May 11, 2021
Melanie Stachowiak, PE, LEED AP BD+C, CMVP
Melanie Stachowiak is motivated by her drive to make a difference in the world, and her career choices have enabled her to do just that.
With a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University, Melanie has continuously worked her way up the corporate ladder, breaking impressive barriers every step of the way. Over the past two decades, she has worked on countless innovative sustainability projects throughout the Northeast and recently became a Partner at M/E Engineering, the largest and most dominant MEP firm in upstate NY. Her impressive portfolio includes clients such as Cornell University, SUCF, NYSERDA, and SUNY Alfred.
Taking the Lead
Melanie is now in charge of the Sustainability Group at M/E, taking over the successful role of Ken Swan, who built the division from the ground, up. "From my very first discussion with Mel, I knew she was Partner material. She is very professional, great attitude, aggressive relative to obtaining work and demanding high quality performance from her team. She is not only trusted throughout the firm, our current clients have come to rely on her up-to-date knowledge of energy programs available to them so they can make informed financial decisions". He adds with a smile, "I can't imagine a better replacement for myself…M/E is in good hands!"
When I asked her how she would describe her responsibilities in her new position, she answered enthusiastically, "My primary responsibility is to bring in energy work for our team. This includes projects requiring Energy Audits, Energy Modeling, LEED Administration services, Energy Conservation Assessments, Net Zero or Net Zero Ready confirmation, Incentive Program Assistance (identification / calculations / applications), and Energy and Carbon Neutrality Master Planning. Company-wide, I assist with advising project teams on various sustainable options and paths to pursue. I also stay engaged with the industry to understand current sustainability trends, practices, and emerging technologies, energy code requirements, government agency goals, climate action plans, and NYS electrification."
Essential for Change
As made clear from her comments, Mel's work in the energy field is not just innovative, it's essential. She provides meaningful solutions to M/E's project designs. Clients have come to rely on her work for cost saving solutions to the ever changing landscape of available energy related support.
I asked about what unique qualities she brings to the company as a Partner and was struck by her selfless goal to share her expertise with others in the firm in order to strengthen M/E's success. "Sustainability and de-carbonization are becoming essential factors in project goals. The abilities and services that the energy group is able to provide put us at a great advantage, as we're able to offer our clients meaningful services to drive down energy use in a cost effective way, and provide holistic solutions. I believe that if I represent this perspective (energy/sustainability focus) it assists the other partners in thinking about these implications and allow it to trickle down to their teams. This is not just about work, but how we interact with the environment and the impact we leave behind - we have the opportunity to make a positive impact in not only our client's lives but also the environment. I'm all about bringing positive energy to the group!"
Bill Liberto, a founding Partner at the firm is excited about Mel's contributions at the Partner level. "When I first met her, I saw talent right away! Mel has a passion for high quality engineering…the epitome of what you're looking for in an employee. She is so passionate about sustainability and in this new role, she has the ability to really reach out and expand our business. People respond to Mel's genuine concern for the environment and her thoughtful approach to offering educated and thoughtful solutions. She is a true leader."
In addition to her engineering skills, Melanie's impact on M/E's overall company culture is also embraced by her peers. In regard to the recent fast-track changes to expectations of employees due to the COVID-19 crisis, Ken Swan shared his thoughts. "Melanie is at an age and point in her career that she can relate to the changing workforce habits of younger professionals. There is a shift in traditional office environments that will be important for M/E to embrace moving forward. She will be integral to enacting positive change."
Melanie echoed this statement by adding, "I try to bring positive energy to our firm. This should be a happy place…a fun place!" She also listed, without hesitation, the cultural qualities that define M/E: "Professional, courteous, easy place to work without fear of drama, and stable."
In closing, when asked how she thinks being a female Partner will positively impact the Partner group, her delightful response was, "A female, naturally, has life experiences that are unique. Diversity is a good thing for a firm. Adding diversity leads to more meaningful discussions, makes things more inclusive, and helps with perspective."