Sodexo Employee Earns South Carolina "Energy Manager of the Year" Award

December 17, 2008

Facilities Maintenance Manager Jack Thompson recognized for million-dollar cost savings to Beaufort County School District

Sodexo Employee Earns South Carolina "Energy Manager of the Year" Award

GAITHERSBURG, Md., December 17, 2008 – Saving the Beaufort County, S.C., School District more than $1.3 million in energy costs in fiscal year 2008 was all part of the job for Jack Thompson, Sodexo assistant director of facilities maintenance and energy manager. So receiving the Energy Manager of the Year Award from the Association of South Carolina Energy Managers (ASCEM) prompted a modest chuckle and a simple explanation from Thompson.

The ASCEM award recognizes an individual’s achievements in efficient energy practices and the innovative use of energy-saving technologies in the workplace.

 “We run a highly effective maintenance program,” said Thompson, who’s served the Beaufort County schools during his six years with Sodexo.  “This results in energy savings, sure, but also in savings from improved preventive maintenance.”  At Beaufort County, preventive maintenance includes changing an average of 2,600 air filters monthly throughout the school district to maintain energy efficiency and prevent equipment breakdown.

Sodexo provides facilities management services to more than 200 school districts and college campuses across North America, which includes services to calculate the carbon footprint, manage energy and conservation, design sustainability programs, maintain landscapes and athletic fields, provide maintenance and operations and cleaning services. Sodexo employees such as Thompson are committed to providing innovative solutions that benefit the environment while also positively affecting the bottom line.

One of Thompson’s innovations required some minor, but radical, behavioral changes by the schools in the district. “We took all of the big spaces – the auditoriums and gyms – and put them on separate HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) controls,” said Thompson. This initiative, which required the schools to notify facilities maintenance when they would be using a space, allowed Sodexo to activate the HVAC system only when it was needed.

Thompson persistently pushes the limits of business-as-usual energy usage. He reprogrammed the HVAC control software to maximize the system’s energy management capacity. This impressed the control manufacturer, which is considering integrating Thompson’s changes into the product, noted George R. Wilson, Beaufort County School Board District Ten representative, in a letter recommending Thompson for the ASCEM award.

Thompson also incorporates his expertise during the county’s school building design phase, reviewing all school district HVAC plans and requiring strict energy-saving design specifications.

“This review ensures that all new facilities and HVAC renovation projects meet the standards that have enabled the school district to experience significant energy savings,” said Chris Poe, facilities planning and construction officer for the Beaufort County School District, in his recommendation to ASCEM.

Thompson pointed out that the $1.3 million in energy savings in 2008 included HVAC for an additional 400,000 square feet from a school building expansion, boosting the significance of the conservation achievement.

Prior to his Sodexo work serving Beaufort schools, Thompson ran his own cooling and heating business in upstate New York. This followed an almost 30-year career in fire service.

Sodexo, Inc.
Sodexo, Inc. ( is a leading integrated facilities management services company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, with $7.7 billion (USD) in annual revenue and 120,000 employees.  Sodexo serves more than ten million customers daily in corporations, health care, long term care and retirement centers, schools, college campuses, government, and remote sites.  Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., is a member of Sodexo Group, and funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (, an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $11 million in grants to fight hunger in America.

Back to the list