As part of its commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by midcentury, Spire announced Feb. 1 that Nick Popielski has been appointed as the company’s first Head of Environmental Commitment.
In this new leadership position, Popielski will lead Spire’s environmental efforts, develop new processes and guide the company’s strategy behind its environmental commitment of achieving carbon neutrality. Popielski will take on this added responsibility while continuing to lead business and economic development, positioning Spire to align environmental and business performance goals.
The announcement comes on the heels of another strong year of methane emission reduction at Spire. Through pipeline replacement in fiscal year 2020, Spire’s investment to replace 318 miles of aging infrastructure resulted in a 19.2 percent leak reduction per 1,000 system miles of distribution pipelines. Overall, Spire has already reduced methane emissions by more than 39 percent since 2005 and projects a nearly 54 percent reduction by 2025, well ahead of international standards.
“We want to build on this strong momentum by ensuring we have a dedicated leader who will drive forward our commitment to protecting our planet,” said Suzanne Sitherwood, Spire president and CEO. “With his proven expertise and track record in leading our business and economic development, we’re happy to have Nick Popielski help us truly advance Spire’s environmental efforts.”
Such efforts have already earned Spire national recognition, recently being named one of “America’s Most Responsible Companies” by Newsweek for a second consecutive year.
“Our focus on the environment aligns with our core values and it’s important we assign leadership to it,” said Steve Lindsey, Spire chief operating officer. “Nick’s expertise in data and analytics position us to build on what’s already established and drive our strategy.”
Popielski expressed his excitement for the new role.
“We believe in caring for the planet. And we know that our environmental initiatives are important to our customers as well,” said Popielski, who joined Spire in 2015 as vice president of business and economic development. “I’m excited to take on this role and help Spire step forward to become carbon neutral and ensure our customers have access to the affordable, reliable, clean natural gas they rely on, every day.”
A graduate of the University of Rochester, Popielski earned a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. He has served on the American Gas Association’s Sustainable Growth Committee and Electrification Study Group, and currently serves on their Carbon Neutral Strategies Steering Committee. In addition, Popielski serves on the board of the Gas Technology Institute’s (GTI) Utilization Technology Development Group and oversees Spire’s participation in GTI’s Emerging Technology Program, Carbon Management Information Center, and Center for Methane Research. Nick and his wife Dawn Smith-Popielski live in St. Louis.
Spire Inc. serves 1.7 million homes and businesses, making it the fifth largest publicly traded natural gas company in the United States. The company’s gas utilities serve customers in Alabama, Mississippi and Missouri. Its natural gas-related businesses include Spire Marketing, Spire STL Pipeline and Spire Storage.