As the Director of Sustainability for North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, I like to think I have a pretty amazing job. GAF is a Platinum Member of the USGBC, and I get to help set green building benchmarks at a national level. We’re a founding sponsor of the Health Product Declaration Collaborative and the Resilient Design Institute. Plus, at GAF we have hugely sought-after contractor programs, and so I get to make a significant impact on reducing landfill waste with the 400-plus members of the Certified Green Roofer Program.
All this means I get to interact almost every day with people who recycle millions of pounds of post-consumer shingles; work with national programs that aim to reduce millions of pounds of CO2 emissions; and do things like participate in a Google Hangout on Zero Waste Manufacturing. To anyone with an interest in recycling, green building, resource management or environmentally-friendly business practices, you’d have to say, I have a very cool job.
But try explaining that to an 8 year old.
See, in the mornings when I walk my kids to their school bus stop, I usually have a few minutes to chat with the other parents and kids waiting on the corner. Of course, people ask: "What do you do for work?" And although to me, my job is very cool, I sometimes find myself at a loss for words when asked to actually explain what it is I do, especially to an 8 year old. But I try: “I work on recycling, I help set green building targets, USGBC, Washington DC, recycling, blah blah blah”.
The parents tend to nod and smile and say things like, "Oh, that sounds so interesting."
But the kids just want to know one thing: "Do you get to ride on the recycling truck?"