Who's Who at HPC: Nate Natale
Nate Natale is the Vice President of Education and Events at HPC. In this role, he oversees all aspects of the coalition’s conference and education work- including site selection, program development, logistics, fundraising and communications. Nate also convenes, manages, and facilitates stakeholder groups and represents HPC through participation in a variety of external industry groups. He worked in education, both in the classroom and behind the scenes, for a number of years before transitioning to association management. Prior to joining HPC in 2010, Nate spent four years managing many aspects of the conference and continuing education programs of The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society. He earned a B.S. in Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Professional Writing degree from Chatham University.
1. What do you enjoy the most about your role at HPC?
The people. From the awesome team I get to spend five days (sometimes more) a week with, to our super smart folks in DC, to this amazing industry that has given me more friendships that I ever expected, working with good people is something I insist on in my life. My role at HPC gives me that. It comes as no surprise that the industry HPC supports and works to help advance is filled with quality people. It is my experience that the more righteous your cause, the higher ratio of solid humans you will be surrounded with and as always, residential energy efficiency delivers.
I am not a building scientist, program wiz, or a data or policy wonk, but I am able to serve this great industry with the skillset I have because of my role at HPC. Building relationships, managing projects with lots of moving parts, innovating processes, and planning are my strengths, and I get to use all of those to help advance HPC’s mission and that is very rewarding.
2. What is your proudest accomplishment at HPC?
This is a tough one! In my almost seven years here, I have been a part of so many changes- from downsizing, to a merger, and now a period of growth. Change and growth are hard and being a part of the leadership team that helped get us through the tough times, make the transition from ACI/NHPC to HPC, and now continuing to evolve HPC is certainly something I am particularly proud of.
The fact that we went through those tough times post ARRA, had to drastically downsize our team and now are stronger today than we were before, is something I feel especially good about. We had to change a lot about how we did things and were able to do so by implementing new processes, leveraging technology, and retaining and hiring the right people. The latter is the thing I am most proud of because when you go through so much with a team, you grow closer and ultimately work better together. Adding to our culture is something I take very seriously and the fact that our newer hires have fit in beautifully with our longer term staff is pretty awesome.
Finally, I am proud of the relationships I have developed in this industry- from our board, to the many other leaders and experts I have gotten to know over the years, to our HPC team and our CEO Brian Castelli. I think I have a reputation among these folks as someone whose word can be trusted, who will get the job done well and on time, and who will always treat people the right way- that means a lot.
3. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I guess you could say I am a classic family man. Pretty much everything I do revolves around my family and especially our kids. Kamryn is 11 and is headed to middle school next year and Zoe is almost five and headed to Kindergarten next year. The winds of change are blowing strong in our world! We also, against any reasonable odds, rescued a Pit Bull named Ace (who happens to be the nicest dog in the world) last July to add to our brand of chaos. Thankfully, I have the best partner ever as the glue to hold our whole deal together, in my wife Kelley.
I am a full-blown food enthusiast. I love to cook, discover new places to eat, shop for food, read about food, watch TV about food…you get the picture. If we hang out, I assure you, there will be food.
Pittsburgh sports are in my blood. Growing up my parents owned sporting goods stores, so I really had no choice. I was fortunate to have Penguins and Steelers season tickets during my formative years and those are my two favorite teams to this day. That said, the Penguins are closet to my heart. You may have heard that they won the Stanley cup this month- I am still on cloud nine!
I am also a music nut. I have genuinely broad taste from Lyle Lovett to the Alan Toussaint, to Sturgill Simpson to Bonnie Raitt. I guess the one common dominator with my taste is that it typically can be traced back to American roots music. My favorite band ever is Phish. I will be seeing my 89th-93rd shows this summer .That probably isn’t something I should talk about publically as it makes me look a bit obsessed but what can I say, they move me like no music ever has and I’ve heard my share of sounds. Last music item- I have recently been pulled down the vinyl records rabbit hole by HPC ‘s Chris Docchio- for him I have gratitude and disdain for pulling me into a new obsession!
Last thing I would mention is running. I was a later in life running Kool-Aid drinker and I’m not sure how it finally took, but I love it. I have to thank another HPC’er, Bethany Dittmar (an accomplished distance runner) for coaching me through the early stages and providing pointers to this day. Last month I ran the Pittsburgh Half Marathon- for a guy like me, that was really far. Crazy far! For some reason, I want to do it again.
4. Tell us a fun fact about yourself we may not know.
My family was selected to participate in the pilot of a refugee mentorship program called Hello Neighbor here in Pittsburgh. We serve as mentors to a refugee family from Syria who live in our town. It has been an amazing experience for our family, especially our children. The family we work with has two small children and one on the way and we hang out with them at home, take them to cool places, and help them acclimate to life here in America on the heels of a traumatic uprooting which took them away from everything they knew. We have had amazing experiences so far- from breaking the Ramadan fast with out of this world food, foraging for berries, helping them figure some tricky things out- like online banking, to just being a friend by their side as they navigate a world that sometimes looks at them in fear.
I was conflicted about sharing this because I know this could come off as a “humble brag” or me saying “hey, look at us do gooders!,” but in the end I thought that sharing this experience might do some good. If helping refugees sounds like something you might be interested in, do some digging and see what is available in your area. Our program founder gets inquiries every day from around the country about replicating what she is doing and there are other similar programs already in existence and new ones in development – some might be in your neighborhood. There are so many American citizens that want to help and so many refugees that are just looking for an American friend- it’s a perfect match and if you make the connections, you won’t regret it!