Andres Correa’s conversion to an advocate for sustainability wasn’t nurtured in a classroom or inspired at a rally. He had an epiphany among the profusion of coral reefs along Panama’s Caribbean coast.
“More than 10 years ago, you could see how alive the coral reefs were in the sea,” said Correa, Bedford’s first energy and sustainability manager. “Now you can see first-hand the changes human activity has made in nature.”
Troubled by the reefs’ deterioration, Correa said, “I wanted to do something about it,” ultimately leading to a career in sustainability.
Correa began his Bedford tenure on Dec. 18, and he said in a recent interview that he is becoming familiar with planned projects, including new hangars at Hanscom Field near Hartwell Road.
The position was created by a vote of the 2022 Annual Town Meeting. The job description says he will be “administering and promoting sustainability initiatives for greenhouse gas mitigation, resilience and building programs within residential commercial and municipal sectors.”
The new energy manager said his goal is to “decrease the town’s greenhouse gas emissions by implementing renewable energy alternatives, energy conservation systems, and nature-based solutions.”
Correa grew up in Medellin, Colombia’s second-largest city, with a population of more than two million people. The family moved to neighboring Panama for a job opportunity, and Correa graduated from Universidad Católica Santa María La Antigua.
After his realization about the impact of climate change, Correa said, he started looking for the right academic program and chose to work for a master’s in sustainable development, management, and policy at Modul University in Vienna, Austria.
“I love experiencing new cultures and learning languages,” he explained.
Indeed, he said he would have remained in Austria for the right opportunity, but instead returned to Panama, where he was employed by Prodelca SA in Panama City. The firm makes and services electrical transformers. He worked first as sustainability and quality coordinator and then as a greenhouse gas analyst.
He said he worked remotely over the past year, as he moved to the United States to seek opportunities in the sustainability field.
Correa, who organizationally works directly for Town Manager Matt Hanson, said he is looking forward to helping execute changes in Bedford that will lead to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.
“Every positive action matters,” he said.