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2022 Solar Summit Speakers Bios
Jeremy Berke is a Program Manager at the Washington State Department of Commerce. He works within the Clean Energy Fund alongside subject matter experts to oversee the Grid Modernization (Grid Mod) program. Grid Mod invests in public-private partnerships advancing utility grid upgrades that can effectively integrate with renewable energy resources, is less dependent on fossil fuels and is more resilient under the threat of power outages. Grid Mod serves all of Washington’s communities, with a portfolio that reflects a growing list of partnerships amongst retail utilities and public organizations. Before joining Commerce, Jeremy led teams in the Clean Tech space designing and installing solar plus storage and microgrids for resiliency. Jeremy received a Master's Degree in Construction Management from the University of Washington with the support of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
|I am a junior at Redmond High School and the project manager for the Solar Neighborhood Challenge at Sustainability Ambassadors. As the project manager, I have developed a method for tracking solar potential and am developing an app to make the process easier for homeowners. I have coordinated and executed presentations and trainings at Sustainability Ambassadors, the Gates Foundation, and Solar Washington. Beyond Sustainability Ambassadors, I am heavily involved with Model United Nations. I am currently serving as the Vice President of the Redmond High Model United Nations Club and Secretary General of Washington International Model United Nations, a conference with a focus on sustainability and empowering the disabled. I am also passionate about public speaking and have won the state-champion title for this event at the Washington State HOSA competition.
|Stephanie Bostwick is a project manager in the Resilient Systems Design and Engineering Group within NREL's Energy Security and Resilience Center. Bostwick has worked closely with American Indian Tribes on resilience and energy sovereignty. She is interested in providing technical assistance to communities and organizations in support of resilience, energy efficiency, and integration of distributed renewable generation. She holds a BSAST in Nuclear Engineering Technology from Thomas Edison State University, and a BS and MS in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the University of Washington.
Aimee Boulanger serves as Executive Director for the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA). IRMA hosts the Standard for Responsible Mining, the globe’s most comprehensive and rigorous definition of environmental and social responsibility in mining, allowing mines at any level of current performance to engage and show improvement over time. IRMA is governed equally by nonprofit NGOs, labor organizations, and mining affected communities, working alongside private sector mining companies, investors and purchasers of mined materials. Aimee has worked on mining issues for 25 years, with substantial experience in directly affected communities. https://responsiblemining.net/
|Caballero, Mariah D.
Mariah Caballero is a Graduate Research Fellow at the Clean Energy Transition Institute (CETI) and Doctoral Student in Vanderbilt University’s Community Research and Action (CRA) program. Mariah provides research and analyses to CETI’s Community-Defined Decarbonization project. In addition, Mariah contributes research to the Drinking Water Justice Lab and serves a Graduate Research and Development Intern for Sandia National Laboratories. Having grown up in rural Eastern Washington, Mariah’s research interests include rural and Latinx community development, equitable water and energy systems, energy sovereignty, and environmental justice.
Founder & CEO, SunHedge · Working with clients across the globe, learning the skills and best strategies for solar development is paramount. Working with a host of stakeholders like attorneys, engineering firms, venture capital, private equity, and landowners has left significant lessons over the last two-plus decades. Often knowing what not to do is as important as what to do as you approach the development process.
|Director, Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment
Dr. Janette Freeman, sometimes called, "The solar panel recycling evangelist," is passionate about saving the landfill from the millions of solar panels which will be coming to end-of-life in the years ahead.
She is the Director of Business Development for FabTech Solar Solutions, which does solar panel refurbishing and recycling; giving panels a second life or a proper cremation, and organizing donations through their non-profit, EmPower the World.
Prior to working in renewables, she founded and grew non profit organizations as a visionary leader. She is the author of three books and has a Doctorate of Consciousness Studies.
|Distributed Energy Resource strategy at Seattle City Light
|Ikakoula, Corrina A.
|Corrina Ikakoula is a Tribal Account Executive for the Bonneville Power Administration. BPA is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Energy based in Portland, Oregon. In her position, Ikakoula serves as a tribal liaison for over 30 tribes located in western Washington, western Oregon and northern California. Ikakoula has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from BYU-Hawaii and Masters of Administration – Public Management from Northern Arizona University. Ikakoula is a citizen of the Navajo Nation (Diné). Her clans are Tsé Deeshgizhníí born for the Bilaganna with her maternal grandfather from the Tl’ízí Laní.
Jay Inslee is a fifth-generation Washingtonian who has lived and worked in urban and rural communities on both sides of the state. As a congressman, Inslee was known as a forward-thinking leader on clean energy and climate change. As governor, he has accelerated Washington state to forefront of climate action and is has embraced interstate partnerships to help the West Coast lead the world on climate and energy policy. Under Inslee, Washington state has passed leading policies to transition to 100% clean electricity, cap carbon pollution, electrify transportation, supercharge the clean energy workforce, and more.
Jay and Trudi are proud grandparents of four. Besides writing and illustrating books for his grandchildren and sketching scenes from around Washington, Jay is an avid cyclist, basketball fan, and pickleballer.
Josh Jacobs is vice president of Clean Energy Strategy for Puget Sound Energy. He brings together PSE’s resource planning function with teams working on implementation of Washington State’s Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) and PSE’s aspirational goal of being a Beyond Net Zero Carbon energy company by 2045. Josh joined PSE in 1998 and has held many roles at the company, including customer service, procurement, energy supply, and grid operations. He most recently served as director of Generation and Transmission Development, where he was responsible for leading PSE’s development of company-owned generation and transmission assets and optimizing transmission capacity. Josh is a graduate of Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He is married with three children and resides in Snohomish, Washington.
|Bob Kirchmeier is the senior grid modernization engineer for the WSU Energy Program. As a Professional Electrical Engineer with over 40 years in the field, Bob provides a wealth of expertise to the WSU renewable energy program area. In his most recent position prior to joining the Energy Program, Bob was the technical lead and project manager for the Washington State Clean Energy Fund with the state Dept. of Commerce. The primary focus of this effort was to assist those electric utilities, national labs and universities with the design criteria, permitting, procurement, installation, testing and evaluation of the technical and economic performance of energy storage assets deployed on utility distribution systems and behind-the-meter applications for resilient microgrids and numerous other use cases possible with these emerging technologies. Bob also provided technical and project management support for several other grid modernization, transactive energy and battery system R&D programs that required matching US DOE funds with Washington State Clean Energy Funds. Bob has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Seattle University.
|Jay's long time interest in solar energy led him to earn a Master’s Degree in Solar Energy Engineering in Sweden. Not only is it a cool technology harnessing free energy, it has great potential to have a lasting impact for the environment as well as having a positive impact on the social-economic statuses for developing countries and developing communities. Based in his native city of Spokane, he is currently working with PCI Renewables Inc. as a sales & design engineer and desires to see a greater implementation of renewables in our state.
|Andrew Lee has worked for Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) for over 11 years and is currently the SPU General Manager / Chief Executive Officer (GM/CEO). Andrew has spent his entire 23-year career working on water, wastewater, and stormwater issues, with 17 of those years in local government for Seattle, San Francisco, and Bellevue. Andrew is regionally and nationally recognized for his expertise in water/wastewater regulations, smart water technology, and asset management. He is committed to delivering high quality utility services, maintaining affordable rates, and partnering with and serving the community with a focus on environmental justice. He is also passionate about developing high performance organizations through an emphasis on shared leadership, employee engagement, continuous improvement and diversity/equity/inclusion. Andrew has a bachelor’s and master’s degree, both from Stanford University.
|Solar Design Consultant, A&R Solar in the session Ways to Go Solar
|Chris has been an industrial professional for over 30 years starting his career in Germany as a Software Architect for Siemens. In 1996 he moved to Redmond to manage the relationship between Siemens and Microsoft, then joining Microsoft as a manager for Windows Embedded. He started his own company focusing on the industrial IoT in 2009. He is very passionate about zero carbon and climate improvement with his goal to have his home carbon neutral by 2025. Last year he installed a large Solar System with battery backup on his home and was stunned by the fact how little these systems are integrated with other energy management systems. His hope is to not only extend the usage of Solar in Washington by working with partners and the legislative but also drive innovation and integration of Solar with other energy production, storage, distribution, and consumption systems.
|For the past several years, Alex, with Brown & Brown insurance, has worked alongside the construction community with insurance services. Being presented with a few unique opportunities to benefit members of the renewable energy community, he helped to create a Renewable Energy Team where he specifically focuses on solar. His local company now works with almost every facet of the renewable energy industry with the goal to connect different parties together and help grow the industry! Making connections and furthering the industry is critical.
|Jack is a Certified Renewable Energy Professional with the Association of Energy Engineers, and serves as President of the Board of Directors for Solar Washington. Working as the Director of Clean Energy Solutions with Säzän Environmental Services (SES), Jack specializes in net zero energy consulting services for high performance buildings, which includes renewable energy, battery storage and microgrid project development. With a focus on energy resiliency for tribal and indigenous communities, Jack is committed to helping the industry become free of fossil fuels. He would like to help Solar Washington engage new audiences on behalf of Washington State's rapidly changing solar industry.
|Aubrey Newton is the Director for the Northwest Laborers Employers Cooperation and
Education Trust (LECET) which is an affiliate of Laborers International Union of North
America (LIUNA). As a third-generation union member, Aubrey strives to work with both labor and management to build market share and job opportunities for members, their families and employers throughout not only the state of Washington, but the eight other states she covers in the Northwest Region. Aubrey and the team she works with, works to build partnerships with developers, utilities, agencies, investors, contractors and advocates for an all of the above energy policy with an equitable just transition for the future. In LIUNA’s Northwest Region, LIUNA members work in every area of the energy sector, helping to build natural gas and oil pipelines, LNG plants, solar, and wind farms, as well as being skilled in the maintenance of natural gas distribution pipes, and nuclear and coal power plant facilities
|Suzy Oversvee is a Senior Program Manager in the Energy Services department at Snohomish County PUD based in Everett, WA. Suzy collaborates on utility policy and strategy and leads the development of customer-centric projects and initiatives that increase accessibility to clean energy innovations and enhance grid and community resiliency. She has 14 years of experience in designing and implementing conservation and renewable energy programs and projects for Snohomish PUD and is a former Solar Washington Board member.
|Alison Pugh is the Dean of Math, Science, and Business at South Seattle College after having the role of Interim Associate Dean for 2 years and currently serves as the PI for the National Science Foundation grant, Aligning Students into Accelerated Pathways. Before her administrative roles, she was Faculty and Faculty Coordinator for the Sustainable Building Science Technology Bachelors of Applied Science (BAS) program for 2 years and was the NSF Grant Director for the college for 2 years, focusing on developing an accessible BAS program at a community college with an integration of prior-learning assessment. Alison is a Marano Fellow, sponsored by SkillUp Washington and the Aspen Institute, and a graduate of the 2017 Deans’ Academy. Alison holds a B.A. in Art History from Mount Holyoke College and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Business from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute (now Presidio Graduate School) and is currently attending the EdD program at University of Washington-Tacoma, focused on social justice in education.
|Lance Ragan is a Construction Market Representative/Tribal Liaison for Laborers Employers Corporation and Education Trust (LECET) which is a branch of Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA). Lance works with many tribes in the Northwest Region on workforce development and recruitment. In addition, Lance works on closing the gaps in communications with local developers/contractors and Tribal Leaders and/or TERO’s when needed. Lance Ragan is an enrolled member of the Colville Confederated Tribe in Washington State and grew up on the Colville reservation in Inchelium, Washington.
|Born and raised in Washington state! I graduated from Gonzaga in 2014 with a B.S. in Physics, shortly there after I connected with Northwest Electric and Solar and expressed my desire to get involved in the solar industry in Washington. I started in July 2014 measuring out roofs for solar, and then just kept working my way up! Now I’m in charge of the energy side of the company, and couldn’t be happier to be part of the NWES team.
|Mason Rolph is the President of Olympia Community Solar, a non-profit organization working to expand access to clean energy. He and his team have developed solar installations around Thurston County that support low-income residents, tribes, and communities that have historically been excluded from the clean energy transition. Olympia Community Solar is currently enrolling the Thurgood Marshall Community Solar project located on an Olympia middle school and raising funds to develop low-income sited solar energy projects. Mason also serves as a board member for the Washington Solar Energy Industry Association.
Al has spent his last 20 years with the WA Dept. of Ecology’s Solid Waste Management Program. He spent the first 13 years providing technical assistance to 13 WA counties regarding operations and enforcement of solid waste facilities. His area of expertise was Moderate Risk Waste (MRW - think household hazardous waste) and was the states MRW Coordinator. He made the move to the TSU Supervisor 7 years ago. In this role, he supervises up to 10 staff, including the program’s IT staff, data team, and until a recent organizational change, the product stewardship staff. This staff oversees Washington’s electronics, mercury-lights, paint, and PV module product stewardship programs. Al graduated from Oregon State University many years ago and also earned a degree from the Evergreen State College some years later. In between those degrees, he was a PGA golf professional until environmental issues at his golf course prompted him to change careers. He enjoys backpacking, golfing, and trying to keep up with his son and daughters’ baseball and gymnastic endeavors.
|Nate Scherer is a rising senior at Skyline High School in Sammamish, Washington. At Sustainability Ambassadors, he helps lead the Solar Neighborhood Challenge, which aims to solarize everything, educate those who aren't informed and push clean energy through policy change. He has surveyed hundreds of homes in his local community and plans to do many more. He is heavily involved within his community, volunteering with the City of Sammamish to restore its habitats from invasive species, and pushing to implement a sustainability curriculum in his high school. Outside of climate activism, he is passionate about the medical field and loves to long jump and triple jump for his high school and club track teams. He aspires to work as a physician, as such, over the past summer, he shadowed a periodontist, this summer is taking a CNA program and hopes to work at Seattle's Swedish Hospital in the near future.
|Schwartz, Daniel T
|Director, Clean Energy Institute and Boeing-Sutter Professor of Chemical Engineering. Dan is an electrochemical engineer who develops new ways to understand how battery materials age and degrade as they are used. Understanding the aging and degradation process is critical to improving the safety and lowering the cost of high performance batteries in transportation and renewable energy storage applications.
|Debra Smith is the General Manager and CEO of Seattle City Light, one of the nation’s largest community-owned electric utilities. City Light serves more than 480,000 meters and 955,000 people across Seattle, parts of eight surrounding communities and unincorporated King County. Debra believes in transparency, accountability, and intentionality as well as the value of teamwork, partnerships, and collaboration. As a long-term public employee, she prioritizes customer needs while acknowledging that great customer service starts with engaged and committed employees. Under her
leadership, City Light is focused on electrification, equity and improving the customer experience. Previously, Debra served as Central Lincoln PUD’s General Manager from July 2013 to October 2018. She brought 17 years of experience to that role from the Eugene Water and Electric Board, where she held a variety of positions, including Assistant General Manager. Debra earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance
from Arizona State University and she served as the first Chairwoman of the Public Power Council (PPC). Currently, Debra serves as Vice Chair of Long-Range Planning for PPC, and is on the board of the Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee (PNUCC), the Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI), the American Public Power Association (APPA) as well as APPA’’s Climate Change Task Force, the Large Public Power Council’s Steering Committee, Puget Sound Energy’s Beyond Net Zero Advisory
Committee, the Columbia Basin Collaborative, and the Pacific Northwest National Lab’s Energy and Environment Directorate Advisory Committee.
|Before joining Solar Washington, Chantal has been a nonprofit executive director for 25 years, including 8 years at the helm of Sustainable Seattle and over 10 years with the Community Indicators Consortium. She also held leadership positions at the King County Auditor's Office and the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, and served on various boards and commissions including the Puget Sound Consumer Coop (PCC) and on the Issaquah Planning Commission. Her areas of expertise include performance management, strategic planning, sustainability and placemaking. She holds a BS, MMA and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management, all from the University of Washington.
|Adarsh Thallikar works on the Solar Team of Sustainability Ambassadors. He is a firm believer in humankind’s duty to improve its sustenance through rapid development of technology. Currently in the Class of 2023 at Issaquah School District’s Skyline High School, located in Sammamish, Washington, he is an ardent environmentalist that finds credence in the idea that nearly every system manufactured by humankind must be improved for the benefit of the planet and humankind itself.
|George Thomas is a Business Development Consultant for ClearVue PV of Perth Australia, developer of the world's first clear solar glazing. With a Master's degree in Sustainability from Harvard University, George looks for opportunities to enhance the sustainability aspects of Clearvue's customers operations through estimating operational carbon reductions on building facades. His previous professional experience as a solar originator has provided George with a broad knowledge base for solar applications.
|Charlie Vartanian is a Technical Advisor at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory where he focuses on integration of energy storage with power systems. Charlie has 25 years of industry experience deploying advanced grid technologies, performing system studies, and contributing to standards development. Prior employers include Mitsubishi Electric, the California Energy Commission, and Southern California Edison. During his 15 years at SCE, his activities ranged from T&D planning through grid R&D.
As the Executive Workforce Dean for the Seattle Colleges District, Veronica works closely with the industry, workforce intermediaries, communities, and the college campuses to develop programs and partnerships that promote equitable educational opportunities both in access and outcomes for the students and communities we serve. Veronica has over 25 years in workforce development planning and management services in private, non-profit, government, and higher education systems. She joined the Seattle Colleges in 2013, starting at the district office as Director of District Workforce Projects & Initiatives before serving as the Executive Dean of Workforce and Professional Technical Programs at South Seattle College for the past 8 years. Veronica holds two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Notre Dame in Psychology and Government and a Masters of Public Administration from Seattle University. She also sits on the Board of Directors for Orion Industries where she's served as Board Chair and recently launched and leads its Social Mission Subcommittee.
Edwin has successfully worked for over 15 years in construction both in the private and public sector. After 5 years of working for the City of Seattle, he began pursuing his passion in renewable energy and has worked to design and install solar systems all over Washington State as well as overseas in East Africa.
By performing all aspects of the installation process, from consulting and design to boots-on-a-roof hands-on work, his cumulative knowledge and experience has brought him to a position of leadership within the Solar Industry. Originally from humble beginnings in Kenya, Edwin plans to harness his skills and introduce solar energy to educational facilities, agricultural enterprises and remote healthcare clinics in the less fortunate communities around the world.
Brian Young brings diverse strategic and operational experience to his role as Governor Inslee’s Clean Technology Sector Lead. He is the point of contact for clean technology companies who want to navigate Washington State's political and economic landscape. He is focused on developing a prosperous and varied clean tech sector based on the state’s existing strengths. Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Brian worked in a variety of clean tech industries. After serving as an officer in the United States Navy, he joined an early stage biofuel start-up that grew into Imperium Renewables, the largest independent US biodiesel producer. After Imperium, Brian created Element Strategic Partners, a clean tech consultancy that led the development of the Washington Clean Energy Leadership Council and worked internationally on sustainability and carbon issues. Brian graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service with a degree in Science, Technology, and International Affairs. He has a lovely wife and two precocious young boys. In the winter, you can find him on the slopes at Alpental, where he is a member of the National Ski Patrol.