Meet Alex! Alex is Senior Vice President of Research and Analysis at EFI. A former writer for the Onion and the biggest Ohio State fan we know, Alex leads EFI’s research portfolio while keeping a steady stream of dad jokes flowing.
1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
What I wanted to be when I grew up changed almost daily. A few notable eras for me:
1) Peter Pan. I have always wanted to fly and never wanted to grow up (and still don’t!).
2) Inventor. I have always enjoyed thinking about, and at times challenging, how things work. My curiosities still know no bounds and as a kid they ranged from how a car engine works to how planes fly. In college I was very disappointed that Inventor wasn’t a Major Track, so I took some physics classes instead. However, this led me to my third major professional interest…
3) Philosopher. Long story short, I found (some) answers to my ongoing questions while in political philosophy classes. There I became fascinated with philosophy after I discovered that the field is mainly driven through written arguments between thinkers. Back and forth they’d go providing new explanations to the world and critiques of current and older schools of thought. I started to do my own writing and was eventually recognized by the school faculty with an award for the Most Outstanding Student in Philosophy. I still re-read some of my favorite arguments, including John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism (1863). Book club anyone?
2. What was your most rewarding experience prior to working at EFI?
This is a loaded question, isn’t it? I’ll re-define the question as: What’s the most rewarding professional experience prior to working at EFI? Ok, two come to mind.
1) I had a short stint writing for the Onion after College that was pretty exciting. They were launching their online presence and needed writers for their mock newscasts. While it goes uncredited, I believe that I invented the idea of politicians wearing skinny jeans to appear more accessible to young voters.
2) Working with the Department of Energy on their engagements in the Middle East and Latin America to rebuild energy infrastructure and markets. I helped to model how some of their energy systems could be designed to better serve local populations. It was incredibly interesting to take simulated answers and pair them with practical, on the ground considerations, to come up with recommendations to host governments. I worked with really smart and driven people and was exposed to so many aspects of policy and energy that I carry forward today.
3. What are you the proudest of since working at EFI?
The team! I was one of the earliest folks in the door and I still think about those early days. It was an incredible experience to work, sometimes literally, arm and arm with Secretary Moniz, Joe Hezir, Melanie Kenderdine, David Ellis, Tim Bushman, and Jeanette Pablo around a small desk. We hashed out a lot of impactful work in the very beginning. But to see how much EFI has grown over the last few years is just simply fantastic! The entire team is brilliant. The research team, the communications experts, the operational gurus…they are the best and I will always have their back. While I can’t list everyone — the omnipotent interviewer says there need to be page limits to these things — I would like to mention Alex Breckel for helping me keep my head on, while also indulging me in some of my crazier ideas. You have helped EFI scale in ways I never thought were possible.
4. What’s the best thing about working at EFI?
Can I say the team again!?! Since that’s already taken, I’ll say the level of impact our work has on a daily basis. Whether it’s when our report recommendations show up in legislation, or when we see our clients make investments aligned with our advice, it still amazes me to see our team’s ideas change the world.
5. What gives you hope for the future?
Too much to list! I have worked with hundreds of brilliant people who know what it takes to rapidly decarbonize the economy in a way that is socially and environmentally just. These talented people fill me with a lot of hope that we will continue to do better as a society. At this point, I think most large companies want to find sustainable paths forward and we all need to work together to capture the opportunities and overcome the challenges. Plus I have a 1.5 year old daughter who is way smarter than me, so I feel very confident for the future.
6. What’s your favorite song at the moment?
This is another hard one. I’ll say “Lay Down” by Son Little. Only recently did I discover his catalog and it combines some of my favorite styles: r&b, rock, blues, and pop. This song is a fusion between John Legend, Christmas songs, and old jazz. It’s incredible!
(Share this post with others.)