Lights, Collaboration, Action

Have you noticed that things look brighter during your visits to The Works Museum? That’s because of the illuminating new partnership between The Works Museum and Energy Management Collaborative (EMC) of Plymouth, MN. The partnership began in spring 2018, when Carolyn Peterson, an Account Manager at EMC spotted The Works Museum on a Fox 9 news feature about the Museum’s Tech Fest family event. After a series of discussions, then visits to the Museum and the EMC showroom, EMC selected The Works as their legacy partner.

The partnership is off to a bright start: EMC donated and installed new, greener LED lighting solutions for the Museum’s main gallery as well as the education space on the lower level. EMC sponsored a field trip for local second graders to learn about electricity; and EMC volunteers designed and assembled take-home circuitry kits for those students to continue their learning beyond the field trip.

Lighting Changes -Significance and Savings

Beth Haney, Director of Operations and Frances Knaeble, Experience Developer at the Museum, worked with EMC on the lighting design and implementation. “EMC’s timing was impeccable,” Haney said. “We’d just begun evaluating lighting maintenance and update options when they reached out to us about a partnership.” And what a partnership it’s been, just in this first year. During the first phase of the project, EMC replaced fluorescent lighting on two floors of the museum with efficient LED light bulbs which are better for the environment and the Museum’s bottom line. The Works expects to save about $10,000 on electricity each year, reflecting a much lower draw on energy resources. “One of our old light bulbs was using the same amount of energy required for 13 of the new bulbs they replaced,” Haney explained. She saved one of the old bulbs – just to remember.

To date, EMC has donated more than $30,000 in-kind services to The Works. “We’re so fortunate to have had this opportunity,” said Haney. “It’s allowed us to make important updates to reduce the organization’s energy footprint and provide brighter and more consistent lighting that improves the visitor experience,” she said.

Impacting the Children We Serve

EMC’s partnership didn’t stop with lighting. They also wanted to have an impact on the children we serve. Jill Measells, CEO of The Works Museum, invited Fair Oaks Elementary School of Brooklyn Park.

“Fair Oaks was the ideal fit for the opportunity,” said Measells. The school is located near EMC, so the company was able to connect directly with a school in its community. Fair Oaks also has a 76% free and reduced lunch population – which can correlate to less access to STEM enrichment. Measells recalls the day she sent an e-mail to Fair Oaks to share the news that all costs for the field trip and transportation would be covered by EMC. Carmy Mersereau, a second grade teacher at Fair Oaks was thrilled. “These kids don’t have a lot” she told Measells when discussing the school’s gratitude for the opportunity. EMC also wanted to extend the students’ learning beyond the field trip. To achieve that goal, EMC designed a take-home circuit exploration kit that EMC volunteers assembled and packaged at their December holiday party.

On February 15, 2019 Fair Oaks Elementary second graders attended their field trip to The Works Museum. In the morning they assembled catapults with employees from EMC onsite to lend a hand. Theresa Philsticker, one of the second grade teachers, said the catapults put lessons into action, as the class had just wrapped a unit on motion, balance, and gravity. Jay Myers, EMC’s National Account Executive and John Loheit,  EMC’s Director of Strategic Initiatives presented the circuit kits at the conclusion of the workshop.

A Fantastic Partnership with a Bright Future

Measells looks forward to the future possibilities for the partnership between EMC and The Works Museum. She cites the synchronized ideals of the two organizations as one of the reasons the partnership is such a good fit. “Our values are aligned, and they also support our mission to inspire the next generation of innovators, engineers, and creative problem solvers,” she said. A press release by the lighting company quoted EMC’s CEO, Howard Heckes echoing Measells, “The Works and EMC share guiding principles around engineering, fostering cultures of innovation, diversity and critical thinking,” he said. As a lot of EMC’s employees are engineers; they understand the benefits of children engaging in STEM subjects in elementary school. In supporting The Works, EMC is helping to inspire kids’ interest in STEM, Measells explained. All children benefit from STEM literacy, and early interest can help children consider STEM careers. EMC understands the need for a future workforce with these skills and interests – for their own business and our community as a whole.

What’s next for the partnership? “We’re having discussions to determine what we want to accomplish together in 2019,” says Measells. “We look forward to continuing to work together.”

The Works Museum and EMC