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We’d like to introduce you to some of the people from around the world who make us who we are at Progress. In this post, meet Vesko Kantchev, director of facilities and workplace services at Progress.
In a special Earth Day edition of our employee Q&A blog series, we spotlight the Progresser leading all of our sustainability efforts.
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A former aspiring architect, Vesko has led many green projects across our offices, including replacing all of our vehicles in Sofia, Bulgaria, with new all-electric vehicles and installing a white roof at our global Headquarters in Bedford, Massachusetts. Get to know more about Vesko in the following interview.
I ended up with Progress through the Telerik acquisition. I started at Telerik a couple of years before the Progress acquisition as the facility manager for Telerik’s U.S. operations. After the acquisition, I continued to be responsible for the same office locations, gradually increasing my responsibilities and ultimately getting promoted to the position I am in today.
Our sustainable efforts have been ongoing for quite some time as we’ve been doing small things with big impact and our main initiatives have focused on reducing our footprint. Everything we have done has been towards energy conservation. For example, automatic faucets reduce the amount of water usage per use, the sensors we’ve put in place automatically turn off lights when they’re not needed, and we’ve replaced fluorescent lights with LED lighting.
All of these features are available at our headquarters in Bedford, and I am happy to say that we’ve achieved Energy Star certification for our efforts. These features are also widely available at most of our office locations. We are developing a program where such items are required before we lease a space.
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I’m proud of two major undertakings at our HQ building in Bedford. One being replacing the roof with a “white roof.” This solved a long-standing issue with a roof leak but also helped the environment. For those not familiar, “white roofs” are a type of cool roofs. They are reflective and do not absorb heat so they help maintain a stable temperature.
As a result, we don’t need to run our heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit as much to cool the space in the summer, which reduces our energy consumption and carbon footprint. The other project I’m proud of was replacing the HVAC units with new, more energy-efficient units.
For me, COVID-19 has made it clear that sustainability starts with us. It’s not necessarily what the company does, but what the individual is doing in their everyday lives. With us drastically having to change the way we work, and moving to a work-from-home setting, our office footprint reduced dramatically.
But the impact has shifted to our homes. This is something we can’t measure, but something that has obviously happened. So, the question is, what can each of us can do to reduce our impact? We are now personally responsible. The simple habits that we have at home, like turning off our light when not in the room, can easily transfer to the office.
The simplest way to make a change is to promote “sustainable behavior.” These are simple things that everyone can do. Turn off the lights when not in the room, turn off your monitors at the end of the day, do not print on paper unless necessary. Other things we as a company are moving towards, are reducing our waste, like providing water fountains instead of water bottles, and providing ceramic cups vs. disposable ones. All are very simple and inexpensive actions that actually have a major impact.
There is a lot a person can do, without repeating myself, other things that I have not already mentioned include not running the water while brushing your teeth, planting a tree in your backyard, switch your lights to LED as your old-ones burn out. Buy local. Use reusable bags when grocery shopping, use green cleaning products. Walk or bike instead of jumping in your car for short trips. Wash your clothes with cold or cool water. And mind what you are buying—a lot of it will go to the trash.
I wouldn’t say it’s a shocking fact, but something to think about—an American family of four uses up to 260 gallons of water in the home each day. So think about that the next time you use the sink or take a shower.
Also, not every “sustainable product” is sustainable. Sometimes these products take more energy to produce than the conventional ones. We have to be mindful of the full life-cycle of products. Do your research. Find a few resources and cross-check what you’ve read first: Know the difference between marketing and science.
I enjoy playing sports, soccer being my favorite. I try to play it when I can. But the main chunk of my time goes to my family. I have three small kids and they are an energetic bunch. They are also my main motivation to try and be better and leave the world a better place.
I am not sure. Growing up, I wanted to be an architect. I like to create stuff. I love creating and adding value, and architects are creating all the time. Architecture connects exact science with creativity. But I am not good at drawing. That said, I am not far off from that now as my job touches many aspects of an architect’s work. I was on quite the journey, as I’ve done so many things in my life, but I am pretty happy with where I ended up.
Be more confident and believe in yourself. I was not the most confident kid, but I found out that I have a lot to offer as I was growing up. I learned to trust myself more and follow my convictions. I wish I believed that earlier in my life. Other than that, I don’t have any regrets. I am a person that does not like to look back. Just learn my lesson and move forward.
To get to know other Progressers like Vesko, read more of our Progress employee interviews here.
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Danielle is a Senior Communications Specialist at Progress, where she is also on the leadership team of the employee resource group, Progress for Her, and an Advisory Committee member on Progress’ Inclusion & Diversity Committee. When she’s not at work, you can find her writing, reading, or acting like a tourist in her own city.
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