Focusing on Sustainability at Navy Pier

As someone with a lifelong interest in environmental issues, Savitha Chelladurai decided a few years ago to pursue a career path in which she could make a larger contribution to improving the environment and influencing the impact humans are having on it. 

She chose Illinois Tech’s Stuart School of Business for graduate study, where she could combine a Master of Business Administration degree with a specialization in the school’s environmental management and sustainability program. Following graduation, Chelladurai was an energy and sustainability analyst at Walgreens, working to increase energy efficiency in the chain’s stores nationwide. 

In 2018 she became the first sustainability manager at Chicago’s Navy Pier, where she leads programs aimed at reducing energy usage and waste, boosting recycling, and creating ways to weave sustainability into the experience of Navy Pier’s nine million visitors each year.

“It’s been really exciting to work in such an iconic place in the city and also have that avenue to reach people on a large scale,” Chelladurai says. “Being right on Lake Michigan, the water is very front of mind for everyone. We need to be really good stewards of our environment, [which] feels like both an obligation and an opportunity.”

Recently she was honored for her leadership role in transitioning to a clean energy economy with a 40 Under 40 Award from Midwest Energy News

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