Imagine Tomorrow

2011 Keynote Address

Imagine Tomorrow, Act Today

Remarks of Doug Moore
President, McKinstry

Keynote Speaker

May 21, 2011

Congratulations to the students, teachers, advisors, parents, WSU staff and faculty, to the judges. What a tremendous event!

I’d like to explore what Imagine Tomorrow means to me as it relates to scientific discovery and what this might mean for your careers. I’m amazed at the speed of technology changes in our everyday lives. Research predicts that the speed of science will accelerate four to seven times faster in the next twenty-five years than in the past twenty-five years.

To put this into context, imagine living in the late 1800s and being asked to predict what life will be like in 2011. Would you have been able to predict the invention of cars, airplanes, space travel, atomic energy, the computer, nanotechnology, a smart phone or robotic surgery?  All of the scientific discovery between the late 1800s and today represents four times the science over the past twenty-five years. So it seems that imagining the new science and technology we will see in twenty-five years is not really possible. In your working careers science is going to change just about everything!

 So when I Imagine the jobs of tomorrow, I think the most fascinating careers will be those involved with science and technology. It will be exciting to be at the center of advances in energy, medicine, transportation, computing, materials, and the environment. Act Today is simply getting all the math and science you can in high school so you can ride the job wave related to technology.

The Cliff Note version of my career is that I went to college, I ended up in mechanical engineering, I got a college internship with McKinstry and thirty-two years later I’m still in my college intern job! So get to know the judges and sponsors here at Imagine Tomorrow. You never know, you might find your dream job right here.

At McKinstry we are focused on the built environment. We design, build, and operate buildings. In recent years we have expanded to fourteen offices and 1,600 employees. 800 of our staff are in professional positions and 800 staff are in construction trade positions (plumbers, electricians, sheet metal workers, fire sprinkler fitters and so on). 

At McKinstry, what are we doing to help save the planet?  We are working to save half of the energy in the buildings in America. Over 75 percent of our electricity and 55 percent of our natural gas use in the U.S. is consumed in buildings. Combined, this represents 40 percent of the entire U.S. energy supply and 39 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions. The work we do at McKinstry is an important part of addressing environmental challenges and our nation’s energy supply. 

WSU has partnered with McKinstry to pursue extensive efficiency work here on campus and at other WSU facilities across the state. To date we have completed forty-six projects with eight projects currently in progress. With our help WSU has lowered the energy use on campus by ten percent. One energy efficiency project was the lighting retrofit here in Beasley Coliseum. Rumor has it that the basketball team has been winning ever since we completed the lighting retrofit, so energy projects can have other benefits as well!   

McKinstry has gathered quite a bit of attention as a progressive clean technology company and a great place to work. We have received numerous awards, we’ve been recognized by the Department of Energy, and President Obama himself has visited our Seattle office to see what the buzz is about.

Part of imagining tomorrow is recognizing that today we have serious global issues; population growth, poverty, disease, insufficient drinking water, climate change, disappearing plant and animal species, increasing ocean acidification, rising ocean levels, the list goes on. Am I worried about our future? Definitely. But then I see the ideas and enthusiasm you brought to today’s competition and I think that your generation will get it figured out. 

A couple of years ago a professor at Seattle University asked his class a question; “Who was the greatest generation?” Several students answered correctly that it was the generation that suffered through the Great Depression and then immediately had to fight World War II. During the discussion, a student raised her hand and said, “I disagree. I think my generation is the greatest generation. My generation will deal with survival of the planet.” So maybe we have a second correct answer. Your generation will be one of our greatest generations.

I wish that every high school student in Washington participated in Imagine Tomorrow. This event involves stretching yourself, working as a team, using problem solving and critical thinking skills that you learned in math and science. You are translating real world issues into ideas for new solutions. At McKinstry, every day our staff work in teams, solve problems and use critical thinking. These skills will help you in life and in your career.    

If you are curious about where the jobs will be in the next few years, here are a few statistics. Washington ranks fourth in the nation in technology based companies and is a leader in innovation and research. By 2018 it is projected that sixty-seven percent of jobs in Washington will require post-high-school education and most of these jobs will require college-level math and science. 

As I mentioned earlier, half of McKinstry’s employees have careers in construction trades and these are great jobs. Imagine Tomorrow is not just about going to college. It is about preparing yourself to enter the workforce. We see a lot of high school students who decide that they want to pursue a trade and opt out of math, thinking math is only for those headed to college. But then they can’t get into an apprenticeship because they fail the math test to be a plumber or a carpenter. Math is a basic tool needed for every career. Don’t opt out. 

You have the power to act. And it’s obvious that you have passion, but beware.  Passion by itself is often difficult to turn into a career. So continue with your math and science. Get all you can. Later in your career when you are talking to high school students you will be telling them that staying in math and science is one of the most important choices you made in high school.

Thank you.


For information about the Imagine Tomorrow competition, please email


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