Jesse Berst is the founder and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, a coalition of organizations that seeks to accelerate the move to smart cities with better livability, workability and sustainability.
Jesse came to the smart city sector from the smart grid where he was one of the pioneering thought leaders and the chief analyst of SmartGridNews.com, the Internet’s oldest, largest and highest-ranked smart grid site.
The Smart Cities Council and Smart Grid News are operated by Global Smart Energy (GSE), which also provides strategic consulting to corporations, startups and investment firms looking to target their smart grid activities. Current and past clients include Avista Utilities, BAE Systems, Edison Electric Institute, Global Environment Fund, the GridWise Alliance, Lockheed Martin, the Province of British Columbia, Prize Capital, Schneider Electric, Telcordia, the U.S. Department of Energy, and many others.
Jesse devotes a portion of his time to efforts to grow the industry. He was a co-founder of the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, a nonprofit that unites utilities, vendors, and consumer advocates with the goal of accelerating a consumer-friendly smart grid. He serves on the Advisory Council for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which conducts some of the nation’s most advanced grid research. He also sits on the advisory boards of Voyager Capital, a leading West Coast venture capital firm, Calico Energy, which provides unified operations centers to utilities, GridGlo, which has a customer insights engine for utilities, and 1Energy, which produces cutting-edge energy storage systems.
Jesse was the keynote speaker at the Department of Energy ’s original Grid Vision 2030 planning meeting in April, 2003. Since then, he has keynoted dozens of grid-related events in the U.S. and abroad. Recent speeches have included:
- National Governors Association Winter Meeting
- National Clean Energy Summit (with VP Joseph Biden and NV
- National Smart Grid Conference (with WA Senator Cantwell)
- Chairman, Energy Track, World Congress on Information
- Keynote, Smart Grid Realities and Opportunities (Lisbon)
- Keynote, Smart Grid Canada (Ontario)
- Keynote, Washington Public Utility District Association
- Keynote, eMeter User’s Group
- Keynote, Areva T&D Annual Users Group Meeting
- Keynote, Comverge Annual Users Group Meeting
- Keynote, Aclara Annual Users Group Meeting
- Keynote, Western Power Delivery Automation Conference
- Plenary, Powering Forward Conference (with WA Senators Cantwell and Murray)
- Plenary, Grid Conference, James Baker Institute, Rice University
In the ’80s and ’90s, Jesse was a well-known technology analyst. He was a featured columnist at leading magazines, including Computerworld, Computer Reseller News, InformationWeek and PC Week, authoring more than 700 columns and articles analyzing technology and business trends. He authored or co-authored ten books on personal computing and software, and one on high-tech business concepts, titled The Magnet Effect (McGraw-Hill, 2001). His analysis and commentary were featured widely on national radio and television, including CNNfn, Good Morning America, ABC Nightly News, CBS Radio News, Business Talk Radio and NorthWest CableNews.
During this period, Jesse founded or co-founded three high-tech publishing companies, New Riders Publishing (acquired by Macmillan), Micropublishing (acquired by Cygnus Business Media), and CompuTh!nk (acquired by Ziff-Davis). He then became a Vice President and “intrapraneur” at Ziff-Davis, where he conceived and founded “AnchorDesk,” which became the company’s most popular and profitable Internet property, reigning for many years as the world’s largest email newsletter with nearly 3,000,000 daily subscribers.
Jesse was born in eastern Washington and graduated with highest honors from the University of Puget Sound with a degree in business administration.