New Senior Project Director, a case study in dedication to carbon management

November 21, 2018, by Michael Gillenwater

The Institute recently completed a recruitment process for a new Senior Project Director. This may sound like routine matter. Yet, in this instance, its presents a story about the special character of the people that make up the carbon management professional community.

Twenty-two years ago, I stumbled into a job working as a contractor for the USEPA. My primary responsibility was to develop the first proper GHG emissions and removal inventory system and report for the USA.

Just prior to that, an environmental engineer from North Carolina left his work on air quality and took a job in Washington DC with the new group leading international climate policy at USEPA. He was charged with overseeing my team of contractors. Over a seven-year period, we developed a friendship and we both learned a great deal about how to build what we would now refer to as a national MRV system. These were the early days of professional carbon management work.

A couple years spent away, I returned to DC , not sure I wanted to return to climate change work. An Executive Director at a relatively new non-profit, however, convinced me that there was creative work to be done outside of what was then an anti-terrorism obsessed government. Over three years working together, I learned a great deal while we built some of the earliest GHG registries and markets and he was challenged in managing a small NGO.

Several more years later, while launching this non-profit organization, I asked a colleague with his own profitable consulting business to serve on the Board of Directors of my new penniless NGO. He volunteered, alongside other colleagues, to help build a global community of carbon management professionals. Eventually, he served as board Chair, and was therefore my boss.

If you have not guessed it, these three are all the same person. Our paths have repeatedly crossed. So I probably should not have been surprised, although I was, when this same individual applied to our new Senior Project Director position.

Our carbon management community includes both long-time experts, full of wisdom, and new members, full of energy and bold ideas. The common element I see is professionals eager to have a quantitative impact on climate change and work within a smart and rigorous community. For all of us, it is about the work that has global long-term significance. Work that is interesting as it bridges the technical and the policy. It certainly is not fame or money or power.

Our new hire, Wiley Barbour, demonstrates this professional and community ethic. He came to GHGMI because, for him, it was about the work and making a difference.

I hope you have, or will have, similar stories in your professional life. Stick with us in building this special community of carbon management practitioners, and I am confident you will.

Read more about Wiley in his staff bio.

I also want to briefly reflect on this hiring process. We received well over 100 highly qualified applicants for this position, from every corner of the world. We were surprised and humbled by the level of interest. It was amazing to see many GHGMI colleagues, alumni, and members apply and express their commitment to this work. I so wish we had the resources to hire twenty or more of these amazing professionals. There is so much we could accomplish to empower credible climate action globally.

2 responses to “New Senior Project Director, a case study in dedication to carbon management”

  1. Perry Lindstrom says:

    Glad to see you guys getting back together as a team! Where have the years gone?

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