Episode 40: Katherine Hamilton
This week, Jon Powers sits down with Katherine Hamilton, co-founder and chair of 38 North Solutions, a public policy firm focused on clean energy and innovation, to discuss current climate culture and the challenges political leaders face with clean energy innovation. This discussion is about how policy makers influence new technologies, resilience and clean energy, and the role of innovation as a marketforce.
Katherine has served in advisory roles for the Energy Storage Association and Good Energies, Inc., The American Bioenergy Association, and the National Renwable Energy Laboratory. She has also spent a decade designing electrical systems for commercial and residential developments. Katherine is also co-host of The Energy Gang podcast through Greentech Media.
Jon Powers: Welcome to Experts Only Podcast, sponsored by Clean Capital. You can learn more cleancapital.com. I’m your host, Jon Powers. Each week we explore the intersection of energy, innovation and finance with leaders across the industry. Thank you so much for joining us.
Thanks so much for joining us again at Experts Only Podcasts. This is your host, Jon Powers. You can always learn more and get more episodes at Clean Capital’s website, cleancapital.com. Today we’re speaking with Katherine Hamilton, the co-founder and chair of 38 North Solutions, a public policy firm focused on clean energy and innovation. Katherine has had a dynamic career advancing federal clean energy policy. She’s served in advisory roles with the Energy Storage Association and Good Energies; has been an advocate for renewable energy portfolios in places like New Jersey and Maryland as the co-director of the American Bioenergy Association; has worked along with folks in every level of government including places like the National Renewable Energy Lab.
But in addition to her policy experience, Katherine spent a decade at the utility designing electrical systems for commercial and residential development. You’re going to hear our conversation today about the incredible experience she’s had in her career, taking her from school in France to designing utility systems here in the U.S. She’s also the cohost of The Energy Gang podcast through Greentech Media, who we are obviously big fans of. Katherine serves as an ambassador to the C3E Program under the Clean Energy Ministerial and co-chairs the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Energy Council, and serves with me on the GRID Alternatives board for the mid-Atlantic. So I’m really excited to have her on, and you’re in for a fascinating conversation.
Katherine, thank you so much for joining us an Experts Only Podcast.
Katherine: I’m so excited to do this, Jon. You’re a superstar and I’m so excited to be talking to you.
Jon Powers: Well, I appreciate it. You’ve had an amazing career and you’re a real leader in the space, and I want to sort of step back and look at how you ended up even getting into clean energy and sustainability. Looking at your background, you studied English at Cornell and then went on to study culture and civilization at the Sorbonne in France. How did you go from that to clean energy?
Katherine: Yeah, and I wanted to write and illustrate children’s books. That was my dream.
Jon Powers: Really?
Jon Powers: That’s amazing.
Katherine: So instead I became an engineer for a power company. I really started by serving subpoenas at $6 an hour for a law firm in D.C., which I immediately realized that I neither wanted to serve subpoenas, nor did I want to be a lawyer. So I got a job at the utility. I worked summers doing some technical writing because I can write, doing technical writing for Virginia Power. And then I applied to be what they called a service representative, but basically I designed grids for commercial customers, I designed circuit conversions, so upgrading a line from a 2kV to a 20kV line. I had to go to night school in engineering and learn alternating current and go to labs, but I learned on the job and I would illustrate my blueprints sometimes. They always knew it was from me. That’s how I got out the itch- [crosstalk 00:00:03:27].
Yeah. Quaker Lane and Alexander always had a Quaker on it. So that’s how I got into it. But I started, the first 12 years of my career were all very technical.
Jon Powers: Wow, that’s fascinating. So do you feel like walking out of school, I mean, it was just sort of opportunity, you landed it and then figured out the skill set as you were diving in?
Katherine: Yeah, I found that I really liked it. I found that I loved engineering, that it made so much sense. I don’t mean for this to sound demeaning to engineers, but it was almost like reading a cookbook, in that it was very logical. I could follow the formulas and yet I also got to go out into the field and meet people and talk to people and negotiate where are the lines going to go, where do we need to dig the vaults, and do we need a French drain here? Do I need to design something new and different because we’re in a flood plain? There were all these different things that I thought were challenging but really interesting, and it turned out there was a piece of my brain that really enjoyed that.
Jon Powers: How did you go from the logical to the illogical in terms of policy? [crosstalk 00:04:35]
Katherine: Well after I was at the power company, I reached out very opportunistically to Mark Ginsberg who was then at the Department of Energy. He ran the Federal Energy Management Program, to try to get federal facilities to take leadership and be more efficient and install renewables. And I reached out to him and I said, “I love what you do. I would love to work with you and work on energy efficiency and new technology and renewable energy.” And I had, during my days at the power company, we were doing thermal energy storage. We were installing ice storage systems in the late ’80s and early ’90s, so we were ahead of the curve then anyway, had all kinds of interesting rate structures.
And so I brought that to him and he said, “Well, I’ll hire you through NREL because NREL is more technology-focused.”
So I gave a presentation in front of 12 scientists, which is the way you had to get hired there. I did it on rate structures and they had probably no idea what I was talking about. So blew them away.
Jon Powers: [crosstalk 00:05:33] the same.
Katherine: And so then I was very much in program management for energy efficiency. I was on the audit team for the vice president’s mansion here in D.C. I became a certified energy manager. So I had to go through that process and took the test and became certified so that I could have some credibility when I walked into energy managers at federal sites, whether it was DOD or other federal agencies, started a water efficiency program, did a big water project out in New Mexico. So I was very, very focused on making projects happen.
And a friend of mine was doing all of this congressional and legislative work and she was about to leave and she said, “Hey, you’d probably be good at this,” because I understood technology. And she said, “You can pick up on the political stuff, but you are” … I guess maybe it was my English background or my communications. She said, “You can translate the very technical into terms that members of Congress or other policy makers can understand, and”-
Jon Powers: You can draw it in a children’s book for them.
Katherine: That’s right. That’s right. [crosstalk 00:06:40] I could do it in a children’s … And so I started out by being an expert witness for House Science Committee, things like that. And then I grew into being much more into the policy side and found that that was the perfect marriage of the technology background and my communications.
Jon Powers: Interesting. Interesting. And so now you’ve covered such a spectrum. Put aside the culture and civilization side, but you were on the engineering side, you were on the government side, you were getting deeper on the policy side. And later on you moved into the nonprofit space with roles like the policy director at the Energy Storage Association, and obviously you were very active at GridWise. So as you’ve gone through now seeing policy from all these different lenses, how has that helped sort of educate the role you’re in today?
Katherine: Yeah, and I also co-directed American Bioenergy Association. All of those associations, nonprofits were very much based on trying to get technology out the door. When I was with Energy Storage Association, it was like a science club. I mean, it was … Storage just, other than pumped hydro- [crosstalk 00:00:07:52].
It wasn’t out there. Yeah, it was not cool. And bioenergy has never been cool. So I just picked [crosstalk 00:07:58]. But they were all very much about: how do we take technology that still has to be scaled and scale it, and scale it through public policy? So you have to understand not just the technology and how it works, but you also have to understand how are they going to make a business? What’s the business model that you’re trying to promote, and then what are the policies that are going to help that business model?
So that’s why all of the technology was so good when I started with Energy Storage Association and with GridWise Alliance too, because GridWise, certainly that was about smart grid and I knew a lot about the grid and how it worked. So it was very easy for me to then visualize, all right, we’re going to overlay this grid with a bunch of communications technologies. That makes total sense to me so that when during the Recovery Act, when President Obama was putting forth all this money, I could say, “Look, smart grid is absolutely shovel-ready jobs. The grid is there. You just have to get some smart technology out there. This is a perfect program to put these Recovery Act dollars in, and it’s going to go to a workforce that desperately needs it.” So that’s how I was able to stitch that together.
Jon Powers: Wow, interesting. So in all those experiences, right, you’re covering a variety of different parts of the sector. How did that lead you into launching a 38 North Solutions? Talk a little bit about what you all do there.
Katherine: Yeah. I moved from GridWise into a typical lobby shop, Quinn Gillespie. I had never been in a big lobby shop, and I found that that construct was not my thing. I hate doing political fundraising.
Jon Powers: I hear you.
Katherine: I know you have to do it, but I hate that stuff and I’d much prefer to figure out the gnarly problems of what smart policy can we get to help XYZ technology? So a group of us that were running the energy practice, and it was a clean energy practice at Quinn Gillespie, we said, “All right, well why don’t we pull our skills together? We should still have relationships with all these great people we’re working with at QGA, but let’s start our own firm that’s very mission-based and make sure this is only focused on clean tech and innovation, that we stick to our guns, that we don’t do anything in fossil?”
We have never done anything in nuclear. It’s just very much about the technologies that we know about and offer ourselves as people who understand the technology. We understand the business model and how you make money with that technology and scale that technology. And then what are the policies that can enhance it? And we started certainly more on the federal side, but now we’re in almost every state, we’re working in Canada. I do a lot of international work. So the same principles can apply anywhere. It’s all about, then: okay, how do you build the relationships to make sure that you can get that policy done?
Jon Powers: Right. So first of all, where does the name come from, 38 North Solutions?
Katherine: Yeah. Well at the time, we didn’t think anybody would ever be talking about the DMZ that is between North and South Korea, which is the 38 North parallel. We thought nobody’s going to be talking about that. [crosstalk 00:11:12] So the 38 North parallel, it is a lateral parallel and it starts in actually Chincoteague, the Assateague lighthouse. But I’d say that’s D.C., sort of D.C. is on the east coast and it crosses through St. Louis where Lewis and Clark started their journey, and goes all the way out to the Point Reyes lighthouse in San Francisco. So this was about connecting policy to innovation, and that’s how we thought of it. We thought of ourselves as like we’re doing more than just focused on lobbying. We’re really thinking about this from a much more holistic standpoint, like how do we move innovation out in a way that makes sense through public policy?
Jon Powers: And you guys are pretty bipartisan, right? I mean, your partner Dave was most recently sort of Speaker Ryan’s chief of staff.
Katherine: Yeah. Dave Hoppe is the only person I think who has been both the majority leader’s chief of staff and the Speaker of the House’s chief of staff. He knows everybody, everybody knows him, and he is one of those people. He says, “For some reason the never-Trumpers like me and the Trumpers like me.” That’s great because he’s wonderful for that sort of access. And then my co-owner of the business is Isaac Brown who worked in leadership in the House and the Democratic leadership. But he and I have a very similar approach to technology and innovation and business models as being the drivers for public policies.
So the three of us work great together. We strategize well together. Yes, you could say we’re bi-partisan. I like to think that what we do is really nonpartisan. It’s about how do you create smart public policy that appeals do a lot of different people in different regions of the country, and that helps everybody. Because I never worked on the Hill, I don’t have sort of that political background. So that’s how we see ourselves. We certainly market ourselves as being able to work both sides of the aisle, but I like to think of ourselves as nonpartisan.
Jon Powers: Yeah, and give me an example. I mean, you don’t have to name a company, but sort of a case study of something you’re doing with one of your clients up there.
Katherine: So we have several different types of clients. One is we would have maybe a startup client, a very small company that they may need something like appropriations funding, a more research kind of funding, early stage. And some of those companies might be like Form Energy that’s out of MIT, but that’s at Greentown Lab, that’s one of our clients. LineVision is also in Greentown Lab. So there are startups that we like to help to try to get them the lay of the land. They may have a great idea but then policy will just become this big impediment that they never thought of.
And then we also help large multinational companies, for example, Umicore, which is a critical materials manufacturing and recycling company. And they have operations all over the world and they’re invested in all kinds of vehicle technologies, clean energy technologies, and they have a very different approach. Theirs is more about: how do we make sure that we still have a global footprint, but do it in a way that really also enhances what’s happening in the U.S. and clean energy and clean technology? So they’re sort of along the spectrum of companies, and then we also manage associations and coalitions.
Jon Powers: Right. Absolutely. Interesting. So stepping out of your day job a little bit and just sort of looking geopolitically, we’re at a really interesting time for issues like climate change and clean energy. We were talking offline, but I think that we’re sort of seeing an unprecedented moment for climate change awareness. Regardless of what we’re seeing out of the White House, we’re seeing tremendous leadership by corporate companies like Walmart and Apple and eBay and so many others that are getting behind the we’re still in movement of series, but actually doing significant efforts around distributed generation.
You’ve got the Speaker of the House just recently opened up the new session of Congress discussing the importance of climate. Even Chuck Todd had a Meet the Press where the entire show was discussing climate change. And actually, to give him some props, he courageously didn’t invite a climate denier on and said, “Look, the debate’s over, let’s keep going,” which is an interesting approach. And I think hopefully you’ll see sort of more media making sure they’re not giving … If they’re going to give a fair amount of time, make sure you get 97 scientists saying this and three saying that.
So what’s your read of the current climate? Why is it all of a sudden that we’re at a place that there’s a cultural awakening happening around climate?
Katherine: Yeah, I totally agree with you that we are at this moment and I don’t think it’s going to end anytime soon. So a lot of things; it’s sort of the perfect storm, if you want to consider it, so to speak, because there are many of us, as you know, that have been working in the trenches forever, for decades to try to move climate policy forward. And it was always sort of this ephemeral thing like, “Oh yeah, that would be a good idea. But it’s all these enviros that are doing it. It’s all the hippy dippy stuff,” and then you start getting people who think about it from the economic standpoint. So corporates who first just think it’s a good part of their stewardship proposal, but now it’s really becoming an economic issue. At the same time that all these people were working in the trenches, they were also putting into place production tax credit, the investment tax credit, which have been instrumental in bringing down the cost of clean energy technologies like solar and wind.
So the price points have come down. And so by investing early in all these technologies, whether it was from the R&D standpoint or from the tax side or more on the policy side, those costs have come down. So now we’re at a point where it’s cheaper to invest in clean energy. There’s a stewardship issue and climate is in our face; every day, some disaster is happening. So people are, from a visceral standpoint, aware of it. It’s new, it’s not ephemeral anymore, like, “Oh yeah, I know you say it’s climate change and it’s global warming and it’s a little warm, but on a cold day, is it really warming?” But now people see that’s not what it’s about. It’s about all of this just wide range of catastrophe that’s happening as a result of what we have been doing to our planet.
Jon Powers: Right. And so from a political perspective, right, we’re seeing … We’ve talked a lot on this show and I know you guys have on Energy Gang about the federal policy piece is continuing to sort of percolate. But we’re seeing a lot of action at the states. But now we’ve got a split Congress, and if they ever open the government again, what are some of the thoughts, both in the challenges but also sort of the opportunity for re-advancing clean energy and innovation at the federal level?
Katherine: Yeah, it’s this interesting bringing together of new, super-energized young members of Congress who are very activated by trying to mitigate climate change. That is just part of what they’ve grown up with and they fully believe in it and they want to get something done and they want to get something done fast, and it needs to be aspirational. And that is great. And that’s combined with people who are in leadership now who’ve been working on this for decades and were in the middle of the Waxman-Markey bill a decade ago, and know how to make things happen. So you have this coming together on the House side.
And in the Senate side, you have a lot of people … Senators tend to be slightly different in the way that they think about things. And if they’re looking at it from a full state level, every state has been impacted. And so you really have a bipartisan approach to energy issues. It may not be so focused on say, a green new deal, and yet I think some things are going to happen. I think we can’t help but have things happen, and right now is when they’re starting to think about it and what does this need to look like?
And I think aspirational is great. I mean, I think we have to go there. We have to think of it as this is a war that we’re fighting for our planet. We have to do this. And yes, the people who pollute should be paying for it. At the same time, we need to, as a country, galvanize around it and hold our political leaders responsible. I think throughout the president’s race in 2020, every single candidate, this is going to come up as an issue: what are you going to do on climate change? Because I think at this point people care.
Jon Powers: Yeah. I mean, if it’s not part of the presidential debates in the next round, then I think we as an industry have missed an opportunity to really drive this forward. And I think we as a culture though, we’re seeing the emergence [inaudible 00:20:02] I think it will, but I think we can’t sit on our laurels and hope it happens, right? We’ve got to keep being aggressive to push this forward.
Katherine: Absolutely. And we have to keep coming up with good ideas to feed into the process.
Jon Powers: Absolutely. So speaking of good ideas, so moving out of sort of the political a little bit and into the technical work, we’re living through a transformational moment in terms of the way energy is distributed in this country. We’re going from a centralized power grid that was one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century to a more decentralized grid. You’ve got major offtakers who are actually sophisticated enough to want to control and manage their own power. You’ve got campuses and data centers that are focused on energy security in a whole new way. There’s a lot of things that are absolutely disrupting the way we’re moving ahead.
I wanted to talk at one point about PURPA with you, but maybe that’s a whole other podcast, sort of PURPA 101. What I really want to talk about is technology, right? Why are all of a sudden the emergence of these new technologies a tipping point for what we’re seeing in today’s grid?
Katherine: Well, it’s interesting because it goes back to my days at the utility a little bit in that at that time the utilities were the innovators and they were really the only innovators on the grid. They controlled the grid, they innovated, and at some point the grid was stable. They had accommodated load growth with new power plants. They could do incremental things. Well now technology is completely different. Innovation is so democratized. So some kid can design an app in their bedroom that can change the way consumers interact with the grid, and it completely flips everything on its head. So now the innovation is coming from the outside and it’s threatening to a lot of utilities who are like, “Well wait a second, we were supposed to be doing that.”
Well you didn’t. So now there’s so much more consumer engagement, and certainly the corporates are starting to do that and starting to demand: we want clean energy because it’s cheaper, it’s more resilient, there are no fuel issues, there’s fuel security, it’s diverse. But now just everyday consumers are doing that, too. So consumers can make choices just as they do with everything else in their lives. And it’s become so cheap that they can make a choice on what kind of car they want. If it’s an electric car, they can make a choice on whether they want a solar panel with a backup battery. And not only is it cleaner, in many cases, it’s cheaper, it lowers their rates. They’re sick and tired of utilities continuing to raise rates for building power plants that we don’t need.
And then the other thing is that it provides resilient services. So if we think back on all these natural disasters and you look at the systems that were able to come back quickly, they were not the big power plants. They were the much more distributed systems that may have failed quickly, but they came back much more quickly, too. So I think all of this is coming together in a way that the good news is that we have this innovation and we have people who’ve been thinking about this and thinking about: how do we really get edge of the grid technology to become more of the solutions set? And now it is, and it needs to be.
Jon Powers: And so what message are you taking into the C-suites of some of these companies you’re working with? A lot of times when you have startups or growing tech companies, they’re engineers, they may be businessmen, but they’ve got to be able to really understand the shifting regulatory landscape that’s happening right now around clean energy. So what advice do you give them when you go in and sort of kick off your relationship?
Katherine: Yeah, it’s funny because I did work for a private equity company, and in that role, while I was supposedly doing policy, I was really doing a lot of due diligence because I knew about technology and a lot of their portfolio companies were companies that were technologies that I knew a lot about. So I was able to help on that front. And one of the questions is: all right, who are you selling to? Well, everybody who makes a widget or an app thinks that because it’s so awesome, everybody’s going to want to buy it. And that just isn’t the case, especially in the utility industry. Utilities are risk-averse. And of course by all rights, they’re risk-averse. They are handling a very dangerous, sensitive system.
And so you have to say, “All right, now let’s see, what is this going to do? Who do we need to get to? Who are you selling to? And who are the influencers in this?”
And often the influences are the state regulators. And getting state regulators to open their brains a little bit because for the most part, the people they’ve been interacting with are the utilities and the utilities tell them, “This is the way everything works and it’s the way it’s always going to work.” And so regulators need to understand: oh, there are other things, there are other ways of looking at this, there are technologies that can go around what we’re doing and what we’re regulating. So how do we think about this differently?
So I always try to map it out: who are you trying to get to? What’s your goal with your company? What’s your business model? And then let’s figure out: how do policy makers influence it, if at all? Is there an intersection? I would wager that there always is. If you are in the United States of America, there is a policy maker somewhere that affects you.
Jon Powers: So on that intersection; first of all, I mean, we talk a lot on this show about sort of a call to action, right, and telling folks that you really need to identify and be a part of the conversation to change it. Actually one of the things we do at Clean Capital is we track down to the level of our projects and actually in Salesforce track the congressional districts it’s in, so we can know if we can identify and maybe send a letter to a certain member in whatever state that we’re active in. So there’s a political side, but the policy side, there’s so much disruption happening and you’ve got policy efforts in New York around REV, or obviously California that continues to really strive. You’ve got Illinois, Texas, all these really interesting policy disruptions that are happening. Do you see any organizations that are helping to sort of lead in developing those policies that folks should be really paying attention to or be active with?
Katherine: Yeah, so I mean one of the big things with any regulatory policy, and you’ve just put your finger on it, is tracking where these projects are and who are the policymakers that impact those, and you just have to show up. So some of it is not about … I mean, yeah, you can write a letter, but instead, if you could invite that member of Congress to come and tour that plant and show them the solar panels there, they would remember that more than they’d remember anything else. They’d say, “Oh, I see it. I know what that is now.”
But one of the groups that I work with is Advanced Energy Management Alliance, and we are an advocacy group. We go state by state working on distributed energy resource advocacy, and we don’t make a big splash with any kind of conferences. We don’t have a huge footprint, but we’re there. We file in every single proceeding, we show up, we testify.
That’s the kind of group you want to associate with, is like: who are the people on the ground that are really going to make a difference, if you don’t have the personnel to do it? I mean, there’s some companies that are big enough, like Walmart is everywhere. They are engaged. And actually, they’re one of my members of my organization, too. So they’re helpful in that way. But also, they have policy people who can show up. Not everybody does, but those who do, I mean, that’s the important thing is you need to be part of the stakeholder process. Otherwise, you know the utility’s going to have people there, you know all their lawyers are going to be there. But if you can show up and talk about what you’re doing in their state or their township or wherever it is, and show that you actually impact real lives and can tell a story about that, that will make a bigger impact than almost anything else.
Jon Powers: Yeah, I agree. Having been on the other side of the table when business leaders are coming in to talk about what they’re doing, it’s so much more … Nothing against lobbyists, it’s just that much more impactful than having a lobbyist at the table to tell the story.
So just a couple of final questions. I think, you obviously being a public persona in the space and being a leader in the space, folks are sort of constantly out trying to stay updated and find good news. Other than the Energy Gang, which we’ll talk about in a second, is there any specific areas or sites that you sort of want to push people to, to help them keep their fingers on what’s going on in clean energy?
Katherine: Yeah, so a couple of things I would just suggest is I know Twitter can be a bad place in some ways, but energy Twitter is actually great. So I follow a ton of reporters on Twitter, especially on the energy front, because they just have top stories all the time. And of course there are great … There’s Greentech Media, Utility Dive, ENENews. I mean, all of those are really good outlets for getting stories. I mean, I download the political stuff too because I need to know what the politicals are doing, and all those relationships that are ongoing. But those are my main go-to resources. Honestly, when I’m at home trying to get to bed at night, I’m reading fiction. I do not read politics or energy, or I would never sleep.
Jon Powers: And then finally sort of as a fellow podcaster, how did you get involved with Energy Gang, and what’s sort of your involvement with the medium sort of taught you?
Katherine: It’s funny because I was joking when we were taping the Energy Gang yesterday, and Steven and Jigar were talking about how great it’s been, and it really has been an amazingly positive experience for all of us. We’re such good friends. They came to me, and it was right after I’d started 38 North Solutions. So this was over five years ago. And they said, “Hey, you want to do a podcast?”
And I was like, “Yeah, sure. I have no idea what you mean when you say podcast; what do I wear?”
And they said, “You don’t have to wear anything.”
And I was like, “I am in.”
So that’s how it started. And I went back and listened to our first one, and I thought, “Oh, it’s going to be so hard. It’s going to be like looking at a picture of me in third grade.” But it turned out that … I’m so preparatory-oriented. I spend hours and hours and hours preparing and I take notes and I have them all spread out on a table so that I’ll never ever be caught without the right number and fact at hand. So I realized that from the beginning, I’ve been prepared. It’s not luck, it’s work. But it’s been so fun to do. It’s just a great medium. And I’m sure you’ve found that, too.
Jon Powers: Yeah, I agree. I mean, you can have really interesting conversations. You’re not sort of cut off by time, and I find, in a way, that I’m constantly learning. So it’s my incentive to keep doing it, because I feel like they’re conversations that excite me and I hope I can take stuff, and if other people do too, great.
Katherine: Yeah, I totally agree. And it’s very intimate; because you have somebody’s voice in your ear, you sort of feel like you know them, you have a connection to them, even if it’s obviously not someone that you’re seeing face-to-face. And so you probably have the same thing where people come up to me and say, “Oh, I didn’t know you looked like that.” Somebody said, “I thought you were going to have red hair.”
I’m like, “I’m so sorry to disappoint.”
They probably also thought I was 30 years younger. But yeah, it’s a really interesting medium and I love it. I listen to all kinds of podcasts that have nothing to do with energy.
Jon Powers: Well, that’s awesome. So I always ask the same question for our listeners, and I’m going to change it a little bit here for you because I usually say when you’re coming out of such an amazing, established career, but if you could sit down with yourself coming out of high school or college; but I’ll say: if you could sit down with yourself and France and have a glass of wine and give yourself advice-
Katherine: Oh, and I did.
Jon Powers: Say listen, “Don’t go and serve papers for $6 an hour.” What advice would you give yourself?
Katherine: Yeah, it’s funny because I actually don’t think I would do anything differently. I feel like I’ve had this wonderful life and I’ve learned so much. Every single thing I’ve done, I’ve learned something new and different. And I’ve really enjoyed almost everything I’ve done for different reasons. And I learned something serving subpoenas. I mean, it’s a story to tell and I learned I didn’t want to be a lawyer.
So I mean, one thing is I see a lot of young people with their entire life planned out: yeah, I’m going to do this, and then I’m going to do this, and then I’m going to this. And I’m like, “Oh my gosh, you haven’t given yourself any room for creativity or risk or opportunity or chance. What if something comes along that’s really different that you never thought you would do, but man, it might be really interesting and fun and give you a whole new skill set? Go for it.”
So I’ve always been a risk taker, which is odd because I have four kids and you would think I’d be just super conservative and not want to put anything to chance, but I’m terrible about it. I take risks all the time.
Jon Powers: That’s awesome. I was an elementary education major [inaudible 00:33:24].
Katherine: See, but that’s why you’re doing what you do. You’re perfect.
Jon Powers: Well listen, I’ll go teach the class. You can draw some children’s books.
Katherine: That’s right.
Jon Powers: We’ll start educating these kids about climate change. So, awesome. Thank you so much for joining us and thank you for your continued leadership in the space. I know I hope to have you on again in the future, but as always, look forward to working with you on so many exciting things.
Katherine: Thank you so much, Jon, and continue your leadership, too.
Jon Powers: Thank you.
Thank you so much for Katherine, for joining us today. There’s so much happening in the clean energy marketplace, and you can hear from our conversation today, Katherine really has her thumb on the industry. You can learn more about some of our other podcasts at cleancapital.com. And as always, we look forward to your feedback. If you have folks you think we should be interviewing and talking to you, please share it with us.
I’d like to thank our producer Lauren Glickman for her hard work. And as always, I look forward to continuing the conversation.
Thanks for listening in today’s conversation. Find more episodes on cleancapital.com, iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe and leave us a five star review. We look forward to continuing our conversation on energy, innovation, and finance with you.