In 2005, Jake co-founded and led product development and fundraising for Brighter Planet, a venture-backed Vermont start-up, to help consumers and companies manage their impacts on climate change. The company’s flagship products, industry-leading environmental rewards debit and credit card programs, help a growing community of over 100,000 cardholders contribute to the construction of renewable energy projects across the U.S. In 2009, Jake led the development of the first company-wide events system for the Coca-Cola Company in collaboration with the events marketing firm, ignition. The plans debuted at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa and the FWC Global Trophy Tour. Currently an environmental programs and marketing consultant, Jake spends most of his time developing technology and outreach programs with the environmental non-profit, 1% for the Planet. Jake graduated with a BS in Economics from Middlebury College where he was a Division-I team captain and an Academic All-American cross-country ski racer.
Currently, I’m serving as Co-Chair of a writing committee for the Convention Industry Council’s Green Meetings and Events Standard – an international standard being developed in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to align marketing, event, and hospitality professionals with environmental best-practices. In our own neck of the woods, I’m proud to have helped launch the BTV chapter of Green Drinks, a monthly networking event hosted by Benji and the rest of the great Skinny Pancake team on the Burlington waterfront.
Favorite part of job? I compulsively seek out the learning curve in work and in play. So if I can take a risk and dive into a challenging project alongside passionate collaborators – well, that’s probably the best coursework in which I could hope to enroll.
Most inspiring mentor? I’m motivated every day by the climate change organizers, activists, writers, and entrepreneurs taking charge when political leaders won’t. I’m most inspired by my former environmental economics professor and Brighter Planet co-founder, Jon Isham. Jon’s a big ideas guy with a bent towards practical, community-driven solutions to big problems. And he’s always game for a working breakfast at Steve’s Park Diner here in Middlebury.
Favorite downtime activity? I can’t get enough of fly fishing on Vermont’s streams like the New Haven and Middlebury Rivers in Addison County. It’s hard to feel rushed but easy to surprise yourself out there. The water, the hawks and evening hatches, the weather, the friends – you can practically forget about the fish.
Favorite Vermont Escape? In middle school, a friend and I walked the Long Trail from Canada to Massachusetts and fell in love with the stretching ridge of the Breadloaf Wilderness along the way – an area in which I came to spend a lot of time again during my college skiing years. If you’ve ever visited the Robert Frost cabin or skied at Rikert Ski Touring Center, you’ve doubtless fallen in love with the same outdoors – the largest protected wilderness area in the state.
Favorite Social Network? I chip in my fare share of tweets (I’m @jaketoo there), but most recently have taken to StumbleUpon for ‘social bookmarking’ and sharing web sites and artwork with friends and colleagues.