“Don’t spit in the soup; we all gotta eat it.”

That maxim comes from my maternal grandfather, who spent his career as a cook in the US Navy. Although he did not intend it as an environmental message, it’s a simple and direct call to accountability, both to oneself and one’s community, that continues to inform my actions.

I first came to clean energy through the lens of public health. Growing up outside of Chicago, I remember the heatwave of 1995 that left over 700 dead—mostly elderly people of limited means who lacked access to air conditioning. Beyond acute instances, I saw the chronic impacts of our dirty energy system as a high school student shadowing doctors treating children with asthma. Heading into college, I resolved myself to working on the difficult problems—and unlocking the unique opportunities—that arise at the intersection of energy and environmental issues.

My interest in the nuanced technical, economic, and policy issues set me on the winding path that I still tread today: from knocking doors in neighborhoods affected by power plant pollution to securing votes on landmark energy legislation to brainstorming creative approaches in design charrettes.

My desire to re-imagine problems and reconcile conflicting priorities across the “triple bottom line” has led me to the area of sustainable housing and community development, where tremendous value is stranded through traditional program models.

How can we as a society be willing to subsidize 20 years of inefficient energy use, but not have the foresight and patience to invest in efficient, sustainable choices? How can we invert the affordability model so that under-served communities can produce more of their basic needs, while harnessing the power of environmental markets?

While political organizing and sustainable design may seem incredibly disparate, they have one very clear element in common: to do it right, you need people. And to get people, you have to do right by them

I’m delighted to join the Groundswell team and work with partners across industries and geographies to ensure that the growing sustainable economy truly works for everyone.