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District Energy System

Board Member Spotlight

Yuri Cunza, president and CEO of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NAHCC) and co-founder of the Spanish language newspaper La Noticia

Yuri Cunza

The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NAHCC) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 250 businesses, entrepreneurs, professionals and organizations with interest in Nashville’s booming Hispanic market. The NAHCC’s ongoing participation in the federal, state and local legislative agenda helps promote policies that positively affect Hispanic businesses and the overall growth, prosperity and development of the Hispanic community in Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

Yuri Cunza is president and CEO of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NAHCC) and co-founder of the Spanish language newspaper La Noticia. He is also owner of Y&K Entertainment, a film production, media consulting and supporting services company. Cunza served as chairman of the board of the NAHCC from 2004 to 2006, and he is currently an active member of the Nashville Rotary club. We sat down with Cunza to talk about the NAHCC and the impact this organization is having on Nashville.

Q: What are some of the services the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NAHCC) provides that Nashvillians might not know about?

A: The NAHCC is one of the most visible organizations in the region due to its constant activity through our year-round signature programs. NAHCC members enjoy Lunch & Learn Series, Breakfast With Lawyers legal briefings, Young Entrepreneur & Professionals (YEP) Networking, Business After Hours, Diversity Roundtables, Access to Capital in partnership with the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the USHCC and Green Builds Business training. In addition, our Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration and Business & Community Excellence Awards recognize members and those in the community who have contributed to the improvement of Nashville every year. Great and diverse programs are made available to members free of charge.

For more information about our work at the NAHCC, please visit www.nashvillehispanicchamber.com.

Q: As Nashville continues to grow at a significant pace and becomes a more diverse city, how has the shifting demographics affected the work of the NAHCC?

A: As our diverse population grows and our city develops, our role and services also become overwhelmed by a demand, not only from new business and existing members, but from individuals looking for a resource as they make Nashville their new home. Despite our being a membership organization, we have always considered the mainstream population as we develop our programs and services. Consumers are a key component in the equation that will bring prosperity to all.

Q: What do you think are the benefits of Nashville’s district energy system? Do you think it’s indicative of the forward-thinking essence of Nashville?

A: A district energy system provides heating and cooling services to multiple users, essentially taking the place of each building’s self-contained HVAC unit, reducing upfront capital costs because the equipment necessary to tie into the DES costs less than stand-alone systems with lower overall building operating, maintenance and labor costs. With a central plant serving multiple customers, a district energy system also reduces overall energy consumption, which is great for the environment. Virtually 100 percent of the steam and chilled-water energy delivered to the customer is available for use within the facility, whereas smaller in-building boilers and air-cooled chiller systems can require up to 50 percent more energy to deliver the same heating or cooling benefits.

Central plants employ stringent emission controls – more so than individual buildings – providing air quality benefits.

DES is a very convenient and practical system that should serve as a model on how we can provide quality services and at the same time reduce our environmental footprint, save cost, labor and space, and most of all become sustainable.

See: http://www.myfootprint.org/en/take_action/reduce_your_footprint/

Q: Speaking of forward thinking, what is Green Builds Business? How is it going to help Nashville become a “greener” city?

A: The Green Builds Business initiative is designed to educate Hispanic entrepreneurs about environmental sustainability. Back in 2011 the USHCC Foundation selected Nashville for the program, which toured 11 cities across the United States.

The Green Builds Business program is a full day of coaching on best green practices adopted by leading companies like Walmart in an effort to lower operating costs, increase revenues and motivate workers while enhancing the health of people and the planet.

In partnership with the NAHCC Foundation, we selected 33 small businesses from Nashville to participate in a two-day workshop on best practices for pricing, marketing and branding that grow green revenues; for reducing environmental footprint and operating costs; and for motivating work associates with opportunities that help the company and the planet.

Since then, the NAHCC has been encouraging members to consider sustainable and green options as they grow their business. With more than 1,800 Hispanic-owned businesses in Nashville, there is great power and potential in numbers as we move toward a greener city.

See here: http://www.bizjournals.com/prnewswire/press_releases/2011/11/14/DC06129

Q: What other initiatives does the NAHCC have in store for the future of Nashville, and how can Hispanics and non-Hispanics get involved to help the NAHCC accomplish its goals?

A: Our doors have always been open to collaborations and partnerships. A great way to help and get involved is to join us as we continue to foster integration, economic development opportunities and business sustainable prosperity for the benefit of all in our community.

See: http://www.as-coa.org/articles/us-business-and-hispanic-integration-expanding-economic-contributions-immigrants