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Faces of ASES | ASES Member Spotlight
By ALex AbDALLAh
“It would be
After 25 years as a cus- tomer service and financial-operations
executive with several large
banks, Tom Flint decided
he wanted his own business
in renewable energy. While
developing his new business,
he volunteers as a docent on
the American Solar Energy
Society (ASES) National Solar
Tour in Illinois, and he helped
to raise money to build a science wing with a solar array at
his daughters’ school.
Tom Flint, Lake Forest, Ill.
ASES member for three years
When he read about then-
(Illinois Solar Energy
Society) for nine years
ASES Board Chair Jeff Lyng’s
Bring-in-Three campaign in
the January/February 2011 issue of SOLAR TODAY, Flint
was moved to take on the challenge. He quickly recruited
eight new ASES members. The letter he sent to his friends
and colleagues is reprinted to the right.
SOLAR TODAY: Why did you become an ASES
Tom Flint: I joined ASES because I realized, “Wow,
there are other people who are like-minded in advancing
the cause of renewable energy.” I love to enhance my technical knowledge and hear about what they’ve done. I retired
from the regular rat race in 2005 and have been getting
more involved in the renewable energy field, not because I
needed a job, but because I am passionate about it. I spent a
lot of my energy getting familiar with the solar industry and
attending a Solar Energy International PV101 workshop in
Tucson. It was very hands-on — we went up on a roof and
installed a system. From that, I fell in love with it.
ST: What inspired you to participate in Jeff’s Bring-in-Three campaign?
TF: Channeling your passion is difficult. You want to
get involved, but how do you do it? [When I read Jeff’s
editorial] I thought, “Why not make an impact in this way?”
I sent it to family and friends; whoever I thought might be
energized by it. This included an environmental science
teacher at my daughter’s school. Our teachers have a tremendous influence over the direction our children take.
I’m proud to say my daughter started college to become an
environmental engineer. The primary reason is the fantastic
physics teacher she had as a freshman in high school. This
Copyright © 2012 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.
teacher’s influence was so powerful, over 10 percent of her
all-girls graduating class has gone on to study engineering in
college. The high school classroom is clearly another avenue
for us to make an impact.
ST: Where would you like to see our organization
headed in the next five years?
TF: It would be great if we could get to a point where
you hear politicians talking about ASES as an influence on
their thinking. In the end, if you look at the countries in
the world that are leaders in renewable energy, the public
sector has been crucial to its success. We wouldn’t have
sold autos if the government hadn’t made roads, and we
wouldn’t have drilled for oil if the government hadn’t created tax laws to encourage it.
Alex Abdallah is associate editor at SOLAR TODA Y.
great if we could
get to a point
ASES as an
As many of you know, I’ve been an advocate for more thoughtful stewardship of
our planet for some time. In the past year,
my concern for our planet and the consequences of increasing climate change has
grown dramatically. I’ve been thinking of
additional steps I can take to influence the
public dialogue on the subject and make a
small but meaningful difference.
An article I read in the magazine of the
American Solar Energy Society gave me
a good idea. It suggested you can make
a difference by reaching out to those you
know who might be receptive to listening;
to give them a perspective from someone
they know and trust. To that end, I’m doing
1. On spring break, I read the non-fic-tion book Hot, Flat and Crowded by Pulitzer
Prize-winning author Thomas Friedman.
The book was recommended by a close
friend, Jim Pierobon. The author most
clearly lays out the situation we are in, the
consequences of inaction and the oppor-
tunities we have to make a real change. I’m
sending each of you a copy of the book. I
hope you will read it.
2. I’m also signing you up for the magazine from the American Solar Energy Society, of which I’m a member. ASES has been
around more than 50 years, advocating
the increased use of renewable and most
specifically solar energy. I firmly believe
that more aggressive investment in this
area is crucial to our future. In our mass
media, we seldom get an opportunity to
hear the whole story.
The sound bites we get are frequently
misleading. A structural change can be
made. The fact is Germany now gets 17
percent of their energy from renewable
sources and has a goal for more than 30
percent, even though they get far less sun
than the United States. And the price is
I hope you enjoy both the book and
the magazine. And if you are so inclined,
please pass them along.
One Way to “Bring in Three”
Inspired to rally friends and family to the ASES mission, Tom Flint sent this letter.
Warmest Regards and happy Earth Week,