Highlight on Alumni
Alumni who have graduated from the EPC program are involved in a variety of significant roles in the energy and climate sectors. Learn more about what some of them are doing and their experiences with the program.
Jeremy Bedine, Class of 2017, Founder of GridLion
What year did you graduate? 2017
Where do you currently work and what do you do? In early 2017, I launched my startup, GridLion, working with businesses and utilities to provide actionable intelligence from utility data and using that data to help clients implement strategies that lower cost and increase resilience. We use the intelligence to develop and deploy projects that enhance energy energy security, improve asset performance, and deliver financial returns. Since founding GridLion, we have grown our business into 3 sectors, developed and deployed our platform, and now we’re now expanding into cyber security for electricity distribution companies. As the Founder of GridLion, I do pretty much everything right now from technology development to sales, to managing day-to-day administrative things like staying on the phone with customer support when a laptop isn’t working. My time in the EPC program has been integral to how I’ve been able to differentiate GridLion among companies working in the environmental and energy space. The differentiation is that I bring a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of how our clients can implement multi-objective strategies that address complex problems they face while also having a positive overall impact globally.
Why did you choose to get your master’s degree in Energy Policy and Climate from Johns Hopkins? When I began the program, I was working for the Department of Defense in the US Army Energy Initiatives Task Force (now the Office of Energy Initiatives) developing 20 MW renewable energy projects on military bases. Before that, I worked for DOE and before that the Louisiana Public Service Commission as well as in the private sector on demand side management. All this practical experience was valuable, and I recognized that pairing it with a strong academic framework would give me the tools to solve really complex problems that will define the next several generations. I looked at a few programs, but I chose the EPC program at JHU because of the unique blend of students and professors. I knew that I would be exposed to great professors who are top experts in their subjects, but that I would also be surrounded by students who had firsthand perspectives in the complex nuances of energy and climate since they worked every day in government agencies, energy companies, NGOs and so forth. I knew that no other program would have as many students coming to class straight from their day jobs on the front lines of the rapidly changing energy and climate landscape. This has really raised the teaching to a much higher level.
What was your most memorable experience from the program? There are too many to count. I can point to numerous moments in the program when I said to myself “there’s nowhere else I’d rather be right now.” Here are a few:
- On the last day of class in Energy Law and Policy with Dr. Peter Saundry, before dismissing the class, he told the whole class never to lose sight of how important this work is. He said “you’re all early in your careers but just remember, this is really important work and it’s deeply satisfying. Don’t ever forget that.” I remember that moment often and I hear him saying it in my head every time I wonder if life would be easier if I converted GridLion into a t-shirt company.
- Christine Parthemore’s class Energy and Environmental Security truly deepened my perspective about how much this field is really a cross section of some of the most complex problems that the world faces today. The intellectual framework that Ms. Parthemore brought to that class ultimately shaped the way that I approach these issues when speaking about them today.
- The many happy hours in Dupont with friends from class are something that I don’t think I’ll forget. Big Hunt has great beer and good-enough fries.
How has the program enhanced your career? This program puts out students who wind up being multidisciplinary experts, able to really understand energy and climate from the point where the science, policy and economics intersect. I feel strongly that this program gave me sharper tools to succeed in an energy sector that is attracting so many smart people. Also, the contacts that I’ve made and relationships that I’ve sustained are personally fulfilling and will definitely benefit my career. I know that the people I was with in this program will be at the forefront of solving global problems in energy and climate, and as I seek to grow GridLion to be a piece of the solution puzzle, I will always be able to rely on my relationships from the EPC program for collaborations, advice, and friendship.
What are your future plans? I plan to continue to grow GridLion, first focusing on enhancing our work in the Maryland region and then into other markets. We are beginning to get involved in Sustainable Development projects in emerging markets as well. Energy access is a major issue; roughly 30% of world’s population do not have access to reliable, affordable energy. Closing this gap with low carbon, sustainable energy resources will have significant benefits in stabilizing global economies and enhancing global security. GridLion’s capabilities, which draw from my academic work at JHU, align with the capabilities needed to solve these challenges. At some point, maybe I’ll also come back to JHU as an adjunct professor.
Is there anything else you would like to share about the program? The diversity of classes and quality of the professors was impressive.
Would you be willing to share your email so that current or prospective students could contact you? Jeremy@GridLion.com
Molly Garcia, Class of 2016, Industry Research Analyst, Edison Electric Institute
What year did you graduate? December 2016
Where do you currently work and what do you do? I am an Industry Research Analyst at the Edison Electric Institute.
Why did you choose to get your master’s degree in Energy Policy and Climate from Johns Hopkins? I initially applied and was accepted into the sister-program, Environmental Science and Policy, which I felt had a good mix of science and policy, which it does. Since I have such a science-heavy background, it quickly became apparent that I found policy courses, especially those that focused on international climate policy and domestic energy policy to be the most interesting. I was very happy to have made the switch as early as I did.
What was your most memorable experience from the program? My last semester I did my capstone project while taking a course on international climate change policy. The day after the presidential election results came in, I went to class worried about the future of international action on climate. It was incredibly powerful to be in a room with so many people with different beliefs that all wanted to see US leadership on the issue continue despite campaign pledges to contrary, but hearing from our professor, who pulled on his many experiences working on climate policy at the state, federal, and international level gave me badly needed hope.
How has the program enhanced your career? The program opened a lot of doors for me, career wise, and I seem to meet another person who graduated from the program every few weeks. It really grew my network here in DC.
What are your future plans? I plan on staying in the field of energy for the foreseeable future and am considering going for my PhD in public policy, with a focus on technology and innovation.
Is there anything else you would like to share about the program? Take as many in-person classes as you can!
Mike Maier, Class of 2014, Solar Systems for Sunrun
What year did you graduate? 2014
Where do you currently work and what do you do? I work for Sunrun as the Branch Operations Manager for the Maryland location. We install residential solar systems in the DC/Baltimore area. It is extremely satisfying to be on the front lines of deploying renewable energy and knowing that every solar panel we install is a tiny step in the right direction toward combatting climate change.
Why did you choose to get your master’s degree in Energy Policy and Climate from Johns Hopkins? The curriculum was exactly what I was looking for; it blends the technical concepts of energy generation and climate science with the issues surrounding the regulatory and policy environment. I was impressed by how active the professors were in their fields and were able to bring current events into the classroom every week. Also, I knew that by being located in D.C., I would get the chance to meet students from very diverse backgrounds and careers. I met people who worked on the Hill, industry associations, NGOs, non-profits, and federal agencies. It was extremely helpful to learn about the industries of my peers to help me make my own career choice.
What was your most memorable experience from the program? All of the “a-ha” moments we had during class. The small class sizes allowed us to tailor our discussions to what was most relevant to us, as a class, and made the learning experience a lot more enjoyable. We broke down very complex systems into simpler concepts that are more relevant to policy makers. I especially enjoyed the climate science course as it allowed me to speak intelligently on a very hot topic in D.C. – no pun intended. Finally, it was just fun to be able to engage in the learning process with people that shared my passion.
How has the program enhanced your career? JHU opened to door for me to obtain an internship at the White House Council on Environmental Quality while still in the program. In addition, my capstone project was an important factor in obtaining a position at the U.S. EPA. My project was a guide for small water utilities to assist them in planning for the effects of climate change. The paper was eventually published in the American Water Works Association Journal and landed me a position with the EPA’s Climate Ready Water Utility initiative within the Office of Water. Now that I’m working in the renewable energy sector, my background from JHU has given me insights into the role my work plays in the larger issue of climate change.
What are your future plans? I plan to remain in the renewable energy industry. I’m optimistic that renewables will continue to gain share in the energy mix and it’s fulfilling to be in a growing industry that is having a positive impact on the world.