In January of 2009, energy discussions in the U.S. were abuzz with talk of cap and trade, federal and state renewable energy mandates, and questions about the future of oil as prices spiked historically the year before. It was an interesting time to start a new organization focused on energy. It was also the right time to do it.
I founded PACE because the conversation about energy policy needed changing. There was too much talk about energy sources and not enough talk about the people who pay for them. Discussions about possibilities were too rarely accompanied by asking what people could afford. Optimism wasn’t being sufficiently balanced with caution.
In the eight and a half years since PACE started, the energy landscape has changed dramatically. We have changed alongside it, sticking to our core principles of reliability and affordability, but also recognizing that different political, environmental, and technological realities require new thinking and flexibility. The result, in my opinion, has been PACE’s continual presence as an organization that can be trusted for sound, factual analysis in the energy space. Some will agree with our point of view and some won’t, but the conversation we initiate will lead to better outcomes for customers and more informed judgment for the policy makers and regulators who serve them.
Change, however, is often necessary for growth. The same rings true in our professional lives. That is why I have chosen to move on from my position as Executive Director and leave PACE in the very capable hands of another. It is simply time for me to move on to other professional challenges and to allow PACE the chance to mature and expand under new leadership. Leaving the job and the mission that have been the centerpiece of my career to date is certainly bittersweet, but I leave with the strong belief that PACE has occupied – and continues to occupy – a critical and necessary space in an area of public policy with so much importance in the daily lives of Americans.
In the coming days, PACE will make an official announcement about the hiring of Laura Schepis, a seasoned professional in energy advocacy whose impressive experience and deep personal commitment to the cause of customers will serve the organization well. Along with our board of directors, I have every confidence that Laura will not only uphold the tradition PACE has built over the past eight and half years, but that her vision and enthusiasm for our cause will open new avenues of service and reveal exciting opportunities.
To the various members of my board who have trusted me with the responsibility of executive director and to the countless supporters who offered encouragement and assistance during my tenure, I offer my heartfelt thanks. I also ask that you renew your commitment to PACE as the organization begins a new chapter under new leadership. The time is still right for an organization devoted to representing consumers and smart energy policy is more important than ever. We can’t afford to give up the fight!