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 Sara Emmons, an operations manager with the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation. 

Branding for Public Service Recognition Week featuring Sara Emmons.

Sara Emmons (she/her/hers) 

Operations Manager, Joint Office of Energy and Transportation
Fort Collins, CO
13 years of public service 

What does being in public service mean to you?   
For me, it means that the motivation and drivers behind the work we do are different. Instead of focusing on profit, we’re focusing on innovation and addressing some of the large, global issues that our nation faces—issues that are bigger than any one profit-centered corporation would be able to address.  I believe we are here to play an important role in setting the stage and filling in gaps where the private sector would otherwise not be able to.   

What aspect of public service do you find most rewarding?   
I really appreciate being able to tell my friends that I’m working to help build a convenient, accessible, reliable, and equitable charging network across not just my home state but the entire United States.      

Can you describe the path that brought you to EERE/your career in clean energy?    
Thirteen years ago, I was working in a totally unrelated industry and decided it wasn’t the right fit for me. I sought out a career counselor and worked with him over several months to decide where I wanted to take my career. Through that work, I embraced my long-standing passion for the environment and decided to look into project management opportunities in the clean energy arena. I had a lucky connection and was able to pivot into a totally new industry—and began supporting the Geothermal Technologies Office as a contractor.  

What advice do you have for Clean Energy Champions who want to pursue careers in public service?  
In addition to my work at the Joint Office, I also sit on the board of a nonprofit called She’s in Power.  This group is working to grow and inspire the women who will be tomorrow’s clean energy leaders through hands-on, project-based mentorship. Every day, both at work and in my volunteer role, I see the importance of mentorship and relationship building. The advice I would give someone who wants to pursue a career in public service is the same advice I’d give anyone who is passionate about the direction they want to take their career: Get involved, expand your reach, and make new connections. Speaking personally, my past volunteer work provided additional leadership opportunities that I believe set me up well to pursue my current position.


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Clean Energy Jobs

EERE is hiring! Check out these career opportunities, and read more about jobs for Clean Energy Champions.

A large seal showing the logos of the various EERE offices, with "Are You A Clean Energy Champion?" written across the middle of it on a ribbon

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.

Become a clean energy champion >>