Bernhard Announces Promotion of Jenny Ruggiero to Executive Vice President of Finance


Bernhard announced this week the promotion of Jenny Ruggiero to Executive Vice President of Finance overseeing all of Bernhard’s accounting and treasury functions. Based in Baton Rouge, her primary responsibilities include internal and external financial reporting, budgeting and planning, cash management and treasury activities as well as developing and maintaining a system of internal controls.

“Jenny has shown tremendous financial leadership,” said Lew Derbes, Chief Financial and Strategic Officer. “Her strong experience and willingness to take on any challenge will help drive key financial initiatives and strengthen the platform to support Bernhard’s continuing growth as the premier energy as a service provider.”

Ruggiero has more than 13 years of experience in the corporate finance sector and first arrived at Bernhard in 2018 where she held the position of vice president and corporate controller. Prior to joining Bernhard, she was an assistant controller at Investar Bank, a senior financial analyst at Amedisys Home Health & Hospice, and assurance services staff at Ernst & Young.

Ruggiero earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Louisiana State University in 2008, and her master’s degree in accounting from Louisiana State University in 2009.

Bernhard named Best of GBB 2022 by Green Business Bureau

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Just as we have helped our customers develop and achieve drastic energy reduction goals, we understand we also have a responsibility to monitor and mitigate the environmental impacts of our own operations. Bernhard being one of the five companies worldwide named Best of GBB in 2022 by Green Business Bureau proves that sustainability isn’t just something we talk about, we live it every day.

Combined, our energy projects have saved customers tens of millions of dollars in utility costs, while simultaneously avoiding more than 5 million metric tons of CO2e from being released into the atmosphere. According to the EPA, that’s equivalent to the annual emissions of more than 1 million passenger cars.

22 of Bernhard’s offices are now GBB Certified, and we proudly display the GBB Seal on our website. It’s more than just a feel-good effort or window dressing. Certification provides our company with verified and credible proof that the sustainable efforts we’ve put in place are actually working to reduce Bernhard’s collective impact on the environment. As we provide a cleaner, more energy-efficient future for our customers, we’re doing the same for our employees and local communities, which is echoed by our inclusion in GBB’s Best of 2022 award.


Green Business Bureau was established in 2008 to help companies of all sizes affordably meet their environmental sustainability goals with less complexity, less confusion, and less disruption to their operations. In addition to giving members access to an online sustainability assessment and prioritization tools like their EcoScorecard and EcoPlanner software, Green Business Bureau provides rigorous, third-party Green Business Certification.

GBB certification is the most guided and automated certification in the industry. Performed online and initiative based, GBB’s flexible certification framework allows companies to receive points for each sustainability initiative they have completed. With more than 500 initiatives to complete, companies are awarded a GBB EcoScore based on their accumulated points with tiered certification levels.

Initiatives are organized into categories, including ‘Community and Society’, ‘Consumption and Waste’, ‘Energy Use and Emissions’, ‘Transportation’, ‘Water Use’, and ‘Workplace and Culture’ to fully capture the scope of each company’s sustainability efforts. Each category is further scored on the effort, cost, and impact of the company’s initiatives.

GBB members have a publicly available EcoScore page on the GBB website. On this page, completed environmental initiatives are briefly described and scored, so visitors can get a sense of the ground-level efforts each company is taking to meet sustainability goals. Each of Bernhard’s 22 certified locations have their own GBB EcoScore page, with certification levels including Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. We’ve collectively completed more than 800 scored environmental initiatives to date, ranging from ensuring our paper products are made from recycled material to launching a composting program for business-related food waste.

Only the businesses that meet Green Business Bureau goals are allowed to display the GBB Seal. The clickable web seal takes visitors to each location’s personal sustainability page, which shows the total point score, sustainability accomplishments, and Green Business Bureau certification level.

GBB certification allows companies to make measurable, verifiable progress toward impactful environmental goals, marking and celebrating successes while also highlighting areas still in need of improvement. Certification lets GBB members showcase the concrete steps they’re taking to meet ESG goals, which are increasingly important for environmentally conscious customers, employees, and potential hires.

The result: improved morale, a stronger workforce, competitive differentiation from others in the field, and potentially higher sales as today’s customers want their companies to share in the same values regarding sustainability and the environment.


In our 104 years in business, Bernhard has never been a “do as we say, not as we do” company. We lead by example. We don’t shrink from challenges. We rise to meet them with the same grit, determination, innovation, and optimism that has always been at the heart of our business.

Businesses, our clients, our nation, and the world are increasingly determined to take meaningful steps toward lowering carbon emissions and mitigating climate change. Bernhard is never content to stand on the sidelines or make empty promises when there’s work to be done. We’re moved to action, and if we’re going to do it, we’re going to make sure that our strategies are achievable, and our goals are met.

Through the help of the Green Business Bureau and GBB Certification, we are doing just that, and doing our part for our shared environmental future. By being named one of five companies in the world to receive GBB’s Best of 2022 Award, Bernhard is not only showing that serious sustainability goals are achievable even for companies of our size, but also setting an example that can be affordably and efficiently followed by the entire AEC industry.

About the Author:

As an ESG Analyst at Bernhard, Ashtyn Bell is involved in building and executing portfolio-wide initiatives in key ESG topics such as climate change and sustainability; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I); and employee and community engagement. She has provided leadership and structure through the GBB certification efforts throughout 22 certified locations, coordinating with local green teams and sustainability champions to complete GBB initiatives. She is also supporting the launch of Bernhard Leans In – a partnership between Bernhard and Lean In to develop new personal and professional skills needed to lean into leadership and embrace challenges through employee groups. In addition to developing the program, she is also leading the Remote Workers and LGBT+ Circles. Ashtyn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., majoring in Physics and minoring in Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Bernhard Becomes a Certified Carbon Neutral Company on Strategic Path to Net Zero


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Bernhard has announced the company is now carbon neutral through the deployment of compensation measures offsetting 2022 Scope 1, Scope 2, and select Scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“We began our journey by identifying and quantifying our emissions and chose to invest in the broader environmental agenda through responsible carbon offset purchases as we continue to research and develop Bernhard’s own climate action plan,” said Alyssa Jaksich, Vice President of Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) at Bernhard.

Tracking Bernhard’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) has been imperative to the processes needed to understand how to achieve carbon neutrality and ultimately, net zero status. The GHG Protocol is a global program that provides standards, guidance, tools and training for business and government to measure and manage climate-warming emissions. They define three scopes of emissions that correlate to who owns those emissions and the level of control an entity has to changing those emission levels.

“We selected 2021 as our base year and included all utility consumption associated with owned and leased offices, warehouses, and fabrication shops,” said Jaksich. “We also included any emissions from our owned and leased fleet gasoline consumption, jet fuel consumed by leased aircraft, and propane and diesel used to power equipment at our fabrication shops within our GHG inventory.”

Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions are a mandatory part of reporting for many organizations across the world and relate to systems that are within reasonable control of an entity, such as onsite and purchased energy of owned assets.

Scope 3 emissions are centered on sources of emissions that are more external to a specific organization, such as those across the supply chain. Reporting of Scope 3 emissions remains mostly voluntary, however, reduction of Scope 3 has the potential to have the largest impact.

Becoming a carbon neutral company has long been a goal of Bernhard’s ESG efforts, but the ultimate goal still lies ahead – net zero.

“As we strive towards our long-term goal of becoming net zero by 2050 or sooner, we plan to utilize a combination of reduction efforts and compensation measures,” Jaksich said. “While we work to develop Bernhard’s climate action plan in support of closing the emissions gap, this approach allows us to also work towards closing the climate finance gap. By investing in credible carbon offset projects throughout our journey, we are not only moving towards an approach that does no harm, but one that actively does good.”

Bernhard’s path to net zero will follow an “avoid, reduce and compensate” hierarchy:

  • Avoid: Show preference for business decisions and actions that lead to avoided greenhouse gas emissions, thus minimizing the need for offsets.
  • Reduce: Where emissions cannot be avoided, seek to reduce emissions through energy efficiency and optimization of business practices and policies.
  • Compensate: Where emissions cannot be reduced or avoided, utilize offsets to neutralize remaining emissions. High-quality carbon credits will be prioritized via Bernhard’s Carbon Offset Policy.

Throughout this process, Bernhard is committed to purchasing offsets annually in accordance with our Carbon Offset Policy, while continuously evaluating and implementing strategies to ultimately exhaust our reduction efforts.

“While we made great strides in 2022 by gaining a baseline understanding of our emission-generating activities and uncovering areas where we could become more sustainable within our day-to-day operations, there is still so much work to be done,” Jaksich said. “Our path to net zero is just beginning, but we are fully committed to the journey.”

Bernhard Inspiring the Next Generation of Energy Industry Leaders

Bernhard has been growing strong for 104 years now. We believe one of the biggest factors in our longevity is an idea that’s been with us since the beginning: a company-wide commitment to recruiting, training and nurturing the future work force.

By recruiting, supporting and listening to Bernhard’s next generation, we give employees the support and confidence they need to find their professional passions, make hard decisions and propose bold ideas. In doing so, we prepare our company to evolve and capitalize on new innovations while simultaneously creating the leaders who will propel Bernhard into its next great century.


One important way Bernhard supports and shapes the next generation of leadership is through comprehensive training, with a commitment to safety and minimizing risk. Getting employees started on the right foot is a task that’s too important to outsource. Bernhard currently runs the largest private electrical apprenticeship program in Louisiana, with more than 100 apprentices attending classes every Friday either virtually or in person.

Taught by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)-certified instructors who are also top Bernhard foremen with years of on-the-job experience, the four-year program gives electrical apprentices a solid foundation of knowledge about complex electrical systems. Lessons are often designed around the findings of real-world incident investigations, to help workers move beyond theory and understand how staying safe is everyone’s responsibility.

“This field is always changing,” said Josh Boggan, electrical superintendent and an instructor in the Bernhard apprentice program. “By running our own training programs, we’re making sure apprentices get a solid footing in modern electrical and what the job entails, but we’re also constantly reinforcing Bernhard’s safety-first, ‘think before you act’ culture. Whether they stay with Bernhard their entire careers or not, this training might literally save a life someday.”

Participants graduate with an electrical certification from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). That’s followed by Bernhard’s fifth-year Journeyman Prep class. Taught by one of Bernhard’s master electricians, the class prepares graduates for the City of New Orleans Journeyman license exam while further reinforcing the company-wide imperative of bringing a safety-first mindset to every job.


Bernhard is always looking for ways to support, shape and retain future leaders who will continue our company’s success. That’s why giving young employees a great start through professional development, mentoring and contact-building isn’t just a goal at Bernhard, it’s a priority.

One example of that commitment is Bernhard’s Young Professionals program. Launched in 2022, the four-year program is free to join, and open to any Bernhard Engineering employee who is under 30 or less than four years post-graduation from college. Through networking opportunities, mentorship and group team building and training events, Bernhard Young Professionals seeks to help every young engineer develop their strengths and talents, while giving them the tools they need to excel.

“A lot of companies talk about providing professional development, but that usually amounts to a retreat every few years,” said Katie Thomas, learning and development specialist at Bernhard. “Bernhard’s Young Professionals is a lot more in depth. We really take the time to help build the connections that can make a difference in a career.”

In addition to exclusives like pop-up networking events, Bernhard Young Professionals provides participants with twice-yearly topical education sessions hosted at Bernhard’s offices in Little Rock, as well as professional enrichment opportunities with senior members of the Bernhard engineering team. To help young workers level up their knowledge base, participation in the program also includes free access to Bernhard’s extensive library of online training materials, including courses on Jobsite Safety, AutoCAD, Conflict Resolution and more.


AEC professions are locked in a historic, post-COVID hiring shortage that could see construction-based industries with hundreds of thousands of unfilled positions in coming years. To avoid perpetual shortages, we need strategies to help convince more young people, including many more women and minorities, to choose careers in AEC.

Bernhard is leading the way with innovative ideas to bolster interest in the AEC industry such as the 360 Promise partnership with Tulane University. 360 Promise was announced in November 2022 in the wake of Project RISE, a 30-year Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) agreement that will help New Orleans’ Tulane University reach a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. 360 Promise is a partnership built on a bold pledge: that Bernhard will recruit and hire 360 graduates of Tulane University over the next 30 years.

360 Promise is primarily focused on hiring graduates of the Tulane Energy Institute, a division of Tulane’s A.B. Freeman School of Business that provides educational opportunities for students looking to enter the fast-growing energy industry. That said, the hiring commitments forged by 360 Promise extend to departments throughout the university, including Tulane Law School and the School of Science and Engineering.

“Talent is a critical ingredient to success,” said Rob Guthrie, Bernhard’s Chief Development Officer. “That’s true of our industry in general, and it’s certainly true at Bernhard. By making the 360 Promise with Tulane, Bernhard is strengthening its role to shape and develop future industry leaders. It’s a bold and exciting step.”

As part of 360 Promise, Bernhard engineers and specialists will assist the Tulane Energy Institute in developing courses and a curriculum that fully prepare graduates for careers in the burgeoning energy services industry. Students in the program will learn about energy not only in the classroom, but also from real-world, past, present and future Bernhard projects. As they do, they’ll be guided and mentored by many of the seasoned professionals responsible for completing those projects on time and under budget.

For the future, the only sure thing is that things change. Companies that don’t want to get left behind have to change, too. That’s why Bernhard is committed to focusing not only on where we’ve been and where we are, but where we need to go to prepare for another hundred years of innovation. By fully embracing young workers and giving them the support, tools and opportunities they need to become the next generation of Bernhard leaders, we honor our past and set the stage for an even brighter future.