Life in the Real World after EDF Climate Corps

EDF's innovative Climate Corps program embeds top MBA students in leading companies to make the business case for energy efficiency.

People often remark on the incredible amount of financial savings uncovered by our fellows. Just as remarkable is how our EDF Climate Corps fellows parlayed their summer experiences into long-term careers at the nexus of business and the environment.

The EDF Climate Corps program has experienced exponential growth since its inception in 2007. We grew the program from just one MBA fellow in 2007, to seven fellows in 2008, 26 fellows in 2009, and to 51 fellows this past summer.

Once they finish business school, our EDF Climate Corps fellows move on to play a prominent role in the transformation to a more sustainable marketplace throughout corporate America. Our alumni take their EDF Climate Corps training and become true agents for change. It's no wonder that Forbes reporter, Aman Singh, recently said this about EDF Climate Corps: "Finally a program that gets corporate sustainability."

I was part of the 2008 EDF Climate Corps class working at Cisco Systems where I analyzed a project that could save an estimated $8 million per year and reduce Cisco's greenhouse gas emissions by 3 percent. I'm happy to report that Cisco has begun implementing my recommendations, and they've also hosted two EDF Climate Corps fellows since I worked with them in 2008.

Following that summer, I returned to the University of Michigan's Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise to complete a dual MBA and MS degree program, and begin the tough work of finding a job. My dream job was one where I could make the business case for sustainability -- finding environmentally-preferable solutions that would also keep companies profitable. I couldn't be happier that I end up working at EDF, using my business and environmental degrees to impact dozens of companies on a daily basis.

What about the career paths of other EDF Climate Corps alumni? The success stories are as diverse as they are impressive. Private sector, public sector, start-ups -- our Climate Corps alumni are embedded throughout the country working on various corporate projects and platforms around energy savings and environmental innovation. Scroll through this list to see what some of the many rock star EDF Climate Corps (CC) alumni are currently doing:

Jeff Crystal, 2007 fellow at EDF

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Business, MBA 2007

Life after CC: COO of Voltaic Systems, a solar products company

Jeff Crystal was our very first EDF Climate Corps fellow. Based in EDF's New York City office, he created the Climate Corps Financial Analysis Tool that fellows use during their fellowships to crunch the numbers on investments ranging from lighting retrofits to chiller upgrades. He also helped write the training manual that current fellows use to guide their work. Jeff is now the chief operating officer of Voltaic Systems, which makes solar chargers and solar backpacks to power electronics.

Patricia Kenlon, 2009 fellow at TXU Energy

NYU Stern School of Business, MBA 2010

Life after CC: Manager of Energy and Sustainability at Ann Taylor

After EDF Climate Corps, Trish accepted a full time position at Ann Taylor as manager of energy and sustainability. "The team at Ann Taylor was really excited about the projects I worked on last summer and I'm certain it's those experiences that helped me to stand out among the other applicants," she said. "My summer with TXU was absolutely critical in getting me started on the path to my dream career, and I cannot thank you enough for everything EDF Climate Corps did to help and support me." Read more about Trish's story on her recent blog post about her experience with the program.

John Joseph, 2008 fellow at Intuit

Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Earth Systems, MBA/MS 2009

Life after CC: Senior Program Manager -- Green Communities and Innovator Pilots, Pacific Gas & Electric

At PG&E, John administers data efforts that support PG&E's new Green Communities program. This program is designed to provide data, tools and training to local governments to assist them with their greenhouse gas (GHG) management efforts.