Seattle is endowed with a talented workforce and a populace that values clean energy, but the clean-energy industry has not put down roots in Seattle as strongly as it has in some other states. My efforts since YALP (’15) have focused on changing that.
While I attended business school from 2010 to 2012 I was a Fellow with a group called InSITE (www.insitefellows.org), an non-profit that matches MBA, JD, PhD, and MS students with promising startup companies in various sectors of the economy. The students help the startups develop business plans, venture pitches, and go-to-market strategies, and in return get consulting experience, an exceptional professional network, and access to the startup and venture capital community. This experience directly helped me get my current job starting the clean-energy program for Amazon.com, where we aim to “green” Amazon’s massive energy footprint across global operations.
InSITE began in New York City, expanded in ~2013 to Boston and D.C., and is now heading west to cities like Seattle. My goal is to help sew InSITE into the University of Washington’s Clean Energy Institute (www.cei.washington.edu), Entrepreneurial Law Clinic (www.law.washington.edu/clinics/entrepreneurial), and graduate business school to build collaboration among business, science, law, and energy expertise. I hope this will result in training the next-generation workforce for clean-energy jobs, and also help Seattle become an even stronger hub of CleanTech innovation.
The University of Washington is also building a new workplace called Center for Advanced Materials and Clean Energy Technology (CAMCET) that will be a hub for learning, researching, prototyping, and driving clean technology ideas to market (https://www.cannondesign.com/news-insights/research/university-of-washingtons-camcet-educating-the-next-generation-of-employees/). The essence of this new center is to leverage cross-sector collaboration (law, business, technology, government, and public education) to promote CleanTech, and I’ve been fortunate to be a part of its design. I am also helping to bring Amazon.com into its fold such that there will be companies in Seattle to hire this workforce and partner with these startups to complete the cycle in this new ecosystem.
The tools YALP provided us have been instrumental in helping keep the focus of these efforts on cross-sector collaboration. With this guiding principle, clean energy can be at the heart of Seattle’s explosive economic growth, create local jobs, and mobilize an excited population, while finding new ways to combat climate change.