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Member Spotlight Dan Moring

Dan Moring
Program Manager
IBC Engineering Services

Tell us about the company you work for.

IBC Engineering Services is a small engineering design and consulting firm specializing in sustainable, energy-efficient mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems for buildings and campuses. Founded on the principle of Integrated Building Concepts, we translate broad goals for sustainability into tangible features of buildings’ design, construction, and operations.

Describe in plain English what your job entails. What issues and challenges do you work with on a daily basis? What aspects of this work interest you the most?

As the sole employee from my firm in the DC region, I wear many hats—and they don’t all fit all of the time. A huge piece of my job is business development and marketing, which involves making and maintaining a very large number of contacts in different spheres, all while keeping track of broad trends and specific projects.

I may meet with design partners in the morning, then attend a lunchtime lecture on some obscure policy issue before going to catalog lighting and HVAC equipment for a small nonprofit in the evening. I love the variety of knowledge and skills that I get to use on a daily basis to make a more efficient, prosperous, and resilient world a reality.

One of the biggest challenges I face in this work is making sure people are asking the right questions before they go out searching for and implementing answers. It’s really getting people to understand and evaluate the difference between "doing something” and "doing anything.” I want to help give them the information to consider the scope, scale, impact, and cost of a particular action so they can make the right decision for their priorities and constraints. After providing that context, the major challenge is getting people to act on information. The truth is good, but it alone is not enough to change the world.

What did you study in college or university? Did your educational background help you find this job? Are there any courses that you wish you had taken while in university?

I started out as a biochemistry major but, after a few semesters witnessing exponential decay in my grades, I switched to political science, with a focus on energy and public health.

I went a small liberal arts college, and I think the ability to think laterally across different specialties and disciplines definitely helped lead me to where I am now. To me, sustainability is about integrating disparate knowledge from different fields to find solutions that work within and across systems; it’s a manner of thinking that’s adaptable to almost any subject.

So much of the energy and sustainability work we do at IBC is driven by regulation or incentive, so understanding how the policy and programmatic elements fit in with functional and technical constraints in the design process definitely helps me in my work.

I’m fascinated by just about everything, so I sometimes wish I could have designed a major in "Introductory Studies,” where I would just take the first three classes in every department. Of course, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, sometimes it’s better to be employed than fascinating.

If you could fundamentally change how we as a society use energy and treat the environment, how would you do it? Does it need to be changed at all?

I think the overarching goal of my career is to make it easier for people to make better decisions that meet their needs while minimizing impact on the planet. I suppose the most fundamental change is in the manner in which we organize and operate our lives and communities, to better align human nature and needs with the underlying ecological capacity.

What technology, law, or regulation regarding energy or the environment do you want to see created?

I would like Congress to repeal the Second Law of Thermodynamics, because my commute would be a lot easier without entropy.  Or, more seriously, a solar cell that could effectively mimic the photosynthetic pathway and deliver abundant, efficient, clean energy everywhere the sun shines.  

If you could have 30 minutes of anyone’s undivided attention (living or deceased, real or fictional), who would it be and what would you want to talk about?

The energy geek in me wants to chat with Nikola Tesla, just to understand how we looked at the world. I’d also like to talk to the Buddha, but I wouldn’t bring a conversational agenda. Is naming two guys chauvinist?

Why did you join WCEE, and what do you want to achieve by being part of the WCEE community?

I joined WCEE after learning about it through my former neighbor and a few colleagues. I work for a small woman-owned company, and as the only employee out in DC, I wanted to connect with local women entrepreneurs committed to advancing sustainability in their lives and businesses. I’d like to gain knowledge and realize opportunities for my firm, as well as helping to connect other members with the information and resources to realize their goals for personal advancement within this field.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I really didn’t join the organization to find dates. Honest.

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