Blog: Mary Templeton

With Michigan Public Act 295 the state must obtain 10% of its energy from renewable sources by 2015. As the wind turbine blades turn, alternative energy employment is becoming a vast new horizon for the region. Mary Templeton, an Executive VP at Wind Energy Consulting and Contracting, explains her career switch from the auto industry to renewable energy, and Michigan's efforts to foster talent in this new field.

Post 4: Environment and Energy Epprentice: Creating Sustainability and Diversity in Leadership

Perhaps it's because my kids are in college or recently graduated that I am more sensitive to the stories I hear regarding the exodus of our educated youth. Recently, I talked to one graduate from a local business school who said that not one classmate that she knew who landed a job was able to stay in-state. Whether this is true or not, in order for Michigan to thrive and grow, we need to create opportunities for our next generation of future leaders and support them in their development.  

It was on this premise that I became involved in a unique approach to leadership development. On October 15, Next Energy of Detroit will host the first Environment and Energy Epprentice. This innovative program challenges emerging executives to solve real world problems while developing their leadership skills. Participants are split into teams and create proposals for energy efficiency, and environmental sustainability and energy as an economic driver.  The winning proposal will be used to benefit the non-profit sponsors of Warm Training, Michigan Municipal League, Global Wind Systems, and Michigan Wind Institute.

To support these emerging leaders, some of the region's top executives from the energy and environment sectors will be judging the proposal submissions, such as Gilbert Borman, Executive Director, Michigan Wind Institute; Liesl Clark, Deputy Director, Michigan DELEG; and Nick Flores, Capital Access Program Manager, Green For All to name a few. I also am excited to be joining the Epprentice as a judge.

In an effort to bring hope, passion, and excitement to our future generation of leaders, graduate and undergraduate students from all of our state's major universities will be participating. In addition, a group of eight students from local high schools will be joining, sponsored by regional energy leaders such as ITC Holdings, Lakefront Capital, and the Wixom Energy Park.

What I see in this program is an innovative way to get our future leaders collaborating on big issues while they learn and grow their own skills in leadership. And I am pleased to see the outpouring of support from our current leaders in the environment and energy fields. I am hopeful that this program, and other programs like this one, can create the catalyst needed to attract and keep young talent in our region.