Westminster resident Mel Brennan was appointed this month as the executive director of the Fuel Fund of Maryland, a position he will officially begin Monday, Aug. 13.
Brennan, a 1996 graduate of McDaniel College, said via email he’s a “big enthusiast” for the future of Maryland.
“After living with my family around the nation and overseas, we came back to this region precisely because of its possibilities and its bright future,” Brennan, who enjoys spending time with his wife and three kids, said.
The Carroll County Times caught up with Brennan to talk about his new role.
Q: Tell me about your new role. What are your duties and responsibilities?
A: My role at the Fuel Fund of Maryland is to properly support the team who are delivering on the mission to ensure that vulnerable Marylanders can meet their home energy needs. In doing that, I hope to author a vision to enable us to be Maryland’s leading organization dedicated to efficient delivery of cost-effective energy assistance, energy conservation and energy education for vulnerable households to maintain their well-being and encourage self-sufficiency.
Q: What is the purpose of the Fuel Fund of Maryland, and why do you think the Fuel Fund of Maryland is so important?
A: The Fuel Fund’s purpose is to provide financial and educational resources to vulnerable Maryland households for their heat and home utility needs during times of crisis. Once the crisis is alleviated, the client attends Watt Watchers, a two-part interactive workshop that empowers them to take control of their energy usage through a variety of energy saving tips and community partnerships. On average, our client can save up to to 45 percent on their home utility bills when using the tools provided in Watt Watchers. We truly give households a fresh start, and put them on a path towards long-term energy affordability and self-sufficiency, underscoring the fact that home energy is a linchpin for all aspects of a person's life.
Q: Why did you want to take this position?
A: The Fuel Fund conducts such worthy work that as a nonprofit leader I was excited to have the opportunity to help shape its next chapter. As I learned more about the organization’s past, present and future as well as the ever-changing landscape of energy in Maryland, it became clear that this was a powerful opportunity to lead and learn while having an immediate impact in creating brighter and stronger communities in Baltimore City as well as Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
Q: What are your goals heading into this job?
A: First, to listen, and then learn everything I can. Ultimately, it is critical to position the Fuel Fund to be able to serve vulnerable households not just today, but for the foreseeable future. That is one major goal in which I need to play a key role. Another goal I have is to deliver our mission, vision and client testimonials to as many stakeholders as I can about the emergent landscape shaping the future of energy in Maryland and how these changes can and will impact the audiences we serve. Lastly, we have to be in a position to continually meet the need of a growing and differentiating population that needs our support 365/24/7. Necessity knows no season at the Fuel Fund.
Q: What do you think you bring to this position that someone else might not?
A: I have two decades of both deep impact non-profit leadership experience as well as key for-profit experience with signature organizations (YMCA of Central Maryland and Maryland Food Bank). That background, combined with specific peer and network-building experiences such as my participation in the Greater Baltimore Committee’s LEADership cohort, lends itself in unique ways to deliver on the mission and vision of the Fuel Fund. Also, I’d like to think that I am a strong, talented and crafted speaker who can share the many compelling stories that the Fuel Fund has to offer.
Q: How can the community get involved and help?
Individual support from the community is critical to our success and there are a few simple ways a reader can donate. The easiest is to go to www.fuelfundmaryland.org/donate. You can also donate when you pay your BGE bill online. Simply enter a one-time dollar amount or become a recurring donor. And, for those readers who pay their BGE bill by check, keep an eye out for the Fuel Fund support envelope which will be enclosed in your December/January bill. I am also proud to say that more than 90 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to the households we serve. And, even though it’s hot outside right now, make sure to freeze the date for Operation HON — Heat on Now — Ice House Experience from Jan. 11-13 at The Avenue at White Marsh. This incredible event allows individuals and families to experience what it is like to be in a home without heat or power during the cold winter months by visiting a 10-by-10-foot house made out of 60 300-pound ice blocks.