It’s relatively easy to summarize the problem Daniel Tomlinson spends his working hours addressing.
Solving it is another matter.
“There are over a billion people around the world who have zero access to clean, modern energy, and another billion with unreliable electricity service,” said Tomlinson, a 2017 graduate of the Executive Master’s in Program & Portfolio Management. It means they are living day-to-day by burning unhealthy kerosene or cow dung, or running a diesel generator.
They’re commonly referred to as “off-the-grid” users, though Tomlinson, an industry specialist for the World Bank-affiliated International Finance Corporation (IFC), sometimes uses the term “beyond the grid,” suggesting that their predicament could be addressed if the regular power grid or a localized alternative could be equipped to reach and service them.
In one two-month span recently, Tomlinson traveled to five nations in Asia and Africa, where IFC works with energy entrepreneurs whose rural supply chains, while complex and idiosyncratic, offer the best hope for change.
“One company’s model isn’t really comparable to another,” Tomlinson wrote recently in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. “For all practical purposes, the market changes every 200 kilometers.”
Originally from the Detroit area, Tomlinson studied psychology as an undergraduate at the University of Colorado, where he also learned yoga and the Vedic philosophy of India, practices that continue to inform his life today. He chose Georgetown’s program because its hybrid format allowed him to arrange his coursework around a career that is constantly in motion.
“The executive focus of the program and the online format allowed me to maintain a high-intensity career and a lot of travel,” he said. “It was an ideal program for my career.”