Heat Smart’s Montaquila Named Woman of Achievement

  • October 15, 2014
  • Heat Smart

For immediate release

For more information, please contact:  Donna Montaquila, 401.481.8107

Heat Smart’s Montaquila Named Woman of Achievement

PROVIDENCE, RI – October 15, 2014 – Donna Montaquila, Director of Heat Smart, was honored earlier this month with the YWCA’s Women of Achievement Award at a luncheon held at Kirkbrae Country Club. The award recognizes the best in the accomplishments of women across industry, culture and public service. This is the tenth annual award ceremony hosted by the YWCA.

This year’s 13 recipients were a diverse group that include a chief judge, a multi-instrumentalist, health promoters, educators, community supporters, business advocates, social service leaders and an organization that enhances the success of women in construction.

“I’m very honored to be named among this group of women,” Montaquila said. “But more importantly, I’m excited about the visibility this award brings to Heat Smart and our goal of helping keep low-income families warm and reduce their energy costs. At a time when assistance dollars are shrinking, private partnership initiatives like this are more important than ever.”

Montaquila founded Heat Smart in 2005, an initiative of Woonsocket’s Northwest Woolen Mills, America’s largest industrial woolen blanket manufacturer, known for their ability to make a high quality woolen blankets at a low cost. The idea behind it is simple – lowering the thermostat by 7-8 degrees overnight can save a family an average of $400 a year. But without adequate bedding, many leave the thermostat up to stay warm.

“We know that wool raises body temperature the fastest of any material, and our blankets have been used to help disaster victims around the world, including Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina,” explained Montaquila. “We decided to take our wool expertise and help families who are struggling to stay warm and developed a Heat Assistance Kit. We partner with community agencies and utilities to distribute them to needy families.”

The kit includes a quality wool blend blanket, weatherstripping, and energy savings tips. The three-pronged approach of warmth, conservation, and education has shown success in its initial rollout and Heat Smart is now expanding the program. Northwest Woolen’s logistical skills earned through responding to crisis situations makes it ideally suited to work with other partners to quickly develop energy efficiency programs involving the distribution of woolen blankets, and the low costs that the company provides for its government contracts are also available to partners in the Heat Smart.

“To know that we’re helping families, even on a small scale, is a very rewarding feeling,” Montaquila said. You can hear more of her and Heat Smart’s stories on the YWCA’s She Shines radio program, to be aired October 10.

Prior to launching Heat Smart, Montaquila was advertising director for two newspapers and has been employed with two Fortune 500 companies. She has served on numerous committees and presently is a member of Women Ending Hunger at the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Johnson & Wales University. Montaquila is a member of the Association of Energy Service Professionals.





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