Tell us about yourself.
I’ve been in the energy industry for approximately 30 years, starting as a software developer predominantly in energy trading, risk management, and data acquisition systems. I have worked across major utilities in the U.S. and for a few multinational corporations, including a stint in Europe at Vestas Wind Systems (the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world), General Electric (GE), major domestic utilities, and Microsoft. These experiences allowed me to develop and establish digital products and services; become a product manager in a global capacity; manage a software P&L in electrical transmission and distribution; and lead a team of 650 people across engineering, software development, support, and Network Operations Centers (NOCs). At that time in the early 2010s, the software industry was in the nascent days of what was called Big Data Analytics where NOCs began collecting real-time data from assets around the world. This is very popular in today’s industry, so it was exciting to be at the forefront back then!
My career then took a detour when I wanted a new challenge as industries were making the transition into digitalization. I landed a position with a 150 year old traditional minerals and mining OEM headquartered in Glasgow, Scotland where I helped establish a digital portfolio of products and services that focused on greenhouse gas reduction and energy conservation goals. Those targets – what we call environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals now – had an impact on how the business operated, how it interacted with customers, and how we used software to optimize the digital mining ecosystem.
It has been fascinating to see the vision of combining clean energy and software and how they now interact with the power trading markets. Transforming energy intelligence is truly the way that customers can optimize energy costs and operations.
What is your role at Stem?
I joined Stem as the Senior Vice President of Product in December of 2021. With my experience in the energy space – including working with renewables, smart grids, energy trading, and risk management – I’m able to help lead the vision for Stem’s artificial intelligence (AI)-driven energy storage software, Athena®.
Stem has grown a lot! Historically, Stem has traditionally been led by either engineering or sales. But now as the first public pure play smart energy storage company, product management is moving to the forefront of the company – and I certainly have the background and understanding to help make that successful.
I’m responsible for growing a well-rounded team of strong professionals with a focus on Stem’s value of Diversity & Inclusion. In doing so, we ensure that we hire the best people from around the world to maintain Stem’s best-in-class solutions. And to me, it makes a ton of sense, especially with the recent hiring of our new chief people officer to lead global human resource initiatives and the growth of our teams.
I’ve also been focused on Stem’s acquisition of AlsoEnergy. The next step is, ‘how can our clean energy intelligent services and software really enhance our partners and customers’ experiences?’ Needless to say, I’m super excited about working with my new colleagues!
How do you see Stem growing as an international company?
When you think about current events around the world, renewable energy and battery storage are going to be even more important. Nations and individuals are recognizing dependencies on fossil fuels more and more while simultaneously realizing the need for energy independence. For those reasons, Stem’s solutions are a natural fit to continue to expand into international markets.
What would you say is the most interesting project you’ve worked on at Stem?
Working on Athena’s AnalyzerTM application, a proprietary simulation tool that provides partners and customers a window into Athena’s operation for pre-contract and pre-sales revenues, has been quite interesting. It’s basically a matchmaker of products and services for Stem’s customers. Of all our product roadmap initiatives, Analyzer will most likely make the greatest near-term impact as we start to roll out new features.
Enhancing Athena’s user experience (UX) is also a significant focus for us. Our team is constantly iterating on streamlining the interface for our partners and customers, which is at the core of our software. In my past experiences, I’ve learned that you can have the best products in the world, but if the UX isn’t consumable, then the products aren’t as good as you thought.
What message would you like to pass along to Stem partners?
One of our main focuses right now at Stem is to embrace and embody the voice of the customer. To do that, we have focused on increasing our interaction with partners and customers beyond the sales cycle. We’re hosting thorough user research, Customer Advisory Boards (CAB), and user groups to enhance the experience and interface of our clean energy intelligence platform. We value their experience, the markets they’re in, and the industry interactions they have. Stem is bringing those insights not only to our internal processes but also to the industry as a whole where we can help improve the ecosystem of AI-driven solutions. And that goes both ways: Stem is influenced by our partners and customers, and Stem’s energy experts also help our partners and customers be successful.
What recent industry trends have made the biggest impression on you?
Stem’s momentum in the front-of-meter (FTM) and behind-the-market (BTM) markets is very aligned with industry growth projections. Wholesale markets like ISO-NE, CAISO, and ERCOT represent huge opportunities for energy storage. There are also still really good opportunities for us to provide incremental capabilities and offerings in the commercial & industrial space, where we originated.
The future advancements made with battery chemistries will be very interesting. These evolving chemistries will allow batteries to scale to grid size and maximize the conservation of renewable energy. Stem is already well positioned to support that evolution with our services and software.
What advice do you have for people thinking of entering the energy industry?
I think what’s fascinating about the energy industry, and Stem specifically, is that it used to be that you had to come up through the trenches and be a power systems engineer or be a software developer from scratch. But now, for either new graduates or tenured folks, there’s newly open opportunities in this industry because of the want for diverse backgrounds, education, experiences, and cultures. There are tons of opportunities to bring diverse backgrounds and thinking into a company like Stem, especially with AI. AI-driven software is really about encapsulating what, how, and why people think the way they think or what, how, and why people do the things they do. It takes a broad ecosystem of people to capture that in meaningful ways.
On the other hand, if you are on a traditional engineering career path, there are even bigger opportunities. I mentioned earlier about battery chemistries and network interoperability and connections; all of that requires power systems on the engineering side. Specializing your profession is a fantastic career path, too.