Springtime in North Carolina normally showcases two things I love: the environment and teamwork.

Even if your work doesn’t involve environmental protection, it’s hard not to think about environment this time of year with trees budding out in a green wave, flowers blooming everywhere, and rivers churning with winter and spring rains. At the same time, everyone is talking about teams. It’s NCAA basketball tournament time, and it’s hard to walk down an office corridor or go into a restaurant without someone talking about teams and team strategy.

I couldn’t help thinking about these two subjects as I helped write our annual report this year, because they are the very same subjects that dominate our work. Obviously we are focused on the environment – it’s in our name, and the drive to protect and preserve the environment is the constant force that runs through our diverse portfolio of projects.

And teamwork, while not in our name, maybe should be. We could just as easily be named “The Environmental Finance Team”, because you won’t find any of our projects that didn’t depend on a full team. Fifteen years ago when I first started working at the Environmental Finance Center, I was the only full-time dedicated staff member. Now today, many years later, I’m proud to work with a broad team of staff and students that makes my job fun and rewarding every day.   Our team finds creative and impactful ways to tie together our three activities: applied research, advising, and teaching.

The other thing that has changed in our 15 years is how we do our work.  At one time, most of our advising was done through one-off phone inquires. While we are still always happy to answer the phone, our assistance is just as likely to take place through email exchanges, web-conferences,  or empowering our audience to answer their own questions by referring directly  to our many online resources. Our education and outreach used to be primarily through long reports and in-person events. We still have plenty of in-person events and comprehensive reports, but many times we use other means to support communities including using  podcasts, webinars, video clips and blog posts.

Spring is always a great time of year in North Carolina, but fortunately I have a job where I get to focus on the environment and high performance teams all year long.

To read more about what our team accomplished this year, check out our 2014 Annual Report.