There is often a great deal of inefficiency that can go unnoticed if it becomes a part of an accepted idea or routine.
Marlon Kobacker is a sustainability management expert who has advised private and public organizations in Australia, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Kobacker’s experience also includes several instances in which he was asked to share his expertise as a featured speaker at international green building conferences, including conferences held in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East. With an expansive understanding of sustainability management and a clear passion for stimulating positive global change through the use of renewable energy resources, Kobacker has quickly become one of the foremost authorities on how to unite design with clean energy finance.
A sustainability professional with over 13 years of industry experience, Kobacker holds a bachelor’s degree in photovoltaic engineering and a master’s degree in sustainable design, both of which he earned while attending the University of New South Wales in Australia. After earning those degrees, Kobacker spent time developing a course for UNSW titled “Solar Architectural Technologies,” and also served as a lecturer and tutor at the university. In the years since, Kobacker has held a variety of professional advisory and consulting positions that ultimately led to his current role with Clean Energy Corporation Australia, in which he is the principal in charge of the sustainability advisory team.
Where did the idea for Clean Energy Corporation Australia come from?
We felt that clean energy is not growing at a rate commensurate to the expressed public and private demand or desire for widespread implementation, so we have developed a finance model that seeks to remove the capital cost barriers that we believe are suppressing growth.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My role requires that I travel often to meet with clients or speak at conferences on sustainability and green energy technology advancements, so it is quite rare for me to have a day that could be considered typical.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I tend to be quite analytical and am always considering how I can improve the utility of an existing sustainable technology, so I simply try to pose questions to myself and others that begin with a simple stem: “What if?”
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I think most professionals in my field would agree that it is exciting to see that the world is finally waking up to the fact that widespread changes are necessary to ensure the viability of our future.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I have never accepted any established practice as “good enough,” and have always taken the time to thoroughly evaluate the way things are done to ensure we are doing everything we can to operate in an optimal fashion.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I have had a few poor working experiences over the years, but I always viewed any work that I did and the compensation that resulted as a means to pursue something better in the future.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I think I would put more time and energy into the marketing side of things.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I make sure that I am regularly evaluating and reevaluating the efficacy of any standard or established practices. There is often a great deal of inefficiency that can go unnoticed if it becomes a part of an accepted idea or routine.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
I have never shied away from sharing my expertise with others. Whether it is through consulting work or speaking engagements, I have always felt that sharing information is critical for widespread growth.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
There have been a handful of instances in which I failed to act quickly on an idea I had, which, of course, allowed someone else to ultimately reap the reward.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
My field of expertise is absolutely brimming with opportunity, so I would advise that entrepreneurs consider developing a business centered on leveraging the growing demand for renewable energy resources and sustainable building.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought a new pair of noise-canceling headphones to help in tuning out any external distractions while I work.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I actually have a computing background, so I mostly use proprietary software I specifically designed for my professional responsibilities.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I know it’s probably a popular title, but I still return to “Principle-Centered Leadership,” by Steven Covey on a relatively frequent basis.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
I have developed a habit of regularly checking up on Romilly Madew ), the Fifth Estate ) and Inhabitat ) – they all allow me to keep up to date with leading trends in sustainability and renewables both in Australia and internationally. I also follow Robin Mellon ) on Twitter.