EcoDistricts Member Spotlight: Black & Veatch

EcoDistricts partners with industry leaders around the world to further our impact and stregthen our services. These parters provide valuable financial support and expert services to EcoDistricts and help shape our collective goals. Black & Veatch joined EcoDistricts as an Organization Member in 2017. Black & Veatch is a leading engineering, consulting and construction company with a global workforce of more than 10,000 working in over 100 offices worldwide with projects completed in more than 100 countries on six continents. The company became very active in the next generation of energy and water by developing its own microgrid at its World Headquarters, by teaming with Tesla to provide services surrounding Tesla Energy storage products and by partnering with Cisco for a smart city water initiative in Kansas City, Missouri.


Attributed to Jason Abiecunas, Director of Distributed Energy Resources at Black & Veatch

Jason Abiecunas is the Director of Distributed Energy Resources at Black & Veatch. With more than 15 years’ experience, Abiecunas leads a team that delivers sustainable, resilient and cost-effective distributed energy solutions to address a wide range of power issues and enable our clients to capture new business opportunities.

  1. How many employees work at Black & Veatch?

More than 10,000 professionals work at Black & Veatch. We are an employee-owned company, which gives us an added sense of ownership and pride in how we execute our projects. We’ve been around for more than a century, and the lives of millions of people depend on the results of our work each day.

  1. How many states/countries do you have offices?

We currently have more than 100 offices around the world, which affords us a broad and diverse workforce. We all live in this global, interconnected community, and sometimes it requires a full understanding of local issues and nuances to deliver successful results. Our work is always backed by our global knowledge network – for example, to plan a solar farm in Singapore, we can lean on the expertise of a solar engineer here in the U.S., and vice versa. In the U.S., we’ve established offices in 28 states, often with multiple locations in each state. 

  1. Why did you become an EcoDistricts Member?

Black & Veatch became an EcoDistricts member to help play an active role in influencing and enabling the sustainable cities of tomorrow. We believe that the best work comes from building strong relationships, based on seven fundamental values such as integrity, shared ownership and working toward a common purpose. We found that these values really align with EcoDistricts’ priorities. 

The same can be said of our mission statements: EcoDistrict’s mission and vision are a direct embodiment of Black & Veatch’s tagline of “Building a World of Difference.” We both believe in working towards something better. This partnership, which is built on a shared commitment to collaboration and innovation, will allow us to do great things – inspire change, to reimagine our future cities, and encourage prosperity and wellbeing. 

  1. How are our resources and connections influencing your work?

We are new members within the EcoDistricts community, but we already see opportunities to work together to invoke and enhance change, and to solve some of our communities’ toughest challenges. We’re eager to take advantage of the access that EcoDistricts will afford us, to collaborate with other likeminded organizations as we work together to accelerate outcomes. With EcoDistricts’ help, today’s aspirations can become tomorrow’s communities.

  1. What makes you and Black & Veatch most excited about EcoDistricts?

We are most excited about the potential to engage the entire ecosystem of municipals, universities, non-profits, developers and fellow infrastructure partners to work towards a common goal. It will truly take a village – a broad, international, multidisciplinary village – to bring our goal of sustainable development to fruition, but we believe that EcoDistricts will allow us the right platform to do so. 

  1. How are you planning on utilizing the Member benefits in the coming year?

This next year will really be an introduction year as we launch into serving as an active member and learn more about how best to engage with the organization. We’re interested in anything that can help us organize ideas into action, and we’re eager to learn more about how we can achieve this, together. 

  1. Why is equity, sustainability and resilience important to you and Black & Veatch?

We work towards these goals every day, as they are inherent in fulfilling our mission of Building a World of Difference. This is true across all our business lines – whether we’re providing engineering, procurement and construction expertise, or consulting and technology services, we are always working to solve our clients’ most complex problems and enhance quality of life for everyone. 

As discussed previously, these values – equity, sustainability and resilience – play a core part of this effort. 

  1. What emerging priorities do you see as most important in your work?

Our priority at this time is to deliver long-term, sustainable solutions that are reliable, meet financial targets, are efficient to run, and meet all sustainability and environmental goals. 

  1. What do you see as the most important innovation in your field of the past decade?

With respect to power systems for communities, the availability of affordable energy storage is the most significant innovation and growing trend.  This technology unlocks the potential for more effective use of renewable energy and more resilient local power systems.  As the technology continues to improve over the next 5-10 years, we expect that energy storage will become standard equipment and will unlock significant benefits to communities as well as the utilities that serve them.

  1. What have you found to be the greatest obstacle to district-scale work?

Establishing sustainable business models has been the greatest obstacle to development of new EcoDistricts or sustainable communities.  There is significant effort ongoing now to innovate around how EcoDistricts are developed, owned, and operated.  We are seeing many organizations in the private sector, public utilities, and municipalities interested in this concept and our teams are helping them to explore and pilot alternatives to develop more EcoDistricts.

 

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