Since 1985, the United States has set aside the first week of May to celebrate Public Service Recognition Week. This recognition honors the hardworking individuals serving our nation as federal, state, county, and local government employees.
At the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), we are privileged to share the inspiring stories of our employees. They demonstrate the power of taking action toward advancing clean energy technologies and building a more sustainable future. They also serve as shining examples of how anyone can become a Clean Energy Champion.
From May 8 to 12, 2023, EERE will introduce you to some of our outstanding public servants to learn why they serve. Below is a brief interview with Corey Vezina, the acting hydropower program manager in the Water Power Technologies Office.
Corey Vezina (He/him/his)
Acting Hydropower Program Manager, Water Power Technologies Office
10 years of public service
What drew you to public service?
I was really interested in working with renewable energy but wanted to do more than conduct research. I felt that public service offered the opportunity to contribute to research while supporting implementation of science and technology.
What does being in public service mean to you?
It means working for more than just a paycheck. It means working for something bigger. I want to see our hydropower and renewable energy industries flourish in our country. To do that, we need to make significant changes to how we’ve been operating for the last 100 years, especially in the face of climate change. Public service allows me to play a role in fostering those changes.
What aspect of public service do you find most rewarding?
I really enjoy working with such a diverse group of minds. I am fortunate to work with researchers, scientists, owners, developers, other federal agencies, decision-makers, and others. I get to see our research grow from start to finish and support the myriad of people who help make our efforts a reality.
Can you describe the path that brought you to EERE/your career in clean energy?
In undergrad, I thought I wanted to be a park ranger, but I quickly realized I like working with people and nature. I had a small stint working for the outdoor retail industry and enjoyed helping others get outside, but I also wanted to protect the outdoors. I found a graduate program in D.C. studying energy policy and climate and knew I had found my place. In grad school, I spent a year working for an environmental NGO and then another year working for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission before becoming a contractor for DOE.
What advice do you have for Clean Energy Champions who want to pursue careers in public service?
Be open to possibilities. I had no idea in my early twenties that I would end up where I am today. I didn’t shy away from challenges or setbacks and kept moving forward. I would encourage others to persevere and keep their minds open to what might be just around the corner.
Clean En∙er∙gy Cham∙pi∙on
/klēn/ /ˈenərjē/ /ˈCHampēən/
1. A person or group that takes action to support or join the transition to a renewable energy economy, with the knowledge that reducing carbon emissions provides daily benefits to every American so they can live happy and healthy lives.