2018 Tillman Scholar

Sam Gulland

Columbia University

“Clean energy can electrify unserved areas, reduce pollution and improve our energy security.”

Feeling an obligation to serve his country, Sam joined the Army as an Infantry Officer after completing his undergraduate degree. Leading soldiers at home and abroad was a distinct honor, and it taught him what an organization can accomplish when it articulates its priorities and empowers its leaders rather than micromanaging them.

While deployed with his infantry platoon, Sam worked with Afghan people who lacked access to clean water and electricity and protected convoys that brought diesel fuel to bases to power generators. Using portable solar photovoltaic panels to recharge radio batteries on mission piqued his interest in renewable energy and its ability to improve both quality of life and energy security.

Since leaving the military, Sam has worked to develop large-scale renewable energy projects in the U.S, including projects in partnership with the Department of Defense. He is excited about the prospects of deploying clean energy sources, bringing economic development and jobs to rural areas, and improving energy security on military bases and elsewhere. Sam’s exposure to the financing of these projects led him to pursue an MBA at Columbia University, with the goal of better understanding the firms that invest in and own energy assets.

Sam aspires to use new forms of energy generation and storage to help people lead better lives in the U.S. and internationally.