By Bob Scott
At the end of 2011, the Weatherization network will lose one of its greatest champions and most knowledgeable resources, as longtime Energy Technology Programs Specialist for the DOE WAP, Jean Diggs will retire. The announcement is bittersweet for all who have had the privilege to work with Jean. After 40+ years of government service, including 34 in WAP, she most certainly deserves a rewarding and contented retirement, but we all have to wonder how the resulting void in the WAP can ever be filled.
Jean worked with many DOE OWIP Directors over her tenure, including a period in the 2000s when there was a series of Acting and Interim Directors, few in the position for more than a year or so. While that could easily have spelled disaster for any program, Jean was a pillar and a constant in sound leadership and advancing the network in several key areas.
Jean truly believed in all aspects of the Weatherization Assistance Program, from the mission, regulations, and policies to its ability to truly change the lives of the low-income program recipients for the better. Perhaps her most inspiring conviction was her confidence and trust in the Weatherization network. Along with an undermanned staff at DOE, Jean coordinated two Weatherization Plus committees to create a shared vision and plan for WAP to forge ahead and become even more relevant as an effective energy efficiency program. Not only were these committees unqualified successes in both planning and implementation, but the national network became much more unified during this time period, with extensive peer exchange and sharing of best practices in the financial, program management, and technical aspects of the program.
Without specifying Jean’s role and many accomplishments, she was instrumental in advancing the WAP while always giving the credit to others and taking pride and satisfaction in the network’s accomplishments. In typical Jean Diggs fashion, she wrote a message to her colleagues on December 19, talking about the tireless efforts and successes of the WAP network and sending her thanks and gratitude without talking at all about herself and the contributions she made. To Jean, it was all about the program and the network, not about her. But so many of us who knew Jean over the years know that she was a true champion and played a huge role in the success of WAP throughout the history of the program.
Jean contributed so much, both to the WAP and to her many friends. Thank you, Jean! We all wish you the best in your retirement and hope you will stay involved in some way. We can’t imagine WAP without you.