Jeff Eckel

Jeff Eckel

'82 MPA
Chief Executive Officer
Hannon Armstrong

Jeff Eckel is the CEO of Hannon Armstrong, an investor in energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure projects with a positive climate change profile. The 36-year old company has been publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange since 2013, and manages $4.6 billion in assets (as of June 2017). Since going public, total shareholder return is more than 150%.

Hannon Armstrong has been making investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy for 25 years. The firm’s investment thesis is that in a world increasingly defined by climate change, better risk-adjusted returns will be achieved by investing on the right side of the climate change line. Eckel pioneered a metric, CarbonCount, to understand how impactful investments were in using capital to reduce GHG emissions. 

Under Eckel’s leadership, the firm’s clients include some of the world’s best engineering firms, like Johnson Controls, Siemens and Schneider, whose engineering solutions are reducing GHG emissions. Eckel is on the boards of the Alliance to Save Energy and The Nature Conservancy (MD-DC) and the President’s Council of CERES, the organization of the largest institutional investors dedicated to investing in a low carbon future.

Eckel has been with Hannon Armstrong for 23 years. Previously, he ran Wärtsilä Power Development and EnergySource, companies focused on advanced and cleaner-power solutions in developing countries such as India, Indonesia, and Brazil.

While at Maxwell, Eckel worked with public administration and political science professor Guthie Birkhead on budgeting by electric utilities; they turned that research collaboration into a publication titled “Electric Utilities: Assessing a Troubled Investment Environment” that appeared in the Financial Analysts Journal, along with Business professor Bruce Frederickson. Eckel also served as a graduate assistant to economics professor Jesse Burkhead, which resulted in a white paper for the Sloan Foundation titled “Disposing of Sewage Sludge.”

Eckel advises today’s students to read as much and as widely as they can while in school. During his time at Maxwell, he subscribed to Science, The Economist, and reports by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. He takes pride in his MPA from Maxwell, which, he says, has given him significant advantages in his private-sector career by having a strong policy background and appreciation for the unique contributions governments can make in solving tough public-policy problems, like climate change.