Ariel Fan ’10 Receives 2021 Young Alumni Rising Star Award
If you knew Ariel Fan ’10 at Webb, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that she is now dedicated to sustainability and making the world eco-friendlier.
“Anyone who went to Webb with me may know me for getting Kleenex banned on campus,” she said.
Why would Fan head such a crusade? At the time, Kleenex was using clear-cutting techniques on ancient forests to produce its products. And that wasn’t OK with Fan.
“I have always been passionate about environmental advocacy.”
While at Webb, Fan founded “Project Earth,” a group dedicated to beach cleanups, making an eco-friendlier campus and collecting plastic bags for recycling around campus. She also worked with Greenpeace helping with advocacy campaigns.
“I felt like at Webb you were encouraged to be who you are and seek out leadership, whether it be clubs, sports or theater. If you have your own idea, you can find supporters to make it happen,” Fan said.
For Fan, this was just the start of her career in environmental advocacy. While studying in New York at Barnard College of Columbia University, Fan fell in love with making buildings more energy efficient. She worked with several environmental groups, including New York City’s Housing Authority, to boost the energy efficiency of their low-income housing projects.
Fan continued her work when she returned to California.
“We have to do something about our emissions across the world. There are so many public funds available to companies and cities to reduce carbon. You just have to know where to find them. So I built a company that makes that process easy,” Fan said.
This specialization led Fan to earn the 2015 Southern California Edison Energy Partner of the Year Award. Because of her knowledge of where to get the public funds, Fan was able to capture the most incentives for public funding for green buildings of any Southern California Edison customer.
“I knew there was a gap there on making the funding equitable for all, and I wanted to do something to make an impact,” Fan said.
In 2016, Fan created her own company, GreenWealth Energy Partners, and her first hire was Webb alumnus and classmate Edman Urias ’10. GreenWealth is California’s first woman and minority-woman owned electric vehicle charging company.
The team started by focusing on LED lighting and green buildings and shifted in 2019 to designing and building electric vehicle charging systems that are grant-funded and financeable for building owners and operators. While their focus started in California, the company is raising venture funds to expand its EV charging infrastructure services to the entire United States.
“We have always known that electric vehicles are the future… and now with the $7.5B infrastructure bill, that future has arrived so much sooner than the government and private sector are prepared for,” Fan said.
With California planning to ban the production and sales of gas-powered vehicles by 2026, and the City of Los Angeles looking to create a 100% zero-emissions fleet by 2030, Fan sees the opportunity for growth and, mostly, necessity.
Fan is proud of her company’s work with Southern California’s largest building operators, securing clients such as the City of Los Angeles, Disney and SoCalGas.
“It’s incredible to arrive here as a company that has been bootstrapped during the pandemic; we made it through with grit and hustle. It was very tough, and to emerge with the same team and secure a major government contract over the next three years, we can now ensure high-paying jobs for people who have been with us over that time,” Fan said.
Now a company of 12 employees, GreenWealth is heading for more government contracts and expansion.
Fan credits Webb for helping her to develop her character – an element she says is critical to her success.
“To have a community that uplifts character is huge. You bring that into your profession, and you can do things that are bigger and beyond yourself. As an adult, you now realize you grew up to be the same leader that you did as a kid,” Fan said. “Very early on, Webb taught me to be brave. If you go after your own thing, you will find supporters and peers.”
The Young Alumni Rising Star Award recognizes recent alumni of the past 15 years who have used their success to bring good to the world, demonstrated exceptional achievements in their chosen field, and have shown an affinity for Webb. Without a doubt, Fan has posted exceptional achievements in her busy career, and yet you can still find her volunteering her time on the Alumni Council, speaking with students and attending Webb events.
Fan’s advice to Webb students: Try things.
“I would say the biggest thing is experiment. Meaning, if you’re interested in something give it a try. Life is a long journey, there’s time for everything, but at the same time, you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, you need to try today. Experiences matter. Approach things with an open mind,” she said.
We are proud to present Ariel Fan ’10 with the 2021 Young Alumni Rising Star Award. Congratulations, Ariel!
Nominations are open for the 2022 Alumni Awards. Submit your nominations by June 30. Nominate someone here.