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CEOs join Shalala for ‘green’ talk

CEO of Cisco, John Chambers, explains the details of Smart Grid Miami to students in the Storer Auditorium this past Monday.  Also pictured: CEO of FPL Lewis Hay and University of Miami President Donna Shalala.  STEVEN STUTS // HURRICANE STAFF 

CEO of Cisco, John Chambers, explains the details of Smart Grid Miami to students in the Storer Auditorium this past Monday. Also pictured: CEO of FPL Lewis Hay and University of Miami President Donna Shalala. STEVEN STUTS // HURRICANE STAFF

Three chief executive officers gathered with President Donna Shalala on Monday at the School of Business Storer Auditorium to discuss Miami’s future in a “green economy.”

This event featured Lewis Hay, CEO of Florida Power and Light, Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric, and John T. Chambers, the CEO of the Cisco System.

These three men, along with CEO of the Silver Spring Network Scott Lang, met with Miami Mayor Manny Diaz earlier in the day for a press conference announcing “Energy Smart Miami.”

This initiative will be a public-private partnership with these entities. It will use federal stimulus funds for an investment in “Smart Grid” technology that will make Miami’s current electrical grid more energy efficient.

“We’re here today to announce the Smart Grid Initiative that we’re doing in all of Miami-Dade County,” said Lewis Hay in his opening presentation in the Storer Auditorium. “We will be rolling [it]out with stimulus money over the next two years.”

Hay detailed his company’s efforts to promote renewable technologies and explained that a reviving economy can be further spurred by government policies that promote plug-in hybrids.

“The economy goes into a reset once every generation,” Immelt said. “A reset means that people fundamentally change how they think about the world.”

Immelt agreed that many jobs in the future economy will be based around curbing the causes of climate change, such as human carbon emissions. He cited that technology should be the primary means to promote energy efficiency and conservation.

“This is a very complex city and county with a very complex politics,” President Shalala said before her first question. “How [do you plan to execute]the initiative?”

Lewis Hay answered that the companies have collaborated in researching and driving prices down for wind energy.

“Everything’s not going to be perfect,” he said about implementing the new technology. “We will make mistakes.”

The conference ended with Shalala asking these men their thoughts on the future.

“Just be cool,” said Immelt. “We’re going to try to build the types of companies that you want to work for.”

Hay was also optimistic about the future.

“If you look at the history of businesses, the [ones]that have really gained market share and have propelled themselves to greatness have done so not when times are great, but when times are bad. We’re growing substantially,” he said.

April 22, 2009

Reporters

Ramon Galiana

News Editor


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