Rohan Patel, 34
Special Assistant to the President, White House
Hometown: Goshen, IN
How did you get here?
Growing up as a first generation Indian-American in Goshen, Indiana, to a music major in college at Northwestern, to dreams of becoming a doctor in medical school, to Des Moines, Iowa where I caught on with the President’s campaign in December of 2006 and haven’t stopped working for him since. Seven states in the 2008 primary, the inaugural committee, Senior Advisor at the Department of Agriculture, Associate Director of the Council on Environmental Quality, and now here.
Who or what has been the greatest influence on your career?
My colleagues in Iowa during the 2007-08 caucus. So many of my colleagues and bosses in Iowa have become close friends and have influenced my career, but particularly Paul Tewes (State Director) and Emily Parcell (Political Director) – Emily gave me my first job in politics for the Iowa Senate Democrats, and Paul instilled some very basic political ethics in our entire staff – Respect, Empower, Include.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment during the Obama administration?
I’ve had a small part in putting together the substance and engagement on the President’s Climate Action Plan – the most comprehensive climate plan implemented by any government, which has already saved consumers money through energy efficiency and renewable energy, reduced our nation’s reliance on the dirtiest forms of energy while improving air quality, helped prepare our communities for the impacts of climate change like floods, droughts, and forest fires, and leveraged these gains to make huge progress internationally.
Can you describe your time working for the Obama administration in 10 words?
From hope to progress – very hard work, but thrilling.
Complete the sentence: “When I’m not working, I…”
am spending time with my beautiful wife, Niru, who is much smarter than me and a Pulmonologist at Johns Hopkins, and our two daughters, Leela (3) and Anusha (5 months).