Q&A: Kirsten Millar – Director of Policy & Solutions Partnerships
With years of experience within the energy industry on demand response programs, Kirsten Millar is here to help guide our organization as our Director of Policy. From biking to pick up her kids to powering her home with solar, Kirsten is dedicated to leaving the world a little better than she found it. Join us in welcoming Kirsten to the Virtual Peaker team!
How did your previous life prepare you for Virtual Peaker?
Every element of my prior life has prepared me for this work. I went from grad school to work at a utility, then worked at an energy efficiency and demand response startup, then worked at an energy think tank, and now I’m back to the startup life with Virtual Peaker but with our demand response focus.
I have been sharpening my skills each step of the way, and I love the confidence I now have in my work based on everything I’ve seen in the past decade-plus of working in the energy industry. I also love the incredible network of peers and mentors I’ve built along the way. I think we move around a lot in this industry because the work is always changing, and it is really exciting to connect with former colleagues and exchange ideas and insights.
And I love demand response. It’s so impactful and so important and we can’t do any of it without advanced communication technologies and software. Hardware that performs best in this space is going to be the big winner for demand response, and it’s exciting to be the tool that centrally controls whatever devices can make that impact.
Tell us about your role at Virtual Peaker.
I’m the Director of Policy and Solutions Partnerships, so most of my work is with external folks, including utility program implementers, complementary technologies, and commission staff and regulators. I then bring back all of the insights from those external conversations to better position our internal teams for selling our solutions.
Policy and partners are ever-changing–many times I feel like I’m catching up with the latest news and opportunities. The goal is to be proactive on both fronts. Influencing policy to set us up for success and be aware of sales opportunities so that we can be ready to respond quickly.
I’m not an engineer, but I try to understand as much of the technology as possible so that the intel I gathered from interacting with others can support how we build, market, and operate our products.
How do you personally engage in sustainability efforts?
All day every day, sustainability is front and center for me. Some of the most impactful activities are biking to deliver and retrieve my kids from preschool, composting, recycling, minimizing waste, powering our home with solar, and managing energy consumption to align with low carbon-emission hours of the day (that are also low-impact on the electric grid).
I’ve been an Ecocycle volunteer and East Boulder Subcommunity member, educating people about trash and promoting bike, transit, and pedestrian-friendly mobility in my community.
What can you tell us about yourself?
I’m a mom of identical twin boys that are finally becoming fun to manage (they’ll be 3 soon). Prior to being a mom, I loved to rock climb, ski, bike, and hike. Post being a mom, I like anything that doesn’t involve cleaning my house, doing laundry, preparing meals, or potty training. Check back with me in 2 years and see how my extracurricular interests have changed.