Sustainability, resilience, environmental responsibility, community, future preparation, and smart solutions. Buzzwords? No. These are words of action and purpose that are shaping AT&T’s commitment to support climate resilience and push for climate justice. What does it take? A strategy to reduce business impacts caused by climate change and develop an understanding of how this will impact our network in the future so we can keep people safe and connected.

How we are building climate resilience

Taking on the Challenge

Now ask yourself the big questions – who is ready to take on the challenge and where will they find the answers? We know it’s not a job one person or one organization can solve alone. It takes collaboration – something we have found working with data directly from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and passionate, driven people like Chris Holle – an Engineer in our Technology Development Program.

When you get a chance to speak with someone who is excited about what they’re doing, the energy is contagious. Meet Chris and you’ll get a taste of what happens when you combine a computer scientist and an environmental champion with the tools and ingenuity to get things done.

Growing up on a ranch in Texas and attending Baylor University to study computer science, Chris found a match for himself in our Technology Development Program (TDP). After attending a webinar that brought him face-to-face with our work on climate resilience and commitment to carbon neutrality at AT&T, Chris had the proverbial light bulb moment. With his strong footing in geosciences and his environmental research background, he could see himself in the work being done, and he was hooked! “I instantly knew I was going to see what this is all about. I didn’t know how to get involved with this team, but I was going to reach out to everyone in my network and find a way to get in contact with someone on the team to make this my next assignment in the program.” He found his way to Shannon Caroll, a key leader in our Corporate Social Responsibility space, and got himself invited to participate and have a voice in the conversation.

Pursuing his Passion

“I’m very passionate about the environment, about climate change and about all things earth. My passion led me to find and join the team.”

TDP prepared him to pursue this passion with their model of expecting participation within the business, building team culture and taking on project-based leadership roles. Chris had a chance to pitch his ideas, competing with peers and growing his confidence in the space by challenging expected thinking and working with the bright minds and key leaders the program offers. “Being introduced to this culture, how welcoming the AT&T community is and how much they wanted to work with people, gave me the drive to keep going forward.” Next step? Do something bigger.

Enter the Climate Resilience Project. “I am primarily trying to build intuition around climate data.” Working with data produced by Argonne, AT&T data scientists work with hyper-localized, climate related extreme weather modeling to create real action plans to protect impacted communities.  “We’re not climate scientists at AT&T, we need a way to convert climate data and climate science speak into real, actionable data we can integrate into our systems. Essentially creating business ready datasets so as a company we can integrate climate data and risk seamlessly into current workflows.” Translating this large scale climate data has led to extraordinary discoveries visualized via our Climate Change Analysis Tool, contextualizing long term tracking of climate events to see where we can ensure network resiliency.

Pushing Towards a Better Future

“There are so many possibilities, when you see people experiencing extreme weather events, they need to stay in communication with people who can help them.”

By taking into consideration years of data, mapped and modeled, we can get true insights into the potential impacts of disasters like hurricanes, floods and wildfires in geographically specific areas. We can now bolster network resilience based on this knowledge and seek key opportunities for better decision making around preparation. Where we need sand bags or batteries in cell towers, for example. We can help customers – both individuals and businesses – stay connected and ready.

“Being an environmental champion, I’m connected to a group of people who help ignite my passion even more. I honestly never expected to be a part of a project this large and this impactful so early on in my career. It has given me so much opportunity to grow in the environmental space, getting to talk to climate scientists every week, there is no way you’re not going to be learning new things every time. I’m building up all this intuition on the climate data we have, and I love it.”

AT&T is pushing towards a better future, protecting the environment, and helping to embolden our communities with the knowledge and tools to prepare for the future.

When you focus on what matters most, it can lead to incredible results.

Learn more about our Technology Development Program