Thursday's Keynote Speaker
Jules Kortenhorst is the Chief Executive Officer of Rocky Mountain Institute. He is a recognized leader on global energy issues and climate change. His background spans business, government, entrepreneurial, and nonprofit leadership.
Since 1982, Rocky Mountain Institute has advanced market-based solutions that transform global energy use to create a clean, prosperous and secure future. An independent, nonprofit think-and-do tank, RMI engages with businesses, communities and institutions to accelerate and scale replicable solutions that drive the cost-effective shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables.
U.S. Congressman Peter Welch
Peter Welch has been a champion for working Vermonters throughout his career. Since his election to Congress in 2006, he has been widely recognized as a thoughtful and effective legislator who chooses governing over gridlock. Peter’s record reflects his strong commitment to bringing people together to find common sense solutions to the difficult challenges facing our state and nation. In an era of partisanship, he has worked across the aisle to create jobs, increase access to affordable education and health care, invest in energy efficiency, protect our environment, and care for our veterans.
He is married to Margaret Cheney, commissioner of the Vermont Public Utility Commission. They share a home in Norwich, Vermont.
Governor Phil Scott
Governor Phil Scott became the 82nd Governor of Vermont on January 5, 2017. He previously served three terms as Vermont’s Lieutenant Governor, and as a Senator for Washington County. As Governor, he has committed to making a difference in the lives of Vermonters by growing the state’s economy, making Vermont more affordable, protecting the most vulnerable, and restoring faith and trust in government.
Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman
Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman the founder of Full Moon Farm, a NOFA-certified, organic farm in Hinesburg Vermont, co-owned with Rachel Nevitt, his spouse.
Over the last two decades, David's work as a legislative leader and coalition builder has been recognized by many including the Vermont Children’s Forum, Steps to End Domestic Violence (Women Helping Battered Women), Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, the Vermont Natural Resources Council, and Renewable Energy Vermont.
Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe
Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe of Burlington, Chittenden County, was born in Framingham, MA. He holds degrees from the University of Vermont and Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Tim served on the staff of Congressman Bernie Sanders from 1999-2001. For eight years, Tim developed affordable housing with Cathedral Square. He and his team created or renovated 396 affordable senior apartments with total budgets exceeding $30 million. In recent years, he has taught college-level courses. He served on the Burlington City Council, chairing the City's Community Development and Neighborhood Revitalization Committee. Tim serves on the Board of Directors of Housing Foundation, Inc, and previously served on the Board of Spectrum Youth and Family Services. Tim has been a member of the Senate since 2009, and has chaired the Senate Finance Committee and served on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Joint Fiscal Committee, the Joint Corrections Oversight Committee, and the Emergency Board.
Senator Christopher Bray
Christopher Bray of New Haven, Vermont, became a member of the Vermont House of Representatives in January 2007, serving two terms on the House Agriculture Committee. Chris graduated from the University of Vermont (BA, Zoology, 1977; MA, English, 1991), where he taught for four years in the English Department. Chris then worked at National Life of Vermont, IBM, Intel, and Apple. Chris founded and still operates Common Ground Communications, which provides writing, editing and production services to technical clients and the book publishing industry. Chris and his family operate an 82-acre farm in New Haven. In 2006, Chris graduated from the Governor Richard Snelling Center for Government's Vermont Leadership Institute. In 2009, Chris was elected to the Board of Trustees of the University of Vermont. Chris was a lead sponsor of Vermont's Farm to Plate Program and the Biomass Energy Development Working Group, which he co-chaired until 2011. In 2009, Chris received the Vermont Natural Resource Council's Legislative Leadership Award. In 2010, Chris received the Council of State Government's Toll Fellowship. In 2012, Chris was appointed to the Vermont State Supreme Court's Professional Responsibility Program. Chris's other current and past service includes the United Way of Addison County (Board of Directors), Middlebury Rotary Club, Vermont Milk Commission (Secretary), Rural Economic Development Working Group (Chair), Vermont Forestry Study Group, NCSL Agriculture & Energy Committee, Justice of the Peace, New Haven Board of Civil Authority, and Middlebury Area Land Trust (past President).
Chair Ms. Marissa Paslick Gillett
Marissa Paslick Gillett is Chairman of Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA). Governor Ned Lamont nominated Gillett to serve on the three member regulatory authority on April 26, 2019.Prior to her appointment, Gillett was the Vice President of External Relations for the Energy Storage Association –the national trade association representing the energy storage industry. In that role, Gillett served on the association’s executive team contributing to the organization’s overall strategic vision and direction, as well as providing leadership of the research, educational programming and events, marketing, and communications teams. From 2011 to 2018, Gillett worked at the Maryland Public Service Commission, an independent agency within the Maryland state government that regulates public utilities, where she most recently served as the senior advisor to the chairman. Her duties included a number of matters on energy issues in the state, such as advising the agency’s chairman and other commissioners on technical, legal and policy matters related to offshore wind procurement, statewide energy efficiency programs, advanced metering infrastructure, grid reliability issues and electric vehicles. Additionally, she represented the commission on these topics by testifying before the Maryland General Assembly and by leading stakeholder engagement initiatives as part of the state’s grid modernization proceeding.Gillett received a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering from Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore School of Law in Baltimore, Maryland. She lives in West Hartford with her husband and two small children.
Commissioner June Tierney
June E. Tierney was sworn in as the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service by Governor Phil Scott on January 5, 2017. Prior to her appointment, Commissioner Tierney served as general counsel to the Vermont Public Utility Commission (2012-2016). Before then, she was a PUC hearing officer (2008-2012), as well as a staff attorney at the Vermont Department of Public Service (2001-2008). A 1986 graduate of Boston University and a 1993 graduate of Vermont Law School, Commissioner Tierney began her legal career with a clerkship at the Vermont Supreme Court, followed by three years as an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York City, where she specialized in securities fraud litigation, white collar crime defense and corporate internal compliance investigations. Before her admission to the bar, Commissioner Tierney enjoyed the privilege of serving on active duty (1986-1990) as a commissioned officer in the United States Army.
D. Maurice Kreis
Don is New Hampshire's Consumer Advocate representing the interests of the Granite State's residential utility customers at the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission and elsewhere. We strive to keep rates as low as possible while encouraging innovation that makes consumers more powerful users of utility systems.
Don is also Chair of the Board of Trustees of We Own It, a nonprofit dedicated to the reform of cooperatives, serves on the board of the Northern New England Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (the most dynamic and innovative healthcare charity on the planet) and, in honor of his previous career as a journalist, he is also on the board of the New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism.
Mayor Miro Weinberger
Burlington’s Mayor Miro Weinberger was first elected Mayor in March 2012, the first Democratic mayor since Gordon Paquette was defeated by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in 1981. Mayor Weinberger was re-elected to a second term on in 2015, and his third in March, 6, 2018. Prior to serving as Mayor, Mayor Weinberger served on the airport commission for the Burlington International Airport. Under Mayor Weinberger’s tenure, City voters approved a $30 million bond to stabilize and upgrade Burlington's wastewater and stormwater infrastructure to steward Lake Champlain for this and future generations and Burlington was deemed the City with moresolar PV capacity installed per capita than any other city in the Northeastern United States.
Dr. Madhav Acharya currently serves as a Technology-to-Market Advisor at the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency –Energy (ARPA-E). Acharya’s focus at ARPA-E includes conversion of renewable energy into carbon neutral liquid fuels through catalytic and electrochemical pathways.
Olivia Campbell Andersen
Olivia Campbell Andersen serves as Executive Director of Renewable Energy Vermont, the state’s non-profit clean energy trades, advocacy, and education organization. Prior joining REV, she served as Assistant Chief of Staff to Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, advising the Governor on environmental, sustainability, energy, budget, and transportation issues, as well as six years at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Prior to her service with the State of Maryland, she worked for Congressman Steny H. Hoyer during his time as Majority Leader. Olivia’s career also includes time with the National Wildlife Federation, during which she worked to reduce mercury and carbon pollution through federal and state regulatory and legislative action, notably authoring and leading the advocacy campaign to enact Maryland’s Healthy Air Act. Olivia holds degrees from Vermont Law School and Gettysburg College. Maryland’s Governor recognized her environmental advocacy work with the rare Admiral of the Chesapeake award. When not advocating for the environment, Olivia enjoys exploring rivers and forests, biking rail trails, and digging in the garden with her daughter and husband, with Montpelier as their latest home base.
Jeffrey M. Bernstein, Esq.
Mr. Bernstein serves as President and Managing Director of BCK Law, P.C. (www.bck.com). Mr. Bernstein founded the Firm in 1983 and his practice has focused on public utility, environmental issues,
renewable energy development, technology, corporate and commercial law and regulatory matters. He served as outside counsel to the Washington Electric Cooperative in the development of its Coventry, Vermont landfill gas fueled generating project.
He has frequently represented clients in rate cases and other public utility proceedings addressing revenue requirements, cost of service allocations and a full range of issues going back more than three decades. He received the William O. Douglas Award for Environmental Advocacy from the National Sierra Club for his successful work in helping to stop a proposed coal-fired power plant in Halfmoon, New York which would have contributed substantial acid depositions into the Berkshires and Southern Vermont.
In addition, he has broad public policy and private sector experience. He was formerly Director of the Massachusetts Legislative Energy Development Caucus and Executive Director of Resources for New England, Inc. and currently serves on the boards of several energy and
technology companies. He was a principal in a nationally recognized landfill gas to energy
project in a joint public/private partnership with several California public entities.
He is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of both Brown University and Boston College School of Law, J.D., Order of the Coif. Mr. Bernstein has been admitted in all state courts in Massachusetts and Vermont as well as the Federal District Court for Massachusetts and the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and Sixth Circuit and now works primarily from the Firm’s Vermont office.
Pierre Blanchet, M.Sc, President and Head of Research & Development, is responsible for the development of electrical and electronic technologies. Mr. Blanchet holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Engineering in Renewable Energy from École de Technologie Supérieure (ETS). He is a born entrepreneur, has great determination and is an excellent public speaker as well as having a penchant for intellectual property and technological innovation.
Tom D’Urso joined Danforth Pewter as VP of Operations in 2018. He has had a storied career of proven growth and development with a focus on socially conscious and iconic brands including Ben & Jerry’s Burton Snowboards and TOMS. He is an accomplished global operations leader with a diverse background in treasury, finance, acquisitions, manufacturing, supply chain management and brand development. Having worked with Bram Kleppner, the company’s CEO, at Ben & Jerry’s the two teamed up again to provide their experience in bringing established yet relatively local brands to a broader market.
Tom is excited to be part of the growth strategy at Danforth. With a growing wholesale market and retail expansion beyond New England, the future will be challenging, rewarding and exciting.
Jared Duval is the Executive Director of the Energy Action Network (EAN), a diverse group of leading non-profits, businesses, public agencies, and other high-level stakeholders seeking to transition Vermont to a sustainable energy future and meet 90% of our energy needs through efficiency and renewables by 2050. Prior to joining EAN, Jared served as Economic Development Director at the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, where he was responsible for providing support to working lands and green economy businesses and helped guide millions of dollars of state and federal investments in rural economic development via the Northern Border Regional Commission, the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative, and the Clean Energy Development Fund. Part of the ninth generation of his family to call Vermont home, Jared grew up in the Upper Connecticut River Valley and now lives in Montpelier. Before moving back to Vermont in 2014, Jared was an author and Fellow with Demos, the New York based think tank. His first book, Next Generation Democracy: What the Open Source Revolution Means for Power, Politics, and Change, was published by Bloomsbury in 2010. Jared holds degrees from Princeton University – Woodrow Wilson School (Master in Public Affairs – Domestic Policy, 2014), University of Cambridge (MPhil, Modern Society and Global Transformations, 2012), and Wheaton College, Massachusetts (Bachelor of Arts – Economics and Political Science, 2005).
Stan Faryniarz is a member of Daymark Energy Advisors’ senior management team and leads the firm’s rate design and procurement & portfolio management (PPM) practices. Stan Faryniarz advises clients on matters regarding power procurement, power supply planning and regulated cost recovery and rates. He is the primary advisor to clients with power supply portfolios totaling approximately 300 MW and over $200 million in annual spend. Mr. Faryniarz has testified before state and provincial regulatory agencies on issues including integrated resource planning, cost of service and rate design, general rate case applications, power project regulatory approvals and PURPA policy. He holds a BA in Economics and MPA (Finance, Managerial Economics concentration) from the University of Vermont, and the Certified Energy Procurement (CEP) Professional certification from the Association of Energy Engineers.
As Director of the statewide energy efficiency utility, Efficiency Vermont, Rebecca Foster leads the organization in delivering energy savings to all Vermonters. Rebecca previously served as Director of Consulting at VEIC, the nonprofit organization that operates Efficiency Vermont under and Order of Appointment from the Vermont Public Utility Commission. Prior to joining VEIC, Rebecca directed the Consortium for Energy Efficiency’s residential sector initiatives for more than a decade, increasing efficiency standards for lighting, appliances, air conditioners, consumer electronics, windows, new homes, and existing homes. Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Simmons College. She is on the Steering Committee of the Working Communities Challenge, a 3-year competitive grant process to drive community and economic development across Vermont.
Mark Froling is President of Froling Energy, a mechanical contractor based in Peterborough, NH, focused on the installation of commercial biomass boiler systems. He has more than 25 years experience in construction and the design and installation of mechanical systems. Mark founded Froling LLC in 2008. The company’s first contracts were with New England Wood Pellet to modify their Jaffrey, NH, operations and to construct two new wood pellet manufacturing plants in New York state. Next, Froling Energy was formed to focus on installing the most reliable and cleanest burning biomass boiler systems available in schools, commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings and residences in the Northeastern US. Mark assembled a team of experienced mechanics and technicians to perform these installations. Others were hired to manage the company’s Service department—a very important part of the business. Mark was born in Germany but went to high school and college in the United States where he has lived since 1979.
Karen brings more than 30 years of policy and public service experience to her role as Director, Transportation and Infrastructure Markets at the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), a mission-based non-profit dedicated to decarbonizing transportation and the built environment.
Karen also serves as an EAN Senior Fellow where she regularly contributes to research and analysis that is relevant to the Network’s mission and is a volunteer board member of Housing Vermont, a nonprofit syndication and development company and at Champ P3 a nonprofit promoting better use of Vermont’s rail infrastructure.
Prior to joining CSE, Karen worked at VEIC as Director of Efficiency Vermont, as founding Director of Transportation Efficiency, and as Director of Strategy, Policy, and Public Affairs. Karen served as the Director of the University of Vermont’s National University Transportation Center and has served as Director of Policy and Planning, Deputy Secretary, and Acting Secretary at the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
Jennifer is the Sustainability Officer for the City of Burlington, VT, the first city in the US to source 100% of electricity from renewables. Jennifer is charged with helping the city transition to net zero energy in the thermal and transportation sectors and in this capacity, supports, designs and implements projects within the city’s municipal electric department, across city offices, and with stakeholders throughout Burlington, and beyond. Prior to moving to Vermont from Washington, DC, Jennifer worked with CARE International and the World Resources Institute including stints living and working in West and Central Africa. Jennifer was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon, has a Master’s in Public Administration from Columbia University and a PhD in Environmental Sociology from American University.
Dave Gurtman is an attorney at Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew in Burlington. He has been practicing for 12 years and regularly represents investors, developers, and owners in the financing, construction and development of renewable energy projects. He has experience structuring projects to use tax equity investment and commercial financing and can draft and negotiate power purchase, interconnection, EPC and O&M agreements, partnership agreements and commercial loan agreements. He has worked on some of the largest and most innovative solar, wind and biomass facilities located in the state. Dave is a graduate of Middlebury College and Lewis & Clark Law School.
Kim Hayden leads the Energy + Environment practice group at the Burlington, Vermont-based law firm of Paul Frank + Collins P.C. Kim has more than 25 years of experience in all facets of energy and climate policy, energy siting, regulation, and transactions.
Kim is passionate about advancing solutions to climate change and increasing the penetration of renewable and clean energy resources. Kim serves on Renewable Energy Vermont’s (“REV”) policy committee, where she actively works to improve Vermont’s climate and energy policy and laws. Working with her clean energy clients, Kim has assisted in gaining siting approval for Vermont’s largest solar rooftop facility, dozens of commercial scale solar generating facilities totaling more than 40 MW, Chittenden County’s only commercial scale wind farm, as well as over 170 miles of new high voltage electric transmission lines and dozens of substations. Kim also won precedent setting energy siting decisions from the Vermont Supreme Court in Re Rutland Renewable Energy LLC, 2016 VT 50, and Re Vermont Electric Power Co, 2006 VT 69.
Jenn Kallay serves as Synapse’s Project Manager for BED’s NZE Roadmap. Jenn’s professional experience includes work on the benefits and costs of energy efficiency efforts, with studies and analysis for jurisdictions across the United States and Canada. Jenn’s work entails reviewing different regulatory approaches to spur energy efficiency; assessing the ability of utility energy efficiency plans to tap into cost-effective potential; evaluating energy efficiency components of integrated resource plans; researching best practice program designs and policies; and analyzing energy efficiency as an alternative to new power plants. Most recently, Ms. Kallay has focused on strategies that cities and towns can use to reduce emissions. She has a Master of Arts in Energy and Environmental Analysis from Boston University and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland.
Bram Kleppner, CEO at Danforth since 2011, has led the company from declining sales and losses to double-digit growth and profitability. He’s overseen Danforth’s becoming the world’s first 100% solar-powered pewter workshop; company-wide profit-sharing; paid parental leave; paid time off for community service; and an employee seat on the Board of Directors. Danforth is driving to zero fossil fuel use, and raising its lowest wage to $15/hour. Bram previously spent 10 years at Ben & Jerry’s, where he co-led their first anti-global warming campaign.
Bram serves on the Vermont Tax Structure Commission, formerly co-chaired the Vermont Medicaid & Exchange Advisory Board, and formerly served on the Governor’s Advisory Board for Health Care Financing. He currently chairs the Board of the Population Media Center, working world-wide to resolve the interrelated problems of women’s rights, the environment, and population. Locally, he’s part of Change The Story’s group of male leaders working for gender equity.
Tom is a technical advisor and regulatory strategist inthe resource planning group at Burlington Electric Department (BED), a municapal utility in Vermont. His primary responsbilities include identifying and evaluating cost effective business opportunities that address the energy needs of BED’s customers while also reducing energy consumption across the City. Tom has more than 20 years of experience in the utility field as a former regulator and industry consultant.Tom iscurrentlyfocused on updating BED’s integrated resource plan, developing energy transformation plans and programs,attempting to make sense of Vermont’snet metering rules, and thinking about how BED can help the City transition to a Net Zero Energy community. When he is not working on energy policy, Tom enjoys skiing, hiking, kayaking and biking with his family.
Jake Marin is the Program Manager for HVAC and Refrigeration at VEIC/Efficiency Vermont. Here, he developed Vermont’s first heat pump program and has continued to help develop programs and guidelines for the greater Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region through his collaboration with the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP). These programs have supported the installation of over 15,000 high efficiency heat pumps and over 10,000 heat pump water heaters in Vermont alone. With all this electrification, several million gallons of fossil fuels have been displaced. However, this has been accomplished with a great deal of new load on our electric grid. As Vermont strives to reach aggressive renewable goals, it is critical that we actively coordinate electric demand with availability of renewables on the grid. By implementing “flexible load management”, Jake believes that we can electrify various sectors while optimizing the unwanted impacts of load growth. Properly managed, all these new electric devises become grid assets rather than liabilities. He is excited to discuss some of the work being done in this space by entities across the Vermont energy industry who have embraced a collaborative approach to this exciting challenge.
Chris McKay is currently the Director of Sales for Battery Energy Storage Solutions (BESS) at WEG Electric Corp in Barre, VT. WEG supplies fully integrated storage systems for industrial and utility customers. The turn-key equipment may be stand alone or collocated with renewables.
Chris has worked in the energy industry for over 20 years on a wide range of activities. While with Northern Power Systems he was leading and contributing to the development of power converter, energy storage, microgrid, and wind turbine projects. During his tenure more than 800 systems were installed in North & South America, Europe, and Korea.
At W.L. Gore & Associates he worked on new product development for PEM fuel cells and hydrogen electrolysis using GORE-TEX® membrane technology.
He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and a Minor in Economics.
Chris lives in Waterbury with his wife and two kids. He also serves on the REV Board.
Derek Moretz serves the Chief Development Officer for Encore Renewable Energy with over 15 years experience of renewable energy development. He currently leads teams through end-to-end development with added focus on strategic planning and technology. Prior to joining Encore in 2012, Derek was responsible for development of over 400MW of utility wind energy projects in the West with a global development firm. Derek has extensive international experience having developed projects from the Arctic to Central America, having originated the largest operating projects in the region.
Derek received his MBA from the Jenkins School of Management at North Carolina State University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management and Sustainable Technology from Appalachian State University.
He lives in an off-grid home Roxbury, VT with his wife and two kids, and serves on the board of the Vermont River Conservancy and is a supply representative for the Vermont System Planning Committee.
Duane raised the capital to launch and grow SunCommon and drove SunCommon’s dynamic culture and innovative marketing. He’s now responsible for investor relations, legal, HR — that’s Happiness Resources — and SunCommon’s new net-positive office building. He’s a social entrepreneur with an eclectic 35-year career in socially responsible business, campaign management, government service and community involvement.
He moved his family from California in 1996 to Vermont where he worked as Chief of Stuff at Ben & Jerry’s for 12 years — getting to execute Ben Cohen’s creative vision. Committed to advancing values-led business models, he’s a member of the national Social Venture Network, Vermont Venture Network and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. And he serves as a Director on the Boards of the VBSR and VPIRG.
Duane lives in a newly-built net zero home in Waterbury Center with his wife of 26 years, missing their out-of-the-house 19 and 22-year old sons.
Chris is Director of Policy & Storage Market Strategy for Sunrun, where he works on Northeast & Caribbean Affairs, with a focus on storage, virtual power plants, and wholesale markets. Prior to joining Sunrun, Chris was an energy policy advisor in the US Senate where he worked on a diverse issue set, with a particular focus on DERs. Chris has been on various political campaigns and involved in a number of startup businesses. Although he has a law degree, so far he has successfully avoided practicing.
Bonnie Reese is a PhD candidate at the University of Vermont studying Natural Resources and Complex Systems. Her research is focused on renewable energy entrepreneurship and, more specifically, technologies and regulations that facilitate decarbonization, decentralization, and social equity goals in the electric grid. Bonnie comes to UVM with a background in entrepreneurship, having earned her MBA at Babson’s Olin School of Business and co-founded multiple companies including Radius Tracking Systems and Reconciled. Bonnie lives in Cambridge, Vermont with her fiancé and six-year-old daughter.
Jonathan is a senior engineer at RSG focused on the ways we fund, plan, and construct our transportation facilities. With over ten years of private consulting experience, including four years based in Auckland, New Zealand, Jonathan manages RSG’s east coast traffic operations, transportation planning, and engineering design practices. His experience is firmly rooted in the detailed design and operations of traffic signals, freeways, intersections, and pedestrian and bicycle facilities. The nexus of his interests and experience has served organizations and governments by producing actionable transportation plans and policies.
Dan Sosland is president of Acadia Center, a non-profit research and policy advocacy organization advancing the clean energy future at the state and regional levels. Dan’s efforts focus on developing and implementing comprehensive and sustained energy and climate policy solutions that attract diverse stakeholder support, utilizing a research oriented approach that incorporates consumer interests and economic benefits. Prior to establishing Acadia Center, Dan was an attorney in New York City and at the Conservation Law Foundation in Boston and Maine. He holds a JD from Cornell University and an AB from Brown University.
Before being appointed General Manager, Darren served as Burlington Electric Department’s Chief Operating Officer and led the Center for Innovation team. Prior to joining BED, Darren served as Chief of Staff for the Office of Governor Peter Shumlin. Before working inthe Governor’s Office, Darren was appointed as Deputy Commissioner at the Vermont Public Service Department, leading the advancement of the 2014 net metering law and 2015 renewable energy standard. Previously, Darren worked in the Washington, D.C. Officeof U.S. Senator Bernard Sanders as Senior Policy Advisor for Energy & Environment, and later as Chief Counsel. He has also worked for the National Governors Association as Program Director for Energy and Transportation. Darren has a B.A. from Florida Atlantic University and earned a J.D. and Master of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School.
Gabrielle specializes in the development of policy and programs for promotion of renewable energy, strategic electrification and energy efficiency, with a special focus on efforts to integrate all three. She has extensive expertise in policy and planning from work as a consultant, as director of Vermont’s statewide renewable energy industry trade association, a member of the Vermont System Planning Committee (addressing transmission grid reliability planning) and as Chair of the Board of the Burlington Electric Department (BED), Vermont’s largest municipal electric utility. In the latter role Gabrielle has provided strategic direction on BEDs IRP, maintaining BED’s 100% renewably-sourced portfolio and on Burlington’s goal to be a net zero city across all energy use by 2030. Gabrielle brings to her policy and planning work a grounded understanding of what it takes to move markets from policy incubation in the legislative arena, to program design in the regulatory arena, to the implementation arena, having managed residential efficiency programs, renewable energy incentive programs and – most recently – pilot programs to simultaneously promote efficiency, electrification of space heating and customer-sited renewables.
Rebecca Towne is Vermont Electric Cooperatives’s Chief Executive Officer. She has nearly two decades of utility experience in Vermont, with a strong focus on team building, leadership and strategic innovation.
Most recently, Rebecca was vice president of organizational strategy at Vermont Gas Systems. Prior to her work at Vermont Gas, Rebecca spent 14 years in roles of increasing responsibility at Green Mountain Power, including Chief Talent Officer. She joined VEC—the second largest electric utility in Vermont and one of two electric cooperatives in the state—in October 2018.
At VEC, Rebecca seeks to inspire people to do their best work, to innovate in support of Vermont’s energy future, and to remain focused always on service to VEC members.
Rebecca holds a BA from Swarthmore College and an MS from St. Michael’s College. She serves on the board of the United Way of NorthWest Vermont. A seventh-generation Vermonter, Rebecca grew up in Cambridge and today lives in Essex.
Peter Walke is the Deputy Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. Appointed to the position in January 2017 by Governor Phil Scott, Walke has been selected to co-chair the Vermont Climate Action Commission and to represent Vermont on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the first mandatory market-based program in the US to cap greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. Walke coordinates efforts to provide clean drinking water for Vermont residents effected by PFOA contamination, an industrial, chemical legacy, and he sits on ANR’s Leadership and Management Committee which provides a rigorous, high-quality avenue for Agency staff to advance their leadership skills.
Dr. Brett Williams is Principal Advisor for EV Programs at the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE). He is a point person for EV market and policy analysis, stakeholder engagement, and program design and evaluation. Many of his activities are carried out in support of California’s $700 million Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, for which he directs transparency and evaluation efforts, as well as for related activities in four other states. Previously he was an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at UCLA, a postdoctoral scholar at UC Berkeley, and a researcher for Amory Lovins at the Rocky Mountain Institute. Brett has a PhD in Transportation Technology & Policy from UC Davis, a master’s degree in Environment & Development from Cambridge University (UK), and an undergraduate degree in Physics / Public Policy Analysis from Pomona College (Claremont CA).
In 2017 Steven founded Eco-Equipment Supply (EES) to help bring about the electrification of Vermont’s lawn care industry. EES is the northeast sales rep for Ohio-based Mean Green Products, the first and leading manufacturer of commercial battery-electric lawn mowers. EES has also recently become the northeast sales rep for American Power Products, manufacturer of the battery-electric, zero-turn EDGE riding mower for residential applications. Steven can speak to the progress that’s been made, and the significant challenges and barriers that are impeding the growth of this innovative, carbon-cutting technology, and also offer some suggestions on how we can overcome these challenges.
Rebecca Zachas, Esq.
Rebecca Zachas is Senior Counsel to the Firm focusing on state and federal energy regulatory and policy matters, renewable energy development, and pipeline permitting proceedings for municipalities, other public entities, electric cooperatives, nonprofits and renewable energy developers. Ms. Zachas regularly practices before the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (“DPU”), including proceedings on grid modernization, rate cases, and distributed generation interconnection standards. She is currently involved in compliance phases of grid modernization before the DPU after having fully participated in the adjudicatory and stakeholder proceedings. She has also practiced before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission representing electric utilities, energy efficiency administrators, power marketers, and non-utility generators.
Ms. Zachas is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Syracuse University and a Cum Laude graduate of the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law. She is admitted to practice in Massachusetts, New Hampshire (inactive), the District of Columbia, Maryland (inactive) and the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.