For the past 13 years, Marlon Kobacker has served as a sustainability advisor for private and public organizations across the globe, including several operating in the Middle East, Australia and Southeast Asia. Mr. Kobacker’s current role is with Clean Energy Corporation Australia, where he serves as the principal responsible for leading the sustainability advisory team. In addition to his work with Clean Energy Corporation Australia, Mr. Kobacker is frequently called upon for international speaking engagements and also serves in an advisory capacity with EarthRights International.
Mr. Kobacker attended the University of New South Wales, becoming the first student to earn an undergraduate degree in photovoltaic engineering before completing his master’s degree in sustainable design. After graduation, Mr. Kobacker continued to be involved with the University of New South Wales, contributing to the development of a new course and staying on as an instructor and tutor at the UNSW School of Renewable Energy Engineering for two years.
While he found his role as an educator to be quite rewarding, Mr. Kobacker ultimately moved to serve in a variety of management and consulting roles, offering his insight and expertise on sustainable building practices and green energy technologies to private and public organizations, including Transurban, AECOM, Cundall, Arup and Edge Environment. Mr. Kobacker also began speaking about the subject at a number of international conferences in locations that include Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Middle East, leading to a greater recognition of his specific expertise in this essential field.
Mr. Kobacker holds a number of professional certifications, including status as a LEED Accredited Professional, a Green Star Accredited Professional, and an ISCA Infrastructure Sustainability Accredited Professional. Specializing in minimizing cost while maximizing value in established and burgeoning green building markets, Mr. Kobacker recognizes the critical importance of his role in the widespread implementation of renewable energy technologies and sustainable building practices.
1. What was your best/favorite subject in school?
I was always quite keen on mathematics, but I was absolutely fascinated by physics and chemistry during secondary school. Of course, engineering has always been a passion of mine as well.
2. What was your first job?
After finishing my degrees at UNSW, I did quite a bit of consulting work and also accepted a position as a lecturer and tutor at the university.
3. Where and how did you first get into the industry you currently work in?
I was extremely fortunate to enroll at UNSW during the same time that the school instituted its photovoltaic engineering program, which led me to pursue a professional career in my current industry.
4. How have those jobs prepared you for what you do now?
As a student and lecturer on the subject, I learned a great deal about the field and was even able to gain practical experience at the same time. This has proved to be exceptionally beneficial for my professional career.
5. Describe the best day of work you’ve ever had.
There have been quite a few times in which I achieved a major breakthrough on a long-term project, and those moments of sudden enlightenment are simply unbelievable.
6. How do you keep yourself motivated?
The work we are doing is so important in so many ways, so it is easy to remain motivated about achieving our goals.
7. What kind of business ideas excite you most?
I have a deep appreciation for ideas that are developed with a goal that supersedes profitability. While profitability should be one of the main goals, I prefer to pursue business ideas that contribute something more to society as a whole.
8. Have you ever tried any unorthodox techniques to attract attention to your business?
No, unless frequently speaking at conferences all over the world could be considered unorthodox.
9. What personal achievement are you most proud of?
I have received a number of awards and nominations over the years, but I think I am most proud of the fact that my professional responsibilities include sharing information with others on how to be more responsible through the use of sustainable building practices and renewable energy resources.
10. What wisdom you would have liked to share with yourself when you first started out?
I would have encouraged the younger version of myself to be more open to the idea of being a speaker at international conferences. I was hesitant to accept some of the early offers I received, and I have come to enjoy those speaking engagements a great deal.