Skip to Content

AWC Director of Facilities Management recognized as national industry expert

Arizona Western College

Steve Eckert says "it feels good to be recognized for those behind-the-scenes efforts"

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Arizona Western College (AWC) Director of Facilities Management Steve Eckert was honored by the U.S. Department of Energy and featured on the department's national Directory of Experts (DOE).

Steve Eckert was honored as one of nine engineers and facilities leaders, and his team's energy-saving efforts landed AWC on the DOE's Best Practices in District Energy list, said AWC.

The DOE created the list through a cooperative agreement with the International District Energy Association to study and catalog organizations that had the best practices in enhanced resiliency, efficiency, and carbon reduction, said AWC.

According to AWC, as a result of the two-year study, the college earned recognition in all three areas which were engineering, operations, and finance.

“In facilities, we have a saying, ‘The easy day was yesterday.’  We run into new challenges every day that most of the campus community is unaware of because we mitigate them before they impact the learning environment.  It feels good to be recognized for those behind-the-scenes efforts,” said Eckert.

Steve Eckert has been working at the college since 2011 and has over three decades of experience in facilities management and project engineering, said AWC.

AWC has grown to include a new Public Safety Institute and multiple buildings over the last 10 years.

Including many high-technology systems in classrooms and labs.

According to AWC, with all of the new uses, the amount of energy expended would have increased dramatically but through cost-saving efforts, 35% less electricity was used in Fiscal Year 22/23 than in Fiscal Year 12/13.

“The efforts of Steve Eckert and his facilities team have had a significant impact on the fiscal health of the college budget over the years. As our institution continues to grow and expand its facilities, these cost-saving measures will be an invaluable asset moving forward,” said Ross Poppenberger, AWC Vice President of Finance & Administrative Services.

Steve Eckert's work consisted of technical best practices such as chilled water system optimization, cooling tower upgrades, solar power purchase agreements, and thermal energy storage.

Including management and financial best practices such as his work on service contracts, preventative maintenance, and a “Turn it off” marketing campaign.

According to AWC, to keep the college's 37 buildings up and running, the campus is served by a central plant and a chilled water loop that rotates usage between three 800-ton chillers.

AWC said Eckert and his facilities team were featured in the digital magazine Blueprint for their energy-saving efforts.

You can read the story at this link.

To read more about Eckert and his facilities' efforts, read the PDF below.

Article Topic Follows: Yuma County

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Faith Rodriquez

Faith Rodriquez is a digital content director who joined in 2022.

If you any story ideas then you can contact her at:


KYMA KECY is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content