Heroes of the 21st Century is produced by veteran storyteller James Rea. For nearly 25 years, James has worked at creating engaging stories based on the work of chemists, engineers, policymakers, sustainability pioneers, and other experts. Indeed, “Heroes…” grew out of James’s deep appreciation for these people, and his desire to illuminate their work in ways that would inspire others.
James began his career in 1996 when he took on a communications role for the US EPA’s Design for the Environment Program. He helped craft messages about cleaner technologies, working to engage audiences who came to the information with healthy doses of skepticism.
His time at the EPA opened James’s eyes to the amazing work that was happening in the realm of sustainability. Yet it also left him frustrated that more of these innovations weren’t reaching the eyes and ears of the media, lawmakers, business leaders, or the public at large.
In 1998 James left the EPA to bring the stories of sustainability to a wider audience as an independent reporter and producer for WAMU 88.5 FM, one of Washington, DC’s National Public Radio member stations.
In 2001 James founded the multimedia web production company SiteStories, shifting his storytelling focus from radio to the internet. Early clients included the American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry Institute (GCI). At GCI, James helped former EPA colleague Paul Anastas spread the word about green chemistry and green engineering. James later followed Dr. Anastas to Yale to work on communications for the Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering at Yale.
As he crafted messages for EPA, NPR, GCI, Yale and others, James consistently saw how hard it was for experts to communicate their work clearly. In 2011 he launched a communications coaching business, Experts/Clearly, to help them overcome this challenge.
Since 2015, James has also had the great pleasure of serving as a workshop instructor for the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.