J. Drake Hamilton

Women in Energy: J. Drake Hamilton with Fresh Energy

The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. CERTs is highlighting these leaders during the month of March in 2017, which is Women’s History Month.

As part of the series we interviewed J. Drake Hamilton, Science Policy Director at Fresh Energy, to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and how other women can get involved in the industry. Read on to learn more!

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in the energy world in Minnesota?

Women In Energy Series J. Drake Hamilton: As Science Policy Director at Fresh Energy, my work focuses on achieving big carbon reductions in electricity. I develop science-based climate policies, and work daily with colleagues and diverse partners to get them adopted. We seek to maximize economic opportunities in clean energy solutions across Minnesota.

How did you get into this work?

J. Drake Hamilton: I’ve always been interested in applying science to addressing critical human challenges. Global warming solutions at the scale of the problem captured my attention, so I deliberately shifted from work in academia to join one of the only nonprofits focused on both deep decarbonization and market-friendly clean energy policy: Fresh Energy.

What is a typical day like for you?

J. Drake Hamilton: Every day is unique, but the work requires being prepared to take advantage of evolving information and generating policy advancement opportunities. I begin every day reading the news looking for how to amplify emerging information, and scouring technical reports and scientific articles. Analysis, writing, meetings, testimony all are givens. Every week I identify stories in carbon reduction that need to be amplified, and work on finding the best messengers and outlets for those communications. Most weeks I share our work in a presentation to a business or civic audience.

What are the best and worst parts of your job? What about your job inspires you?

J. Drake Hamilton: I draw inspiration from the talented people engaged in policy advancement, who readily share their deep knowledge and bring great creativity—and often, a honed sense of humor!—to this difficult work. Progress builds on months and years of policy advances, so great perseverance is an important skill.

What advice do you have for women who are thinking about working in energy?

J. Drake Hamilton: We are in the midst of a clean energy revolution, but few people realize that the economics and technologies of energy are advancing so fast. Talk with a wide variety of people in the many fields that support the energy transition. Figure out your talents and proclivities, and develop expertise in one of the levers of transformation.

  About J.


J. Drake Hamilton

Science Policy Director
Fresh Energy

J. Drake Hamilton is Fresh Energy’s Science Policy Director. An expert in climate policy at the state and national levels, her responsibilities include scientific analysis and policy development of clean energy solutions to global warming that will maximize economic opportunities for the Midwest. She represented Fresh Energy at the Paris Climate Summit, and was invited by President Obama to meet with him in the White House. She gives more than 50 invited presentations each year to businesses and civic organizations. Her recent business audiences have included: UnitedHealth Group, Allina Health, Target Corporation, Medtronic, Xcel Energy, and 3M. J.’s frequent media appearances include television, Minnesota Public Radio, and business press as well as the Washington Post and New York Times and newspapers across Minnesota. J. earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in physical geography from Dartmouth College and the University of Minnesota, with an emphasis on climatology and water resources, and was formerly assistant professor at The George Washington University. Named among Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine’s 100 influential people “who make things happen,” J. also grows organic peaches, pears, and plums that have won blue ribbons at the Minnesota State Fair.

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Women In Energy Series

The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries during Women’s History Month.

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