With 35 years of experience under his belt, Knobloch has worked on all sides of the political and policy spectrum. Before joining DOE in June, he had been president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a science-advocacy nonprofit based in Cambridge, Mass., since 2004. He has also worked on Capitol Hill as legislative director for then-Sen. Timothy Wirth, D-Colo., and legislative assistant and press secretary for the late Rep. Ted Weiss, D-N.Y. The 56-year-old Knobloch (pronounced NOB-lock) was drawn to the job by Obama's ambitious goals to combat climate change. "I cannot imagine a moment in history when we have had a window where the Department of Energy's mission has been more important," Knobloch said of the department's plans to toughen energy-efficiency standards and innovate ways to burn fossil fuels more cleanly. His job is more than that, though. "It is a challenge for anybody in one of these positions to help everyone stay focused on the big pieces so we can actually achieve results while also making sure we're effectively managing the other tiers," he said. Knobloch, a Boston-area native, earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) College of Arts and Sciences in 1978 and a master's in public administration at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in 1993 with a focus on natural-resource economics and environmental regulations.