Young Professionals Group

YPG Mission

The IDEA Young Professionals Group (YPG) aims to develop the younger generation of District Energy professionals by providing networking opportunities to share knowledge, get involved, and build connections that set them up to succeed and lead a growing, ever-changing industry.


The idea to establish the IDEA Young Professionals Group (YPG) happened quite organically at the Welcome Reception for IDEA2019 in Pittsburgh.  IDEA member Laura Christensen had attended a few IDEA conferences but being relatively new to the organization, found it sometimes difficult to connect with colleagues like her who were getting their start in the industry.

Watching the crowd enjoy themselves during this 'Game Night' themed event, Laura introduced herself to IDEA CEO Rob Thornton and asked if IDEA would be interested in creating a group for young professionals to network and discuss issues affecting them as they immerse themselves in the industry. The answer was a resounding yes.  

And so it began. Laura was named co-chair of the YPG, along with Chase Davis of RMF Engineering and at CampusEnergy2020 in Denver, the first meeting of the YPG took place in the exhibit hall. The crowd was big and the response for this new group overwhelmingly positive. Now more than 70 individuals are official YPG members.

Upcoming Events List

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YPG Co-Chairs

Our YPG co-chairs bring  two very unique backgrounds and experiences in working in and coming up through the ranks of district energy. We thank them for the passion and energy they are bringing to the industry and this group.

At Thermo Systems, Grant Kircher focuses his efforts on cultivating new relationships and driving business growth within the Northeast region of the United States. Additionally, Grant takes great pride in his role as a mentor, guiding and empowering the up-and-coming engineers at Thermo Systems.
Beyond his professional endeavors, Grant enjoys spending quality time with his wife, Brittany, and their two Cocker Spaniels, Gino and Benji. He is also an avid practitioner and teacher of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, where he actively competes and embraces the discipline and values the sport instills.

Chase Dube (pronounced DOO-bee) is the Maintenance Operations Manager for The University of Texas - Utilities and Energy Management (UEM). He comes to UEM from Luminant, where he started as an engineer and rose to maintenance manager at a combined cycle plant in Odessa, TX. Chase has a strong background in gas turbine maintenance and continues to grow his expertise in steam specialties. He graduated from Texas A&M with a  Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and has found a welcoming home at the University of Texas. Chase is a born and bred Texan so feel free to give him a loud howdy the next time you see him.

YPG Virtual Events

Oct 20, 2022 from 1:00 to 2:00 PM (ET)
More than 800 people registered for our Mini Master Class on District Energy, brought to you by the IDEA Young Professionals Group, geared for those who are new to district energy. Missed it? It's now available to stream!

A recognized expert in district energy, Juan Ontiveros, breaks down the ins and outs of district energy from multiple viewpoints for our Young Professionals Group, YPG. Stream this high level discussion in design, operation, and maintenance and how it evolved at The University of Texas at Austin in this one-hour webinar dubbed ‘The Mini-Master Class’. District energy at the University of Texas at Austin was awarded ‘System of the Year’ by IDEA in 2018 and recognized as a PEER Platinum certified system.
Stream it Now!

View Slides

How to Join YPG

Membership in YPG is open to listed members of IDEA Member Organizations, members with 10 years or less experience in the industry who want to build a career in the industry. Each IDEA member organization has a distinct number of individual memberships that are granted them depending on their level of membership. If your organization is a current member, connect with the main contact within your organization for your account and have them add your name to the list of listed members. 

YPG members have access to a wealth of IDEA Member Benefits, including access to an exclusive chat room for our YPG'ers.

If your organization is not a member, you are still welcome to participate in our YPG Happy Hours, held bi-monthly. Please consult the schedule on this page for upcoming events.

Questions about Membership?

Scott Szycher

Membership Manager
+1 (508) 366-9339

Past Webinars

Please join us for the stream of our latest event!

Early Career Work-Life Balance: Achieving Success in Both as a Win-Win for Your Company: A YPG Webinar
Recorded May 25 at 1:00pm EST

This presentation reviews some key professionalism mechanisms that strive to navigate many untaught subjects that we run into throughout our careers. What does success look like at the beginning of a career? How can I achieve a better work/life balance? How does what I make relate to project financial performance? All of these questions are fair to ask, and this presentation focuses on not only some ideas to answer these questions but also on how to frame the questions so that it is a win:win for the company we work for.

Stream it Now!

Recorded on July 21, 2020, enjoy this discussion led between the YPG and three of IDEA's long-time member/mentors.

Learn how they got started in district energy, how their careers have evolved, decisions they made and why they made them, as well as advice on how the next generation of leaders can succeed in driving our industry further into a  sustainable, more resilient future.

View Webinar

YPG Blog

The YPG is committed to connecting you with resources that can help you in your career development. We will cultivate content from outside sources and from within IDEA to help you as you navigate your career path. 

We also STRONGLY encourage YPG members to submit their own blog posts to IDEA to be published here. These can be personal stories about successes and challenges, opinion pieces or content you think will stimulate conversation within the group. We want to hear from you!

If you are interested in submitting content, please email Jason Beal, Director, Member Services at Please note that IDEA and the YPG reserve the right to edit materials for brevity or content.
  • Join IDEA and the YPG for a fun and informative 'lunch and learn' focusing on key aspects of district energy. If you're new to district energy or just getting started, this is a must-attend webinar. ...

     05-29-2024  |  12:00 - 13:00 ET