By Elena Brennan, Media and Stakeholder Relations Manager
Expertise: The Piper Communications team constantly tracks the latest energy and technology trends. Our credibility among media outlets, business leaders, and government officials gives your company the connections you need to succeed.
I’ve held many different roles during my career in both the public and private sectors, but my interest in the energy and technology sectors has remained constant.
An early fascination
In high school, I interned for my local Michigan Congressman, who happened to be the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee – one of the largest and most powerful Committees in Congress. I worked on several of his re-election campaigns, and upon graduation from college, accepted a job with the E&C Committee in Washington, DC. During my three years as a staff assistant and legislative clerk, I tried my hand in several policy areas: healthcare, oversight and investigations, energy, environment, consumer protection, commerce, and tech/telecom. None of them fascinated me more than energy policy.
After about three years at E&C, I had the opportunity to work for a Tennessee Member of Congress who served as the Vice Chair of the E&C Committee. She made me her Legislative Assistant for energy and tech policy, further ingraining my focus areas. After, I had the opportunity to work for her in the U.S. Senate, representing her policy interests on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
More opportunities came along when I joined a global law firm as a registered lobbyist, representing large energy and telecom firms before the federal government for about a year before returning to the House to work on energy and tech issues for another Michigan Congressman on the E&C Committee.
When the time came to transition out of DC and make a move to East Tennessee, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine there would be a female-founded public relations firm focused specifically on energy and tech. I lucked out!
As I continue to acclimate myself to my role, my ability to understand and see our clients’ markets and industries from different angles has been extremely valuable when promoting or pitching their developments.
With years of experience studying energy and tech policy, drafting and editing legislation and working with DOE, the FCC and FTC, I can clearly communicate the value our clients are bringing to their customers, industries and communities to the media or other stakeholders.
Aside from being somewhat addicted to reading news and headlines in the major energy and tech trade publications, the most valuable way I stay up to date is through the networks I built in Washington and Tennessee.
Relationships matter and information is a commodity – that’s as true in the political world as it is in the business world, and I learned that one of the most valuable ways to be successful is by connecting and engaging with people who know more than you do. I make it a point to stay in touch with my contacts in the energy and tech worlds no matter where I go or what job title I currently hold.
I also learn through hands-on experiences with others. There is nothing more educational than visiting a facility like Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in person and hearing from employees and experts what technologies power providers like the Tennessee Valley Authority are using to increase energy efficiency or reduce cyber threats to the grid. I’ve had the opportunity to visit dozens of energy and technology facilities throughout the U.S. – from coal mines and wind farms in Wyoming to oil and gas fields in Texas to the 5G towers in Montana to the research labs at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
My hands-on experience has allowed me to participate in energy and technology policies that are still relevant in the Senate today. I helped draft and introduce bipartisan legislation, H.R. 3538, Coordinated Action to Capture Harmful (CATCH) Emissions Act, which would boost carbon capture tax credits for industrial facilities and power plants, resulting in less greenhouse gasses and spurring additional innovation in clean energy technologies. The legislation has not yet passed, but significant portions have been enacted as part of the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure package.
Additionally, I helped draft and introduce bipartisan legislation, H.R. 3119, Energy Emergency Leadership Act, to help protect critical energy infrastructure from cyberattacks following the Colonial pipeline attack and shutdown.
My experience in the private and public sectors allows me to provide valuable insight to our clients. Both my depth of experience and personal interest in the clean energy and technology industry serve to provide credibility among media outlets, business leaders and government officials to give clients the connections they need to succeed.
Learn more about Elena Brennan, the Media and Stakeholder Relations Manager at Piper Communications, here.