Vickie Remoe Institute of Digital Communications

Sierra Leoneans in the DMV: The Renewable Energy Entreprenuer

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Sierra Leoneans in the DMV #SaloneDMV is a digital Make Sierra Leone Famous campaign. #SaloneDMV amplifies leaders, entrepreneurs, and professionals in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV), also known as the heart of the Sierra Leonean community in the United States. Meet Conrad Cole, Renewable Energy Entrepreneur in the DMV.

Briefly introduce yourself and your background.

Conrad Cole: Born in Freetown, moved to the US in 97, attended high school in Palm Harbor, Florida. Did undergraduate studies at the University of Central Florida, then graduate studies at the University of Florida all in Mechanical Engineering. Have not yet returned to Sierra Leone since I first left but hope to change that in the near future as multiple family members have repatriated permanently. I moved to Maryland about a year ago.

Please share your professional or entrepreneurial journey.  

Conrad Cole: I have always been passionate about renewable energy and knew that it would play a pivotal role in virtually all dimensions of society since my high school days. During my graduate studies, I realized I did not want to make a career out of working for others. This mindset, along with the timely, global-scale renewable energy transition led me to pursue entrepreneurship. Currently, only 23% of the population in Sierra Leone has access to electricity, with the abundance of renewable energy resources available, there’s no reason this figure should persist. Access to reliable and affordable electricity is a fundamental pillar of society which will catalyze growth in virtually every other sector.

What keeps you going when times get tough?

 Conrad: My faith in God, firm belief in the inevitable manifestation of my vision, and the tangible impact it will have on human lives and the quality of society at the micro and macro-scales. The experience of obstacles I have already overcome during my path thus far equips me with the courage to persevere and face future challenges with a resolute mind and diverse skill-set.

How do you stay connected to your Sierra Leonean roots while living in the DMV area?Conrad: Church and family friends.

What impact or contributions do you hope to make Sierra Leoneans in the DMV community or beyond? 

Conrad: I am highly committed to Sierra Leone’s technological and economic advancement with the prioritization of renewable energy and sustainability. I have previously collaborated with small businesses to plan and implement renewable energy development and implementation projects funded by the U.S. Dept. of Energy. I endeavor to leverage those experiences and my expertise toward the deployment of clean energy and “smart” or digital technology infrastructure projects on the continent.

What do you love the most about being with Sierra Leoneans in the DMV?

Conrad: The ethnic diversity and intellectual capacity within the region.

What advice would you give to other Sierra Leonean professionals, entrepreneurs, or community leaders in the DMV area?

Conrad: Set specific short-term and medium-term objectives, but also stay guided by your larger mission and core values when difficulties arise. Carve out your own niche and stay immersed within it, do not get distracted.

What new project, initiative, or goal are you working on that you would like to highlight to others in the DMV?

Conrad: Increasing the number of Sierra Leonean engineers, scientists, and technical professionals who are also well connected to the culture and equipped to make an impact back home. 

How can we strengthen the Sierra Leonean community in the DMV area?

Conrad: Establishing a strong business community and supporting our business owners.

What is your favorite Sierra Leonean-owned business or brand in the DMV? 

Conrad: Sweet Sweet Kitchen, Silver Spring, prime location.

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Are you a Sierra Leonean in the DMV? Join the community on July 6, for Drizilik Live in Concert at Howard Theatre in DC on July 6. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS TO THE BIGGEST NIGHT FOR SIERRA LEONE AFROBEATS MUSIC IN THE DMV. 



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