CEO, The Climate Group
Ellie Cohen, CEO of The Climate Center, is a leader in catalyzing cross-boundary, collaborative, and just responses to the climate crisis. She oversees the statewide Climate-Safe California campaign to achieve net-negative emissions by 2030, catalyzing the nation and the world into accelerated climate action.
Ellie served as President and CEO of Point Blue Conservation Science for 20 years where she and the organization’s 160 scientists developed climate-smart solutions for wildlife and people. Under her leadership, the organization grew five-fold to a workforce of 200 and was invited as an Observer NGO to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
An honors graduate of Duke University (botany) and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (MPP), Ellie has received numerous accolades including the Beyond Duke Alumni Award for Service and Leadership (2019), the National Park Service Pacific West Region Partnership Award (2018), and the Bay Nature Environmental Hero Award (2012). Ellie currently serves as an appointed member of the San Anselmo Sustainability Commission. You can follow Ellie on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Representative Pam Marsh
Southern Jackson County, District 5
Pam Marsh was first elected to House District 5 in southern Oregon in November 2016 and reelected to a third term in 2020. She currently serves as Chair of the House Environment and Natural Resource committee, and as Vice-Chair of the House Special Commmittee on Agriculture and Land Use, House Committee on Revenue: House Committee on Housing, and the Joint Committee on Information Management and Technology. She is a member of the State Broadband Advisory Council (OBAC) and the Oregon Retirement Savings Board (OregonSaves). Prior to joining the Oregon Legislature, Pam served the City of Ashland as a City Councilor for four years , and as a member and chair of the city Planning Commission and a member of the Ashland Charter Review Committee.
Pam has lived in Southern Oregon since 1994, when she and her husband, Diarmuid McGuire, moved their four children from Palo Alto, California to the mountains above Ashland.
Founder, The Soap Group
John is the Founder of The SOAP Group (once called the Ocean’s 11 of sustainability), a firm helping companies, governments and organizations understand, improve, communicate and own their impact in the world. He is also a co-founder of Rapport – a SaaS company transforming the way companies engage stakeholders with data-based sustainability metrics.
John is the author of the book More Than Promote – A Monkeywrencher’s Guide to Authentic Marketing. He is also a frequent writer and speaker on the intersection of Language, Culture and Sustainability. Blending an academic background and passion for cultural theory, a love of dissecting language snd strategy, John provides a unique perspective on Culture and Sustainability. Having taught at the graduate degree level, worked on environmental compliance with the Department of Defense and consulted to progressive Fortune 500 companies, John easily moves between praxis and action.
Sustainable Procurement Program Manager, City of Portland
Primary responsibility: Implement the City’ of Portland’s Sustainable Procurement Policy. This includes developing educational resources for employees to buy safer, environmentally-preferable and socially just products and to develop specifications for more sustainable products and services in City solicitation documents. This work resides primarily within the City of Portland, but also extends to local/regional networks of public procurement professionals.
Founder, Executive Director, 350 Deschutes
Diane is the co-founder of 350 Deschutes, where she manages the organization’s pursuit of policy change, education, and actions that support a JUST transition for all people to a clean, low carbon economy. 350 Deschutes works within rural and urban Central Oregon, as well as statewide Oregon policy initiatives for clean air, clean transportation and energy efficiency. Working with other collaborators, board members and volunteers, a central focus for 350 Deschutes mission is to foster equity in these initiatives. Diane has been instrumental in working with other organizations to secure funding for electric charging stations in underserved communities, as well as educational programs that support increased deployment of electric vehicles. She is currently the host of CarbonFreeda’s Powerup, a radio show about climate change for KPOV 88.9, Central Oregon.
Director of EV Program Research, Center for Sustainable Energy
Zach Henkin is the Director of EV Program Research at the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), where he leads qualitative and quantitative research and analysis focused on the adoption of electric vehicles and infrastructure. Zach has led numerous nationally scaled electric vehicle demonstration projects, and his work in transportation equity, workplace charging, and consumer education have been referenced broadly. Zach has an MBA with a specialization in renewable energy, formerly served as a planning commissioner and economic development commissioner, and is a Third Derivative (D3) cleantech mentor. He spends his free time wrangling his kids, riding motorcycles, and enjoying the Pacific Northwest with his family and golden retriever.
Founder, CEO, MindClick
MindClick rates the environmental and social impacts of manufacturers and their products. Ratings deliver product intelligence that drives transparency and innovation across organizations and their supply chains to meet global demand for healthier products and healthier environments. Working to connect purchasers and suppliers through solutions that promote environmentally and socially responsible practices, Abrams serves as a businessstrategist, innovator and collaborator among some of the largest hospitality and health care industry leaders.
“Named a hospitality industry innovator by Lodging Magazine,” MindClick has been recognized by Wharton’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, Cornell’s Hospitality Research Summit, the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, and is a recipient of CIO Review Magazine’s 20 Most Promising Supply Chain Tech Solution Providers.
Combining more than 10 years of sustainability experience with 20 years of experience in brand management, market research and finance, Abrams brings a unique perspective to supporting ESG (environmental, social and governance) She specializes in the transformation of environmental data into ROI based marketing and information delivery solutions.
Prior to MindClick, Abrams led strategy, research, and new product development efforts for recognized consumer products brands including MGM, Nestle, Pepsi-Co,Toyota, and Wolfgang Puck. She has an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
VP, Urban Leap, Stanford Lecturer
Rich Lechner is a lecturer in the Civil & Environmental Engineering and Urban Studies programs at Stanford University and Vice President of Business Development at UrbanLeap, a startup that provides a platform for local governments to harness innovative solutions. Previously, Lechner was Vice President of Energy & Environment at IBM, working towards efficiencies in energy, carbon, waste, and water. His portfolio included intelligent building design and smart urban infrastructure, for example using IBM’s Traffic Prediction Tool for improved traffic flow in Singapore. ESAL interviewed Lechner about his long background in fostering urban sustainability.
Sale Representative, National Car Charging
Jeff’s three decades of experience includes technology rollouts, new equipment and citizen advocacy across the globe. Predominantly working with traditional businesses like National Car Charging, and banking, construction, design, and technology to facilitate a smooth transition to renewable energy deployment. Currently National Car Charging serves commercial entities, with EV charging infrastructure and solar storage for grid tied installations. This storage solutions adapts used electric vehicle batteries as a lower cost alternative while also avoiding the landfill. Jeff also provides additional options for residential fast charging.
Transit Planner, Roaring Fork Transportation Authority
For the last seven years, Jason has worked in Carbondale, Colorado as their transit planner. Most recently he has focused on the electrification of their transit system, which includes planning for charging, battery swap modes, rural, urban, and equity considerations. This includes a recent pilot study on Battery Electric Buses. which he will discuss at the conference.
Alta Planning + Design, Inc., Principal, New Mobility Leader
Jean has 18 years of experience fostering change and innovation. She specializes in sustainable and equitable transportation and leads Alta’s national New Mobility service area. Jean works with practitioners at every level of government to craft future-ready strategies and plan for new services and technologies in the public right-of-way. She has developed award-winning active transportation and multimodal system plans and helped cities across the country launch shared micromobility programs. She has a Masters in City and Regional Planning and served on the Transportation Research Board Forum for Autonomous Vehicles and Shared Mobility, a coalition of federal agencies, state DOTs, and auto and tech executives setting a national research agenda for new mobility.
Founder, Owner, Perennial Building, LLC
Karen Rugg is the founder & owner of Perennial Building, a general contracting company based in Bend, Oregon with the mission to foster sustainability, equity and community through the built environment. Her interest in sustainability and the built environment started at an early age, leading her to get a Masters of City and Regional Planning, focusing on real estate development and sustainable affordable housing. She transitioned into the commercial construction industry shortly after graduation where she attained LEED Accreditation. Since 2006, she has successfully managed over $140M in construction projects in the hospitality sector. After moving to Bend in 2018, she founded Perennial Building which focuses on building homes from hemplime, a natural, non-toxic & fire resistant material to construct the shell of a building. Over the years Karen has made time to pursue personal interests such as obtaining a Permaculture Design Certificate, working at several indoor and outdoor farms, and attending the Earthship Building Academy at Earthship Biotecture in Taos, NM.
Senior & Division Project Manager, Kirby Nagelhout
Experienced Construction Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the construction industry. Skilled in Commercial and Residential Construction, Management, Leadership, and Contract Management. Strong program and project management professional graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Civil Engineering) and Marymount University (MBA).
CleanFinancing LLC, Managing Director C-PACE marketplace, PACEfi.com
Philippe founded CleanFinancing in 2014 to help accelerate financing for the small-to-medium (sub-$5MM) commercial smart energy sector. A California-licensed general and electrical contractor, Philippe spent years running a solar installation company. He knows first-hand that financing can be the make-or-break part of a project. Since 2004, Philippe has overseen, sold, managed or financed thousands of solar projects at the residential, commercial and industrial level. Now focused on helping to make US building infrastructure better, he is a national expert on Commercial PACE financing, and tax structures. “Yesterday was all about solar” says Philippe “but today it’s about efficiency: time, resource, productivity and financial efficiency. In the end, that is what we contribute.” Philippe is a regular guest writer on project finance for Renewable Energy World and Solar Power World magazines.
PACE Lending Group, President & CEO
Rafi is a commercial real estate finance veteran with over 12 years of experience in CRE structured finance, loan origination and equity investments. Prior to founding PLG, Rafi spent his career on Wall Street where he was a Managing Director at Ladder Capital, a publicly traded REIT. At Ladder, Rafi focused on CMBS origination, balance sheet and mezzanine loans as well as equity investments. Prior to Ladder, Rafi worked at Gramercy Capital conducting asset management and loan workouts. Rafi began his career at Credit Suisse in its large loan commercial real estate group. Throughout his career, Rafi has originated and closed over $2.5 billion of commercial real estate loans throughout the country. Rafi has a BS from Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.
Market President – Portland & Seattle, First Interstate Bank
Robert joined First Interstate Bank in 2013, and currently oversees retail banking, commercial & business banking, treasury management, SBA lending and commercial real estate lending for the bank’s Portland and Seattle Metro markets. Robert has over 25 years of leadership experience in the banking and financial services industry. Prior to joining FIB, Robert held Executive and Senior level positions at other financial institutions in the Portland, Seattle and Dallas, TX markets. In 2003, he was instrumental in launching Capital Pacific Bank a new Portland-based business bank as the Executive Vice President overseeing the sales team, marketing and business development. He and his team were successful in growing the bank’s balance sheet to over $200 million in loans and $100 million in deposits in its first 5 years and the bank was eventually acquired by Columbia Bank.
Robert is experienced with CPACE lending programs and successfully integrated PACE loans into
two flagship commercial projects that First Interstate financed in Portland – “Premier Gear &
Machine Works Building” (Class-A office adaptive reuse) and “The PAE Living Building” (zero-
carbon office ground-up construction project). Robert is very active in the Portland community and has held numerous volunteer leadership positions with local non-profits and business organizations.
Poppy Bank, Commercial Account Manager
Michael Bahr has been a project developer for more than 25 years. He has been a CPACE project developer and financier for 5 CPACE programs and has consulted with 5 others as they set up their initial CPACE programs. He was a CPACE project developer for the Los Angeles County Commercial PACE program, the GreenFinance San Francisco Commercial PACE program, Ygrene Energy Fund, Poppy Bank and ReNewAll. His CPACE funded projects have included energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation and seismic retrofits for commercial offices, multifamily, hospitality and agriculture.
With ReNewAll, he developed and led the Hilton Universal City energy efficiency retrofit which at the time was the largest CPACE financed project in the nation. ReNewAll also led financing for the nation’s largest commercial Net Zero Plus project. He also created a Renewable Energy Services Program focused on CPACE financing for the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Los Angels Chapters of the Ironworkers.
Senior Vice President & Senior Counsel of Policy and Program, Petros PACE Finance.
Michael’s PACE law and policy expertise has driven new market creation and PACE innovations across the country. As an industry thought leader, Michael has advised legislators in both state and local governments and local program administrators on how to establish successful C-PACE programs. His most recent accomplishment was serving as the primary author of the state of Washington C-PACE statute enacted in June 2020. In addition, his deep knowledge of the intricacies of C-PACE programs and a deft hand with deal-making has resulted in the completion of some of the largest C-PACE financings to date in the industry. Michael received his B.A. from UC Berkeley and his J.D. from the Yale Law School.
Fermata Energy, National Sales Director
As a National Sales Director for Fermata Energy, I am responsible for the growth and leadership of Fermata Energy’s market expansion of Vehicle 2 Grid, Electric Vehicle Adoption and the electric vehicle fleet sector. This includes marketing, sales, and fulfillment throughout the USA and Canada. I am involved in the marketing, planning, and development of strategic relationships on behalf of Fermata Energy.
Senior Transportation Electrification Analyst, Oregon Department of Transportation
In her current role, Jillian works to reduce GHG emissions from the transportation sector in Oregon by accelerating the widespread adoption of electric vehicles in the light, medium and heavy duty vehicle sectors and ensuring convenient and equitable access to EV charging infrastructure for all Oregonians. She fosters collaborative relationships with stakeholders in Oregon, across the region and nationally – including sister public agencies, utilities, community and non-profit organizations, and EV advocates – to achieve Oregon’s TE goals. Currently, Jillian is developing a community EV charging infrastructure grant program to be launched by ODOT in 2022. Prior to joining ODOT, Jillian worked as Assistant Director of the Leading by Example Program in the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), working with state agencies and higher education institutions in MA to reduce the environmental impact of state government operations.
Citizen’s Utility Board, Oregon, Executive Director
Bob Jenks has participated in nearly every major Oregon Public Utility Commission case since that time, including dozens of cases dealing with utility mergers, rates, resource planning, and climate change. He also regularly represents ratepayers before the Oregon Legislature and at regional forums.He has played a significant role in: keeping PGE locally owned; seeing the Energy Trust of Oregon established; the design and establishment of the economic analysis which, in 2012 led to the closure of the Boardman coal-fired power plant as well as many more plants since that time. Recently he was instrumental in building alliances with utility, renewable energy, and environmental stakeholders to put together an agreement that is now the historic SB 1547, the Clean Electricity and CoalTransition Act. He is a native Oregonian, and holds a degree in economics from Willamette University.
Pacific Power, Director, Pricing & Service
Robert Meredith is the Director of Pricing and Cost of Service for PacifiCorp (parent of Pacific Power) and is responsible for the retail electric prices that its 1.9 million customers pay in all six states that it serves. He has worked at PacifiCorp for 17 years in a variety of different roles and enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time with his family.
Administrator of Transportation, Beaverton School District
Craig has spent 16 years as manager and engineer at Roadway Express, Inc, and 15 years as Director of Transportation at Grossmont Union High School District in San Diego, CA. His last 6 years he has been an Administrator of Transportation at Beaverton School District in Beaverton, OR, where he has led the effort to electrify the bus fleet. Craig is a Graduate of University of San Diego. The Beaverton School District is the largest publicly owned fleet in the State of Oregon, consisting of over 300 active school buses. We provide home to school service to approximately 28,000 students each day. In addition to our daily routes, we also provide service for academic field
Interim Director, Deschutes County Solid Waste
Chad Centola Graduated from Humboldt State University with a bachelor’s degree in Forest Engineering in 1982 and received a masters degree in Environmental Management from the University of San Francisco in 1990. His career path led him to the solid waste industry in 1983 where he has worked for local governments in the operation, permitting and compliance of municipal solid waste landfills. He has worked as Operations Manager for Deschutes County’s Knott Landfill since 1999 and was recently appointed as Interim Director for the Solid Waste Department.
Environmental Scientist and Policy Advisor, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Jordan Palmeri is a Senior Analyst in the Materials Management Program at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, where he coordinates projects around the built environment, life cycle assessments, and purchasing. He’s worked on building and zoning codes, and served as a technical and policy expert for small housing initiatives. He’s advised local, regional, and global green building rating systems and recently led a program to help Oregon concrete producers develop Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).
Senior Associate of the EV Grid Team, Rocky Mountain Institute
Chuck Ray is a Senior Associate of the EV Grid team where he is working to facilitate new mobility options and transportation electrification strategies for states, cities, and utilities by addressing market failures and deriving beneficial electrification outcomes. Prior to RMI, Chuck worked in the utility industry in business development roles for leading companies in demand management and distributed energy, utilizing his background in early stage software product development. Chuck received a BS Engineering from the University of Texas and an MBA from the University of Colorado.
Pace Loan Group, VP Originations
Matthew joined PLG in 2018 as an Analyst and Junior Originator. As Vice President, he is responsible for loan origination, loan underwriting, and portfolio monitoring. Prior to joining PLG, Matthew completed similar duties while working in US Bank’s Commercial Real Estate and Real Estate Structured Finance Groups. At US Bank, Matthew was responsible for property and borrower underwriting for warehouse lines, construction loans, and balance sheet refi’s across all asset classes. Matthew is a graduate of Saint John’s University (MN) with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.
Program Director, Community Energy Project
Sherrie oversees the Community Education Department and new initiatives such as Community Solar. Since graduating from Portland State with a BS in Sociology, Sherrie has gained over 15 years experience in grassroots organizing, mobilization, and outreach. Her forte is public speaking, low-income equity, and program development. She enjoys photography, hiking, camping, and runs a pollinator conservation project in her neighborhood.
Dana leads Greenwork’s Lending business development initiatives in California. Dana brings 20 years of experience in commercial real estate finance having funded $2.5B of projects. She is excited about offering this innovative C-Pace product to the market.
Clint Reinhard has been helping Central Oregon homeowners choose clean solar power in more than 200 installations. Purelight power executive leadership chose to put down roots here in Central and Southern Oregon. With the experience of working with some of the biggest companies in this space in the US. The company now has approximately 1,000 installs at all of the Purelight power branches, Medford, Bend, Klamath Falls, Roseburg, Albany-Corvalis, Salem, and Portland.
When determining on where to provide value for a community/customers Clint and the company leadership considered “priority factors: First, is, is it beneficial for the customer (What is the current rate of the utility in the area, does the customer have a choice?). Two, is it beneficial for the employees,(Will the employees have a great quality of life living and LOVE working with Purelight) and three, is it beneficial for the company (Does it make sense and allow the company to provide value for the customer, employee and allow the company to expand).