A Former Intern Brightens Our Day

September 14th, 2010

The Watercooler just got an update from Anay Shah, who interned with POGO back in 2003:

Hi POGO Alums & Family,

It’s been quite a while but once you’ve been inducted, POGO rarely strays far from the heart. With the sad news of Beth, I began thinking about how much my time at POGO meant to me and the lifelong relationships I built. I was an Everett Intern with POGO back in 2003 and learned that work could be meaningful, interesting AND fun. As everyone on the Watercooler knows, POGO is quite a magical place.

After interning at POGO I graduated from Wesleyan University and went to work in international development for DAI and USAID. Last year I decided I needed to stop flying across the world writing strategies for multi-million dollar projects and get my hands dirty. I saw the limitations of donor-funded development and realized the power of the private sector to drive social change. With an interest in clean energy and a desire to learn about my heritage, I packed my bags for India.

I was fortunate to get a fellowship with D.light Design, a global social enterprise providing solar lighting solutions to people living without reliable access to electricity. Working for a startup and working to build a new brand and new concept (affordable solar power) to the hardest-to-reach (rural villages) and most price-sensitive customers in the world has been a roller coaster. I secretly came here looking for another POGO—where work is your passion and passion is your work. And providing light to unelectrified rural villages fits the bill. It’s an amazing mix of marketing, sales, distribution, education, and innovative business models—and I think we are making headway. For more on our challenge, see this new video by Seth Godin’s son:

The Double Bottom Line from Alex Godin on Vimeo.

By the way, saw that Omidyar Network is funding POGO—they have become our largest investor at D.light Design. Glad to see Omidyar is also supporting the best watchdogs ever!

Anay, in the back row with sunglasses, with his new friends:

As Long As You’re Happy, We’re Happy

May 15th, 2009

As I’ve said before, one of the great things about working at POGO is that great interns come into our lives for a couple of months. Then they leave us, but most of them stay in touch. Some former POGO interns contact us to let us know that they just got a great job or got married, or in this case, that they graduated from a college that none of us have ever heard of before.


It will probably be many years before we are graced with an intern who is more fun and has a bigger smile than Jessie Pittrizzi. And often, where you graduate from college doesn’t really matter, so if it’s an imaginary place in Jessie’s mind, that’s cool. (She clearly went to a lot of effort to make up the accompanying announcement.) 😉

— Keith Rutter

Old Intern Day

March 26th, 2009

Jill Carlson stopped by this morning. She’s back from teaching in Costa Rica for the past year and is in town visiting grad schools. And then Kelli Baldwin called this afternoon to check in. She’s entering a UNC program in the fall to prepare her for med school. Oh, and Caleb Rowe’s life is like Natural Lite. Don’t ask me, I don’t know what that means. Now if I only had an update on Bombadil and the Connecticut prison system.

— Keith Rutter

Nick and Mopeds: Oh My!

February 5th, 2009

POGO alum Nick Schwellenbach has been busy with graduate school, his new job and…with filming the online web series “Mopedlords,” slated to come out later this year. 

Instead of working on homework one Saturday afternoon last fall, Nick created the Mopedlords story.  It follows the trials and tribulations of a newcomer to a post-apocalyptic D.C., now known as New Columbia, which is ruled by moped gangs.  Chase Cruz gets caught between two warring factions of the most powerful gang in D.C., the Mount Pleasant Marauders (sounds like a Pee Wee football team, but OK, we’ll go with it–you dudes are the big bad Marauders).  Nick is making the film with Pablo Iglesias Maurer, Lucas Anderson, and other members of the DC Militia production collective (Sounds like…OK, we’ll go with it–you dudes are the big bad militia). 

Here’s the official trailer:


— Keith Rutter

Update from POGO Alum Chris Potter

December 4th, 2008

Chris Potter reports that he is generally enjoying his studies at Boston College Law School, although now that studying for finals currently consumes 25 hours of the average day, he is reconsidering the “generally enjoying” part.  He will more generally enjoy getting paid like an attorney when he graduates in May 2010.

In keeping with POGO’s ethos, Chris’s most recent internship was at the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office, helping to prosecute various corporations for unfair and deceptive trade practices, including a multimillion dollar lawsuit against Countrywide Mortgage for their role in the subprime lending debacle.  He sends this smarmy photo of himself with CT Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.  Chris regrets having forgotten to wear a suit to the photo-op, but takes comfort in the fact that he is the taller one.

— Keith Rutter

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Update from POGO Alum Becky Kleinman

December 3rd, 2008

Way back in 2004(!) I was a proud POGO intern.  To give a quick update: I graduated from Cornell in Winter ’05, and you wrote a wonderful recommendation that helped me get a job at MDRC, a program evaluation nonprofit that does rigorous efficacy studies of social programs.  I worked there until this August and then left for grad school.  I’m now at Berkeley getting a Masters in Public Policy so I can continue ensuring government (and non-government) programs work.  I’m actually considering going all the way and getting a Ph.D., but we’ll see.

I hope all is great in the POGO family.  There’s a bunch of folks in my program who might be interested in POGO.  I’ll spread the word…

— Becky Kleinman

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Attention POGO Hipsters!

November 19th, 2008

Bryan Rahija’s (I’d say he was one of my favorite interns, but then again, almost every POGO intern is my favorite) band Bombadil will be jammin’ at Iota in Arlington on Saturday, November 22nd, at 9:30 p.m.  Go check them out!  (That’s Bryan on guitar in the lower-right corner.)

This year alone, his band has played over 150 shows in 31 states.  Click below to watch a video of their trip out West.

— Keith Rutter

Update from POGO Alum Greg Williams

November 18th, 2008

I just heard from POGO Alum Greg Williams.  It turns out that he is doing the work of the Devil by helping Microsoft become a phone company.  In his spare time, he spies on U.S. Navy nuclear subs, having spotted what looked like an Ohio-class boat giving a DSRV a piggy-back ride.  (Greg asserts this is impossible since the last DSRV was retired some time ago, but a local retired Ohio skipper couldn’t come up with a better explanation.)

While he makes a living monkeying with computers, the mysteries of blogs have somehow escaped his understanding.  Fortunately, when they’re not busy training for the space program, his beautiful family (pictured here) keep him up to date with what he needs to do.

— Keith Rutter

P.S. Our Legal Department is requiring me to say that Greg does not really spy on nuclear submarines.  He was joking.  If Mr. Williams actually spied on nuclear submarines, POGO would not approve.  POGO does not endorse that kind of activity.  In any way.

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Todd Bowers Scores Again

November 13th, 2008

One of our best looking POGO Alums is Todd “Steel on Steel” Bowers.  (Check out the photo.  He’s so handsome even Bono wants to have his picture taken with Toddy.)  So it was no surprise to any of us at POGO that T-Bone would show up as the cover boy for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) in a recent article in the Washington Post.  (In the print version there are three pictures of him.  Plus, Bowers is on IAVA’s splash page too!).  POGO has been a big fan of IAVA (we actually played a very small role in their inception), and we’re so psyched about this incredibly flattering Post piece.

Congrats to Mr. Bowers, Paul Rieckoff, Vanessa Williamson, and the rest of the IAVA gang.  (Make sure you check out their new social networking website — it’s really cool.)  Keep up the great work!

— Keith Rutter

P.S. Our Legal Department is requiring me to say that Bono in no way endorses POGO.  He almost definitely doesn’t even know who POGO is.  I’m sure he’d like POGO if he did.  But, he doesn’t.  So Bono definitely doesn’t endorse POGO.  In any way.

Update from a Former POGO Intern

November 12th, 2008

We just received the greatest letter from POGO Alum Steven Loucel.  (I’d say Steve was my favorite POGO intern, but then again, almost every intern at POGO is my favorite.)  Steve wrote to thank us for helping him get his first job out of college.  Not only did we give him a reference, but Steve’s new boss was impressed with the work he did as an intern at POGO.  His employer told him he liked his “watchdog-mentality.”

Steve recently made a contribution to POGO, and was kind enough to send us some gourmet coffee, but keeping in touch with this letter of appreciation is truly priceless.

— Keith Rutter

P.S. If anybody has a recent picture of Steve to post on the Watercooler, please send it our way!

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