Cleantech ladies throw your hands up
By Dexter Gauntlett, Pike Research
Dexter Gauntlett is a Portland-based research analyst with Pike Research.
Three out of four of my bosses in my cleantech career have been women, so it is no surprise to me to finally see growing attention being paid to women’s leadership in cleantech as executives, financiers, influencers as well as leading researchers, advocates, and policy leaders.
Despite the small sample size, I would say the trend extends to the cleantech analyst space as well as Pike Research's very own Kerry-Ann Adamson, foremost fuel cell expert, who leads our Smart Energy practice where females make up 60 percent of the team.
Female leadership is regularly in the spotlight these days with big private sector names like Vestas-America’s CEO Martha Wyrsch and SunRun’s founder Lynn Jurich. But it also spreads to the public sector, where three women have arguably had a more central role directly catalyzing cleantech, climate and energy issues than any other U.S. male or female while in office: Former EPA Administrator and White House energy and climate czarina Carol Browner, Kristina Johnson, winner of the John Fritz Medal —considered the highest award made in the engineering profession — and holder of 129 patents, and energy efficiency maven Cathy Zoi. All three have now left the administration, with the latter two joining cleantech-focused private companies.
The industry has been shaped by women in leading roles for longer than you might think – both in the forefront and behind the scenes. One of the best examples that has enabled much of California’s leadership in the cleantech industry is Mary Nichols who first served as California Air Resources Board chairwoman in 1978, was reappointed by the Governor Schwarzenegger in 2007, and again by Governor Brown last year. Many insiders credit the Governator’s cleantech legacy not to his famous Kennedy-family connection – but to his Chief of Staff, Susan Kennedy — no relation.
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