In order to learn more about a profession, it is important to talk to alumni and other colleagues who are working in your area of interest. To help, we include alumni profiles online and in our alumni magazines.
Alumni Profile for Green Careers
Abby Hahne ’09 MPA (UIS) ’07 ACES (UI) is an Environmental Programs Manager for the American Lung Association in Illinois. In this position, she works with a team of environmental staff to develop indoor and outdoor air quality programming for the Upper Midwest Region through grant opportunities and partnerships with various industry stakeholders. Previously, Ms. Hahne worked at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, as a Sustainability Coordinator, where she developed numerous energy saving, recycling, composting, curricular, and related projects and programs to integrate sustainability into North Central student life.
1. What are your current projects?
I am currently working with a team of environmental staff on various outdoor and indoor air quality outreach and awareness campaigns. Our team utilizes several marketing, business, and environmental management strategies to establish capital for building and promoting alternative fuel infrastructure, reducing diesel emissions, improving home building standards, encouraging the use of “green” products, and many other air quality initiatives.
2. How did you get to this point in your career?
When I began my education, I initially thought I wanted to be in the field focusing on natural resource management. By the time I graduated, I realized I was more drawn to pollution prevention and sustainability practices. My work with North Central College afforded me the opportunity to gain the knowledge and experience to execute the multi-state projects I am currently working on with the American Lung Association in Illinois and the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest.
3. Where are the opportunities for growth in this field? OR What trends are you seeing in your industry?
Over the past several years, focusing on the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) has aided numerous industries (private corporations, municipalities, higher education institutions, etc.) in developing energy, recycling, composting, and alternative transportation initiatives aimed at reducing costs and overall environmental impact. Many are using the notoriety from “green” project implementation to get the attention of consumers and competitors.
4. What are your suggestions for candidates looking for a “green” career?
There are many different sects within the green industry and it is important to gain a general understanding of the business and policy end of each of these. Becoming educated and networking with other professionals can lead to the niche within the industry that is right for you.
Ms. Hahne graduated with a Master’s of Arts in Environmental Planning and Management from University of Illinois, Springfield, while working at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Federal Site Remediation Section, and received a Bachelor’s of Science in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.
Green Careers appear in a wide variety of industries and utilize a broad base of knowledge and skills. You can still register for the June 20 Web-panel to hear from other alumni, "Where Can You Work in the World of Green Careers?"