The Adidas Group, Canton, MA
During the summer of 2014, I joined the adidas Group Corporate Real Estate team at Reebok’s International Headquarters in Canton, Massachusetts. At the adidas Group, Colby alum Elizabeth Turnbull Henry, Senior Manager of Energy and the Environment, created the green Energy Fund.
The fund is essentially a venture capital fund that invests in sustainable projects throughout adidas’ millions of square footage of corporate real estate. Overall, the green Energy fun has a 40% internal rate of return and a budget of two million dollars annually. The fund is the first of its kind in the corporate real estate world.
Elizabeth threw Jake Lukach (Colby class of 2015) and I into the deep end from the start. On my first day, I was calculating projected savings for a potential LED lighting retrofit at fifty of adidas’ retail stores. Following my calculations, the project was approved. Elizabeth and I then met with the president of Capitol Light to discuss the next steps.
As the weeks progressed, I became more comfortable handling these types of business cases. I continued to meet with lighting vendors, such as Thinklite a startup based on of Natick, and learned more about sustainable real estate technology.
Throughout the summer, I began to tackle more complex businesses cases such as the implementation of Big Ass Fans in a Spartanburg, South Carolina warehouse facility. The fans have a 24 foot wingspan and can help reduce heating loads in the winter and cooling loads in the summer. Unfortunately this project was not improved in the end because of budgets.
In addition, I preformed some monitoring and verification work on previously completed projects such as a lighting retrofit at a major facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This monitoring and verification work is extremely important to the fund because of the returns.
I also worked on communications projects. Throughout the summer I wrote four one page briefs on previously completed projects. These briefs will be sent out to facility managers throughout the adidas Group to help improve communication and knowledge between one another.
Finally, I worked to find a better solution for corporate ride sharing at Reebok’s International Headquarters. After looking into a number of different companies, Elizabeth and I decided to move forward with Zimride. Zimride, who was bought by Enterprise earlier this year, can create a customized ride sharing platform for companies, giving employees convenient carpool options.
We also had a lot of fun along the way. How can you not when its World Cup season at adidas? The USA vs. Germany game was the highlight with a major viewing of the game, a Spartan style relay race, and a summer social.
I am grateful for the support of the Colby Environmental Studies department. Without their help I would not have gained this valuable experience.