E2 has become “the independent
business voice for the environment” because of the enthusiasm and hard work of our member volunteers. This month we feature profiles of seven volunteers who have made outstanding contributions in the past year: Chris Arndt (NY), Rick Degolia (CA), Berl Hartman (MA), David Readerman (CO), Laura Shenkar (CA), Jon Slangerup (CA) and Bob Wright (CA).
We hope their stories will encourage you to volunteer.
Christopher Arndt (New York)
In October 2007, Chris agreed to become E2 New York’s third chapter leader, joining Roger Ullman and Wendy Neu
. Chris volunteered to lead the group’s efforts on energy and global warming. Most recently, the members of the energy and global warming group helped to get New York State’s net metering bill
passed. Going forward, Chris says the group would like to revive a replacement tire efficiency measure, which would place the same efficiency standards on replacement automobile tires as apply to a new automobile’s original-manufacturer tires.
Chris is a partner at Select Equity Group
, a New York-based investment firm that manages $6.5 billion in public equities. He spent a lot of time in the outdoors growing up and, in particular, witnessed the transformation of the Potomac River from a filthy place that was unsuitable for any recreational activity into a river that, while still not the cleanest in the nation, was far improved. This instilled in Chris optimism about being able to improve environmental conditions and curiosity about how, politically and socially, such change could be achieved. He had already known about NRDC for several years prior to joining E2 in March 2006. Given his investment management background, several people advised Chris to look into E2 and when he sat down to lunch with Roger Ullman he realized there was indeed a fit. “I do think there is a clear need for a business voice in the environment that is not tied to a special interest and can cut through some of the stereotypes about environmental policy. E2 fills this niche.”
With E2, Chris is able to more effectively convey to legislators and the public what policies need to be in place to incentivize business managers to develop and invest in environmentally friendly products, services and/or practices. “Often the right policy can promote efficiency, competition, innovation, and environmental stewardship at the same time,”
Chris believes. In this regard, he is especially interested in the problem of global warming. “It’s an exciting issue to work on because we can see that economic and technical solutions do exist, that it is a solvable problem, and we just need put into place the right policies that will allow us to apply the best solutions right away.”
While the responsibilities of chapter leadership are many, Chris appreciates and has been enjoying his involvement with E2. He cites the caliber of E2’s membership, its well-organized structure and it partnership with NRDC as the strongest draws for him. “I have an increased sense of satisfaction. I’ve been able to meet people from different walks of life and very different areas of the business world who share similar interests and values.”
Rick DeGolia (California)
Rick’s interest in environmental issues was piqued when he took a class in environmental law at Harvard Law School. The class, taught by David Roe, Senior Attorney at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), exposed Rick to how the California Public Utilities Commission
(PUC) changed its rate structure to support investments in energy efficiency. Historically, utility regulators set electric and gas rates based solely on projected sales volume, which discourages utilities from promoting conservation. California was the first state to “decouple” utility sales and revenues, which dramatically changed the way utility companies approached energy. Negawatts (reduced use of electricity as a source of supply) became a valuable resource rather than something to avoid. When Rick was introduced to E2, he saw that what he learned about in class was being put into practice by E2. “It was brilliant the way the business issue was recognized and integrated with policies that benefit both the environment and business. E2 was created as an organization of business people that could focus on taking that analysis and build business support for smart environmental policy."
Rick liked that E2 focused on a critical issue – how to build environmental consciousness that delivers this message: a healthy environment is best for business. He found E2 members to be extremely active, involved in the community and intellectually engaged. He enjoyed the quality of events that provided highly informative information to anyone who is conservation-minded while respecting the busy schedules of E2 members. Rick joined E2 in 2001 and has been an active member ever since.
In addition to volunteering to be an E2 media speaker and policy advocate, Rick has been a delegate in the 2008 Washington, DC, 2008 Sacramento
and 2007 Sacramento
advocacy trips. Rick was called upon to provide his expertise on water management issues in California. When the California Water Board considered testimony on water policy and global warming on August 24, 2007, Rick provided testimony
emphasizing both the high energy use associated with the state’s water systems and the cost effectiveness of better water management. Rick has read thousands of pages of consultant reports commissioned by the CA Energy Commission and PUC to investigate how to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 5 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent (about three percent of the total reduction needed by 2020) through better water management. He and fellow E2 member Laura Shenkar (see profile below) researched and wrote a paper that estimates the impact of basic conservation with existing approaches and technologies in addressing the requirements of California’s climate change legislation, AB 32. (See “Reducing Greenhouse Gases through Improved Water Policies
.”) When Ronnie Cohen, Senior Policy Analyst with NRDC’s Western Water Project, was working on California Assembly Bill 2175, the water conservation bill co-authored by Assembly Members Mike Feuer and
John Laird, Rick provided feedback and analysis. AB 2175 has been passed to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
Rick’s participation in E2’s advocacy efforts has changed his attitude towards the political process. He notes that, “The experience has provided a focus for me to think about and discuss the critical environmental issues of the day. E2 provides an avenue for me to engage in our political process. I haven’t been involved in politics since 1972, when I was a student at Berkeley. But having a chance to meet with state and federal legislators introduced me to the political process and inspired me to get involved.”
Berl Hartman (Massachusetts)
Berl first met E2 Co-founder Bob Epstein while working in strategic marketing at Sybase, a database software company Bob co-founded. Years later, having moved to Boston and changed jobs, Berl found herself feeling that events were heading in the wrong direction: “It was early 2003 – the dotcom bubble had burst, the Senate had just been turned over to Republicans’ hands and the start of the U.S. war in Iraq was imminent.”
She got a call from Bob, inviting her to a talk he gave in Boston about E2’s successful efforts to pass a clean cars bill in California
. Berl had always been interested in local politics, and at the time was particularly concerned about global warming. When Bob asked her about starting a New England chapter of E2, she agreed to do what she could, but with a caveat. “I told Bob I didn’t know anything about the environment. On a good day, maybe I recycled. He assured me I’d learn it; that it was easier than selling software.”
Berl’s earliest efforts as Chapter Leader focused on recruitment events to build membership in New England. The chapter now has approximately 75 members and has gained four additional chapter co-leaders (see E2 Leadership webpage
), all thanks to Berl’s guidance. Today, advocacy is just as important a component to the New England chapter’s activities as events. (Keep reading this issue for a summary of the advocacy accomplishments the chapter has enjoyed in just the past year.)
As a result of joining E2 and learning more about clean energy issues, Berl turned her professional skills to cleantech marketing consulting which she pursued for several years. Berl now focuses her time and energy on E2 and the New England Clean Energy Council
, which she helped to found in 2007. She now serves on its board of directors and is the co-chair of the Council’s Policy Committee. She still very much enjoys both the event-planning and advocacy aspects of her E2 involvement. “E2 has become central to my perspective on issues. It showed me that when people are determined and organized they can actually make a difference. I’ve seen it this year here in Massachusetts where E2’s voice played a role in changing the environmental policy debate– and that has been very, very important.”
With characteristic modesty, Berl is quick to share credit for the success of the New England chapter with her co-chapter leaders and the experts of other regional environment-oriented organizations with which she has formed close working relationships.
In addition to New England regional activities, Berl has been very active on E2’s national projects. She is a regular delegate to the annual delegation trips to Washington, DC, has participated in recent efforts to redesign E2’s website
and update E2’s marketing plan, and serves on E2’s Advisory Council to help inform and guide growth and strategic direction.
David Readerman (Colorado)
As a Senior Investment Analyst at Marsico Capital Management
, David Readerman’s plate is already very full – he is responsible for the Tech and Energy investment positions in global growth portfolios with over $95 billion in assets under management. Yet, when he was introduced to E2 in 2000, he believed in the business plan and became an active E2 member. Supporting E2’s mission, David notes that “clean environment is good economics; it’s profitable and sound public policy. Global growth requires energy resources and a clean, safe environment.”
David joined E2’s Delegation to Washington, DC, in 2003
and again in 2007
, and participated in this year’s Department of Commerce’s "Green Trade Mission" to China and India
. He is also a chapter leader and co-founder of E2’s Rocky Mountains Chapter, founded in 2007. The Rocky Mountains chapter has grown to 25 members in a short amount of time. David and fellow chapter leader Andrew Currie have applied “best practices” from other E2 chapters and adapted them to the unique character of Colorado. They are actively recruiting E2 members, building an events calendar of environmental issues, and spearheading a unique bi-partisan approach to engage both 2008 presidential campaigns in environmental discussions.
David is organizing events to expose national E2 members to the energy policies of both Senators McCain and Obama, and is working to schedule events with members of the candidates’ campaign staffs to discuss energy and climate policy agendas in their potential administrations. David strongly believes that “the United States needs a bi-partisan national energy policy. It’s not simply about wind or solar for renewable portfolio standards. It’s more than year-to-year Congressional infighting for investment tax or production tax credits. I believe that E2 – with its non-partisan, ‘we care, we vote’ membership – can and should make its voices and insights heard for Election 2008.”
David regularly meets with key energy sector players in Washington, DC. He is uniquely positioned to make strong, non-partisan appeals for sound environmental policy that also builds economic prosperity. “My impact is that I am not a lobbyist. I pay my own way to participate. I go to bring an ounce of real-world, business perspective to the political process.”
David’s efforts have helped to increase E2’s presence in Washington, DC, and expand E2’s membership in the Rocky Mountains. But perhaps the best part about David’s tireless work is the opinion of his eight-year old son, who thinks that “Dad is cool – he wants to save the planet.”
Laura Shenkar (California)
Laura’s firm, the Artemis Project, focuses on the emergence of innovative water technology. As Principal at Artemis, Laura divides her time between helping advanced water technologies go to market and working with a limited group of leading corporations to apply advanced water technology.
In February 2007, Laura met E2 Co-founder Bob Epstein at a Cleantech Investor Forum in San Francisco (hosted each year by the Cleantech Group), where she asked him how she could contribute to E2’s efforts to improve water management. Bob forwarded her inquiry to E2 Northern California member Rick DeGolia (see profile above), who was just starting a study for E2 that estimates the impact of basic conservation with existing approaches and technologies in addressing the requirements of California’s climate change legislation, AB 32. (See “Reducing Greenhouse Gases through Improved Water Policies.”) Laura was happy to sign on.
Having spent most of her career outside the U.S. in places where water scarcity has been a more significant issue, Laura was the perfect co-author for E2’s water study project. She brought an understanding of the potential of cutting-edge technologies that consumers, industry and agriculture could use to help remediate local water availability problems. For example, drip irrigation is well-established as a general approach in water-scarce regions similar to California, like Israel, Australia and Spain, but it is viewed as a niche solution here in the U.S., both for homes and for agriculture.
Being involved in the project also increased her base of knowledge. “This project helped broaden my understanding of the big picture for water management. The water policy paper looked at water management challenges from a policy perspective, rather than a market perspective. I gained an understanding of how advanced technologies fit in the overall potential for improved water efficiency. Low-flow toilets aren’t advanced technology, but they are an important part of California’s water efficiency strategy.”
The water policy paper has also served to prepare Laura to support other E2 initiatives. She has been working on researching and producing profiles of three water technology companies that will soon be added to the E2 Climate Campaign website’s Innovative Companies section. Over the longer term, Laura hopes to identify technologies that address the applications which offer the most energy savings: onsite water recycling, cooling towers using water rather than air, and drip irrigation.
Laura feels her time working on E2 projects has been well spent. “Usually when you provide your time pro-bono, you don’t get a lot of bang for your buck. What’s exciting and rewarding about my work with E2 is that is has been listened to – it has had the opportunity to influence policy. E2 has a very shrewd, agile approach to implementing that which is possible and most important. It is also extraordinarily effective at answering questions and understanding what conditions need to be in place to expedite the implementation of environmental solutions.”
Jon Slangerup (California)
Jon is President and CEO of ClearEdge Power, a private California-based corporation which develops, manufactures and markets fuel cell systems that generate ultra-clean power and heat for homes and small businesses. Since 2000, Jon has been engaged in the cleantech industry, previously serving as CEO of Solar Integrated Technologies, a public solar roofing company, and CEO of Stuart Energy Systems, a public hydrogen infrastructure company. Prior to his work in cleantech, Jon completed a 20-year executive career with FedEx, serving until 2000 as President of FedEx Canada.
In 2003, Dan Goldman invited Jon to join the newly forming E2 New England chapter, of which Dan is now a chapter leader. At the time, Jon was based in Toronto and while he joined and even spoke at a May 2003 Boston event, he found he didn’t have quite enough time to fully participate. When Jon moved to Los Angeles in 2005 for his work with Solar Integrated Technologies, he immediately contacted E2 and started getting more involved. “I’ve always believed the biggest focus for environmental issues has to be on government policy and legislation. Since NRDC has been so active and successful at that, and with the backing and leadership of the organization so prominent in that regard, I felt it was important for me and [wife] Tracy to support the organization. And E2 by association was a natural fit.”
Jon describes himself as a strong advocate for energy security and addressing climate change as it pertains to energy and transportation. Jon was actively involved in advocating for the passage of AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act. He was part of a team of Southern California E2 members who met with targeted legislators in their district offices to educate them about the bill, listen to their concerns, answer their questions and ultimately steer them toward voting for passage of the bill. The bill passed in August 2006, but Jon has remained heavily involved, attending implementation workshops and contributing to draft reports on specific solutions strategies. (See E2 Climate Campaign for related information.)
Jon has also volunteered considerable time and expertise as a delegate on E2’s advocacy trips to Sacramento and Washington, DC. He regards the opportunity to serve as an E2 delegate an honor and privilege. “E2 allows me to participate in the political process in a very positive, action-oriented way. There’s sincerity and power about what we’re doing that I think is never lost on the people with whom we meet. We’re not paid and not there for a specific company’s benefit. We’re there for a higher purpose, and people understand that. I think that’s why E2 has been so effective.”
With graduate and undergraduate degrees in business administration and aeronautics, Jon also has been involved with the California Hydrogen Business Council, California’s Fuel Cell Partnership, California’s Hydrogen Network Advisory Team, the U.S. Department of Energy’s International Partnership for a Hydrogen Economy, E2C2’s Business Climate Network, Global Green and World Wildlife Fund. Asked why he thinks E2 stands out, Jon says he appreciates “the quality of leadership. Bob and Nicole are remarkable and inspirational in their commitment. It’s been great to be involved with a high-quality, high-charge organization. I’ve formed great friendships with people I would not have otherwise met.”
Robert Wright (California)
Bob Wright feels strongly that the conversation around the environment and business needs to change. Historically, people and organizations have generally been either pro-environment or pro-business, with very little overlap. In May of 2002, Bob was invited to attend an E2 EcoSalon, “National Energy Policy: Who’s Paying for It?”, hosted by E2 member Rick DeGolia (see Rick’s profile above). Bob was impressed with the E2 members he met as they were results-oriented entrepreneurs and innovators. He enjoyed being around like-minded individuals who are extraordinary people. In E2, Bob found an organization that “is changing the economic and environmental model that’s out there. E2 gets results. It’s both pro-business and pro-environment.” He felt so strongly about the organization that he joined five days later.
Since then, Bob has participated in many more E2 events and advocacy efforts. Most recently, Bob assisted E2 with its market re-positioning efforts. Bob, founder and principal of Marketing Arts, Inc., specializes in the creation of break-away positioning and launch strategies. Bob joined the E2 Marketing Committee and helped shape the E2 positioning and marketing message. Bob led a series of positioning workshops with the E2 marketing team to update and evolve E2’s messaging and positioning story, and to make it more relevant. The results have strengthened the E2 website, newsletter and outreach materials.
Bob’s involvement with E2 has provided him opportunities to learn about the issue that interests him the most – global warming – as well as other environmental issues that have economic implications. Bob notes that “E2 has provided me with a great education on environmental and business issues. I’ve learned about global warming, energy policy, biofuels, water management and legislative priorities. It feels good to be involved with an organization that is making an impact. E2 provides a vehicle for individuals to participate and be rewarded for their efforts. E2 increases my knowledge and education and helps me to make a difference.”