What’s Graham Richard up to now?

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Today, AFW received an email update from Advanced Energy Economy.

Like AFW, you might be wondering what Advanced Energy Economy is. AFW receives many unsolicited emails. What caught our eye about this particular email was the sender – Graham Richard, former City of Fort Wayne Mayor.

The email:

From Graham Richard, CEO Advanced Energy Econmy

October 3, 2012

It is fall in Fort Wayne, Indiana, my hometown. Football fans are talking about favorite teams and autumn leaves are beginning to fall on campaign signs as they pop up in front yards. This year I will miss the hometown football and political rivalries. I am on the road with my new job at Advanced Energy Economy.

What am I hearing as I travel? I hear more and more people talking about the future direction of our country. Even against a backdrop of negative campaign ads, good conversations are taking place. I believe when Americans get talking, we make progress. That includes the subject of my focus these days – energy.

In trips to the Democratic and Republican Conventions and to cities around the country I hear people talking about energy. This is a more pronounced discussion about energy issues than I have heard in my lifetime. At AEE, we also see it in the research we conduct: in overwhelming numbers, Americans see advanced energy as important to our future.

Nearly 90 percent of likely voters in Florida said it’s important to our future; in North Carolina, 77 percent said it is important for the next President to make growing and developing advanced energy to power America’s economy a top priority. In the 12 states most up for grabs in the coming election, 86 percent of voters believe it is important for U.S. political leaders to do more to further advanced energy – including 80 percent of Republicans in these “swing states.”

I’ve been looking at polling data all my adult life, and I’ve never seen anything like these numbers. They provide solid evidence of the message I took to Tampa and Charlotte, along with the rest of the AEE team: The opportunity represented by advanced energy is something the entire country can get behind, as part of a national reconciliation that gets our economy moving.

It’s a message that resonates not only with politicos, but with everyone I meet, wherever I go. “Advanced energy” is a new concept to most people, but when they understand that it means energy that is secure, clean, and affordable, they support it. When they hear that it means putting the best available commercial technologies to work meeting energy needs today and tomorrow, they get it. They see the value in becoming less dependent on foreign oil. They see the opportunity for technology and business innovation to make our energy sources cleaner and more affordable. And, most importantly, they see the potential for business and job growth in putting American ingenuity to work – in creating a smarter energy future for the U.S. and the world.

What surprises them is when they hear that advanced energy is not just a hope for the future, but a reality today. They are surprised when I tell them that there are 14,500 advanced energy jobs in Ohio today. There are more than 11,000 advanced energy jobs in Arkansas today. And in the U.S. overall, advanced energy jobs total nearly 700,000 now. And we are at an early stage. That’s because advanced energy is not just an industry, but also the foundation for economic transformation – the cornerstone of an advanced energy economy.

That’s what AEE is all about – building a strong U.S. industry that leads a global energy transformation. Worldwide energy demand is projected to grow by more than a third by 2030. That is an enormous market opportunity. AEE’s job is to create the conditions for U.S. companies and workers to make the most of it. If we all do that well, that means opportunity and jobs for Americans.

That is why, in the coming months, we will be launching three strategic initiatives to deliver on that goal:

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[li]Positive Energy Campaign: After the election and into next year, we will take the Positive Energy image-building campaign we tested in Ohio and Arkansas this summer to some of the biggest media markets and influence centers in the country – New York City; Washington, DC; and Northern California – as we work to reshape the public narrative about advanced energy.[/li]
[li]Public Utility Commission Engagement: PUCs are often obscure state bodies whose rulings have tremendous impacts on potential market opportunities for advanced energy companies. With a board of advisors made up of former PUC commissioners from both political parties and four distinct regions of the country, AEE and the AEE Institute, our charitable affiliate, will provide resources on how PUCs work and help the industry and our state partners impact these commissions and their decisions.[/li]
[li]Federal Tax and Budget Policy: With the fiscal cliff looming at the end of this year and an uncertain future for numerous advanced energy tax policies, AEE will directly engage on federal tax and budget issues during the upcoming lame-duck session and continuing into the new Congress by offering a cross-technology case for market-driven, innovation-oriented federal policy.[/li]
[/list]

I am excited about all this. I share this news with you as friends and colleagues – some of you long-time associates, others new. I hope you don’t mind hearing from me every few months about my efforts to take AEE, and the vital industry it represents, to new heights. I look forward to keeping you up to date on my progress, and AEE’s.

Please remember to vote,
GR [Graham Richard]

Read the news release from his appointment as AEE CEO.

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