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The Minnesota Project Welcomes Jake Fischer to the Leadership Team!

June 17, 2010

Jake Fischer is the new Clean Energy Manager at the Minnesota Project. He is a member of the leadership team responsible for overseeing both the Clean Energy and Agriculture programs. Fischer received a J.D. from the University of Minnesota and recently worked as a law clerk in the Minnesota Judicial Branch’s 4th Judicial District. He has spent time researching sustainability and energy issues, and is looking forward to advancing and expanding these Minnesota Project programs in his new role. Let’s get to know him.

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Where did you grow up? How has your background informed your career pursuits?

I grew up on a medium sized family farm in Southeast South Dakota. As the third generation to be raised on that farm, I feel like I have a very strong connection to my home. I feel very personally connected to the people, places, and way of life in my hometown rural community. My interest in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture is directly tied to my desire to remain involved, in one form or another, with the ongoing issues these types of communities encounter.

Where did you go to school, and what did you pursue?

I attended the University of Minnesota for both my undergraduate and law degrees. I always knew I wanted to pursue some sort of post-graduate education. I took a year off between each degree program. The majority of my year off was spent working on our farm and brainstorming ways I could remain involved with a rural community, while still exploring my interest in law and policy.

Once in law school I discovered I very much enjoyed the skills and habits needed for the practice of law. I liked learning how to be precise and efficient with my language. I enjoy the feeling of knowing I have thoroughly researched a particular topic and am competent to extend an opinion on the matter. I feel these skills and abilities transfer well to my new position, but I can certainly see myself returning to law someday.

What role do you see yourself playing at the Minnesota Project? What programs most excite you, and why? What makes this organization unique in its goals?

For 30 years, TMP has been an innovation leader in enabling sustainability in Minnesota. I will work to advance our already established energy and ag programs. I want to keep us at the forefront by continuing to add solid program development.

Additionally, I really hope to be able to get out and establish good relationships with the rest of the non-profit community. There are a lot of high quality non-profits doing a lot of high quality work in the area of clean energy and sustainability. I think the more we are able to work together, the better served our specific area of interest will be.

I already mentioned the Minnesota Project’s long tradition of effective advocacy and project development, but I am particularly interested in their continued focus on Ag, Energy, and Food, as applied to rural communities. I feel the Minnesota Project takes a very realistic, practical approach to addressing the current issues in rural communities. That realistic, practical approach is a reflection of the rural communities themselves.

What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?

In the words of the Carpenters 1970 classic, “We’ve Only Just Begun!”

What has been your greatest challenge?

Deciding not to stay home on our farm was a difficult decision. I also think these are some truly unique times we’re living in, and the whole process is pretty tricky, whether you work in a nonprofit, government, or private industry. I’m excited to keep moving through it all.

What do you like to do in your free time? Hobbies? Favorite food?

I enjoy watching sports of all kinds, football, basketball, baseball, and even a little soccer. I’m always open to hearing about some good new music, but also appreciate those Golden Oldies. My favorite food has remained consistent for about 20 years: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

Anything else you’d like to share with the sustainable energy community to help us get to know you and your goals?

I’m excited to dive into the area and get to work! Please feel free to get in touch and let me know what’s going on!

If you want to talk about energy and agriculture issues (or anything else related to sustainability you have on your mind) shoot Jake an email at jfischer@mnproject.org.

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