Those who follow national energy issues are likely to come across the market-oriented handiwork of Travis Fisher, a former JLF intern (and co-author of a 2005 report on Asheville’s struggling convention center) who now works at the Institute for Energy Research. The Pope Foundation profiles Fisher this week.

He sees the policy area of energy as a particularly difficult one to navigate as an advocate of free-markets.

“It seems conventional wisdom that government should get more involved in energy,” he said. “It’s counter intuitive to argue that government should get out of energy. But I like the challenge.”

“Most people in the free-market movement want to work themselves out of a job — to get to the point where you don’t have to remind people that markets are good,” Travis said. “I can understand that feeling, but it’s probably never going to happen. I’m OK with that. I want to keep working hard.”

For the future, Travis wants to create a body of scholarly work in the free-market energy field and perhaps write books. In the end, he wants to establish a career based on honesty.

North Carolina’s motto is his favorite of all the 50 states: “To be, rather than to seem.”

“I really value that — honesty,” Travis said.

To him, being an advocate for free-markets in the energy sphere is about keeping an open mind.

“As economist Julian Simon would say, our only limit to what we can produce with our given resources is our imagination,” Travis said. “Some industries seem profitable from the outside, but internally they’re propped up by subsidies, mandates, and free loans. In a free market, only pursuits that are genuinely valuable to people will bear fruit. That’s the ideal I’m fighting for.”