By Chara Young
Patti Riva is the operations manager of Valencia’s Energy Education program. Serving in this newly created position since July 1, 2011, she has focused on identifying energy conservation opportunities and making adjustments, without compromising comfort.
When asked what she likes most about her new role, Patti replied, “I’m learning new details each day about energy education and potential for savings. I never imagined I would be climbing stairs to the ‘penthouse’ area to conduct an audit on our air handler units or walking across roof tops to gain entry to another area to view air handles.”
Through her work with the Energy Education program, Patti has been trained on facility and technology issues, specifically HVAC systems (heating, ventilation, and air condition), lighting and data implementation. At Academic Assembly, Dr. Shugart reported that the college’s air conditioning systems are saving $900,000 a year and an estimated 1 million gallons of water. He shared his thoughts that, “there’s another million dollars to be saved, but it will be through behavioral change, the little habits that we can change.”
Patti reinforces this and states, “the premise of the program is that it is our program. It’s not mine. It’s not yours,” she continues, “It’s our program. We can make a difference. We can capture savings that will ultimately benefit our students and us.”
Before serving as the operations manager of the Energy Education program, Patti was the evening/weekend manager of the Credit Department at Winter Park, and prior to that, the program manager for the Displaced Homemaker program. She holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and a Bachelor of Arts in public relations and psychology from the University of Alabama.
Patti has acquired several fond memories of Valencia over the years, including performing as a Blues Brother with Professor Jean Marie Fuhrman, working with AAWCC to coordinate a Career Development Day for students, and having students return after graduation to let her know that they’ve secured a job or gotten married. For these reasons and more, Patti expressed that it is “a privilege and joy…working at Valencia.”
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