In early 2015, as I prepared to complete my Master of Public Policy at the University of Virginia, I was on the hunt for clean energy jobs and my sights were set on heading west. Having grown up in the mountains of western North Carolina, I was introduced at a very early age to the concepts of energy efficiency and renewable energy generation. At a time long before clean energy tax credits or residential solar lease portfolios, my neighbors had installed solar panels on their roof and it made me imagine what a world of widespread renewable energy adoption might look like. This early passion for sustainability and renewable energy followed me throughout my academic career and pushed me to build on my policy background by seeking a career in the clean energy sector. It was with this goal in mind that I first stumbled across the jobs page on CleanTX.org.
While I ultimately ended up taking a job in Southern California where I would spend the next three years working with a public financial advisory on behalf of residential PACE programs, the Austin cleantech scene was officially on my radar. When I began exploring the possibility of returning to school one final time to get my MBA, I knew that I wanted a school and, perhaps more importantly, a city where I could gain exposure to the renewable energy industry and build out a network of clean energy professionals. CleanTX, which sponsors many events that draw participants from both the University of Texas community as well as professionals from the growing number of cleantech-focused companies in the region, helped sway my decision to move to Austin and join the McCombs School of Business.
After attending a handful of Clean Energy Beers, Power Hours, speaker series and other CleanTX networking events, I discovered the opportunity to join CleanTX for a one-year appointment as a student member of the Board of Directors. It is a role that provides young professionals like myself the opportunity to see the innerworkings of a growing nonprofit while helping to facilitate a closer relationship with UT undergraduate and graduate students who may contribute to the field in the future. It is an exciting time to be part of an organization that is working to promote the growth of such an important industry here in central Texas.