| || |
| ||E2 members gathered June 2 for an event in Boulder to celebrate E2?s 10th birthday. [Click on image for larger version.] |
On June 2, E2 Rocky Mountains
celebrated E2’s 10th Anniversary in Boulder at the home of E2 Chapter Director Katie Connor, and featuring special guests E2 Co-founder Bob Epstein and Northern California Director Maureen Blanc. Over 40 individuals, including state and federal elected officials, and their staff, attended the event.
Prior to Bob speaking, guests had the opportunity to network with each other and hear chapter and state legislative updates from Katie and fellow E2 Rockies Director Andrew Currie
. Bob discussed E2's history and what makes E2 a unique organization. He also provided his perspective on the current political climate, the future of business/environmental advocacy and his vision for E2 moving forward. Bob stated that Colorado is an ideal state for environmental advocacy due to the state’s historical bi-partisan political working relationships, and our abundance of all the major renewable energy sources, including solar, wind and geothermal. Conception of a Rockies Chapter
E2 Rocky Mountains, also referred to as E2 Rockies, is a relatively new chapter. In 2004, E2 members and friends of E2, including Paul Berbarian, who is now an E2 member, with onsite support of then-E2 Manager Christina Koronides, advocated for a state ballot initiative
, Amendment 37, to establish Colorado’s first renewable energy portfolio standard. That year, E2 members and friends also participated in press conferences for the amendment at the State Capitol and in Fort Collins, and met with House Majority Leader Lois Spradley (see newsletter article
E2 leadership decided to expand into the Rocky Mountains region starting with the Denver/Boulder metro region of Colorado. Andrew Currie, after having seen E2 in action during several DC advocacy trips, agreed to lead this effort. Founding members of E2 Rockies also included E2 members already in the region such as Jeff and Lisa Bennett, Jane and Michael Cuddehe, Joann Shernoff and David Readerman
As part of his groundwork to start the chapter, Andrew organized a September 2007 E2 dinner
featuring two NRDC western water policy experts, Monty Schmitt and Barry Nelson, at a forum that allowed several E2 members in the area to get to know each other.
The Rockies chapter was officially co-founded in January 2008 by Andrew and David Readerman – with excellent support from Berl Hartman and Jay Baldwin of the New England chapter, and frequent coaching by E2 Co-founders Nicole Lederer and Bob Epstein. E2 Rockies has worked in partnership with clean energy and cleantech trade groups InterWest, COSEIA and Colorado Cleantech Industry Association. E2 Rockies has also received valuable input from the beginning from experts at Environment Colorado and Colorado Environmental Coalition.
| || |
|At a February 2009 EcoSalon (from left): E2 members Harvey Allon, Sue Allon and Michael Cuddehe; NRDC's Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.; and E2 members David Readerman, Jane Cuddehe and Andrew Currie. || |
E2 Rockies’ official chapter kick-off event
was in February 2009 when Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., agreed to come speak. Major thanks to Michael and Jane Cuddehe for securing a venue at the home of Sue and Harvey Allon in Denver, and to the Cuddehes, David Readerman and Joann Shernoff (the host committee) for making scores of calls – including cold calls – to recruit new members to attend. We increased our membership by 17 members following this event thanks to the hard work of this team. Diving into Advocacy Work
In a boon for the chapter’s recruitment efforts, Jessica Folkerts, Andrew’s assistant at the time, stepped up as part-time E2 Rockies Chapter Manager for 18 months up to the fall of 2009. Meanwhile, Joel Serface, long-time E2 member and cleantech expert, moved from Texas to the Boulder area and immediately began to play a key role on federal advocacy.
E2 initially focused on developing relationships with both Colorado U.S. Senators, members of the state’s congressional delegation supportive of energy and climate legislation, and with several environmental champions in the Colorado state legislature. E2 Rockies leadership and members also developed relationships with Governor Bill Ritter’s energy, climate, environment and economic development teams.
David conceived of and hosted a large E2 Rockies event in Denver the summer of 2008
during the week of Democratic National Convention at the Denver Athletic Club. Thanks to the efforts of Nicole Lederer and E2 member (and now FCC Chair) Julius Genachowski, we were able to get then-Senator Obama’s lead advisor on energy and climate, Mr. Jason Grumet, to speak at our event. E2 members from around the country attended as did many E2 prospects. Jason commented from the podium how impressed he was by the level of sophistication and depth of the questions from the audience.
In 2009, professional responsibilities led David Readerman to step down as Chapter co-leader. Andrew talked to several E2 Rockies members and was excited when member Katie Connor
agreed to join as Co-Director of the E2 Rockies Chapter. Katie’s educational background is in environmental engineering and business. She’s worked as a management consultant and environmental engineer for a range of public and private sector clients, and currently works with the University of Colorado’s Business School MBA program. Thus far, Katie has been doing a fantastic job with E2 Rockies’ recruitment and events.
E2 Rockies’s first state advocacy campaign was in the spring of 2009. We worked on two bills
and were successful with one. HB 1126, Encourage Solar Thermal Installations, passed the legislature and was signed by Governor Bill Ritter. HB 1126 allows local governments to provide the same incentives for solar thermal installations as may now be provided for solar electric installations. The second bill that E2 Rockies supported was laid over indefinitely and, therefore, effectively killed on the House floor. HB 1323, Coop Electric Association Energy Efficiency Program, would have directed cooperative electric associations serving 100,000 or more customers to engage in conservation and energy efficiency programs.
, E2 Rockies Member Sam Weaver spoke at a press conference at the Colorado state capitol building. The press conference gathered a diverse grassroots coalition urging Congress to pass a clean energy jobs plan. We co-hosted a Clean Energy Business Forum, "Building on Success: Impacts of Federal Legislation for Colorado's Clean Energy Economy,” and also met with Senator Mark Udall, and Congresswoman Diane DeGette’s staff to discuss climate/energy legislation. Andrew wrote an editorial for the Denver Business Journal
supporting a congressional clean energy bill, and E2 Rockies was publically recognized by Senator Udall as the kind of pro-environment business voice that is required to get action in the U.S. Senate. Building On Hard-Earned Success
Jamila Rockette joined as E2 Rockies Chapter Manager in January 2010 thanks to a foundational grant. Her hard work in spring 2010 has kept E2 Rockies very active on state advocacy. For the 2010 state legislative session, E2 Rockies members supported legislation to increase the state's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard from 20% to 30% by the year 2020, authorize the state Clean Energy Development Authority (CEDA) to enter into commercial loan agreements, establish a two-year "green" jobs training grant program, create a state-wide energy improvement district, and amend existing law to authorize "cross-boundary" local energy improvement districts (all were signed into law). E2 Rockies also supported an energy grant application by Boulder County for which Boulder County Commissioner Will Toor expressed his thanks for our pro-environment business group support letter. (Read complete spring 2010 advocacy wrap-up article
Since inception, E2 Rockies’ membership grew from 10 to over 70 members (mostly in CO). We’ve expanded both geographically and in more industries, supported dozens of state and federal bills, met with numerous public officials, and have increased the number of our prospects from 0 to 190.
Looking ahead, E2 Rockies plans to expand membership and our circle of E2 friends (like-minded business people) throughout Colorado and in more industries and is looking for members in Montana and Arizona (and other Rocky Mountain states) who want to take a leadership role and help get E2 active in their states and with their congressional delegations. In Colorado, E2 Rockies is planning to work on energy efficiency, water efficiency and smart growth issues at the state level, and to continue working on clean energy/climate legislation at the federal level. E2 Rockies will also be developing a relationship with the Republican members of the Colorado congressional delegation, more state legislators and the incoming Governor’s team in 2011. We also plan to spend more time working on earned media in order for our members to use the press to amplify our pro-environment business voice in the Rocky Mountain region.
Login to add a comment: