Mitchell Swann, PE, a principal at MDC Systems®, was featured in Philadelphia’s Green Economy Task Force newsletter, Green Economy Leaders, which is excerpted below.
“I like Philadelphia—good points—bad points. Family is here.” In his clipped way of speaking and without any fanfare, Mitch Swann (pictured here on the left), who grew up in Germantown, lets you know he’s proud to be a Philadelphia native and plans to stick around the ‘hood giving back whenever he can.
Mitch, who is a Partner with MDC Systems in Paoli—a firm that provides clients with comprehensive assistance in effectively navigating complex engineering and construction projects—traveled to South Philadelphia to share his time and expertise with students who are training for jobs in green construction, energy efficiency and solar installation. “We discussed the LEED program and what that means, why the marketplace is concerned about [sustainable buildings], trends, expectations for the future, ways people can get involved, an overview of green economy types of issues.”
The diverse group of students, who are immersed in a nine-week course that will upgrade math and reading levels as well as prepare them for a green career, had plenty of questions for Mitch, who holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Drexel. Some were construction-related. Some trainees wanted to understand how the green industry relates to public policy, to their lives, to their community, to society. And, of course, they wanted to know, ‘ok, how do I position myself to be employed in this field?’
According to Elizabeth Crampton, SBN’s Associate for the Green Jobs Readiness Partnership (GJRP), the project’s goal is to connect graduates to career pathways “rather than just a temporary job. We’re really focused on helping people build up the skills they need to get a job that has career potential so that they can ultimately work themselves up the job ladder and earn a living wage.”
The curriculum focuses on green jobs in emerging industries. “Instead of reading Jane and Sally go to the market, it uses green issues, green news articles to build up reading skills but also to teach students about what the green economy is, what that means and how they can be a part of it,” says Elizabeth.
So, what motivates Mitch Swann, a distinguished lecturer with a 25-year career handling complex assignments around the world, to get involved at this particular rung of the green economy? He responds with a very simple, clear answer. “Because I live in the world. I want people to have jobs in Philadelphia. I want the city to be green. I want the environment to be clean.“
Mitch supports the principals of SBN for the same reason he contributes his time to our trainees. “The overall principals or philosophy of SBN I appreciate and I think the idea of triple bottom line business is essential because we live in the world.“
When asked to reflect on his own success, Mitch again relates it to the world he lives in. He observes: “My success exists in a context and that context is society so I can’t be really successful if everybody around me is taking it on the chin.”
Mitch adds insightfully—“We have a ball of finite resources. If everybody thinks me, me, me—we’ll all end up perishing. You have to have some balance. Otherwise, it will fall apart.”