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Sustainable Engineering Grad Takes Expertise to Apple

Michael Fortier ’12 MS, Sustainable Engineering

An Interview with Michael Fortier ’12 MS, Sustainable Engineering

Q: What did you study while attending Villanova?

A: I graduated in 2012 with an MS in Sustainable Engineering from Villanova. I completed an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester.

Q: In your own words, how would you define sustainability?

A: To me, sustainability is ensuring we leave the world better than how we found it from a social, economic, and environmental perspective.

Q: Why is sustainability important to you?

A: I believe that sustainability is the key to our future as a society. If we continue to pollute the planet and deplete the earth’s finite resources, then we will not be able to sustain our way of life.

Q: How have you supported or been involved in sustainability efforts throughout your career or personal life?

A: I started my career as a sustainability consultant at the engineering firm ARUP, where my work focused on green buildings and corporate sustainability. I recently started a new job at Apple, where I manage sustainability initiatives for some of their consumer electronics products.

Q: What are your favorite weekend/evening leisure activities or hobbies?

A: I’m most happy when I’m outside enjoying nature, especially when I go hiking in an area I’ve never been before. Having just moved from New York City to San Francisco, I’ve been able to spend my weekends exploring awesome hikes in the Bay Area. Living in a city that is so close to such great hiking has been my favorite thing about San Francisco. I’m hoping to make a trip to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks this summer.

Q: What do you feel has been the most exciting development in the sustainability field over the last year?

A: I think recent developments in energy storage technology could be a game changer and help pave the way for a 100% renewable energy system. The cost of renewable energy continues to decrease and is even cheaper than fossil fuels in some places in the world. One of the biggest remaining challenges is to reduce the cost of energy storage and invest in distributed generation, so that the intermittency of renewable energy is no longer a market barrier.