Edward Rios considers Lake City, FL his hometown, though he was born in Phoenix, AZ and spent much of his childhood in Lawton, OK. He attended the University of Florida where he completed his undergraduate and graduate studies in Chemical and Industrial and Systems Engineering, respectively.
Mr. Rios has seventeen years of professional experience and has held engineering positions in production engineering, manufacturing development, and energy auditing. Mr. Rios arrived in Washington, DC in March 2004 where he began working for Sayres and Associates Corp. as an Energy Analyst. He supported the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Mr. Rios joined Technology and Management Services Inc. in December 2004 as an Associate where he supported DOE’s Office of Information and Business Management Systems (OIBMS) and the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs. He later was assigned to DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, WV where he was a member of the Federal Project Management Center.
Mr. Rios is currently a member of the federal staff at DOE’s Loan Programs Office (LPO). There, he conducts the financial screening for fossil energy, biofuels, and renewable energy projects. He also coordinates the technical reviews with LPO’s technical staff to ensure that potential projects meet LPO requirements for technical eligibility and emissions reduction.
Believe it or not, as a youngster I DID NOT LIKE math or science. During my senior year of high school, I didn’t even take science classes since I had already met the minimum science requirements by my junior year. If, at the time, you would’ve told me that I would finish my university education with a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science degree in chemical and industrial engineering, I would’ve laughed in your face.
When I began college I decided to major in History and possibly go on to law school or teaching. But much to my surprise, when I actually started applying myself in my classes, my math and physical science courses were my best subjects! I discovered that solving problems as opposed to memorizing concepts was much more interesting to me. I soon learned that this is what engineering is all about (needless to say, biology was not my strongest class). Combine that with support from friends and family and, low and behold, I was accepted into the College of Engineering at the University of Florida, rubbing elbows with some very brilliant people.
Fast forward to my career now, where I work for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office. I am an investment analyst that reviews applications for innovative clean energy projects. Our applicants are seeking debt financing for their projects and, because these projects are innovative, they involve technologies that have not been deployed on a commercial scale. The Loan Programs Office requires that the applicants submit an extensive technical report to support their claims of the technology’s feasibility. The report can be intimidating for some of my colleagues who have pure financial backgrounds. But for me, these reports are super interesting and I enjoy learning the technologies described in them. My job is the perfect intersection of finance and technology and I have my engineering background to thank for getting me there.
To future science, technology, engineering, and math students
For all of you that are pondering a career in the sciences or engineering and are not confident that you will be able to get through the classes that will be required, you can do it! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that only certain people are made for math and science. I am living proof that is not the case. You may have to work harder than others but in the long run the dedication and discipline needed to complete your chosen field of study will serve you well, not only in the classroom but throughout your career.