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  • Writer's pictureTobe Sheldon

Hal Hinkle: A Journey from Wall Street to Bamboo

Written by Daniel Oberhaus, the full story, " One Man’s Quest to Tackle Climate Change with Wine, Bamboo, and Neurobiology," is featured in Columbia Magazine.

Hal Hinkle at the beach

The year was 2004, and Hal Hinkle ’76BUS, ’13GSAS had decided to plant some trees. Millions of trees.

At fifty-one, Hinkle was winding down a successful career on Wall Street (twenty-two years at Goldman Sachs, then five running a global bond exchange), and he was trying to figure out how to spend his retirement. A lifelong environmentalist, he was captivated by the problem of climate change, an issue that seemed poised to become the defining challenge of the new millennium. Hinkle owned some property in Oregon, and launching an initiative to reforest the area seemed like a great way to give back to the local community while reducing America’s carbon footprint...

So opens the story of Hal Hinkle's journey from Wall Street to bamboo. In the article, Daniel Oberhaus weaves an inspiring tale of grit and epiphany. For the cliff notes scan below. For the real story click here.

Hal Hinkle's story is a captivating tale of transformation, from the high-paced world of Wall Street to the innovative frontiers of sustainable construction with BamCore. His journey, marked by significant epiphanies, reflects a deep commitment to environmentalism, a commitment that reshaped not just his career but also his approach to one of the most pressing challenges of our time: climate change.

In his early days, Hinkle was a figure of the financial world, spending over two decades at Goldman Sachs. His career was the epitome of success in the traditional sense, but beneath this corporate veneer lay an environmentalist's heart. His passion for nature, kindled during his upbringing in a modest Los Angeles neighborhood, stayed with him, quietly influencing his choices.

The turning point came after his Wall Street tenure. Hinkle, in what he thought was a retirement project, launched a "million-tree" initiative in Oregon. His plan to combat climate change through reforestation, however, faced a harsh reality check. A meeting with a Sierra Club scientist unveiled a crucial insight – trees grow too slowly to effectively counteract the rapidly escalating climate crisis. This moment was more than a setback; it was an awakening. Hinkle realized that to make a meaningful impact on climate change, it required more than just goodwill; it demanded strategic, impactful actions with swift and tangible results.

This epiphany set Hinkle on a new path, one that led him to explore various environmental ventures. His dedication to learning and understanding the intricacies of human decision-making in relation to environmental action took him back to academia. Yet, the true culmination of his journey was his encounter with BamCore, a company pioneering the use of timber bamboo for sustainable construction. Struck by the potential of bamboo to drastically reduce construction-related carbon emissions, Hinkle found his new calling. He saw in BamCore not just a business opportunity, but a chance to effect a genuine and significant change in the fight against climate change.

"Pioneering the green building revolution begins with the fastest-growing, strongest structural fiber known to man, timber bamboo. By leveraging rapidly renewable resources BamCore is at the forefront of construction innovation —uniquely tackling the critical challenge of simultaneously reducing both embodied and operational carbon emissions, without sacrificing one for the other. This approach stands as a formidable ally in the global fight against climate change."

Today, as CEO at BamCore, Hinkle stands at the intersection of innovation, sustainability, and business. His journey from the bustling floors of Goldman Sachs to the pioneering world of BamCore is a powerful reminder of how personal epiphanies can lead to global changes. BamCore is quickly becoming known as a pioneer in carbon-negative framing solutions for low-rise construction, but Hinkle will be quick to tell you that it is the speed of regrowth that counts. The faster a plant grows, the faster it is capturing CO2, and bamboo is the fastest-growing structural fiber on Earth.

For a comprehensive understanding of Hinkle's journey and BamCore's revolutionary work, click here to read the full article.


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