Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

Lindsay Baxter
Lindsay Baxter

We’ve all had that moment where we fantasize about quitting a job. Telling the boss where he or she can go, storming out, slamming a door. But what about when the break-up is more amicable? You both know it’s for the best, but it’s hard to imagine not seeing each other every day, not sharing those little inside jokes, not being a team anymore.

I joined PEC’s staff 6 years, 11 months, and three weeks ago. A lot of life has happened in those seven years; I got engaged, bought a house, adopted a dog, got married, and had a baby. But the one constant was my relationship with PEC. And now it’s time to move on.

It’s worth mentioning that this wasn’t my first stint of employment with PEC. In 2003, I interned at the French Creek Project in Meadville (which would become PEC’s northwest office). My supervisor, Brian Hill, would go on to become PEC’s President. And I would stick around as a work-study employee until I graduated two years later. I still remember the loud, intimidating guy with the mustache who would come up from the Pittsburgh office. And while Davitt no longer intimidates me, he still has a great mustache.

My employment with PEC hasn’t always been glamorous. For example, I’ve un-clogged a toilet at the Connellsville Sustainability Fair, packed up and moved our Pittsburgh office, closed down our old Harrisburg office, hauled a lot of recycling in my personal vehicle, and pulled many kayaks out of the river on six paddling trips with the Mon River Town Program.

But in exchange, my time at PEC has afforded me some amazing opportunities. I’ve completed a certificate program in renewable energy; studied energy policy in Germany through a fellowship; served on the board of the Institute for Professional Environmental Practice; and, mostly recently, was appointed to the state’s Climate Change Advisory Committee. Plus, there’s the invaluable experience of logging thousands of miles on the PA Turnpike, not to mention the hotel loyalty points I’ve earned.

I truly believe that someday when I look back, the work that we’ve launched around the topic of deep decarbonization will be amongst the most important of my career. It is easy to focus only on feel-good, win-win solutions like renewable energy and energy efficiency. It is far harder to review the research, consult with national and international experts, and develop fact-based, rational opinions and goals, that might include solutions that are controversial, like nuclear power or CCS. It’s even harder to put those opinions out into the public eye for feedback and, often, criticism. It’s been an honor to take on this difficult work for such a thoughtful, pragmatic, and respected organization.

So, just like that, seven years have flown by and I find myself writing my final blog post. All that’s left to say is thank you and so long.

Lindsay Baxter has been employed by PEC since February 2011 in various roles, most recently as Program Manager, Energy and Climate. She will be joining the Regulatory and Government Affairs team at Duquesne Light Company, in Pittsburgh.