By: Krista Henry (she/her)
Co-op students with a passion for sustainability and planet positivity find meaningful work and make an impact at ecobee.
A Canadian home automation company, ecobee produces smart thermostats, home monitoring cameras and a variety of sensors aimed at creating a more sustainable world. The company’s products and services reduce energy usage and carbon emissions for their customers.
“Our thermostats have helped save 27.8 terawatt hours of energy,” says John Arambulo, (they/them/he/him), talent acquisition specialist at ecobee.
“That is equal to being able to take all homes in Los Angeles and Chicago off the energy grid for an entire year, which is amazing.” The company’s work ties into the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal target 7.3 to double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.
Since 2016, ecobee’s focus on environmental and social impact attracts like-minded University of Waterloo co-op students.
“Many students we hire mention that our mission and values of environmental impact stand out to them. With the current climate crisis we’re facing, it is amazing that we have a large generation of young individuals that yearn to contribute to a more sustainable future,” says Arambulo.
Supporting students with opportunities to learn and gain experience to give back to the planet is important to ecobee. At the organization, students help build ecobee devices, support energy management programs and maintain various apps and portals.
We find that Waterloo students bring quite a refined set of skills from coding to design with cutting-edge technological languages and tools. Those are skills we are looking for. Beyond that they bring a lot of intangible skills like innovativeness, curiosity, flexibility and a great sense of ownership of their work.
- JOHN ARAMBULO, TALENT ACQUISITION SPECIALIST AT ECOBEE
Passion for impact
The company often offers stand-out students full-time positions following their graduation. According to Arambulo, students are key players in ecobee’s products currently on the market that make tangible differences in people’s lives.
“We had a recent student that made some great suggestions and recommendations in terms of the energy market that has made a huge impact. We ended up hiring the student full time,” says Arambulo. “Another student supported our diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, which some may consider to be extra-curricular work. They made a big impact on the various working groups that still talk fondly of the student even after the term ended.”
Arambulo sees co-op students as a vital part of the company’s talent strategy. Training and working with co-op students are one of ecobee’s strategies in building their talent pool. The company believes this talent can later contribute to the energy market. Students bring fresh perspectives, best practices in technology and passion to make a difference. In the future, Arambulo sees the need for Waterloo talent that can expand their smart devices through research and development as well as engineering and software skills.
“Technology on the internet of things is rapidly expanding and with that growth, comes a lot of opportunities for students to become experts in these skills,” says Arambulo.
“We aim to instill a culture of sustainability and positivity in this generation of talent. There is always going to be a big need for people who are inclined towards giving back to the planet.”