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Meet Pat Sapinsley, NYU’s new director of clean-tech initiatives

The industry veteran wants to help green companies overhaul their image.

On campus at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering. (Photo by Brady Dale)

“We will work collaboratively.”
That’s the message from Pat Sapinsley, the new leader of clean-tech initiatives at New York University (NYU)’s Polytechnic School of Engineering. Since June 1, Sapinsley has been overseeing PowerBridge and NYC ACRE, two clean-tech programs that NYU funds. Sapinsley wants to increase the collaboration between all departments of NYU to benefit participants in these programs.

Pat Sapinsley. (Photo by Robert Adam Mayer)

Pat Sapinsley. (Photo by Robert Adam Mayer)


Sapinsley said her top priority at NYU will be to bring “more services” to the 14 tenants working at NYC ACRE, an incubator for tech companies focused on improving energy-efficiency in building construction. NYC ACRE is based at the Urban Future Lab, in Downtown Brooklyn’s MetroTech Center.
“We have a lot of resources throughout the NYU ecosystem,” Sapinsley told Technical.ly Brooklyn, adding that she is confident the university community “can bring resources from many disciplines.”
For example, she wants to bring “visual people” to the clean-tech table, offering green companies a new focus on design. “We’re trying to help these companies to project a better image,” Sapinsley said. Besides helping environmentally oriented companies with their marketing strategies, Sapinsley said she wants to provide them with more resources in accounting and legal issues.
Sapinsley was previously the CEO of Watt Not, a sustainable lighting consultancy, and the president of Build Efficiently LLC, an incubator for companies developing energy-efficient technologies.
The lessons she’ll take from those two posts? The need to “educate the public” about what’s possible when it comes to green initiatives, Sapinsley said. For example, she remembers working with building owners reluctant to implement new solutions, simply because they were “afraid that the technology would not work.”
With her new position at NYU, Sapinsley now reports to Kurt Becker, the vice dean for research innovation and entrepreneurship. There are “a couple of challenges” that Becker would like to tackle in cooperation with Sapinsley, he said. Developing an alumni network is one.
“Current companies can learn from previous experiences,” Becker said. Becker would also like to find a way to measure the impact that companies that have graduated from NYU’s incubator program have had on New York’s clean-tech scene.

Companies: NYU Tandon School of Engineering
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