COO of e-One LLC in Chicago
BBA 2001 (Finance)
Paige Finnegan, BBA 2001, broadened her original career goal of finance into the green economy. As COO of e-One LLC in Chicago, she focuses on engaging small- to medium-sized organizations in sustainability, both financial and environmental.
Inspired by her grandparents’ conservation ethic and by engaging UI business and geography courses, Paige bolstered her economics studies with a master’s degree in sustainable agriculture. Her research on the economic impact of agriculture on women in western Africa incorporated all of her education into one project.
In 2004, she entered the green nonprofit world with a job at Chicago Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. Next, she ran the Chicagoland Green Collar Jobs Initiative before being recruited into for-profit work by e-One in 2009.
“The misconception is that green is expensive,” Paige says. “We’re working to identify economically compelling ‘green’ business practices that can be replicated in smaller businesses. We aggregate purchasing power to package green options that create a great impact at the right price for small business.”
One such package converts emergency exit signs from incandescent bulbs to LED light sources.
“The conversion of 1,000 signs to LEDs reduces carbon dioxide emissions by three million pounds and ensures years of continuous operation,” says Paige. “Plus, the return on investment for LED exit signs can be as little as 10 months. It’s a no-brainer.”
The company’s activities include coordinating a green restaurant crawl for the Business Alliance for a Sustainable Evanston to promote restaurants focusing on sustainable food.
“In the green economy, you can be really creative,” Paige notes.
Outside of work, Paige stays involved in green nonprofits, such as the Illinois chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. In 2011, she will become the youngest chair in the 1,600-member organization’s history.