Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Luke Fernandez & Joey Burke

Patrick Gold
February 14, 2023
We recently caught-up with two of our long-time volunteers, Luke Fernandez and Joey Burke. Learn more about them and a day in the life of a Climate Neutral volunteer.

Last year, dozens of volunteers worldwide spent over 4,000 hours supporting Climate Neutral.  Their work spanned 36 projects and improved software development, carbon measurement, research analytics, and content initiatives. 

We’re privileged to collaborate with such outstanding people everyday on difficult climate action work.  Climate Neutral’s tools wouldn’t be possible, nor remain accessible, without their invaluable efforts. 

We recently caught-up with two of our volunteers, Luke Fernandez and Joey Burke.  Read on to learn more about their work, biggest moments, and even some of their favorite animals.

Luke Fernandez 

Find Luke on LinkedIn.

What inspired you to volunteer with Climate Neutral?

I’d wanted to get involved in the climate movement for a long time, but I struggled to find an opportunity that felt impactful. When I came across Climate Neutral, looked at their tech stack, and reached out to some of their team, I knew it was a good fit. Great mission. Great team. Lots of unique problems to help solve.

What was the focus of your volunteer work?

Primarily AWS migration efforts and back-end system development.

What was your favorite moment or biggest take-away?

The whole experience has been a pleasure. Aside from the mission and value they are creating in the climate space, the best thing about Climate Neutral is the people. Working with them has made even the smallest of moments great.

Tell us a bit about your professional background. Did your work with Climate Neutral advance your career goals?

I am a software engineer and cloud architect that has been freelancing for a while now. Volunteering with Climate Neutral has given more meaning to my work and allowed me to hone my skills while working on real, impactful projects.

Goats or sheep? Why?

Goats for sure. They’re cool, they’re curious, and they’re easier to form a relationship with.

Joey Burke 

Find Joey on LinkedIn.

What inspired you to volunteer with Climate Neutral? 

A couple years ago, my company Kensho made a decision that it was important to us to not only focus on our regular products and services, but to also make a positive impact in the world. We recognized we have a lot of skills from our day-to-day tasks that could be utilized in projects focused on community and not-for-profit change. That stance led to us building in time for those who wanted to donate their skills and a few hours of their schedule to community initiatives. Personally, this gave me the freedom to dedicate a few hours of my week to Climate Neutral, which I felt had a very promising mission and method to promote environmental responsibility.

What was the focus of your volunteer work? 

I spent the majority of my time developing features and flows in the BEE (Brand Emissions Estimator) and Certification Portal web applications. This work included things like implementing charts and dashboards for certifying brands to gain better insight into their emissions footprint, as well as guiding projects on hack-a-thon days dedicated to helping Climate Neutral solve a few bite-sized engineering challenges.

What was your favorite moment or biggest take-away? 

My favorite aspect was hearing and seeing all of the progress the Climate Neutral team has made over the 1.5 years I have been volunteering with them. Our weekly syncs have always been full of positivity, gratitude, and excitement for everything that is being accomplished.

Tell us a bit about your professional background. Did your work with Climate Neutral advance your career goals? 

I've been a software engineer for over 7 years specializing in the front-ends of web applications. I've worked on a variety of different projects ranging from static business websites all the way to extensible, investigative analytics platforms and AI-backed speech transcription products. Working with Climate Neutral has helped me to feel the skills I've built up over the years can be truly useful in affecting positive impact. It's also been a great way for me to learn from and exchange knowledge with a talented group of people in a completely different organization and industry.

Goats or sheep? Why?

I'm going to have to pick sheep because they are fluffier and cuter.

Our volunteer program has become a powerful way for individuals to gain climate skills, increase industry exposure, and align work with personal values. If you’re interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities, give us a shout or see our list of current projects here.

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About the Author

Patrick Gold
Director of Engineering

After many years working for big-name software development firms, Patrick made the brave but questionable leap into nonprofit climate work as Climate Neutral’s first in-house engineer. He balances the demands of full-stack responsibility with his penchant for board games, sci-fi literature, and his endearing dog.

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