Becky Wigg’s first job out of college was with the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, a nonprofit working to advance smart, more sustainable energy policies across a nine-state region. “I knew nothing about energy,” Becky recalls, “and nothing about policy.” During her time there, she interacted with some staff members from The Regulatory Assistance Project, people who seemed to know quite a lot about energy and policy. She remembers thinking, “Someday I’d like to work for that organization.”
Around the same time, she attended an annual conference of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), and overheard a conversation that would change the arc of her career. Vermont Law School’s Michael Dworkin was telling someone about the Energy Institute at VLS. Becky asked him about it, and he handed her a postcard announcing the new initiative. Five years later, thinking seriously about how she could have a bigger impact in the field of energy policy, she remembered the chance meeting, and applied to VLS. “I was looking for a master’s degree that would give me expertise and legal background in energy policy. Vermont Law School was the only place,” she says. “There was nowhere else like it.”
She was hired to work for the very organization she had one day dreamed of working for. The Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), based in Montpelier, Vermont, is staffed in large part by former energy and environmental regulators who know first-hand how difficult it is to get nonpolitical, nonpartisan advice on sound energy policy and best practices. The organization has developed a reputation for innovative and creative thinking that produces practical, long-term solutions on a broad range of energy and environmental issues. Being the communications manager for a team of global experts who have spent their careers immersed in technical and policy detail is a challenge. “They talk at the Ph.D. level,” says Becky. “I’m the one who takes their ideas and makes them understandable to state public service commissioners or young energy advocates out there lobbying their representatives.” Her communication reaches into all levels of government, and to the expanding energy sectors of India and China, as well Europe. “It helps having a foundation and the vocabulary,” she says. “I know what it means to de-couple rates or redesign capacity markets. And I know how to ask the right questions.”
A former Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco, Becky has her eye on the global implications of her work. She’s seen how much difference can be made in creating smart energy and environmental frameworks in economies that are developing so rapidly. She calls the international need a “huge, wide-open opportunity.” In the arc of a career, perhaps the next level.