Fresh Energy has a commitment to nurturing talent and building new clean energy leaders. In honor of our 25th anniversary, we are profiling a handful of “Fresh Energy Alums” who worked with us early in their career.
This month, Fresh Energy’s engagement fellow Kirsten Triller spoke with Madeleine Klein, managing director of policy and market strategy for SoCore Energy in Chicago, Illinois, about her time at Fresh Energy. Madeleine interned for Fresh Energy in the fall of 1999, working under J. Drake Hamilton.
In 1999, you had just graduated from Carleton College with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies. What motivated you to come intern at Fresh Energy?
Madeleine: At Carleton College, I had a concentration in environmental policy. Even with an American Studies major, I was oriented towards environmental policy. I was drawn to energy because it represented a problem that involved economics, social studies, and politics—a variety of disciplines. After I graduated, one of my professors knew Michael Noble and connected me with him. I remember meeting Michael and thinking that Fresh Energy was a cool organization.
What were some of the core projects you worked on and what were some of the highlights of your time at Fresh Energy?
Madeleine: During my internship, I helped to organize a conference on climate change. I also drafted and delivered letters to members of Minnesota House and Senate during the legislative session.
Was there anything you learned during your time at Fresh Energy that helped guide your career in energy policy?
Madeleine: Pretty immediately after my internship, I moved to New Haven, CT to start graduate school, where I earned a Master’s in Environmental Management. My internship at Fresh Energy gave me a flavor of what environmental policy might look like as a real job path, and it helped convince me that environmental policy was what I wanted to do with my career. I definitely credit my internship a lot for that.
After Fresh Energy, I had jobs in other focuses too, but I sort of zeroed in on energy. At the City of New Haven, I worked on greenhouse gas and air toxicity inventories and helped put together a climate change action plan. Through that job, I also got involved with a state-based climate change planning exercise. Then I moved to a New England-based non-profit, then the City of Knoxville, Tennessee, and then the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago, Illinois. For me, it’s been one step after the other, eventually landing at SoCore. I haven’t had any real 180-degree turns in my career. I’ve been pretty focused on clean energy, though I’ve addressed it from the non-profit, municipal, and corporate perspectives.
Anything else you would like to add about Fresh Energy or your time here?
Madeleine: I feel like had I not had my initial three-month internship at Fresh Energy, I might not be an executive at a solar company right now. I credit Michael and J. for showing me how interesting this field is—and how important it is—and what you can do when you’re working in a non-profit. It was my first introduction into energy work and it really had a big impact on what I’ve chosen to do ever since!