EAP Monthly Dispatch
November 13th, 2015
Dear Alumni, Students, and Friends,
It was great to see so many of you at last month's Energy Summit and EAP Breakfast. In fact, last month was so busy we completely forgot to mail out our October dispatch! Read on to learn more about what's been happening at EAP this fall, and be sure to check out our interview with EAP alumnus Dan York. (Dan is leading a new alumni planning committee that I think many of you will be excited about.) Here are a few highlights:
- GEAPS (Graduate EAP Students) hosted their first social event on October 1st.
- The 2015 Energy Summit on October 13th was a hit. A big thank you to all the EAPers who supported this endeavor! I had a wonderful time catching up with many of you at the EAP breakfast the following morning.
- On October 27th, representatives from the Canadian Consulate joined EAP students for a great discussion about energy and international trade, just days before President Obama's decision on building the KeystoneXL pipeline.
We'll be sending out our next dispatch in early December, just before many of our students head home for the holidays. As always, if you ever have any ideas for improving the EAP program, please feel free to reach out to us.
Professor Tracey Holloway
Energy Analysis and Policy Faculty Committee
October Event Highlights
2015 Energy Summit:
Air & Energy: The Path Ahead for U.S. States
EAP professor Tracey Holloway chaired this year's Energy Summit, an annual conference organized and hosted by the Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI). The goal of the event is to "bring people together to think through some of the most difficult energy challenges of our time," says Tracey. The 2015 Energy Summit focused on how energy and air quality are interconnected, a topic that directly ties to Tracey's research interests. Tracey leads an air quality research program at the Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) where she and her team study links between regional air quality, energy, and climate.
EAP alumna Martha Goodell at the speakers & sponsors networking session preceding the 2015 Energy Summit. Martha, who is now the founder and managing partner of Goodell Consulting, LLC, sponsored the evening reception to help thank those who made the Energy Summit possible. (Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin Energy Institute.)
One of Tracey's goals in planning the 2015 Energy Summit was to include a broad range of perspectives on current energy issues, including those representative of industry, research institutions, and not-for-profit agencies. She hoped to provide an opportunity for participants to gain a deeper understanding of these complex problems and appreciate diverse opinions on more controversial issues, such as the Clean Power Plan.
EAP alumna Flora Flygt at the reception for speakers & sponsors. (Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin Energy Institute.)
Many EAPers attended the summit, and some also participated as speakers. EAP interim chair Paul Wilson moderated a panel on the Clean Power Plan, which included perspectives from both environmental advocacy organizations and big businesses. EAP alumna Flora Flygt, now Strategic Planning and Policy Advisor with the American
Transmission Co., also shared her thoughts on the Clean Power Plan as a panelist in an afternoon breakout session titled, "The Clean Power Plan, Transmission Expansion, and Electric Reliability."
To learn more about the 2015 Energy Summit or to view video recordings of the presentations and panel discussions, please visit the WEI website. If you'd like to be the first to know about upcoming events hosted by WEI, such as the 2016 Energy Summit, we encourage you to sign up for monthly email updates from the institute.
EAP Special Event: The Future of Graduate Energy Education
Alumni, students, and friends share ideas during a group discussion at the 2015 EAP breakfast.
Following the 2015 Energy Summit, EAP alumni, students, and friends met at the Wisconsin Energy Institute for an EAP special event, The Future of Graduate Energy Education: Reflecting on the Energy Analysis and Policy Program.
After a casual networking breakfast, EAPers listened to short presentations from Paul Robbins, (Director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies), Paul Wilson (EAP interim chair), and Tracey Holloway (EAP professor) and engaged in a lively discussion about the future of the EAP program. During their discussion, EAPers focused on brainstorming ways to build the EAP program. Topics included:
- How could EAP better connect with alumni?
- What resources should the program provide for students?
- What would convince more prospective students to join EAP?
- How could the EAP Faculty Committee collaborate more effectively with departments or organizations within or outside of UW–Madison?
- How could EAP build better partnerships with employers?
The EAP Faculty Committee would like to extend a huge thank you to all those who participated in this event. Your feedback is critical to growing the EAP program in new and exciting ways.
Click here to view an online album of photos from the event.
Inspired by the enthusiasm of EAPers at this event, EAP alumnus Dan York recently decided to head up an alumni planning committee to continue these vital discussions and help connect alumni with current students. If you'd like to get involved, please feel free to send Dan an email to learn more about this new organization.
EAP Meet & Greet with the Canadian Consulate
On Tuesday, October 27th, Canadian Consulate General Roy Norton visited UW–Madison to speak with EAP students about international trade and energy policy. This special event offered students the chance to learn more about international energy issues, including the controversy surrounding the KeystoneXL pipeline and the difficulty of building transmission infrastructure over large spatial scales. EAP students asked great questions about U.S.–Canada energy relations, and Mr. Norton even joined EAPers for pizza following the event.
If you'd like to set up a meet & greet with our students or alumni, please contact us at any time. We'd love to hear from you!
EAP alumnus Dan York has a longstanding interest in energy policy. “I was a student in high school during the 1970s energy crises,” he said. The crises “had a big impact on me…. The more I learned about different environmental problems of the day the more they pointed back toward energy.”
Following high school, Dan first enrolled as an undergraduate student at Northland College — a small liberal arts college in Ashland, Wisconsin — to pursue a degree in environmental studies. While Dan loved his coursework, he realized that having a technical background would be essential to understanding high-level energy policy, so despite some “misgivings” about switching to a hard science degree, Dan transferred to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities to study mechanical engineering.
That was a big change, Dan said, commenting on transferring from a college with a few hundred students to a university with several thousand. “Some physics classes were bigger than all of Northland College,” he said. Dan may have been a bit overwhelmed during his first semester at Minnesota, but he said the technical skills he gained have definitely paid off. “The people in my field that really do some of the best work often do have a more technical background… It really comes in handy,” he explained.
One of Dan's favorite outdoor adventures is kayaking in the Grand Canyon. (Photo courtesy of Dan York.)
Dan said he always knew that grad school was in his future, but he chose to work as an engineer in Kansas City for a year following his graduation from the University of Minnesota. Dan is an advocate for taking time off between undergraduate and graduate careers. “I think [my gap year] was very important. If nothing else, it convinced me I wasn’t going to be a good engineer!” he said, laughing. “I’m a big fan of having a little time off and coming back at it with a real purpose.” Dan believes that students who take “a gap year or years, whatever it winds up being” are more focused in graduate school. He adds that these students are often more valuable to employers after they obtain their degrees, too. “I think just having some actual job experiences really makes somebody stand out,” he said.
Left to right: Dan York, EAP alumna Jeanette LeZaks, and retired EAP professor Wes Foell engage in group discussion at the 2015 EAP breakfast.
While working as a mechanical engineer, Dan started shopping for Ph.D. programs. “I really wanted to find some kind of program that would be policy-focused and interdisciplinary,” he said. “I was happy to find that UW–Madison had such a program…. It sounded like exactly what I was looking for.” Dan enrolled as a graduate student at UW–Madison in 1985 and finished his Master of Science degree in Land Resources (now Environment & Resources) and Energy Analysis & Policy in 1987. Dan chose to continue his studies for another four years and graduated with a Ph.D. in Land Resources in 1991.
As a graduate student, Dan had the opportunity to study abroad in Norway, an experience he said “definitely” shaped how he views the role of energy in our society. “Every country’s facing different energy problems,” said Dan. “[International experiences] force you to both look at your own situation… and see how others approach some of the same problems.”
Map of Europe, with Norway shown in orange. (Photo courtesy of mapssite.blogspot.com.)
Dan’s interest in Norway’s development of offshore oil resources motivated him to apply for an 8-week program at the University of Oslo’s International Summer School (ISS) as a doctoral student. To his delight, he was accepted, along with students from 74 other countries. Dan spent the summer studying energy and the environment, focusing on problems pertaining to developing countries. Dan returned to Norway the following year as a Fulbright Fellow. He first worked as a graduate researcher for six months at the University of Oslo and then accepted a six-month position as a consultant with the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Administration.
While Dan is still interested in international energy issues, today he is primarily focused on studying energy problems facing the United States. Dan is currently a fellow with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), an energy efficiency and conservation think tank. ACEEE works to influence national, state and local policies in an effort to move the U.S. toward a more efficient and sustainable energy future.
Dan sees ACEEE as a key player in discussions of domestic energy issues, one that is trusted by both industry and environmental organizations. Dan likes working for ACEEE because he believes that energy efficiency is not a partisan issue. “The nice thing about energy efficiency is that I can create a whole list of very liberal reasons why it’s a good idea, but energy efficiency and conservation is also a conservative thing… you can have all kinds of conservative reasons why it’s a very good thing to do,” Dan said. “I like it because we’re focused on practical results and having significant impacts on policy and programs across the country. I think we have been very effective.”
As a fellow at ACEEE, Dan is focused on researching and developing programs and policies that affect electric gas and utility operations and support energy efficiency programs serving their customers. One of Dan’s favorite projects is working to expand and improve efficiency programs serving multi-family building owners and households. He finds this type of work “very rewarding.”
Dan believes the training he received through the EAP program helped him build his career as an energy analyst. The skills he learned “immediately came into play” in his first job after grad school. When asked if Dan had any advice for future EAPers, Dan mentioned the importance of developing strong communication skills. “We need people who are good at communications. There’s a much bigger emphasis on just getting more effective messages out there. There’s a huge push for behavior change.”
Dan and EAP professor Tracey Holloway take notes during the group discussion at the 2015 EAP breakfast.
Dan is excited to work more closely with EAP alumni and friends in the months ahead as leader of the alumni planning committee, a small group of EAPers dedicated to brainstorming new ways to grow and support the EAP program. Dan wants to ensure that future EAP students have access to the same kind of rigorous, interdisciplinary education and study abroad experiences in energy analysis that helped him launch his career. If you’d like to get involved, please feel free to send a note to Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you on LinkedIn yet?
If not, what are you waiting for? Over 80% of EAP alumni and current students have created LinkedIn profiles to highlight their academic and professional accomplishments. Check out the EAP group page and join our online networking community today!
Got a good story?
We're looking for news stories to share in our December dispatch! If you have any press releases, articles, or photos you'd like to see in our next mailing, please send them to our EAP Outreach Assistant, Olivia Sanderfoot.