Team Q&A: Ellie Hands – Proposal Manager
Ellie Hands has spent her professional career trying to find the best way to help the community around her. As our Proposal Manager, Hands is here to help our utility partners meet their energy efficiency needs and mitigate the effects of climate change. Join us in welcoming Ellie to the Virtual Peaker team!
How did your previous life prepare you for Virtual Peaker?
Joining the Virtual Peaker team feels like coming full circle for me. I first learned about the energy industry right out of college while interning at another SaaS clean energy startup. Afterward, I sampled a wide variety of roles and fields—from working trail crew with AmeriCorps & U.S. Forest Service, to supporting HIV and COVID clinical trials research, and most recently doing program design at an academic initiative focused on mycorrhizal fungi’s decarbonization potential.
In each of these different spheres, I learned more about myself and how I want to contribute to the world. I noticed I was consistently drawn back to an environmental focus in an industry setting. I now find myself eagerly returning to clean energy, knowing that we have the power to significantly and immediately impact positive, systematic change.
Tell us about your role at Virtual Peaker.
I’m pleased to join the Virtual Peaker sales team as the Proposal Manager. In this role, I get to combine my enthusiasm for collaboration, writing, communication, and of course, addressing climate change. I work closely with my team to learn about the wants and needs of utilities so that when responding to requests for information (RFIs) and requests for proposals (RFPs), we can easily communicate how Virtual Peaker will help them achieve their energy efficiency goals. I’m excited to understand and influence how the changing energy landscapes are impacting utilities and their customers.
How do you personally engage in sustainability efforts?
I think education is one of the most important aspects of meaningful sustainability and environmentalism. There is so much information available these days, and some of it is true, some untrue, some complicated, and some exaggerated. While I value and practice personal sustainability efforts, it is the responsibility of industry and government to make the changes needed to impact global climate change.
Besides the energy industry, I am personally interested in how food, climate, and culture are connected. Is almond or soy milk actually more environmentally friendly than cow’s milk? Where are our foods coming from and how is that impacting local communities, transportation, and politics? What are the ripple effects of using genetically modified crops? I am interested in reading about these topics and working to make more informed decisions. Joining Virtual Peaker is definitely a big part of how I hope to ‘personally engage in sustainability efforts’ because I believe in what we are doing!
What can you tell us about yourself?
To balance out my days at the computer, I get outside as much as possible, particularly trail running in the summertime and cross-country and backcountry skiing in the winter. When inside, I am pretty much always in the kitchen (though even that I try to take it outside when it’s nice)—I love cooking elaborate meals for friends, baking bread, and sustaining my numerous varieties of living cultures. Though not artistically inclined, I do enjoy working with my hands to create ‘usable art’ like making pottery or printmaking cards for sending good old-fashioned letters in the mail.