Dan Burgess
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My Story

After spending five years in supply chain management in both the aerospace and software industries, Dan Burgess felt drawn to public policy and the public sector. That’s when he enrolled in the Master of Public Administration and completed his degree in 2011. He is now the Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Staff at the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.

This is Dan’s Northeastern story…

“I was born and raised in Maine and grew up in a rural town on a small dairy farm. With acres of land to explore, it was an idyllic upbringing. But it was also built on the backbone of hard work and economic uncertainty. Growing up I learned firsthand about entrepreneurial spirit, the value of helping neighbors and building a strong community, and I gained a love for the outdoors as we were taught to ‘leave things better than we found them.’”

My Path
Why Public Administration?

Dan stepped outside of his office at the State Capitol Building to talk about his experiences studying at the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and how his studies apply to his work as the former Legislative Director of Energy at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Dan is currently Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Staff at the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.

“With a desire to move my career toward public service, Northeastern was a great fit. The program provided flexibility, experienced professors, and it allowed me to connect with, and learn directly from, public administrators in the Boston area.”

Transformative Coursework

For Dan, taking PPUA 6507 “Institutional Leadership and the Public Manager” with former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis was a transformative experience. He says he still uses the lessons he learned in his day-to-day work.

“I was lucky to have him as a mentor while at Northeastern and afterwards. I still talk with my classmates about how that course helped form our way of thinking in our current roles as public managers.”

Dan Burgees speaking at a solar ribbon cutting ceremony. Courtesy Photo
Research

While at Northeastern, Dan focused his work on issues related to energy and the environment. He researched federal agriculture policies, clean energy programs, and worked with public managers on issues related to sustainability and community engagement.

“Each of these experiences allowed me to practice and hone skills that have made me a better public servant today. Working directly with and having access to policy makers allowed me to gain real world experience so that I was more prepared when I entered the public sector.”

Degree in Motion

Since graduating with a Master of Public Administration in 2011, Dan has worked as the Legislative Director for Energy at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and at the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) first as a Clean Energy Fellow and then as Deputy Commissioner and Acting Commissioner. He is now the Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Staff at DOER.

“Massachusetts has led the country in energy efficiency for six years in a row, has a thriving renewable energy industry, and has aggressive goals focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change.”

Civic Engagement in Boston

Dan has been a part of several campaigns over the years and he strives to be an active member of his community.

Below he discusses some of the community organizations he supports and the work they do.

Photo Credit: Mary Knox Merrill

“When I first moved to the area, Boston Cares was a great resource for me to connect with nonprofit organizations that were looking for volunteers, and I went through their year-long Civic Leadership Institute program. Now, I try to support organizations like Community Servings, which provides meals to those that are critically ill; Science Club for Girls, which provides STEM opportunities for girls from underrepresented communities; and the United Teen Equality Center, which works with proven-risk youth to trade violence and poverty for social and economic success.”

Photo Credit: Eric Winter/Northeastern University
Next Steps

Dan is committed to continue working in public service, and to acquire new skills and learn about different issues every day.

“I’ve been fortunate to be able to work on policy issues I am passionate about. I am proud to have had success in these efforts, including working collaboratively with those who may have diverse interests or political affiliations. I’m committed to continuing to work on policies that will ensure a better future for the next generations, particularly related to clean energy and climate change.”

This was Dan's Northeastern Pathway... Where will yours lead?
Photo Credit: Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University