David Pollack didn't want to settle.
After graduating from college in May 2008 with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, David Pollack became frustrated by the scarcity of quality job opportunities. He wanted something that would challenge him professionally.
He took action and launched Cornerstone Energy Solutions, a company that improves energy efficiency in residential, commercial and industrial settings.
The inspiration for the company came from his father, a retired history teacher, who often talked about the energy crisis he believed America was facing. "For a long time, I listened to my father talk about the energy crisis our country was facing," says Pollack. "It was something I was aware of, and I saw an opportunity to do something about it."
Now Pollack heads up a company doing residential and commercial building audits – and more. The company's chief revenue source is its training program, which prepares individuals to become certified energy auditors.
Cornerstone offers a range of classes, including the Building Performance Institute (BPI) Analyst course, through educational partnerships with Universities, community colleges and vocational-technical institutions in Missouri.
Pollack and several other staff members teach the classes, which take two weeks to complete and are split equally between classroom instruction and onsite training.
The majority of Cornerstone's students have professional backgrounds in related fields such as construction or home inspections, but Pollack believes that anyone can become a professional energy auditor if that person is willing to invest the necessary time and effort.
Cornerstone was recently awarded a contract to train 200 disadvantaged and low-income individuals to become certified energy auditors. Funding for the project comes from a Pathways out of Poverty Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, which was made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Pollack notes that energy efficiency is not yet a booming industry in Missouri, but he believes the industry is growing within the state and has seen his students achieve professional success.
"One of our first students attended classes because he wanted to start a side business as an energy auditor," says Pollack. "The last time I spoke with him, he was working so much as an energy auditor that it was becoming hard to split his time between that and his day job."