Rob Riley '15 Solar Energy

What will you do with your Geoscience education?

In June, I will be starting at Silicon Ranch (the U.S. solar platform for Shell) in the Project Development group. I will be focused on identifying new project opportunities, negotiating with landowners, working with surveyors, environmental consultants, and geotechnical surveyors, and obtaining permits from local, state, and federal government.

Did you study sustainability in your MBA? 

I took a Sustainable Business course that focused on improving the sustainability of supply chains, the circular economy, marketing efforts around sustainability, etc. I have also participated in a research fellowship, where two partners and I quantified the economic, social, and environmental impact of Silicon Ranch's agrivoltaics program.

What led you to study sustainable energy? 

Through my geology studies in undergrad, I was fascinated by the economic geology and climate change courses. I was struck by the need for a change in our energy sector. As I transition from the Army, the renewable energy industry seemed to be the perfect intersection between my geology background, people skills from the Army, and business school experience.

Did your geoscience background help with your military assignments?

I very rarely used the direct knowledge that I learned from the Geology department in the Army. However, I used the problem solving, deduction skills, and analytical skills that I developed in the Geology department every day.

What's your favorite hike in Rockbridge?

It's between Mount Pleasant for the views and Devil's Marble Yard - the geology of Devil's Marble Yard probably brings it to the top!