Leadership

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Any successful program needs a leader, a coordinator that who can take responsibility and be granted authority to develop, implement, and maintain the energy efficiency program. It is recommended that this person should be an expert skilled both in engineering and financial principles. Knowledge about company culture and good networking, internally and externally, are desirable. Effective communication at all corporation levels to learn different perspectives and ideas and negotiate. Also valuable are good administrative and project management abilities. He must show pertinacious enthusiasm, willingness to advocate for the cause, tireless commitment and trustworthiness to gain staff respect. This position is usually known as 'energy champion,' a reference figure to the energy efficiency program, empowered to give direction, monitor results and advise management about the program.

Beside him there might be some energy experts who are knowledgeable in specific areas either related to energy consumption by processes, like distillation or catalytic cracking or in energy processes, like combustion or heat transfer. They should act as consultants and trainers in the field of energy efficiency multiplying awareness and commitment from staff. Needless to say, it is mandatory that all of them are active members of the committee; they must lead at least one project or work team and regularly take charge of the committee coordination for training and experience purposes.

The energy champion and experts form the energy efficiency program core group, so a proper and thorough training program must have high priority. Continuous improvement relies mainly on them, so keeping this group updated with state of art technology and best practices is a very suitable way to refresh the program. This education is meant to specialize professionals on energy, and can begin by in-house training and self study about their own processes. Complementary formal education is an option, like short expert courses offered by associations, consultants or universities and comprehensive long-term courses as post graduations and certifications should not be disregarded. Regular participation in external events, like seminars or conferences, helps build knowledge and networking, while providing opportunities for external marketing of their own results to an external public. Subsidiary training on communication, finance, project and management should also be provided.

In smaller companies, the tendency is to turn this task into an additional assignment for an already existing staff function. But with such characteristics and potential results these occupations can easily become full-time jobs especially in large complexes.

What would be this function in an organizational structure? A kind of Energy Program Manager placed like an aide to the top management, or to the production or refinery manager. General assignments for this position are:

• build and lead the committee;

• plan and implement all activities related to energy efficiency;

• collect, organize, and disseminate information;

• delegate tasks and establish deadlines;

• advise top management and get their involvement;

• raise awareness and provide training;

• promote cross functional support;

• ask for investment and activities budgets;

• forecast, report and be accountable for energy efficiency program results.

Eventually, if a more broadening and aggressive action is to be expected this task can be merged with the utility manager, creating an energy manager, who also runs the utility system, like boilers, power generators, water treatment etc.

Whatever way of structuring from an additional assignment to a specific position, once the road to energy efficiency is taken, if this activity is to be valued, all aspects that compose any job position must be considered from planning to performance measurement and recognition. And this measurement is related to accountability for the energy efficiency program results.

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