Moving On

So far it’s been a fairly straightforward year. The global landscape is as complex as ever and we’re plugging along one day at a time here in Washington, DC. However an opportunity has come my way and I’ll be changing things up. After five years at Worldwatch, I’m leaving for a new job; still related to energy but in an entirely different corner of the market: the Army.

Time to add this to the collection and move on to the next one. Thank you, Worldwatch.

Next week I begin a job as a defense contractor. If any of you have ever heard me tell the story of how, as a kid, I dreamed of working alongside my dad when I grew up, the fact that he was a defense contractor should put a little smile on your face. Don’t let anyone tell you dreams don’t come true – at least a little bit.

For the past few years the Army’s Energy Initiatives Task Force, recently fully stood up and transitioned to the Office of Energy Initiatives, has focused on placing large-scale renewable energy projects on Army land across the country in an effort to have more flexible, resilient and cost-saving resources at its disposal, for both normal and emergency circumstances. In fact the current administration has mandated the Army, Navy, and Air Force to each have 1 gigawatt of renewable energy generating assets on their respective lands by 2025. And here’s the kicker: the government isn’t paying for it. All of these projects are to be third-party financed, meaning the private sector owns, builds, operates, and maintains the projects.

This is a very exciting opportunity, one that will get me closer to actual project development. Unfortunately I lacks a larger and more direct involvement with the policy side of things, so there is a tradeoff. And there is lots to learn in areas in which I have limited experience.

I’m sad to leave Worldwatch. My time there has been incredible, especially coming straight out of school and being thrown in to the very work I studied. I’ve developed great friendships there, and truly value all I learned from the staff and the opportunities to be part of some important publications. Fortunately, I remain connected to the institute as a Senior Fellow, which will keep me somewhat connected to the more academic side of things. But I’ll miss being involved, day in and day out, with such a worthwhile organization.

When I sat down to write this entry, I looked back and realized it was ten years ago this month I began writing as a way to process the fear, anxiety and excitement of quitting my 9 to 5 job in order to find a higher and better use. It was one of the bigger risks I had taken to that point, and though the path that followed was not always smooth, it turned out magnificently. It led to further risks - calculated and otherwise - broader adventures, and important realizations about implementing meaningful change in one’s life. and how you don’t necessarily have to burn down the house and rebuild it from scratch. Sometimes a room-by-room renovation gets you to the same end. I’ll obviously never know if a shorter volunteer stint would have led to the same outcome but assuming it had, I might have come to the same conclusions and made the same choices about getting an education to transit careers. It just might have been more incremental and piecemeal.

That said, the focus of this written experiment has clearly moved away from its original point and intent, but that’s to be expected as the path winds. It moved from me processing and sharing a life-changing risk to a catalog of the adventure unfolding before me. It broadened further to observations and thoughts based on the new environment and circles in which I found myself. More recently, the spectrum for entries grew further as Ray Ray and I joined our lives together. And I’ve tried to make a little room for just plain fun. These changes have been good but I fear sometimes the penchant for more substantive analysis and questioning gets left out. Need to work on that going forward.



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© 2021 by Mark Konold