Perspective
Our corner office is actually a corner of the country.
Our corner office is actually a corner of the country.

Our home base of Seattle isn't just a place—it’s a point of view. And like the Great Northwest, our outlook is a little different. From here, we can help you see more. Beyond numbers. Beyond conventional wisdom. From our vantage point, information paves the way to insight and metrics reveal more meaning. When your way forward isn't clear, a shift in perspective isn't just refreshing. It’s essential.

See career opportunities.

22   world travelers

13     parents

       fly fishermen

       hard-core cyclists

1          Harley Rider

       sailboat skippers 

20    hikers

1          Ph.D. who didn't graduate from high school

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Our People.
Our People.

Accomplished. Eclectic.
Client-centric.
Meet the minds of EMI Consulting.

  • Rob Bordner
    Founder, President & CEO
    Strategy and vision from an energy-efficiency thought leader.

    Drawing on three decades in the energy industry, Rob helps clients develop better strategies by providing a forward-looking, systems-based perspective encompassing the industry’s technical, economic and organizational dimensions. An economist by training, Rob’s experience dates to the early 1980s, when he worked with the pioneering firm that built New England’s first wind farm. Rob founded EMI Consulting in 1995 to combine his passion for sustainable energy with his talent for innovative and insightful research. His expertise and interest lies in strategic planning, energy policy, scenario analysis, systems theory, emerging technology and program evaluation. As CEO, he holds the vision for the firm, mapping growth as he mentors staff. When he’s not working, Rob enjoys listening to live music in small venues, sailing the Salish Sea, backpacking in the Olympics, browsing farmers markets and making wine. Rob also founded two youth-focused ventures—Vashon Independent Scouts and Sharing the Stage—combining his interests in music, the outdoors, mentoring and youth empowerment. Rob is working to reduce his ecological footprint to the size of one off-shore-capable sailboat.

    • Posted 1.19.15
      Insights: EMI Consulting: 20 Years!

      EMI Consulting was founded in the loft of a barn, sharing space with a Saddlebred horse, an ornery Shetland pony, and some polled Dorset sheep.  My objective was to engage my entrepreneurial instincts in the energy field I am so passionate about while also earning a good living, having balance, and spending time with my kids. 

      Twenty years later, as we approach a staff of thirty, creating a thriving and progressive place of work continues to be a top priority.  The loft space we now occupy in downtown Seattle is much larger, devoid of wild chickens in the background, and humming with activity as we work away on over 40 projects with clients in 20 different states.  In my role as CEO, some of the greatest moments come when I am working with our younger staff, many of whom are just starting out in their careers.  They are the future, and each is sure to make their mark. 

      This is such an incredibly exciting time to be working in the energy industry; the rate of technology change and innovation is rapid, and seemingly increasing each week.  Central plants, energy efficiency, distributed renewables, storage, the Internet of Things, and nanotechnology all have a role in this emerging energy system of the future.  I am grateful to all who have contributed to our success, including current and past employees, clients, and our families.  It is a privilege to work with such a great team and to work with such an amazing professional community of clients and peers — many of whom have also become lifelong friends. The work we are doing today to support a clean energy future is good work, work that is worth doing.  And I am looking forward to all that unfolds going forward!  

  • Matthew Rose
    Director
    For 30 years, an energy-industry go-to guy.

    After more than three decades as an energy industry consultant, Matthew is as passionate as ever about helping clients Understand and resolve their issues. His secret? Helping them first clearly articulate their needs and define their vision of success.  A patient, grounding presence, Matthew listens closely and makes sure he and his clients grasp all the Elements of their challenge before delving into solutions. It’s an approach that agrees with his clients: he’s worked with many for well over a decade. Matthew has traveled extensively throughout most of the U.S., nearly all the Canadian provinces, and in Scandinavia and the Philippines. He enjoys canoeing Michigan’s storied rivers, watching hockey, fishing, and playing bluegrass mandolin and guitar.

    • Posted 7.24.17
      Insights: The Current Value of Demand Response: It All Depends Where You Look

      Depending on where you look, the value and business rationale for demand response (DR) varies. In certain parts of the country, there seems to be a growing focus on DR; in others, market forces are reducing the value of DR. In some areas DR is viewed as a resource competing in capacity markets whereas in others it is a resource included in utilities’ integrated resource planning.

      In the Pacific Northwest, the focus has traditionally been only on energy efficiency, but the current 20-year power plan prepared by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council indicates demand response could offer billions in cost savings. In California, the state’s Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) now participate in the state’s Demand Response Auction Mechanism (DRAM) program. DR also is unfolding in the Northeast with both utility and ISO programs.

      Despite new areas of DR attention, there are signs that activity levels are tapering off in some of the more mature markets. A review of the current market for demand response points to a fragmented landscape affected by varying aggregator activities, changing market rules, and a capacity market that has notable swings in capacity requirements and value. For a closer look, click here.

  • Jeremy Kraft
    Director of Consulting and Analysis
    Improving the nation’s energy efficiency programs, one evaluation at a time.

    Mix a thorough understanding of energy efficiency with a masterful grasp of research methodology, toss in airtight project management and a passion for sustainability, and you get Jeremy. His experience includes program evaluations in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado, Maine and Connecticut. His current professional interests include helping utilities identify the next generation of DSM programs and working to transform how evaluation research is used within the industry. Jeremy moved to Seattle after 15 years in Wisconsin and won’t shut up about how the cheese is better back home.

    • Posted 9.9.14
      Insights: Evaluators as a Partner, not an Auditor

      In our evaluation work, we come across two kinds of requests from utilities and public service commissions. The first kind is the classic summative evaluation. A program has been running for a year or two and the utility needs someone to come in and assess its performance. At the end of the day, the evaluators provide recommendations for program improvements and realization rates to apply to reported savings. The second kind is when a utility is looking for a long-term evaluation partner. Someone that can sit at the table up-front and help the program administrators understand the programs they are running before the summative “evaluation” begins.

      Recently, we’ve been playing this role with clients more frequently and the benefits are tangible. We’ve vetted savings calculation methodologies prior to approval of large custom projects and double-checked application materials against TRMs to avoid realization rate surprises. We've created process flow maps to identify implementation bottlenecks before they occur instead of identifying them retroactively via complaints from participants during a telephone survey. We've conducted web usability tests to understand how trade allies interact with a new portal before it’s launched to maximize uptake and participation with the new offering. 

      In every case, we’re using our skills as evaluators to solve problems before they occur. We still play our critical M&V role – verifying that savings are real and that programs are efficient – but we help programs run better in the meantime.

  • Angie Emerson
    Director of Operations
    An unflappable pro who doesn’t forget the fun.

    A recent typical day for Angie looked like this: She fixed an “unfixable” printer, organized a last-minute office party and schlepped half a sheet-cake 20 blocks in the rain. Angie is the glue that holds our daily operations together—and she does it all with a smile.  Her decades of experience include positions in large enterprises and smaller companies, in addition to several years of running her own business. When she’s not working, Angie likes camping, cooking and reading, preferably with a frosty beverage in hand.

  • Kara Crohn
    Managing Consultant
    Evaluation expertise that opens a window onto your programs.

    Besides the focus and high standards you’d expect of a former gymnast, rower and track athlete, Kara has more than 14 years of experience in research. She serves our clients with a thorough knowledge of program evaluation theory,qualitative and mixed-methodsresearch design,evaluation capacity building, and training design and evaluation. After hours, she helps organize learning events for evaluation professionals and meetings for parents of elementary school kids in a Spanish immersion program. When she’s not evaluating something, Kara loves hiking with her family and sneaking off to dance classes to maintain the balance, strength, creativity and flexibility she needs to keep up with her sons.

    • Posted 2.25.16
      Insights: Process Mapping Primes the Pump for Successful Program Design and Useful Process Evaluations

      When we embark on a journey with our clients to support program design or to understand what really makes a program work, we start by developing a logic model with them. Logic modeling clarifies program staff’s and stakeholders’ understanding of how the activities they perform will logically lead to the goals they want to attain, and it establishes interim markers of success that can be measured along the way. However, it is often necessary to dig deeper into how activities are conducted to identify places where efficiency can be designed into the program’s operations.

      Process mapping is the tool we use to go deeper. The opportunity cost of not creating process maps is potentially overlooking gaps or redundancies in the program’s activities that could have saved the program money, time, or frustration had they been identified and resolved sooner. With this in mind, we work with program staff and those who interact with the program to collectively map out day-to-day operations; to have a conversation they rarely, if ever, have time for during their day. To get the most out of the exercise, it is critical to have the right people in the room and to foster an environment of exploration that respects differences in perspective.

      From a program design perspective, we use process mapping for locating opportunities to build in efficiency from the beginning, avoid pitfalls, and engender collaboration across job roles. From a process evaluation perspective, we focus evaluation questions on aspects of the program process in most need of feedback and tie performance metrics to critical program process steps. We also map the actual process against the designed process to more thoroughly identify implementation fidelity questions and, ultimately, feed timely design considerations back into the program design cycle.

      Process mapping is a simple tool that requires methodologically rigorous facilitation to produce meaningful results. Facilitated well, staff and stakeholders who participate in the process mapping exercise leave with a deeper appreciation for the work they each perform and some immediate steps to improve the efficiency of their work. They also have a better understanding of how their daily actions will lead to longer-term, farther-reaching goals described in their logic model. 

  • Kerry Meade
    Managing Consultant
    Finding the harmony in energy policy.

    A problem solver specializing in policy work, Kerry provides our clients with expertise in research, program planning and design, market characterization, and, of course, energy policy analysis. She’ll tell you she’s happiest when she’s creating solutions, like developing more effective demand-side management program designs. She also loves working with GIS to analyze markets; an admirer of Edward Tufte, Kerry likes finding fresh ways to visualize data. In addition to being a former fellow at the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, Kerry is also a serious musician (piano, keyboard and synthesizers) pursuing an ongoing improvisational project with her guitarist husband. Her improvisational approach extends to cooking, another passion. And she loves to backpack whenever possible, counting the Enchantment Lakes, high in the Cascades, as her favorite trek.

    • Posted 7.10.16
      Insights: The Power of the City

      The world is full of smart things these days: smart-phones, smart-meters, smart-grid, smart cities. I am drawn to these smart concepts. They’re flashy and I like flashy things, but they often integrate, or aspire to integrate, across seeming unrelated aspects of life, and I love integration. The smartphone integrated our email with our telephone. The Smartgrid aims to integrate all the homes, businesses and electrical loads across the entire grid into one digital system of supply and demand. Smart cities aim to integrate all these smart technologies and people in a web of connection to promote efficiency, equity, stability, and resilience.

      There are a lot of definitions floating around regarding what encompasses a smart city. On one side of the spectrum the smart city concept is a philosophical one, “a city well performing in a forward looking way.” On the other end of the spectrum, the concept is wholly tied to technology, a city “connecting the physical infrastructure, the IT infrastructure, the social infrastructure, and the business infrastructure to leverage the collective intelligence of the city.”  In the context of my field – energy – it is this latter definition that compels me. In their recent report, “Technology and the Future of Cities,” the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology calls for the federal government to “take a more integrated approach to supporting new technologies that can improve the lives of people in cities.” Their report goes on to make four policy recommendations and to describe current and future opportunities in six urban sectors: transportation, energy, building and housing, water, urban manufacturing, and urban farming.

      Check out the full article on: LinkedIn Pulse.

  • Lisa Perry
    Managing Consultant
    Equally fluent in econometrics and eggplant.

    Lisa offers expertise in both economic theory and research methods, with a focus on evaluating how behavioral responses shape the effectiveness of policies and programs. Her academic background includes application of advanced econometrics, including differences-in-differences regressions, instrumental variables regressions and regression discontinuity. Originally from Michigan, Lisa spent two years in Washington, D.C. before landing in Seattle. She loves exploring the Pacific Northwest's natural and urban wonders, from hiking and camping to farmers' markets and microbreweries. In addition to traveling and playing tennis, she grows vegetables in her backyard and experiments with new ways to cook them.

    • Posted 9.9.14
      Insights: How far can energy efficiency financing take us?

      Financing programs should be seen as a valuable complement, not replacement, for traditional utility programs.  Financing programs are one of today's fastest growing types of energy efficiency program, in part because they offer policy makers and utilities the tantalizing possibility of replacing taxpayer and ratepayer funding with private capital. This was an argument I heard applied from states as diverse as Connecticut to Ohio at the 2014 ACEEE Finance Forum.

      The challenge with the idea that financing programs can replace traditional utility programs is that financing by itself does not overcome all of the barriers that traditional utility programs target through rebates, marketing, and education. Take rebates, for example. While financing can help overcome customers’ barriers related to high first cost and lack of capital, these are not the only reasons utilities offer rebates. Rebates can be necessary when a project that is not cost-effective for an individual customer is economical for the utility. This can occur because customers make decisions about efficiency project payback based on their current energy rates, while utilities' cost-effectiveness is based on the higher marginal costs of investing in additional supply or generation. By helping align customers' payback with the value of efficiency for the utilities, rebates can be an important tool to help utilities meet demand at the lowest cost possible. Financing programs do not address the underlying differences in the economics of efficiency for customers and utilities. 

      Of course, money isn't everything. The growing field of behavioral programs is showing us just how much factors other than payback matter to customers. At least as currently designed, financing programs do not provide customers with information, education, and non-financial motivators that utility programs have found can drive efficiency. 

  • Donna Whitsett
    Managing Consultant
    Using her research powers for good.

    How serious is Donna about energy sustainability? Forty miles into her cross-country move from Houston to Seattle, Donna’s car broke down. She abandoned her vehicle, rented a U-Haul and hasn’t owned a car since. When she’s not literally walking the talk, Donna likes using research to inform strategies that encourage people to conserve energy. Handily enough, she has a strong background insocial psychology and a wide range of experience in research methodology and data analysis, including experimental design, sample development, data collection and statistical data analysis. Although Donna grew up in Texas, she developed neither a noticeable accent nor a love of barbecue.

  • Hannah Carmalt Justus
    Senior Consultant
    Our resident process cartographer.

    Hannah has contributed to diverse evaluation and planning projects for utilities across the country. She specializes in process mapping and focuses much of her research on community-based programs and social marketing techniques. Most recently, Hannah helped develop evaluation plans for Consumers Energy’s pilot programs. She also managed an evaluation of a community-based program in Wisconsin and conducted research on CUSTOMER AND TRADE ALLY ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES. Currently, Hannah is leading a portfolio-level evaluation for Xcel Energy. Much of her recent research has focused on MIDSTREAM or TRADE ALLY-LED PROGRAMS throughout the country, and she has also evaluated community-based SOCIAL MARKETING techniques in Wisconsin and California. She previously worked in New York City for Seamus Henchy and Associates, a project management firm, and completed graduate work in sustainable community development and behavior. Hannah has lived in Australia and Ireland. She enjoys Washington State’s parks and is partial to hiking, Canoeing, and skiing.

  • Nate Wilairat
    Senior Consultant
    He knows one data visualization is worth a thousand words.

    Nate is passionate about finding innovative ways to communicate information—including infographics and data visualization—that lead to data-driven decisions and better understanding. His areas of expertise include energy benchmarking policies for buildings, smart and programmable thermostats, trade ally engagement and small business energy efficiency programs. He is also experienced in using quantitative methods for sample design, trend analysis and data exploration. Nate grew up in Berkeley and has lived briefly in Japan, Minnesota, Crater Lake and Paris. He is a year-round bike commuter who logs over 1000 miles annually and is also fluent in French. He is happiest hanging off rock faces or catching the sunrise from a peak.

  • Danny Molvik
    Senior Consultant
    To see what your customers are really doing, see Danny.

    Danny specializes in Customer Experience research for program process evaluations. His expertise includes focus-group design, ethnographic interviews and facilitation, web usability testing, and project management. Danny has conducted focus groups and web usability studies for utilities across the country, including Hawaii, Washington, Michigan and Maine. He currently leads our multi-year process assessment of a large, Michigan-based utility company's energy efficiency programs. Before joining EMI Consulting, Danny held analyst positions at Puget Sound Energy and Starbucks Coffee Company. He holds Masters Degrees in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Policy Studies. When he’s not working, Danny takes his Harley on road trips, spends time with his Daughters, and roots for the Seattle Seahawks.

    • Posted 12.15.15
      Insights: 3 Strategies to make your utility website more user-centric

      Customers are increasingly reliant on the web as their first source for gathering information on products and services. According to a report from Fleishman-Hillard (1), 89% of consumers use search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) to find information before making purchase decisions. Because of the growing reliance on websites as a communication tool, it is imperative that your website is both usable and searchable if you hope to effectively serve your customers. According to J.D. Power & Associates, engaged customers are more likely to prefer self-service options available through a website more than calling the service product provider. (2) Through my experience conducting web usability studies with a broad range of utility customers (including contractors, businesses, and homeowners), there are three strategies utilities use to successfully gain and maintain a user-centric website:

      Guide the user through the website with pictures and graphics: Images allow users and trade allies to scan web pages quickly for information or provide cues directly related to the reason for visiting your website. Users are drawn to and strongly prefer graphical links as navigation tools, which help to streamline the amount of information they have to read.

      Provide clear signposting: Most users visit your website to accomplish a specific task (e.g., pay a bill, report an outage, check on incentive availability). What they want is guidance on how to accomplish this task as easily and quickly as possible. You must anticipate what users need, and provide clear headings and links that will lead them to specific and relevant information.

      Know your users: You can anticipate users’ needs based on web analytics and historical communications. Provide information that addresses their common questions and directs them to more detailed sources if desired. Use language that is easily understood by your target customer group, and avoid industry jargon whenever possible.

      Providing a more user-centric website will improve the quality of your customers’ online experience and increase their satisfaction with your products and services overall. Benefits from adopting these strategies often include improved website usability, reduced resource burden, increased utility program participation, and strengthened customer relationships. To achieve this, the focus of your website needs to shift from an emphasis on providing to customers information you see as valuable, to instead focusing on information that your customers desire.

      (1) http://fleishmanhillard.com/2012/01/31/2012-digital-influence-index-shows-internet-as-leading-influence-in-consumer-purchasing-choices/
      (2) http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2014-consumer-engagement-study
  • Matt Galport
    Consultant
    Making the world safe for better evaluation.

    A man of simple tastes, Matt loves three things: helping organizations make better decisions, traveling, and hiking. While visiting South Africa for six months, he was able to combine all three: he traveled the country while developing evaluation systems for the African Union. In addition to conducting state-of-the-art research and helping organizations build capacity for supporting actionable, cost-effective evaluations, Matt also develops Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on research and evaluation funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. His courses have helped thousands of professionals on every continent but one deepen their mastery of evaluation concepts. One day, Matt hopes to improve evaluations on that final continent by teaching aboard a research vessel bound for Antarctica.

  • Mike Hamilton
    Consultant
    Demystifying the behavior of energy consumers.

    With expertise in market research and quantitative analysis, Mike provides our clients with an organized, thorough approach to interpreting complex data. His extensive statistical modeling experience, coupled with an understanding of how energy markets behave, enables him to deliver measurable estimates of key factors affecting energy efficiency decision-making. Before joining EMI Consulting, Mike spent more than two years researching investment preferences for energy-efficient technologies in commercial buildings, helping to conduct several national market surveys. Outside of work, Mike stays busy skiing, surfing, learning bluegrass mandolin and growing berries in his garden.

    • Posted 12.3.15
      Insights: Breaking Apart Small Business Decisions regarding HVAC Maintenance Contracts:

      WHAT MATTERS MOST?

      According to the Small Business Administration, there are 23 million small businesses in the U.S. that account for over half of the nonfarm private gross domestic product and occupy 30-50% of all commercial space. (1) With increasing activity by small startup companies and lower rates of startup failure, this sector will undoubtedly remain a vital contributor of the U.S. economy in the foreseeable future. (2)

      Now pair this projection with a recent finding from the J.D. Power 2014 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study – overall satisfaction with electric utility providers is lowest among small businesses. (3) Businesses spending between $250 and $499 per month on their electric utility bill averaged about 10 points lower (on J.D. Power’s 1000 point scale) than businesses with higher utility bills.

      Why are small businesses relatively less satisfied with utility providers? Small businesses are diverse and have unique operational needs and preferences, particularly with respect to energy-related equipment and usage. Additionally, many small business owners simply do not have time and/or resources to worry about “secondary” issues like their energy bills.

      At EMI Consulting, we use innovative market research methods to help our utility clients better understand their small business customers. For example, EMI Consulting recently worked with the California investor-owned utilities to characterize how business owners and managers make decisions about the maintenance of their heating, air conditioning, and ventilation (HVAC) systems (a copy of the report is available here ). We estimated the relative importance of decision factors related to the purchase of an HVAC maintenance contract (as shown in the figure to the right). (4) Not surprisingly, the cost of a maintenance contract is important to small business customers (accounting for 26% of the overall decision weight, on average). But our results also show that small businesses greatly value improvements in the reliability of their HVAC systems (21% of the overall decision weight). The small business stakeholders we surveyed expressed comparatively little concern over improvements in the longevity of their HVAC systems, the number of maintenance visits they receive per year, indoor air quality benefits, and environmental impacts.

      While it is clear that contract cost plays an important role in small business customers’ maintenance contract decisions, our findings also suggest that the value proposition that may resonate most deeply with the small business sector is that maintenance contracts improve the reliability of HVAC systems. Insights like this could have a big effect for programs promoting the benefits of regular maintenance.

      (1) Source: http://www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/ocpl/resources/13493
      (2) Source: http://www.kauffman.org/newsroom/2015/05/nations-startup-activity-reverses-five-year-downward-trend-annual-kauffman-index-reports
      (3) Source: http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2014-electric-utility-business-customer-satisfaction-study
      (4) As revealed by commercial stakeholders responsible for two or fewer business locations comprising five or fewer HVAC units.
  • Erik Lyon
    Consultant
    Viewing energy and the environment through the lens of economics.

    A born analyst who reflexively thinks in models, Erik developed expertise in innovative energy-efficiency financing strategies while at Climate Solutions, an organization dedicated to developing a clean-energy economy. In college, he led the campus greenhouse gas audit analysis team for three years. And after graduating, he camped across the American West with an environmental field study program, managing a 1.25kW photovoltaic array that powered the project’s media library. Erik also spent three summers teaching people about the unique ecosystem of California’s Mono Lake. When he’s not in the office, Erik can be found biking around Seattle, hiking on the Olympic Peninsula, and birding whenever he can.

  • Katie Cary
    Consultant
    Complex analysis. Simple explanations.

    When you need thorough data analysis that’s easy to understand, talk to Katie. With degrees in economics, political science, and international public policy, she wields a broad arsenal of analytical tools capable of attacking just about any problem. And she combines it with a gift for clear communication; just ask the faculty at The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs, which awarded Katie its Penniman Prize for most outstanding graduate paper. In her free time, Katie can be found cheering on Tottenham Hotspur, her favorite English soccer team, hiking with her dog, and pursuing her dream to visit every U.S. national park. Katie recently moved to Seattle from Madison, and does not miss the arctic weather.

  • Ian Johnson
    Consultant
    Relax. He’s a doctor.

    As a part of our Customer & Market Research team, Ian applies his ADVANCED SCHOLARSHIP IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, as well as his experience developing and measuring marketing CAMPAIGNS utilizing effective persuasion techniques and targeted messaging and attitudinal, cognition and memory theoretical frameworks, to help our clients CHANGE CONSUMER BEHAVIOR. When not moonlighting as batman, Ian has been involved with numerous grants ranging from drug abuse prevention programs to EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM EVALUATIONS, which has enabled Ian to demonstrate a commitment to actionable, EVIDENCE-BASED INSIGHTS along with an extreme COMMITMENT TO DETAIL.  In his off hours, he loves to DJ, play SOCCER, and watch the pride of his home state, the ST. LOUIS CARDINALS. He has an EXTENSIVE FILM COLLECTION and particularly enjoys campy 80s horror, foreign films and the work of Stanley Kubrick. For dinner, he’ll have THAI FOOD AND A HOPPY IPA, thanks. 

  • Krys Buckenwolf
    Office Manager & Proposal Coordinator
    Advocating for cleaner sentences and oxford commas since 2015

    Pursuing his QUEST FOR MORE SCENERY, Krys swapped his beloved CHICAGO for a different kind of skyline and landed in Seattle, where his many duties include KEEPING OUR HQ HUMMING and adding POLISH to our work products. Before joining EMI Consulting, Krys worked as a college English TEACHER, a SUPERVISOR at an animal hospital, and a TRAINER at a call center. In his free time, he tinkers at what will one day become a SERIES OF LINKED SHORT STORIES FOR A COLLABORATIVE WEB PLATFORM. You can also find him roaming QUEEN ANNE HILL, fleshing out CHARACTER PROFILES or trying to CONDITION HIS BIKE-RIDING LEGS for Seattle’s ample hills.

  • Joan Effinger
    Consulting Engineer
    Passionately bridging the gap between business and engineering

    Joan has a passion for taking ideas and making them happen. A Natural Planner  and researcher, she loves to connect the dots and get to the root of the problem, with entrepreneurship in her heart. Joan has over 12 years of experience in the energy industry, including work at the National Fuel Cell Research Center, many years in energy efficiency consulting, a tech start-up, and most recently at a utility researching and piloting disruptive technologies. She is a subject matter expert in whole building measurement and verification and also has extensive experience designing and implementing innovative energy efficiency pilots and programs. When not working,  Joan enjoys Kickboxing, hiking, sailing,  and playing with her sons.

  • Emily Rich
    Associate Consultant

    Emily holds an M.P.A. from the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Washington where she sought to acquire every quantitative skill she could—from multivariate analysis to environmental economics to financial analysis. Chasing her obsession with electricity utilities and the energy industry, she interned in Seattle City Light’s Strategic Planning division and at the Northwest Energy Coalition as a graduate student, conducting research and analysis into residential electric rate design, demand response, and integrated resource planning. Prior to graduate school, Emily led the charge as a community organizer and advocate for energy policies in Virginia. She knows the Cascades like the back of her hand after significant time hiking, backpacking, and camping through them. She still carries the flag (and maybe shouts a bit) for the UNC basketball team, and she thinks potlucks with friends are the way to go.

  • Julie Scrivner
    Associate Consultant

    Julie is passionate about understanding the regulatory, social, and economic contexts of current energy issues. She has a wide range of qualitative research experiences focused on improving how communities interact with their limited resources. Before joining EMI Consulting, Julie spent two years digging into utility residential and commercial customer engagement in energy efficiency programs. The ultimate extra-curricular enthusiast, Julie is frequently found climbing mountains, dancing with her hip-hop crew, speaking Spanish at a local community center, or volunteering with a poverty alleviation group in downtown Seattle.

  • Oscar Alvarez
    Accounting and Finance
    If you ask Oscar for directions, you'll never get lost and you'll arrive at least five minutes early

    Numbers are Oscar’s best friends, but don’t worry; he likes people too. Rather, Oscar takes comfort in the reliability of numbers and uses them as the foundation to design and implement new processes that make all of our transactions more efficient. Whether it is analyzing spreadsheets or balancing our general ledger accounts, EMI Consulting is a leaner, meaner machine because of Oscar. He recently came to us from Anchorage, Alaska, where he was an entrepreneur extraordinaire, having been a car dealership owner and a restaurant owner, among many other ventures. He is an accomplished fisherman, having snagged a halibut that could have eaten him for breakfast. When not crunching the numbers, Oscar is learning a new guitar chord or seeking out the perfect heffy brew. He looks forward to falling in love with Seattle and its people.

  • Brett Close
    Senior Economist
    Passionate about data and the people behind them

    Brett has been working in energy efficiency since graduating from college, but he has been thinking about the utility of the future since high school, when he wrote his senior paper about energy efficiency and renewable energy. Brett has always had a passion for connecting the quantitative and the qualitative, the sciences and the humanities. He started college in physics labs but transitioned to a major in public policy analysis with a physics emphasis, and added in a second major of Medieval history (just for fun). Today his work combines advanced statistical methods with thoughtful modeling of the human interactions that drive markets, policies, and programs. When not crunching numbers, he enjoys hiking, baking bread, brewing beer and cider, and traveling the world with his wife and young son.

  • Robert Saul
    Consultant
    Helping to humanize data through sharper visuals

    Robert is an exception to the archetype of a data-driven analyst, being an extrovert but also passionate about digging into the details. For the past two years, he has worked specifically in energy evaluation, including working on projects for most forms of residential lighting programs, evaluating programs in Rhode Island, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, both Carolinas, Indiana, New York, and Ohio. He has also led training efforts for energy efficiency fieldwork and is the go-to guy for helping put together the best client presentations and coaching on delivery. He strongly believes visuals humanize data and he’s not shy about how much of a data-viz geek he is. Be ready for many graph puns unleashed through social media. Robert may also be the most hardcore cyclist we have on staff, having toured Europe as well as a taking 6-week ride from Vancouver to Tijuana.

Leadership Team
  • Rob Bordner
    Founder, President & CEO
    Rob Bordner
    Strategy and vision from an energy-efficiency thought leader.

    Drawing on three decades in the energy industry, Rob helps clients develop better strategies by providing a forward-looking, systems-based perspective encompassing the industry’s technical, economic and organizational dimensions. An economist by training, Rob’s experience dates to the early 1980s, when he worked with the pioneering firm that built New England’s first wind farm. Rob founded EMI Consulting in 1995 to combine his passion for sustainable energy with his talent for innovative and insightful research. His expertise and interest lies in strategic planning, energy policy, scenario analysis, systems theory, emerging technology and program evaluation. As CEO, he holds the vision for the firm, mapping growth as he mentors staff. When he’s not working, Rob enjoys listening to live music in small venues, sailing the Salish Sea, backpacking in the Olympics, browsing farmers markets and making wine. Rob also founded two youth-focused ventures—Vashon Independent Scouts and Sharing the Stage—combining his interests in music, the outdoors, mentoring and youth empowerment. Rob is working to reduce his ecological footprint to the size of one off-shore-capable sailboat.

    • Posted 1.19.15
      Insights: EMI Consulting: 20 Years!

      EMI Consulting was founded in the loft of a barn, sharing space with a Saddlebred horse, an ornery Shetland pony, and some polled Dorset sheep.  My objective was to engage my entrepreneurial instincts in the energy field I am so passionate about while also earning a good living, having balance, and spending time with my kids. 

      Twenty years later, as we approach a staff of thirty, creating a thriving and progressive place of work continues to be a top priority.  The loft space we now occupy in downtown Seattle is much larger, devoid of wild chickens in the background, and humming with activity as we work away on over 40 projects with clients in 20 different states.  In my role as CEO, some of the greatest moments come when I am working with our younger staff, many of whom are just starting out in their careers.  They are the future, and each is sure to make their mark. 

      This is such an incredibly exciting time to be working in the energy industry; the rate of technology change and innovation is rapid, and seemingly increasing each week.  Central plants, energy efficiency, distributed renewables, storage, the Internet of Things, and nanotechnology all have a role in this emerging energy system of the future.  I am grateful to all who have contributed to our success, including current and past employees, clients, and our families.  It is a privilege to work with such a great team and to work with such an amazing professional community of clients and peers — many of whom have also become lifelong friends. The work we are doing today to support a clean energy future is good work, work that is worth doing.  And I am looking forward to all that unfolds going forward!  

  • Matthew Rose
    Director
    Matthew Rose
    For 30 years, an energy-industry go-to guy.

    After more than three decades as an energy industry consultant, Matthew is as passionate as ever about helping clients Understand and resolve their issues. His secret? Helping them first clearly articulate their needs and define their vision of success.  A patient, grounding presence, Matthew listens closely and makes sure he and his clients grasp all the Elements of their challenge before delving into solutions. It’s an approach that agrees with his clients: he’s worked with many for well over a decade. Matthew has traveled extensively throughout most of the U.S., nearly all the Canadian provinces, and in Scandinavia and the Philippines. He enjoys canoeing Michigan’s storied rivers, watching hockey, fishing, and playing bluegrass mandolin and guitar.

    • Posted 7.24.17
      Insights: The Current Value of Demand Response: It All Depends Where You Look

      Depending on where you look, the value and business rationale for demand response (DR) varies. In certain parts of the country, there seems to be a growing focus on DR; in others, market forces are reducing the value of DR. In some areas DR is viewed as a resource competing in capacity markets whereas in others it is a resource included in utilities’ integrated resource planning.

      In the Pacific Northwest, the focus has traditionally been only on energy efficiency, but the current 20-year power plan prepared by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council indicates demand response could offer billions in cost savings. In California, the state’s Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) now participate in the state’s Demand Response Auction Mechanism (DRAM) program. DR also is unfolding in the Northeast with both utility and ISO programs.

      Despite new areas of DR attention, there are signs that activity levels are tapering off in some of the more mature markets. A review of the current market for demand response points to a fragmented landscape affected by varying aggregator activities, changing market rules, and a capacity market that has notable swings in capacity requirements and value. For a closer look, click here.

  • Jeremy Kraft
    Director of Consulting and Analysis
    Jeremy Kraft
    Improving the nation’s energy efficiency programs, one evaluation at a time.

    Mix a thorough understanding of energy efficiency with a masterful grasp of research methodology, toss in airtight project management and a passion for sustainability, and you get Jeremy. His experience includes program evaluations in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado, Maine and Connecticut. His current professional interests include helping utilities identify the next generation of DSM programs and working to transform how evaluation research is used within the industry. Jeremy moved to Seattle after 15 years in Wisconsin and won’t shut up about how the cheese is better back home.

    • Posted 9.9.14
      Insights: Evaluators as a Partner, not an Auditor

      In our evaluation work, we come across two kinds of requests from utilities and public service commissions. The first kind is the classic summative evaluation. A program has been running for a year or two and the utility needs someone to come in and assess its performance. At the end of the day, the evaluators provide recommendations for program improvements and realization rates to apply to reported savings. The second kind is when a utility is looking for a long-term evaluation partner. Someone that can sit at the table up-front and help the program administrators understand the programs they are running before the summative “evaluation” begins.

      Recently, we’ve been playing this role with clients more frequently and the benefits are tangible. We’ve vetted savings calculation methodologies prior to approval of large custom projects and double-checked application materials against TRMs to avoid realization rate surprises. We've created process flow maps to identify implementation bottlenecks before they occur instead of identifying them retroactively via complaints from participants during a telephone survey. We've conducted web usability tests to understand how trade allies interact with a new portal before it’s launched to maximize uptake and participation with the new offering. 

      In every case, we’re using our skills as evaluators to solve problems before they occur. We still play our critical M&V role – verifying that savings are real and that programs are efficient – but we help programs run better in the meantime.

  • Angie Emerson
    Director of Operations
    Angie Emerson
    An unflappable pro who doesn’t forget the fun.

    A recent typical day for Angie looked like this: She fixed an “unfixable” printer, organized a last-minute office party and schlepped half a sheet-cake 20 blocks in the rain. Angie is the glue that holds our daily operations together—and she does it all with a smile.  Her decades of experience include positions in large enterprises and smaller companies, in addition to several years of running her own business. When she’s not working, Angie likes camping, cooking and reading, preferably with a frosty beverage in hand.

Policy, Planning & Evaluation Team
  • Kara Crohn
    Managing Consultant
    Kara Crohn
    Evaluation expertise that opens a window onto your programs.

    Besides the focus and high standards you’d expect of a former gymnast, rower and track athlete, Kara has more than 14 years of experience in research. She serves our clients with a thorough knowledge of program evaluation theory,qualitative and mixed-methodsresearch design,evaluation capacity building, and training design and evaluation. After hours, she helps organize learning events for evaluation professionals and meetings for parents of elementary school kids in a Spanish immersion program. When she’s not evaluating something, Kara loves hiking with her family and sneaking off to dance classes to maintain the balance, strength, creativity and flexibility she needs to keep up with her sons.

    • Posted 2.25.16
      Insights: Process Mapping Primes the Pump for Successful Program Design and Useful Process Evaluations

      When we embark on a journey with our clients to support program design or to understand what really makes a program work, we start by developing a logic model with them. Logic modeling clarifies program staff’s and stakeholders’ understanding of how the activities they perform will logically lead to the goals they want to attain, and it establishes interim markers of success that can be measured along the way. However, it is often necessary to dig deeper into how activities are conducted to identify places where efficiency can be designed into the program’s operations.

      Process mapping is the tool we use to go deeper. The opportunity cost of not creating process maps is potentially overlooking gaps or redundancies in the program’s activities that could have saved the program money, time, or frustration had they been identified and resolved sooner. With this in mind, we work with program staff and those who interact with the program to collectively map out day-to-day operations; to have a conversation they rarely, if ever, have time for during their day. To get the most out of the exercise, it is critical to have the right people in the room and to foster an environment of exploration that respects differences in perspective.

      From a program design perspective, we use process mapping for locating opportunities to build in efficiency from the beginning, avoid pitfalls, and engender collaboration across job roles. From a process evaluation perspective, we focus evaluation questions on aspects of the program process in most need of feedback and tie performance metrics to critical program process steps. We also map the actual process against the designed process to more thoroughly identify implementation fidelity questions and, ultimately, feed timely design considerations back into the program design cycle.

      Process mapping is a simple tool that requires methodologically rigorous facilitation to produce meaningful results. Facilitated well, staff and stakeholders who participate in the process mapping exercise leave with a deeper appreciation for the work they each perform and some immediate steps to improve the efficiency of their work. They also have a better understanding of how their daily actions will lead to longer-term, farther-reaching goals described in their logic model. 

  • Kerry Meade
    Managing Consultant
    Kerry Meade
    Finding the harmony in energy policy.

    A problem solver specializing in policy work, Kerry provides our clients with expertise in research, program planning and design, market characterization, and, of course, energy policy analysis. She’ll tell you she’s happiest when she’s creating solutions, like developing more effective demand-side management program designs. She also loves working with GIS to analyze markets; an admirer of Edward Tufte, Kerry likes finding fresh ways to visualize data. In addition to being a former fellow at the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, Kerry is also a serious musician (piano, keyboard and synthesizers) pursuing an ongoing improvisational project with her guitarist husband. Her improvisational approach extends to cooking, another passion. And she loves to backpack whenever possible, counting the Enchantment Lakes, high in the Cascades, as her favorite trek.

    • Posted 7.10.16
      Insights: The Power of the City

      The world is full of smart things these days: smart-phones, smart-meters, smart-grid, smart cities. I am drawn to these smart concepts. They’re flashy and I like flashy things, but they often integrate, or aspire to integrate, across seeming unrelated aspects of life, and I love integration. The smartphone integrated our email with our telephone. The Smartgrid aims to integrate all the homes, businesses and electrical loads across the entire grid into one digital system of supply and demand. Smart cities aim to integrate all these smart technologies and people in a web of connection to promote efficiency, equity, stability, and resilience.

      There are a lot of definitions floating around regarding what encompasses a smart city. On one side of the spectrum the smart city concept is a philosophical one, “a city well performing in a forward looking way.” On the other end of the spectrum, the concept is wholly tied to technology, a city “connecting the physical infrastructure, the IT infrastructure, the social infrastructure, and the business infrastructure to leverage the collective intelligence of the city.”  In the context of my field – energy – it is this latter definition that compels me. In their recent report, “Technology and the Future of Cities,” the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology calls for the federal government to “take a more integrated approach to supporting new technologies that can improve the lives of people in cities.” Their report goes on to make four policy recommendations and to describe current and future opportunities in six urban sectors: transportation, energy, building and housing, water, urban manufacturing, and urban farming.

      Check out the full article on: LinkedIn Pulse.

  • Lisa Perry
    Managing Consultant
    Lisa Perry
    Equally fluent in econometrics and eggplant.

    Lisa offers expertise in both economic theory and research methods, with a focus on evaluating how behavioral responses shape the effectiveness of policies and programs. Her academic background includes application of advanced econometrics, including differences-in-differences regressions, instrumental variables regressions and regression discontinuity. Originally from Michigan, Lisa spent two years in Washington, D.C. before landing in Seattle. She loves exploring the Pacific Northwest's natural and urban wonders, from hiking and camping to farmers' markets and microbreweries. In addition to traveling and playing tennis, she grows vegetables in her backyard and experiments with new ways to cook them.

    • Posted 9.9.14
      Insights: How far can energy efficiency financing take us?

      Financing programs should be seen as a valuable complement, not replacement, for traditional utility programs.  Financing programs are one of today's fastest growing types of energy efficiency program, in part because they offer policy makers and utilities the tantalizing possibility of replacing taxpayer and ratepayer funding with private capital. This was an argument I heard applied from states as diverse as Connecticut to Ohio at the 2014 ACEEE Finance Forum.

      The challenge with the idea that financing programs can replace traditional utility programs is that financing by itself does not overcome all of the barriers that traditional utility programs target through rebates, marketing, and education. Take rebates, for example. While financing can help overcome customers’ barriers related to high first cost and lack of capital, these are not the only reasons utilities offer rebates. Rebates can be necessary when a project that is not cost-effective for an individual customer is economical for the utility. This can occur because customers make decisions about efficiency project payback based on their current energy rates, while utilities' cost-effectiveness is based on the higher marginal costs of investing in additional supply or generation. By helping align customers' payback with the value of efficiency for the utilities, rebates can be an important tool to help utilities meet demand at the lowest cost possible. Financing programs do not address the underlying differences in the economics of efficiency for customers and utilities. 

      Of course, money isn't everything. The growing field of behavioral programs is showing us just how much factors other than payback matter to customers. At least as currently designed, financing programs do not provide customers with information, education, and non-financial motivators that utility programs have found can drive efficiency. 

  • Hannah Carmalt Justus
    Senior Consultant
    Hannah Carmalt Justus
    Our resident process cartographer.

    Hannah has contributed to diverse evaluation and planning projects for utilities across the country. She specializes in process mapping and focuses much of her research on community-based programs and social marketing techniques. Most recently, Hannah helped develop evaluation plans for Consumers Energy’s pilot programs. She also managed an evaluation of a community-based program in Wisconsin and conducted research on CUSTOMER AND TRADE ALLY ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES. Currently, Hannah is leading a portfolio-level evaluation for Xcel Energy. Much of her recent research has focused on MIDSTREAM or TRADE ALLY-LED PROGRAMS throughout the country, and she has also evaluated community-based SOCIAL MARKETING techniques in Wisconsin and California. She previously worked in New York City for Seamus Henchy and Associates, a project management firm, and completed graduate work in sustainable community development and behavior. Hannah has lived in Australia and Ireland. She enjoys Washington State’s parks and is partial to hiking, Canoeing, and skiing.

  • Nate Wilairat
    Senior Consultant
    Nate Wilairat
    He knows one data visualization is worth a thousand words.

    Nate is passionate about finding innovative ways to communicate information—including infographics and data visualization—that lead to data-driven decisions and better understanding. His areas of expertise include energy benchmarking policies for buildings, smart and programmable thermostats, trade ally engagement and small business energy efficiency programs. He is also experienced in using quantitative methods for sample design, trend analysis and data exploration. Nate grew up in Berkeley and has lived briefly in Japan, Minnesota, Crater Lake and Paris. He is a year-round bike commuter who logs over 1000 miles annually and is also fluent in French. He is happiest hanging off rock faces or catching the sunrise from a peak.

  • Matt Galport
    Consultant
    Matt Galport
    Making the world safe for better evaluation.

    A man of simple tastes, Matt loves three things: helping organizations make better decisions, traveling, and hiking. While visiting South Africa for six months, he was able to combine all three: he traveled the country while developing evaluation systems for the African Union. In addition to conducting state-of-the-art research and helping organizations build capacity for supporting actionable, cost-effective evaluations, Matt also develops Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on research and evaluation funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. His courses have helped thousands of professionals on every continent but one deepen their mastery of evaluation concepts. One day, Matt hopes to improve evaluations on that final continent by teaching aboard a research vessel bound for Antarctica.

  • Erik Lyon
    Consultant
    Erik Lyon
    Viewing energy and the environment through the lens of economics.

    A born analyst who reflexively thinks in models, Erik developed expertise in innovative energy-efficiency financing strategies while at Climate Solutions, an organization dedicated to developing a clean-energy economy. In college, he led the campus greenhouse gas audit analysis team for three years. And after graduating, he camped across the American West with an environmental field study program, managing a 1.25kW photovoltaic array that powered the project’s media library. Erik also spent three summers teaching people about the unique ecosystem of California’s Mono Lake. When he’s not in the office, Erik can be found biking around Seattle, hiking on the Olympic Peninsula, and birding whenever he can.

  • Katie Cary
    Consultant
    Katie Cary
    Complex analysis. Simple explanations.

    When you need thorough data analysis that’s easy to understand, talk to Katie. With degrees in economics, political science, and international public policy, she wields a broad arsenal of analytical tools capable of attacking just about any problem. And she combines it with a gift for clear communication; just ask the faculty at The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs, which awarded Katie its Penniman Prize for most outstanding graduate paper. In her free time, Katie can be found cheering on Tottenham Hotspur, her favorite English soccer team, hiking with her dog, and pursuing her dream to visit every U.S. national park. Katie recently moved to Seattle from Madison, and does not miss the arctic weather.

  • Brett Close
    Senior Economist
    Brett Close
    Passionate about data and the people behind them

    Brett has been working in energy efficiency since graduating from college, but he has been thinking about the utility of the future since high school, when he wrote his senior paper about energy efficiency and renewable energy. Brett has always had a passion for connecting the quantitative and the qualitative, the sciences and the humanities. He started college in physics labs but transitioned to a major in public policy analysis with a physics emphasis, and added in a second major of Medieval history (just for fun). Today his work combines advanced statistical methods with thoughtful modeling of the human interactions that drive markets, policies, and programs. When not crunching numbers, he enjoys hiking, baking bread, brewing beer and cider, and traveling the world with his wife and young son.

  • Robert Saul
    Consultant
    Robert Saul
    Helping to humanize data through sharper visuals

    Robert is an exception to the archetype of a data-driven analyst, being an extrovert but also passionate about digging into the details. For the past two years, he has worked specifically in energy evaluation, including working on projects for most forms of residential lighting programs, evaluating programs in Rhode Island, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, both Carolinas, Indiana, New York, and Ohio. He has also led training efforts for energy efficiency fieldwork and is the go-to guy for helping put together the best client presentations and coaching on delivery. He strongly believes visuals humanize data and he’s not shy about how much of a data-viz geek he is. Be ready for many graph puns unleashed through social media. Robert may also be the most hardcore cyclist we have on staff, having toured Europe as well as a taking 6-week ride from Vancouver to Tijuana.

Customer & Market Research Team
  • Donna Whitsett
    Managing Consultant
    Donna Whitsett
    Using her research powers for good.

    How serious is Donna about energy sustainability? Forty miles into her cross-country move from Houston to Seattle, Donna’s car broke down. She abandoned her vehicle, rented a U-Haul and hasn’t owned a car since. When she’s not literally walking the talk, Donna likes using research to inform strategies that encourage people to conserve energy. Handily enough, she has a strong background insocial psychology and a wide range of experience in research methodology and data analysis, including experimental design, sample development, data collection and statistical data analysis. Although Donna grew up in Texas, she developed neither a noticeable accent nor a love of barbecue.

  • Danny Molvik
    Senior Consultant
    Danny Molvik
    To see what your customers are really doing, see Danny.

    Danny specializes in Customer Experience research for program process evaluations. His expertise includes focus-group design, ethnographic interviews and facilitation, web usability testing, and project management. Danny has conducted focus groups and web usability studies for utilities across the country, including Hawaii, Washington, Michigan and Maine. He currently leads our multi-year process assessment of a large, Michigan-based utility company's energy efficiency programs. Before joining EMI Consulting, Danny held analyst positions at Puget Sound Energy and Starbucks Coffee Company. He holds Masters Degrees in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Policy Studies. When he’s not working, Danny takes his Harley on road trips, spends time with his Daughters, and roots for the Seattle Seahawks.

    • Posted 12.15.15
      Insights: 3 Strategies to make your utility website more user-centric

      Customers are increasingly reliant on the web as their first source for gathering information on products and services. According to a report from Fleishman-Hillard (1), 89% of consumers use search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) to find information before making purchase decisions. Because of the growing reliance on websites as a communication tool, it is imperative that your website is both usable and searchable if you hope to effectively serve your customers. According to J.D. Power & Associates, engaged customers are more likely to prefer self-service options available through a website more than calling the service product provider. (2) Through my experience conducting web usability studies with a broad range of utility customers (including contractors, businesses, and homeowners), there are three strategies utilities use to successfully gain and maintain a user-centric website:

      Guide the user through the website with pictures and graphics: Images allow users and trade allies to scan web pages quickly for information or provide cues directly related to the reason for visiting your website. Users are drawn to and strongly prefer graphical links as navigation tools, which help to streamline the amount of information they have to read.

      Provide clear signposting: Most users visit your website to accomplish a specific task (e.g., pay a bill, report an outage, check on incentive availability). What they want is guidance on how to accomplish this task as easily and quickly as possible. You must anticipate what users need, and provide clear headings and links that will lead them to specific and relevant information.

      Know your users: You can anticipate users’ needs based on web analytics and historical communications. Provide information that addresses their common questions and directs them to more detailed sources if desired. Use language that is easily understood by your target customer group, and avoid industry jargon whenever possible.

      Providing a more user-centric website will improve the quality of your customers’ online experience and increase their satisfaction with your products and services overall. Benefits from adopting these strategies often include improved website usability, reduced resource burden, increased utility program participation, and strengthened customer relationships. To achieve this, the focus of your website needs to shift from an emphasis on providing to customers information you see as valuable, to instead focusing on information that your customers desire.

      (1) http://fleishmanhillard.com/2012/01/31/2012-digital-influence-index-shows-internet-as-leading-influence-in-consumer-purchasing-choices/
      (2) http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2014-consumer-engagement-study
  • Mike Hamilton
    Consultant
    Mike Hamilton
    Demystifying the behavior of energy consumers.

    With expertise in market research and quantitative analysis, Mike provides our clients with an organized, thorough approach to interpreting complex data. His extensive statistical modeling experience, coupled with an understanding of how energy markets behave, enables him to deliver measurable estimates of key factors affecting energy efficiency decision-making. Before joining EMI Consulting, Mike spent more than two years researching investment preferences for energy-efficient technologies in commercial buildings, helping to conduct several national market surveys. Outside of work, Mike stays busy skiing, surfing, learning bluegrass mandolin and growing berries in his garden.

    • Posted 12.3.15
      Insights: Breaking Apart Small Business Decisions regarding HVAC Maintenance Contracts:

      WHAT MATTERS MOST?

      According to the Small Business Administration, there are 23 million small businesses in the U.S. that account for over half of the nonfarm private gross domestic product and occupy 30-50% of all commercial space. (1) With increasing activity by small startup companies and lower rates of startup failure, this sector will undoubtedly remain a vital contributor of the U.S. economy in the foreseeable future. (2)

      Now pair this projection with a recent finding from the J.D. Power 2014 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study – overall satisfaction with electric utility providers is lowest among small businesses. (3) Businesses spending between $250 and $499 per month on their electric utility bill averaged about 10 points lower (on J.D. Power’s 1000 point scale) than businesses with higher utility bills.

      Why are small businesses relatively less satisfied with utility providers? Small businesses are diverse and have unique operational needs and preferences, particularly with respect to energy-related equipment and usage. Additionally, many small business owners simply do not have time and/or resources to worry about “secondary” issues like their energy bills.

      At EMI Consulting, we use innovative market research methods to help our utility clients better understand their small business customers. For example, EMI Consulting recently worked with the California investor-owned utilities to characterize how business owners and managers make decisions about the maintenance of their heating, air conditioning, and ventilation (HVAC) systems (a copy of the report is available here ). We estimated the relative importance of decision factors related to the purchase of an HVAC maintenance contract (as shown in the figure to the right). (4) Not surprisingly, the cost of a maintenance contract is important to small business customers (accounting for 26% of the overall decision weight, on average). But our results also show that small businesses greatly value improvements in the reliability of their HVAC systems (21% of the overall decision weight). The small business stakeholders we surveyed expressed comparatively little concern over improvements in the longevity of their HVAC systems, the number of maintenance visits they receive per year, indoor air quality benefits, and environmental impacts.

      While it is clear that contract cost plays an important role in small business customers’ maintenance contract decisions, our findings also suggest that the value proposition that may resonate most deeply with the small business sector is that maintenance contracts improve the reliability of HVAC systems. Insights like this could have a big effect for programs promoting the benefits of regular maintenance.

      (1) Source: http://www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/ocpl/resources/13493
      (2) Source: http://www.kauffman.org/newsroom/2015/05/nations-startup-activity-reverses-five-year-downward-trend-annual-kauffman-index-reports
      (3) Source: http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2014-electric-utility-business-customer-satisfaction-study
      (4) As revealed by commercial stakeholders responsible for two or fewer business locations comprising five or fewer HVAC units.
  • Ian Johnson
    Consultant
    Ian Johnson
    Relax. He’s a doctor.

    As a part of our Customer & Market Research team, Ian applies his ADVANCED SCHOLARSHIP IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, as well as his experience developing and measuring marketing CAMPAIGNS utilizing effective persuasion techniques and targeted messaging and attitudinal, cognition and memory theoretical frameworks, to help our clients CHANGE CONSUMER BEHAVIOR. When not moonlighting as batman, Ian has been involved with numerous grants ranging from drug abuse prevention programs to EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM EVALUATIONS, which has enabled Ian to demonstrate a commitment to actionable, EVIDENCE-BASED INSIGHTS along with an extreme COMMITMENT TO DETAIL.  In his off hours, he loves to DJ, play SOCCER, and watch the pride of his home state, the ST. LOUIS CARDINALS. He has an EXTENSIVE FILM COLLECTION and particularly enjoys campy 80s horror, foreign films and the work of Stanley Kubrick. For dinner, he’ll have THAI FOOD AND A HOPPY IPA, thanks. 

  • Emily Rich
    Associate Consultant
    Emily Rich

    Emily holds an M.P.A. from the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Washington where she sought to acquire every quantitative skill she could—from multivariate analysis to environmental economics to financial analysis. Chasing her obsession with electricity utilities and the energy industry, she interned in Seattle City Light’s Strategic Planning division and at the Northwest Energy Coalition as a graduate student, conducting research and analysis into residential electric rate design, demand response, and integrated resource planning. Prior to graduate school, Emily led the charge as a community organizer and advocate for energy policies in Virginia. She knows the Cascades like the back of her hand after significant time hiking, backpacking, and camping through them. She still carries the flag (and maybe shouts a bit) for the UNC basketball team, and she thinks potlucks with friends are the way to go.

  • Julie Scrivner
    Associate Consultant
    Julie Scrivner

    Julie is passionate about understanding the regulatory, social, and economic contexts of current energy issues. She has a wide range of qualitative research experiences focused on improving how communities interact with their limited resources. Before joining EMI Consulting, Julie spent two years digging into utility residential and commercial customer engagement in energy efficiency programs. The ultimate extra-curricular enthusiast, Julie is frequently found climbing mountains, dancing with her hip-hop crew, speaking Spanish at a local community center, or volunteering with a poverty alleviation group in downtown Seattle.

Engineering Analysis & Technology Assessment Team
  • Joan Effinger
    Consulting Engineer
    Joan Effinger
    Passionately bridging the gap between business and engineering

    Joan has a passion for taking ideas and making them happen. A Natural Planner  and researcher, she loves to connect the dots and get to the root of the problem, with entrepreneurship in her heart. Joan has over 12 years of experience in the energy industry, including work at the National Fuel Cell Research Center, many years in energy efficiency consulting, a tech start-up, and most recently at a utility researching and piloting disruptive technologies. She is a subject matter expert in whole building measurement and verification and also has extensive experience designing and implementing innovative energy efficiency pilots and programs. When not working,  Joan enjoys Kickboxing, hiking, sailing,  and playing with her sons.

Operations & Finance Team
  • Krys Buckenwolf
    Office Manager & Proposal Coordinator
    Krys Buckenwolf
    Advocating for cleaner sentences and oxford commas since 2015

    Pursuing his QUEST FOR MORE SCENERY, Krys swapped his beloved CHICAGO for a different kind of skyline and landed in Seattle, where his many duties include KEEPING OUR HQ HUMMING and adding POLISH to our work products. Before joining EMI Consulting, Krys worked as a college English TEACHER, a SUPERVISOR at an animal hospital, and a TRAINER at a call center. In his free time, he tinkers at what will one day become a SERIES OF LINKED SHORT STORIES FOR A COLLABORATIVE WEB PLATFORM. You can also find him roaming QUEEN ANNE HILL, fleshing out CHARACTER PROFILES or trying to CONDITION HIS BIKE-RIDING LEGS for Seattle’s ample hills.

  • Oscar Alvarez
    Accounting and Finance
    Oscar Alvarez
    If you ask Oscar for directions, you'll never get lost and you'll arrive at least five minutes early

    Numbers are Oscar’s best friends, but don’t worry; he likes people too. Rather, Oscar takes comfort in the reliability of numbers and uses them as the foundation to design and implement new processes that make all of our transactions more efficient. Whether it is analyzing spreadsheets or balancing our general ledger accounts, EMI Consulting is a leaner, meaner machine because of Oscar. He recently came to us from Anchorage, Alaska, where he was an entrepreneur extraordinaire, having been a car dealership owner and a restaurant owner, among many other ventures. He is an accomplished fisherman, having snagged a halibut that could have eaten him for breakfast. When not crunching the numbers, Oscar is learning a new guitar chord or seeking out the perfect heffy brew. He looks forward to falling in love with Seattle and its people.

Working at EMI Consulting
Working at EMI Consulting
Dozens of ways to apply what you know. Infinite opportunities to shine.

At EMI Consulting, meaningful work, intellectual rigor and a balanced life co-exist in a way they just don’t in many other jobs. We mix hard and soft disciplines for an approach all our own.


We’re equal parts intelligence and irreverence. We love the outdoors (most of us) and fiercely guard our quality of life. At the same time, we possess a work ethic, business sense and mastery of energy issues that we’ll happily stack up against the most buttoned-down firm. We like quirky. We don’t tolerate flakey. And we mind the fulcrum that keeps life and work in balance. Our greatest ambition is to be indispensable to our clients’ success as we make a positive contribution to global energy challenges.


Our second-greatest ambition? To be the kind of people you want to have a beer with.

We're always on the lookout for smart people with vision. If you're interested, please send a resume or career questions to careers@emiconsulting.com

Current Job Opportunities
Current Job Opportunities Here are our latest listings.
  • Senior Customer Experience Researcher

    EMI Consulting is seeking a Senior Customer Experience Researcher to fuel our ever-growing thirst to better understand how people use and make decisions related to energy. Energy-related decisions are made throughout our economy—by homeowners, businesses, government agencies, schools, developers, contractors, manufacturers, and others. Each has a unique relationship with energy, how energy is used, and the myriad decisions that affect energy use. This research position is responsible for the design and execution of rigorous, creative, and insightful primary research that helps shed light on this topic. Your job is to help characterize these influences and use this information to inform strategic business decisions that will be made by our clients in their efforts to impact markets and develop new products/services related to energy efficiency, distributed energy resources, electric vehicles, micro grids, home automation, smart cities, and future opportunities that build upon the ubiquitous Internet of Things.

    What we Do:

    EMI Consulting is a boutique strategic consulting firm, located in Seattle, Washington. We have been pioneers in the clean energy space for more than twenty years. Our team of smart, experienced M.S. and Ph.D. researchers has recognized expertise in energy policy, economic analysis, qualitative and quantitative research, consumer decision-making, market analytics, technology assessment, and data analysis. We work across the country, advising electric and gas utilities and related government agencies on business strategies related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, new and emerging market opportunities, and successful customer engagement. These clients face considerable uncertainty as they chart their course toward the Utility of the Future.

     

    What You'll DO:

    This position is part of our broader Customer Experience Research Team, which includes both quantitative and qualitative researchers. As a Senior Researcher, we’ll be looking to you for leadership in both the design and execution of qualitative research efforts that will reveal the unexpected, and you will support our Strategy Team in designing new programs and product offerings for clients. Typical responsibilities include:

     

    • Planning innovative research and evaluation studies
    • Leading and mentoring teams of junior researchers
    • Designing effective interview guides
    • Leading in-depth interviewing efforts
    • Developing qualitative data management strategies
    • Leading coding and analysis efforts
    • Interpreting key themes found in the research
    • Integrating qualitative and quantitative research findings
    • Communicating results in creative and visually-compelling ways

     

    No project is the same. Our work is fast-paced, and you’ll help prioritize what we do to make sure clients get what they need when they need it.


     

    Qualifications:

    We’re looking for someone with 4-6 years of experience conducting applied qualitative research, specifically with a focus on customer and/or user experience, to join our team in Seattle. You will have a solid academic background, preferably an M.A., M.S. or Ph.D. from a top-ranked university, and a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of research methods and design. Your tools should include: in-depth interviews, focus groups, field observations, ethnographic and anthropological research, usability testing, content analysis, and other structured research methods. Although most of your work will be qualitative in nature, you should have a strong understanding of how to effectively design and implement mixed-methods studies. Experience with utilities or the clean energy sector is preferred but not required. What is essential is that you have a passion for your work, seek out and look for fresh perspectives and insights, have a systems-thinking perspective, and want to make an impact. Excellent writing and presentation skills are also essential, as is the ability to tell a good story!

     

    Our Culture:

    Our offices are on the top floor of an historic Pioneer Square loft warehouse, near the waterfront in Seattle, Washington. We offer a very competitive benefits package, are cubicle-free, and have created a great place to work. Think lots of white boards, ping-pong, sophisticated analytics, Macs, the occasional office dog, work-hard/play-hard.  We’re very selective in our hiring. We prioritize collaboration, expect optimism, and insist upon mutual respect.

     

    To Apply:

    Email: careers@emiconsulting.com

    • Resume.
    • Cover letter; be bold, tell us something real about yourself.
    • Writing sample.
    • Three references who can speak to your character as well as your accomplishments.

     

     

  • Associate Research Analyst

    EMI Consulting is seeking Associate Research Analysts to join our consulting team. Depending on specific skill sets, you’ll work across our Data Analytics and Customer Experience teams, feeding our un-quenchable thirst for better understanding of how people use and make decisions related to energy.

     

    Our Data Analytics and Modeling team is charged with delivering state-of-the art data analytics and modeling to support client decision-making. This team is skilled at data aggregation, data cleaning, outlier analysis, data visualization, descriptive and inferential statistics, sample design, regression analysis, and applied econometric modeling (including linear models, panel models, and discrete-choice models). This team is skilled in the use of the most popular and common database and analytical software, including R, SQL, SPSS, and Tableau.

     

    Our Customer Experience team focuses on how energy-related decisions are made throughout our economy – by homeowners, businesses, government agencies, schools, developers, contractors, manufacturers, and others. This team is charged with conducting state-of-the-art mixed-methods research with customers to provide our clients with research that enables well founded business decisions. This team is skilled in all aspects of qualitative and qualitative research including survey design, survey administration, focus groups, in-depth interviews, ethnographic research, customer journey mapping, and user experience research.

    What We Do:
    EMI Consulting is a boutique strategy consulting firm, located in Seattle, Washington.  We have been a pioneer in the clean energy space for more than twenty years.  Our team of smart, experienced M.S. and Ph.D. researchers has recognized expertise in energy policy, economic analysis, qualitative and quantitative research, consumer decision-making, market analytics, technology assessment, and data analysis. We work across the country, advising electric and gas utilities on business strategies related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, new and emerging market opportunities, and successful customer engagement.  These clients face considerable uncertainty as they chart their course toward the Utility of the Future. 

     

    WHAT YOU'LL Do:

    You will work side by side with more experienced consulting staff to learn about the energy efficiency industry, develop new research methods, engage in sophisticated research projects, and participate in the evolution of our business. While your specific responsibilities will depend on experience, background, and project assignments, typical tasks will include:

    • Designing effective interview guides and survey instruments
    • Conducting in-depth interviewing efforts
    • Conducting policy analysis and literature reviews
    • Managing qualitative and quantitative datasets
    • Developing Tableau workbooks
    • Conducting data coding and analysis efforts
    • Interpreting key themes in our research
    • Integrating qualitative and quantitative research findings
    • Communicating results in creative and visually-compelling ways

     

    No project is the same. Our work is fast-paced and varied, so you’ll help prioritize what we do to make sure clients get what they need when they need it.

     

    Qualifications:

    We are looking for someone with a Bachelor's or Master’s degree, with a focus on Economics, Environmental Analysis, Sociology, Public Policy, Statistics, or Environmental Engineering. Experience with applied research is required (SPSS, SQL, Tableau, Stata, SAS, R, ArcGIS, Python, or qualitative research techniques). Demonstrated interest and understanding of energy-related issues through coursework or other avenues is preferred.

     

    OUR CULTURE:

    Our offices are on the top floor of an historic Pioneer Square loft warehouse, near the waterfront in Seattle, Washington. We offer a very competitive benefits package, are cubicle-free, and have created a great place to work. Think lots of white boards, ping-pong, sophisticated analytics, Macs, the occasional office dog, work-hard/play-hard.  We’re very selective in our hiring.  We prioritize collaboration, expect optimism, and insist upon mutual respect.

     

    TO APPLY:

    Email careers@emiconsulting.com by August 18, 2017 the following materials:

    • Resume.
    • Cover letter; be bold, tell us something real about yourself.
    • Writing sample.
    • Three references who can speak to your character as well as your accomplishments.

     

  • Qualitative Research Analyst

    EMI Consulting is seeking a career-track Qualitative Research Analyst to join our consulting group as part of our Customer Experience team. This team focuses on how energy-related decisions are made throughout our economy – by homeowners, businesses, government agencies, schools, developers, contractors, manufacturers, and others. This team is charged with conducting state-of-the-art mixed-methods research with customers to provide our clients with research that enables well-founded business decisions. This team is skilled in all aspects of qualitative and quantitative research. EMI Consulting is looking for an analyst that can support qualitative research including focus groups, in-depth interviews, ethnographic research, customer journey mapping, and user experience research.

    What we do:

    EMI Consulting is a boutique strategy consulting firm, located in Seattle, Washington.  We have been pioneers in the clean energy space for more than twenty years.  Our team of smart, experienced M.S. and Ph.D. researchers has recognized expertise in energy policy, economic analysis, qualitative and quantitative research, consumer decision-making, market analytics, technology assessment, and data analysis. We work across the country, advising electric and gas utilities on business strategies related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, new and emerging market opportunities, and successful customer engagement.  These clients face considerable uncertainty as they chart their course toward the Utility of the Future.

     

    WHAT YOU'LL Do:

    You will work side by side with more experienced consulting staff to learn about the energy efficiency industry, implement new research methods, engage in sophisticated research projects, and participate in the evolution of our business. While your specific responsibilities will depend on experience, background, and project assignments, typical tasks will include:

    • Designing effective interview and moderator guides
    • Conducting in-depth interviewing efforts
    • Facilitating focus groups
    • Managing qualitative datasets
    • Conducting qualitative coding and analysis efforts
    • Interpreting key themes found in our research
    • Integrating research findings
    • Communicating results in creative and visually-compelling ways

     

    No project is the same. Our work is fast-paced and varied, so you’ll help prioritize what we do to make sure clients get what they need when they need it.

     

    Qualifications:

    We’re looking for someone with 1-2 years of work experience with applied qualitative research and design, including research design, interviewing and observational methods, coding, and summarizing results. You will have a solid academic background, an M.S/M.A. or Ph.D. from a top-ranked university, and a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of qualitative research methods and design. Tangible experience in consulting or energy efficiency is preferred.

     

    OUR CULTURE:

    Our offices are on the top floor of an historic Pioneer Square loft warehouse, near the waterfront in Seattle, Washington. We offer a very competitive benefits package, are cubicle-free, and have created a great place to work. Think lots of white boards, ping-pong, sophisticated analytics, Macs, the occasional office dog, work-hard/play-hard.  We’re very selective in our hiring.  We prioritize collaboration, expect optimism, and insist upon mutual respect.

     

    TO APPLY:

    Email careers@emiconsulting.com by August 18, 2017 the following materials:

    • Resume.
    • Cover letter; be bold, tell us something real about yourself.
    • Writing sample.
    • Three references who can speak to your character as well as your accomplishments.