Career Series

Join us as we sit down with professionals in the sector. The series will provide viewers with an in-depth look at the different perspectives within the industry and serves as a resource for those that want to break into the industry.

Professor Daniel Cohan
Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Rice University

  • Which business/organization or person in the sustainability industry do you admire most, and why?

I admire Rocky Mountain Institute. They produce outstanding publications like Reinventing Fire and high-quality reports, create workshops and other forums that bring together leaders from the public and private sectors to pursue innovative initiatives, and practice what they preach with their net-zero innovation center. Lead scientist Amory Lovins sets the vision, and they have dozens of experts in specific aspects of clean energy.

  • What is the best advice you ever received?

Ask the right questions. Imperfect answers to crucial questions open more doors than addressing questions of little importance. It was advice for picking a dissertation topic, but I expect it applies to charting a career too.

  • What has been your biggest failure?

I led a team of scientists proposing to create a major center for air quality research, and we came up just short of getting funded.

  • What are the upcoming trends from the viewpoint of the work you’ve done so far and the role you’re currently in?

I’m excited to see how electricity continues to be decarbonized, how that clean electricity gets used for a growing array of purposes, and what technologies emerge to clean up the rest.

  • What resource(s) do you recommend to those interested in joining the sustainability industry?

Get connected to groups like Houston Renewable Energy Group, Rice’s Baker Institute, and other opportunities to meet people in the industry and hear about emerging trends.