Name: Jackson Kaspari
Title: Resilience Manager
Employer: City of Dover
City/Town of Residence:
Education: Ph.D. in Chemistry and B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire
Why did you decide to work in the clean energy industry?
I realized my passion for renewable/ clean energy during a high school chemistry course where explored hydrogen power and nuclear energy for a series of projects. It was that experience that motivated me to pursue a chemical engineering degree at UNH.
During my undergrad I caught the research bug and started diving into environmental based laboratory research which opened the door for me to enter into a chemistry doctoral program. My research with Dr. Margaret Greenslade and Dr. Jack Dibb was environmentally focused and I knew I wanted to utilize my skills from academia for an applied science career.
What interested you in working at your current employer?
In 2018 I was a UNH Sustainability Institute Fellow with the City of Dover's Planning Department. During the fellowship I compiled Dover's first greenhouse gas and nitrogen report for municipal and school operations. This report for not only a first for Dover but a first for the U.S. as no other municipality had reported on its nitrogen specific footprint before. It was a rewarding project and I was very motivated to help the community as I grew up locally and went to school in Dover until I started college at UNH. That fellowship opened the door for me to stay engaged as a Dover Planning Board Member. When Dover created the Resilience Coordinator (I was promoted to Resilience Manager) position towards the end of my Ph.D. I learned of the opportunity and was very excited about the prospect of joining the Planning Department again as a full time staff member.
Describe the work you do in more detail.
In my role I support the City's Energy Commission, Conservation Commission, Open Lands Committee and Forest Management Subcommittee. Through this I'm engaged with a wide variety of projects and help the public bodies achieve their objectives. On the energy side I've been heavily involved with the creation of a Dover Community Power program which will be launching by next spring and represent the City as a Community Power Coalition of New Hampshire (CPCNH) Board Director.
In addition to Community Power, I help conduct and coordinate energy analysis and energy evaluations, manage projects and work with our Outreach Coordinator to engage the community. The remainder of my role is a mix of environmental project review, conservation land acquisition and monitoring as well as ecosystem management. I appreciate that no two days are the same and enjoy working with motivated members of the community who bring a wide variety of expertise.
What aspect of your job excites you most? Why?
Dover is a dynamic community and I'm very excited to help the City achieve its goal to reach 100% renewable/clean energy for municipal facilities by 2035. This summer I've been mentoring a UNH Sustainability Fellow, Peder Franson, who is helping establish a data driven path that will be critical for reaching the 2035 objective. It's really cool to now be in a mentorship role and stay engaged with the program that was critical to my professional development.
What makes you hopeful about the clean energy transition in New Hampshire?
Many communities in NH are taking the transition seriously and I'm confident the work of organizations such as the Community Power Coalition of New Hampshire (CPCNH) and Clean Energy New Hampshire (CENH) will drive the state forward.
What do you believe is the most pressing challenge that lies ahead for the clean energy industry in the state?
Utility scale project interconnection delays are introducing a major barrier towards helping the state and country maximize its clean energy potential. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is making progress on this with the recent adoption of a Improvements to Generator Interconnection Procedures and Agreements rule that I'm hopeful will make a difference.
What advice would you give to someone that is new to the industry or fresh out of college?
Connections are key and I'd encourage recent graduates to utilize their networks and look for opportunities to get engaged in their own communities. Does your community have an Energy Commission or Committee? If so, you should see if there is an opportunity to join and if not, then contact your municipality to see if you can create one! The UNHSI Fellows Program recruits nationally for the graduate fellowships and I'd encourage recent grads/graduate students to explore those summer opportunities.
What do you like to do when you aren't working?
I love being outside and do a variety of outdoor activities including downhill and backcountry skiing, mountain biking, hiking, climbing and swimming, many of which I do with my wife, family and friends.
What's on your bucket list?
I have yet to go skiing out West and would love to go to Arapahoe Basin.
Coffee or Tea? And how do you take it?
I'm a coffee person. Most days I like it black but occasionally I'll go for a latte or mocha.
Fave NH Restaurant?
This one is tough. My wife and I really enjoy Hong Asian Noodle Bar in Dover.
Fave Musician/Band/Music genre?
Fav Recreational activity?