Misch is using the skills he gained from the Evening Master's Program at Harris in his role as Vice President of Renewables Asset Management for Invenergy.
Headshot of Dan Misch
Dan Misch

Dan Misch, AM’19 and current Vice President of Renewables Asset Management for Invenergy, decided he needed to make a career shift after completing his Harris degree. “I wanted to transition into working in renewable energy, and I found out about Invenergy through my veterans network. The company had a great reputation for being a fast-paced organization in the energy industry. After working on the U.S. commercial side of the business, I’m now leading our international asset management team for the expansion of services into Latin America and Europe.”

Misch says the connections and networking opportunities the program presented to him allowed him to solidify his Chicago network. “I’ve been in Chicago for about 10 years now, and being part of the university network and building my community through the program has been great for building comradery.”

In addition to the network, Misch points to particular aspects of the program as being invaluable to his current work. “Negotiations and game theory are two of the most frequent skills I use every day, and those are skills I learned through Harris. Cost benefit analysis and the finance courses I took have also rounded out my previous job experience. In general, I think being able to look at a problem from multiple angles is an area the degree really helped me improve upon.”

Misch said his previous academic experience in the United States Naval Academy also prepared him to look at problems from several angles. While there, Misch excelled in mathematics, pushed himself to learn physics, and he eventually chose to pursue the Navy’s nuclear program. He was commissioned as an ensign upon graduation and moved to Bremerton, Wash., to live and work on a submarine.

“The amount of responsibility they give you as a young person is unreal,” Misch says. “I was 24 and working with other young sailors operating a reactor on a submarine hundreds of feet underwater and thousands of miles from land.”

As he began his military career, Misch found himself living a life of secrecy under the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, gay and lesbian military members were banned from serving openly. As a gay man, Misch couldn’t come out to his colleagues.

“I missed out on so much when the policy was in place,” Misch says. “I was closed off, and I wasn’t fully myself.”

After graduating from college, Misch owed five more years of service, during which he questioned people’s opposition to repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He remembers when the policy was repealed by Barack Obama in 2011, his last year of military service.

“Opponents of the repeal said it would affect unit cohesion, when in fact, in my personal experience it was the opposite. It raises the question: ‘Says who?’” Misch says. “I use that as inspiration to seek my challenges. If I could do that then, then what could I do now?”

For nearly seven years, Misch worked as a federal project director for the U.S. Department of Energy at Argonne National Laboratory. He examined how investments in research and development impact national security, but he was still looking to challenge himself and grow.

Misch decided to attend the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy Evening Master’s Program to diversify his toolkit and supplement his work with skills that would allow him to analyze problems from different perspectives. He says the Harris experience “gave us the tools to separate fact from fiction.”

He says he enjoyed the diversity of the Evening Master’s Program cohort and continues to look for ways he can use what he learned to help him make more informed decisions.

“I have had a highly technical operational history, and now I am better at asking questions and not taking things at face value,” Misch says. “The Evening Master’s Program at Harris really changed the way I think.”