How to win at energy management

Sell people on it in terms they understand, and embed it into your operations.

Joe Ghislain is retiring in October as senior manager and North American regional manager for lean supplier optimization at Ford Motor Co. In his 31 years at Ford, Ghislain has managed energy efficiency programs worldwide. He currently chairs two committees for the not-for-profit Compressed Air Challenge and is the end-user representative on the training and education collaborative’s board of directors. (In September, CAC is launching an end-user training program; learn more at

Question: At a Kaeser Compressors Pressure & Profit event this spring, you said that no one ever got fired for using too much energy. Given that, how can energy managers “sell” plant-floor personnel and upper management on the value of using compressed air more efficiently and keeping compressed air systems well-maintained?

Joe: I reiterate to energy managers that I know how they feel, because production’s the main thing. That pays the bills. Everybody needs to be in line with that understanding. When somebody has to take production down because an air compressor goes down, you get all kinds of  attention.

When I say things like, “Nobody ever got fired for using too much energy,” it’s just to indicate that you need to do (energy management), but you also need to recognize as an energy manager that there are also plant priorities that need to be taken into consideration. When you go through and satisfy all of those and reduce energy at the same time, that’s a win-win for the company.

Read the full piece at our sister publication, Plant Services, here. 

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