News & Events

Guest Speaker Series: Mark Rabin on Future Clean Energy Challenges

February 1, 2021
UBC MEL MHLP - Guest Speaker 2021 - Mark

On January 28, Mark Rabin, the founder and CEO of Portable Electric joined MEL Clean Energy Engineering students to discuss trends and challenges currently existing in the Clean Energy industry, as well as his forecasts for the future of clean/portable energy. As an entrepreneur, Rabin also brought a unique perspective to share with the 2021 CEEN cohort on professional entrepreneurship and the unique experience of starting your own business.

Rabin is an energy specialist, entrepreneur, and collaborator working at the intersection of the new energy paradigm of distributed energy systems, big batteries/storage, new technology integration, micro-grids and sustainability. He has worked in energy for the past twenty years and has occupied a variety of roles from working in petroleum geology to implementing clean power systems in Africa.

In his discussion with Clean Energy Engineering students, Rabin focused on the topic of Entrepreneurship in Clean Energy.

Entering the industry of Clean Energy

Interested in beginning a career in Clean Energy? Rabin encourages students to research their topic of interest diligently.

“Deep dive” into all the material you can find, so that you are well-informed and educated on your energy specialization.

Moreover, he recommends that entrepreneurs should come to the market with a product to sell. For this product, he suggests focusing on whether it achieves its purpose rather than its perfection.

Strive for good quality products, not perfection.

When looking to earn your first client, Rabin mentions three key tips to keep in mind.

1. Expect rejection and don’t let it deter your efforts.

2. Contact as many people as you can, so that knowledge of your product spreads quickly.

3. Practice your presentation. Make sure you are able to convince potential clients of the worth of your product, while also demonstrating your confidence and expertise.

Leading a strong team

Once you’ve started your own company, how do you create a strong team of employees? For Rabin, it took a lot of “learning as you go.” He reminds students that they shouldn’t feel shy about initially contracting out their work.

When creating a team, the most important thing is to have a unifying vision.

Rabin urges students to seek team members that want to get onboard with their corporate vision. Having a strong understanding of your goals and overarching mission will create a strong foundation for a positive work environment and team relationship. The Clean Energy Engineering students left their discussion with Rabin with a stronger understanding of clean energy entrepreneurship, thanks to advice from the industry leader.

Are you passionate about leading change in clean energy through innovative ideas? Explore the Master of Engineering Leadership in Clean Energy Engineering—a program designed to create leaders in the Clean Energy industry.