Employee Spotlight: Katie Gardner

Katie Gardner

This week, we sat down with our Head of Product, Katie Gardner, to get to know a bit more about her. Despite taking what Katie describes as a “circuitous” route to get to where she is now, accelerating renewable energy deployment with technology at Banyan, she has never been far from energy. Read on to see more of what Katie had to say about her journey to the forefront of climate capital.

Origins in energy

Tell us a little about your background and what led you to Banyan Infrastructure?

I grew up in Kentucky, where coal has always been a core element of the community and economy. My family was in coal, and so I grew up in proximity to the energy industry in a pretty unique way. After college, I worked as an underground gold mine engineer, so in a way I carried on in the mining tradition of my family. I was never far from energy, though, and decided to dive back into a different aspect of the environmental space after realizing I wanted to shift to a more impact-focused career. I went for a law degree and an MBA, and found Banyan through a school email list, at a time when cleantech and renewable energy was really starting to hit its upswing. I started at Banyan in 2019 as an intern, and worked on the product team part time, doing a little bit of everything until Banyan had the capacity to bring me on full time in January 2021.

Why did you choose to work at Banyan?

After earning my law degree and MBA, I knew I wanted to work at the intersection of law, finance, and energy. I decided against practicing law (even though I was admitted to the bar in the State of California), and Banyan’s mission struck me as the perfect confluence of everything I was interested in. At Banyan, I would be empowered not only to work with big players in the renewable energy space, I could also work to expand smaller projects that are really impactful and help innovative technologies get up and running. I also just love the people here - I might not have stuck with it through the hard times without them. Despite the sometimes long hours and occasionally stressful work, I couldn’t imagine working with another team. In short, I came to Banyan Infrastructure for the mission and stayed for the people.

What do you hope to accomplish at Banyan?

One big thing is exactly what drew me to Banyan: the opportunity to elevate smaller operations within the renewable energy space. It’s exciting to collaborate with big players and deploy big projects, but it’s equally as rewarding to work with smaller C&I and residential operations to empower our communities that have been left out of the decarbonization conversation for too long. Obviously, the GGRF is a huge opportunity for our space, and so I’m looking forward to tackling that. However, I want to do things in a way that includes everyone.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Like so many people in the renewable energy space, I love all things outdoors. I do a lot of hiking and mountain climbing, and I play in a weekly volleyball league. I also practice krav maga, in which I’ve discovered a great community (and a great stress reliever, ha). I’m also a big sci-fi head.

Also - I’m getting married this year! The ceremony is at a bourbon distillery, back home in Kentucky.