William & Mary

Sandy Taft

Director of Energy and Environmental Policy for National Grid

 Mr. Taft has worked for 25 years at National Grid, helping this UK-based energy company with their sustainability goals here in the states. His son is a William & Mary student, and he has often been in contact with the Cohen Career Center to provide information to students about what he does. You can watch his interview below, and read the summary underneath. 

{{youtube:large|g_f5fgWF-i8, Interview with Sandy Taft}}

  • Did you always know you wanted a green career? 0:15 to 2:18

Mr. Taft has a B.S. and M.S. in Geology, and worked in consulting after he graduated. He was always interested in the environment, and he liked remediation work. Later he worked on compliance projects and environmental regulations. He has worked at National Grid for 25 years. His current goals are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions internally and sustainability initiatives.

  • What does a typical day look like for you? 2:18 to 2:49

He’s working on a few projects, including regulatory mechanisms for creating a clean power plant. His core work is still on emissions.

  • How do you think your position impacts the corporate world? 2:49 to 3:53

He feels like a conscious to the company during meetings, but thankfully he works with people who are also mostly focused on sustainability initiatives. He is a liaison between sustainability and helping the bottom line. He makes decisions about “people, planet, profit” in order to balance sometimes opposing goals.

  • What do you like and dislike about your job? 3:53 to 4:22

He balances competing interests, but he likes bringing people together. It can be hard to solve complex problem, but he likes problem solving and solving these problems is meaningful to him.

  • What skills do you need to do your job? 4:22 to 5:06

He suggests being open-minded and objective. He comes from a scientific background, and he recommends having a little knowledge about economics so that you can be more open minded to economic ideas being brought forward.

  • What are some of your accomplishments in this position? 5:06 to 5:37

He is a part of a small group that started a greenhouse gas emissions project for the entire company. He has been on a number of committees that work on mitigation efforts, which has been fulfilling for him because he has had the chance to use his scientific skills.

  • What are some trends in your field? How is your position expanding? 5:37 to 6:55

He has read both sides that having a full-time sustainability person is coming and going, but he sees the value of having a position like his. Many businesses have a lot to gain by having this professional at their service in order to accomplish their sustainability goals. When he was working in consulting, his goal was to educated business individuals enough so that they would not need his input in order to make sustainably-related decisions.

  • How did you prepare yourself for your position? 6:55 to 7:45

He recommends joining groups through LinkedIn and going to the professional events that they host. You can join associations in any field, and going to those events are great networking events and educating yourself on current trends in the field.

  • What do you wish you had known when you graduated college? 7:46 to end

He says he wishes he knew more about business. Although he was very interested in the sciences, but having a job in policy and working with a variety of groups requires a little business knowledge. He wishes he would have “suffered through” another business class and he encourages students to challenge themselves by taking a wide range of classes.

 You can contact Gina if you have further questions for Sandy at [[e|gmsawaya]].