By Linda Armacost
La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will have the honor of hosting one of the experts in green energy issues when the executive director of the Center for Sustainable Energy, retired Navy Rear Adm. Leendert “Len” Hering, speaks at the June 3 meeting.
The club — which claims members from San Carlos, Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, Grantville, the College Area, Mt. Helix, Spring Valley, Santee as well as La Mesa — meets the first Wednesday of each month at the La Mesa Community Center at 4975 Memorial Drive, off University Avenue. Social hour begins at 6:30 p.m. with the presentation to follow.
In our ongoing series exploring the effects of global climate change and greenhouse gases causing massive and catastrophic effects to our weather and environment, Hering should be a whole new source of great information for us.
Hering is a prominent military and civilian sustainability leader with a broad background in energy and environmental issues. His passion in sustainability is educating people on the dangers the future holds if we don’t take responsible actions to secure the nation’s energy independence and to preserve water, air quality and other resources.
A native of Portsmouth, Virginia, Hering retired from the Navy in 2009 after more than 32 years of service. He was noted as one of the Navy’s top experts in base operations and facility support with an emphasis on sustainability and the environment.
While in the Navy, Hering’s efforts included everything from renewable energy to responsible water use and conservation. He built a team recognized throughout the Department of Defense as the best in environmental protection and sustainable innovation. Within three years, the team reduced energy consumption by nearly 42 percent, diverted 75 percent of Navy waste from landfills and reduced water consumption by more than 1 billion gallons, saving tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. Hering instigated wind, thermal, photovoltaic and conversion technology at all levels in Navy facilities. President George W. Bush awarded Hering a 2005 Presidential Award for Leadership in Federal Energy Management in recognition of his leadership efforts reducing oil spills and for recycling.
In 2009, Hering joined the University of San Diego as vice president for business services and administration. In that role, he initiated numerous sustainable measures on the campus. During the two years he served, the university installed the largest solar system of any private campus in the country, instituted the most comprehensive water abatement project in the school’s history and reformed numerous business practices to help control costs. His efforts resulted in saving more than 3 million gallons of water per year and more than $1 million in electrical costs.
Hering’s endeavors include founding what is now the largest sustainability business partnership in San Diego County, the San Diego Regional Sustainability Partnership, a consortium of business, government, academic and community organizations promoting practices that support a sustainable future for the region. He now heads the Center for Sustainable Energy in Kearny Mesa.
A nonprofit social enterprise, the center has facilitated 44,000 energy projects for consumers, businesses and governments. Through their market outreach and technical and policy expertise, over 130,000 people have been directly served by Center for Sustainable Energy programs. The organization’s areas of expertise include clean transportation, distributed generation, building performance, energy efficiency, energy storage and renewable energy. Together, they are the catalysts for sustainable energy market development and transformation. If you are thinking of putting solar panels on your roof, attend a free Center for Sustainable Energy workshop to learn all the “dos and don’ts.” They’ll even give you lunch!
On Saturday, May 30, the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will once again be a participant in the annual La Mesa Flag Day Parade, a walk through the heart of La Mesa escorting many of our local and civic leaders. As usual, President Obama (a cardboard cutout, at least) will be leading our contingent in a special convertible accompanied by our very professional “secret service” detail. Don’t miss this fun event; visit our website for time and meeting specifics.
And a quick heads-up to mark your calendar for our return to Mission Trails Regional Park. Our July 1 meeting will be our Annual Independence Day Celebration on the patio of the beautiful Visitor and Interpretive Center. We’ll again be providing dinner, some very special speakers, a silent auction and beer and wine tasting on the patio. And we’ll feature our now-famous pie baking contest. It’s an event that our members turned out in large numbers for last year, and this year will be even better. More details to follow, but note that the evening of July 1 will be a special evening for our entire Democratic community.
View our new and improved website at lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub.com and like us on Facebook.
—Linda Armacost is president of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club.