Where talent meets opportunity, we support the next generation of energy experts   

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Written by Chris Collins, Vice Presidents, Buildings – South & West Regions for Schneider Electric.  In the industry for over 20 years, Chris is passionate about corporate partnerships and supporting the development of workforce talent.

KNPR Radio Segment with Dr. Federico Zaragoza – CSN President and Chris Collins, Schneider Electric – Vice President

In September I took a quick trip to Las Vegas and found myself just a few miles from the glitz of the opulent strip, at the campus of College of Southern Nevada (CSN).  It has been a year or two since my last final exam and I was excited as I pulled into the complex.  There was probably some relief that I had no mid-term paper due or exam to complete.  Or perhaps it was the anticipation of the podcast segment that I was set to record that afternoon with Dr. Zaragoza, the president of CNS, at their on-campus radio station.  I’m positive it had to do with the opportunity to present a $100,000 dollar check on behalf of Schneider Electric to the College of Southern Nevada (CSN) Foundation in support of their fundraising campaign to build a new Health Sciences Building at their Henderson campus.   The energy was palpable.  Buildings upon buildings of beautifully constructed labs and classrooms filled with up-and-coming talent.  The same talent I’m hoping to hire to be our future energy experts.

The relationship between CSN and Schneider Electric runs deep.  Schneider Electric solutions are integrated throughout the campus.  For over 20 years, Schneider Electric intelligent building solutions have provided a safe and comfortable environment for their students and teachers.  We provide smart HVAC building automation systems that control their building environments thru our intelligent thermostats and EcoStruxureTM Buildings products.  We keep their students safe and secure with our Access Expert security solutions and provide integrated CCTV monitoring for the campus.  And our EcoStruxure Power Monitoring Expert monitors their power usage and helps the campus meet their energy savings and sustainability goals.

CSN Student Body President – Dan Gutierrez poses with Chris Collins, Schneider Electric – Vice President

Product and solutions aside, the true partnership is grounded in the relationship with academia.  Having been in the Energy business for 27 years now, I’m experiencing first hand the dramatic shift in the skill sets required to keep pace with the changing landscape.  Buildings are becoming smarter, more modern and increasingly efficient especially with the emergence of the IoT.  As our current workforce reaches retirement age, it’s imperative we recognize the urgency to develop a strong backfill of talent. The knowledge gap creates a risk, but also a major opportunity to change the way facility managers operate.  The next generation of facility professionals will have the opportunity to implement a new and improved approach to facilities management.  Today’s building systems increasingly incorporate IoT digital technology including intelligent automated fault detection solutions and the ability for facility personnel to monitor and control buildings via mobile.

I jokingly say, “Ask a kid what they want to be when they grow up and you never hear I want to be in building automation!” nor do the masses understand the career opportunities available.  The workforce of the future is diverse, offers well-paying positions with major companies that provide competitive benefits packages and ample opportunities for career growth.  This industry increasingly attracts a younger generation of digitally-savvy facility managers who are coming from places like the College of Southern Nevada.  At Schneider Electric, we provide our EcoStruxure products to CSN so their students can learn on technology that they will encounter in the real world.  Our employees help teach the automation program in the HVAC school.  We also provide internship opportunities to their students and hire their graduates to work in the field of intelligent buildings.  This is incredibly important to me as the reason I have a career in intelligent buildings is because someone offered me an internship back in 1992.

Dr. Federico Zaragoza – CSN President and Chris Collins, Schneider Electric – Vice President.

That’s precisely why Schneider Electric has contributed $100,000 to support the new CSN and Nevada State College Englestad Health Sciences building.  As a business with a major footprint in Nevada, Schneider Electric is committed to supporting students in the region who will have a future impact on the energy management and automation industry. These students are exposed to internships with Schneider Electric which can ultimately lead to full-time career opportunities.

To hear more about the partnership between College of Southern Nevada and Schneider Electric, listen to the on-demand podcast, available now.

About the CSN Foundation

The CSN Foundation is an independent, registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the college’s students, faculty, staff and programs. It is governed by its executive director and a Board of Trustees consisting of community leaders and industry professionals from across southern Nevada.

About the College of Southern Nevada

About CSN: Founded in 1971, the College of Southern Nevada is the state’s largest and most diverse higher education institution. CSN is accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and specializes in two-year degrees and workforce development that lead directly to high-demand careers or transfer to a university. It also offers seven bachelor’s degrees in specialized fields and is the state’s largest provider of adult basic education and literacy training. CSN is a Minority Serving Institution and Nevada’s first Hispanic Serving Institution. Our students create flexible schedules with day, evening and weekend classes taught on three main campuses and multiple locations throughout Southern Nevada or online. CSN is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action institution.


About the Author:

Chris Collins is Vice Presidents, Buildings – South & West Regions for Schneider Electric.  In his role, he leads the branch operations for Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.  Additionally, Chris is responsible for a channel sales team that calls on a network of 90 independent control companies throughout the South-East, South-Central and Western US territory.  In the industry for over 20 years, Chris is passionate about corporate partnerships and supporting the development of workforce talent.

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