What’s the one
skill every project
Listen actively. We
gain other people’s
expertise when we
listen to them.
What’s the best
you ever received?
Know how and
when to say no.
favorite off-the-clock activity?
My two sons are
in their 20s, and we’re
all in the hospitality industry. We like
to eat and travel
can have a stronger influence through education
projects that target our employees and the activities in their own homes than we can through our
facilities. MGM is also very active on the local,
state and federal levels in advancing environmental
policies. We’re the largest employer and taxpayer
in the state of Nevada, so we have a unique seat at
the table in local policy.
How do your projects reduce
The core responsibility of a sustainability department is to reduce your company’s own environmental impacts, such as how facilities use water
and electricity. I have direct responsibility for water
and energy efficiencies in all of our 15 resorts.
Right now, my team is managing 11 large-scale
projects—like changing virtually all of MGM’s
lights—as well as R&D projects, like investing in
waste-to-energy technologies. My small team of
about 10 people develops the practices and technologies for energy efficiency in one place, and
then we deploy them in our properties.
For example, the largest consumer of energy in
our Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas is a machine called
the chiller, part of the air conditioning system. One of
our projects found technologies to make chillers more
efficient and use less electricity at the Mirage. Then
we deployed them at all 12 of our Las Vegas properties.
How do you ensure such projects align
with organizational strategy?
Environmental efficiency is almost always in
alignment with cost reductions. But for us it
goes beyond that. About 75 percent of my team’s
projects improve existing facilities, processes and
practices. The other 25 percent is directed at innovation and developing technologies.
If MGM decides to deploy a new technology, we
have the ability to help the vendor perfect it and
roll it out across MGM’s portfolio. That accelerates innovation both for the vendor and for us,
and aligns with the company’s strategy in terms of
competitive advantage and reputation.
How do you drive innovation through a
project such as changing MGM’s lights?
Energy efficiency is essential for any organization
looking to reduce its environmental footprint. As
light-emitting diode (LED) lighting has become
less expensive, corporations are racing to install it,
especially in a 24-hour business like the entertain-
ment and hospitality industry.
That might sound like a boring thing: How
many people can change how many light bulbs?
But for this two-year project, MGM is changing
1. 3 million light bulbs. And we encourage the
established lighting company to innovate its controls for things like motion sensors.
How do you measure the value
of your projects?
For every US$1 MGM invests in sustainability
projects, we return about US$6—or about US$3
for a big capital project. This year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation named us one of
the country’s top three environmental stewardship
programs. And after we put in a 20-acre solar array
on top of our Mandalay Bay building, both U.S.
President Barack Obama and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke there. That kind
of attention around an environmental
project provides value to MGM from a
What are the greatest challenges
in sustainability initiatives?
The biggest challenge is that all sustainability
initiatives are good. So when people bring us project ideas that have a positive environmental
value, it’s easy for my team to want to get involved
with everything. And the company, from top to
bottom, really loves to be engaged in environmental projects.
On top of that, many corporations don’t build
their sustainability programs the same way they
build other projects, which have to have a business
case and a strategic approach. They think it’s a
feel-good for the company or a soft return.
My challenge is to keep my team focused on the
mission: improve our company.
What’s your greatest accomplishment?
This company’s relationship to the environment
is recognized as something that sets MGM apart
from our competitors. PM