I came home to a career in the renewable-energy market so that the United States could further develop plentiful renewable-energy resources.

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I graduated from the United States Military Academy and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1998. I became an infantry officer and during my years of service had the opportunity to serve in a variety of places throughout the world, including combat deployment to Iraq.

I left the Army in 2005 with battle-tested leadership experience and technical competence gained in complex and challenging environments. Like many veterans, I sought job opportunities that would allow continued selfless-service and contribute to assuring a prosperous and secure future for our nation.

In searching for a purposeful and fulfilling career after returning from the war-torn Middle East, and still as I reflect on Veterans Day this November, I find a passion in developing renewable energy here to keep friends from getting shot over there. My career choice remains appealing to me for all the right reasons — including strengthening our national security.

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After a thorough search with many prospects, I accepted a position as a wind-energy developer with a renewable-energy startup working with many fellow Service Academy alumni. Our mission was to transform areas rich in wind resources into sources of clean-energy generation. To turn this vision into reality, we built trusting relationships with landowners, communities, environment groups, regulators, utilities and other key stakeholders, bringing them together to develop domestic clean-energy projects and put them into operation.

My commitment to creating an American clean-energy future still galvanizes me today. It drives my contributions with National Grid Ventures as we seek cost-effective, reliable wind, solar and hydropower energy, and proven technology such as “closed loop” pumped storage, where water is pumped uphill to a reservoir and released through generating turbines when energy is needed.

I am fortunate to be part of an industry that embraces innovation, hard work and the “if we dream it, we can do it” mentality that defines the American spirit. By aggressively building on Washington’s existing renewable-energy resources and state targets, we can lead the nation in reducing our dependence on foreign oil, retiring dirty and antiquated power plants, improving and protecting our environment, and helping to assure our national security in the process.

I often think about the sources of true strength and leadership for our country. We must be willing to plant seeds now for a harvest our future generations will rely on. Conventional hydropower is a historical example in our region, and provides a foundation for America’s commitment to innovation that grew our economy into the most robust on the planet. We must continue to build upon that foundation and modernize our investments in affordable, plentiful renewable energy resources. In the long run, this will strengthen our economy, our environment and the security for future generations of Americans.