Sustainability Successes

Curt Volkmann MBA 92
Managing Director, 
Accenture, Chicago

From recycling to radical environmentalism, sustainability means different things to different people. To Curt Volkmann, a leader in Accenture’s Sustainability Services practice, it means satisfying needs in both the present and the future.

“To us, sustainability means being successful today while allowing future generations to be successful as well,” he says.

To achieve that goal, Volkmann is focused on building “intelligent cities” where technology cuts through bureaucratic silos. The goal: to make cities more efficient, attractive and sustainable.

Take last summer’s project aimed at improving building energy efficiency in Chicago. Volkmann’s team combined energy use information from utilities, U.S. Census demographic data, and building square footage and age from the county assessor’s office.

“We created a database of energy use intensity for 450,000 buildings across the city in only eight weeks,” says Volkmann. “Now the city can identify the least efficient neighborhoods. City officials can identify whether it’s a natural gas or an electricity opportunity, or both. And they can work with utilities to help customers retrofit homes and businesses.”

Energy efficiency is a logical niche for Volkmann, who worked for Pacific Gas and Electric in San Francisco after studying electrical engineering at the University of Illinois. He attended Haas’ evening program to learn more about management and finance. His Berkeley MBA has “allowed me to sit in a room with a CFO or CEO and talk about non- technical issues. That has proved invaluable,” Volkmann says.

After working in utility consulting in New Jersey for two years, Volkmann landed a senior manager job at Accenture in Chicago. He went on to lead various utilities consulting projects for almost 15 years and then transitioned to the global sustainability group. Says Volkmann, “Sustainability is a strategic priority for our public and private sector clients around the world. It’s exciting to help them innovate to address these important issues and opportunities.”

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