Gideon Banner standing on a log across a river used for National Grid's green collar jobs story

Green collar jobs: Gideon Banner – acting to improve the environment

New York-based Gideon Banner’s role within Property Services is all about finding ways we can be more eco-friendly across our sites in the US. Read on for more about his green collar job and how he switched careers to this, his second act.

I’m a Senior Analyst for Sustainability in Property Services. I joined the company in 2018 and am responsible for managing and improving sustainability at all our facilities in the US. It’s about conservation, sustainability and combating climate change.

From acting … to acting to improve the environment

Blue Man Group performing - used for National Grid's David Banner's green collar jobs story

Growing up in Los Angeles, California, the environment was very polluted. So, at an early age, I developed a concern and passion for environmental issues and that grew over time.

Alongside that passion for the environment ran a passion for the arts, which led me to a 20-year acting career (largely as a performer with the Blue Man Group). However, when I found myself seeking to learn more about clean energy and regularly reading environmental news publications instead of the arts section of the New York Times, I realized it was time for a career change.

I decided to attend graduate school at New York University (NYU), where I received my MBA with concentrations in strategy and finance. Going back to school helped me gain those hard and soft skills I needed to begin my new career in the energy industry.

Moving to ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’

One challenging projects has been implementing the steps needed to fulfill our Zero Waste to Landfill goal, which commits us to sending all waste from our eight largest property sites to either recycling facilities or ‘waste-to-energy’ plants. We’ve achieved the goal at six of the eight target sites so far and will do this at the other two by the end of the year.

Electric (vehicle) dreams

I also work closely with National Grid’s Fleet division and played a part in the development of ambitious electrification goals for our fleet vehicles, including replacing all our light-duty vehicles with zero-carbon models by 2030. We’re currently in the process of setting goals for our medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles as well.

Our fleet team is operating approximately 50 medium-duty plug-in vehicles, has had great success with electric small excavators and is trialling a first-of-its-kind electric backhoe right now. They hope to replace most or all remaining non-electric passenger cars with all-electric models in the next 18 months.

I serve as the liaison between Property Services and the US fleet team, where I’m ensuring coordination between the arrival of electric vehicles and the budgeting, planning, and installation of charging infrastructure to fuel them. To support this, we're looking forward to a future where we have extensive electric vehicle charging infrastructure at most of our sites. This is all a huge challenge, but an exciting one.

Advice about getting into green collar jobs

If you’re interested in a green collar career, I’d advise you to learn as much as you can about the energy sector and environmental issues. Really immerse yourself in the subject matter and related areas like policy, technology and the transportation sector. Start reading relevant publications. Energy-focused podcasts like The Energy Gang are great places to start educating yourself on environmental issues and the energy industry.

My eco hero is…

…Amory Lovins, the founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute. He’s been tireless in advocating for energy efficiency, renewable energy and distributed energy resources, and is an incredibly inspiring speaker.

Living a greener life outside work

I’m trying to reduce my energy use in my home and also use public transit as much as I can to make my life greener. I’m trying to decide on a method to compost waste from my apartment too.

And, after a five or six-year hiatus, I recently returned to being a vegetarian. One of my main reasons for doing so was environmental; one of the best things you can do for the environment is to reduce or eliminate your consumption of meat.

My hope is that we can vastly reduce greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and I hope to play a small part in that critical change.

With two young children, I do worry about the state of the environment and climate change. My hope is that we can vastly reduce greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and I hope to play a small part in that critical change.

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