Mindy Stevens

2022 Facility Champion: Mindy Stevens Sets Sustainability Standard High at Mississippi Community College

Stevens is the sixth a series of 2022 Facility Champion profiles sponsored by Ferguson Facilities Supplies.   October 3, 2022

By Dave Lubach, Managing Editor

When Hinds Community College hired Mindy Stevens as energy manager in 2008, the Mississippi college hoped to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent. 

“We reached that goal within 12 months,” says Jason Pope, the associate vice president for physical plant and auxiliary services at Hinds. “Mindy has never reached a point of being content with a certain percentage saved.” 

Stevens, a 2022 Facility Champion, continues to push the bar higher for energy saving and sustainability achievements at Hinds as her position has evolved into sustainability director. 

Since that original goal, Hinds has realized energy savings by more than 34 percent — more than $23 million in costs — through projects such as LED lighting and HVAC upgrades since Stevens arrived on campus. On the sustainability side, Hinds has earned praise from other state institutions for its work for its efforts in recycling and reducing solid waste. 

“Due to COVID-19, the college has initiated multiple projects in our Facilities Management department,” says Stevens, who says the college is projecting 50 percent savings from modernizing the equipment. “One of these projects includes new HVAC systems to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. We are replacing some of the older HVAC units with newer modern units. These units will not only improve indoor air quality for our users, but they will also decrease our energy consumption. We are not even halfway through the HVAC replacement process and we have already started seeing a decrease in consumption and costs.” 

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As is the case with many public-school districts and universities and colleges, funding is always a challenge at Hinds. Often the budget can’t meet the desires of managers like Stevens, who are constantly searching for ways to find energy solutions despite occasional shoestring budgets. 

“One of the biggest challenges I face is the need to make energy efficient improvements and the lack of funding to do so,” Stevens says. “We have aging infrastructure that limits what we can do in certain buildings. It’s very challenging knowing that opportunities to decrease energy consumption exist but not being able to move forward with the latest technologies.” 

Achieving sustainability goals requires cooperation at all levels of an institution. Through the years, Stevens has embraced that concept, working with a number of state and local organizations focused on recycling and the state’s Association of Physical Plant Administrators of Universities and Colleges chapter, as well as students, staff and faculty to accomplish these goals at Hinds. 

“We aspire to have the cleanest, safest, and most efficient higher education facilities in the state of Mississippi,” Stevens says. “I define success in Facilities Management as providing safe, comfortable, and efficient structures for our faculty, staff, students and community to enjoy. This can be done in multiple ways, but I strive to make an impact through sustainability initiatives. We strive to reduce energy consumption, reduce waste, and increase recycling efforts on a daily basis.” 

Pope knows that Stevens’ reputation thrives beyond the walls of Hinds CC. 

“Mindy has led the sustainability program through many different budget cuts and employee cuts,” Pope says. “She continues to fight for the program even when some folks question the need for the program. Her activism for promoting the program is one reason she has become a leader throughout higher education in Mississippi.” 

Mindy Stevens is the sixth in a series of 2022 Facility Champion profiles sponsored by Ferguson Facilities Supply. Stevens and other champions were recognized for their leadership and creativity in Facilities Management by FacilitiesNet. Honorees have been invited to participate in a Facility Champions Roundtable at NFMT Remix at Paris Las Vegas Resort, Nov. 2-3.  

Dave Lubach is managing editor of the facility market. 


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