Reflecting on Linda Gee’s Sustainable-Tech Wins
By Pamela J. Gordon, Technology Forecasters Blog
Nov 26, 2014
Linda Gee, who before passing in the Spring of 2014 made significant sustainability wins for established and start-up tech companies
A Tribute delivered by Pamela J. Gordon , at CleanTech Open’s Global Forum, San Francisco, Nov. 13, 2014
In the first few seconds of meeting Linda Gee in 1999, I witnessed her uncanny dedication to sustainability.
After greeting me warmly at LSI’s semiconductor facility in Oregon, where I interviewed her for my book Lean and Green, Linda dove forward into a deep bin comprising once-used blue static-reduction booties. After digging out four lightly-used ones for us to wear, she said, “Serviceable booties shouldn’t be used only once!”
I must have looked impressed, because she then sheepishly volunteered that she was still using her college alarm clock: “It works perfectly well, and there’s no need to add it to the waste stream and send a demand signal by buying a new one!” I realized then that I was in the presence of someone who is passionate about environmental sustainability and who (literally) walks her talk.
Sure enough — three years later, LSI’s facility won a coveted award from Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality, landing Linda on the cover of Semiconductor Magazine (May 2002).
Throughout her career at Fairchild, LSI, Brocade, and other tech companies, Linda’s leadership and perseverance earned her companies numerous coveted awards in sustainability. One of her clients at JDS Uniphase, Macy Cornell, wrote about Linda’s Environment, Health, and Safety leadership: “Both her technical expertise and keen awareness of the needs of the business were invaluable. She is well-versed in all aspects of compliance and regulation and finds cost-effective solutions to resolve issues. Her results-oriented approach along with her high level of reliability and dedication allowed us to advance our EHS programs and ensure a safe working environment.”
In 2011, when Linda and I met for lunch at Brocade, where she again led EHS and Sustainability, she told me, “I think of you and the book every time I look at that old alarm clock of mine — which is still working!” At Brocade, Linda obtained EHS permits and Green Business awards for their headquarters campus.
In 2012, Linda invited me to serve as judge at CleanTech Open, which to this day I enjoy immensely.
The last time I saw Linda was at the November 2013 CleanTech Open Global Forum. Linda treated the sustainability judges to lunch. In my memory, she’s still across the table from me — a modest powerhouse — supporting us all.
This past June, I posted to TFI’s blog about disaster planning and quoted Linda from 1999 saying, “Our first priority is to save human life, second is to protect the environment, and third is to protect our products.” I then received word that Linda had recently passed away.
As Linda Gee advanced sustainability at numerous tech companies — most recently start-up companies through CleanTech Open — we can further Linda’s non-stop cause to promote sustainability awareness to clean-tech entrepreneurs, encourage volunteer sustainability mentors and judges, and provide sustainability mentorship and training in business clinics.
This week, CleanTech Open created the Linda Gee Memorial Fund, to which my colleagues and I have donated. I invite you to consider doing the same, and to continue CleanTech Open’s exciting work. Thank you.