BuildSmart NY Facility Stars: Jacob Javits Convention Center

BuildSmart NY is Governor Cuomo’s Statewide initiative to improve energy efficiency in State owned and managed buildings by 20% by the year 2020. Each month, NYPA will showcase a selected BuildSmart NY Facility Star to recognize the dedication of these people and their organizations. To learn more about BuildSmart NY, visit http://www.buildsmart.ny.gov/.

This month’s BuildSmart NY Facility Stars:
Rick Brown: Chief Engineer [25 yrs]
Jim Yeager: General Foreman Electrical [14 yrs]

The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center recently completed a comprehensive renovation, the centerpiece of which is a seven-acre green roof: the largest of its kind in New York State and second largest in the country. The green roof is expected to provide the Javits Center and the surrounding environment with a host of benefits, including a reduction in “heat island” effect, moderation of internal building temperature, and a reduction of building energy consumption. In addition to the green roof, the existing curtain wall at the Javits Center was replaced with more than 3,700 panels of energy-efficient, high-performing glass, along with 2,400 skylight panels, allowing a significant increase in the use of daylighting. These upgrades, including the installation of more than 100 energy-efficient HVAC units, are expected to significantly reduce the building energy consumption.

A key component of the renovation was the installation of variable air volume (VAV) boxes across the entire building.

The VAV system was outfitted with extensive metering and sensors which are all captured by the Building Management System and displayed on an Energy Dashboard so that a better understanding of the energy profile of event organizers can be gained. This allows for temperature and air flow control at 12,600 unique points across the building, many corresponding to where vendor booths are located. Building operators can now adjust temperature based on the needs of the specific vendor, ensuring highly energy efficient operations.

While the use of VAV technology is impressive, perhaps more impressive was that most of the installation and commissioning was performed by internal facility staff. Led by Rick Brown and Jim Yeager, the Javits Center facility team was integral in the implementation of this project, ensuring a timely and cost-effective delivery. The team has also developed expertise on the control of the system, and now effectively controls and customizes temperature throughout the facility resulting in 5% annual energy savings.

Women In Power: Karina Saslow

Throughout the month of March, NYPA Digital Communications will be featuring online profiles of professional women working at different locations and in different capacities throughout the Authority in honor of Women’s History Month. We provided a series of questions on career development, and each profile features personal insights on how each of these professionals reached their goals, both long term and day to day.

Karina works in NYPA’s White Plains Office as the Director of Total Compensation and Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS).

When you mentor people, what do you try to accomplish? What is the most important part of being a mentor?

In mentoring others, the accomplishment is not what I want but what the other person wants. Mentoring is being there for the other person. To advocate for them, to provide different perspectives they may not have had opportunity to explore, to make connections.

Mentoring provides an opportunity for someone to explore ideas and test discussions before taking them out in the ‘real’ world.

The most important part of being a mentor is listening to what the other person is looking for and making connections for them. I might not be the right person to help them, but I may know someone who has experience with what they are looking to learn.

What advice do you have for maintaining a work/life balance?

As a working mom, it’s all about teamwork, communication, calendars and flexibility with my family, friends and my work. Just because I do something one week or month, doesn’t mean my husband won’t take that responsibility next time around. I try to be as available as I can be for work, and balance out times I need to be at the school play or Girl Scout meeting. But that may mean some late nights or bringing work home other times.

What do you enjoy most about working at NYPA?

The people I work with here are great and know they are doing something important. They take pride in their work and want to share it with others. In my roles here the last five years I really enjoy the ability to see across all the business segments, how they interact and the role they play in the larger strategy.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t be afraid to talk to people; I had been terribly shy. You miss out on so many connections by not finding out about others but, don’t lose the ability to sit back and observe interactions as well, a skill I honed in my silence.

What are, from your perspective, the biggest challenges for women in leadership roles?

Finding your voice and staying true to yourself. Interpretation of styles/personalities/emotions can derail communications and get the message lost. Be aware of others styles as well as your own.

Women In Power: Teresa Martinez

Throughout the month of March, NYPA Digital Communications will be featuring online profiles of professional women working at different locations and in different capacities throughout the Authority in honor of Women’s History Month. We provided a series of questions on career development, and each profile features personal insights on how each of these professionals reached their goals, both long term and day to day.

Teresa works at NYPA’s Niagara Power Project Visitor Center. She is the Manager of Community Affairs.

When you mentor people, what do you try to accomplish? What is the most important part of being a mentor?

Gain a clear understanding of the individual’s goals and how you can help while relaying your own thoughts and expectations. Share schedules and be accessible, even when you are busy, which emphasizes the importance placed on the relationship.

Always communicate consistently – if not in person than using other means, and follow through on your commitments. Share the knowledge and successes you’ve gained through experience and include any ‘failures’ – as failures are the foundation of success. Always be ready to absorb knowledge from those in any position that you come into contact with. Understand that as the mentor, you will gain much from the experience too.

What advice do you have for maintaining a work/life balance?

Create a weekly priority list merging home and work schedules, planning ahead while simultaneously expecting the unexpected. Know what, if any, flexibility you can weave into your work schedule to meet any unanticipated personal responsibilities.

Attempt to create an outside support system to assist you with childcare, medical appointments, transportation issues, etc. Communicate with your superior(s) about what outside commitments you have coming up and offer assurances and plans on how you will fulfill your work responsibilities. Be creative and resourceful!

Infrastructure Modernization

By Gil C. Quiniones

The pace of change in the utility industry is accelerating. Recent digital innovations and new regulatory frameworks are laying the foundation for a future where renewable energy will be abundant and well-integrated into our grid. Last year, the New York Power Authority (NYPA), as part of Governor Cuomo’s “Reforming the Energy Vision, launched its Strategic Vision Plan, 2014-2019. One of its key components is Infrastructure Modernization.

In the months ahead, we will be implementing a comprehensive plan that will enable New York’s Generation and Transmission Assets to be more flexible, reliable, and responsive. We will strive to create an electricity system that expands New York’s energy mix and provides customers with significantly greater access to safe, clean and affordable service.

The good news is that we are acquiring the technological wherewithal to make the necessary leap from great idea about what can be achieved to a new, more sustainable reality. Newer technologies, such as advanced transmission monitoring systems, grid-scale energy storage and microgrids are becoming part of our daily conversation. As these newer technologies transform the electrical grid landscape, faster acquisition and processing of real-time data will ensure the grid’s reliability.


In this regard, NYPA has embarked on a ten-year, Smart Generation & Transmission (G&T) initiative that will include: infrastructure upgrades, cutting-edge hardware, software technologies and practices to support our Strategic Vision. Interested firms should keep a look out for RFPs on the New York Contract Reporter and @NYPAEnergy.

Gil C. Quiniones (@GQEnergy) is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Power Authority. Quiniones has served as Senior Vice President of Energy and Telecommunications for the New York City Economic Development Corporation during the Bloomberg Administration, and worked for Con Edison for 16 years.

Women In Power: Anne Kress

Throughout the month of March, NYPA Digital Communications will be featuring online profiles of professional women working at different locations and in different capacities throughout the Authority in honor of Women’s History Month. We provided a series of questions on career development, and each profile features personal insights on how each of these professionals reached their goals, both long term and day to day.

Dr. Anne Kress is a NYPA Trustee and the President of Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY. She also serves on Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council and has helped draft higher education policy in both New York and Florida. She has been honored several times, including recognition by the New York State Senate as a Woman of Distinction, receiving the Athena Award from the Rochester Business Alliance as well as the Empowering Women Award from the Rochester YWCA.

How would you describe your experience so far as a NYPA trustee?

I have been very impressed with the level of engagement of the trustees and the quality and depth of information shared by NYPA leadership. Something that most of us take for granted every day—accessible, ready power—has been made visible to me: the visioning, research, planning, execution, coordination, assessment and resources that are required to keep this all-important system working effectively. I have also had the opportunity to visit the Frederick R. Clark Energy Center, tour the facility, and meet with NYPA staff there. Their commitment to their responsibilities, respect for the history and role of NYPA, and dedication to building a strong, innovative future was clear. There’s much to learn, and I am honored to sit at this table.

Were you aware that the Energy Industry had a “women problem” when you joined NYPA’s Board?

Honestly, I just assumed it. My appointment to the Board was based on my experience at Monroe Community College (Rochester) in strengthening workforce development and career pathway programming, so I am all too aware of the talent and skilled workforce challenges in technical fields. Attracting women to these fields is a particular difficulty whether the industry is energy or optics or advanced manufacturing.

The irony is that—because they are so underrepresented—women will find extraordinary career opportunities in these fields, but too often, they lack role models, encouragement, and consistent support to pursue and stay the course in what are (surprisingly) still nontraditional fields for women.

Do you think there is a role for our trustees in increasing and cultivating a workforce with diverse backgrounds?

NYPA Trustees play a significant leadership role in setting, supporting, and growing a culture at NYPA that values diversity in the workplace. Excuse the pun, but there is true power in diversity: it brings new ideas and new ways of thinking.
A few years back, a leader in health care spoke to me about the enormous changes coming in his field. He used a phrase that has stuck with me: “What brought us here won’t get us there.” Around the NYPA Board, we see the same thing in the energy industry: what brought us here won’t get us there. Adding new voices to the discussion means adding new solutions.

Do you mentor people? If yes, what do you feel is most important about that relationship?

Throughout my life, I have been privileged to have many mentors, and the lessons I learned from them prove invaluable each day. I don’t pretend for a moment to be as smart as most of my mentors, but I do think my obligation for their support is to pay it forward and mentor others.

In any mentor relationship, honesty is key. My mentors were generous in praising what I did well and honest in telling me what I needed to do better. That last part is never easy or fun to hear (or to have to share), but in the end, it always turned out to be more important and more helpful to build future success.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Up through my first years of graduate school, I was terribly shy. Though my grades were always good, I passed through my classes silently and invisibly. As research shows, this is not uncommon for young women, and our lack of voice has a negative impact on our future success—in school, in life, in work.

With some stern mentoring from one of my favorite faculty (the fearsome English department chair), I finally found my voice. So, I would tell my younger self to speak up, to put my ideas out there to be challenged and made stronger.

Women In Power: Patricia Lombardi

Throughout the month of March, NYPA Digital Communications will be featuring online profiles of professional women working at different locations and in different capacities throughout the Authority in honor of Women’s History Month. We provided a series of questions on career development, and each profile features personal insights on how each of these professionals reached their goals, both long term and day to day.

Patricia works out of the White Plains Office as a Project Engineer. She has worked on a number of projects since coming to NYPA in 2008, including the Lewiston Pump Generating Plant Life Extension & Modernization Program, the Ice Boom Storage Relocation Project, and miscellaneous equipment and infrastructure upgrades at the Niagara Power Project.

When you mentor people, what do you try to accomplish? What is the most important part of being a mentor?
To me, a good mentor is one that is willing and open to sharing their knowledge, skills, expertise, as well as their personal and professional experiences.
Two of the most important aspects of being a good mentor are the understanding of where your mentee is in terms of their career and professional development, and also having the ability to relate and speak on a professional and personal level.

What advice do you have for maintaining a work/life balance?
Maintaining a work/life balance can be challenging, but it’s important to really sort out your priorities and understand what truly matters most to you. Everyone needs to have some hobbies or interests outside of work that they can turn their attention to. It’s also important to realize that it is okay to take a break once in a while.

In your opinion, what is the key to your success?
The key to success is to continuously strive to do better, to never become complacent in your personal or professional life, and to always remember the priorities you have set out for yourself.

What do you enjoy most about working at NYPA?
Part of the reason I enjoy working for NYPA is the variety of different assignments I get to work on from operational, to environmental, to projects supporting economic development.

Women In Power: Pat Arcana

Throughout the month of March, NYPA Digital Communications will be featuring online profiles of professional women working at different locations and in different capacities throughout the Authority in honor of Women’s History Month. We provided a series of questions on career development, and each profile features personal insights on how each of these professionals reached their goals, both long term and day to day.

Pat works as an Executive Assistant at NYPA’s Clark Energy Center (CEC).

What advice do you have for maintaining a work/life balance?
Work/life issues are rarely in total balance. The key is to “adjust the scale” regularly when one or the other tilts too heavily on your daily life. Minor adjustments are easier to make than major ones.

In your opinion, what is the key to your success?
Having a positive attitude towards people and change has helped me in the workforce. If a business is staying current and progressive, new endeavors and processes are inevitable – actually, they are essential.
I try to maintain a positive relationship with everyone I work with. I expect the best from others and support them while they learn.
More often than not, they reciprocate when the tables are turned. Also, I try to be a “go to” person. I certainly don’t know everything, but I share what I do know or direct questions to the right people when I don’t.

What do you think of the following statement: Around the globe, more women than men are graduating from college, yet the employment-to-population ratio was 49% for women versus 74% for men.

I think that statement reflects the support that is given to men vs. women. In countries where affordable, quality day care and extended maternity leave are the norm, the disparity is greatly diminished. Women more often than men take on the majority of home, child, and eldercare responsibilities.

What do you enjoy most about working at NYPA?

I enjoy the generous benefits as well as a stable career. The work is interesting and my co-workers are smart, accomplished, and supportive.

What advice would you give your younger self?
I would say: be brave, and say ‘yes’ more – you are stronger than you know.

What are, from your perspective, the biggest challenges for women in leadership roles?
• Work/life pressures continue to affect women more.
• Accomplishments which are overlooked.
• Reluctance of women to promote their own accomplishments.