF], which was issued last year and is currently being expanded with moreinformation for this year's report. ServiceMaster also commissioned a studyof its greenhouse gas emissions produced by its fleet and the electricitydemands of its facilities to quantify the environmental impact of itsoperations.

That's where I take the baton:

I arrived at ServiceMaster's headquarters in Memphis, Tenn. in May andhit the ground running. So far this summer, I have identifiedopportunities for ServiceMaster to save money through installing lightingretrofits, computer power management software and window tint, among others atits:
--Franchiseheadquarters
--AmericanHome Shield 24-hour call center
-- Terminix branch locations
--TruGreen branchlocations

With direction from Jim Steffen, their Directorof Fleet Engineering and Technical Support, I have also analyzed means toreduce fuel consumption within ServiceMaster's corporate fleet of over 18,000vehicles and researched methods to meet California Air Resource Board'semission requirements for diesel vehicles. Using myanalysis, ServiceMaster executives are planning to purchase hybrid gas-electricvehicles for use in the company's California fleet.

While the key component of my work is making recommendations which havea positive net present value and a short payback period, all of my work may gofor naught if no one at ServiceMaster ensures that my ideas get implementedonce I go back to school in the fall. That's what I worried about until Imet Robert Johnson, one of ServiceMaster's newest employees.

This is where I pass the baton:

Robert—a fast-talking, silver-haired, bundle of energy—was recentlyhired as the director of Energy and Sourcing at ServiceMaster. Hehas his Certified Energy Manager accreditation and previously worked with theUS Army as a resource efficiency manager at the Presidio of Monterey, California. In otherwords, he's a good candidate to continue my work after I leave.

In the one week I have spent with him so far, I have already given him atour of the company's facilities and introduced him to projects which I wish topresent. He has helped me by reviewing my work and has suggested evenmore methods which ServiceMaster may save energy. Like a good relay team,it is good to collaborate and train together before the big track meet, or inmy case, presentation in front of ServiceMaster executives.

With two weeks remaining in my internship, I will continue to carry the energy efficiency baton a bit further. However,I can be confident that when I pass the baton to Robert, my work now has ahigher likelihood of being implemented and making a real difference forServiceMaster's bottom line and for the planet.

Hopefully next summer ServiceMaster will participate in the EDF ClimateCorps program again and the succeeding fellow will pick up the baton tocontinue the work Jamey, Robert and I began.

--By Dylan Hedrick, , EDFClimate Corps fellow fellow at ServiceMaster, MBA Candidate at Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University,Member of NetImpact

Dylanjoins Climate Corp fellows Megan Rast, Peter Petropoulos, Jay Stone and StuartDeCew, on Vault's CSR blog: In Good Company this week. Theirblogs are part of a series hosted by Vault this summer in collaboration with EDF. With their posts, these MBA candidates give usa rare lens into the behind-the-scenes operations at companies who areproactively discussing corporate sustainability, one conversation at a time.See below for other posts From The Intern Diaries.

Peter Petropoulos: PepsiCo

Keeping Score at PepsiCo

LEEDing The Way at PepsiCo

Megan Rast: eBay

Hunting for Energy Efficiency at eBay

Does the Software Side of Energy Efficiency Signal the Next Wave of Startups?

Jay Stone: News Corp.

EDF Climate Corps Fellow Begins Search for Energy Savings at News Corp

Thermostat Wars and Energy Efficiency

Stuart DeCew: RBS/Citizens Bank

Hot, Costly & Crowded

Reporting from RBS/Citizens Financial Group on LEED & Energy Efficiency

Jim Wilson: Yahoo!

Reporting from Yahoo! on the World Wide Web of Green

Filed Under: CSR

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