Barbara Humpton | CEO of Siemens | Creating the Energy Future

Additional Panelists: Finland State Secretary: Ann-Mari Kemell NREL Executive Director: Doug Arent Regardless of the investments we make in clean technology, we cannot meet our energy and climate goals without our most important investment – human capital. We are already experiencing workforce shortages today, and will certainly do so tomorrow as we rapidly expand clean energy deployment if we don’t immediately begin building the energy workforce of the future. In addition, there are young people all over the world that are ambitious, passionate and have a vision and diverse views that can only strengthen the clean energy transition. For all these reasons, our priority is to create opportunities for future clean energy leaders to actively engage in the Global Clean Energy Action Forum (GCEAF). In September, we will launch the first ever Creating the Energy Future Forum (CEFF) – to bring young professionals together with decision-makers in industry, government and civil society to share solutions and explore how young professionals can be part of the clean energy revolution.


00:02 Karan Takhar
Are you looking to become a leader in clean energy and an expert in cleantech? Do you hope to get noticed in the crowd? As you pursue a career in this fastly growing industry. You are in the right place. Join Karan Takhar as he invites clean energy leaders to share industry development. Highlight cleantech and investment opportunities and shed light on how you can increase your chances of employment in this high-growth sector. We will also discuss the energy transition across key emerging markets like India and explore partnership opportunities for the US private and public sector after all. This is the energy podcast. 

We're now going to turn to a panel of some of our current energy leaders, including Barbara Humpton, President and CEO of Siemens, Ann- Marie Kimmel, State Secretary to the Minister of Economic Affairs for Finland, and Doug aren't executive director of Strategic Public, private partnerships for ENROLL moderated by Karan Takhar. One of our creating the energy future forum delegates. 

01:16 Karan Takhar
Thank you so much for joining us today, and very honored to be moderating this panel session, and special thanks to the organizers know only of the SEF platform for giving us young delegates the opportunity to engage and yesterday, I was speaking to the head of investments at the International Energy Agency, and he's mentioning how they expect about $2.4 trillion to be driven into climate initiatives in the coming year and with that investment will come a lot of job creation which brings us to this discussion is we hope some of that creation can be tailored towards bringing in more young people and providing opportunities to elevate them in the space as well as creating a more diverse workforce, which leads me into my first question and start with you, Ms. Kimmel, and then proceed. What is your organization or country, in this case doing to foster a more diverse clean energy workforce and include early-career young adult professionals?

02:38 Marie Kimmel
Thank you, and thank you for you know inviting me as well in this very important session, so I have to start and tell you a little bit about Finland overall because I think that we are quite equal country. We have quite good situation in gender equality as well and about some facts, So we have a had a female Prime Minister first time in beginning of 2003, and now we have our second, very young female Prime Minister, and at the moment, we have a majority of women in our government, as well, so I think that we are quite equally if you look after our numbers or our government, our constructions, and our minister who is responsible for equality matters is, of course, men. So, I think that this tells something about our situation in Finland and how we came to this point, I think that the main reason is education and also girls and women are have been very interested about studying maths and physics and sort of things which are quite crucial to any energy sector as well. But I have to admit that in energy sector, we don't have so good situation than we have overall environment. So we have quite much to be done in energy sector as well, and I think that the main solution for receiving more young people more women, even in energy sector is clean solutions, and that we have this path toward green transition, and we make a good sound of that, so I think that this is a very strong message for the younger generation and also for women that this is a situation that we need all of you and all our good knowledge and all those variety of the people as well. Thank you.

04:56 Karan Takhar
Thank you, Ms. Humpton, and same question to you. What is Siemens doing to invest in a more diverse workforce and bring more young people on board?

05:09 Barbara Humpton
And by the way, you're looking at two Wake Forest University graduates separated. I'm sure by decades, actually, across two millennia. If you think about it, but good to be with you and fantastic to have a chance to talk about this important subject, and in fact let me start by just I'm going to flip the secretary's words just slightly. Yes, you can be angry, but let me tell you about what else you can also be joyful. We have an opportunity to create a future. That we all want to live in, we have the opportunity to create a society that's more equal. We have the ability to bring clean energy to the planet. That's going to result also in clean air clean daughter, and you all are the one who are going to get the chance to benefit from that, and, so yes, we need to be passionate in this moment. What we're doing at Siemens is focusing in on drawing people from every walk of life into this exciting realm. You know that the tools of the last 20 years in tech have been applied to our commercial life to, our social media life, etc. Those same tools now are coming into the world of manufacturing, and event energy digitalization is happening everywhere, and so folks who are passionate about the technology that we've been using to have fun for the last couple of decades now get used to create the infrastructure the future. The past two decades were about the Internet of people. The next two decades are about the Internet of Things, really big things, power plants and buildings, trains, etc., and so we're using the attraction of the technology. What we get to do every day to appeal to folks of different stripes and different type one last comment we talk a little bit in manufacturing about a goal of lot size 1. What is lot size 1? It is extreme customization, right? You can create for me that's just the product that I want well, the past few decades, we've thought about people almost as mass production of engineers and computer scientists tell you what, people? You are lot size 1 people leaders for the future. Thank you.

07:35 Karan Takhar
Thank you so much.

07:36 Doug Arent
And sure, so thanks for having me. That was a great comment about people and leadership so. I'll start with Enroll, and then I'm going to come back to a personal story that I think hopefully you'll appreciate. So enroll national renewable energy lab were 3000 people strong based in Colorado and have focused on the clean energy transition for 45. If I remember correctly, we are the only National Laboratory of energy efficiency and renewable frankly in the world, and it's been an absolute pleasure to be there for actually quite a while and to see the transition, both of the energy economy and at this precipice of where we're at, to really expand and transform the energy ecosystem and I say your ecosystem because it is an ecosystem of energy connected things and people. In what we do with diversification, diversity, and youth, I'm going to ask you to tell your story, however, so we're going to turn back to you, so be careful. We're really pleased that we have more than 500 youth every year in the laboratory, whether or not they're interns or postdocs, or young entrepreneurs that come through. They come from nearly 30 countries, and we work with more than 75 minority-serving institutions, so these are Native American, Hispanic, tribal institutions, etc. It's a very big, broad program, and we embrace the diversification that we can bring in, and frankly, you're absolutely correct. The tools that the youth have grown up with our now the tools of energy innovation, it is the computational tools that come in and work on a petaflops supercomputer, or frankly, it's being able to communicate via social media, which is just a natural for youth that frankly, I fumble.

09:32 Barbara Humpton
That hey, speak for yourself.

09:34 Doug Arent
And I fumble that I said, I fumble that not you stumble at, so it's really it. It's a thrill, and I've had the honor really of being there for a long time and actually traveling the globe and being able to tell the message and watch now countries and watch capacity building in those countries come forward. So with, our university programs it's diverse. It's, you know, 500 students from around the world who come either as a master or a postdoc, or a graduate student, and it's just that it's a big, broad effort that frankly reside and relies upon the youth to come forward. So let me turn back to you had a time where you were at enroll, so tell a little bit of your story about what it was like to be young and working on an innovative program at a lab like ours.

10:25 Karan Takhar
As Ms. Hampton mentioned, I went to Wake Forest University, and my background was in finance, and I was looking for areas to apply that degree where potential good impact could be made, and someone recently who I spoke with said how the climate space is ideal because. You can do well, given there's so much opportunity and growth, but you can also do good, and as a result, I feel like it is a really attractive area for a lot of young people today, and I'm currently in the Graduate School, and I see a lot of my classmates who worked in separate industries but are now trying to transition into climate work, and I feel like there is going to be a lot of youth engagement and my experience with the DOE it was really amazing getting to work on a lot of interesting international initiatives during the time of so much transition. So really enjoyed it, which brings me to my second question on why is it important or why do you believe it's important to engage young people, and what unique value do you think they bring to your organization to your initiatives? If you could just speak to? Your views on that front.

11:48 Barbara Humpton
Yeah, think about this a lot of the work that we do is in infrastructure that persists for decades, right? So the people at Siemens who have built the systems that now serve us for power and etc. You get more and more and more valuable over time with your experience, and So what we've been doing is taking those grizzled veterans of the of the industry and teaming them up with the digital natives, people who are entering the workforce now and what we're finding is that ideas are just exploding. Hey, what can we do with the digital tools? Well, you need to know the art of the possible in the sheer physics of what we do and take someone who's got a lot of experience but bring in the person with fresh ideas, and I'm telling you, it's sparking all kinds of innovation. We need to get ready for the next several decades, and So what I'm hoping is that people joining us now will actually take root and again be with us for decades so that then we can keep the generational learning.

12:53 Marie Kimmel
Yes, maybe I say something about this governmental review and about politics. So I think that the energy is in the center of the solution. If we are going to tackle the climate change, so we now need those energy-clean energy solutions, so it's a very core thing for tackling the climate change and having this green transition. So if we don't have a younger generation with us doing these innovations and doing this transition, so we don't, we have the future because the clean energy is the solution is the main solution for the green transition because, without the green energy, we don't have this kind of opportunities of course space because everything is based on electrification and cutting fossil fuels so, I think that this is the main thing that if we are going to get young people with us in this green transition and energy system innovation, so we don't have anything.

14:05 Doug Arent
Maybe I'll articulate this through a little personal story so in well; before many of you were born in the mid-70s, there was an oil crisis, and at that point in time, the United States created what was then called the Solar Energy Research Institute. The solar energy resistance to is enroll we were begun as an institute and converted to a national lab while I was 16, then give you a sense of my age. I was a young, passionate science-oriented high schooler, and I wrote a paper on the potential of solar energy and I then, and I still have it. By the way, it's on vellum. It was by a typewriter. Anybody ever used a typewriter, right so? That set out for me a passion of what I wanted to do in terms of a early career and also a dedication, and where it's LED so many years later is seeing solar from an idea in 1976 was maybe a few solar cells on satellites to today, where it's hundreds of gigawatts of per year on the transition to terawatts per year. So out of the youth, that story is really one of what we look for, which is passion, creativity, and the determination, frankly, to be the next generation leaders and to frankly challenge us. So I've been in the in the in the system for a long time, and I've seen a lot of change, and I'm thrilled with where we're at, but there's so much more to come, and your creativity and your passion. That, as the secretary said, will create the future that we all want.

15:58 Karan Takhar
Amazing, and have one final question, given that all of you have such great experience and are leaders in the energy and climate space, just reflecting through the lens of your experience. If you could give one piece of advice, either to someone who's younger just entering space or even if you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to your 25-year-old self, does anything come to mind?

16:29 Doug Arent
Maybe two things be passionate, pursue your passion, and love what you do. I think 

16:39 Barbara Humpton
Curiosity and initiative those are the only two things you need.

16:42 Marie Kimmel
Yes, as something, I have to stress the education that do your homework and take everything off your studies, and then you are capable to do whatever it takes, so study do that.

17:09 Karan Takhar
Thank you so much. Thank you sincerely. Thanks for listening. We hope you enjoyed the episode check out the episode description or show notes For more information on our guest. See you next time.

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