Mike Garten

Director

 
 

Mike has spent the majority of his life trying to design a better world, whether that has been making products easier to use or making situations less stressful. As a project manager, he gets to build relationships with our clients and enable the design of better clean energy programs. His design background helps him to better understand the tools used in a given project and how they might be optimized, and his insistence on empathy and active listening as a bridge in the client relationship ensures that we deliver the results our clients need.

2

cats who tolerate each other

469

miles driven on the Blue Ridge Parkway (the entire length)

1

gyrocopter flight along Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline

  • How did you get into the clean energy field?

    I’ve always taken on work with the idea of making experiences better for people. But, at least with most consumer goods, your designs often add up to more things to dump in a landfill. I wanted to be part of something that could leave a lighter footprint on our world. And I saw a lot of parallels between my design background and the work we do at EMI: researching customers' wants and needs, piloting an approach, and testing its success. The process is the same in many ways, and it’s one I have a lot of experience navigating.

  • What are the problems you like to solve?

    I like solving the challenges that really help our clients, the ones that truly push their programs forward. The exciting part of that for me is that initial planning, sitting down with my team or our client and working through how we can get there. You have the opportunity to build trust in these sessions, and if you come with empathy for the client’s position, you’re going to find the way past the barriers that have been holding the client back.

  • When do you have the most fun at work?

    I really enjoy when you hit a milestone or get past a challenge with your team and you can take a moment to enjoy that success with the people who’ve worked so hard with you to get to that point. Having that space to appreciate the effort and your team is essential for a company.

  • Where is your favorite spot in the world?

    Amsterdam, because it’s a very human-scaled place: walkable, easy to navigate. Everyone rides bicycles. You visit a market and come away with this strong sense of community. And it’s beautiful on the water.

Publications

  • Garten, M. D. (2005). “Managing Innovation. Getting the Most for Your Money by Care & Feeding Creativity.” Presented at the International Housewares Association conference. Chicago, IL.
  • Garten, M. D. (2003). “Project Management and Creativity.” Presented at the International Association of Business Communicators conference, Charlotte, NC.