EERE branding for Black History Month featuring Andre Adams.

Andre Adams, Budget Office Director

Andre Adams’ approach to inclusive leadership can be captured in his mantra, “space and grace.”

“We’re no longer in the traditional world of working 9 to 5 for everyone, with two breaks for 15 minutes a day,” says Adams, who joined EERE as the Budget Office director in August 2021.

“Burnout is real, and in a remote work environment, sometimes we have to work in less-than-ideal circumstances,” he says. “Some people are dealing with pandemic-related child-care challenges and still trying to concentrate on work. Balancing the stresses and pressures of being a parent, mixed with the demands of work, can sometimes feel impossible. Others may be trying to fit telehealth medical appointments into their schedule because they or a family member may have caught a cold or flu or even COVID. So, I just want to make sure I give folks space and grace to figure out where they are right now. That’s part of building a diverse team, and the more diverse we are, the more genius that can come out of our organization.”

Adams’ budget team comprises people from various cultures and backgrounds with different skill sets and points of view. “Some are career energy specialists; others come from other walks of life,” he says. Adams wants to “create the perfect storm…for all that brainpower to work together.”

With a financial management career that has seen tours of government duty across a range of federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Defense Information Systems Agency, and the General Services Administration, Adams has never lost sight of the human component of his work. “It’s very important to me to ensure that everyone is seen, heard, and understands they have a safe space within the Budget Office to communicate from their perspective,” he says.

Adams attributes his collaborative leadership style to his time as a management consultant with Deloitte, where he learned that one’s strategic course of action is only as effective as one’s ability to communicate it across an organization.

He says he was attracted to EERE by the mission and innovative research and development programs to “essentially help save the world.” One of his biggest workplace priorities is to shift the perception of the Budget Office from “a transactional processing center” to a strategic partner and ally that helps enable EERE’s critical work—particularly as the Department of Energy prepares for an unprecedented $62 billion in funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Adams’ team will play an increasingly important role at the forefront of the Department’s clean energy agenda through the EERE budget.

Adams knows a work/life balance is important for personal and professional success. He finds that working out, traveling, and brain teasers all help him improve his leadership skills, decompress, and spark creativity. In a note to his team, Adams wrote:

Traveling reminds me that it is all about the journey and not the destination. Traveling enhances my cultural awareness and helps me improve verbal and nonverbal communication skills. I am reminded that cultures may be different but people are the same. Playing simple brain teaser games, like Sudoku or a Water Sort Puzzle, helps me think through tactical strategy and continuously weigh the risks of my next steps. 

As leaders, we deal with fires and competing priorities daily—always in survival mode. In survival mode, we only engage in essential activities. Intentionally engaging in hobbies help me set boundaries and move from surviving to thriving.”

EERE is proud to call Adams a Clean Energy Champion.