Helping companies, governments, and NGOs grow the low-carbon economy
I’m an author, editor, and communications professional and I work exclusively with companies, governments, and NGOs that are in some respect advancing the low-carbon economy. I was a senior editor with Outside magazine, a news editor with Wired News, and I cofounded Clean Energy Canada. I have a strong network of professionals who develop or advocate for energy solutions—be they policies or technologies. I love my work, and I love fresh challenges!
Referrals largely drive my business. Typically, a client will be looking to correct misinformation in the market, or help get the word out on a new opportunity, program, or offering. Others are keen to ensure key stakeholders are aware that an upcoming policy, product, or service is available to them or will impact them in some respect.
What They’re Saying
Kind words from great people I've had the pleasure of working with
Director, Policy, Office of the Prime Minister of Canada
“James is the most talented writer I've ever met. His prose is exceptionally clear, concise, and compelling. He also has a gift for distilling complex issues into actionable, accessible narratives. He is thoughtful, engaged, and passionate about the potential of the global low-carbon economy. James is a good team player; he has a low ego and focuses on getting the job done."
Executive Director, ZEBx
“James made technical policy and engineering materials accessible to time- and attention-pressed decision makers, while deftly navigating a fast changing political and industry landscape. He produced a webinar on B.C.'s building-performance standard that attracted hundreds of participants from nine nations; his regular policy update email logs a remarkable 50+ per cent open rate.”
Executive Director, Student Energy
“James is a brilliant communicator. He's great at making technical information come alive with creative, clear writing for any audience. James is also fun to work with! He makes projects easy and provides great advice.”
Executive Director, Clean Energy Canada
“It’s difficult to overstate the impact James has had on our organization. He is both a doer and big-picture innovator. He’s passionate, driven, and chronically enthusiastic. He's truly an outstanding writer, he understands the importance of effective design, and he's widely connected with media. He has been an indelible part of our success.”
COO, Future 500
“James’ work is exceptional. He contributed a rare combination of strategic thinking, incisive language that captures our voice and objectives, structured project management, and a can-do fun attitude. He has significantly elevated the sophistication of our communications. and in 2018 we were pleased to name him one of our Senior Fellows.”
Team Lead, Sustainable Communities, BC Hydro
“I love working with James. I have never met anyone who can so quickly transform verbal musings of difficult concepts into quick, clear, easy-to-read prose. His low-ego approach to editing has allowed us to deliver precise and meaningful articles, reports, and blurbs. Plus he loves a good laugh, so brings great energy to the team. He understands the value of beautiful design, and has brought great partners to our projects. His groundbreaking work on the BC Energy Step Code helped ensure its strong uptake in the market. This province in now on course to be the first jurisdiction in North America to require net-zero energy-ready new buildings, and James played a crucial role behind the scenes to help us get here."
Recent and noteworthy projects, gigs, and engagements
“Lessons From the BC Energy Step Code”
I co-authored this landmark report that tells the story of how British Columbia became the first North American jurisdiction to create a regulated pathway to reaching net-zero energy-ready new buildings.
Though the BC Energy Step Code represents what one of its architects calls a “revolution in code development," it didn't happen by accident. This report captures a backstage detailed history of how this standard came to be, and 10 lessons from British Columbia’s experience that may be of value to other jurisdictions.
To produce this report with my co-author Robyn Wark, I sifted through data and interviewed dozens of built-environment professionals, and tested the lessons with the stakeholders to ensure they capture the most important takeaways.
Energy Step Code Council
Lead Communications Advisor (2017 - Present)
The BC Energy Step Code is a provincial regulation that local governments may use, if they wish, to incentivize or require a level of energy efficiency in new construction that goes above and beyond the requirements of the BC Building Code. It is a policy tool that serves as a pathway to help the province meet its net-zero energy-ready target.
“James exceeded our expectations. He led a brand-identity process and a communications and outreach plan that allowed us to get our messages out in a timely manner. As part of this process, James navigated complex stakeholder dynamics and constraints, built consensus, and developed clear and accessible material for our audiences. He came to the project with a solid baseline understanding of building science and local government processes, which translated into a rapid ramp-up, and allowed him to quickly establish productive relationships with team members and stakeholders.”
—Rory Tooke, Former member, Energy Step Code Council
Clean Energy Canada
Director, Communications (2010-2015)
I cofounded Clean Energy Canada with Merran Smith, who remains the organization's executive director today. As communications director for most of that time, I played a pivotal role in growing the brand. I authored or co-authored numerous reports, produced media launches, and launched Tracking the Energy Revolution—an acclaimed series of themed reports on the opportunities of the energy transition. Clean Energy Canada is a program of the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. It is the leading civil-society champion of clean energy, innovation, and a prosperous future for Canada.