Each year, CleanTech Group members in the Full-time MBA program at McCombs School of Business elect officers who manage the group.
Class of 2019
Sarah M Pendergast
Sarah is an MBA candidate focused on cleantech and energy finance and is excited to work on renewable energy projects. She is a Cleantech fellow with Sunsign Capital Advisors, a start-up in energy project finance. Prior to McCombs, she worked in Washington, DC, advocating for climate change and renewable energy policies at the federal level with Union of Concerned Scientists. She served as an appointee at the Department of Energy the Office of Congressional and Governmental Affairs, supporting Secretary Moniz’s work with stakeholders and Congress. She also taught math to high schoolers and adult GED-candidates for five years after college. Sarah is originally from mid-Michigan and received her B.A. from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy.
Vice President (Finance)
Kathleen grew up in Seattle and earned a B.A. in Chinese Language and Literature from Middlebury College in 2011. She has worked in start-up, corporate, and non-profit environments, primarily focusing on relationship development and championing customer solutions. Most recently Kathleen helped manage Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps fellowship program, and the high impact that the summer fellows made in their host companies inspired her to pursue an MBA focused on promoting clean energy technologies. At McCombs, Kathleen is pursuing a concentration in CleanTech and is spending her time learning more about the energy industry. She is especially excited about battery energy storage solutions, demand response, and energy efficiency.
Co-Vice President (Careers)
Prior to her MBA, Jiwon worked in overseas business development department at Korea Electric Power Corporation, one of the largest utility companies in Korea, and developed coal and gas-fired power plants in Vietnam and in South Africa. Her background is mainly in project management, where she gained valuable experience transacting with diverse stakeholders and performing financial analysis. Jiwon is looking to pivot into decarbonizing the power sector through development of clean energy projects.
Co-Vice President (Careers)
Ryan is a member of the McCombs MBA Class of 2019, focusing on clean technology and energy finance. He also holds a leadership role in the Energy Finance Group. Prior to McCombs, Ryan worked as a process engineer at Black & Veatch, designing liquefied natural gas facilities and natural gas processing plants. Ryan earned degrees in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin. Post-MBA Ryan wants to apply his engineering experience and finance skills in a corporate finance role at an energy company.
Taina Tebaldi Lajara
Vice President (Communication)
For 6 years, Taina traveled the world with Schlumberger in Project Management for Oil&Gas. She coordinated technical aspects as well as budget and schedule to design, execute and deliver complete oil wells to clients. After the world oil crisis, she decided it was time for her to contribute to move from a high fossil fuel economy to a low carbon one. At McCombs she is currently a CleanTech Fellow, assisting the commercial team of a storage company with proposals to Latin America projects. Originally from Brazil, she holds a bachelor and master’s degree in chemical Engineer from Brazil and France.
Post-MBA, Taina wants to apply her project management experience and new finance skills in a project management, commercial or consulting role within the clean energy sector.
Vice President (Education)
Jeff is the vice president of Education for the CleanTech group. He has responsibility for lunches and educational sessions with industry experts, club participation in case competitions, and educational opportunities at UT and in Austin. Jeff graduated from UT with a BS in Mechanical Engineering before serving in the US Navy at Naval Reactors (NR). At NR Jeff performed engineering oversight and project management for the design and construction of the USS GERALD R. FORD (CVN 78) aircraft carrier and was privileged to culminate his time at NR as a member of the CVN 78 sea trials team. Jeff is passionate about advancing CleanTech and looks forward to leading change and tackling the world’s energy challenges.
Vice President (CleanTech Fellows)
Jayce is on a mission to expedite the shift toward clean energy technologies that do the least harm to our health and environment. Prior to joining the MBA program, Jayce worked, through Teach For America, as a high school math teacher adjacent to the Kentucky Red River Gorge. He then moved to the Front Range of Colorado, working in the residential and commercial solar industries, frequenting the Rocky Mountains. Jayce holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
After graduating from McCombs, Jayce aims to manage the development of utility scale electricity generation and storage projects throughout the United States.
To view the executive teams from previous years, please visit ‘CleanTech Alumni’ webpage.