Mary Ashe Yamada is known as ‘the light lady’ in Navigant’s Washington, D.C. office. As an associate director in the Energy practice, she is passionate about LED lighting and regularly works on projects designed to support the Department of Energy’s Solid-State Lighting Program.

I’ve never had anyone say ‘no’ to an idea I’ve had. If you have an idea for something that would be beneficial to your career or to the surrounding community, people at Navigant let you take the ball and run with it.


Mary joined Navigant after graduating with a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Her responsibilities vary from day-to-day, but the majority of her time is spent writing, researching and corresponding with colleagues and clients. She is also actively involved in organizing market studies and sorting through forecast analyses of energy efficiency best practices.


Since her first day, Mary has been impressed by the autonomy given to her by upper management and trust instilled to pursue endeavors, even outside of work. When she became interested in teaching school children about energy efficiency in the D.C. area and asked her managing director for monetary support from the firm to build a bike generator, he agreed without hesitation. She went on to build the generator and presented it to local schools. She was even featured on a regional Fox News station.

Mary’s extra-curricular activities also include participating on Navigant’s soccer and softball teams and in an internal talent competition titled Navigant’s Got Talent. For the talent competition, she rallied her colleagues to exhibit their respective talents on camera, bringing the whole Washington D.C. Energy Efficiency team together. The group won and spent part of the prize money on a bowling party and the rest on helping to revitalize a local playground.


Mary was a recipient of the Navigant Shared Values Leadership Award – a recognition that is only bestowed upon a few outstanding professionals each quarter through nominations from peers and managers. She also often receives verbal praise from her superiors for her hard work and dedication to the firm.


Just as her manager agreed to let her build a bike generator, he also approved her request to learn more about LED lighting at the university, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Navigant’s support and commitment to professional development has enabled Mary to become the lighting expert she is today.

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