Get a (Green) (PM) Job



The Project Management Institute has issued its Global Jobs Report (January, 2013), highlighting “5 Sectors to Watch”.

The good news overall – demand for PM skills hit a four-year high in 2012 (despite the general economic decline over those years).

The five sectors analyzed in this Report:

  • Tech
  • Healthcare
  • Infrastructure
  • Energy
  • Finance

…and although the Energy section of the report was titled, “If Energy Is Your Game, Think Green“, the theme of sustainability was prevalent throughout the pages, especially in Energy and Infrastructure.

So what does this report say?  Well the best way to find out is to read the whole thing in the January edition of PMNetwork.

But we’d like to summarize some the the key points of the Energy sector report here.

The tips they have for landing a Green PM job:

  • you can break into the sustainable energy field by playing up accomplishments and qualifications that transfer across industries
  • track industry news so you know which projects are moving forward (we recommend joining one of the sustainability-oriented LinkedIn groups, like GreenBiz, Green, EarthPM, or Sustainability Professionals).
  • reach out to companies before they’re ready to hire so you are on their ‘radar’

Some ‘pull-quote’ highlights from the report:

  • “The long-term trend suggests that the number of solar power projects will double every year for the next few years,” says Seth Masia, spokesman for the American Solar Energy Society, a not-for-profit advocacy group in Boulder, Colorado, USA. “Owners will be looking for specialists with project management skills to run these projects.”  Prospects should think big, as in the 115-megawatt Toul-Rosières solar power project near Nancy, France and the 1.5-gigawatt Atlantic Array Offshore Wind Farm project off the coast of Wales. Those kinds of projects will need project and program management talent at every level.
  • “The smaller, 5-10 kilowatt projects often don’t have trained project managers assigned to them; that work is often done by an experienced technical person,” says Peter Beadle, CEO of, Fairfield, California, USA. “The real demand for project management skills is on the larger projects where there is no substitute for trained, experienced project managers.”
  • Even for project managers without sector experience, it’s a good time to get a foot in the door, he says. “Renewable projects, especially wind and solar, are essentially big civil construction projects, so if you have construction expertise, companies may well be interested.”

Our book, Green Project Management, we must say, provides a good working vocabulary and fundamental base for anyone who wants to transition to a sustainability-oriented PM career focus.  You may just want to give that a read (as a New Year Resolution?).

So.  Go out there.  And get a job.  Or enhance your job possibilities.  It’s all good.

Sustainability as a PM career-builder

Back in 1843, when we founded EarthPM (okay it was a bit more recent than that, but it seems so…long…ago), we based it on 5 Assertions, which we have updated slightly:

1. Doing the right thing helps the project team do things right.
2. Adding sustainability thinking in PM helps better equip you and your team respond to project risks.
3. Sustainability thinking added to PM helps the project and the product of the project.
4. An environmental lens is a necessary part of a PM’s toolbox.
5. Greenality, like quality, must be planned in, not bolted on.
We also had a list of Five Things You Can Do Right Now with respect to Sustainability

Thing 1

Accept the idea that you are a change agent.

Thing 2

Connect your organization’s Environmental Management Plan to your project’s objectives.

Thing 3

Dare to think beyond the delivery of your project’s product to the sponsor.  In fact, dare to think beyond that sponsor.

Thing 4

Understand the concept of Greenality.

Thing 5

Build your own credibility in sustainability thinking.

As we’ve spread the word about sustainability thinking in PM, via our book, webinars, seminars, in our LinkedIn Group, and of course here on our blog, we have had pushback and criticism – and that’s a good thing.  We can take it, and we want to learn from it.  But turnabout is fair play, and that’s the purpose of this post.
Recently we’ve had people tell us that as a PM, we shouldn’t push sustainability issues because it may make you as a PM come off as an extremist.  We’re here to tell you – even better, to *show* you that that could be a *good* thing.  We’ll focus on Things 1, 2, and 5 above, and we’ll use an article from today’s news (see this news story) to help make our point.
In the story, which is about Ford Motor Company’s focus (excuse the pun) on electric vehicles, there are some striking statistics:
  • Ford, debuting five battery-powered models this year, is spending $135 million to design electric-drive parts and double battery testing capacity.  We read that as “blah blah blah, blah, projects, more projects, and project managers, blah, blah, blah”
  • Ford is moving more battery research in-house and has hired 60 engineers in the last year, bringing its electric-vehicle engineering staff to more than 1,000, according to a statement today. The moves help reduce the cost of hybrid systems by 30 percent and speed development by 25 percent, Ford said.
  • Ford has said hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and all-electric cars will account for as much as 25 percent of its new vehicle sales by 2020, from less than 3 percent last year. That’s a 20+% increase and the trigger for the launching of hundreds of projects and the need for many project managers.   The second-largest U.S. automaker is competing in the nascent market for electrified vehicles with Toyota, General Motors, Nissan and startups such as Tesla and closely held Fisker Automotive, who are also loaded with portfolios of programs and projects and who need project managers focused on sustainability
  • Ford said it plans to hire “dozens” of additional engineers (and of course this will also mean project managers as well) for electric-vehicle development projects. It’s also renaming its 285,000-square-foot advanced engineering center in Dearborn, Mich., the “Ford Advanced Electrification Center.”
  • Electrified vehicles accounted for 3.4 percent of the U.S. market in this year’s first half, up from 2.2 percent a year earlier, according to researcher LMC Automotive.
  • Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally has made fuel- efficiency central to his turnaround plan for Ford. He said in April that Ford wouldn’t back off its ambitious sales goals for electric-powered vehicles just because they get off to a slow start.  “We believe that the electrification of vehicles is going to continue as the battery cost comes down, as we move to generate electricity cleanly,” Mulally told reporters in Laguna Niguel, Calif., that month. “We see this as continually growing. This is a long-term journey.

So that is the reality and the news.  Let’s step back now and look at ‘extremism’ and ‘credibility’, both of which, according to our detractors, are problems for sustainability-minded PMs; the former a liability and the latter in danger.

Here is a snapshot of Ford’s corporate home page, taken today.  Have a look at it.  If you can’t read it here, or, if you think we’re making this up, just go to

Notice any…theme?

After reading the messaging and theme of this site, can you truly assert that as a sustainability-minded PM you would be somehow an extremist?  Do you think that a sustainability-minded PM or engineer would have a credibility problem at this firm?


We would assert that (as in our “5 Things”, which we stand by even more firmly than originally) there is indeed a theme and it is sustainability.  We would assert that as a sustainability-minded PM your ‘extremism’ would be anything but a detriment, but rather a career-builder.  And we can say now with certainty that your knowledge of sustainability and recognition of that aspect of your career was anything but a credibility buster.  Having a command of a sustainability vocabulary and a skillset built around holistic, life cycle thinking would be a credibility boost.

Do you agree?  If so, stick with us, folks.  We will be helping you become an ‘extremist’.  And you – and your employer – and your project teams – will thank us.

Strange Environmental Bedfellow’s Defeat Prop 23 (Update)

strangebedThis is a follow up to an earlier post.

The California vote “signifies the largest public referendum on clean energy legislation. Tom Steyer, co-chairman of the NO on 23 campaign, stated “In the midst of a major economic downturn, and with a barrage of fear mongering and scare tactics, voters still said they want a clean energy future.”” from  Solar Novus Today (

Californians rejected the attempt to suspend the state’s global warming law signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  The defeat was by a significant margin, 39 percent to 61 percent, with 93 percent of the precincts counted, according to the Associated Press.

The San Francisco Chronicle states that; “The vote clears the way for a state law restricting greenhouse-gas emissions to go into effect in 2012. The law requires the state cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. It will require utilities to get almost a third of their electricity from renewable sources such as solar panels, and create a market for carbon-dioxide pollution permits.  Proposition 23 was “the largest public referendum in history on climate and energy policy,” said Fred Krupp, president of the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund.”

Although backers of Proposition 23, conceded defeat, they called the outcome “a victory for Wall Street over Main Street” vowing to continue their efforts to “save jobs” and curb energy costs.   I’m a little confused.  When I look at the contributors to the fight for and against Proposition 23, I might say it was a victory for Wall Street over Wall Street, because on one side are the likes of Microsoft and Apple, on the other is Big Oil.  It reminds me of the Harlequin, turn one way it is dark, turn the other it is light, but overall, it is the same, but that’s the subject of another post.

Continuing with the Chronicle, “”Millions of voters have said they see clean-energy jobs as the path forward through a tough economic climate,” Krupp said.”  For us, as project managers, that is key.  We need to continue to “surf the green wave.”  Green jobs mean green projects, mean project managers to manage those projects.

Don’t you think that those sponsors of green projects would rather have someone familiar with the reasons, the driving forces, behind the green wave, to manage their projects?  For further information on how you get SMARTER* on this “green revolution” see our book and follow us on this site.  The revolution is here, evidenced by the defeat of California’s Prop 23 and a continued emphasis on tax incentives for alternate energy development.

*From Green Project Management, CRC Press (Specific, Measurable, Agreed Upon, Realistic, Timely, and Environmentally Responsible)

Green economy picture gets a little rosier

green roseOne of the most prevalent themes in our soon-to-be-released book, and really what inspired the cover art for the book, is that project managers stand to benefit from the “green wave”, and that although it’s the right thing to do – altruistically – it’s also the right thing to do from a business perspective.
That said, we provide this update from GreenBiz which shows a much rosier picture of the ‘green economy’.

Here’s an extract (note the embedded link directly to the survey data):

“There’s good news this week on the green business front: Budgets and hiring in corporate environmental departments are on the rise. Those are core findings of the twice-annual “Green and the Economy” survey conducted by our GreenBiz Intelligence unit. While the overall economy still seems shaky, corporate environmental and sustainability departments seem to be on much more solid ground.

One big finding of our mid-year 2010 survey is that “the economic downturn is no longer driving most large companies’ environmental strategy,” as my colleague, John Davies, vice president of GreenBiz Intelligence, writes this week. That means environmental initiatives are being driven more on the basis of strategic business decisions, as they should be. Chief among them, Davies found, is that “the economic downturn has taken a backseat to growing customer requirements as the principal driver of corporate environmental strategy.”

Hiring is up, too. Large companies, in particular, are increasing headcounts for environmental and sustainability roles. In early 2009, 27 percent of large companies reported hiring freezes and only 8 percent planned to increase headcount for environmental departments. Today, only 11 percent report hiring freezes and more than 28 percent plan to increase headcount, a major swing.”

You’ll see more from us soon on this topic as we provide some references to Pamela Gordon’s excellent book on this topic, Lean and Green.

ECO:Nomics-Creating Environmental Capital


While we at EarthPm assert that “a project run with green intent is the right thing to do”, we are also realists.  Businesses cannot stay in business if they constantly lose money on their ventures.  If businesses are to be encouraged to do that right thing, a noble effort, they will also need to “justify” the   bottom-line.  That is why we, along with a lot of other people, say that it is not only the right thing to do, but going green makes cents.

A couple of weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal included a section on the environment, ECO:nomics – Creating Environmental Capital.  In this EarthPM post, we’d like to highlight a couple of the “Best Practices” outlined in the section.  It not only included what works, but also contrasted with what doesn’t work according to some “green leaders”.  For instance, from Steve Fludder, VP Ecomagination, GE (one of the companies featured in our upcoming book), on businesses addressing climate change, a business should “continue to focus on improving your company’s own energy efficiency” (feeds the bottom-line), and “don’t let the current uncertainty over government action become an excuse to stop innovating”.  For financing green projects (of particular interest to us as project managers), Richard Cohen, Managing Director, Environmental Strategic Investment Group, Bank of America, says “create new training and education programs to train the energy work force”, and the current government and regulatory environment “are Byzantine and bureaucratic, and that discourages financing”.  There is much more in this Wall Street Journal section that we find very interesting, including a view from “big oil”, and a top ten ranking of “clean-tech” companies.  Look to future posts for some more information on these and other topics.