Clips and Dip

The Work Of Matthew Hibbard

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Bakanas loosens up with hybrid ‘Yogalates’ routine

From the St. Louis Business Journal…

Pilates helps balance the core, and yoga helps with overall balance, so it made perfect sense to physician Erin Bakanas to participate in both at the same time.

“Yogalates” is a hybrid exercise routine created in 1997 that combines the upper-body motions of Pilates with stretches and balancing techniques from yoga. The classes incorporate yoga flow moves such as “sun salutation” and classic Pilates exercises such as the “hundreds” sit-ups. Sometimes they blend in one exercise; for example, starting on one leg, walking the hands down the standing leg to the floor, then moving forward to a “downward dog” position, holding the pose and moving back up.

A doctor of internal medicine and associate professor at Saint Louis University, Bakanas, 50, knows the importance of staying active and being loose. She took up yoga eight years ago to alleviate back pain and started practicing Yogalates three years later when her gym, the Simon Recreation Center on the SLU campus, started offering it. “I find it really helpful for balancing training,” she said, “and it does build muscle strength.”

At 5 feet 9 inches tall and 168 pounds, Bakanas estimated she burns up to 400 calories an hour doing Yogalates. Yogalates also can alleviate the aches and pains she sees among many patients who come through her office. “To stay flexible is something you consciously have to work on when you get older,” she said.

Although there are do-it-yourself Yogalates workouts to practice at home, Bakanas advised doing the routine in a studio. “It’s one thing to buy a DVD, but you don’t have someone to correct your positions,” she said. “It’s nice to have an instructor to perfect you.”

Bakanas does Yogalates twice a week, paying $50 for a six-week session as a member of the recreation center. Bakanas said her center membership is reimbursed by SLU, which offers wellness initiatives for employees who use the gym facility regularly. The gym provides yoga mats, and though the center has Pilates machines, her class doesn’t use them.

The sessions usually last an hour, beginning with a “centering” time of two minutes to three minutes and ending with a “savasana,” or relaxing component, done in the “corpse pose” and lasting up to four minutes. During those times, Bakanas can focus on her breathing, allowing her to de-stress. “(It’s) an hour set aside for me,” she said of the sessions. “It can be a great technique for anyone in a stressed situation.”

Filed under Yogalates exercise workout working out yoga Pilates

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Interim housing occupied in growth

From the St. Louis Business Journal…

St. Louis-area corporate housing is alive and well, topping the national average for occupancy and increasing revenue.

The majority of corporate housing providers help employers relocate new hires in the short term before they find permanent housing, or accommodate employees on periodic assignments. Nationally in 2010, corporate housing services revenue increased 7.4 percent to $2.47 billion, according to a survey of more than 160 companies in 47 U.S. markets for the Corporate Housing Providers Association. The report found the average stay (lodging) per person was 78 days, and 74 percent of the stays were corporate related.

Occupancy rates for units nationally were at 89.2 percent, up from 88.1 percent in 2009. In St. Louis, occupied units increased from 947 in 2009 to 1,016 last year, with occupancy rates topping the national ones. Robb Lax, owner of Arch Interim Housing, said his business’ occupancy rates were 96.3 percent last year and are 96.5 percent in 2011. Jim Todd, general manager of National Corporate Housing, a Herndon-Va.-based company that provides temporary housing nationally and internationally, said the St. Louis office tries to keep occupancy rates between 93 percent and 95 percent. “The more occupied we are, the more money we are going to make,” he said.

Lax said revenue grew 15 percent between 2009 and 2010 to a total of $2.9 million. He estimated another 15 percent increase this year to about $3 million. About 60 percent of his business comes from existing corporate clients; the other 40 percent he acquires from new company and individual clients.

He attributed the increase in sales to his company’s push to educate businesses about the advantages of using his service over extended-stay hotels, financially and in employee satisfaction.

A daily rate at an extended-stay hotel, such as a Marriott Residence Inn, is $129 ($2,670 a month) for a 450-square-foot, one-bedroom unit. Arch rents apartments throughout the St. Louis area so it can offer the same layout at a cheaper price. The units, with more home-like features such as a washer and dryer and fully equipped kitchen, cost $75 a day ($2,250 a month).

Todd also has seen an increase in revenue. His revenue was up 5 percent between 2009 and 2010. The company has an inventory of 30 units to 70 units in the St. Louis market, depending on the time of year. During the second and third quarters, when business is the highest, Arch has 150 or more units.

Filed under Interim housing relocation hotel extended stay moving corporate housing

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Weigh class size, technology before making choice

From the St. Louis Business Journal…

When it comes to choosing the right private high school for your child, doing a little homework of your own will go a long way in the selection process.

Traci Hodges, accounting lecturer for the University of Missouri-St. Louis, started looking for high schools for her daughter in the fall of her 8th grade year. At first, she did her research online, but later she attended adult outreach opportunities and open houses. Hodges decided Whitfield Schoolwas the best fit.

Hodges said technology was a major factor in her selection. Working in a school setting, she said she sees firsthand the importance technology plays in education and how it can enhance the school’s curriculum. She advises parents to look for examples of how technology enhances experiential learning in the classroom.

On one tour, Hodges said she saw how the school took concepts taught in a biology lab were expanded via the Internet. “Students were enhancing their Internet skills, search skills, gaining more knowledge on the subject and developing presentation skills,” she said.

“It’s not just about passing tests. It’s all about the future learning process,” Hodges said. “To me that’s worth paying for.”

Hodges also advises parents to consider how their child’s experience and skills learned in high school can be transferable to the university classroom and to the workplace.

“The traditional lecture-based classroom experience, for example, does not provide the skills to be successful,” she said. “Consider this when assessing different types of schools because the university classroom is changing.”

Kim Corliss, director of store support operations for Brown Shoe Inc., said location was a factor when deciding to send her two children to Crossroads College Preparatory School. Her family lives in the city and understands the correlation between proximity and participation.

“If all the activities are 40 minutes away from where you live, it’s more difficult to participate,” she said.

Corliss said parents also should talk to the school about financial aid, as most offer assistance.

Greg Dosmann, principal of Edward Jones, moved to St. Louis in 1997 and enrolled his daughters in a public elementary school before transitioning to Westminster Christian Academy for high school. He said, when it comes to choosing the best school for your children, the parents should be the ones making the decision.

“Go with your own heart and own mind,” he said. “A decision on a high school should not be decided by a 12-year-old.”

Dosmann said parents should consider class sizes in their selection process, noting that a small class size allows for more diversity and involvement in school activities.

“It gives kids a bigger, better opportunity to be stretched,” he said. “What percentage gets to play on the basketball team, in the band?”

Filed under Whitfield School Private High School Private Secondary School classroom Traci Hodges UMSL Kim Corliss Brown Shoe Crossroads College Preparatory School Greg Dosmann Edward Jones Westminster Christian Academy

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Kathy Gardner: United Way of Greater St. Louis

From the St. Louis Business Journal…

As senior vice president of community investment, Kathy Gardner plays a vital role in making sure operations at United Way of Greater St. Louis run smoothly. She is responsible for the oversight and distribution of some $60 million to more than 170 health and human service organizations in the St. Louis area.

To streamline that process and better fulfill the organization’s mission, in 2005 she helped create a set of quality standards that have become a model for other organizations.

“An agency can have a strong program, but if the other standards are not in place, they will often be in financial crisis or their board won’t be engaged,” she says. “That will eventually impact the quality of the program.”

The quality standards are widely distributed to let donors know where their contributions are going and how they are being spent. They also give member agencies and other nonprofits a road map to follow for consistent and effective operations.

Gardner enjoys providing the necessary foundation to keep groups running at their full potential for helping others. “I figured out pretty early in my life that it would be hard for me to be on the direct line,” she says. “What I think I am good at is the administration aspect, the organization aspect.”

Gardner moved to St. Louis to work for the United Way in 1982. Before that, she worked as an aide in the Missouri Legislature for five years, an experience she says taught her the importance of leadership.

Her grandmothers also helped. “Both of my grandmothers worked,” she says. “Both had a strong sense of community and independence.”

Gardner gives back to the community beyond United Way. She sits on the board for the Gateway Center for Giving, which provides philanthropic services to the region.

She also is chair of program and quality oversight for the Shearwater Education Foundation. The organization helps bring those who have dropped out of school back into the classroom. “I think it’s kind of the forgotten group of the population,” she says. “You can’t move forward very effectively in our society without an education; it’s not easy to go back to school.”

Gardner also has served on a couple of task forces for the St. Louis Regional Health Commission.

Gary Dollar, president and chief executive of United Way of Greater St. Louis, applauds Gardner’s initiative and willingness to carry tasks to their completion. “If you need something done, Kathy will get it done,” he says. “She never says, ‘That’s not my job.’”

He also notes Gardner’s ability to deal with crises. She helped plan and execute a door-to-door food distribution to 600 families who lost power during the April 22 tornado that came through St. Louis. Gardner also helped coordinate a response center that brought together 20 agencies from around the area.

“I have spent my whole career working toward helping people by making the system better,” she says. “What motivates me is helping to improve organizations.”

Gardner has been married to her husband, Steve, for 28 years, and they have four adult children and three grandchildren.

Filed under Kathy Gardner United Way of Greater St. Louis United Way Shearwater Education Foundation

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Helen Antoine: J.W. Terrill

From the St. Louis Business Journal…

Helen Antoine has bicycled through parts of the United States and even zipped through western parts of Ireland. On the business road, she has pedaled hard up the corporate ladder to become chief operating officer of J.W. Terrill, a private insurance brokerage company.

Antoine didn’t think about working in the insurance industry when she entered college at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, nor when she graduated with a double major in business administration/finance and Spanish. She started her career path in the commercial real estate industry at The Great Western Development Co. Inc. as a project accountant. She says she acted as the glue, working with clients, construction workers and mortgage companies to assemble or monitor project documentation.

In her next job, as controller at Midland Development Group, Antoine worked with members of the development and construction team and managed new projects around the country.

When a position of chief financial officer was created at THF Realty, Antoine took the challenge. At the time, THF was a relatively small company, Antoine says, so it allowed her to put “her hands in a lot of different stuff” with financing and legal documentation for land acquisitions and leases.

In January 1998, Antoine arrived at J.W. Terrill, where she is now chief operating officer of the St. Louis-based, private insurance brokerage and risk management consulting firm. The company, which serves 6,500 clients with brokered premiums in excess of $250 million in 2010, gives her the opportunity, in her view, to protect the world’s investments one day at a time.

“Insurance companies and insurance brokers control and protect all the world assets,” Antoine says. “Who are the greatest investors in the world? Well, it’s insurance companies.”

When she joined Terrill, its revenue was $8 million; in 2010, gross revenue was $24 million, Antoine says. She attributes this rise to a robust sales culture, which has led to new clients and about $2 million in new revenue.

“I didn’t just wake up one morning and hear someone say we should develop a sales culture,” she says. “We agreed as a board and executive management team that our future depended on it.”

Antoine is a team player and a sociable one. She talks to everyone she passes and knows all the other 164 employees by name. But great communication is not enough. “You have to have great talent in order to accomplish the success of a growing company,” she says.

Antoine puts her talents to use on the board at St. Joseph’s Academy, which she attended. She attributes much of her work ethic to what she learned at the all-girls high school. After the board changed the bylaws in 2006 concerning lay people, Antoine became the first layperson to be president of the board.

Jim Castellano, chairman at RubinBrownLLP, has worked with Antoine to create an extensive plan for the school. He says she is a key player, and “a perfect example of the description she (and the board) created for St. Joseph’s Academy,” he says. That description is the school’s slogan: “values-driven women leaders.” “She’s very value-centered, and her leadership ability is remarkable,” he says.

Antoine became involved with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society after her aunt, who was afflicted with MS early in her life, died of the disease. She first rode in the local MS 150 Bike Tour in 1996 and plans to ride this year with her company’s team, the Terrill Trekkers.

Antoine also enjoys flexing her green thumb, growing plants that are native to Missouri. She has lived with her partner, Alice Younger, for 18 years.

Filed under Helen Antonie J.W. Terrill St. Louis UMSL insurance brokerage St. Joseph's Academy

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Lynn Barnes: Ameren Missouri

From the St. Louis Business Journal…

When it comes to company mergers, Lynn Barnes has seen her fair share. She started with Touche right after graduation from Milliken University in Decatur, Ill. During her 11 years there, the accounting firm merged with Deloitte in 1989.

She left the firm and worked a little more than a year for McDonnell Douglas, which merged with Boeing in 1997. She came to Ameren UE 14 years ago, which now operates as Ameren Missouri.

The shuffling of companies, and change in general, fits her outlook. “I am not satisfied with the status quo,” she says.

Barnes became vice president of business planning at Ameren three years ago; she has been controller since 2007. With the help of her team of about 50 employees, she coordinates planning efforts and develops strategies, including identifying obstacles, for where to take the state’s largest utility in the next five to 10 years.

Barnes is a licensed CPA in both Missouri and Illinois and leverages those skills to perform the other major part of her job, analyzing and share information with key leaders in the company on a $1.5 billion operating and capital investments budget. She says her role is to hold people accountable for their “piece of the pie.”

Barnes is one of only three female officers at Ameren, but being in a male-dominated industry never bothered her much. Her advice to other women is to not let it get under their skin. “I tell people not to take it personally,” she says. “I have never had that get to me. I think we have all gotten politically sensitive. I try to blend in to some extent, but we need to be more outspoken.”

As a counterbalance, Barnes participates in nonprofit organizations that tend to be led by women. These organizations allow her to learn from other women leaders. One particular organization, the St. Louis Forum, is comprised of all female executives and professionals.

The organizations she participates in also connect with her on a personal level. Her father died of heart disease, so she serves on the regional board of directors for the American Heart Association.

Tracy Brazelton, executive director of AHA, says Barnes was crucial in developing a marketing analysis for the organization. She stepped forward to organize a subcommittee and created a plan of action for the board of directors to implement in the fall. Brazelton says Barnes’ efficiency is almost superhuman at times.

“What she accomplishes in 24 hours would certainly take a mere mortal between 48 and 72 hours to complete,” she says. “I’m amazed at what she gets done in a day.”

Barnes has been married to her husband, Jerry, for 18 years. They have two sons, Andrew, 14, and Eric, 11. She says she’s fortunate to have two healthy boys but knows other children are not so lucky. As a result, she is involved with the Ronald McDonald House and sits on the board at St. Monica School.

Barnes aims for a successful work-life balance and has devised a few tricks for achieving it. She attends as many Boy Scout meetings and cheers at as many sporting events as possible, even if that means shortening a workday or rescheduling a meeting.

She doesn’t check her BlackBerry on the weekend and has created two calendars, one that lists all her family events and another on her phone for work-related activities.

But she does accept the fact she can’t do it all. “I think part of it is saying ‘no,’” she says. “Do I make it to every baseball game? Probably not.”

She tries to set an example for others at work. “I demonstrate by leaving,” Barnes says. “I talk about my family so (my employees) know I have one.”

Filed under Lynn Barnes Ameren Ameren Missouri Touche Deloitte McDonnell Douglas Boeing

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Wade uses basics to jump into a full body workout

From the St. Louis Business Journal…

Jumping rope is not just a child’s game. For Booker Wade, it’s a full-body workout.

The 38-year-old sales adviser executive preferred program (EPP) manager for Autohaus BMW, has incorporated jumping rope in his workout routine for seven months. He jumped rope for fun as a kid and eventually carried the exercise into the gym. “It gives you an all-inclusive workout,” he said.

Wade has been working out at Gold’s Gym in Florissant for three years doing mostly cardio and weight-lifting workouts. Although jumping rope may sound basic, he said it is an exercise that goes far. “The most simple exercises are the best for your body,” he said. “People lift all these weights, but they can’t even do a pull-up.”

Wade said jumping rope is more effective than running on a treadmill. In fact, he said five minutes of jumping rope is equivalent to 20 minutes on the treadmill. He has measured other workouts, on treadmills and ellipticals, using a fitness app on his phone. Jumping rope is also easier on the body.

“Jumping rope is low impact on the ankles,” he said. “It increases your coordination, improves your balance and puts a spring in your step.”

At 5 feet 10 inches tall, Wade weighed 224 pounds before he started incorporating jumping rope in his workout routine. He started jumping rope to lose weight, and so far, the weight has seemed to jump right off. He works out four to five times each week and incorporates three 15-minute intervals of jumping rope in his 45-minute to an hour-and-a-half workout routines. He now weighs 206 pounds.

As far as different ways to use the jump rope, whether jumping backward or side-to-side, Wade advised sticking with the basics: “Don’t get fancy.”

Wade can burn 65 calories by jumping rope for three minutes to five minutes. He uses the fitness app on his phone to measure his calorie usage. He notes his workouts are more intense than the average jumper because he rests less frequently between intervals. He said most people burn between 40 calories and 44 calories by jumping for several minutes.

The ropes he uses come in a variety of styles. There are ropes with weights and ropes without weights that are meant for speed. Wade alternates between the speed rope, the medium-heavy rope (2 pounds) and the heavy rope (5 pounds).

Wade pays $39 for a monthly membership at Gold’s Gym. The ropes are relatively inexpensive, costing between $8 and $15 on the low end, and up to $20 for a weighted rope.

Filed under jumping rope, workout, jump rope exercise outside gym cardio calories weight balance coordination

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How to: Choose a Private Elementary School

From the St. Louis Business Journal…

When it comes to choosing a private elementary school, starting early seems to be the most crucial bit of advice.

That’s what Jennifer Lord, a stay-at-home mom from Ladue, suggests to any parent entering the school selection process. She started searching for a private elementary school when her child was 1 and said the earlier the better if you want your No. 1 choice.

“Don’t wait until the last minute,” she said. “Most schools, you have to get in real early or you are not going to get in.”

Lord advises parents to get organized and create an action plan. She created a spreadsheet listing all the potential schools and important points her family was looking for. Then for two years she went to open houses to learn about the schools’ programs and experiencing different orientation presentations. These visits gave her a certain level of confidence and let her weed out the schools that didn’t meet her family’s goals. “I wanted to be extra sure,” Lord said. “You’re spending a lot of money and sending your kids to a place where they spend 80 percent of their time.”

She settled on Forsyth School and spends $16,204 a year on tuition for each of her two children. Lord found that most private elementary schools’ tuition ranged between $12,000-$16,000.

Keisha Menears-Wilson, a pharmaceutical sales representative with Novo Nordisk, sends her two youngest children to City Academy. All 140 students who attend the school are supported by financial aid. The average cost to send a child to City Academy without financial aid is about $20,150, but through a combination of individual and corporate donations, the average family contribution to tuition is $3,500 per child. Menears-Wilson advises parents to try and move past the price tag.

“Don’t get sticker-shocked,” she said. “Don’t let the cost of the education deter you from at least exploring it.”

Menears-Wilson and her husband also were searching for schools that accommodated working parents. Research what activities are offered after and before school and if those programs offer a good balance between learning and fun.

“After school and after care was a big part for us,” she said. “We didn’t want a babysitter.” Carie Forrester, a children’s yoga instructor for Stillwater Yoga, said class size was a determining factor in her decision to send her two boys to a private school rather than a public one. She said her children’s classrooms have a ratio of one teacher to every 11 kids plus a full-time aide. This personal interaction was just one of the reasons she chose Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School.

“The individual attention given to the children on a regular basis is important,” she said. “You are never going to find the same attention at a public school.”

To send her children to Oak Hill, Forrester pays $14,000 for her 6-year-old son and $11,000 for her 4-year-old son, who attends a combination of full- and half-day classes.

A religious focus in a private elementary school was an important factor in Forrester’s selection process. She believes a religious school has a different element attached to it than a non-religious private school, a “kindness factor.”

“There’s more grounding,” she said. “I think it promotes more of a community.”

Filed under working parent, Private Elementary School St. Louis Selection Choose tuition

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Harrison Center garners another LEED Gold certification for STLCC

From the St. Louis Business Journal…

St. Louis Community College has added a LEED Gold-certified school to its campus lineup. Completed in August 2010, the $10 million William J. Harrison Northside Education Center, in the JeffVanderLou neighborhood just north of the city of St. Louis, received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Kwame Building Group , a private construction management company headquartered in St. Louis, was the construction manager and owner’s representative on the center. They also served as the project manager on the St. Louis Community College-Wildwood campus, which received LEED Gold certification in February 2008.

Environmental features at the 31,000-square-foot facility include energy-efficient heating and cooling systems with heat pumps in offices and classrooms that allow for slight temperature adjustments in individual rooms.

Kwame also installed controllable lighting in the new center. Craig Lucas, vice president at Kwame, said installing occupancy sensors in each room turns off lights automatically when a room is not in use. “You don’t have that problem where people leave the room and forget to turn off the lights,” he said. “In the case of a large building, that can be significant.”

Other green implementations include using recycled materials, low-VOC paint and nontoxic building materials and furnishings.

The St. Louis Community College system serves more than 100,000 students a year and has a staff of more than 7,000. The schools’ 2010 operating budget was $164.5 million.

Filed under green, St. Louis Community College LEED Kwam Building Group St. Louis sustainability environment

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Schools start to reduce carbon footprint, save money

From the St. Louis Business Journal…

Talisen Technologies is supplying the technology to improve the carbon footprint and reduce energy costs for three area school districts.

Talisen’s Enterprise Sustainability Platform (ESP) is helping retrocommission Brentwood Middle and High schools, Hazelwood East and West high schools and Parkway North and South high schools. The retrocommissioning will identify low-cost operational and maintenance improvements in the existing buildings.

The three school districts worked through Cooperating School Districts to start the process and will pay $640,198, of the total $1.96 million project cost. St. Louis County and Ameren are contributing to the project. The county is contributing $964,525 from an Energize Missouri Communities grant of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. An Ameren Missouri Retro-Commissioning Incentive Grant is supplying $419,680. The county contracted for the platform with Talisen, who subcontracted with Murphy Co. to carry out the retrocommissioning process and install the platform.

The first stage of the three-part platform was installing the hardware and software, allowing data collection from on-site sources, such as utility bills and carbon emissions. Talisen and the schools can track the data via the Internet. George Brill, chief executive of Talisen, said the platform gives each school a constantly updated report card of how well they are managing energy use.

“It allows you to target a baseline to work from,” he said. “Once you get a database, you can look at buildings that are similar and understand why, for example, a gymnasium is more expensive in this location than at another location.”

Also in this stage, Talisen suggested energy-saving measures and estimated the costs savings if the measures are implemented and maintained properly. Robert Tudisco, project manager for Talisen, said on average the school districts will save an estimated 10 percent of their utility costs. Total savings for the six schools in the project, with about 1.4 million square feet, are estimated at 5.29 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) and $330,173. The two Brentwood schools have the lowest square footage at 204,320; they are projected to save 567,747 kWh and $33,385. Hazelwood West, the largest school at 349,203 square feet, is estimated to save 2.06 million kWh and $127,304.

The schools are in the second stage, which involves verifying the energy consumption data after implementation of the energy-efficient measures. Talisen said once the savings have been verified, Ameren will issue the schools a check within 45 days.

Brill compared the ESP platform to an MRI machine. Like doctors monitoring a patient’s health with an MRI, this platform checks and analyzes a building’s environmental strength — translating a good bill of health into big savings.

The platform also cuts down on time. Harvey Walker, facilities director for the Brentwood School District, has been manning the school’s sustainability efforts for 30 years. Back when he started, he had to do everything manually. With Talisen’s platform, all the information is available to him online so he can monitor the district’s energy use in 15-minute intervals.

“It frees me up tremendously,” he said. “It probably takes about 40 to 60 hours out of my month.”

The platform allows the school districts to share energy data with each other. Erik Lueders, sustainability and purchasing manager for the Parkway School District, said the data-sharing capability promotes collaboration and problem solving.

“The platform creates a better sense of community engagement among other school districts,” he said. “We can learn from each other and we’ll be able to teach ourselves what the best practices are.”

Talisen expects to enter the last stage in the fall; the schools will have data on the actual savings and devise a sustainable plan.

Filed under Talisen Technologies, Energy, Green, St. Louis, Ameren Missouri, Carbon Footprint Sustainability Power Brentwood Parkway Hazelwood School