Published: Nov. 2, 2020 By

We'd like to introduce a new member of our faculty, Josh Radoff, who has taken over as MENV's Renewable and Sustainable Energy specialization lead for the remainder of this semester. Josh is highly experienced in the energy field and our RSE students are excited to learn all that they can from him in the next few months. In this faculty spotlight article, Josh tells us about his background, career, and what he's looking forward to during his time with MENV. 

Tell us a little bit about your background.

Josh Radoff PortraitI grew up outside of New Haven, Connecticut, and I have always identified as a New Englander. Growing up, soccer was my life. I captained my high school team and played at Colby College (including winning the ECAC championship in ‘93). After college, my career meandered a bit. I taught high school physics and earth science at a school in Richmond, Virginia for two years, then went to Columbia to get my Electrical Engineering degree. After that, I went to Stockholm to get a degree in Sustainable Energy Engineering. I then moved to DC and worked in energy and climate policy for a few years until I moved back to New York. There, I got into the early green building movement and co-founded an advocacy group called GreenHomeNYC (it’s still out there) to spread the word.

In 2005, I moved to Colorado and started YR&G--a consulting firm that specialized in sustainability consulting, education and analysis--in 2006 with one other partner. That was the first time that I really started loving my job. Working on development projects with architects on what their buildings, campuses or neighborhoods could be was extremely satisfying. We grew the company to 25 people, and I found running a business to be pretty fun too. I also got to do projects in some pretty amazing places, including Korea, Hawaii, China, and Dubai.

Eventually, I got tired of the small business thing. I found us an acquisition partner in WSP--a global sustainable engineering and design firm--in 2017, and here I am.


How did you end up at MENV?

I have always loved teaching. In the early days of the business, we had a contract to teach weekly LEED certification classes and then got another gig to teach weeklong seminars around the country. I then met some people at University of Colorado Denver and talked to them about taking over a class there, and I eventually taught two classes in the Civil Engineering department on Sustainable Development and Clean Energy. I did that until 2016 and then, after a break, started talking to people at CU Boulder and MENV. First, Ben Webster, then Rudy Kahsar, and I’ve known William Shutkin forever for some reason, and it started to click. Now I’m in my second year here. I also played on a soccer team with Max Boykoff, head of CU Boulder's ENVS department, for five years or so but I actually never put two and two together until a few weeks ago!


What are you looking forward to in your new role as the interim RSE lead?

Getting to know the students and helping them find their interests, and then fitting those interests into a career path. I'm also looking forward to being able to communicate my enthusiasm for all the cool things going on in the energy space that we only get to scratch the surface on in class. I wish it weren’t all remote, but I bet everyone else does too.


What most excites you about the energy space?

This changes all the time, but I think it’s the idea that you can envision a pathway to zero carbon and actually go and make it happen. All of the pieces are there and it’s for our generation to put those pieces together. I guess right now my favorite topic is thinking of buildings, homes, and districts as enablers to a 100% renewable future. And while I don’t get to work on this, I think the ability for the developing world to leapfrog centralized fossil energy infrastructure towards distributed renewable energy microgrids is pretty cool.


What is something people may not know about you?

I love to write. In college, I had a satire/movie review column as well as a radio show. I later took a journalism course in New York and spent some time thinking I’d do that instead of energy consulting. I wrote a cover article for Solar Today (called NYPV Blue) and a few others of note back in the early ’00s. I also had a friend in New York who was the editor at Daily Candy, and they let me write a few articles on everything from Lego shows to chocolate exhibitions. Also, around that same time I ran the New York City Marathon--the first half of which was fast! The second half...slower.