The Positive Change We Want to See in the World

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAL4AAAAJDQ2MTNhMGMxLTE0ZDktNDExMi05YTk1LTg3ODg2NDBlNDNlZADana McTighe’s role as Vice President for CapitalStream Change Management at PNC Bank offers insight to why our MBA Sustainability program is ranked 10th in the world for “preparing graduates to change the world” and “succeed in this shifting business environment.”

Dana joined PNC as a project manager after completing her MBA in 2012 and steadily advanced. Now she heads up large scale enterprise initiatives for daily transaction systems, working with 17 different cross-functional teams. “I am responsible for the Change Management activities associated with approximately 10,000 employees across seven lines of business,” she said.

Dana noted that “the opportunity to manage innovation through multiple client consulting projects as an MBA student was good preparation for leading change” at one of the nation’s largest banks. Prior to graduate school, Dana held a progression of roles with a small financial services firm. As an MBA student, her consulting accomplishments included quantifying Scope III Greenhouse Gases, developing a global crop risk mitigation strategy for Heinz, helping to launch a social entrepreneurship, and conducting field work in Europe and South America on study trips.

A former leader of Duquesne’s Net Impact chapter, Dana remains active as an alumnus. In 2015, she organized and co-hosted an alumni-student sustainability symposium at Duquesne. She also coaches student project and practicum teams, most recently serving as client for a student team that helped PNC’s “Green Team” engage over 50,000 employees in social and environmental priorities.

“The program produces some of the coolest people I have ever met, personally and professionally.” – Dana McTighe, Duquesne MBA Sustainability ’12


MBA Sustainability Alumni Wins Prestigous EBJ Business Achievement Award

Conor Gillespie, MBA Sustainability Alumnures_color_logos, works at Resource Environmental Solutions, LLC (RES) which is the nation’s leading supplier of ecological offsets for unavoidable project-related impacts to wetlands, streams and habitats. The company, including Conor, will be the recipients of the Environmental Business Journal’s 2015 Award for Project Merit. Congratulations to Conor Gillespie, and everyone at RES, for achieving this impressive feat!

Check out the full article here: RES Receives 2015 Business Achievement Award


Learning Outside the Classroom at Phipps Conservatory

In preparation for our LEED design project in Dr. Sroufe’s Sustainability Tools and Processes for New Initiatives class, we have a series of learning opportunities that go beyond the typical classroom lecture.  Last week’s presentations focused on the LEED certification process to gather a base understanding for our final deliverable.  This week we had the opportunity to hear from a program alumni, Jason Wirick, at Phipps Conservatory.  The learning opportunity included a presentation and site visit to Phipp’s Living Building. Jason gave us insight regarding the “Living Building Challenge”, a green building certification program that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment possible today and acts to diminish the gap between current limits and ideal solutions.

To learn about the process that went in to create Phipp’s Living Building, watch the video below.

First Annual MBA Sustainability Alumni Weekend


Duquesne SMBA Alumni Board 2013 – from left, Dana McTighe (’12), Maureen Coyle (’12), Drew Lessard (’10), Erin Fargo (’12), Alison Steele (’11) and Jeff Gladstone (’11)

A few weekends ago, the MBA Sustainability alumni board organized the first annual reunion weekend with the help of professors, alumni and university staff.  As a current student, it was exciting to be included in the first of many alumni weekends to come, and it made me excited for trips back to the bluff to catch up with my cohort, program alumni, professors, and current students.

Drew Lessard shared that more than 20% of all alumni were in attendance over the course of the weekend.  The weekend kicked off with a “Discussion & Topics on Leading Change”.  This event included Andrew Butcher from GTECH Strategies, he discussed how he leverages a culture of “experiential learning” at his company to encourage employees to discover and innovate through their careers.

In addition, Jim Crisanti from International Electric Power (IEP) shared fascinating stories of cultural challenges in Haiti and Pakistan in the development of electricity generation. Contrasting the two experiences for IEP, Jim shared with us how leading change has been successful and more challenging in his experiences overseas.

Towards the end of the afternoon Bill O’Rourke led a panel discussion with program alumni.  The panel included Mackenzie Crigger, Energy Conversation and Sustainability Manager at Chapman University (’10);  Ashley Jones Organizational Efficiency Specialist at NORESCO (’12);  Jeff Gladstone Vice President of Operational Risk at PNC Bank (’11); and JP Gibbons Energy and Environment investment Officer at US Agency for International Development (’12).  Each of them shared insights and tips on how to drive change.

Other events throughout the weekend included class reunion dinners, an urban scavenger hunt, the big alumni bash, and a farewell brunch.  There is already a buzz in my cohort regarding next year’s alumni weekend. Thanks to an amazing alumni board for planning such an exceptional weekend, and to those of you who missed out keep your ears open regarding next year!

Alumni Networking Event


Recently, the local alumni and our cohort had a networking event at the Red Ring campus restaurant. While our program has alumni across the world, we still have a lot of local alumni, which became evident to me after seeing the turnout at the event.  This networking opportunity allowed us to take a glimpse into our future – and it is bright.

Personally, I was able to talk with Maureen Coyle, operations director at Venture Outdoors.  While at Duquesne Maureen was also the graduate assistant that created the blog, Facebook, and Twitter for our program.   I enjoyed being able to pick the brain of the person whose footsteps I am following.

My classmate Dave spoke with two other graduates, Erin Clymer and Dana McTighe. Erin works in talent development at PNC, and hired Dana as a project manager upon graduation.  For Dave, this story reinforced the value of networking with program alumni.

Another classmate Blair connected with Ashley Jones, organizational efficiency specialist at NORESCO. Ashley and Blair connected on their passion for the Net Impact organization.  Ashley started the Pittsburgh Net Impact chapter, and Blair is the current president of Duquesne’s Net Impact Chapter.  Do I foresee another networking event between Net Impact chapters?

In attendance, there were also alumni from Fisher Scientific, FedEx, BNY Mellon, and other Pittsburgh-based businesses.  It is motivating to see the impact that our alumni are having in a variety of professions. To get to our own bright future, each of us has a lot of challenging, but exciting work over the next year

Alumni Spotlight – Capturing kinetic energy at campus eco-fitness center

Recently, The Orange County Register featured a 20++ Duquesne sMBA alumnus, Mackenzie Crigger, in a business section article on leadership. The new eco-fitness center at Chapman University, where Mackenzie is energy conservation and sustainability manager, captures kinetic energy from exercise bikes and treadmills and feeds it back into the grid.

Mackenzie moved to California in August 2011 to launch a sustainability program at the university. Her first assignment was installing sub-metering to measure electricity use. She did not expect creating buy-in for sustainability to be her biggest challenge, but it was. Since then, her campus upgrades have included toilets that use 1.5 gallons of water (versus 3), a food digester that processes 1,200 pounds of food waste daily, and solar powered trash bins.

Her most recent accomplishment, creating the eco-fitness center, cost the University $85,000 but pays back in five years through lower electricity bills. It also generates publicity for the school. Mackenzie reports that her boss loves projects that save the University money. “If I can’t get a good payback on a project, it doesn’t matter how sustainable it is,” she says.

A graduate of Transylvania University in Kentucky, Mackenzie had a double major in political science and philosophy. After college, she taught English in Japan for a few years and did an internship with the Scottish Parliament. She credits her success as a campus sustainability director to the excellent preparation at Duquesne, especially in presentation skills. What a difference a year at Duquesne makes!