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GEM’s Gems September 2014 – Seth Portner

September 15, 2014

The GEM’s GEM who we are honoring has seen his career accelerate since completing the program and continues to find the class instruction relevant.

Seth Porter

Seth Porter

“Since graduating from the GEM program in 2012, I have used or made reference to the net present value formula no less than 4,000 times,” GEM alumnus Seth Portner said. “My wife can attest to this.”

Portner chose the Global Energy Management Program at CU Denver because of its focus on energy.

“All the friends I made at GEM have seen their careers accelerate since graduating,” he said. “The education provided by GEM has proven to be a great investment.”

Portner, 44, is a senior director at CLEAResult, a leader in energy efficiency implementation. He is responsible for all business operations in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah.

“Working in energy efficiency is all upside,” said Portner, who was a member of Cohort V. “Our projects save energy, save money, and offer a self-financing solution to environmental and financial challenges. There isn’t a person or business that would not benefit from energy efficiency.”

What were some of your favorite things to do during cohort weekends?
The weekends in Denver were very enjoyable. Over time you develop great relationships with other folks in your cohort and look forward to seeing them as they gather from around the country and the world for the weekend classes. I also enjoyed the free Coca-Cola.

What are some of the things that you never forgot to bring to cohort weekends?
I always tried to remember to bring my sense of humor, because working full time at an energy start up and being a full time student with a small child at home only works if you can laugh.

How has the GEM program benefited you? 

While I was a student at GEM, I was asked to join an energy efficiency start up as their COO and a partner.  My experience at GEM directly influenced how I ran the business, which was acquired this summer by CLEAResult. One of the professors even helped me think through the transaction of taking on ownership in the company.

Please share a story about GEM that will entertain other students.
The story that best embodies that time in my life and experiencing GEM is about the time I had a scheduled online meeting with members of my team for the quarter to work on a project. I was travelling and literally in transit between a series of business meetings and the airport. I had to pull over on the side of some random highway in Florida and use my phone to drive my laptop’s Internet and have the meeting. At that point in my life that was “normal.”

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