Candace Rodatz Barnes
Government Relations and Corporate Responsibility
Universal Orlando, Orlando, FL

At Universal Orlando, there’s something in the air, on the ground, and on the rides.  No one can say exactly what it is, but it smells and feels fresher, cleaner, and even more sustainable.

Candace Rodatz-Barnes probably can explain this best.  In her position, she oversees NBCUniversal’s green initiatives at Universal Orlando.  It sounds like a lot to handle, but sustainability is second nature to Candace.

“I’ve always been passionate about conservation, wildlife and saving our natural resources, since I was a young child,” she explains. “Having the opportunity to coordinate our green initiatives for the company has been a lot of fun for me, and something I care a lot about.”

Candace emphasized that she is not alone in her efforts. “I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of motivated and talented people who all share the same talent and commitment,” says Rodates-Barnes.

She spoke in particular about the Universal Orlando Green Council, which meets regularly to discuss the different ways that each department is working to reduce their footprint and incorporate sustainability into their business practices.

The action doesn’t end at the roundtable, though. Each year, Universal Orlando launches a program that focuses on one key area of sustainability which each department looks to improve upon. “One year we did fuels, one year we did energy, one year we did water, and then we build our awareness campaigns around that,” Candace explains.

Bringing the team and the Orlando community into the equation is one method Candace employs to strengthen the green movement and keep upward momentum.

“I look for ways to get into the community, whether it’s a recycling drive, collecting something for charity, or doing a landscaping event,” she says. “Every year we do various programs, and we have support from local causes out there that are relevant to green.”

Candace has a way of integrating her passion for sustainability and conservation seamlessly with her other initiatives and areas of expertise. “We care a lot about education initiatives, too,” she says, “so that’s what we like to tie into our green initiative—to educate people on how we can make an impact.”

Tying into her role with Government Affairs, Candace says that she and the team at Universal Orlando “are always looking for ways that we can improve our operations to be more efficient and reduce our overall carbon footprint, while doing what is right for our business and the environment.”

That’s why Candace was at the Florida Energy Summit recently.  The summit is like the Comic Con for Floridian energy conservationists. “Here, they’re talking about chances for businesses, local government and other organizations to come together and see where the state of Florida wants to go in terms of saving energy,” she says.

Candace thrives on gaining knowledge and then working as part of a team to keep creating change, noting, “we have a lot of motivated and talented individuals, and I’m really proud of that.”


by Frederick Awich