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Alumni Snapshot
Brett Weil: Green Energy Business and Real Estate

Alumni Snapshot 
Brett Weil: Green Energy Business and Real Estate

Brett Weil, M.S. ’13, vice president of Multifamily Energy Solutions at greeNEWit where he manages a portfolio of programs designed to help property owners increase the energy efficiency of their properties. He recently found time between work, family and his passion for competitive Ultimate Frisbee to sit down with The Merrick Exchange and shared some thoughts about his career, as well as some valuable advice for our students in the field of green energy.

Merrick Exchange:  How did you decide on a career focused on green energy and real property?

Weil:  While working for two years doing estimating for a high-end architectural concrete precaster, I witnessed the increasing market share of the LEED green building rating system. LEED is a building certification given by the US Green Building Council which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. I wanted to be a part of the exciting and growth-oriented green building sector, I achieved the professional designation of a LEED AP.  While there are many paths to build “green,” energy and water improvements are the most cost-effective and financially-sound and hence where I can make the most impact with my finance background.

Merrick Exchange: Where did you get your start?

Weil:  I began my career in 2007 as a multifamily investment sales broker, with Planters Realty. Planters was heavily involved with the early growth of Blue Ocean Realty, which has acquired and operates 2,650 residential units as well as more than one million square feet of commercial real estate. 

Merrick Exchange: Please describe your current position as vice president at greeNEWit.

Weil:  In 2008, the Maryland General Assembly passed the EmPower Maryland Act which authorized a hefty amount of funding for energy savings, with the main purpose of forestalling the necessity to construct new coal-fired power plants. greeNEWit won an implementation contract with BGE and reached out to me to lead sales efforts in the region. My apartment sales background and passion for energy savings helped me get this job and succeed.

On a daily basis I speak with owners, property managers and maintenance directors about a variety of energy and water savings upgrades they can achieve. We implement comprehensive utility cost and tax reduction strategies across large housing portfolios. Our methodology is to examine property data provided including utility bills, equipment replacement schedules and find the most lucrative utility rebate/incentives in the property’s region. Since I began with greeNEWit, we’ve serviced over 44,000 apartment units!

Merrick Exchange: How did earning your M.S. in Business-Finance degree from the Merrick School impact your career?

Weil: I have a prominent sales role in the real estate and construction industry, and being able to speak the language of decision-makers is invaluable. The training I received has made me much more comfortable in my own skin as I can understand key accounting and financial concepts like depreciation, amortization, time value, NPV, IRR and payback. My degree gives me credibility to explain energy efficiency contracting as more heavily a financial decision than just evaluating bricks-and-mortar operational function.  In sales terms, we call this selling the clean floor instead of the mop.

Merrick Exchange: What advice would you give to students who might want to pursue a career in your field but are undecided?

Weil:  Energy efficiency is an important part of the clean energy revolution – as the cleanest energy is the type that is never used.  Because incentives and funding are highly volatile, the aspiring professional should have a solid base of business skills and should seek to continuously learn about innovations in the business. It’s important to also study industries which are big energy users (i.e. real estate, government, manufacturing, and healthcare). Networking with other professionals is also of paramount importance.

Merrick Exchange: What's the one job-hunting secret you wish all students knew about getting a “green” job?

Weil:  Students should realize that “sustainability” itself is not a professional field, but an amalgam of many different types of expertise. Someone needs to identify what their defining skill set is and be really good at that. That will help them find their green/dream job.

Merrick Exchange: Why did you choose to attend UB?

Weil: I wanted a centrally-located school with an excellent reputation. The opportunity to take both online and onsite courses appealed to me. My wife had attended UB’s graduate program in Publication Design and had very positive input regarding the school.

Merrick Exchange: In what ways do you remain involved in the Merrick School?

Weil: I encouraged my company to sponsor the Lessons from Legends series for the Real Estate and Economic Development program. I also encourage local successful apartment professionals with whom I have worked to share their expertise with students and to offer tours of their projects. Finally, I have been very grateful to the UB Investment Society for the excellent content and networking they have been producing.

Merrick Exchange: What does your future look like?

Weil: With my knowledge of apartment property management operations, construction as well as investment asset sales from various positions in the apartment industry, I see myself moving into the financing aspects of apartments, with an emphasis on “green” lending.

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