Five Questions with Instructor Melanie Kenderdine

September 12, 2017

We got the chance to sit down with Melanie Kenderdine, principal, Energy Futures Initiative and instructor for the upcoming Energy Leadership Program. We asked her to shed some light on her extensive experience, and helping other industry leaders learn more about leading through complex environments:

1. Tell us about your experience as a senior energy professional in the industry.

I was the vice president for the Gas Technology Institute (GTI), a performing laboratory for the natural gas industry. GTI had a broad research portfolio and was very focused on efficiency and coal gasification at the time I worked there.

The CEO of GTI also capitalized a company I established in 2002, the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA). RPSEA was focused on developing technologies for onshore unconventional gas and ultra-deepwater offshore gas. 

Independent producers are the industry segment that is responsible for the diffusion of shale gas technologies in the marketplace, and running RPSEA made me fully appreciate the importance that the U.S. industry structure has on developing shale gas.

2. How does your experience bring a fresh perspective to the program as an instructor?

I have extensive experience in the energy industry, government environment and academia. I also have a deep appreciation for constructive public private partnerships, policy analysis, and events in the history of modern energy policy, which have dramatically altered the US energy security posture in the last decade or so. 

3. What are you looking forward to most about the Energy Leadership Program? Why do you think the topics are timely?

I am most looking forward to having the opportunity to interact with senior industry experts while also learning from their perspectives.

The energy profile in the U.S. has dramatically changed in the last decade.  Understanding more about how this revolution came about will enable us to look for opportunities, take informed risks, and enhance our energy security.

4. Why do you think it’s necessary for senior executives to continue to learn?

Senior executives are paid, in part, for their judgment and learning enhances judgment. To be the best I can be at my job, for both my company and country, I need to be constantly learning and adapting for change, it’s no different for anyone else.

5. What would you like senior executives to take away from the program?

This program has been formed for senior executives to learn from myself and many other instructors with extensive knowledge in the industry; therefore there are many takeaways from this program.

Firstly, understand that people from very different disciplines often reach the same conclusions. During this uncertain time there are new and serious threats to our energy infrastructures that need to be acknowledged and managed. Technology-enabled transformations take time and our industry and university structures are clear differentiators in a global marketplace.

For more information on the week-long Energy Leadership Program, download the prospectus here.

Melanie Kenderdine
Melanie Kenderdine

Melanie Kenderdine is a principal of the Energy Futures Initiative and EJM Associates and a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank. Kenderdine served at the Department of Energy (DOE) from 2013 - 2017, as the Energy Counselor to the Secretary and concurrently as the Director of DOE’s Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis. Her office was responsible for analysis and policy development in areas that included: energy innovation; climate change; energy security; energy systems and infrastructure; and North American energy integration. In her capacity as energy counselor to the Secretary, Ms. Kenderdine provided key strategic advice on a broad range of issues across the DOE including Mission Innovation, a 22-country+EU initiative that supports transformational clean energy RD&D; North American grid integration and security; and the modernization of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. From 1993 to 2001, Kenderdine was a political appointee in President Bill Clinton’s administration, where she served in several key posts at the DOE, including Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary, Director of the Office of Policy, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs. Prior to her service at the DOE, Kenderdine helped to establish the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and served as its Executive Director. She also started the C3E Symposium series, a joint MIT-DOE program to support the careers of women in clean energy with cash prizes. Before joining MITEI, Kenderdine served as the Vice President of Washington Operations for the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) from 2001 to 2007. In 2014, Ms. Kenderdine was named by the National Journal as one of the top five women in Washington shaping energy policy she is also the longest serving political appointee in the Department of Energy’s 40-year history.