Windsor teens to get close look at latest green technology

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Windsor Star/Dave Battagello



A group of 30 hand-picked high school students will be taken on a whirlwind tour of local companies starting Wednesday so they can get a first-hand look at the latest green technology innovations.

The Cleantech Academy program launched by WEtech Alliance is designed in hopes the teenagers will gain ambitions to become the next generation seeking ways to make the world a cleaner place.

“It might be early for some of these students, but they are starting to make decisions on their future,” said Yvonne Pilon, president for WEtech Alliance. “We want to build an army for clean tech in our community and this is one way to introduce them.”

Each local school board was asked to choose students who would be most interested in further enhancing their knowledge in clean technology initiatives.

The group of teenagers will tour several local companies and venues where they will gain an inside look at the latest technological innovations to produce cleaner energy and eco-friendly products.

Those participating in the program include FCA Canada, Union Gas, C.S. Wind and the University of Windsor’s Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research.

“We are investing in youth,” said Sean Collier, district manager for Union Gas. “You are helping kids to build their knowledge and it’s an opportunity for the employer as well since we get to see all kinds of young talent this way.”

When the students tour the utility company, scheduled for Wednesday, they will be shown natural gas vehicles and combined heat power technology. They will also be taken on a tour of one of the company’s LEED certified buildings in Windsor.

“This is outstanding to see these kids here on their summer break taking such initiative to learn more about green technologies,” Collier said.

Marcus Deans, who just completed Grade 10 at Academy Ste. Cecile, was among those accepted for the program.

“For me, I am hoping in the future to start my own company or get involved in the business world,” he said. “I want to learn more about clean tech since the environment is something I really care about.

“Hopefully, this will help me to learn more about everything being done in our region. That should definitely help me in the future.”

Claire Murphy, who just completed Grade 11 at Lajeunesse high school, said she became excited about opportunity after being informed by a teacher since she was a large part of the school’s robotics team.

“I am interested in a career in engineering — especially in renewable energy,” she said. “I really hope to create relationships (through the program) and expand my horizons. I also want to learn more about entrepreneurship.”

With the clean energy sector continuing to grow around the world, Murphy said it’s perfect timing for her to consider a career in the field.

“I like that there is a lot of challenge to it,” she said. “All the traditional energy with combustibles has been around for so long, but now we need to find new things. With the earth warming, we are pressed for time.”

Pilon was hopeful the Cleantech Academy will “spark” a career choice for the high school students.

“This is really a unique opportunity for them because with a lot of these facilities people can’t get in to see them and now they are getting that opportunity,” she said.