Extreme environmental events such as flooding, drought, extreme temperatures or hurricanes pose well documented financial risks to many individuals and organizations. Historically, many of these risks have been managed via infrastructure such as dams, reservoirs and levees/seawalls that have become more expensive and/or difficult to construct, often due to concerns over environmental impacts. Financial instruments; such as insurance, catastrophe bonds, and weather derivatives; have also contributed to managing these risks. These instruments are designed to compensate for financial losses associated with extreme events, with payouts linked to either the size of the losses themselves or to an index such as flood/water level, rainfall, temperature or wind speed that is highly correlated with losses.
My research focus is on characterizing financial risk associated with water scarcity (or abundance) and evaluating existing and new strategies for managing that risk. For my masters I studied the connection between water supply and revenues for a hydropower facility operating in a deregulated energy market. I am now studying the impact of water levels on the barge industry and corn markets on the Mississippi River.
I have a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Virginia (Go Hoos!) and an M.S. in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduating from UVa, I spent 15 months as an environmental engineer, designing and managing small scale energy and water projects in low resource settings. Most of my time in that role was spent on projects located in Kenya and Guatemala. I worked on projects involving household solar lighting, farm-scale biogas generation, and mobile vaccine refrigeration. My first year of graduate school I was a Research Assistant in the Water Institute at UNC working on a decision support tool for identifying technological and programmatic solutions for water and sanitation problems in low resource settings. I have worked in Guatemala, Kenya, and Honduras.
For fun I race (running) with the Bull City Track Club and used to race road bikes. I also mountain bike, rock climb, do a little wood working, and spend as much time as I can bow hunting and fishing. I also watch every Virginia basketball game (usually at twice). On the side I am also developing tools for evaluating NBA trade behavior. Its sort of like “advanced statistics” of NBA front offices rather than players/teams.