Women's Council on Energy and the Environment Names Hawaiian Electric CEO Constance Lau Woman of The Year

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The Women's Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) today recognized Constance H. Lau, President and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (NYSE-HE), as WCEE Woman of the Year, the organization’s highest honor. Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) is Hawaii’s largest public company. WCEE will also present a Champion Award to Mike Nigro, CEO, MJ Nigro Consulting, LLC. Mr. Nigro has been a leader in energy and environment consulting for the last 30 years.Most recently, Mr. Nigro led Project Performance Corporation (PPC) on a path to triple its size in five years.

The Women's Council On Energy and Environment (WCEE) today recognized Constance H. Lau, President and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (NYSE-HE), as WCEE Woman of the Year, the organization’s highest honor. Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) is Hawaii’s largest public company.

Ms. Lau is also Board Chair of HEI’s principal subsidiaries, including Hawaiian Electric Company, the electric utility which serves 95% of the state, and American Savings Bank, Hawaii’s third largest bank.

With the support of Ms. Lau’s leadership in October 2008 Hawaiian Electric signed a landmark agreement to move Hawaii towards a clean energy future, with a goal to achieve 70% of Hawaii’s energy needs from clean energy sources – 40% of power generated by renewable sources and 30% in energy efficiency savings – by 2030. Since then, Hawaiian Electric has instituted a multitude of new initiatives, including a feed-in tariff for renewable projects, expanded net energy metering, pilot electric vehicle rates, tiered rates to encourage conservation, and the first use of sustainable biodiesel in a utility-scale combustion turbine. HEI has also pursued new purchase power contracts for geothermal, photovoltaics, wind and biomass projects, further positioning Hawaii as a national clean energy leader.

Ms. Lau’s contributions stand out among a small number of women who have raised awareness on these issues. “I am honored to accept this award,” said Ms. Lau. “Now more than ever, we must continue our pursuit of clean energy to protect our environment and enhance energy independence and security for our nation. Organizations such as WCEE are critical to this effort by championing careers for women in the clean energy field.” Lau also noted that women make up more than one third of the Hawaiian Electric executive team leading the company’s clean energy efforts.

"Ms. Lau’s leadership at a time of great change for the electricity industry was essential to her company’s success in Hawaii,” said Ronke Luke, WCEE President. "Her commitment and dedication are an inspiration for women in the both the energy and environmental professions."

Each year, WCEE honors a woman who has made a particular contribution to the advancement of women in the fields of energy and the environment. Past honorees include: Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association; Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change; Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA); Kathleen McGinty, DEP Secretary for the State of Pennsylvania; Shelia Slocum Hollis, Managing Partner, Duane Morris LLP; The Honorable Nora Mead Brownell, FERC Commissioner; Kathryn S. Fuller, World Wildlife Fund President and Chief Executive Officer.

WCEE will also present a Champion Award to Mike Nigro, CEO, MJ Nigro Consulting, LLC.

Mr. Nigro has been a leader in the energy and environment consulting arena for the last 30 years. He has built a number of multi-national environmental engineering and consulting firms from the ground up. Most recently, Mr. Nigro led Project Performance Corporation (PPC) on a path to triple its size in five years. PPC reached that goal thanks to Mr. Nigro’s leadership in nurturing a workplace culture that fosters creativity, promotes career advancement, and exposes employees to all aspects of entrepreneurship. In 2008, Mr. Nigro sold PPC to AEA Technology Inc. (AEA), a London-based climate change and energy efficiency management consulting company, and assumed the position of AEA’s Chief Operating Officer and Executive Board Member. He recently stepped down from that position and now is CEO of MJ Nigro Consulting, LLC.

The Champion Award recognizes the importance of mentors for women professionals; it is intended to honor those individuals who have championed the advancement of women in the fields of energy and the environment. Nigro ensured that PPC was a strong participant in the community, followed environmentally sound business practices, and focused on solving complex problems and making a difference in people’s lives.

“Throughout my career, I was lucky to be challenged with all of the major issues facing the energy industry," he said. "I was also fortunate to work with many extremely dedicated, well informed women,” said Nigro.

"WCEE members are very grateful to Mr. Nigro for his support, guidance and leadership over the years.
This honor recognizes his ongoing efforts to help women advance in both the energy and environmental fields," said Ronke Luke, WCEE President. "The award is an expression of thanks from WCEE for supporting women in these increasingly important sectors of the economy."

WCEE will present the awards to Ms. Lau and Mr. Nigro at a dinner on March 9 at the Capital Hilton Hotel, Washington, D.C.

The following firms and organizations are sponsors of the 2011 WCEE Woman of the Year event:

  •     American Wind Energy Association
  •     Booz Allen Hamilton
  •     BP America
  •     Bracewell & Giuliani LLP
  •     Constellation Energy
  •     Deloitte
  •     Dow
  •     Duane Morris LLP
  •     DuPont
  •     Edison Electric Institute
  •     Energetics Incorporated
  •     Exelon Corporation
  •     Exponent, Inc
  •     Global Environment Facility
  •     Husch Blackwell LLP
  •     NARUC
  •     NCR Corporation
  •     Patton Boggs LLP
  •     PEPCO
  •     PG&E Corporation
  •     PJM Interconnection
  •     Project Performance Corporation
  •     Quinn Gillespie & Associates
  •     Robert W. Baird & Co.
  •     Schiff Hardin LLP
  •     Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL)
  •     Shell
  •     SNR Denton
  •     The AES Corporation
  •     Troutman Sanders LLP
  •     United Nations Foundation
  •     US Green Building Council
  •     Van Ness Feldman
  •     Winston & Strawn LLP
  •     Wright & Talisman PC

WCEE is a non-profit, nonpartisan, policy neutral organization whose mission is to provide educational and networking opportunities for professionals in the environmental and energy fields. Members include lawyers, economists, engineers, lobbyists, scientists and other professionals from the private, public and nonprofit sectors. WCEE was founded in 1981.

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Patricia McMurray
WCEE
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