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Meet Don Jenkins: Convergent’s Chief Operating Officer

Convergent Energy and Power, Convergent, Energy Storage, Battery Storage, Solar plus Storage, Clean Energy, Climate Change, Don Jenkins, energy industry, inflation reduction act, chief operating officer

Convergent is thrilled to welcome Don Jenkins to the team! Don brings over a decade of experience in the energy sector and a data-driven approach to his role as Chief Operating Officer.

Don embarked on his career in the beginning stages of the sustainable energy industry, driven by his dedication to fostering a more sustainable future and his passion for the transition to clean energy. When Don isn't driving progress within the renewable energy sector or fine-tuning daily operations, he’s hiking and traveling with his family. Don has taken a hands-on approach to operating Convergent's portfolio of energy storage and solar-plus-storage (energy storage paired with solar PV) systems, which enables him to help maximize the value of these systems while contributing to the future of energy.

We caught up with Don during his first month at Convergent to dive into his career journey, current role, insights on the clean energy industry, and more.

[The following Q&A has been edited for clarity and brevity]

Could you elaborate on the career journey that led you to Convergent?

Convergent Energy and Power, Convergent, Energy Storage, Battery Storage, Solar plus Storage, Clean Energy, Climate Change, Don Jenkins, energy industry, inflation reduction act, chief operating officerTwo critical factors have shaped my journey to Convergent: operational leadership and data-driven expertise within the clean energy sector and beyond.

My foundation of comprehending complex systems and operational leadership was forged during my tenure in the US Navy as a submarine warfare officer and certified naval nuclear engineer. Serving on two US submarines and a British submarine, where I qualified for command, laid the groundwork for honing my operational leadership skills. These skills are essential to navigating technological complexities and leading teams to success and continue to serve me well.

While in the Navy, I earned my Master’s in Operations Research, with a heavy focus on data mining and optimization. This background helped propel me into more data-driven roles at Enel-X (formerly EnerNOC), where I held senior management positions that enabled me to apply data-driven techniques to optimize operational efficiency and improve product performance. Inspired by my work, I was motivated to learn more about the climate crisis and earned my Ph.D. in Data Science from the University of Massachusetts Boston.

My dissertation, “The Application of Business Analytics Approaches for Climate-Change-Related Challenges,” included a cost-benefit analysis of sustainable energy purchases at a multinational company—a theme closely aligned with Convergent's focus. In essence, my career and educational path reflect Convergent's mission, making my journey a natural fit for contributing to our shared objectives.

What is your current scope of work at Convergent?

In my current role, I concentrate on the day-to-day management of our portfolio of energy storage and solar-plus-storage systems with a focus on data-driven and customer-centric approaches. My role includes overseeing the management of our portfolio of assets, including maximizing asset performance, optimizing portfolio financial performance, supervising maintenance of our commissioned assets, and ensuring superior environmental, health, and safety activities across our growing portfolio.

How do you approach this new role?

In approaching my new role, I prioritize two main responsibilities. Firstly, I actively seek to understand the situation by asking questions. Secondly, I work to remove any obstacles hindering my team's progress. When making decisions, it's crucial to ensure that my team is well-informed, aligned organizationally, and equipped to fulfill their responsibilities. Failure to achieve these goals means I've fallen short of supporting my team's success. Additionally, I strongly emphasize building a cohesive team, establishing clear roles, fostering collaboration across the entire business, and contributing to the business's financial success while positively impacting climate change. If you can make a profit incentive for people to do the right thing, they will do the right thing. 

We’ll get back to your role and the energy sector momentarily, but first, we’d love to know how you like spending your time outside of the office?

I love to travel and hikeConvergent Energy and Power, Convergent, Energy Storage, Battery Storage, Solar plus Storage, Clean Energy, Climate Change, Don Jenkins, energy industry, inflation reduction act, chief operating officer with my wife and daughter when possible. On a different note, I'm a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and I'm proud to say that I've successfully converted my wife and daughter into Steelers fans as well. Safe to say, come football season, do not get in my way when it's game time!

Some fun facts about Don:

  • Don hiked and finished the West Highland Way in Scotland in 2014, Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2019, and is halfway through the New Hampshire 4000 footers. 
  • Despite living near Gilette Stadium in Massachusetts, Don will always be a Steelers fan.
  • Don also holds a Bachelor of Science and Arts in electrical engineering from the University of San Diego.
  • Don’s wife is a fellow US Marine whom he married 35 years ago, and they are still going strong! 

How do you think about the growth of the energy storage and clean energy industries?

I view the growth of the energy storage and clean energy industries with optimism, particularly given the significant boost from initiatives like the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The substantial funding available for these sectors is truly remarkable. In the US, we experience cycles of such opportunities, and it's crucial to seize and ride this wave, ensuring our industry does not need to rely on government grants. We have various avenues to achieve this, and we'll leverage our data-driven insights to optimize these resources.

In your opinion, why is the clean energy transition of utmost importance?

Because climate change is undeniably real, academic literature supports this despite many attempts to challenge its veracity. While there may be uncertainties about the extent of climate change, it is a genuine threat that demands proactive measures. It is imperative that we address this reality and take decisive action, recognizing energy storage solutions as an effective means to collaborate for a more sustainable future.


Is Energy Storage Right for You?

Please contact us if you would like to learn more about how energy storage, with or without solar PV, can benefit your business or community.