Employee Spotlight

Paul Quinlan

Clean tech manager, Paul Quinlan, joined ScottMadden’s research team in 2013. In this role, Paul supports the energy practice through market research and client work. He also serves as co-lead of ScottMadden’s grid edge community of practice and board member of the Southeastern Wind Coalition, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the wind industry within the Southeast. Through previous experiences with the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association and Clean Energy Durham, Paul brings environmental and sustainable energy expertise to our firm. He holds a B.S. in environmental science and anthropology from Notre Dame University and a Master of Public Policy and a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University.

Hitting the Trails

Growing up in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, an area just north of Philadelphia, Paul was first exposed to the great outdoors as a Boy Scout. As he rose through the scout ranks, he participated in numerous camping and hiking trips, learning the basics of backpacking and growing increasingly comfortable in the wilderness. These expeditions included, amongst others, a trip to Philmont Scout Ranch, where he and his pack completed a 10-day trek through the backcountry of New Mexico, and a 10-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail in Maryland. It was this memorable hike that inspired Paul to complete the entire trail following college.

With a deep love for nature and hopes of one day working outdoors, Paul studied environmental science at Notre Dame. While other seniors applied for jobs, Paul considered how to tackle a 2,000+ mile trail and his packing list. Starting from the Delaware Water Gap, Paul set out on a five-month flip-flop thru-hike. He would hike north to reach Mount Katahdin in Maine and then return to Delaware Water Gap to hike south to Springer Mountain in Georgia. Expecting months of social disconnection and quiet reflection, Paul quickly realized that his days were more enjoyable with the steady hum of his portable FM radio; he also discovered that the trail was surprisingly social. Thru-hikers, only known to one another by their trail names, were constantly linking together and breaking apart as they walked along. The substantial, yet temporal bonds he formed were well balanced, however, by the meaningful moments of solitude. One such moment occurred on Mount Katahdin. Ahead of the pack, Paul reached the summit in time to see the sun rise and to see many thru-hikers reach the end of their journey.

Following his Appalachian trek, Paul moved to Hood River, Oregon, to track salmon as they passed through the dams on the Columbia River. He then spent a year in the Queensland rainforest in Australia, serving as a teacher assistant for study-abroad students. Highlights from this experience include becoming scuba certified on the Great Barrier Reef and hiking in Tasmania.

Coming Home

Upon his return, Paul pursued dual degrees in environmental management and public policy from Duke University. While his environmental coursework built steadily upon previous knowledge, he excelled in leaps and bounds within public policy. His studies included a summer internship in Switzerland and field studies in Cuba. Over time, Paul shifted his focus to clean tech, an ever-changing field which also offered stimulating challenges but better aligned with his personal goals. Prior to joining ScottMadden, Paul served as the managing director of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association and as board member of Clean Energy Durham.

Paul experienced another pivotal moment during grad school when he met his wife at a Duke speed-dating event. While Paul would like to think it was his charming Q&A that interested Corrie, she claims it was his (then) long, red hair that caught her attention!

Today, Paul, Corrie, and their three children spend their weekends enjoying family hikes, car camping trips, and backpacking. During these outings, Paul shares his great love for the outdoors with his kids, the oldest of which are cub scouts. As they grow older and more comfortable in the woods, Paul hopes to bring his family on longer trips. Next on his list is hiking the John Muir Trail. In the meantime, however, home is not a bad place to be!


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