It’s always a pleasure to speak to MBA students, as they are truly the leaders of tomorrow and will shape the nature of how business operates into the 21st century. The Rady School of Management and SDG&E teamed up to host a panel presentation and networking event on the topic of Careers in Green, and I was invited to speak about the current job market.
Alex Kim, Director, Custom Innovations at SDG&E provided the evening’s opening remarks. Describing sustainability as a catalyst for change, Alex said that the movement to Green technology would serve to jumpstart a new economy by using new business models while providing a wide range of products and services that support a philosophy where “Green is the norm, and waste is minimized.”
- Mark Lovett, Founder, Global Patriot
- Lisa Shaffer, Executive Director, UCSD Sustainability Solutions Institute
- Alex Kim, Director, Custom Innovations, SDG&E
- Ted Reguly, Director, Smart Meter Program, SDG&E
- Mark Ellis, Chief Economist, Sempra Energy
- Samantha Simonnet, Director Cleantech, BridgeGate LLC
- Troy Roble, Energy Analyst, SAIC, Class of 2006
- Danny Splettstosser, Associate Developer, enXco
- Jason Garewal, Senior Financial Analyst, Oak Creek Energy Systems, Class of 2008
- Judy Muller-Cohn, President & CEO, Biomatrica
- Diego Villamizar, Principal, SKYShades of Southern California
- Gail Welch, Senior Manager, Sustainability at Qualcomm
Each of the panelists was invited to give their view on the Green business climate and job prospects. The consensus of the group was that, despite the troubles affecting the economy overall, the move to sustainable infrastructure was continuing at a strong pace, especially in the area of energy production and transmission, and that this trend would continue into the future.
From small startups to large enterprises, sustainability is inherent in all processes and serves as a foundation for any company’s long term profit and viability. The notion that we can create a vibrant economy while serving the best interests of the planet are here to stay.
The message to MBA students, build a base of experience, and always follow your passion.
Mark Lovett, Founder, Global Patriot
Mark Lovett founded Global Patriot in 2008 to raise awareness on global issues such as sustainability, climate change, alternative energy, water issues, human rights, education, disease, poverty and hunger by covering events such as the California Clean Innovation Conference and the Global Social Venture Competition, and working with groups such as Doctors Without Borders, River Network and the Cultivating Brilliance Institute.
Previously, Mark was president & CEO of Chassis Plans, Chief Information Officer at ICS Advent and Vice President of Operations for Industrial Computer Source, focused on the design and manufacture of industrial computer systems. In addition to his business strategy consulting practice (Tangent Consulting Group) Mark works with local high-tech startups as an entrepreneur-in-residence with CONNECT and serves on the board of the MIT Enterprise Forum.
Lisa Shaffer, Executive Director, UCSD Sustainability Solutions Institute
Dr. Lisa Shaffer is a Lecturer at the Rady School of Management, where she teaches “Business Ethics and Corporate Responsibility” and “Organizational Leadership.” She was the founding Executive Director of the campus-wide Sustainability Solutions Institute and its predecessor, the Environment and Sustainability Initiative, and now serves on the leadership team of SSI, developing and managing interdisciplinary translational research addressing challenges in water and climate, the built environment, and “greenovation” – the transfer of academic discovery into products and services in the public and private sector.
Lisa spent the first 25 years of her career in Washington, DC, in a variety of positions in NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and with a major aerospace company in the private sector. Most of her work focused on international cooperation in studying the earth from space. In 1998 she joined Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where she was responsible for international relations and program development for nine years. In September 2007, she moved from Scripps to the UCSD Office of Research Affairs to devote her time to building a sustainability program across the UCSD campus, and to pursue an executive MBA at UCSD’s Rady School of Management, which she completed in August 2009. She earned her BA in political science and international relations from the University of Michigan, and her PhD in public policy from the George Washington University.
Alex Kim, Director, Custom Innovations, SDG&E
Mr. Kim is the Director of Customer Innovations for San Diego Gas and Electric and Southern California Gas Company. His department is responsible for developing and managing customer programs and services in the areas of energy management and sustainability. His experience includes developing and implementing energy sustainability programs, advanced technology products, and distributed generation. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Solar Electric Power Association and is a Certified Energy Manager and LEED Accredited Professional.
Ted Reguly, Director, Smart Meter Program, SDG&E
Ted M. Reguly is the Director of the Smart Meter and Home Area Network initiatives at San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E). He is responsible for overseeing the development, implementation and integration of a comprehensive smart meter and home area network solution for SDG&E’s operations and customers. Reguly has been with SDG&E since 1981, holding various positions throughout Electric Generation, Electric and Gas Distribution, Supply Management, and Gas and Electric Customer Service supervision. He is a registered California Mechanical Engineer and received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Long Beach, and an MBA from San Diego State University. He is an active member of UtilityAMI, OpenAMI and the ZigBee Alliance, and also serves on the board of directions for the utility technology association, Utilimetrics.
Mark Ellis, Chief Economist, Sempra Energy
Mark Ellis is the Chief Economist for Sempra Energy, where he leads or supports various strategy, business development, policy and analytical initiatives. Before joining Sempra in 2004, Mr. Ellis worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company, and in international gas and power project development for ExxonMobil. He started his career as a research engineer for Sanyo Electric in Osaka, Japan. Mr. Ellis holds a B.S. from Harvard University in mechanical engineering and an M.S. from MIT’s Technology and Policy Program.
Samantha Simonnet, Director Cleantech, BridgeGate LLC.
Samantha Simonnet is the Director of BridgeGate Executive Search Clean Technology and Alternative Energy Practice and in that capacity, she assists companies in that space with finding critical talent with the engineering and managerial skills around renewable energy, energy storage, energy efficiency, green buildings, clean transportation, water technologies and smart power. Prior to this role, Samantha was based in Singapore, as a Senior Associate with Boyden Executive Search where she focused on regional projects in infrastructure, construction, clean technology and energy for Senior Engineers through C-level positions and as a Research Program Manager with the Center for Creative Leadership Asian Research Institute, where she oversaw 3 research projects in Singapore, Hong Kong and India.
Presently, Samantha is also an instructor with the University of California Irvine Extension and she is developing courses in clean technology for the Sustainability Leadership Certificate Program. More than 10 years of global exposure in organizational consulting, leadership and corporate training enabled her to develop a thorough understanding of organizational development, human capital and management needs.
Samantha’s dedication to the advancement of clean technology stems out of her passion for marine conservation and the negative impact of CO2 on the oceans ecosystems. An avid diver, she is a certified PADI National Geographic Diver and PADI Project Aware Specialist. She is also a committee member of the Clean Tech Open whose mission is to find, fund, and foster the big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental, and economic challenges.
Samantha holds a MBA from The University of Surrey, in UK with an emphasis on entrepreneurship and leadership and a Bachelor of Arts, with a double-major in English & Business Administration from the University of Toulouse II in France. Samantha is fluent in French, and conversational in German and Portuguese.
Troy Roble, Energy Analyst, SAIC, Class of 2006
Mr. Roble is an energy analyst at SAIC, and has been working with the company for the past two years. He is responsible for supporting energy efficiency projects as well as utility energy efficiency program evaluation projects and water conservation programs. He has also conducted extensive analysis on Climate Action Plans across the country and helped developed a set of benchmarks for cities across California in regards to their CAPs. He has an MBA from the Rady School of Management at University of California – San Diego and a BA in Business Administration University of San Diego.
Danny Splettstosser, Associate Developer, enXco
Danny has worked in the Emerging Technologies and Mergers and Acquisitions division of enXco since the spring of 2008. His early experiences in renewable energy project development and acquisition with enXco spanned a variety of technologies including wind, solar PV, solar CSP, and biogas. Currently Danny is focused on leading the company’s key elements of its Utility Scale Solar strategies, through leading business development as well as key project development.
Prior to working with enXco, Danny was the Deputy Research Director on Ken Salazar’s 2004 U.S. Senate Campaign, in 2007 he came back to work in Senator’s office to assist in the Senator’s renewable energy initiatives including the formation of the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory. Additionally Danny interned under the Chief Counsel with U.S. Department of Energy’s, Golden Field Office, where he assisted in the funding of a commercial scale cellulosic-ethanol refinery and the installation of photovoltaic panels at the NREL facility and the Forrestal Building in Washington D.C.
Danny studied European Union Law & Policy at Vrije Universiteit du Brussel. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication and Political Science from Colorado State University, a Master’s Degree in Natural Resource Law Studies from University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, and is proud that he paid his way through his Master’s Degree by Selling RV’s.
Jason Garewal, Senior Financial Analyst, Oak Creek Energy Systems, Class of 2008
Jason is a Senior Financial Analyst at Oak Creek Energy Systems, a developer and operator of wind energy projects. He is responsible for supporting energy sales, project finance, and M & A activity by developing and maintaining project financial models. Before joining Oak Creek, he worked as an analyst at Spinnaker Energy analyzing wind and solar projects in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Previous to earning his MBA, Jason was a mechanical engineer designing automated equipment for the semiconductor manufacturing industry. Jason earned an MBA from the Rady School of Management at the University of California San Diego and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.
Judy Muller-Cohn, President & CEO, Biomatrica
Judy has twelve years of experience in bringing products for the life science industry to market and was involved in the development of numerous biotechnology companies. She was most recently a Director of Business Development at Digital Gene Technologies. Previously, she was a scientist at Mycogen/Dow AgroSciences where she brought basic research to the market. She received her doctorate at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France. She has authored many papers and patents that paved the road to marketable products.
Diego Villamizar, Principal, SKYShades of Southern California
Diego Villamizar is Principal of SKYShades of Southern California, a company committed to skin cancer prevention and clean green energy initiatives. SKYShades designs, engineers & installs aesthetically pleasing, UV protective, tension membrane shade structures and also offers exclusive solar roofing fabrics through its Integrated Building Organic Photovoltaic (OPV) Systems. Prior to SKYShades, Diego worked at GE where he led a $1.3B global portfolio across Europe, Asia and the U.S.
Mr. Villamizar is an avid supporter of sustainable initiatives across Southern California and has presented at the California Center for Sustainable Energy Conference, which featured energy experts and policymakers discussing trends, technologies and market opportunities. He also holds positions on the San Diego Chapters of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Mr. Villamizar received a MBA from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin where he was awarded a full scholarship as a Consortium Fellow.
Gail Welch, Senior Manager, Sustainability at Qualcomm
Gail Welch, Senior Manager of Sustainability for Qualcomm Real Estate & Facilities has been with Qualcomm since 1994. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Syracuse University and her Masters in Public Finance from American University, Wash DC. At Qualcomm, Gail is now responsible for energy management, including utility expenditures and the company’s greenhouse gas reporting to the Climate Action Registry, as well as other state and federal regulatory requirements. Additionally, Gail manages opportunities for commodity negotiations to minimize risk in utility expenditures and energy incentive programs, expanding opportunities for corporate energy efficiency and sustainability.
Ms. Welch serves as Qualcomm’s representative and liaison with various community agencies and associations including the Industrial Environmental Association (IEA), IFMA (International Facility Managers Association) and the San Diego Regional Sustainability Partnership (SDRSP). She serves on the Mayor’s Independent Rates Oversight Committee for the City of San Diego Water & Wastewater Departments representing commercial and industrial ratepayers and in this capacity reviews and advises on the departments’ water rates, performance and policy issues.
It was heartening to hear such a distinguished panel speak about the benefits of going Green!