Category: Employee Spotlight

Employee Spotlight on Nikhil Ramakrishnan, Marketing Specialist

“Where I grew up in India was a huge inspiration to me and shaped who I am today. So being able to incorporate parts of that in my music and my creative process is rewarding.”

Nikhil Ramakrishnan, marketing specialist at REsurety

“I grew up all over the place. I was born in Pennsylvania, but I only lived there for two or three years before moving to New York. Then we moved to Singapore for a year. Then back to New York and eventually we moved to New Delhi, where I did middle school and high school. It was definitely a lot of different cultures and a little bit of culture shock here and there. 

“When I first moved to India, I didn’t grasp how cool the experience was. I had to learn the language from scratch. I had to start at a preschool level because I didn’t know anything. After two or three years, I became fluent in Hindi though, which was pretty impressive, I didn’t think I’d be able to do that.

“For a long time, I really had no idea what I wanted to do. When I was in high school, I took a couple of broad business classes that gave a feel for each field within business. Afterwards, I decided that business would be the best fit. And within those classes, I was pretty good at marketing. I also enjoyed the marketing side the most. 

“I always knew that I wanted to come back to the U.S. for college. I had done 10 years in India, it was time for a change. I went into college as a marketing major. After taking a few classes, I knew that that was what I wanted to pursue.

“I like the connecting with people aspect, because you really have to understand what a person is thinking or what a person is looking for. That human touch in marketing is something that you don’t often find in other parts of business. And there’s so many different ways of targeting people and reaching people. People think and behave in so many different ways. There’s not just one blanket method of targeting or hitting on somebody’s interest. 

“I also really enjoy music. I make music in my free time. It’s mostly hip hop and rap tracks. It’s cool to see how my music has evolved. It started out as just a hobby with my college roommate and it’s now grown to where we’re putting on local shows, meeting new artists from the area, and growing our network in the music space as well. 

“Living in India definitely shaped my taste in music. I actually wrote a whole song about the city that I used to live in. Where I grew up in India was a huge inspiration to me and shaped who I am today. So being able to incorporate parts of that in my music and my creative process is rewarding.

“I just graduated from Northeastern University about two and a half months ago. The clean energy field was always something that I was around growing up, because my dad worked in energy companies. It was never a situation where I was forcing myself to pursue energy. It was just if an opportunity to work in energy came up, I’d definitely consider it. It just so happened to work out that way with REsurety. 

“I’m looking forward to growing and developing more as a marketer in this new role. It already feels like the work I’m doing is very meaningful and making an impact on the organization. I’m also excited for the amount of growth potential that the energy field has to offer. I think the future is looking really bright for it and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

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Employee Spotlight on Sarah Sofia, Software Engineer and Solar Energy Expert

“I remember in high school, people were often surprised that I was interested in STEM and art, but I think they’re super connected and that a lot of engineering is creative.”

Software Engineer Sarah Sofia talks about her career

“I liked math and science but I also danced very seriously growing up, doing ballet, tap, and jazz. I remember in high school, people were often surprised that I was interested in STEM and art, but I think they’re super connected and that a lot of engineering is creative. Whether literally you’re building something or building a structure in your head for how to visualize a model, it’s all very connected to how you think about art and drawing or sculpting. 

“Increasingly it was very clear that physics and engineering was really what I loved to do. And my dad is very into science so he instilled an early interest in that for me. He has a small business that’s at our house and his team makes tools to test reliability, thermal conductivity, and thermal management of electrical components. As I get older, I have realized that being around a lot of circuit boards, working with my dad to build different things, and doing science experiments in the basement, made a lot of science and engineering feel more tractable as an adult. Like when I was little, I would go into the shop and make jewelry out of solder and ribbon cable and then as I got older I wanted to understand what they are and what they do. Participating in that and having someone lead me to see all of the possibilities from a young age was really valuable. I feel like that’s a big barrier for some because you can have so much separation from how things are made or work. So getting that growing up and being like ‘oh I know how to make something’ was special.

“I was very into physics and astronomy in undergrad, then my trajectory sort of slowly changed. After graduating, I wanted something with an impact on the world I was living in, in a more direct way. It felt like a pretty natural transition to engineering from physics and I found solar as a really cool application of physics. I liked being able to go all the way from the fundamental physics of what is happening on a micro level, all the way up to energy going into people’s houses. I was fortunate to work with industry in grad school. I wanted to maintain that and continue working in industry, where it really felt like I was directly connected with renewables getting installed now and less hyper focused on a very small portion of something that’s important in a solar cell. 

“As I have been in this world, I increasingly just think energy is super cool. I’m really interested to see, particularly as new technologies come more online, how they will change and shape the way our grid is evolving. I think getting to a higher and higher percentage of renewables and carbon free energy poses a lot of challenges, but they’re really exciting and interesting challenges. 

“My big hobbies at the moment are baking and quilting. I’ve always loved the transformative process of baking. As I’ve gotten into baking more complicated things and figured out how to optimize recipes and why certain things make certain things happen, I think it is really interesting. And then you get a treat at the end! Then during Covid, I took a remote quilting class through a fabric store in Cambridge. They did Zoom classes and sent materials. It’s slow, but very fun. Whenever there’s some progress that you see day to day it’s very satisfying.”

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Employee Spotlight on Jennifer Newman, VP of Atmospheric Science Research

Jennifer Newman

“I found anecdotally that a lot of meteorologists also play instruments.”

Jennifer Newman, Vice President, Atmospheric Science, REsurety, standing in front of a wind turbine.

“I grew up in the Boston area, and my dad was a sportswriter and my mom works in medical book publishing. So not really all that science-related. But I’ve always loved blizzards and snowstorms and thunderstorms. I still absolutely love snow. Growing up in New England, we definitely got a wide variety of weather. I was always fascinated by all of it and loved being out in it. 

“I have a younger brother who’s a software developer out in L.A. Sometimes we chat about agile development and things like that. We have this common vernacular now.

“Back then I took dance classes, I was in chorus, I played clarinet in the band, I acted. I was into the humanities, but I had this inclination for science and math. Everything appealed to me, so I went in as an undeclared major at Cornell University

“One draw for Cornell was its marching band. I did marching band throughout high school and all four years in college. I played the clarinet. We did every home and away game, and we also did a couple NFL games, and a Canadian Football League game. Rehearsals were three times a week. One of them was Tuesdays until 11 pm, which now I can’t imagine!

“Someone in the band was in the Meteorology Department, and he became known as the band meteorologist. I had never really found an outlet for all the math and physics, but once I saw, you can apply it to something that I really loved – the weather – that’s when things started to click. I found anecdotally that a lot of meteorologists also play instruments. 

Jennifer Newman, Vice President, Atmospheric Science, REsurety, with a weather balloon.

“I did an internship with the University of Rhode Island, sending up weather balloons with instruments to measure ozone. Then the summer after my junior year, I went to the University of Oklahoma and got into more severe weather research, and ended up going there for grad school too. 

“My thesis was on how to better detect tornadoes with current weather radar systems. I did a lot of storm-chasing down there. It took me a couple of years of going out driving around dirt roads in Kansas, but I did eventually get to bag a couple of tornadoes. You end up running into all kinds of people, like a crowd of people on a dirt road in Kansas or Oklahoma. Now that I own a house, I have to say I don’t think I’d be thrilled if there was a tornado coming through or hail, knowing I would have to pay to replace my roof. I think I’m good with an occasional minor thunderstorm.

“While taking a renewable energy class during the last semester of my Master’s program, I realized I really loved learning about wind energy and the meteorology applications. That’s when I decided to stay for a PhD so that I could learn more. During my PhD, I got to set up meteorological instruments at some operational wind farms and analyze the data, which gave me a great understanding of how important accurate measurements are for wind energy. After finishing my PhD, I did a postdoc with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.

“I’ve always thought I liked working in industry more than academia, and I wanted to move back to the Boston area, because my family is still here. I started reaching out to my network, and was connected with REsurety. It was a smaller company then, about 10 or 11 employees, and they were looking to hire some kind of research scientist, so my skill set matched really nicely. 

“I was able to look in-depth into the challenges we were facing and improvements we wanted to make with our generation modeling. What I bring is figuring out what we’re doing well, where we can improve, and working with the engineering team to make those changes to our wind and solar models.

“Math and physics tend to be male-dominated fields. Having two female co-advisors in graduate school was very impactful in my life. Seeing that they had to work hard to be heard always inspired me to speak up and be confident. There was only one other female when I got here, and so I started Women of REsurety. I want the females here to have a connection to other women working at the company.

“I had a daughter five months ago, so my hobby right now is child rearing!”

Jen’s full bio.

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Employee Spotlight on Shane Hall, Senior Software Engineer

Shane Hall

“For me engineers were heroes changing the world with pencil and paper.”

Employee Spotlight on Shane Hall, Software Engineer, REsurety

“Middle school science class kicked off my dream to become an engineer. I grew up listening to my dad talk about my great-uncle George Philbrick, who pioneered operational amplifiers in early computers in the 1950s. For me engineers were heroes changing the world with pencil and paper.

“My dad’s mother was an artist, and her brothers were engineers and pilots in WWII and the Cold War. Afterward, her brothers worked in computing, satellites and GPS tracking, which is relevant to what we do at REsurety today, using satellite data to model wind farms and solar farms. Analyzing the natural world through technology is practically a family tradition for the Halls.

“I started undergrad as a pre-med, because everybody tells you that’s the thing to do. Towards the end of my freshman year, I met Professor James Manwell, who ran the wind energy center at UMass Amherst. He was developing practical applications of aerodynamics and statistics and I found that inspiring. I decided I was going to take every class he had to offer. I eventually changed my major and continued on to my master’s in Mechanical Engineering, working with him in the wind energy center.

“In my sophomore year, I got an internship with ISO New England, the regional balancing authority. That gave me a lot of valuable hands-on experience, writing code, looking at real world constraints, and visiting the operator’s room, with 80-foot screens and folks actually operating the power grid in real-time. They took us on tours of a wind farm and other generator types like hydroelectric and nuclear facilities. It really helped me connect the theoretical to the physical.

“For my undergrad final project, I used the wind tunnel. It hadn’t been used much for years, and was in a forgotten back room that no one seemed to have a key for. It was a total mess. I spent many late nights there because it was so loud, and operating it during the day would disturb the lab next door. I’d start my experiments at 10pm. We didn’t have a reliable RPM sensor, so I had a strobe light which I used to catch the RPM of the little blades on 10-inch wind turbines. It was just me in this giant, noisy, dark room with a strobe light going and blades spinning at 10 RPM. I got a chance to learn about ‘wake’ analysis outside of the digital realm.

“I took a break between undergrad and grad school and worked on a cattle farm for a while. It had nothing to do with what I was going to do with my education or experience. I feel the work ethic I learned and the appreciation for being able to get up really early, and do something really hard, was formative. Despite the poor pay and the long hours, I would still look forward to it the next day for whatever reason – mucking through cow dung was a really beautiful break from my data-intensive day-to-day through graduate school.

“I still take and value those breaks from the code, but now it’s going backpacking or snowboarding, not shoveling cow poop.

“After a summer of farming, I began my graduate thesis project on ice accretion on wind turbine blades. I developed a program that would model ice growth under various inputs and variable weather conditions. I coupled that with other modeling tools to answer questions like: How much does that affect power output, and are the blades at risk of breaking from the added weight and force? It led me to embrace software and use programming to solve problems.

“My first job was in market research on startups, which I quickly decided was not for me. Then I took a job at a commercial-industrial energy consulting firm, where I cut my teeth as a software engineer. I gained experience both in building production software and client interaction.

“In the U.S., everything is an open market, you have to incentivize money to flow into this industry in order to accelerate it. And I think that’s what REsurety does really well: we’re lowering the barrier for capital to make it into the renewable energy market.

“We make granular information and data accessible and digestible for anybody in the finance industry. They can surface valuable insights and make a safer or educated investment. Ultimately this means that we are building more wind farms and solar farms, faster and more cost-effectively than we would otherwise.

“There are two sides to that coin, because just as it’s difficult for the finance industry to fully understand the investment risk, it’s difficult for developers to efficiently gather that much capital at once. So if we can better partner financiers with developers, we can make faster strides in reducing our dependence on carbon-based power.

“Now, I’m really focused not just on solving the problem, but solving the problem at scale. The last year I’ve been working not just as an individual contributor modeling wind, solar and power markets, but also taking on an architecture role and working with our product team to define how we’re going to build massive scale services for our customers.”

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Employee Spotlight on Lizzy Kalikasingh, Associate, Risk Analytics

Lizzy Kalikasingh

“I was very science and math oriented. And my favorite time of the year was the science fair.”

Employee Spotlight on Lizzy Kalikasingh, Associate, Risk Analytics, REsurety

“The first memories I have of wanting to pursue a degree in engineering are from third grade. They gave us a huge book of career opportunities, and I was like, ‘Oh, chemical engineering sounds like a cool thing!’

“I was very science and math oriented. And my favorite time of the year was the science fair. One of my favorite projects was hot and cold pressure systems, that was in second grade. Buoyancy was third grade. Then in fourth grade I did molecules, how ionic bonds work, with the styrofoam balls and pipe cleaner diagrams of organic compounds. Yes, that was my favorite time.

“A tour across my county in Ohio was a pretty big influence on me wanting to go into renewable energy. My dad and I went and visited five or six farms to see how they installed solar panels on their barn sheds, and how it helps these very rural communities. I thought if my county could do it, anybody can do it.

“I did an internship during high school with an agricultural facility in my hometown that does biochemistry sorts of things. I assisted a professor in synthesizing bio fertilizer based on an algae component. In Ohio, there’s a lot of agriculture with chemical runoff that harms wildlife and the environment, so having something like an algae compound in the fertilizer gives a new perspective – you can take something natural and reproduce it to help the environment as well.

“After I graduated high school, I did a gap year in Taiwan. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I knew for some friends the experience contributed to them recentering themselves, and learning a new skill. I told the program they could put me anywhere, since I had already been to Europe and South America, where most other students choose to go. I wanted to go to someplace I had never been.

“When you’re in a country where you don’t know the language, you really have to rely on other people. So it was all about building connections and gaining independence. Taiwan is a very homogeneous country and I always felt like a foreigner everywhere I went. No matter how well I learned the language and how well I could navigate the train systems, it was still hard to assimilate completely, but everyone in the country was really friendly.

“I went to Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, and pursued a degree in Materials Science and Engineering. There is a lot of focus on renewables, with a campus wind turbine and solar farm. I had never thought a wind turbine was related to material science, but along with being electrical and mechanical, materials do play a big part of that construction. So, it was kind of a case study on degradation over time for certain types of materials, polymers and some rare earth metals. It’s something I definitely wanted to contribute to, so I did a lot of research in those facilities during my undergraduate career.

“Through a Great Lakes Energy Institute program, I became an operations intern at EverPower, a company that monitored and maintained a fleet of wind farms across the U.S. For them, I designed a tool that visualizes operational performance over time. It was like an app – you choose the month or time you want to inspect, and it’ll go through all the turbines and see if there’s anything that was meaningfully different from the selected look-back period. So you can see if a temperature sensor could be broken, if speed sensors are misreading, things like that. It would send a plot after it finished running, that with the resource report, was produced to the operations team. So that was very useful in determining how I wanted to go into data analytics based on operations rather than a research role.

“I then got an internship at REsurety, and never left! We have jerseys with our employee number on them. When I joined I was in the 20’s but I bet I’m 8 or 9 in seniority now. So it’s like I’m almost up to CEO-level seniority!

“I joined the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee, and it has really put me in a position of learning and accountability, helping people in the company with promotion transparency or having a safe space to talk about social stressors and mental health. There is a lot of social justice fatigue, and sometimes it’s hard to bring the mindset into the workplace where people tend to compartmentalize. But when we add that perspective to our work community, it makes it feel like other perspectives are welcome and you are heard.

”Creating interpersonal connections is one of my stronger skills. Right now, I’m deep in data, more of a machine runner. So I look forward to being a manager, contributing to company culture, facilitating teams, and guiding younger generations as a mentor.”

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Employee Spotlight on Matt Livingston, Senior Associate, Risk Analytics

Matt Livingston

“I used to get home from school and instead of turning on cartoons, I’d watch the Weather Channel.”

Matt Livingston, senior associate, risk analytics, REsurety

“I think it’s pretty typical in the meteorology community to have a weather event when you’re very young that was either very memorable, like a big snowstorm, or very scary, like a hurricane or a tornado. And I had a bunch of those when I was a little kid. 

“I was only two at the time, but I have memories of the blizzard of ‘96, when we got 30 inches of snow in New Jersey. I walked out on my back deck, and there was a layer of ice on top of the snow. So I didn’t have to use the stairs. I stood on top of the ice because I was so small, and just walked around. 

“Then there were a couple of tornado warnings, and a couple of big thunderstorms that knocked some big trees down toward our house and on cars in our driveway. So I basically became fixated on the weather as a really young kid, following all these violent weather events. 

“I used to get home from school and instead of turning on cartoons, I’d watch the Weather Channel. And if there was interesting stuff going on, the TV just sat on the Weather Channel for six or eight hours. So that’s where it started. And then I knew I wanted to go to Penn State to study meteorology because they have a pretty laudable program for that.

“There should be a sign when you get off Exit 161 in State College: ‘You have reached the middle of nowhere.’ So yeah, it was a different environment for sure. But a lot of great people in meteorology come through Penn State, and they’ve got some cool weather out there. A lot of my professors were frankly the same people who write the textbooks for forecasting severe weather. And then, ‘Oh, there’s a severe weather outbreak today, let’s all talk about what’s going on.’ That’s just an awesome experience that was totally worth going to the middle of Pennsylvania for.

“When I was in my freshman year, Hurricane Sandy was a huge event. In my part of New Jersey, the National Guard was deployed and power was out for a month. Some of the towns in my school district are essentially a barrier island, and it was a reminder to everyone there that, you know, these islands are probably not going to be here very long. But there’s a lot of smart people trying to work on solutions, and I’m happy to be part of that.

“There are a lot of different disciplines within meteorology. There are the ones I think everyone is most familiar with, your baseline physics and fluid dynamics. You go through a couple of 400-level classes, and then you train to go on TV. And there are people who just do cloud physics, how different particles stick to each other in the air and become raindrops or ice, or how they interact with pollutants and particulates. 

“But Penn State offered a major called ‘weather risk management’ which felt more up my alley. I liked the idea that weather could have a tangible impact on the world. I wanted to say, as a result of storm XYZ or whatever extra rainfall, we expect some tangible impact that people might care about. We all live in the atmosphere every day, so this should be applicable to a wide range of industries. And I identified energy as one that I would like to get into. 

“So when the REsurety opening was posted on the Penn State jobs board, there wasn’t anything as interesting as this. With the people I interviewed with, there was a lot of excitement. I liked the idea of applied meteorology, rather than just forecasting. And I thought, ‘Oh, this is a new industry and it’s growing fast. It’ll be a fun one to be a part of.’ I don’t think that assessment was off. 

“One thing we focus on is building an effective portfolio of risks, finding risks that cancel each other out, and how storage can help offset those risks. An easy one for most people is that solar and wind in Texas have a relatively complimentary profile, so you should have both, not just one. But trying to communicate that to people is hard. We try to find visualizations that are useful. And a lot of that shows up in our software. 

“You can think of risk transfer like an insurance product. A wind farm needs capital investment to get built, just like you would get a loan to build a house, but they need to prove to the bank that they’re going to be able to repay that loan. Usually they’ve measured wind speed for a while, and essentially what I do is take that information and synthesize an idea not just of energy production but of what we think the long-term revenue production of this plant is going to be. Then we go to a hedge provider and say, ‘given this expected risk profile of future revenues, what premium would you charge to mitigate that revenue risk for the project’. And if both parties agree, everybody shakes hands, the wind farm gets their construction loan, and gets built. The hedge provider gets a premium as well as upside if the wind farm over-performs.

“When we’re doing risk transfer transactions, it’s nice to see my work turn into a wind farm, and that wind farm will displace coal, and hopefully be a greener path forward for the energy economy.”

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A New Software Engineer at REsurety Explains Why She Joined the Team

Lauren Ransohoff

REsurety was just named one of Boston’s “Best Places to Work.” Lauren Ransohoff, a new engineer, shares how she made the decision to join our team.

Lauren Ransohoff, new software engineer at REsurety.

Lauren Ransohoff, of Providence, Rhode Island, trained as a mechanical engineer at Cornell University and University of Michigan before going on to challenging work in radar systems and nanomanufacturing. She explains her recent decision to accept a job as a software engineer in test at REsurety, just named one of Boston’s “Best Places to Work” by Built in Boston:

“I’ve always liked working with my hands and fixing things. My parents were both engineers, too. So I knew I wanted to do something in terms of math and science, and I enjoyed the problem-solving nature of software. 

“My background is a mix of mechanical engineering and computer science, mainly in integration and test for complex systems in aerospace and defense, before I came to REsurety.

“I was really interested in climate change back in high school; I even did one of my science fair projects on growing algae with carbon dioxide to research carbon sequestration. In college I worked on research in the Lab of Plasma Studies with the goal of supporting nuclear fusion research. 

“When I started applying to jobs out of college, I followed what was cool and interesting in terms of technology, and got away from climate change. At some point last year I was reflecting on my job and my future career plans. And as I started to think more about that, I realized that I did want to get back to work where I could have an impact on climate change.

“There really is going to be no aspect of our lives that will not be touched by climate change in the next 25-50 years. So it was important to me to find work that could somehow try to mitigate some of those impacts. In searching for jobs, and then finding a job at REsurety, I found that I could find a role that supports the clean economy, and I could also work on really technically interesting work that I enjoy. So I was really excited to find that happy combination here.

“In order for us to build a strong, reliable grid, and to have renewables make up a larger chunk of our power supply, it needs to make economic sense. And that’s one of the big theses of REsurety, is that we need renewables to be the most attractive option financially, so that people keep adopting and creating and using more and more of them. 

“When I first started, it was a very welcoming environment. I got coffee with a lot of the leadership team in my first few weeks. So that was cool to see that, you know, as a new member, they valued my opinions. Moreover, the people are really talented and driven by the company’s mission of empowering the clean economy. And we can see that throughout everyone’s work. 

“When I was on the fence about taking the job (I was deciding between two options), Lee the CEO and Sinéad the COO both reached out and were very generous with their time. In our conversations they gave me their views on where the company was headed in the future, what they were looking for from the role that I was to be hired into, and their hopes and goals for how it would help the team overall. The fact that they were so transparent on how I specifically could make an impact definitely influenced my decision.

“A lot of my background is in integration and testing on software modules, implementing automated testing, and running whole system-level tests. So I’m on the quality assurance team, where my main focus is on setting up different frameworks to ensure that we’re delivering quality products, and implementing automated testing to improve efficiencies. This is all the kind of stuff I’d done before, just in different contexts.

“REsurety started out more in analytics and working on contract structuring and settlement and that kind of thing. More recently, they started to expand into developing customer facing software products, like REmap. So some of my role, which has been fun to tackle, is taking part of that code that was meant for internal analytics, and helping translate that to a deliverable product. I’m glad I get to do this kind of work at REsurety, as part of such a supportive team.”