Getting to know Persefoni: Meet Dan Hill
1. And you may ask yourself, "Well... how did I get here?" (Tell us your journey?)
I was born and raised in Naperville, IL. As a kid, I gained a reputation for walking around the neighborhood and stuffing my cargo short pockets full of garbage (say what you want about cargo shorts but they are extremely practical for storage). I was too young to have a full understanding of why the garbage was there in the first place, but I knew I didn’t like the way it encroached on nature. That’s where my environmental stewardship first started to blossom.
By the time I reached Junior High I had moved on from being the local garbage man. I became obsessed with basketball, loved giving speeches, and took a strong interest in communications and science. When I was 15, I briefly met with Al Gore after a speech he gave at the Chicago Theatre on Climate Change. I shook his hand and vowed to join him in the fight. It felt like the sky was falling, and I knew carbon dioxide wasn’t going to fit into my cargo short pockets. While varsity basketball distracted me for most of high school, I tried to arm myself with as much knowledge as I could around climate change and mitigation efforts. I implemented as many best practices as I could in my day-to-day. But it still felt like the problem was too big to solve with these small personal changes.
When applying to colleges I came across a major that I’d never seen before: Environmental Economics. Bingo! I knew my carbon footprint wasn’t near the size of the fortune 500, and if I could get a better understanding of the behavior of large corporations, I could figure out how to steer them in the right direction while keeping their economic interests intact.
Five years later, I came charging out of Athens, Georgia with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Environmental Economics from the University of Georgia. I had an appetite for helping companies reduce their carbon footprint, and a colossal hatred for Alabama Football.
My professional career began with working for Southface Energy Institute, a non-profit in Atlanta focused on promoting sustainable workplaces and communities through education and technical assistance. I developed a strong knowledge of building science and worked primarily on commercial LEED certification and site assessments. I used this experience to segue into an opportunity at ICF, where I provided consulting services for Georgia Power’s energy efficiency programs. While I was always fulfilled by working in energy efficiency, in the back of my mind I knew there were bigger fish to fry. That’s when Ernst & Young’s Climate Change & Sustainability Services practice came along and opened me to a world of advisory and assurance services that had a direct impact on corporate customers. Finally, I felt like I had a seat at the table (or…maybe just a seat in the room). Through some incredible leadership and commitment to education by my former colleagues at EY, I found myself deep in the inner workings of corporate GHG inventories, supporting climate risk and materiality assessments, and participating in goal setting workshops with multiple Fortune-100 companies. Then, after two years at EY, Persefoni finally came knocking!
2. And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile. (What do you do at Persefoni?)
I spent my first six months in an Associate Climate Solutions Director (CSD) role. In that role, I served customers by providing expertise in how they can use the Persefoni platform to compile a GHG inventory that meets Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP) standards and is fully auditable. The role of a CSD goes beyond carbon accounting knowledge - we have a range of important conversations with customers on where they are at in their climate journey. Really anything under the umbrella of climate is fair game. The CSDs are all just a bunch of nerds over here at Persefoni excited to have a discussion.
I moved over to the Product side as a Senior Climate Analytics Lead after six months in the CSD role, where I continued to act as a subject matter expert on carbon accounting in a new light. I specialized in building out the frameworks for implementing new calculations, features, and emission factor sets in our platform. Working closely with Persefoni’s customers prior to joining Product enabled me to inject the voice of customers into our calculation and feature development and design processes.
Now, I find myself about a year later moving back to a customer facing role. I feel that I can use what I’ve learned from six incredible months on the Product team to better articulate to our prospective and existing customers how the gears in the Persefoni platform turn.
3. And you may ask yourself, "Where does that highway go to?" (What are your hopes for your time at Persefoni?)
Did you know that the Southeastern United States uses the word Coke when asking for a soda? ANY soda, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Coca-Cola. It drives me mad. They should really be asking for a soda pop (but that is beside the point). My hope is that during my time at Persefoni, I can watch our world class user experience, customer success team, climate knowledge experts, and data quality drive so many customers to the Persefoni platform that the world thinks Persefoni when they hear carbon accounting. I want to do everything in my power to help minimize the burden customers usually have to go through when putting together a GHG inventory without a software solution like Persefoni. Carbon accounting is critical to protecting our planet, and the easier we can make it, the clearer our strategies to prevent and reduce GHG emissions can become.
4. And you may say to yourself, "My God! What have I done?" (Why is Persefoni a great home for you?)
I came to Persefoni ready to be adaptable because I knew that as a start-up, we would be rapidly growing much like the climate tech space is. I’ve been incredibly pleased with how many opportunities I’ve been presented to get involved across different teams that I wouldn’t normally have exposure to at most other companies. I’ve had the privilege of working on at least one if not multiple projects with data science, engineering, design, customer success, sales, marketing, learning and development, and people operations. Persefoni has supreme talent density, and what’s most critical to me in a work environment is the opportunity to build strong relationships with my colleagues and learn from every single one of them. I’ve been working in the sustainability space for about 6.5 years and am still humble enough to say there is a lot for me to learn. Persefoni has enabled me to do that. After we’ve all won the fight against climate change, I’ll be able to reflect and truly appreciate the wonderful people that I spent my time here with. They make me a better young professional and a better person.
5. And you may find yourself in another part of the world... (Tell us about your life/hobbies away from work?)
I very recently moved to the historic Beacon Hill in Boston, MA and have been basking in the remote work lifestyle in my 400 square foot apartment with my girlfriend Anna, a cat, and an 8-year-old yellow lab. My zoom game is ELITE- you will never see any of them in the background.
My happy place is a desolate basketball court in the middle of the night with just me and a pair of headphones. Basketball has been a cornerstone of my life since I can remember, and I attribute much of my character today to playing high-school basketball for 4 years.
I love music, but will unfortunately never advance past the skill level “Can Confidently Sing (Rap) Karaoke.” Concerts take up a large share of my social calendar, and the occasional music festival. Also is socializing considered a hobby? I’d say above anything I do these days, I enjoy getting together with good friends, meeting new people, or hanging out with my Persefoni coworkers the most. If you’re reading this and you live in Boston, let’s chat!
Lastly, I’m a die-hard Chicago Bears, Georgia Bulldogs, and Chicago Bulls fan. I will hopefully be able to name a hockey team in this list in a few years but am still developing that knowledge base. A few more brutal winters in Boston should fix that.
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“Once in a Lifetime" is a series of articles designed to help our customers and partners learn more about Persefoni's truly passionate team. We're not just building award-winning software ... together, we're helping to decarbonize our planet.