Our 40th anniversary is the perfect opportunity to recognize some of the projects, people, events, and organizations that have shaped our history over four decades.

Regis Bobonis crossed paths with CCI while serving as director of community relations at the Duquesne Light Company, which he joined after 25 years as PR Director at Mercy Hospital. He was very involved with engaging Duquesne Light’s employees with the Energy House and other CCI energy conservation efforts during his tenure at the utility company.  A graduate of Duquesne University, Rege worked also worked in media as a reporter for the Pittsburgh Courier and the first African American reporter for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and WIIC (now WPXI) TV.  Following his retirement from Duquesne Light, Rege successfully spearheaded an effort to build a memorial to the Tuskegee Airmen from Western Pennsylvania in Sewickley. Rege passed away in November 2016.

Housing Opportunities, Inc. was a McKeesport-based nonprofit that provided financial advice and counseling to enable first-time homebuyers to purchase homes and meet resulting mortgage obligations. Through its work, HOI recognized that the inability of first-time homeowners to make mortgage payments was due to rising utility costs and inadequate conservation education, which resulted in its involvement with the Energy House project.  HOI’s responsibility was for the maintenance and management of the structure during the life of the project, then for the disposition of the property to a qualified first-time homeowner. In 2001, after 25 years of service, HOI changed its corporate structure and added McKeesport Neighborhood Initiatives.

Robert Kobet, AIA, LEED Faculty, is the CEO of The Kobet Collaborative, a parent company that includes Sustainaissance International and The International Eco-Friends Network.  Sustainaissance, which began in 1979 as Energy Design Associates, is a multi-discipline architectural consulting firm specializing in sustainable design and development, high performance LEED-certified buildings and environmental education.  Bob has worked in 11 countries on five continents for more than 39 years creating innovative places to live, work, and learn. His green building and sustainable community development projects around the world range from small nonprofit endeavors to multi-million dollar developments.  For CCI, he converted a 120-year-old former boarding house into the Energy House, an on-site, community-based energy conservation demonstration project.

Frederic B. Sargent has a long history with CCI, beginning with his service as a member of the Energy House Advisory Committee when he was president of Sargent Electric Company, an electrical contracting firm.  Fred recently completed a turn as a CCI director and continues his involvement as a member of the organization’s strategic planning committee. Professionally, Fred maintains his dedication to well-managed service operations as founder and president of Great Service Forums, a company that helps electrical contractors develop their service organizations.  He also shares his experience through a column about service and maintenance he co-authors in Electrical Contractor Magazine.  Fred’s latest book—Great Service Made Simple—was released in October 2017.

Betty Ann Simon four years before CCI and its partners created the Energy House, Betty started the Dollar Energy Fund modeled after a program in St. Louis.  She had been a volunteer on KDKA’s “Call for Action” and heard repeatedly from people who were having trouble paying their utility bills.  Betty was president of the Dollar Energy Fund and an active member of the Advisory Committee of the Energy House, bringing her knowledge, energy, and empathy to the project.  She remained a life-time board member of the Fund until her death in 2002.  The Dollar Energy Fund since established the annual Betty Ann Simon Memorial Award to recognize a leader who has made significant contributions to the limited-income community.