Leading up to the Lumen Gentium Awards banquet, Rhode Island Catholic will feature profiles of the 15 winners in the 10 categories of the diocese’s 2016 Lumen Gentium Awards. The honorees will be awarded during a dinner at Twin River Event Center in Lincoln on May 18. Guests wishing to purchase tickets to the dinner — whose proceeds will benefit St. Martin de Porres Multi-Purpose Center and Fruit Hill Day Care for Seniors — are asked to register online at www.dioceseofprovidence.org/lumen-gentium-awards. For any questions about the event, please call 401-277-2121.
BRISTOL — Behind every successful project stands a great manager.
When Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in Bristol was presented with an opportunity to embark on a groundbreaking solar renewable energy project that would completely eliminate its annual energy consumption expenses for the next 25 years, as well as improve the environmental health of the planet, school officials knew it was an opportunity they could not let pass them by.
But, at the same time, they also knew that they must proceed carefully, as the often time-consuming process of navigating the maze of requirements necessary to obtain the government grants that would make the project a reality would not be easy.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish Pastor Father Henry P. Zinno Jr., and school Principal Janet Maloney saw in their midst someone with the strong financial background needed to lead the way to OLMC’s greener future.
That person was parish finance council member Patrick M. McCarthy, who has years of experience serving on government and private corporate finance management teams. He holds an M.B.A., with a concentration in management, from Bryant University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Rhode Island.
“Mr. McCarthy’s talent, education and experience were vital to acquiring the funds necessary to purchase the solar array,” Maloney said of the field of 160 voltaic solar panels installed on the roof of OLMC School last year.
The renewable energy array, which will eliminate OLMCS’s annual $12,500 energy cost for the next 25 years, was funded by two government grants: The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources Greenhouse Gas Initiative and The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation’s Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund.
“The savings from the elimination of the school’s electric expense is estimated to be over $300,000 during this period of time,” said Maloney, who nominated McCarthy for a Lumen Gentium Award for Parish Service. “The payback to our school is immediate, in terms of the return on investment, as the entire project cost is 100 percent grant funded.”
McCarthy, a 40-year member of the Knights of Columbus, said that he was “extremely humbled and honored to receive the diocesan award.
“I have every intention of giving back,” he said. “My family and I have been so blessed. We keep the faith, we practice our faith. We’re not going to fall short in committing to our faith.”
McCarthy, 59, and his wife Nina have two grown children, son Patrick II, and daughter Tara.
He said that when the idea to build the solar array emerged, his years of experience managing large-scale federal projects in the defense industry really paid off.
“I was probably one of the best positioned to take on this project,” he said.
In addition to providing a cost savings for the school and parish, the project also includes an educational component for the students. A weather station, mounted to the roof of the school, transmits real-time local conditions to the Internet, information that can be accessed by anyone logging in to the site Weather Underground.
He attributed the success of the project to his pastor’s leadership and management style, as well as to a higher power.
“It was divinely inspired that my time, talent and treasure were applied to this project, and it was under Father Zinno’s leadership that it was brought together,” McCarthy said of the environmentally conscious initiative undertaken at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School.
“Our school colors are blue and white, but Our Lady is going green.”