White House Honors Veterans for Clean Energy Efforts
To honor veterans who’ve dedicated themselves to clean energy and climate security, Dr. Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy joined together with other federal officials at a “Champions of Change” event at the White House.
In the event’s spotlight were 12 veterans who have applied the skills they learned in the service to protecting our climate and advancing clean energy technology. Among the veterans were Andrea Marr, Joseph Kopser and Elizabeth Perez-Halperin, who recently sat down with Matty Greene of the U.S. Department of Energy to discuss these skills and the ways in which they are applying them.
Other honorees included Dave Belote, Robin Eckstein, Philip Green, Avi Jacobson, Kevin Johnson, Joseph Knott, Nat Kreamer and Drew Sloan.
As Moniz noted, the Department of Energy is particularly in tune with climate change and energy concerns, but as Marr, a commissioning engineer for McKinstry, explains, veterans have just as much cause to work toward the same goal.
“The population continues to increase; our demand on energy continues to increase,” said Marr. “So the more that we can do here at home, the more secure our future becomes.”
For Perez-Halperin, president and founder of GC Green Incorporated and a self-described champion of climate change, serving in the U.S. military has equipped her with the tools and mindset to take action.
“We just know as veterans and as active duty to get the job done,” Perez-Halperin said. “I have two kids, so I’m thinking about their future. This is absolutely important.”
Although you could argue which tools Perez-Halperin had in mind, Kopser outlined the major assets he thought to be the most important:
“My service in the army for 20 years, three things came out that serve me very well working in clean energy; building teams, solving problems and not sweating the small stuff is what military veterans do very well,” he said. “And I’ve worked both studying and participating in events for the last ten years to create a conversation about defense energy.”
Kopser is now the co-founder and CEO of RideScout, a startup that has built an app for transportation efficiency by informing its users about alternatives to using their cars to get from A to B.
Although Kopser’s efforts and those of the other veterans being honored are expected to brighten the outlook for America’s energy security, he notes that this transcends the nation’s borders.
“There’s an amazing amount of opportunity inside of clean energy to help not only Americans and our energy security, but really the whole world,” Kopser said.