- I played college football at Miami (OH) in undergrad, and have since been recognized as a standout alumni.
- I’ve been ranked in Magic Johnson’s 32 under 32 list of up and coming business thinkers, and am a Forbes’s 30 under 30 recipient in Law & Policy.
- While in grad school, I earned a Climate Change Diplomacy certification with the UN Institute of Training and Research – and spent time advising Small Island Nations in their UN negotiations.
- Recently, I was named as an EV Power Player by Insider with my work at Volta.
What is your field of expertise?
My background is equal parts climate/energy policy, tech, and communications. In the Obama Administration, I helped craft the climate narrative from both the White House and the US EPA, when I worked for then-Administrator Gina McCarthy (now President Biden’s chief climate advisor). I’ve also spent time as a c-suite communications and climate advisor to corporations, start-ups, and philanthropies around the world.
Describe your journey to where you are today.
I’ve been in climate and clean energy for over a decade. In the Obama administration, I was a part of the White House climate team and helped craft and launch President Obama’s climate agenda. At the White House, I established the Federal Government’s Sustainability Measurement System, shaped President Obama’s climate agenda, and built climate-focused White House events.
After the White House, I went to the US EPA as Gina McCarthy’s senior advisor and chief speechwriter, where I helped shape historic climate action in both the power and transportation sectors. Between my jobs in public service, I earned a graduate degree from the Yale School for the Environment. My graduate studies at Yale in Climate & International Affairs included deep diplomatic and comms expertise. After EPA, I assisted the Secretary of Defense, speechwriting at the Pentagon, where I earned Forbes 30 under 30 recognition.
My tenure at EPA as one of Gina McCarthy’s Senior Advisors cemented my experience in the highest echelons of climate and energy policymaking & influence. My interest in cleantech is an organic next step as a deep climate policy thinker – and my current work at Volta and in the EV space is a snug fit for what I learned in the highest levels of the regulatory and decarbonization policy circles I’ve operated in.
What does your company do, for whom, and how does it fit into the bigger picture of solving global issues with clean tech?
I spend most of my time in electric mobility, helping accelerate our transition to an inevitable electric future. At Volta, I lead strategic policy, climate, and communications initiatives — and also act as a primary spokesperson for the company. Volta is the only charging network that combines the most valuable media network of its kind with an award-winning, accessible EV charging experience — all powered by industry-leading intelligence. Our media-driven model allows us to install chargers in communities in which EVs have yet to arrive, helping address charging equity and solve the problem of charging deserts in underserved communities.
What do you think is the most important thing we can be doing in terms of clean tech solutions?
The most important tailwind to all of cleantech is simple: public sector incentives (domestically and internationally). Environmental and climate challenges are fundamentally challenges of the commons: they don’t respect borders, political/electoral cycles, and the financial market dynamics. It’s incumbent on all of society – builders, citizens, financiers – to advocate for policies that drive more decarbonization and climate innovation. In doing so, we must address the political headwinds that have a vested interest in keeping cleantech slow and encumbered. There is a practical path forward that brings everyone along — we must endeavor to find it, together.
LinkedIn: Kevin Samy