Meet Our Team: Sheldon Husselmann
Hello from Hyphen
Our ‘Hello from Hyphen’ series is back for its second interview, this time with Sheldon Husselmann, our senior project developer in environmental planning and management.
Covering all things environment, Sheldon’s role involves guiding Hyphen’s ESIA process and reviewing all outputs from that process at various stages of the project, as well as stakeholder engagement and project management.
1. Can you tell us about your role at Hyphen and what you do day to day?
I’m responsible for the environment workstream, which currently consists of three major components:
Firstly, I oversee the drafting of the environmental and social screening report, which Hyphen intends to share with Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) as part of the engagements to secure finance for the project.
Secondly, I’m the primary contact between the Hyphen project development team and our environmental consultants, SLR, who are carrying out the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) process, which is scheduled to start before the end of the year. I oversee the key deliverables associated with the ESIA process, for example screening, scoping, stakeholder engagement, impact assessment and report review. I am also responsible for ensuring these are compliant with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) performance standards, among other DFI standards. I also present the findings of our work to various local and international stakeholders.
And finally, I’m managing the planning and installation of ten meteorological masts, part of an important wind measurement campaign that will support the development of wind facilities. Working closely with our contractor, I ensure that the key milestones associated with installing the masts are met according to an agreed timeline and budget.
2. What was your first ever job?
I started my working career as an environmental assessment practitioner. Between 2011 and 2014, the regulations guiding environmental impact assessments had only just been put in place and there was a significant shift in the local practice of environmental impact assessments. The practice has since matured, in part with the growth and activity of the Environmental Assessment Practitioner’s Association of Namibia (EAPAN – www.eapan.org). I joined in its founding year in 2012 and have been actively involved ever since.
3. What do you enjoy most about your job?
The Hyphen project is so unique – really, it’s the first of its kind. Being involved in a pioneering project has given me the opportunity to collaborate with different stakeholders to come up with innovative sustainable solutions that will transform so many lives.
4. What advice would you give to someone considering a career in renewable energy?
Find the overlap between what you are passionate about and some significant aspect of the renewable energy sector, and spend your time building and growing your social network to gain knowledge and experience in that space. In other words, follow your passion and the career growth should follow.
5. Can you share an interesting fact about yourself?
I am among the first 50 Namibians to own an e-vehicle. The pre-owned e-vehicles market has grown significantly in the past few years, and I decided to join the movement in 2021.
6. When you’re not at work, what do you like to do?
I enjoy cycling, walking, hiking and gardening, especially with my wife and children.
7. What are you most excited about for the future of the renewable industry in Namibia?
I think at this relatively early point in time in the renewable energy sector, Namibia has a significant opportunity to set itself apart as one of the leading nations that others can look to and learn from when it comes to sustainability. If Namibia can achieve this, the possibilities in terms of positive, self-reinforcing socio-economic benefits are significant. It is exciting to be able to contribute toward that potential future.
8. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given during your career?
I think the best bit of advice I’ve had comes from Ecclesiastes in the Bible: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.”