After 25 years of leading MnTAP’s efforts to assist Minnesota businesses with developing and implementing solutions that prevent pollution, maximize efficient use of resources, and reduce energy use and cost to improve public health and the environment, MnTAP Director Cindy McComas will be leaving MnTAP to pursue other interests.
At MnTAP’s Inception
Cindy joined MnTAP in 1985, just as the organization was being formed. She was named director only months after starting with the organization and has built MnTAP into one of the leading sources of pollution prevention assistance in the country. MnTAP is funded by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and is known nationally for producing and accurately documenting environmental and cost reductions to companies and the State.
When MnTAP began, the focus was initially on waste reduction, then pollution prevention. However, about eight years ago, energy prices began increasing and businesses started requesting information about energy efficiency. Cindy saw this as an opportunity to help businesses cut costs and began leading an effort to add energy efficiency to MnTAP’s services by developing energy efficiency services, training staff members, and bringing in additional financial support for such projects. “Adding energy efficiency to our menu of services was an opportunity to meet our clients’ needs and keep MnTAP current and relevant,” Cindy said.
Service as MnTAP Director
During Cindy’s tenure, she has focused her efforts on staying true to our mission by focusing on company specific source reduction and process energy efficiency opportunities. This has been accomplished by structuring MnTAP and it’s staff to specialize in industry sectors, providing on-site assistance, and staying up to date on the emerging environmental issues affecting MnTAP’s clients. She has always stressed the importance of site visits and subsequent follow-up to encourage implementation of solutions and provide excellent customer service and support to businesses. Cindy believes that much of MnTAP’s success is due to this type of assistance. “I have, from the beginning, emphasized the need for on-site work,” she said. “By working with companies on site, we have been able to better understand each business’ needs and questions and provide them with well-developed solutions.”“By working with companies on site, we have been able to better understand each business’ needs and questions and provide them with well-developed solutions.”
- Cindy McComas, Director
In addition to site visits, the intern program has been part of Cindy’s drive for MnTAP to provide the most hands on work possible. She began the intern program in 1985 and after one year, turned it over to staff members who then developed it into the excellent program it is today.
Currently, MnTAP has eleven staff members, most with science or engineering degrees. Cindy credits past and present staff members as the backbone of MnTAP’s success. “The credit truly goes out to the staff for MnTAP’s successful programs. I often viewed my primary job as supporting the programs and projects that staff members implemented,” Cindy said. “I know that MnTAP will continue to provide excellent service to Minnesota’s businesses for many years to come.”
Commitment to Education
In addition to Cindy’s work as the MnTAP director, she has also taken on a number of projects on her own. During her tenure, she completed her Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Minnesota. She believes the education helped her provide technical assistance to her assigned industries: dry cleaning and wastewater treatment plants. Additionally, about four years ago, she was asked to co-teach a course about pollution prevention to upper level undergraduate and graduate students at the University. “Teaching is an opportunity to share the real world information MnTAP has about pollution prevention,” Cindy said.
Cindy will be leaving MnTAP in late December or early January. She is looking forward to pursuing new adventures, continuing to teach, volunteering opportunities, and spending time with her family. After that time, you can continue to contact her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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