Doostang News June 7 – Bring Some Green into Your Office Routine!

green-jobInvestment Banking Analyst, New York, NY
Program Associate, Los Angeles, CA
Private Equity Associate, Boston, MA
Marketing Coordinator, Washington, DC
Financial Analyst, San Francisco, CA

More jobs we think you’ll like…

On the heels of World Environment Day and with environmentalism more of a pressing global issue than ever, it’s important to take some time to reflect on ways we can make a difference individually – and this includes our habits in the office.  It may not have occurred to you to consider this before, but there are many ways you can reduce your impact just by being a bit more mindful at work.  Here’s how:

Use Less Paper

This one’s great because there are numerous ways you can save paper.  Don’t print stuff that you don’t really need, and if you absolutely have to print something out, consider using the backside of old scratch paper or printing on both sides.  If you can, reduce the font size so that your documents are shorter.  And ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS recycle!

Bring Your Own Water Bottle

Many offices come with your standard water cooler, but much to environmentalists’ chagrin, many more offices are beginning to stock their kitchenettes with bottled water.  While it’s important to stay hydrated as you while away the hours at your desk, be a bit more environmentally conscious.  Bring your own water bottle and spare all those paper cups or plastic bottles you would have gone through otherwise.

Use Less Electricity

It’s tempting to leave your computer on at the end of the day so that you can keep up documents and Internet windows that you’re going to use the following morning, but try to suck it up and turn it off.  Save your work and bookmark what you’ll need to look at later, and you’ll spend very little extra effort the next day, all the while saving a considerable amount of energy.  Also make it a point to turn off lights when they’re not in use, whether this be in a conference room, bathroom, or your office when you’re going out to lunch.

Carpool

Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is by commuting to work in a responsible manner.  Talk to your office buddies about setting up a carpool – which is a much better way to start your day than braving the horrendous traffic on your own.  Or better still, take the bus or walk to the office if you’re close enough.  In addition to creating less pollution, you’ll also spend less on gas and won’t have to worry about parking.

One of the greatest joys of finishing your workday is the moment you step outside and enjoy the fresh air.  So remember to give a little back while you’re enduring the daily grind and make more Earth friendly choices!

Have a beautiful day,

The Doostang Team

Doostang News Aug18: Cleantech Careers

Top Premium JobsBusiness Consultant, New York, NY
Private Equity Analyst, Los Angeles, CA
Junior Research Associate for Startup, San Francisco, CA
Marketing Associate, Boston, MA
Hedge Fund Intern, New York, NY

Lately, the trend to go green has skyrocketed. From recycling to alternative energy, our increasingly environmentally conscious society is trying to raise awareness and mend the damage – and is offering a whole new subset of exciting career opportunities in Cleantech to prove it!

We spent some time with Field Pickering of CooInrg International, who dazzled us with the many wonders of Cleantech.

Tell me a little about CooInrg International. If you had to assign it to a particular industry, where would it fit?

Coolnrg International Pty LTd (“Coolnrg”) is an Australian company that designs and delivers energy efficiency and greenhouse gas abatement projects around the world. Our project model is based on going into markets that put a value on energy savings or carbon abatement, and distributing millions of energy efficient products to residents in a day, weekend or week, connecting that distribution to a large media event, and then valuing the energy/carbon savings to sell into a market or to a partner utility company.

The products we distribute will create real and verifiable energy or carbon savings which will allow us to create a “permit” or an “offset” which we will then sell. The media event surrounding the program creates excitement, drives participation, and enables us to create a high profile buzz that will allow us to sell our permits at a premium.

We operate in an industry that can loosely be defined as the “Global Carbon Markets”, and we also have a foot in the “Green Energy” or “Renewable Energy” industry by virtue of the fact that we create energy savings, which is a source of energy (an unused unit).

What is your role there? What does an average day look like for you?

I run the North American markets for Coolnrg. So, I am in charge of keeping my hand on the rudder of our business operations here. Based in San Francisco, I look for opportunities for us to deliver projects across the United States and Canada. Very simply, I identify opportunities, look to make contact with key stakeholders, structure partnerships, and once we have stitched up a project, I hand things over to my project delivery team.

On a typical day, when I am not traveling, I am up early checking emails that might have come in over night from the Australian office and possibly having an ichat/skype video conference with someone from the London office (we have offices in Melbourne, London, Mexico City, and San Francisco). Then I will usually get a bit of exercise and have a look at the papers. I typically try to read 4 newspapers a day (NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, SF Chronicle) and in particular I am looking for any news on energy efficiency, carbon markets, or renewable energy. I am also looking to see if any of our project partners (current and future partners) are mentioned.

Once I am in the office I spend a lot of time on the phone, trying to reach the right people at power companies, or government offices. Ideally, for one of our projects to get approved, we will need the CEO at a utility company and a Governor (or high level staff member) to endorse the project. Once we obtain those, we need approval from a state regulatory commission. I spend my days on the phone and blasting out emails trying to navigate various channels to get through to the right people at those three camps. If I can be successful (which will take multiple trips to that State to meet in person over 6 to 9 months), then we must secure relationships with various other partners to pull off an eventual project. At this final stage, there is a lot of paperwork going back and forth to create a partnership with all of the parties, as well as regulatory documentation that must be submitted.

How did you become involved in this industry? What path ultimately led you to CooInrg?

Before Coolnrg I was an M&A attorney, and from the day I entered law school I was looking for an escape route from being a lawyer. I practiced law for over 2 years. I have also been extremely fascinated by markets, and how you can effect change (like acid rain, and now climate change) by implementing a market based system whereby change occurs in a for-profit and commercial setting. While in college (University of Colorado – Go Buffs), I took an environmental economics class and became enchanted by the market that President Bush created to combat Acid Rain.

Then, in 2005, the developing nations signed a global treaty (Kyoto Protocol) to create an international market for combating climate change. At the time, still reading 4 newspapers a day, I kept reading about companies coming to the US to set up operations for this nascent “carbon market” industry. Whenever I would read about a company I would look for a website and send an email to someone, usually the CEO, saying I was a young M&A attorney looking to get into their industry. Largely I was ignored, but a few did agree to meet me for coffee, lunch or a beer, while I was next in New York, or DC (or wherever). Through this process I got in contact with Coolnrg as they were looking to open a US office. In the beginning, while still working for a big corporate law firm, I would jump on conference calls for the Australians to provide an American accent, and I slowly began to understand the business model, meet the extended team, and I realized that I was ready to take the entrepreneurial leap and leave the law practice.

That was October of 2007 and we had enough funding to get us to June 2008. Here I am 22 months later and we are still going strong.

What advice would you give to a young professional who is interested in pursuing a career in CleanTech, or the ‘Green Sector’ more generally?

I think the “Clean Tech” or “Green Sector” is still trying to fully define itself and I think with the current economic crunch/crisis, many people see this industry as a safe harbor, a good place to weather the current financial storm. And those of us in this industry really see this. So I would say if you want a career in this industry you must have passion for it, you must believe in the philosophy behind it, that of effecting behavior change around consumption and wanting to make a difference around climate change. I am not saying you need to drive a VW van, wear Birkenstocks and eat tofurkey sandwiches, but you must demonstrate to a future employer that you are there talking about a job because you have the passion for the fundamental philosophy which drives her/his business. You must also be able to articulate what that passion is, and how that passion has germinated within you. If you have it, it will come easy. If you don’t have it, try the tofurkey sandwich route.

Related to the above question, what would you identify as the key qualities that are most closely involved with a professional’s viability and overall success in this industry?

This industry is so broad that it will really depend on where within the industry one is looking to land, and what sort of a role they may play once there. I think the first thing that comes to mind for me is persistence and resilience. Much of this industry is doing something for the first time, and in many instances it means battling an incumbent company that has been around for generations and generations: whether it is electric cars competing against mainstream autos, or small solar companies fighting to compete with the large investor owned utility companies that burn coal, one must be resilient and be able to grow from each set-back.

That patience might also mean working for a company for three months without receiving a salary and working “for equity”. We are very much still in an embryonic phase of the “Clean Tech” or “Clean Energy” industry, and because the credit markets are somewhat frozen and investment money is not flowing as it once did, many start-up companies with great business models are not growing as fast as they would like, and many are asking employees to work without a salary. In many cases it is not an easy sell. Or an easy ask.

With that said, there are places for all kinds of professional qualities that will succeed in this industry, from bankers and traders, to scientists and engineers, and lawyers to roofers and basic craftsmen. Every day new companies are creating new ideas for doing old things in a more environmentally efficient way. Innovation is driving the industry and it will take people who are willing to take a leap and leave a safe career plan to a more uncertain one. It is certainly much more exciting, fulfilling and fun!

What are your future career plans? To what extent has your experience with CooInrg affected these plans?

For me, my time at Coolnrg has been extraordinary. It has allowed me to play at a much higher level than I ever would if I was an associate lawyer; I call on utility CEOs and go in to see the Chief of Staff at Governor’s office. This is only possible in an incipient industry like the “carbon markets”/”clean energy” space. I have also learned about how markets must function to effect change around an issue like Climate Change.

The next step for me is to move into an area where I am investing in companies and projects (like Coolnrg) that will be creating environmental commodities (or carbon credits) and structuring deals within that space. The problem is that this industry does not really exist yet in the USA, although it is very active internationally. So, in the meantime I have to sit tight and wait for the next wave of this industry to hit. I expect it to come in January 2010.

From a career standpoint, the potential in Cleantech is easy to recognize. But remember: ‘To the victor go the spoils’. Provided you’re ready to roll your sleeves up and get to work, this industry might just be the next big thing you’ve been waiting for. To find out more about how you can get involved in Cleantech, visit Doostang!

Have a wonderful day!

Team Doostang.

Doostang News Apr15: It’s Good to Be Green


Research Associate, Cleantech & Renewable Energy, London, UK
Marketing Coordinator, Environmental Nonprofit, DC
Project Financial Analyst, Early-Stage Solar Provider,  NY
Sales & Marketing, Renewable Energy Provider, Manhattan Beach, CA
Senior Associate, Green Strategy Consulting Firm, DC

Earth Day, tax day and National High Five Day are all coming up and, oddly enough, we’d rather focus on the former. In fact, many of you have expressed interest in green jobs, companies and industries and we’re certainly excited to help smart people work on important problems.

We had a chat with Nick Ellis, banker-turned-Managing Partner of an SF recruitment firm focused on placing people in green jobs. Whether you’re looking to make a change or just curious, we think you’ll enjoy Nick’s unique perspective.

Going Green with Nick Ellis, Bright Green Talent

How did you end up at Bright Green? How did this role fit into your broader career plans or interests?

I came to Bright Green Talent from an investment bank where I was doing public finance (a job I adored). A few years in, I realized that I wanted to take a shot a running my own business and combine my passion for social and environmental justice with best-of-breed business practices. At the time, I put three constraints on my next career: it had to be entrepreneurial, environmentally-focused, and be something I could take internationally. Ultimately, my goal’s to combine my environmental entrepreneur experience, labor market insights, and public finance background to make a bid for public office. There’s this beautiful confluence of business, environment, and policy that’s changing the way we work….I’d love to bring all three to bear as the SF City and Parks Commissioner to help implement a markets-based approach to public park management that redresses global warming.

What do you like and dislike about the recruitment industry?

There’s a series of problems with transparency, ethics, and accountability in the recruitment industry that lead to a lack of confidence and loyalty between candidates, recruiters, and employers. The business model itself distorts the incentives to collaborate and increase transparency because it focuses on the fees and process, not the goal of putting people in sustainable jobs. There’s a lot of “churn and burn” out there. For me, pushing the industry towards greater transparency, efficiency, and accountability is a killer challenge. Bright Green Talent provides me a platform from which I can make a positive impact and a handsome profit, and in the process, demonstrate that business is the most powerful engine for environmental preservation.

From a recruiter’s standpoint, how can candidates differentiate themselves more effectively in this market (at any step in the application process)? What common mistakes are you seeing among job seekers? Where do you advise them to invest their time?

The biggest mistake we see is that folks think that their passion alone will get them the job. Passion’s important, but practical experience and a proven track record are more important. The other big mistake is that folks invest their time in too many job boards, mechanically sending out resumes. Get personal and approach contacts at firms you’d like to work with–it’s still how 80%+ of the population find a job. In the absence of your own personal connections, choose one recruiter who knows your industry and work with them to get introduced to a company. Word of advice: working with more than one recruiter puts everyone involved at risk, so stay (professionally) monogamous.

Green businesses are pushing the boundaries of traditional models. When you’re interviewing with a company, consider how you’ve pushed the boundaries in your previous lines of work. For example, if you were an IT Manager at Netflix, did you broach the conversation about sustainable sourcing practices for the firm’s hardware that took into account lifetime energy use and end-of-life disposal options? If so, you’ve shown that you’re a “cradle to cradle” thinker, and likely ready to help these businesses break new ground. If not, consider going back to school or volunteering as two paths towards getting up to speed on what it means to be green nowadays.

Within the green recruiting market, what types of skills/candidates are most marketable right now? What types of companies are hiring? If not now, in the future once the economy has improved?

Right now green businesses are in a “build it and they will come” phase. Biodiesel refineries, utility-scale solar firms, and electric car production lines are a few examples. As a consequence, mechanical and electrical engineers who embrace a systemic approach to design are in high demand. We’re also preparing for a groundswell of demand for contractors to help put the stimulus money to work in both the public and private sector. If you’re unemployed and looking for short-term gigs to get some exposure, drop us a line–we’d love to help you get your feet wet. 

What types of green opportunities are best suited to people who share your background in finance/business?

I’d break it down into three channels:
1) Venture work sourcing and evaluating green investments. Finance teaches you to dig into the details, challenge assumptions, and separate the wheat from the chaff on an objective (read: economic) basis–these skills remain in high demand as more businesses seek funding for their green ideas.

2) Carbon project finance draws heavily on the project finance skills I learned in public finance. Firms like EcoSecurities and MMA Renewable Ventures are always looking for project finance bankers who understand the emerging regulatory environment supporting cleantech projects. If you’ve done due diligence on tax-equity or tax-credit investments for large-scale utility projects, you can likely shift into carbon project finance quickly.

3) Carbon trading remains small scale in the US (see RGGI for more info), but it’s going to grow in the coming years. Whether it’s cap-and-trade or a straight carbon tax, the field itself is poised to see harmonization and integration into global trading treaties, meaning the market will get big quickly. Investment banking exposed me to how markets set fair prices and value securities–both skills that carbon trading will need in the years ahead as it attempts to establish legitimacy.

What are the most valuable skills gained in a green job in your opinion?

Exposure to triple-bottom line business practices that re-imagine established industry practices and prove that there’s a way for profit, planet, and people to work together to create a virtuous cycle. Ecopreneurship is one of the only spaces where the moral imperative aligns so beautifully with market opportunity. I’m convinced there are trillion dollar markets within this sector, and that in twenty years’ time, there will be more social and environmental entrepreneurs than classic business entrepreneurs. To get at these markets, though, you’ll need a fair amount of focus, vision, and a strong team–no one gets anywhere without the help of others.

View Nick’s Profile. Learn more about Bright Green Talent. Then, tell us about what careers interest you. We’re listening!


School Spirit

We’re working hard to continue to bring access to Premium Jobs to talented people poised to make the kind of very impact in their careers that Nick describes. This past week we welcomed the Stanford GSB and the Haas School at Berkeley to our list of partner MBA programs. If you’re currently enrolled at one of these schools, don’t wait to join your school network to learn how you can save big on Premium Membership.

On the undergraduate front, last week we were also privileged to participate in Bruin Consulting’s Case Competition at UCLA and watch a phenomenally talented group of students tackle a healthcare strategy and operations consulting case. Thank you, Bruin Consulting, for the invitation and congrats to Ruchi, Christa, Stephanie and Jani on your hard-earned victory ;).

How can we get involved at your school? We’re happy to help! Just email us.

May your returns be bountiful,

Team Doostang