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GEM’s Gems October 2014 – Daniel Howlett

October 21, 2014

The GEM alumnus who we are featuring this month is Daniel Howlett. Howlett is a Wholesale Power Marketing Assistant Manager at Energy Keepers, Inc., an independent power producer in Montana.

Daniel Howlett

Daniel Howlett

Howlett, 33, was a member of Cohort III and says that completing the GEM Program opened up many doors.

“For me, the opportunity to pursue a career in the energy industry made complete sense,” he said. “At the time I was applying for the GEM program, I was still finishing my Bachelor’s at CU Denver in Business Administration. I was pleasantly surprised when the CU Business School announced the new GEM program, which was exactly what I was looking for.”

After completing the GEM program, he was accepted into a federal position as a detail at Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), one of the largest power marketing entities in the U.S.  “This unique experience was made possible by my strong background in energy and tenacity to finish my graduate studies,” Howlett added.

Howlett was then promoted into his current position at Energy Keepers and said that GEM played a crucial role in preparing him to give executive level presentations, focusing on the important details and having the confidence to make recommendations alongside company decision makers.

“Going through the GEM program also gave me a competitive advantage over many in the power industry because there is a paradigm shift occurring, where power is becoming increasingly reliant on the natural gas industry,” he said. “GEM gave me a strong foundation in all facets of energy, but specifically, the exposure to natural gas fundamentals now allows me to anticipate and understand how my business may be affected in the coming years.  In the Northwest, natural gas is the marginal fuel source and basically sets the price for power.”

Howlett and his wife Marta were recently married in February 2013. They had a small and intimate wedding on a beach in Maui and would like to have children sometime in the future.

Briefly describe your current role and responsibilities

I currently work for Energy Keepers, Inc. (EKI), an independent power producer in Montana.  EKI is a federally chartered Corporation, with the sole shareholder being the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes (CSKT).  EKI was formed to operate Kerr Dam and market the output from the project.  Kerr is a 194 MW hydroelectric project that was built in the 1930’s on the Flathead Indian Reservation.  Since 1985, CSKT has been co-licensee on the FERC License and has the unilateral right to buy the dam in September 2015.  CSKT will exercise that option and will be the first Tribe in the United States to own and operate a large hydro dam.  As an enrolled member of this Tribe, I take great pride in my work to acquire this project and ensure a steady revenue stream will flow back to our Tribal Government.

At EKI, I’m responsible for developing power marketing and hedging strategies to ensure power from our hydroelectric dam is sold into the wholesale marketplace, finding the right balance of long-term hedges and short-term transactions.  I am in process of helping develop models for in-house deal and hedge evaluation, which are risk tools designed to ensure we meet our revenue requirements.  I’m also responsible for contracts and getting our corporation ready to transact in the market.  There are several markets that EKI can send physical power to and part of my job is to understand the market fundamentals, assessing basis and arbitrage opportunities, deciding where it makes the most economic sense to transact.  I have also been tasked with building a revenue model, which allows EKI to project the expected revenues over the next five years.  Since April, I’ve managed a contractual relationship with TEA Solutions Inc. (TSI), an organization based in Bellevue, WA that will trade and schedule the power from Kerr in the real-time environment.

What do you enjoy most about working in the energy industry?
The energy industry, in my opinion, is the most dynamic and scrutinized industry out there.  We are in a very pivotal time, where public policy and technology changes will shape the industry for decades to come.  Those of us fortunate enough to be in power industry, have obligations to solve complex problems such as emission reductions, renewable integration, modernizing the grid and even storing electricity, all while continuing to provide reliable and affordable energy to the American people.  The decisions we make today will have great impacts on future generations, so I feel very lucky to be part of this process.

What were some of your favorite things to do during cohort weekends?
I was part of Cohort III, which graduated in June of 2011.  I was living in Denver at the time, so it was always great to bring other classmates to my favorite spots in Denver.  The city has such a good mix of restaurants, microbreweries, sports teams and sunny days so enjoying the weekend was never a problem.  It may be cliché, but it seemed like there was always something to do in the city after a long day of lectures.

What are some of the things that you never forget to bring to cohort weekends?
Bringing a rested mind and body is very important.  These are long days and you want to be fully engaged during the in-person sessions.

Please share a story about GEM that will entertain other students.
I wish I had something brilliant to say, but I’m no good at storytelling.   I will say though, GEM is a very special time and creating lifelong professional relationships with your fellow classmates is priceless.  You’ll be very surprised how fast it goes too.  Don’t forget to engage with everyone as much as possible.  Also, don’t be afraid to take people outside their comfort zones.  I learned so much more when people pushed me outside of mine.

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