Denial: The Dad That Wanted to Save the World

About This Episode


Dave Hallquist, CEO of a Vermont electric utility, is dedicated to addressing the way electricity use in America contributes to climate change. But his mission is balanced with the utility’s charge to provide affordable and reliable service. For Dave, increasing the efficiency of the grid is the only meaningful route to merging these priorities.

He implements one of the country’s first "smart" grids, decreasing outages, increasing capacity for renewable sources and building a national reputation as an energy pioneer. But resistance comes in many forms. As Dave struggles to build the kind of transparent company whose honest approach can get stakeholders to accept the realities of how we generate and deliver electricity, he realizes he must apply that same transparency to his personal life and reveals to his son a lifelong secret. Dave Hallquist is a woman inside.

Derek, who has been filming his father Dave, must face facts that feel far more immediate than the melting of the polar ice caps. And denial emerges as a common theme linking all of these issues. Ultimately, the personal and the societal come together as Derek learns that his father, newly named Christine, is still indeed his father – and that Christine’s unique perspective as the first American transgender CEO to transition in office, may be just what the limiting, binary worldview on energy and the environment needs.