In the next installment of our Edison Plugged In Series, which shines a spotlight on the people, projects, and perspectives of the Edison Energy team, we are featuring Nick Masiello. Nick joined Edison Energy as a Sales Analyst in Feburary 2021 after several internships with environmental organizations piqued his interest in sustainable business. Find out more about Nick’s background and journey to Edison Energy below!
One could argue that Nick Masiello’s passion for the environment started at an early age. The New Jersey native grew up in the northwest corner of the state, an area known for its scenic mountains and lush forests situated just across the border from rural Pennsylvania.
“I was in the Boy Scouts–I’m an Eagle Scout–so my weekends consisted of camping, hiking, doing outdoor things every other weekend all through high school,” said Masiello, who joined Edison Energy as a sales analyst in February. “I knew when I graduated that I wanted to move close to the mountains and go up north.”
Masiello went on to attend the University of Vermont, starting out as a finance major. But he soon realized that finance was not necessarily his first career choice after interning at the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG), where he canvassed neighborhoods to drum up support for a carbon tax bill.
“That was my first exposure not only into policy, but also into the activism aspect of it,” he said. “That was the first time I stepped out of my comfort zone. It took me a while to get comfortable, going up to random doors and speaking to strangers, but it was a very growing experience for me. It piqued my interest in sustainability and the business aspect of it.”
Masiello signed up for a slew of sustainable business classes, learning the ins and outs of researching and drafting business sustainability reports, as well as grading businesses on their sustainability disclosures.
His career interests started to come into view, and while keeping his major as finance, Masiello was able to choose a sustainable business course of study that allowed him to take business classes taught through a sustainability lens.
“I started understanding the underpinnings of sustainability in the business case, so all that combined made me want to be in the industry,” he said. “It connects what I’m passionate about and I could see myself going into a career in that.”
He later applied for an internship at Manomet, an environmental nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health of flyways, coastal ecosystems, and working lands and seas. Most notably is Manomet’s involvement with education and outreach and creating the next generation of students committed to conserving the environment.
Masiello participated in the organization’s U360 Business Sustainability Internship, an experiential educational and professional development program for college students to learn soft skills, environmental science, and sustainability concepts and then apply them in the real world through direct engagement with small businesses.
There, Masiello got the opportunity to conduct interviews, research, and offer sustainability recommendations to small business owners.
“That was huge in combining business and my passion for the environment, so it all
kind of came to fruition there,” Masiello said “That internship was really the catalyst moment and very pivotal for me personally and professionally.”
After moving back to the New England area in the fall of 2020, Masiello began networking and attending virtual events, eventually landing a job as a part-time program manager at SolarFi, a cleantech startup that is also a member of Greentown Labs, one of the largest cleantech incubator startups in the country. He later went on to interview with Edison.
“I really loved the holistic approach,” he said. “Edison doesn’t really have anything to sell. They’re really going in and meeting clients where they are and kind of helping them understand from an advisory aspect. I really like that kind of approach. Learning how wide-net our service lines are here really kind of piqued my interest.”
The shift from working with small business during his internship at Manomet to engaging with major corporations at Edison has been a real eye-opener, says Masiello, particularly from a sustainability perspective.
“It really is such a different scope,” he said. “If you took the whole business sector and the emissions they produce from small to large, a sizable chunk comes from small businesses but they’re not in the limelight. There are so many of them and it’s hard to tackle them like you do with these Fortune 500 companies. They’ve got stakeholders and investors that they report to, they’re in the limelight. Sometimes when I was speaking with small businesses, I would ask them a question about ESG and they would say, ‘Wow, I didn’t even think of that’ because they don’t really have to think of it. A lot of them just want to keep their lights on, to keep their employees on the payroll.”
But there are some similarities, says Masiello, including the holistic approach that he used while working with small businesses.
“It’s kind of the same when working with bigger companies because at the end of the day, everything is interconnected, so you really have to understand the decisions and how it impacts other parts of the business,” he said. “With small businesses, there’s not as much information readily available to you, so a lot of what you’re going off is your discussions with these small business owners. With Fortune 500 companies, you have their sustainability reports and so much information at your fingertips. It definitely set me up in terms of thinking holistically about a business, but certainly very different kinds of scopes.”
Masiello says that while 2020 was a tumultuous year for many, it also forced a critical shift in perspective.
“In terms of businesses, I feel like you can almost look on it as the year of sustainability commitments,” he said. “Everybody was coming out with them, especially with the Biden administration shifting the direction in terms of climate mitigation. I certainly find it extremely rewarding that I’m at a company where I can have an impact in some way and help companies reach their sustainability goals. The larger part is hopefully helping to mitigate some of the worst climate scenarios that are to come.”