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Investing in Future Leaders

Apex Sponsors MIT-based Ron Brown Scholar

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The headlines say it all:

“‘Coal Is on the Way Out’: Study Finds Fossil Fuel Now Pricier than Solar or Wind”
“Renewable Energy Is Now the Cheapest Option—Even Without Subsidies”
“Three-Quarters of New U.S. Generating Capacity in 2020 Will Be Renewable”

Stories like this reflect decades of technology advancements, the plummeting cost of renewable energy generation, and booming demand from utilities, corporate customers, and states and municipalities. Ultimately, that progress has been driven by a talented and passionate workforce. Looking forward, maintaining and building on this momentum requires an investment in the individuals propelling this change.

The Ron Brown Scholar Program has supported more than 1,200 students, with a 99% rate for undergraduate degree attainment.

Over the years, Apex Clean Energy has worked diligently to curate a workplace culture that embodies our core values and attracts accomplished and motivated individuals. The company has worked to not only drive visibility for opportunities at Apex, but also illuminate career paths throughout the broader industry.

By fostering diversity and inclusion, providing opportunities for career advancement and professional development, and offering an innovative environment where its employees can thrive, Apex is investing in a stronger, more resilient future.

Inspiring intelligent and driven scholars and young professionals to consider a career in renewable energy requires going against the twin lures of Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Talk to any leading recruiters, they’ll say the key to winning this competition for talent is establishing interest, respect, and engagement as early as possible.

In short, it takes an intentional approach. Enter the Ron Brown Scholar Program.

The Ron Brown Scholar Program provides its Scholars with the financial resources to attend some of the finest colleges and universities in the country. Graduating Scholars go on to outstanding careers in technology, arts, sciences, and public service, and many more pursue professional degrees in law, medicine, and business.

Courtesy Ron Brown Scholar Program

Supporting a Network to Create Space for Young Leaders to Grow

Ron Brown was the first African American to serve in a presidential cabinet, as secretary of commerce, and was widely respected on Capitol Hill and beyond until his untimely death in 1996. In his memory, the Ron Brown Scholar Program was created to provide academic scholarships, service opportunities, and leadership experiences for young African Americans of outstanding promise.

Kinan Martin

Kinan Martin

Courtesy Ron Brown Scholar Program

Located near our corporate headquarters in Charlottesville, the Ron Brown Scholar Program has supported more than 1,200 students, with a 99% rate for undergraduate degree attainment. But that’s just the beginning, as recruiting and networking across law, medicine, and business—along with the arts, sciences, and public service—yield momentous opportunities throughout each scholar’s developing career.

It was an obvious fit for Apex, the first and only renewable energy corporate partner in the Ron Brown Scholar Program.

For the next four years, Apex is sponsoring an outstanding graduate from Charlottesville’s Albemarle High School, Kinan Martin. Kinan is pursuing an engineering degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but that’s just one  facet of his story.

Kinan has lived in numerous cities abroad and is fluent in French and Japanese, and has pursued learning Arabic, Russian, Chinese, and Tamil. He says that he has always been fascinated by the power of language to create bridges between  different cultures, based on the global similarities in the human experience.

Though the clean energy industry must stay focused on maximizing the opportunities at hand, history will judge our work in terms of decades, not years. Success requires developing tomorrow’s leaders today.

Beyond his mastery of languages, Kinan is an avid volunteer and leader in his community. Add in the math and science proficiency required to study engineering at MIT, and there is virtually no limit to his professional future. Crucially, he also believes that engineering should be in sync with environmental and social issues, completely aligned with the Apex mission. In our view, Kinan, and students like him, are the long-term key to decarbonizing the grid and achieving the drawdown necessary to reverse the trajectory of our climate. (Read a Q&A with Kinan below.)

Our Focus Is the Long Game

Though the clean energy industry must stay focused on maximizing the opportunities at hand, history will judge our work in terms of decades, not years. Success requires developing tomorrow’s leaders today.

In this sense, the notion of educating, supporting, and inspiring young leaders is a priority shared by Apex and the Ron Brown Scholar Program. It also dovetails with our longer-term goals related to ESG and sustainability. Achieving organizational sustainability is impossible without incorporating diversity across our enterprise, and in turn instilling a culture of diversity that yields compounding benefits: distinctive opinions and perspectives, creativity and innovation, increased productivity and performance, and improved employee engagement and retention.

All of these contribute to a stronger, more resilient, and more vibrant future for Apex. We make progress daily, at the same time knowing that all of us in the renewable energy space have a significant journey ahead.

In this sense, the notion of educating, supporting, and inspiring young leaders is a priority shared by Apex and the Ron Brown Scholar Program. It also dovetails with our longer-term goals related to ESG and sustainability. Achieving organizational sustainability is impossible without incorporating diversity across our enterprise, and in turn instilling a culture of diversity that yields compounding benefits: distinctive opinions and perspectives, creativity and innovation, increased productivity and performance, and improved employee engagement and retention.

All of these contribute to a stronger, more resilient, and more vibrant future for Apex. We make progress daily, at the same time knowing that all of us in the renewable energy space have a significant journey ahead.

In Conversation: Kinan Martin

Apex is sponsoring Ron Brown Scholar Kinan Martin, a local graduate of Albemarle High School in Virginia. Kinan is pursuing an engineering degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an opportunity that has opened his eyes to a world of career possibilities. He took the time to answer a few questions about the Ron Brown Scholar Program, his future trajectory, and the common ground we all share. Click through below for the Q&A.

Eric Wampler
Senior Director of Human Resources

Eric is responsible for the strategy formation and execution of Apex’s human resources function. He has spent the past 15 years as a human resources professional in the energy industry.

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