NASEO recently welcomed a new Affiliate member: Esper, a technology company that promotes accountability, data-driven decision making, and oversight in the regulatory process. Read on to get to know Maleka Momand, Esper’s Chief Executive Officer bringing the power of data to the world of energy and environmental policy and regulation.
Source: Esper - Maleka Momand, Chief Executive Officer, Esper
Sandy Fazeli, NASEO: First off, Maleka, welcome to NASEO's Affiliates program. Let's start by getting to know you and Esper a little more closely. Mind sharing a few words about yourself and your background?
Maleka Momand, Esper: Thanks, we’re excited to join NASEO. I lead a regulatory technology company called Esper. I originally ran a non-profit, Argive, focused on researching best practices in regulatory development, where I learned firsthand the complexity and scope of regulation that agencies work on every day, especially in the energy and environment industry. After witnessing government agencies face the same challenges over and over again, I started Esper with my co-founder Joe Lonsdale (Palantir) to create a coordinated operating system for agencies to create, manage, and update regulatory policy from a single source of truth. Our mission is to help regulators focus on policy, not paperwork.
SF: Whatpolicy areas is Esper currently active in? And what is the value proposition for energy and environmental policymakers?
MM: Esper works with agencies across a number of areas, including energy and environment agencies. We have a unique ontology-based data approach, where we help regulators map their policies against federal and state regulations to identify areas of similarity, difference, and potential reciprocity. We actually help agencies measure their administrative code “health” by assigning it scores based on metrics they define. For example, have an agency’s policies been updated in the last 20 years? Do they conflict with federal policy? Agencies love this metric-based approach and it helps them track the progress they are making over time.
SF: I think many NASEO members would agree that the regulatory and policymaking process can be quite complex. How exactly does Esper make sense of the various moving parts?
MM: Great question! The typical rulemaking can take anywhere from six months to two years, with many steps in between. We’ve built a sophisticated workflow tool that automatically calculates deadlines, routes policies through different levels of approvals, and ultimately ensures that everything is done on time and by the right people. So, for example, if a regulation needs to be statutorily effective by the end of April 2022, Esper will build a work backwards plan for the steps an agency needs to follow in order to meet that mandated goal.
We believe that tackling the new frontier of environmental and energy policy changes requires a high degree of coordination and information sharing. Esper is a vehicle that easily facilitates knowledge transfer and supports alignment across agencies on policy goals.
SF: Moving forward, we expect there may be policy activity aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions and deploying clean energy at all levels of government – local, state, federal, and even internationally. Can Esper be a tool as states navigate this multi-layered new normal?
MM: Absolutely, I alluded to it earlier, but we’ve invested an enormous amount of energy (no pun intended) into building a robust database that helps map the policy landscape for regulators. Policymakers need to quickly assess what policies already exist, how they interplay with other jurisdictions, and what opportunities there are for improvement. Esper does all of this, and quickly, too! It’s awesome to work with a new client and have them see immediate value from comparing their policies to other jurisdictions and developing strategies for how they can strengthen their own policy frameworks to align with broader goals.
SF: In addition to the products and services NASEO’s Affiliates offer, many State and Territory Energy Offices also appreciate the expertise that they bring to the table. What unique skillsets, areas of expertise, and talents should NASEO staff and members rely on Esper for?
MM: Rich regulatory data, intimate knowledge of the regulatory process, and reliable workflow infrastructure are our unique differentiators. By joining NASEO, we hope to serve members by being a dependable source of information and technology and guidance around best practices for regulatory management as agencies advance their energy policy agendas into the new decade.
Esper is the newest addition to NASEO’s 50+ Affiliate members, a coalition of businesses, trade associations, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions dedicated to deepening their understanding of state energy policy and strengthening connections with the State and Territory Energy Offices. Interviews like enable Affiliates to share information about their work, priorities, products, and services with other NASEO members, but does not represent a formal endorsement by NASEO. To be included, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.