Director of Government Relations & Public Policy for Ameresco, Inc.
A graduate of Admiral Farragut Academy in 2002, Ashley Patterson has six years of service at AFA enrolled as a boarding cadet during 7th through 12th grades. During her senior year, she served as the Battalion Commander. Upon graduating Farragut, she attended Boston University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations. By late 2006, Ashley earned a Master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism. Since college, Ashley has lived in Washington, D.C. and has worked in various capacities on Capitol Hill.Currently, she is the Director of Government Relations & Public Policy for Ameresco, Inc., a leading publicly-traded Energy Service Company in North America specializing in energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions. Based in Washington, D.C., Ashley is responsible for directing Ameresco’s strategic initiatives related to federal and state energy policy. She represents the company on matters before Congress, the Administration, and state and federal agencies, and she is responsible for legislative and regulatory outreach and the development of public policy in support of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Ashley speaks at Class of 2013 commencement
“Strive for greatness in your choices. Strive for greatness in all things you do, big and small. And don’t stop aiming for the moon.”
By Ashley Patterson Beaty, Class of 2002
Participating in this year’s graduation was an 11 year bookend to my Farragut graduation in 2002. In a little over a decade, life had unfolded—answering a lot of questions I had when graduating at 18.
Now 29, I returned to campus this May to honor the Class of 2013 at their graduation.
It was deeply special, a closing ceremony of sorts, to the 17 years my family has been enrolled at Farragut. This year, my nephew Zachary was graduating with a Navy ROTC Scholarship after 13 years of service beginning with kindergarten. My fellow ’02 alums may recall us reading to him and his classmates in the elementary school when we were seniors. They used to take our anchor insignias and pin them to their shirts—now they were graduating!
The Class of 2013 is one of the most diverse groups of Farragut cadets I’ve seen. From Seoul, South Korea, to Nantucket, Massachusetts, fluent in languages such as Mandarin, Russian and Spanish, these kids represent the interconnectedness of our modern day society and global economy.
They’re also impressively connected to each other as a senior class. They seem genuinely invested in their friendships and cheered each other on during graduation weekend. During their final parade, they “fell in” from their respective posts into a senior platoon for one final march followed by hugs, tears, and total jubilation. A large group of seniors even grabbed hands and leaped into the air from the football field for a photo. I’m sure they’ll look back at that smiling.
Their award ceremony was filled with constant applause in the gymnasium for one another. Each awardee high-fived their row of classmates upon returning to their seat like teammates do after a game. It was genuinely uplifting to be at Farragut during such a special time in these graduates lives.
I am now Facebook friends with many of these newly-minted grads and have seen the way they stay in touch with each other as they’ve dispersed to college this fall.
This summer, I learned that one of the graduates was a very talented artist and he has since painted for me and my husband a large-scale oil on canvas of George Washington. This painting now hangs in our living room in Washington, D.C. (Thank you, Brandon Smith)
It’s the people, I find, that make Farragut most special. The timeless professors and administrative staff who were there when I started in the mid-nineties and who are still there today… the alums I see at homecomings or in Downtown St. Pete when I visit Florida in the fall…the friends I met during seventh grade that I still stay in touch with, and now the new Farragut friends I’ve made. This is the good stuff in life.
My graduation remarks ultimately landed on one day in history some 52 years ago—a speech that President John F. Kennedy made before Congress on May 25, 1961. “We go into space because whatever mankind must undertake, free men must fully share.” This is what Kennedy announced before a Joint Session of Congress that May in 1961 when he made a historic and ambitious commitment to put a man on the moon. “For while we cannot guarantee that we shall one day be first, we can guarantee that any failure to make this effort will make us last,” Kennedy said. Getting to the moon during the space race represented a national greatness. It was a celestial journey for mankind and for our country, and an awesome feat that still lives on.
And so I closed in my remarks to the Class of 2013 some 52 years to the day of Kennedy’s great speech to go to the moon by telling them to “strive for greatness in your choices. Strive for greatness in all things you do, big and small. And don’t stop aiming for the moon.” — And that they will.