On August 22, the world lost Paul Haven, who had been a full-time volunteer at EESI since 2011. All of us at EESI mourn the loss of Paul, a dedicated father, husband, grandfather, and brother—and a man who devoted his time in early retirement to doing everything he could to combat climate change. He wanted his children to know that he'd done everything he could to accelerate the world's transition to a clean energy economy.
Paul contributed to EESI in areas as varied as development, database management and upgrades, and transportation policy. When Paul came aboard as a development ‘intern’ (after retiring from a career in progressively responsible positions at Verizon, during which he received four leadership awards), we at EESI had no idea how much we would learn from him, and how deeply we would value him as a colleague—and as a friend. Nor did we realize that he would stay for the long run and be involved in a great many aspects of our work, even becoming an EESI donor while still a full-time volunteer. But his wife, Jackie Haven, was not surprised. As his college sweetheart, she knew that when Paul dedicated himself to something, it was for the long-term.
Paul’s first love—work-wise—was transportation policy and he started his career working for a transportation consulting firm after obtaining a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering - Transportation from MIT. Paul liked to say that while he was at Verizon, he'd switched from thinking about how to move people around to thinking about how to move data. But when he came to EESI, he switched back to thinking about how to move people around. He was particularly interested in how the federal government plays a key role in promoting sustainable public transportation policy throughout the country.
Paul's interests were wide-ranging. He worked on infrastructure resilience, transit- and pedestrian- oriented development, energy-efficient multimodal networks, and clean fuels. He published papers on the role of federal and state transportation agencies in urban development, the effectiveness of transit programs, and transit policy’s impact on energy conservation. Paul became EESI's transportation policy fellow while also continuing to dedicate himself to improving our back-end systems and improving our use of data. In particular, Paul played a key role in helping EESI switch to a better email platform.
Before being stricken with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer, Paul was a caregiver himself. After his early retirement from Verizon, he dedicated himself to assisting his elderly parents. He didn’t hesitate when his daughter had significant health needs while in college. He drove to Michigan to help her get through her classes, helped her complete her homework, and navigated the healthcare system for her. This was not surprising to anyone who knows him, as family was always a priority for Paul, and he made sure that he was there for his two kids and, later, his two grandchildren. Being a father and a grandfather brought Paul great joy.
Paul was generous with his joy, sharing it with all those around him, including all of us at EESI. This was evident at his memorial service in Potomac, Maryland, where so many people turned out to pay their respects to Paul’s family, to mourn his passing, and to celebrate his life. We all miss Paul very much.