Skip to Content

Category Archives: Generator Profile

Dawn Putney

Dawn Putney considers herself a Minnesota country girl by nature, having grown up on the farmland her Irish ancestors homesteaded. She was active in 4H and the Future Homemakers of America (FHA) as a child. Then she discovered design in high school, and she knew she’d found her calling. Dawn’s first “real job” was as an advertising typesetter, where she developed a passion for big ideas, storytelling, the printed word and attention to detail. She went on to work at some of the most prestigious advertising and design firms in Minneapolis.

Dawn moved to Colorado in 1994 when her husband landed his dream job in atmospheric science. Though that marriage ended, her love for Colorado and the desire to raise her kids surrounded by mountains and big blue skies remained strong. After many years pioneering beautiful design in Northern Colorado for other companies, Dawn co-founded Toolbox Creative, a branding and marketing firm that helps innovative technology companies tell their unique stories. She is an active advocate for women in technology both in and out of the office. She sits on the board of Colorado C3E and Pretty Brainy, and volunteers her time and expertise with several other women-focused enterprises.

I love helping tech-centric companies develop their brands and positioning, demonstrate their expertise, and then show off their brands genuinely and consistently. There are so many innovative companies coming up with solutions that make our world a better place, and those stories need to be shared.

What inspired you to start Toolbox Creative? How did you do it?

In my 20s and 30s, I had the good fortune to work at some of the largest and best design shops in Minneapolis — a great way to learn design thinking from the best in the business. But it was my experience working with some of the smaller agencies that helped me focus my attentions on design and positioning as a marketing strategy.

I’ve always been entrepreneurial, so starting a creative agency seemed like a logical next step when the company I worked for shuttered after 9/11. I love a challenge, and starting a company with my pragmatic husband while being my own boss was a challenge too good to pass up. Bootstrapping is in my blood, and we put a lot of sweat equity into building Toolbox Creative and a culture we could be proud of. There have been plenty of bumps along the way, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Why did you choose to focus on clean energy clients?

Toolbox made the decision to work with engineers, in part, thanks to our immediate surroundings. Northern Colorado is a hotbed of innovation, and when we were a new Fort Collins company 15+ years ago, we began working with local engineers. We discovered that through design thinking, we spoke a common language. That kind of magic really gets the creative wheels turning. Clean energy and tech was a natural progression for us — the industry is chock full of innovators who think differently for the good of all.

Clean tech and energy companies are all about creating tools that solve a problem — often big, hairy problems. Planet-saving problems. Helping companies that are making a real difference in the world is why we’re passionate about working in clean energy.

By working with some of Toolbox’s innovative clients, we’ve seen firsthand what small businesses can do to make a big impact. It started when we first helped develop the brand for the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster several years ago. Since then, we have worked with other save-the-world-with-clean-tech organizations like Brendle Group, Prieto Battery, Colorado C3E and Pretty Brainy. Every day, we strive to leave the world a better place than we found it. At Toolbox Creative, we choose to focus on working directly with clean tech companies to help make that dream a reality.

How does your company work within the clean energy sphere?

Our specialty is working with clean tech and clean energy innovators, along with 3D printing and ag tech. Most people hear “clean tech” or “clean energy” and think that means working in engineering or another technical STEM career. Marketing has a place at the table, too! When is the last time you saw a successful innovation company, start-up or otherwise, that didn’t have a need for marketing? Never (I hope). I love helping tech-centric companies develop their brands and positioning, demonstrate their expertise, and then show off their brands genuinely and consistently. There are so many innovative companies coming up with solutions that make our world a better place, and those stories need to be shared.

Some people think marketing is simply about putting content on the company website or coming up with the next idea for your digital ad campaign. While those tactics are all creative, building a brand that cuts through the extraneous noise — that’s when the fun really starts. I love rolling up my sleeves, poking, prodding and understanding a customer’s pain points — that’s when what we do becomes really fun.

Which new work projects excite you most?

WomenInCleanEnergy.com and this initiative to collect and share the stories of women in technology, clean energy and beyond is one of my current favorites. Women’s voices need to be heard, and their stories told.

What role has mentorship played in your career?

My high school FHA advisor, Mrs. Sederstrom was my mentor before I knew what that meant. She encouraged me to get involved with leadership roles within the regional organization. She believed in me when I didn’t know what I was capable of doing.

What advice would you give young women who want to pursue a career in clean energy?

Find a mentor and believe it when she tells you that you can do anything you set your mind on. In the male-dominated world of high tech, it’s critical that women take an active part.

What is the most difficult vocational challenge you’ve overcome as a woman?

I was a single mom early in my career, and the challenges of raising my kids while working full-time was tough. I could not have done it without the support of my family and friends. When your Mom is willing to take care of your kid with chicken pox – then you know you have a strong support system!

What would you change in the clean energy work space to make it more equitable for women?

Technology companies can provide more support for women as we focus on taking care of our families with flexible work schedules, equal pay and a level playing field in career advancement.

What do you consider your biggest career success?

As a business owner, I’ve always been involved with organizations that help women in business succeed. I believe that when women work together to magnify and amplify one another’s voices, the world is a kinder, smarter place. As a board member of both Colorado C3E and Pretty Brainy, a girl-focused STEAM (STEM + art) nonprofit, I have had the opportunity to meet and support some of the smartest, most creative women I’ve ever known. That’s hard to beat.

What do you want your legacy to be?

For me it’s all about getting stuff done. Doing that while helping women advance their careers is the best gift I can give.How do you think C3E can encourage more women to pursue a career in clean energy?

By supporting one another through networking, encouragement and amplifying one another’s stories, we can — and do — make the world a better place. I’ve seen a handful of Women in (fill in the blank) initiatives out in the world and truly admire what they are doing to advance women in all kinds of tech and STEM fields. I am most inspired by how Women in 3D Printing are taking action to advance women in the male-dominated additive manufacturing industry.

Now more than ever, women supporting each other is critically important. The Women in Clean Energy initiative will help increase the visibility of women in the clean energy industry through shared stories, which will hopefully encourage more women to contribute to clean energy innovation.

0

Maury Dobbie

Maury Dobbie is is the Executive Director for the Colorado Energy Research Collaboratory and the External Engagement Director for the Energy Institute at Colorado State University. Maury works ¾ of the time as the Executive Director of the Collaboratory which has been in existence since 2008 as an energy research partnership between four entities:  Colorado State University, University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado School of Mines and National Renewable Energy Lab. She also works ¼ of the time with the Energy Institute on special energy projects. Maury was the former Assistant Director at the Center for the New Energy Economy for the past 7 years and has been immersed in the energy field for over 7 years now as she finds the field fascinating and a great opportunity for women to find their passion using their unique skills.

Maury was born in Germany and raised in Wyoming before coming to Colorado in 1992, and decided to head to Fort Collins because her perception was that it would afford more opportunities and a new beginning, and as a women entrepreneur it would be more welcoming and progressive. When she first arrived in 1992, she was a stockbroker with a local firm, but then continued on to start her own award-winning multimedia production company which was up and running for 16 years. She was also the president & CEO of a regional economic development corporation for 4 years before working at CSU. Maury has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and is currently completing her MBA at Colorado State University.  She has also earned her Series 7 brokerage license in the 1990’s.When one thinks about how critical energy is in the ecosystem of a healthy economy, country and world I am even more convinced that making sure it is clean energy will impact generations into the future.

“When one thinks about how critical energy is in the ecosystem of a healthy economy, country and world I am even more convinced that making sure it is clean energy will impact generations into the future”

How did you land in the clean energy sphere?

I’ve always been a curious and ambitious learner — never being afraid to be the only woman in the room. I have noticed for most girls/women, it takes years to figure out what ignites our true passion — to figure out what we are really good at and to be confident in our own skin. Because my childhood and young adulthood was fraught with a lot of negative people and situations, I didn’t know where my true value was until I got older and allowed myself to search for a better life. I’d never have thought I’d end up in energy, per se, but I always believed I could do anything I set my mind on.

My faith and love of family have been my rock. Surrounding myself with positive influences, including remarrying a wonderful, supportive husband, have helped me create the firm emotional foundation that also influenced my career. I believe we have to perceive and then seek opportunity where others do not. Before it was popular to be a woman business owner, I felt it was the only way to control my own destiny. I don’t believe that’s the only career avenue anymore.

My reason for gravitating towards clean energy stems from being raised on a ranch where clean air, clean water, purposeful land use practices, energy as a foundational necessity and other factors could make or break the rural business and lifestyle. I learned an appreciation for hard work and environmental practices that weren’t even named back then. When one thinks about how critical energy is in the ecosystem of a healthy economy, country and world, I am even more convinced that making sure it is clean energy will impact generations into the future. It’s important to me that I am a part of something bigger than myself and meaningful in this world.

What do you consider your biggest successes?

I’ve been willing to take the risk to be different while having an eye towards finding solutions and making a lasting difference for generations long after I’m gone. It’s fun to look back over my various career paths and know that I’m peaceful about what I’ve been able to accomplish through hard work, determination, optimism, maintaining a sense of humor in dark days, thinking the best of people, finding that forgiveness necessary to moving on – all are powerful tools towards a fulfilled, happy life. While I’m not quite done in my clean energy career path and journey, it’s been gratifying to know that in spite of hardship and life’s ups and downs in my various career focus areas and my personal journey, I know the value of living it to its fullest. I remain (and practice every day being) hopeful and grateful.

I’ve ascended to some great titles in my career path, but I’d have to say my biggest success is having worked extremely hard to raise two children who grew up to be healthy, smart, kind, accomplished, honest, hard-working and positive adults. I spend time with my grandchildren trying to impress upon them the importance of the environment, why clean energy resources and conservation are so important.  For example, teaching them to turn off the water faucet when brushing their teeth, because not having running water unless we trucked it in when I was a child made me appreciate the importance of clean water and where it comes from.

Has mentorship played a role in your career?

Mentorship was not a reality in my early years, nor was it something I saw a lot of. I remember learning who I wanted to be (or not) from passive observation. When I began my career as an entrepreneur at the age of 19, there were no women to watch that had businesses — so I observed how men became successful. It makes me even more hopeful that there are avenues in which young women, women starting their careers and those that have been in careers for a long time can engage with mentors and positive organizations. Knowing the difference in what I didn’t have as an advantage in my younger years makes me even more determined to be a part of creating it for others. That is why I’m passionate about what Colorado C3E is doing alongside other positive and effective partners.

How have you moved past challenges?

It can feel very vulnerable to share one’s life story when it isn’t always pretty, but my experience with extreme domestic violence was the most difficult challenge I have ever overcome — but the most rewarding because I lived to tell my story. It could have easily thwarted my career path and my intrinsic drive to find my value, feed my family and “climb the ladder.” That was never stolen from me because I fought hard to maintain my optimism, courage and quest for a better life. I also grew up in an economically poor environment without running water and the niceties I enjoy now — it was hard to break through the feeling of not having enough while striving for more.

I’ve worked hard over the years to finally find my worth, while at the same time recognizing what I do well and admit what I don’t do well. Surrounding myself with smart and positive people, no matter what I’m doing, is one of the keys to my success.Spending my career on what can make a difference has always been a life goal because I don’t want any regrets. I’ve found my career in clean energy to be very fulfilling.

How would you make the clean energy work space more equitable for women?

I would encourage women to own their own destinies by looking for opportunities that would elevate their clean energy careers. For example, offer to serve on a high-powered board where you can learn, grow and meet the right people. If we wait for equity, parity and fairness in the workplace, it may never be offered. But we can look for ways to stand out, knowing it takes hard work and determination. It isn’t easy finding opportunities where others don’t see them, but I would encourage women of all ages to not wait for it to come to them. In addition, I would encourage women to seek wisdom from others, both male and female, as they grow and learn who they are meant to be. Comparing ourselves to others in a negative fashion only stunts our growth and breeds a sense of helplessness. But using that energy to explore new ideas, hold oneself accountable and be curious about taking risks that elevate our career in clean energy can be empowering.

What projects are you excited to be working on now?

At the Energy Institute at Colorado State University, I really enjoy taking on projects that will ultimately make a difference in clean energy, whether that be in our state, our country or around the world. For the past seven years, CSU has hosted an energy conference that I’ve headed up. Through the team of many thought leaders, it’s wonderful to see partnerships formed, people talking in civil discourse who don’t necessarily agree, multi-million-dollar solution-finding energy projects being created, new common sense regulatory and policies being put into place, etc. At the Colorado Energy Research Collaboratory, I am excited that the three largest Colorado research institutions (CSU, CU Boulder, Colorado School of Mines) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have worked closely together since 2008 on energy projects and research that will make a real difference in the world. The Collaboratory will be hosting the 8thannual 21stCentury Energy Transition Symposium on April 1-2, 2019 in downtown Denver that I’m once again heading up. Colorado C3E will kick off the event with its 3rdannual Women in Clean Energy breakfast. We’ve had powerful and accomplished women on stage telling their personal stories of how they experienced their professional careers in energy — you won’t want to miss it!

What do you want your legacy to be in work or in life?

Personally, I’d like my legacy to be one of someone who is an optimistic overcomer that spent time on the important things in life — humanity. Professionally, it’s important to me that the work I do now in clean energy affects the world for many years beyond my lifetime. In the coming decades, technologies, politics, cultures, industry, people and beliefs will all undoubtedly change. But the work we are currently doing in clean energy could be that stepping stone to a healthier and sustainable planet.I’d like to know I was a small part of that important work. While I’m not the expert in the technologies or research component, I’ve found my skills and value in the clean energy ecosystem while surrounding myself with brilliant and visionary minds.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I’d remind myself that a fulfilled life begins with recognizing my strengths and weaknesses then pursuing a career path that fits my passion and strengths. Be a lifelong curious learner that is willing to pay my dues in hard work, and educate myself on clean energy topics, which are vast and complicated. Formal education is key to success, as well as informal education such as working with mentors, being an unpaid intern if that is what it takes to get into the field of choice. Passive observation of people, asking questions and being willing to struggle through hard work may be necessary, because it can be the foundation in which to build my career. I’d tell myself it is okay to make mistakes and take risks, because eventually they become past memories and even stronger foundational intrinsic self-esteem builders. I’d remind myself to cherish the present moments versus always be striving “to get from A to B to C to D” without celebrating in between. Being too driven can rob oneself of living in the present.

How do you think C3E can encourage more women to pursue a career in clean energy?

The C3E organization is built on a firm foundation from a non-profit standpoint. Even more importantly, it is built on a culture and atmosphere steeped in encouragement of helping women find their place in the career of clean energy. There are so many facets of clean energy that no one person can be an expert in everything or every aspect; C3E is helping women find where they fit. C3E takes into consideration the diversity of age, race, culture and experience of women because they know one size doesn’t fit all. In addition, Colorado C3E leaders know the power of collaboration and partnerships. The foundation the Colorado C3E organization is founded upon should last the test of time.  I say to men and women — Get involved —there so are many ways to connect and engage!

0 0 Continue Reading →

Annette “Net” Meredith, City of Fort Collins


Net works for the City of Fort Collins and the
Institute for Market Transformation as an advisor through its City Energy Project grant. As the City Project Energy Advisor, Net helps with energy efficiency in commercial buildings, while tackling multiple projects to help lower energy consumption and increase awareness around the importance of saving energy. Formerly, she worked in energy efficiency for the Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. Department of Energy Western Area Power Administration as well as in Washington DC within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. As a Project Officer within the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant program, Net worked with cities and counties in many of the Rocky Mountain states on their energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Net grew up in Bel Air, Maryland and moved to Fort Collins after college. Net moved back east for awhile and then returned to Fort Collins in 2014. Net holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and a M.S. in Sustainable Development from University of Maryland and a B.A. from University of Michigan in addition to post-bachelor’s coursework from Colorado State University. Net is also a Certified Energy Manager (CEM) and Certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

I want to help girls and women feel confident in any field that they pursue, especially those in which they are faced with challenges.

What’s the most difficult challenge you’ve had to overcome as a woman in your career?

During different jobs in my career I’ve been the only woman in the room at meetings and conferences and I’ve had to navigate those situations carefully to advocate for myself.

What are you proudest of in your career? What has been your biggest success?

My adaptability has allowed me to change fields as opportunities presented themselves and to learn new things quickly through these changes.

What do you want your legacy to be, whether in your workplace or in life?

I want to help girls and women feel confident in any field that they pursue, especially those in which they are faced with challenges. Outside of work, I coach girls lacrosse in Northern Colorado.  The girls I coach vary in ages from first to eighth grade and the overall goal is to help them to build confidence while learning to love the sport and adopting good sportsmanship along the way. By learning these skills early on, they grow into their adult lives as team players who can succeed in their careers.

What inspirational experiences do you have that you wish to share for women wanting to pursue clean energy as a career path?

There are so many women that are celebrated each year by national C3E (https://c3eawards.org/winners/) based on their contributions to clean energy and a better world overall.  Reading their stories inspires me.

What new projects are you working on that you wish to share?

Currently, I am working on projects that aim to help business owners better track their energy use, to improve rental living conditions in Fort Collins through energy efficiency upgrades, and to improve public access to energy efficiency information.

What one thing would you change about your workplace in order to make it more equitable?

I would encourage more women engineers to join the team.

Thinking about what you know now, what advice would you give to your younger self?

For my younger self, my advice would be to not let anyone discourage you and to stay true to your original dreams.

How do you think C3E can encourage more women to pursue a career in clean energy?

C3E can encourage more women to pursue a career in clean energy by building networks and exposing women and girls to local employers. C3E also can help by  cataloging and demonstrating the breadth of jobs in clean energy workforce, so that women can find a place that suits them best. Worldwide you can take many things away from women and girls but you can never take away their education once they have it. And once they get a hold of education in the STEM fields, their potential contributions to advancing knowledge and technology are limitless. I am excited to help the C3E Initiative with its efforts to invite and retain K through Gray gals in the clean energy workforce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0 0 Continue Reading →

Judy Dorsey, The Brendle Group

Judy Dorsey is the founding President and Principal Engineer of Brendle Group, an impact-driven, people-centered sustainability firm that solves complex sustainability challenges through practical planning, robust engineering and analysis, and actionable implementation. Over the past 22 years, Judy has grown Brendle Group into an award-winning consulting group with impact areas focused on transformative energy and water solutions, resilient and regenerative systems, and symbiotic relationships between the natural and built environments.

Judy also serves on the advisory board for Colorado State University’s Energy Institute and is co-founder of Colorado C3E, an initiative to advance women in clean energy. She is a member of the American Solar Energy Society, the Association of Energy Engineers, and the Colorado Renewable Energy Society.  In 2005, she helped launch the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster and form the vision and key implementation projects for FortZED as well as other cluster initiatives, including the International Cleantech Network (ICN). Judy has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University, and a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University.  She resides with her family in Colorado’s first LEED home.

To me, success is measured in positive impacts on people and relationships. As a woman engineer and mom, I hope to help other women engineers achieve both their professional and life aspirations.

What’s the most difficult challenge you’ve had to overcome as a woman in your career?

As a woman engineer, I strive to break down barriers for future generations. Part of breaking down these barriers is busting myths that women aren’t as technically qualified as male engineers or that we aren’t as committed professionals due to family commitments.  Some of these stereotypes are especially hard to address since women are so underrepresented in engineering. In fact, we have less market access, making women-owned engineering firms federally designated as disadvantaged. At Brendle Group we work hard to thrive as a business despite these market disadvantages.  While it can be beneficial to some of our customers that Brendle Group is a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, it can also feed the notion that women are less than equal to our male counterparts. As an entrepreneur, that presents a bit of a quandy and a challenge to navigate.

 

 

What are you proudest of in your career? What has been your biggest success?

To me success is measured in positive impacts on people and relationships.  As a woman engineer and mom I hope to help other women engineers achieve both their professional and life aspirations.  I started Brendle Group when I was in the third trimester of my pregnancy with my son, Andrew. Throughout my career, I’ve tried to be a role model for successfully managing work and family, and have proven it’s possible to have both. I’m proud to be able to help women and people in general positively look forward, and reach their desired goals.  It makes me happy to see other women engineers at Brendle Group balancing families successfully. And I’m also happy to share that my son is now an electrical engineer serving as a Peace Corps volunteer and my daughter, Maggie, is pursuing a degree in ecology. Life comes full circle.

What do you want your legacy to be, whether in your workplace or in life?

From raising my two children with my husband Dan, I’ve learned it takes a village to accomplish your goals. It’s the same for clean energy and gender equality. Personally, I want my legacy to include the relationships I’ve built and the impact I’ve made as a role model for my family and all women. Through these relationships, I want my legacy to be a piece in the big picture of closing the gender gap and creating a more sustainable future.

What inspirational experiences do you have that you wish to share for women wanting to pursue clean energy as a career path?

My inspiration comes from the long lasting and sustained impact I’ve shared with my community. As an engineer focused on clean energy consumption and sustainability, I’m both technically challenged and professionally rewarded by pursuing positive sustainable solutions. The most inspiring part of this career is reaching goals and the satisfaction of having hard work make a positive impact, not just on myself but also for the larger community.

What new projects are you working on that you wish to share?

Brendle Group has several projects that we’re working on at the moment. Currently, we’re very excited to be conducting a Climate Vulnerability Assessment in Bozeman, Montana. We’re also growing and innovating on our partnership with Xcel Energy through Partners in Energy. Through this offering, Brendle Group helps participating communities develop a plan that identifies their energy goals and maps out how they can be achieved. We’re also continuously helping various partners and customers in the private sector achieve their net zero energy and water goals.

 

 

What one thing would you change about your workplace in order to make it more equitable?

At Brendle Group, equity is one of our core values, essentially running through our DNA as a company. However, there is always room for improvement. At Brendle Group, equity applies to both men and women. For example, we’re currently looking into paternity leave for new dads because we recognize that the importance of work and life balance for long and successful careers. We’re also piloting alternative work opportunities for individuals nearing the end of their career (we call this an Encoreship), part-time employment, and sabbaticals.  

Thinking about what you know now, what advice would you give to your younger self?

Growing up, I was very energetic and definitely a classified risk taker. Knowing what I know now, I would advise my younger self to embrace failure with open arms, and stomp out perfectionism. Nobody is perfect and it is important to learn from failure to grow as a person.

How do you think C3E can encourage more women to pursue a career in clean energy?

Right now, the stories and interviews campaign that the C3E website is introducing is a very powerful tool to encourage more women to pursue a career in clean energy. These stories show that women are already influencing the Colorado clean energy economy and breaking down gender barriers across a wide range of jobs and clean energy sectors. Beyond these stories, it is essential to work with employers to continue breaking down barriers to recruiting and retaining more women into their ranks.  C3E can also work with employers to put more women in Colorado board rooms. C3E is a very powerful network that connects employers with exceptional talent – without gender bias.

 

 

 

 

0