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Hawaii Business Magazine’s 20 for the Next 20: People to Watch 2012

20 emerging leaders in local businesses, nonprofits, government, education and law

(page 12 of 21)

Photo: David Croxford

Dawn Lippert age 27

Project manager, Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture

Dawn Lippert begins her mornings by driving her Jetta TDI, which runs on 100 percent biodiesel, to the Manoa Innovation Center to spend the day doing what she loves: promoting renewable-energy technology.

As project manager at Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture, Lippert brings together innovative local companies. “The idea is that if they can demonstrate themselves here in Hawaii, they can market themselves around the world,” she says. Lippert and HREDV are working on 10 projects that help local companies demonstrate technology and train them to be more competitive in the global market.

Two of those companies are Big Island Biodiesel, which is seeking to transform agricultural feedstocks into high-quality biodiesel, and Referentia Systems Inc., which uses real-time data about energy use on Maui and Oahu to integrate solar, wind, smart-grid and other clean-energy technologies. “Science and technology jobs that come into the clean-energy sector can be an incredible driving force for the economy,” Lippert says.

The Yale University graduate helped found the group Women in Renewable Energy and organizes seminars about what’s new and useful in the field. Shanah Trevenna is a member of WiRE who works closely with Lippert. “She’s really a rare combination of vision and execution. She sees the big picture while also connecting to the grassroots,” Trevenna says.

Lippert has international experience, having worked in India with The Energy and Resources Institute on rural energy. “There, it’s really about access to energy and about reliable supply lines and electricity. A lot of things we don’t deal with in the U.S.,” Lippert says. “I think Hawaii is an incredible place to work on new things, but if we limit our vision only to Hawaii, then we’re really limiting ourselves in what we can do.”

— JM

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