Tell us a little about your background and what your interest in climate related issues are.

Energy has always been at the forefront of my world, from growing up in southern West Virginia, where my dad worked for a coal company and my friends and family worked throughout the fossil fuel industry, to spending a decade in the military as a Navy SEAL being deployed globally. A lot of the places we deploy are centered on shipping lanes, oil, or energy reserves.

When I left the military, I was very interested in how you can create opportunity through access to infrastructure for remote communities. For example, I saw firsthand in Africa that communities with reliable infrastructure had more access to economic opportunity, which, in turn, offered social and economic mobility. I pursued the MS/MBA program to explore these imbalances. Over my time in the program, I discovered different aspects of the energy transition that were really appealing to me.

Can you tell us a more about why you decided to pursue a dual degree?

I’m very interested in entrepreneurship, so having a robust curriculum that explores different entrepreneurial opportunities, from meeting with representatives at founding companies and venture capital investors to hearing stories of different founders, was important to me. The program is tailored for technical entrepreneurship and exploring the various issues entrepreneurs can be faced with. I don't know if my next step out of HBS is founding a company, I eventually want to, and having different levels of understanding is something that will be invaluable in my career.

You took advantage of your time at Harvard to intern in both the consulting and venture capital fields. What did you learn from those internships and how did they shape your view of your career after HBS?

I spent the summer at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) working on an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) project on how a company was going to achieve their net zero targets while also growing as a business, and how to use this as a strategy for growth. Then I did a fall internship at a venture capital firm called Clean Energy Ventures here in Boston, which focused on seed and series A investments in energy transition related technologies. These experiences were really helpful in understanding how larger companies are viewing the energy transition and then also how capital allocators and start-ups are executing at the ground floor.

Coming from the military, I don't have as many touch points in the business world as other students might, so having those different perspectives has really been enlightening. I believe my next step will be closer to entrepreneurship, whether that's joining a small firm or entrepreneurship through acquisition.

What impact do you hope to have when you leave HBS? How do plan to use your career, degrees, and experience at HBS to help create a more sustainable world?

Being involved and helping shape how the energy transition will affect our lives is front of mind for me because the role energy in society has had an outsized influence on my life. Ultimately, my ambition is to leverage my experiences, network, and newly gained knowledge base from my time at Harvard to help engineer a more efficient world and make the energy transition a tailwind to regions like my home state, West Virginia. For example, how can “Coal Country” sit at the center of EV production?

Any last words of advice?

My greatest advice is to encourage students to take risk and really trust your gut. The resources available at this school are limitless and you have been given a ticket to discover and pursue your passion. You are only limited by your ability to define it. Allow yourself time to explore and decide what you want to do and to change your mind along the way – I definitely did.

In execution, I would recommend students to leverage their professors and their networks, they are an underutilized resource. Completing multiple internships, while it was a lot of work, is something I’m happy I did to gain additional experiences. And finally, I met regularly over the two years with the same CPD coach, Craig Husa. I found it really helpful to have the same coach, who had a similar background to me and over time, came to really know me. Because of this, he was able to provide incredibly well tailored help as we worked through my next steps.