Black History Month is a time to celebrate the incredible achievements of Black Americans and their central role in US History. Here are just a few inspiring Black leaders who have made a tremendous impact on the energy industry to-date.
Ugwen I. Eneyo
Ugwen I. Eneyo, is the Co-Founder & CEO of SHYFT Power Solutions. Eneyo grew up in Nigeria where her region has suffered from the devastating environmental and socioeconomic impact of the oil and gas industry. From an early age she became very passionate about energy and the environmental challenges and opportunities across the African continent. Her passion led to the creation of SHYFT,a venture-backed IoT start-up focused on managing distributed energy resources to improve access to clean, reliable and affordable energy solutions in emerging markets.
The honorable Hazel O’Leary was the first woman and Black American to serve as the Secretary of Energy in the United States.Her life work focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Ms. O’Leary worked with many nonprofits and manufacturing organizations to implement energy-efficient technologies. While in office, she also secured additional funding for many research projects on wind, solar, and energy-efficient technologies to aid in the development of clean energy. In 1993, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve as a Secretary of Energy in the United States.
Dr. Robert L. Wallace
Dr. Robert L. Wallace is a founder of Bithenergy. Dr. Wallace is an accomplished engineer, entrepreneur, author, business consultant, and internationally-known keynote speaker. Bithenergy offers the government and corporations intelligent strategies, advanced information systems, innovative technologies, full implementation services for managing energy consumption, smart grid infrastructure build-outs and the development of renewable energy systems.
Lisa Jackson was the first female Black American to serve as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. During her early career, Jackson was part of the federal Superfund site remediation program. She was in charge of developing hazardous waste cleanup regulations and directing multi-million dollar hazardous waste cleanup projects. She was nominated by President Obama and served as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from 2009 to 2013. Her work focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, various climate change initiatives, and environmental education.
Clarke Watson was a community activist and the founder of AABE National (American Association of Blacks in Energy). Mr. Watson’s vision was to involve Black people and other minorities in policy-making decisions. As a result of that vision, the AABE was created, and 40 years later the organization is thriving and boasts a membership of 1300+ Black professionals representing every facet of the energy industry.
Dr. Robert D. Bullard
Dr. Robert D. Bullard is known as the “Father of the Environmental Justice Movement ”. The movement ensures that all people, regardless of their race and nationality are entitled to live and work in safe environmental conditions. Dr. Bullard is an award-winning author of eighteen books that address sustainable development and environmental racism. He is also the co-founder of the HBCU Climate Change Consortium and a proud U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
We’ve only highlighted a tiny fraction of all the Black leaders whose contributions have made a significant impact within the energy world. There are countless more politicians, scholars and entrepreneurs working diligently to help usher humanity forth into a new era of energy and sustainability.