Simone Kenkel


My name is Simone Kenkel. I'm from Brazil. I go to the Illinois Institute of Technology where I am a M.S. Industrial Technology and Operations candidate.

What sustainability, energy, and community issues are important to you?

From my perspective, these three topics are correlated with each other and impact the same target: us! Sustainability for me is about how society consumes goods and energy, utilizes resources and discards residues. It is also about how businesses could operate without compromising the environment we live in. Coming from the renewable power generation field, I truly believe that energy is the cornerstone for all the processes in the world, it is essential for everything and influences everything we do. I am an advocate to encourage a shift of mindset in each individual, corporation and government to unite efforts to continue development without depleting natural recourses.

What exciting projects/research are you working on now?

I am currently working on my Master’s project, which is identifying and evaluating possible efficiency measures associated with energy savings as well as more sustainable operation using the LEED framework as the project guideline. The site under study is a historical building dated from 1920 and located in downtown Chicago. This building formerly was a warehouse and after a retrofit in 2001 it was converted into an eight-story residential multi-family property totaling 421,000 sq ft. This Project’s relevance is given by the owners’ demand to reduce the building’s maintenance costs and assessment fees. The Chicago Energy Benchmarking Ordinance, for which the building must comply, is also a highlight for this project in that the building aims to increase its Energy Star Score.

What are your plans for the next five years?

My passion for combining sustainability and state-of-the-art technologies guided me through a 17-year career in the Brazilian renewable energy industry. After two sabbatical years obtaining my Masters in Sustainability Management and Industrial Operations, my next step is to return to the job market.  Better equipped with a skillset for the sustainability industry, my contribution will be to organizations which are seeking to be more sustainable and to find ethical solutions to challenges in a changing business environment. Simply put, I aim to become an effective catalyst for achieving sustainable change within organizations, and hence, positively contribute to the sustainability momentum. 

What made you want to apply to SISE?

Participating in SISE will not only give me practical tools and ideas that will help me be more effective in achieving sustainability changes, but it will also enhance my network with other accomplished professionals with similar sustainability goals. The richness of the program is having a boot camp experience with a problem solving focus interacting with other participants of diverse backgrounds. This allows us to perceive problems through different perspectives and also have more creative solutions.

What are you most looking forward to doing in Chicago?

Even living in Chicago for almost three years, I believe there is a lot more to know about the city, its history and its ongoing projects. Welcoming the other participants and visiting sites, such as Argonne National Laboratory, will be a great chance to explore the city while boosting my professional network.

Do you like Cats? If not, are you willing to learn to like cats?

When moving from Brazil to the US I brought my Brazilian cat with me… Does this answer this question?