Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Powerhouse
Affiliation and years of experience in energy/environment:
I am CEO of Powerhouse. We offer clients the Power of Price Protection, using futures markets to hedge exposure to price volatility. Powerhouse represents the most recent venue in which I've worked.
I began my career in energy economics in February, 1969. (The business was called Oil and Gas then. Things like solar and wind power and biofuels were generally viewed with bemused detachment.) I worked for Walter J. Levy Consulting in New York City focusing on geopolitical implications of actions in the (mostly) oil business.
I came to Washington, DC in 1976 and affiliated serially with several energy consultancies. I remember them mostly as sets of initials. Even my own business, Energy Futures Group was known as EFG. EFG was a real turning point for me; I became involved with the commodities business through my then-client, the New York Mercantile Exchange.
I have been a licensed commodities broker since 1982, focusing on the challenges faced by businessmen dealing with highly volatile energy prices.
Any particular achievement/interest in energy/environment you would like to mention?
The world of energy has undergone radical change since 1969. It's been a privilege to have seen so much of that change. Specifically, I was part of the team that developed the first successful energy futures contract in 1977. This created transparency in pricing that is the rule today. It was a real game-changer for the world economy.
In your opinion, what are important issues facing the energy industry nowadays?
Oil markets have experienced declining volatility. Complacency has become the order of the day as the United States tastes the benefits of energy independence. Markets are never permanently active or quiet. Some event will move prices but the direction is not clear. The position of the United States in global geopolitics if and when exports of crude oil are allowed is emerging. Renewable fuels are becoming an integral part of the fuel mix.
How long have you been a member of NCAC? Any particular NCAC memory you would like to share with us?
I am an original member of NCAC and the second President of the chapter. (Fred Abel was the first.) I was very active until I became a commodities broker. Energy futures markets open through the day put a damper on my ability to attend monthly events. More recently, I have been able to come more frequently.
One memory I'd like to share relates to the value of participation. NCAC decided to sponsor an essay contest that carried a cash prize. This was in the late 1980's. I volunteered to develop a list of Washington area colleges where we would promote the contest. In the course of building the list, I came across Marymount College in Arlington. Marymount required its graduates to serve an internship. And while I was looking for essayists, Marymount was interested in placing interns.
Marymount introduced me to Elaine Levin who started to work for me in 1989. Elaine has been my partner ever since and is today the President of Powerhouse. It has been a successful relationship.
This would not have happened without my participation in NCAC.