I’m writing to inform you that I am today stepping down from my role as the Director of the DOE Office of Indian Energy. Effective Monday, I will take the helm of Western Area Power Administration’s Transmission Infrastructure Program, which manages Western’s $3.25 billion loan authority to support financing of transmission projects and projects which facilitate the delivery of clean energy. It is an exciting opportunity to return to my professional roots and passion ~ energy project development and finance. So while I am leaving HQ, I will still likely from time to time be roaming the 8th floor as I check in next week and then come back periodically to report back on the exciting infrastructure projects we are working on to support the delivery of more clean energy to market.
It has been a whirlwind 3 years since I arrived here from Scottsdale, Arizona in midst of snowmageddon! The Hopi people believe that any rain or snow is a form of blessing so I chose to take my Washington meteorological welcome as a good omen. And good it has been… in three short years, we have grown an idea and a mandate into a full program office serving over 500 tribal governments on an unprecedented level, on a multiplicity of levels. I wanted to thank ARPA-e as my incoming comrades in arms – they paved the path for IE as the latest new program prior to IE, and shared their good counsel on administrative. Arun was a fantastic colleague and help in those early days. CI, S4, EM and S1’s offices have also been consistently supportive on all levels.
As I depart, we are in an exciting and important leadership position amongst our peers on Indian energy issues. Secretary Moniz, alongside Secretary Jewell, serves as co-chair of the recently organized White House Council on Native American Affairs’ Energy Subgroup. The Council is comprised of every cabinet level leader with tribal programs or issue responsibility. At the last Council meeting we attended, Secretary Moniz articulated our multifaceted commitment to tribal governments, from our energy mission to our nuclear security mission. And just this week, the Secretary announced our intention to hold a DOE Tribal Nations Summit this fall. It has been my observation throughout my tenure here that every DOE program and administration writ large has consistently and sincerely supported our federal government-to-government relationship with the Tribes we work with. So I look forward to cheering you on as the Secretary’s Office and the program offices begin to collaborate and organize this important, exciting event.
Let me wish you the best in your continuing commitment. Prior to that fateful call from the White House (and “the closer” Deputy Secretary Poneman) some years ago, I had only ever worked in the private sector and my experience here in public service has exceeded every expectation that I had. I had often kept a watchful eye from afar on this Department, knowing that there was great opportunity to make a difference in the lives of tribal communities, many of which struggle with poverty, the cost of energy, effects of climate change, or difficult choices in the development of their resources. I am proud of the work that we have done. And I know you will continue to do to help ease those struggles and continue the partnership that we have with Indian Country. That’s real change, in my book.