Throughout March, we’re celebrating the women of EnBW North America and sharing their advice for building a successful career in clean energy and how to support each other along the way.
With eight years of experience supporting the growth of the offshore wind industry on the East Coast under her belt, Christen Whittman thoughtfully guides the development, permitting and regulatory activities for EnBW North America’s offshore wind projects. She shapes environmental and permitting strategies around EnBW’s dedication to the protection of marine wildlife and resources, and commitment to partnering with local communities.
Before joining EnBW, Christen spent six years working for the state of Massachusetts, overseeing the construction of the nation’s first purpose-built offshore wind marshalling port in New Bedford, Massachusetts. While there, she worked to establish a supply chain, workforce, ports and infrastructure to stand up offshore wind in the US.
Why did you choose your profession?
I’ve always gravitated toward math & science, and the hands-on learning at Tufts University steered me toward construction management. I started out with a remarkable opportunity to manage the construction of the first-in-the-nation offshore wind marshalling port in New Bedford, and I was introduced to offshore wind by learning about the incredibly big and heavy components that the port facility would need to accommodate. Since then, I’ve been obsessed.
What do you love most about what you do?
I have totally drunk the kool-aid, I really believe that offshore wind will save the world. It is one of the more meaningful ways that we can replace existing power generation with clean energy to fight against the climate emergency, and I’m glad to be doing my part. As an engineer, I’m looking forward to the day that I can stand on top of one of “my” turbines (I just hope someone lets me up there!).
What do you wish you could tell your younger self?
Push yourself and put yourself out there. That’s something that’s always been very difficult for me, and I’ve had to force myself over the years to get more comfortable with it.
What advice would you give to women in your field?
More of a request than advice: Really own it! Don’t take for granted your place (and your platform) in this pioneering, truly important industry. Let’s bring other women in and give them opportunities, so this can be an industry where we don’t have to play catch-up at being inclusive.