Chris
Diehl

Partner & Cofounder, The Data Guild

Chris is a data scientist and systems designer with a passion for integrating age-old wisdom with modern science and technology to empower individuals and communities. After spending nearly a decade in the U.S. national security community following 9/11, he left more traditional pathways of government-oriented service to explore other possibilities for effecting positive change. In 2013, he cofounded The Data Guild to build a network of passionate scientists, engineers, designers, and entrepreneurs dedicated to tackling the pressing challenges of our time. The Data Guild brings together diverse product teams to develop impactful solutions in domains such as healthcare, clean energy, and the life sciences.

Most recently, Chris has focused more deeply on the existential threats of climate change and nuclear weapons, seeking to understand how these largely invisible threats can be made more visible at community scale. Through his time spent in Navajo communities in the Four Corners region, the intersectionality of these issues has become increasingly clear, driving new ideas for collaborative initiatives to address the legacy of uranium mining and other extractive industries that continue to roil the landscape and communities there. His aim is to collaboratively explore how we integrate traditional indigenous wisdom with insights from modern science and technology—merging science with the sacred. Chris holds a PhD in electrical and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

I am most excited to work on projects that… are generative in nature, aiding disadvantaged communities in building economic and political power. The nuclear weapons complex, along with the broader military-industrial complex, has a vast economic impact on this country and its transformation will not occur through moral objections alone.

I am looking for partners that can help me… explore and envision pathways to restoring contaminated environments while battling climate change and creating local regenerative economies. I’m interested in connecting with environmental scientists leveraging remote sensing to identify carbon capture opportunities, radiation health experts who understand how to assess hidden environmental threats and leverage sensor networks to detect them, finance experts who are creating novel investment vehicles for environmental stewardship and restoration, graphic designers who are exploring virtual reality for new modes of storytelling, and data scientists and machine learning experts who are skilled in processing geospatial data.

A moment when I felt most inspired in my work was… discussing the ecological challenges before us with Navajo elders, with wisdom from their age-old culture reminding us all what we’ve forgotten in the modern context.

Innovations in my field that I am most excited to work on… include advancing the state of the art in community-scale environmental sensor networks, novel financial instruments for investing in environmental restoration, and carbon-negative bioremediation techniques.

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