Spotlight on Women in Energy Efficiency Featuring SVP, Angela Aeschliman

Spotlight on Women in Energy Efficiency

by Audrey Bragg

“I think it’s just my personality that allows me to be fearless and put myself in gender-unbalanced situations,” says Stephanie Bassler. “I am doing my best, and I let that speak for itself.” How many of us have heard women’s stories similar to Stephanie’s?

To celebrate Women’s History Month, my staff asked women to reflect on their career roles in energy efficiency (EE). We are honoring the women of the thriving U.S. EE industry. With this sector projected to grow fast, it will offer millions of good jobs for years to come[i]–and to more women than you might imagine.

As of 2018, women make up only 23% of the field[ii]. However, by all accounts women are essential to the industry’s vitality.

Strong U.S. Leaders Set the Tone
Women run major EE businesses. One is Pearl Certification headquartered in Virginia, the nation’s only private certification firm to sponsor the U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. Pearl owes much of its success to co-founder and CEO Cynthia Adams.For many women who are now leaders, their path has at times felt more like an obstacle course. In a March 2018 Detroit Free Press interview, Carla Walker Miller of Walker-Miller Energy Services described her challenging journey from engineering to entrepreneurial legend: “The construct said I had to wait for a slot that would open every five or 10 years that would accommodate a black female and the right manager.” Rather than waiting for such a position, Carla started her own energy waste reduction business, which now employs 110 people and generates $24 million of revenue annually.

We Can Do It!
Across the country women have found good jobs in the EE industry. Faces of EE highlights hundreds of women EE professionals in 43 states and the District of Columbia. Among their key roles, women perform energy audits, develop new technologies, and own and operate businesses.

I sought insight about the day-to-day experiences of women working for cleaner air, more comfortable homes, and lower energy bills. We captured testimonials that document rewarding careers. Three notable EE leaders took the time to speak with us, each of whom encourages more women to seek opportunities in this growing field.

Three Women’s Stories: Arizona, Illinois, New York
Elena Chrimat is co-owner and co-founder of Ideal Energy AZ. Her Arizona business specializes in making homes more efficient by providing full HVAC service, maintenance, and repairs as well as new installations.

Elena Chrimat lives in Tempe and is co-owner and co-founder of a Phoenix business

Elena conducted the company’s first energy audit in 2009. She enjoys helping the company to grow. Ideal Energy AZ is a highly-ranked business (as of today, 5 stars on Facebook; 4.9 stars on Google with 63 reviews) that employs more than a dozen people. Elena feels that the most gratifying aspect of her job is receiving feedback from customers about improved quality of life and lower bills following HVAC installation or service. There’s only one other woman at the company, and Elena has grown accustomed to some of the challenges of working in a field dominated by men.

“Initially you have to work harder to establish trust and prove that you know what you’re talking about,” she says. “It is sometimes more difficult since a lot of employees are men…I’m not going to let obstacles I face as a woman get to me…You just have to work a little harder.”

In 2018 Elena’s company received the highest honor from Energy Star. Elena plans to strengthen process implementation to allow the business to run even more smoothly.

Angela Aeschliman is Vice President of Property and Asset Management at a real estate development and construction company

Angela Aeschliman is VP of Property and Asset Management at the Missner Group in Chicago. Her work involves everything from managing lease obligations, forecasting operating and capital expenses, working with utilities and rebates, collaborating with owners and investors, and coordinating ongoing efficiency training with her team. She describes her role as involving not only property management, but also people management. Angela feels rewarded when she addresses inefficiencies by saving water and energy in buildings. One of the more difficult aspects of Angela’s job is protecting capital for implementing EE measures, as this budget is too often used for unexpected expenses.

“I dream about a day when there is disclosure about energy use in an asset…people don’t realize how much payback you can get,” Angela says. “Little changes can have a big impact.” Angela believes that education about the jobs that exist is essential to encouraging more women to join the industry.

Finally, we spoke with Stephanie Bassler, principal at North River Architecture and Planning, PC (NRAP) in Stone Ridge, New York. NRAP is a full-service architectural practice that specializes in highly energy-efficient design. Stephanie is a registered Architect and a certified Passive House consultant. Many of NRAP’s projects are designed to Passive House efficiency standards, and several have reached the high bar of Passive House certification. One such project is in Accord, New York. The home produces more energy than it uses, thanks to a thoughtful design that integrates solar rooftop panels. As a NetZero building, it is also a healthier, more comfortable, and lower-maintenance home.

Stephanie hopes NRAP will continue to grow, and that their Passive House design projects can expand to include multi-family homes. She feels that encouraging women to seek employment in the EE field needs to start early when girls are still in school and that it’s important for young women to have access to mentors.

Women in EE: Going Forward
These leaders provide examples of the diverse options for women in the industry. Despite their underrepresentation in the overall EE workforce, women bring enormous value. They also enable companies to gain new perspectives. For instance, a deep understanding of a customer’s viewpoint is important for home performance, and women are heavily involved in decisions about home improvements.[iii] For businesses and for individuals, more women joining the industry is a win-win.


PRESS RELEASE: The Missner Group and Timber Hill Group are pleased to announce the development of a new 12.5–acre overnight truck parking facility in Melrose Park, Illinois. The development will be situated at 2100 N 15th Avenue, along Armitage Avenue in the O’Hare Cook County submarket of Chicago.

The Missner Group will demolish the existing 300,000 square foot dilapidated multi-tenant industrial building. In its place, the firm will construct a modern, gate-secured, fully-lighted monthly parking facility for 285 tractor-trailers. Additionally, the facility will be complete with the installation of a storm water detention system, all new electric service, security system monitoring activity, as well as full-site landscaping with a fence enclosure.

“The O’Hare market suffers from a lack of supply of efficient and secure tractor and trailer parking.” says Cary Goldman, Owner of Timber Hill Group. “The distribution economy fed by Ecommerce requires both high cube warehousing and parking for the thousands of trucks that service the area daily. We appreciate that Melrose Park joined us in recognizing this demand and helping us to create a solution,” says Goldman.

Located in the heart of the Melrose Park industrial sector, the facility is in a highly concentrated transportation hub, with immediate access to Interstate-294, Interstate-290, and local railways. The area is dense with a diverse mix of manufacturing, distribution, residential and retail properties.

The Missner Group’s senior project manager, Bob Papineau, general superintendent, Angelo Christopher, and project superintendent, Mike Sneddon, will lead construction on behalf of the firm. Construction is underway and the development is set to be complete by summer 2019.


PRESS RELEASE: The Missner Group is pleased to announce three new leases, occupying 40,200 square feet of the 168,000 square foot, seven-story office property located at 4343 Commerce Court in Lisle, Illinois, which is situated along I-88 in the East/West Tollway submarket of suburban Chicago.

Application Software Technology (AST) LLC has completed an 11-year lease at the property leasing 11,000 square feet of the office property. AST LLC was represented by Jon Springer and Dan Persa of CBRE, Inc.

Anju Software has signed an eight-year lease, leasing 8,100 square feet of the office building. Ryan Moen of Bradford Allen Realty Services represented Anju Software Inc. in this deal.

Finally, Rockwell Automation executed an eight-year lease to occupy 21,100 square feet of the property. Timothy Reynolds and Jon Springer of CBRE, Inc. represented Rockwell Automation in this transaction.

David Florent and Francis Prock of Colliers International represented the owner in all three transactions.

The Missner Group has recently completed the build-out for AST LLC’s space and will begin construction for both the Rockwell Automation and Anju Software space in the Olympian Office Center.

Acquired by The Missner Group in 2016, the Olympian Office Center underwent a wide-spread renovation, which included extensive exterior and interior improvements to modernize the space. New features include a WiFI lounge, shared conferencing rooms, workout facilities complete with locker rooms and showers, new elevators, window treatments and significant lobby improvements including all new common area furniture.


PRESS RELEASE – Joint-development partners, The Missner Group and Timber Hill Group, are pleased to announce the sale of their recently completed development, Chaddick Industrial Centre, located at 1075 Chaddick Drive in Wheeling, Illinois. 

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. purchased the modern 84,000 square foot facility, which leased 64% of the total space to a single tenant during the construction phase of the project. Jonathan Kohn of Colliers International represented the buyer in this transaction.

The property lies within the Northeast Cook County submarket of Chicago, making it eligible for Cook County’s Class 6B tax incentive status.  The building features attractive pre-cast and glass elevations, ESFR fire safety system, 30’ ceiling clear heights, ten exterior loading docks, drive-in doors, and 99 parking stalls. The Missner Group completed construction of this development last fall.


Joint-development partners, The Missner Group and Timber Hill Group, are pleased to announce the completion of construction at 1075 Chaddick Drive in Wheeling, Illinois. 

The modern 84,000 square foot facility lies within the Northeast Cook County submarket of Chicago, making it eligible for Cook County’s Class 6B tax incentive status.  The property features attractive pre-cast and glass elevations, ESFR fire safety system, 30’ ceiling clear heights, ten exterior loading docks, drive-in doors, and 99 parking stalls.

 “We are pleased to once again partner with our colleagues at Timber Hill Group on this Wheeling development,” said Barry Missner, CEO of The Missner Group. “The proximity of the site to O’Hare and the Interstate system, as well as its access to a skilled labor force and executive communities, make this a viable project for our portfolio and will make it an attractive option for an industrial user requiring a new, modern facility in a sought-after submarket.” 

Chaddick Industrial Center leased 64% of the total space to a single tenant during the construction phase of the project. There remains one non-divisible space in the building of 31,000 square feet. Brett Kroner, Keith Puritz, and Eric Fischer of Cushman and Wakefield represent ownership

The Missner Group served as the general contractor for this development. The construction team included Ron Cinkus as senior project manager, Angelo Christopher as general superintendent, and Mike Sneddon as project superintendent. 


PRESS RELEASE: The Missner Group is pleased to announce the firm has begun construction at the Oxxford, located at 1220 West Van Buren Street in Chicago. The Missner Group plans to redevelop the current seven-story, 115,000 square foot office/showroom, and manufacturing building into a nine-story, 140,000 square foot Class A, loft office/commercial building to further support the growing demand of companies seeking a West Loop location.

The Missner Group’s redevelopment plans for 1220 West Van Buren include constructing open floor plans with concrete and brick features throughout the space. They will also incorporate modern tenant amenities including a tenant lounge with rooftop deck, a fitness center equipped with locker rooms and a lounge, multiple Wi-Fi gathering locations, a conferencing center, as well as bike parking facilities, all with the goal of keeping the character and respecting the history of the property.

 “The Oxxford is located at the corner of Van Buren and Racine, within Chicago’s West Loop’s recent retail, office, and residential boom. The neighborhood’s resurgence has made it one of Chicago’s ideal places to live, work and play,” said Glen Missner, president of The Missner Group. “The building offers excellent access to public transportation, the Eisenhower Expressway, and a myriad of dining and nightlife options. It also lies within an area of increasing residential density and diverse demography, making it an ideal opportunity for the commercial and office markets.”

The Oxxford is surrounded by new residential and commercial developments, offers full-frontage off the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) with signage options available, and is minutes from the Racine ‘L’ stop, University of Illinois Circle Campus and Rush University Hospital.

 “The Oxxford’s storied legacy and vintage building charm, which includes 14’ to 16’ ceiling heights, open floor plans, and skyline views will be further enhanced through the addition of new, modernized amenities. It’s a unique opportunity for this area, and we’re proud to bring it to the market,” added Missner.

Jack McKinney, Jr. of Cushman and Wakefield will represent the property on behalf of The Missner Group. Wright Heerema Architects will provide the architectural services. Construction is set to be completed mid – 2019.

SVP, Angela Aeschliman, Sworn in as IREM®'s President-Elect

Our SVP of Property and Asset Management, Angela Aeschliman, was sworn in as IREM’s President-Elect at their 2018 officer installation ceremony. Her primary responsibility will be to assist with member engagement and the organizational value. Her tasks will include:

• Help with member retention and prospective member recruitment

• Hold programs that benefit our mission and meet member needs

• Work to include educational aspects in organization programs wherever possible

• Promote IREM credentials and the organization within the community, industry and media

• Write periodic articles & letters for the website/social media outlets

Additionally, Angela currently serves as IREM’s Sustainability Advisory Board Chair, which oversees and manages IREM’s Certified Sustainability Property (CSP) certification. The certification allows property managers to gain recognition for properties not covered by other programs, extend sustainability across their portfolio, or start a sustainability initiative from scratch.

Congratulations, Angela!

[Others photographed:Kris Haskins of Colliers International, Stephen Schimmel of Mclennan Property Management, and Colleen Needham of Draper and Kramer, Incorporated.]


PRESS RELEASE: The Missner Group is pleased to announce a 10-year, 117,000 square foot lease renewal with Bunzl Retail Services at 8338 Austin Avenue in Morton Grove, Illinois. Additionally, The Missner Group has been selected general contractor for a large scale renovation which will include significant upgrades and improvements to Bunzl’s 50,000 square foot offices in addition to the remaining warehouse and distribution portion of their space.

“We are pleased Bunzl Retail Services has made this long term commitment and is continuing their tenancy at our Morton Grove property,” says Eddie Adler, Executive Vice President of the Missner Group. “We look forward to delivering a great space to their company, one that their whole team can grow into, be more productive and enjoy for many years to come.”

The project will include expanding the office space by 8,500 square feet bringing that total to 50,000 square feet, in addition to an expansion of the warehouse facility by 12,500 square feet bringing that part of their space to over 67,000 square feet.

The renovation will consist of extensive interior and exterior improvements modernizing the space and the existing building both inside and out. Enhancements will be extensive and include all new high end office finishes as well as upgrades to the manufacturing/distribution space. A few of the numerous enhancements will include new flooring, ceilings and lighting throughout. The Missner Group will also upgrade all plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems.

Adler negotiated the lease on behalf of ownership. Heath Yarger, project manager for the Missner Group, will lead the construction team with Bill Uchyn serving as project superintendent. Interior Design Group, Ltd will provide the architectural services.

With operations across North America and Europe, Bunzl Retail Services is a leading provider of customized supply chain management solutions to corporations around the world. They have worked out of this location for more than 40 years.

VP, Aldo Bottalla, and COO, Bob Nomellini, Speak on Experiential Shift of Auto Dealerships

The Missner Group’s COO, Bob Nomellini, and VP, Aldo Bottalla, were featured in REJournals’ article centered on the shift of construction within the automotive sectors:

“As brick-and-mortar retail battles the onslaught of e-commerce, a movement has grown toward experiential sales. If fewer customers are coming out to shop for physical goods, then sell them an experience instead. It’s quite difficult, after all, to ship 20 minutes of indoor skydiving from an overseas supplier.

But even for stores that still earn money off of moving product, the experience is key. Many retailers now offer amenities to entice customers out from behind their screens and into the showroom. And as the trend in auto dealerships indicates, this is a model with virtually no bounds.

“One of the things we’re seeing a lot of is dealerships becoming a place to hang out,” said Aldo Bottalla, vice president of business development at The Missner Group. “They want to keep people at the dealership and make it a comfortable atmosphere.”

The Missner Group has completed a number of new or refurbished auto dealerships recently, and careful attention has been given to the finishes and amenities in an effort to draw customers in and keep them there longer.

The firm was the design/builder for a 14,000-square-foot, large scale renovation for McGrath Acura in Westmont, Illinois, which included glass-enclosed offices off of the showroom, a two-sided fireplace, coffered ceilings, a 30- by 14-foot gable skylight inside the main entrance, a custom fish tank and other high-end finishes throughout.

“Dealerships all have specialty looks that they want,” said Bob Nomellini, COO of construction at The Missner Group. “They spend a lot of money on the insides of their spaces with high-end finishes these days.”

Another dealership, Berman Subaru, tapped Missner on its two-building renovation at 4330 and 4444 Irving Park Road in Chicago. Amenities include a café and Wi-Fi lounge furnished with leather chairs and lit by LED lights as well as a sculptural, wood veneer chandelier.

Other amenities include phone-charging stations, putting greens and children’s play areas complete with video game console. Some dealerships will serve breakfast or lunch out of a full kitchen, or host fundraising events such as poker nights—anything to draw in more people. Impulse buying isn’t just for candy bars at the grocer’s checkout counter; more people in the building perusing the display models equate to more possible car sales.

This approach applies to the service area as well. Dealerships are shrinking the turnaround time for vehicle service, especially on relatively small jobs. While this is obviously good customer service, it’s a tactic that also brings more people into the facility.

If a customer has to wait too long or enter a queue for a small service job, they’ll just drop the car off and retrieve it later. But if the work can be completed in 20 to 30 minutes, they will more likely opt to grab a coffee or do some work on their laptop over the free Wi-Fi. They also might go meandering through the showroom.

“A big part of it for these dealers is service, probably more so than the new car sales,” said Nomellini. “People will come in and sit and wait for their oil changes and other small services.”

The Missner Group recently completed construction of the new, state-of-the-art Chicago Northside Toyota, located at 6042 N. Western Avenue in Chicago. The five-story, 227,900-square-foot dealership is one of the largest of its kind.

The environmentally friendly dealership contains a 45,000-square-foot green roof and 183,000 square feet of interior space, including a 30,000-square-foot showroom. Surrounded by 28-foot glass panels, the showroom is capable of exhibiting over 35 vehicles, with vertical display on the second and third floors.

Construction of the facility included the implementation of unique amenities to ensure customer satisfaction and retention. Guests of the dealership enjoy indoor valet parking and a children’s play area. The contemporary customer waiting lounge offers free Wi-Fi and Starbucks coffee bar, with space for up to 100 guests.

Many of these decisions are out of ownership’s hands, instead dictated—or heavily influenced—by the manufacturers. Some manufacturers require that new facilities adhere to a style guideline so that a guest walking into a Volkswagen dealership will encounter the same atmosphere whether that facility is in Chicago, Houston, Atlanta or elsewhere.

Particularly for the high-end finishes, that can be driven by manufacturer input. When someone buys a car, they are usually given a customer satisfaction survey. The results go back to the manufacturers, who dole out customer service inquiry money to the well-performing dealerships.

“They want to make sure that how these customers perceive their dealerships is nothing less than state of the art,” Bottalla said.

Whether new or refurbished, car dealerships are skewing toward luxury and convenience, desirous to offer an experience as much as a product. If this trend can work where the product costs tens of thousands of dollars, it should be successful throughout the retail industry.”

TMG Sponsors and Participates in Chicago's Make-A-Wish Walk

The Missner team participated in Chicagoland’s Make-A-Wish walk at Busse Woods yesterday. By walking, our team helped bring the life-changing impact of a wish to children battling life-threatening medical conditions in our community. Since 1985, Make-A-Wish® Illinois has touched thousands of lives, granting wishes to more than 14,000 children battling life-threatening medical conditions.

For this walk, The Missner Group raised over $15,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Thank you to all who donated to our team and helped support us in giving back to this incredible cause: Glander Paving, All American Exterior Solutions, M K Industries, Connelly Electric, ATMI Precast, Active Glass, MVP Plumbing, Valley Fire Protection, Brandonisio & Company, Artlow Systems, Midwest Grading, and K & E Painting.