Mohamad El Hariri, PhD, or Moe, is CEL’s Data Scientist. He spends his days training CEL’s models so that they are able to control classroom temperatures. This in turn reduces emissions and energy bills while keeping students and teachers comfortable. Having begun his career as a professor and an expert in AI, Moe has established himself as someone willing to dive headfirst into new fields with confidence and accountability. Now, he’s also an expert in buildings and HVAC who is thriving in the fast-paced startup world.
This desire to explore new subjects and evolve his knowledge base is nothing new for Moe. Growing up, he spent hours taking apart his remote-controlled cars to see what was inside the tiny motors. Many of those motors broke. Yet that innate curiosity led to a willingness to take risks in order to learn something new. As Moe puts it, “I have always tested my creative energies in technology.” Eventually, his interest in engineering, technology, and AI led him to CEL, where he is “innovating at the forefront of moving AI control from academic publications to the real world.”
When Moe met CEO Tanya and first learned about CEL, he immediately loved company’s culture and work environment. Having previously worked as a professor at the Colorado School of Mines, Moe came from a less structured academic environment, so the processes and structure of a small startup were a shift for him. But CEL supported his drive for growth and gave him what he needed to succeed in his transition. “That's where employee empowerment came into play. They provided resources, training videos, and one-on-one coaching with senior staff, including engineers and operations staff. They helped me figure out how to get into this world and get into the cadence that I have now.”
CEL’s values framework of Focus, Accountability, Courage, Transparency, and Sharing (FACTS) motivates Moe. He loves that the team’s focus on transparency allows him to easily find the information and support he needs and clearly communicate his work to his colleagues. This leads to expedited processes and minimal errors. Similarly, the value of accountability means that team members learn from their mistakes without judgment. Moe’s teammates would agree that this is a strong suit of his, consistently praising his accountability in weekly meetings. These values came naturally to the team. As Moe says, “The FACTS were there before we started enforcing them.”
Moe’s desire to continue learning and evolving has led him down a path he’s proud of. He’s worked on first-of-their-kind projects, seen customers through complex processes with patience and confidence, and developed an entirely new area of expertise. He praises Tanya’s courage in starting this company, saying “It’s rare to find someone taking such a risk to prove a very new and novel concept; it’s very high-risk, high-reward.” Now that CEL has proof of concept, he is excited to help build on its exciting results. As CEL seeks to hire new team members, he hopes to find colleagues who add value to the team, are invested in the mission, and are excited to work in a fast-paced startup culture. It’s a culture, he says, that “makes you excited to wake up and start your day.”
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