MEET THE ESM CLASS OF ’21

Kamsi

Kamsi Azike was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. He moved to Canada for further education and spent the majority of his adult life in Ottawa. He attended the University of Ottawa and holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering with Entrepreneurship and Management Option. While at the university, he was part of a  group of students who developed a start-up company called Exo Tour Lift. Together, they designed a fully passive exoskeleton for the military personnel. The project consisted of developing an exoskeleton for the military to bear weight and to help increase endurance during missions across difficult terrains. After leaving university, Kamsi began at Bisep as a junior project engineer. In this position, he had the responsibility of product development and design setting requiring intuitive information gathering, making 3D models, and inventing mechanical systems using a “cradle to grave” engineering approach. Kamsi’s end goal is to focus on renewable energy sources targeting the less privileged on a grand scale. He hopes to implement the use of renewable energy in his homeland.

Born in the heart of Lagos, Nigeria, Africa’s oil capital, Obinna Azike was blessed to grow up in a country where he had the privilege to witness the incredible social and economic impact that energy production has had on Nigeria’s society. This is what helped craft his passion for the field of engineering, which he carried with him as he completed his secondary education in Hamilton, Canada. Upon completing his Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in business management at the University of Ottawa, Obinna deployed his talents into the real world. Along with his experience in quality assurance with a manufacturing company, he also enjoyed his time with an automotive design firm as it mingled with his hobby of modeling and sketching cars on 3d CAD-CAM software. In the current chapter of Obinna’s life, he has relocated to San Francisco, to join the Energy Systems Management Program at USF. He plans to use this opportunity as a basis to achieve his goal of creating an impact on Nigeria’s fossil fuel-driven market with an innovative approach to renewable energy. Obinna’s further interests
include programming, soccer, and watching lion documentaries.

After graduating from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) Islamabad, Rehana Aziz discovered her passion for the energy sector, amid the peak of energy shortfall crisis in Pakistan and the reality of the black fuels’ effects on climate. She worked at REON Energy Pakistan as Solar PV Product Manager and gained 6+ years of experience in Solar PV industry, including system design, cost estimations and product development for residential, industrial and commercial PV solutions. With her passion towards creating equal opportunity for men & women in renewables, she has launched “SHE in Energy” & “Solar for HER”. Rehana started the ESM at USF under a Fulbright scholarship, where she plans to work on renewable energy microgrid solutions. She believes, the ESM program is a perfect amalgamation of technical, financial and energy economics related coursework, to help her choose the best available technology and make smart RE investment and business decisions.

Brittany Blair is a new resident of San Francisco, born and raised in Reno, Nevada. She completed a combined Bachelor’s & Master’s program in Biotechnology at the University of Nevada and worked in a biochemistry laboratory focused on converting cacti into biofuel. While at the university, Brittany was her college representative on the Student Senate, helped teach an Intro to Biochemistry laboratory class, and was the treasurer of the University Archery Club and the Blue Key Volunteer Club. Initially, Brittany wanted to work in the renewable energy industry as a biofuels research scientist but decided to attend the Energy Systems Management Program at USF to gain more knowledge about the energy industry and how to help states like Nevada accelerate their own energy transition. In her free time, Brittany likes reading, writing, dancing, and practicing archery. Brittany also loves to travel and has been on trips to South America, Europe, Scandinavia, and Russia. During her undergraduate degree, Brittany lived in Viterbo, Italy for a summer studying the composition of wheat proteins and learning about Italian cuisine. Brittany’s passion is to see as much of the world as possible and help protect its natural beauty by developing
and promoting renewable, sustainable, and clean technologies.

Born and raised in the seventh most populous city in the world, Karachi (Pakistan), Maaz Ali Haider enjoys traveling, and has relocated thrice, in the last five years, ending with a move to San Francisco, for his masters. He completed his Bachelors in business administration in 2016 and in a short but enriching work experience of three years, he has been associated with the energy sector in Pakistan while working as a business development professional in varied domains of hydropower, solar, and wind, as well as experience in metallic mining.

Mohamed Hassan is a Charter Financial Analyst, with more than 10 years of experience within corporate and investment banking. Mohamed’s career first started at Société Générale Securities Services – Egypt, a subsidiary of Société Générale Bank – France, where he became the first contact point for back office services provided for international investment institutions (International Brokers/Dealers, Global Custodians, Private Equity funds) investing the Egyptian capital market. Upon earning his CFA designation, Mohamed moved to Project Finance line of business, at Qatar National Bank (QNB) – Egypt, where he participated in the negotiating, arranging, and financing of multiple project finance transactions, at different scales, in diverse sectors including: steel, energy, fertilizers, food & beverage; green energy projects; solar PV systems; and alternative fuel projects. These were erected under technical and financial support programs from multilateral organizations like the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank. Mohamed moved to San Francisco where he joined the ESM program at USF, seeking to gain a thorough understanding of the latest technologies, regulations, and economics of green energy, and energy transition mechanics, so that he can put all his experiences and knowledge together, and be a part of the change into a greener and healthier planet for everyone.

Hailing all the way from Pakistan with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) under his belt, Govinda Hira has worked for more than 5 years in a multinational energy conglomerate, “Engro Energy Limited”, with his latest stint coming in the capacity of Deputy Manager for Business Development (Renewables). He was primarily responsible for identifying and commercially-evaluating onshore wind and solar PV projects for potential equity injection, acquisition and/or partnerships. Govinda has been on the lookout for experiential learning opportunities to compliment his intellectual stimulation at school and work. He has served as the elected President of his university’s student council and led the biggest, sustainable and most-profitable community development project of AIESEC (world’s largest student-run organization) in Pakistan. He has volunteered for The Citizens Foundation (TCF) as a mentor to help the under-privileged children realize their potential and become a positive part of the community. Govinda is at the University of San Francisco on a fully-funded Fulbright scholarship by the U.S. Department of State and will utilize the platform provided through the prestigious program to develop in-depth competencies, enhance technical concepts and comprehend policy dynamics to better apply economic methods and reasoning to the ongoing energy transition.

Taiba Jafari has two undergraduate degree: Electrical and Electronics Engineering and Business Administration with a concentration on Operations Management. She has been working on power projects for four years at the World Bank with the Energy and Extractives team and with Tetra Tech at USIAD Engineering Support program. Her goal is to work toward a sustainable, reliable, affordable and clean energy system with access for everyone around the globe. Taiba was born and raised in Afghanistan and has moved to San Francisco to pursue her graduate studies at the Energy Systems Management program through a Fulbright program.

As Senior Energy Consultant at Ecology Action, Garvin Lee uses his understanding of market fundamentals and technical skills to offer analysis in energy efficiency upgrades for his clients.  He uses his technical expertise to implement no-hassle solutions to dramatically cut energy bills for his customers. Garvin earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies Magna Cum Laude from the University of San Francisco.

Josh Litwin was born in Connecticut and served in the Peace Corps before becoming a Program Manager with the U.S. Agency for International Development. He holds an MBA from the University of Connecticut and currently manages electrical and datacom projects for Morrow-Meadows Corporation. Josh is particularly interested in community choice aggregation and distributed generation. Link to the LinkedIn profile.

Ivy Muir currently works as a Program Manager for Google in San Francisco and comes from 4 years of professional experience in client services and project management. Joining USF’s Energy Systems Management program will be the start of her energy career. Ivy is passionate about building a net-zero carbon future, and sees the decarbonization of energy sources as a key pillar for the wellbeing of our planet, its people, and the economy. She completed her Bachelors in Economics at Haverford College, and is Canadian by origin. In her spare time, she particularly enjoys long hikes, volunteering, and reading in her hammock.

Otto Nichols grew up in Davis, California. As a young man living in a liberal college town in Northern California, he decided that after high school a more metropolitan and consequently diverse experience would provide for a holistic college life. So, Otto decided to trek off to DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, for undergraduate studies focused in Management (with a sports management concentration) and Economics. While studying abroad for a semester at Monash University near Melbourne, Australia, Otto embraced their ecologically-focused curriculum and realized his life aspirations of supporting and progressing sustainable development. He did some online research and discovered a beacon of light piercing through the Google mist – the USF Energy Systems Management program. He is also interning for a 10-week period, starting this fall of 2019, as Market Compliance Review Associate for the Center for Resource Solutions in their Green-e department.

Angela Ortiz is a Colombian lawyer; her practice focuses on natural resources with special emphasis on oil and gas, mining, environmental law and energy industry in Latin America. She transitioned to a new career in promoting renewable energy solutions for remote settlements and the reduction of conventional sources for energy generation. Her main interests are regulatory affairs, emergent energy markets, and entrepreneurship energy projects. Angela aims to develop and scale her knowledge to Colombian academy and consultancy for new companies in South America.

Sarasa Vaishnavi was born and raised in India. She is a strong technology professional with a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.) degree focused in Electrical and Electronics Engineering (EEE) from National Institute of Technology Warangal (NITW). She is an experienced technical and marketing senior executive with a demonstrated capability of working in the renewable energy and environmental industry, with a concentration in solar energy for the past four years. She started her journey to gain an understanding of what, why, when, how of Energy Management.

Fang Yu Hu, she completed a Bachelor’s & Master’s program in Earth Science at the National Cheng Kung University. She worked at Green Energy and Environment Research Laboratories through the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) for offshore wind development in Taiwan. She decided to attend the Energy Systems Management Program at USF to gain knowledge about energy transition, including energy technology, energy policy, renewable energy economics, and finance. She was seeking to be part of the energy transition.