2017 DC Climathon Final Pitch and Award: Hack Resilience

December 11, 2017

For Immediate Release: December 8, 2017     


Contact: Kimberly Williams, GW Office of Sustainability

Telephone: 202-288-3731

E-mail: [email protected]


Workforce training program in DC’s underserved communities takes top prize at DC Climathon


WASHINGTON, D.C. --- As DC braces itself to experience the impacts of climate change like heat waves and floods, they are seeking solutions to help the most vulnerable communities in the District be resilient. As part of the entrepreneurial competition DC Climathon, The George Washington University (GW) awarded $10,000 to teams of young innovators this week for their real solutions. The winning idea is a program to provide skills training to underserved communities and provide a capable workforce for Energy Service Companies, while also creating more energy efficient buildings.


“We are already seeing the impacts of climate change—rising temperatures, more severe storms, and increased flooding along our rivers and waterways,” said Tommy Wells, Director of the District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment. “Partnering with The George Washington University on the DC Climathon has enabled the District Government to incubate and resource innovative solutions to address these complex, climate-related issues.”


Climathon is a global 24-hour hackathon that took place simultaneously in major cities around the world on October 27th, 2017. Innovators were challenged to develop creative local and regional solutions to make progress on climate change and sustainable development.  The George Washington University (GW) and the District of Columbia government partnered with key stakeholders across the public and private sectors for the DC Climathon.


“The impacts of climate change are daunting,” said Meghan Chapple, Director of GW’s Office of Sustainability. “Creative minds from GW and across the region have seeded hope and vision with their innovative yet practical solutions. Communities will benefit from their solutions that address increased temperatures, communications during severe weather events, and even job training.”


Since the hackathon event, competitors prepared for today’s final round of judging, where the judges evaluated the project proposal, plan for community engagement, and business plan.  Bringing together expertise in climate resilience and business, the panel of judges included Nate Hurst, Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer at Hewlett Packard, GW Alum Daron Coates of ThinkBox group, Jordan Lloyd Bookey of Zoobean, and Dwane Jones of the University of the District of Columbia’s Sustainability Initiative. 


“Our team is passionate about creating a more sustainable future for our planet and people,” said Sasan Dehghan, member of team Power To The People. “We’ll do just that here in the District with our plan to create a workforce training program that enables under-served communities to reduce energy demand by implementing high-impact energy efficiency solutions.  While the hackathon was an intense experience, the opportunity to work with experienced coaches and mentors helped us turn our ideas and passion into action.”


Because of their compelling business model and strong plan for community engagement, the judges decided to award $7,000 to team “Power to the People”, to support their efforts to implement the project in local DC neighborhoods.  Next, the team will continue to garner resources and support for their project in the GW New Venture Competition, a competition that provides real-world educational experience in developing, testing, and launching startup ventures.  Runner up Team Mesh was awarded $3,000 dollars to support their project.