Christopher Arndt, Private Investor
Following a sixteen year career at Select Equity Group, a New York-based investment firm that manages more than $5 billion in public equities, Chris decided to step down as partner in May of 2010 to pursue other interests including writing, E2 and other public policy issues. He spent a lot of time in the outdoors growing up and, in particular, witnessed the transformation of the Potomac River from a filthy place that was unsuitable for any recreational activity into a river that, while still not the cleanest in the nation, was far improved. This instilled in Chris optimism about being able to improve environmental conditions and curiosity about how, politically and socially, such change could be achieved. He had already known about NRDC for several years prior to joining E2 in March 2006. Given his investment management background, several people advised Chris to look into E2 and when he sat down to lunch with Roger Ullman he realized there was indeed a fit. “I do think there is a clear need for a business voice in the environment that is not tied to a special interest and can cut through some of the stereotypes about environmental policy. E2 fills this niche.”
With E2, Chris is able to more effectively convey to legislators and the public what policies need to be in place to incentivize business managers to develop and invest in environmentally friendly products, services and/or practices. “Often the right policy can promote efficiency, competition, innovation, and environmental stewardship at the same time,” Chris believes. In this regard, he is especially interested in the problem of global warming. “It’s an exciting issue to work on because we can see that economic and technical solutions do exist, that it is a solvable problem, and we just need put into place the right policies that will allow us to apply the best solutions right away.”
Chris appreciates and has been enjoying his involvement with E2. He cites the caliber of E2’s membership, its well-organized structure and it partnership with NRDC as the strongest draws for him. “I have an increased sense of satisfaction. I’ve been able to meet people from different walks of life and very different areas of the business world who share similar interests and values.”
Meera Balakumar, Principal
Meera Balakumar joined E2 in August 2008 with an interest in promoting environmentally conscious investing and green best practices within her professional industry, real estate private equity. Meera is a Principal at Sterling Analytics, a firm that provides analytical services to institutional investors in real estate, specializing in underwriting green buildings and green development. It leverages a strong understanding of the CO2, energy and water impacts of real estate and the financial benefits to be gained from mitigating some of those effects.
When Meera first heard of E2, she had already joined the Full Circle Fund, a venture philanthropy fund, and, as a member of their Environment/Energy “circle,” led a Full Circle Fund team to invest in and advise a water-related non-profit, Imagine H2O. She subsequently learned that E2 was “amazingly impactful on several important environmental issues” such as smart growth, energy/water efficiency and biofuels.
“I joined E2 because I’ve always believed in the public-private partnership model for sustainable growth. E2 is a vehicle for sharing lessons and best practices between the private and public sectors.” E2 has been instrumental in developing Meera’s understanding of how public-private partnerships can be effectively used for advancing positive change. The exposure she has gained through E2 has informed her work at Sterling Analytics and her leadership of the partnership between Imagine H2O and Full Circle Fund.
She worked on E2’s effort to pass and implement a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) in California, leading a module in the campaign to gain the support of the investment community, attending meetings with and delivering testimony before regulators, and participating on a joint E2/NRDC Steering Committee on the LCFS. She also participated as a delegate on E2’s 2009 Sacramento trip, where she promoted policies that would result in the production of green jobs and more efficient use of energy and water.
Meera believes that green building can have a large beneficial impact in developing countries, where substantial capital inflows targeting real estate in recent years have significant implications for local and global environmental changes. Meera lived in Sri Lanka as a child and, as E2 marks its 10th birthday, Meera doesn’t mind the idea of an eventual Sri Lanka chapter. NRDC International Program staffers have been talking to Meera about their plans to start a U.S.-India Initiative on Climate Change and Energy, including meeting with partners in India, where she has some contacts.
Asked what she appreciates about E2 membership, Meera responds, “E2 members have a high intellect and invaluable practical competence, combined with a personally engaged passion for the environment. E2 members are focused on transforming the way we practice business to account for and protect the environment. They are accomplished and enthusiastic about the issues and I learn a lot from being around and engaging with them.”
Meera has a background in investment banking and real estate private equity, having participated in transactions in the U.S., Europe and Asia. She is a Fulbright Scholar who has studied and volunteered on economic development issues in environmentally challenged parts of Asia and Africa. She has a BA in Economics and Development from the University of California, Berkeley.
Mitchell Beer, President
Mitchell Beer is President of Smarter Shift Inc., an Ottawa, Canada-based company that specializes in climate and energy communications and analysis, content curation and marketing, and social media management.
He curates The Energy Mix, a free, thrice-weekly e-digest on climate, energy, and low-carbon solutions.
Beer was excited to join E2 in July 2014, on the (emphatic) recommendation of a sustainability colleague in San Francisco/Oakland, to learn more about and contribute to other entrepreneurs’ work on energy, carbon, and broader sustainability issues.
With the notable shift in Canada’s energy and climate priorities in late 2015, he is eager to act as a gateway for E2 colleagues who are interested in the country’s clean energy potential.
Beer traces his work as a renewable energy/energy efficiency communicator to October 1977, and his involvement with climate change to 1997. He attended the 2015 United Nations climate summit as an accredited observer on behalf of Sierra Club Canada. From September 2011 through May 2013, he was deputy director of a project that attempted to model an 80% reduction in Canada’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Although he sees energy and climate as a lifelong commitment and specialty, his work over the years has brought him into on-and-off contact with a wider range of sustainability and related topics: air and water quality, transportation and transit, sustainable cities and infrastructure, food and agriculture, housing and building design, First Nations resources and entitlements, waste and recycling, environmental health, the social determinants of health, wildlife and biodiversity, economic impact assessment, co-ops, community development, and K-12 education.
Laura Berland, Cleantech Business Development Consultant
Laura Berland, a LEED AP, is a seasoned sustainable business executive and a passionate advocate for sound environmental policy, with a career spanning 15 years in cleantech. Her path to the renewable energy sector is unique. Prior to working in alternative energy, Laura was a finance and strategic planning executive and consultant in the media and entertainment industries. Her passion for sustainability was inspired during a trip to Guatemala in 2001. She visited a macadamia farm and learned from the farmer/proprietor about the plight of the indigenous coffee farmers in the tropical rainforests. These farmers weren’t garnering a living wage for the coffee they produced and were poor and malnourished. The macadamia farmer donated macadamia seedlings to the coffee farmers and showed them how to grow them for crops as well as personal nourishment. The macadamia trees not only provided shade for the coffee, but also offset carbon emissions. Inspired by the macadamia farmer, Laura co-founded and was Director of The Macadamia Tree Project, a non-profit environmental organization based in Guatemala to preserve biodiversity, reduce the effects of global warming and sustain the livelihood of indigenous communities by donating genetically unmodified macadamia trees for planting. Laura later became involved with solar and never looked back from alternative energy.
In 2004, Laura was introduced to E2 by Christina Erickson, a fellow E2 member and co-founder of the Sustainable Business Council – a non-profit organization founded by a group of sustainable business executives in Los Angeles to establish Los Angeles as a leader in sustainable business. Laura attended the E2 EcoSalon: Our Oceans in Crisis: Depleting the Bountiful Sea and become an E2 member after attending a few more events.
“I was attracted to E2’s mission and the ability to interact with like-minded business professionals,” Laura explains. “I consider myself well-informed, but it’s illuminating to hear from NRDC experts on a range of topics – oceans, water, AB 32. It’s refreshing to hear intelligent debate and review from folks who are actually working on this every day, and to learn more about legislative challenges and victories from those who are doing the work and making policy happen. Rather than just reading about it, I’m hearing it straight from the frontline. E2 is geared towards someone who’s in the industry and aware of the overall picture, but needs and wants more details and information on how to get involved and make change happen”.
More recently, Laura volunteered to be an E2 Chapter Director in Southern California. As a Chapter Director, Laura hopes to strengthen E2 membership in Southern California, which is a burgeoning area for green tech and sustainability, and broaden the opportunities for member interaction.
Tony Bernhardt, Physicist; Angel Investor
As a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Tony had no dearth of exposure to the science behind environment issues, and to many of the technologies that can help address global warming. Reading and hearing the misconceptions about environmental problems and solutions, he often thought, ’If I only had five minutes, I could explain that to somebody.’
Since retiring in 2005, Tony has had his five minutes – hundreds of times with dozens of people. In December 2005, he joined E2’s California Climate Team and immediately became a force in our successful effort to pass AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. In addition to joining E2’s 2006 advocacy trip to Sacramento, Tony also met with state legislators and administration officials to garner support for AB 32. Moreover, he co-authored two of the E2 fact sheets on AB 32: Cutting pollution while strengthening the economy and Developing Low Carbon Ethanol for California. “I enjoy being able to spend enough time to actually understand an issue in depth and add to the information that we provide when we’re lobbying. Legislators hear generalizations on all sides of an issue, and that’s fine, but when you can tell them, ’This is how you can profitably replace 10 percent of the gasoline consumed in California, and almost all of the associated greenhouse gas, with biofuels grown in California,’ they get a stronger feeling that the macroeconomic arguments we make really work.”
Tony first joined E2 in November 2004, after finding himself at the same table as Co-founder Bob Epstein at a KQED dinner event. With his impending retirement, Tony was searching for a way to get involved at the intersection between science and public policy and felt E2 was the perfect vehicle. Tony has enjoyed learning about various environmental issues through E2 events and participating in E2’s 2006 advocacy trip to Washington, DC. He also appreciates having NRDC expertise at his fingertips. “There are a lot of knowledgeable and interesting people at NRDC and E2. They are people you can work with. I really enjoy the collaboration and sense of purpose.”
Tony will continue to work with E2 to help guide California’s implementation of AB 32, specifically by researching new technologies that will have the greatest impact on greenhouse gas emission reduction, and market factors that are needed to commercialize each technological option. “AB 32 addressed a huge issue, and we prevailed. I guess I shouldn’t expect success every time, but with NRDC and E2 I know that I’ll get to work with a really energetic and committed team.”
Dianne Callan, Independent Legal Consulting
Dianne Callan has over 30 years of professional experience, most recently as Vice President and General Counsel and Secretary for NMS Communications Corporation, a publicly-held telecommunications solutions provider. In addition, Ms. Callan previously served in other in-house positions, including Deputy General Counsel for Lotus Development Corporation for 10 years. Ms. Callan is currently a Visiting Attorney for Environmental Law Institute for whom she has co-authored articles on the Social Cost of Carbon and Big Data and Environmental Regulation.
When John Cheney first met his undergraduate dorm-mate at the University of California, Berkeley, he did not anticipate that one day in the future they would be making trips together to Sacramento to lobby legislators about cap-and-trade and feed-in tariff legislation. What he did learn quickly, however, was that this new friend, Bob Epstein, shared his values of integrity, openness and efficiency. So when Bob approached him with the idea of E2, John was immediately intrigued – as his career was already heading into the energy sector – and after working for some months on the establishment of a company investing in renewable energy projects, John took the leap and joined as a member. Since December 2002, John has signed 76 E2 Action Alert letters, attended 100 E2 events and meetings, and become an adroit spokesperson for E2’s values both in person and on the airwaves.
Having grown up in Northern California, John is dedicated to preserving the quality of life in the state for people from all walks of life. He believes E2 and NRDC have always been at the forefront of major policy issues in California. John’s work in renewable energy has helped him provide a strong business case for the policy work E2 does. John was a Founder of MMA Renewable Ventures, which financed early solar projects from 2006- 2009 ($450 million) and Silverado Power, which developed 347 MW of Solar in CA, NY, AZ from 2010 to 2014. That portfolio was sold in 2015 to Fir Tree (NY). John is currently working on clean energy development and financing in Mexico, Latin America, and South America through his new company Enera Capital.
In 2008, John was very active with E2 supporting an increase in California’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 33% of electricity generated from renewable sources by 2020. He was a delegate on E2’s 2009 annual trip to Sacramento in May, on which the RPS bill – SB 14, introduced by Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) – was a top agenda item, and has been back to Sacramento on several occasions since then to continue advocating for its passage. John has also volunteered considerable time this year to the issue of feed-in tariffs in California (AB 1106). Additionally, he has pitched in on E2’s efforts around AB 32, California ‘s global warming bill, and SB 375, California’s regional land-use planning bill.
On the federal level, John participated for his first time on E2’s annual trip to Washington, DC, in April 2009. He has also lent his voice to E2’s Radio Tour promoting efforts to limit global warming emissions and transition to a clean energy economy.
At every point of engagement with E2, John has appreciated working with other members. “There is an incredible openness about the members that gives the experience an egalitarian nature. Despite the phenomenal pedigree of each individual person, the collaboration is always about what each person is capable and willing to contribute to the cause. It makes for a very productive and enjoyable environment in which to work – and this is, of course, the intention and result of the values and leadership Bob and Nicole have exemplified.”
“If there is any one thing I could say about volunteering/participating, it’s this: It has been what I’ve expected in terms of policy work, but both the successes and emotional rewards have returned much more to me as an individual than I’ve given, for which I am grateful. It continues to be a very rewarding experience and I would recommend it to anyone.“
Stephen Cowell, President
After a long stint as CEO delivering energy services, Steve Cowell is now leading E4TheFuture to bring clean, efficient energy home. E4TheFuture is a small nonprofit working to advance clean, efficient solutions for residential customers across the U.S. Its endowment and senior staff come from Conservation Services Group (CSG), whose operating programs were acquired in 2015 by CLEAResult.
“E4” stands for:
- Energy—promoting clean, efficient, safe solutions
- Economy—growing a prosperous low-carbon economy into the 22nd century
- Equity—empowering all Americans to run their homes with clean, affordable energy
- Environment—restoring healthy air, water and land
For decades Steve has been dedicated to achieving measurable progress toward a strong and prosperous clean energy economy with a focus on the public good. He founded and directed numerous energy efficiency and renewable energy organizations, including CSG.
Under Steve Cowell’s leadership, CSG designed and implemented conservation and renewable energy programs for utilities, state agencies, and other groups throughout the U.S., providing services to more than 3.2 million businesses and households. Steve successfully advocated for energy efficiency as a least-cost power supply option. He helped to create and build the residential energy efficiency industry through sound public policy, legislation, and establishment of trade ally networks as well as the delivery of cost-effective programs.
Steve is a graduate of Brown University and has been honored with several major industry awards. He serves as a director on the board of several organizations, and has been an avid participant in E2 for eight years.
Andrew Currie, Investor
Andrew is an entrepreneur, conservationist and investor. Andrew joined NRDC in 2003 and upon receiving an NRDC newsletter that profiled E2, immediately contacted Co-founder Bob Epstein and joined E2. Andrew feels E2 is unique in that it combines pro-business and pro-environment forces with a nonpartisan approach through a virtual and action-driven network. As Founder of E2 Rocky Mountains and former Director he is actively working to help broaden E2 membership in Colorado geographically beyond Denver/Boulder and help define E2’s advocacy in Colorado and the region.
Andrew’s passion is wildlife conservation. Andrew, who has traveled to wild, remote places in Africa and North and South America, believes there is a real urgency for endangered species conservation. He is working on media projects to raise awareness and increase giving in the U.S. for endangered species work internationally where our dollars go a lot further and connecting all wildlife media to action. For an example please see his two minute motion graphics video http://www.ShiftGivingToNature.org . He gave a TEDxBoulder talk on this topic which can be seen here: hhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7MeCPfaPR0&feature=player_embedded
Andrew came with E2 to Washington, DC, in May 2006 to speak to legislators about the importance of preserving a strong Endangered Species Act. He continues to reach out to Colorado’s local and state legislators on this issue. Andrew also joined E2’s 2005 advocacy trip to Washington, DC, and in 2004 he arranged a press conference and support letter for a Colorado renewable portfolio standard that ultimately passed.
The DC advocacy trips have been the highlight of volunteering for E2. “I meet impressive E2 members from across the country, I learn about how to be an effective advocate and I get access to experienced NRDC experts on specific environmental issues.” In addition to those “West Wing” moments, Andrew also enjoys getting advocacy updates from E2 that show we’re moving the needle. “We’re a unique, powerful voice in DC because our culture has a natural admiration for the entrepreneur and successful businessperson. We’re able to make a larger impact, and that’s satisfying.”
Rick DeGolia, Executive Chairman
Rick’s interest in environmental issues was piqued when he took a class in environmental law at Harvard Law School. The class, taught by David Roe, Senior Attorney at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), exposed Rick to how the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) changed its rate structure to support investments in energy efficiency. Historically, utility regulators set electric and gas rates based solely on projected sales volume, which discourages utilities from promoting conservation. California was the first state to “decouple” utility sales and revenues, which dramatically changed the way utility companies approached energy. Negawatts (reduced use of electricity as a source of supply) became a valuable resource rather than something to avoid. When Rick was introduced to E2, he saw that what he learned about in class was being put into practice by E2. “It was brilliant the way the business issue was recognized and integrated with policies that benefit both the environment and business. E2 was created as an organization of business people that could focus on taking that analysis and build business support for smart environmental policy.”
Rick liked that E2 focused on a critical issue – how to build environmental consciousness that delivers this message: a healthy environment is best for business. He found E2 members to be extremely active, involved in the community and intellectually engaged. He enjoyed the quality of events that provided highly informative information to anyone who is conservation-minded while respecting the busy schedules of E2 members. Rick joined E2 in 2001 and has been an active member ever since.
In addition to volunteering to be an E2 media speaker and policy advocate, Rick has been a delegate in the 2008 Washington, DC, 2008 Sacramento and 2007 Sacramento advocacy trips. Rick was called upon to provide his expertise on water management issues in California. When the California Water Board considered testimony on water policy and global warming on August 24, 2007, Rick provided testimony emphasizing both the high energy use associated with the state’s water systems and the cost effectiveness of better water management. Rick has read thousands of pages of consultant reports commissioned by the CA Energy Commission and PUC to investigate how to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 5 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent (about three percent of the total reduction needed by 2020) through better water management. He and fellow E2 member Laura Shenkar (see profile below) researched and wrote a paper that estimates the impact of basic conservation with existing approaches and technologies in addressing the requirements of California’s climate change legislation, AB 32. (See “Reducing Greenhouse Gases through Improved Water Policies.”) When Ronnie Cohen, Senior Policy Analyst with NRDC’s Western Water Project, was working on California Assembly Bill 2175, the water conservation bill co-authored by Assembly Members Mike Feuer and John Laird, Rick provided feedback and analysis. AB 2175 has been passed to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
Rick’s participation in E2’s advocacy efforts has changed his attitude towards the political process. He notes that, “The experience has provided a focus for me to think about and discuss the critical environmental issues of the day. E2 provides an avenue for me to engage in our political process. I haven’t been involved in politics since 1972, when I was a student at Berkeley. But having a chance to meet with state and federal legislators introduced me to the political process and inspired me to get involved.”
Chris Dennett, Senior Manager
Chris Dennett is the definition of a modern environmentalist. Having grown up in Canada, Chris’ early years were lived outdoors – doing everything from skiing and camping to canoeing and hiking. Today his connection with the outdoors is not just a lifestyle, but part of his identity. He lives his life in such a way that promotes not only the environment’s well-being but also his own.
As a management consultant, he is a skilled communications strategist, change leader, and project manager, with an equally high-touch and high-tech tool kit he uses to drive synergy among teams and systems. His deep technical know-how allows Chris to bring a vision to life, and his persuasive communications and change leadership skills drive his ability to secure buy-in at the highest organizational levels.
Chris believes communication as a key component of a successful campaign to turn the tide on global warming. “The science and the economic forecasts show that taking steps now to fight global warming will benefit everyone. Finding out how to make our message simpler, more concrete and more personal will go a long way to overcoming the political inertia against making the necessary changes. Focusing on communication will allow more people to understand the issue and the costs or benefits of action or inaction.”
Living in Portland, Chris makes sure to enjoy the natural splendor he works so hard to protect – whether that’s from a mountaintop or the comforts of his own backyard. Since 2010, he has served as Northwest Chapter Director for Environmental Entrepreneurs, channeling his passion for the environment into an organization that brings business leaders together to address environmental problems with economically beneficial solutions.
Elizabeth Dreicer, CEO
Elizabeth Dreicer is a humanitarian and entrepreneur. She has been leading Posiba (www.posiba.com) since its December 2013 inception. Posiba is an information service (SaaS) for the social sector with a mission to measure social conditions and progress, to activate more individual giving and satisfaction, and to power more capital to efficiently flow to and through the philanthropic sector. Dreicer’s passion lies in information and decision science. Her background includes executive roles with medical analytics, healthcare technology services, community health, managed healthcare, medical group purchasing, healthcare publishing and pharmaceutical distribution firms. Dreicer is also co-founder and Board Chair of Kuity, an advanced analytics research and development firm, and co-founder and board member of Consuli, a firm organizing the world’s medical knowledge and making it accessible to consumers and clinicians globally. Posiba was incubated and spun out of Kuity. Dreicer received her Bachelors of Science degree in Organizational Leadership from Pennsylvania State University. Dreicer is also a Trustee of the Alliance Healthcare Foundation, including, currently serving as Board Chair and member of the Program Committee and the Finance/Investment Committee where she is immediate past Chair. Dreicer is Co-Chair of the San Diego E2 Chapter.
Bob Epstein, Co-founder
Bob Epstein is an entrepreneur and engineer with a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. He is a co-founder of five companies: Sybase, New Resource Bank, GetActive Software, Colorado Microdisplay, and Britton-Lee. Bob currently splits his professional time between his roles as co-founder of Environmental Entrepreneurs, Director New Resource Bank, Advisory Board of the Goldman School of Public Policy and Chairman of the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund. Bob’s community activities are focused on the environment, public education, urban food systems and opera.
Nancy Floyd, Founder and Managing Director
When Nancy Floyd participated as a speaker at one of E2’s earliest EcoSalons in 2002, she was impressed by the people who gathered that evening and recognized the potential to network with folks who could help her company, Nth Power, and their portfolio companies in energy technology, materials and other related businesses. Although she developed an interest in the environment during her college days, she had never found an organization that was focused on representing the business community’s voice and when E2 came along she found that she really believed in the mission and the mantra that business success and environmental protection can go hand-in-hand.
Ever since formally joining, shortly after her speaking appearance, Nancy has been able to indulge her inner policy wonk by participating in E2’s advocacy activities and getting in front of policymakers. “As a venture capitalist, I never thought I would spend as much time on policy issues as I do. The venture capital community understands that policy is key to our industry’s development, and I’ve heard from decision-makers that they like to hear from business folks directly, but we’re time-constrained. E2 really helps to target our efforts and meet with key legislators in a way that is very time-efficient and impactful.”
Over the years, Nancy’s E2 involvement has included two annual DC trips (2005 and 2009), a September 2007 hearing on Capitol Hill in which she testified to the importance of renewable electricity standards, speaking to business leaders in the Northwest about state climate policies, advocating for Oregon’s clean cars bill, testifying before the California legislature about cleantech sector growth, and playing a substantive role in the formation of E2’s Pacific Northwest chapter, which began with a campaign in support of a package of climate bills in Oregon. Her participation with E2 has also led to speaking engagements with other groups and events.
Nancy sits on the boards of ACORE (American Council on Renewable Energy) and the Center for Resource Solutions. She has been an advisor to the National Renewable Energy Lab, was a board member of Sustainable Asset Management in Zurich, Switzerland, and was also appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski to serve on the Oregon Economic and Community Development Commission, where she focuses on attracting green companies to the state.
Nancy has enjoyed seeing E2’s ranks grow, especially in the Northwest, and joins the chorus of volunteers who would love to see E2 become an international organization. “It’s gratifying to be able to let policy makers and other stakeholder groups know that the business community cares about the environment. But our problems are global and there is much to be done in key areas outside our own borders.“
Jonathan Foster, Chief Financial Officer
Jonathan Foster serves as CFO of Kurion, a venture-backed applied technology company and member of the 2015 Global Cleantech 100. Jon has spent the last 15 years in leadership roles in entrepreneurial technology companies in the Silicon Valley, including two other cleantech companies. He was CFO of LS9, a technology leader in the development of renewable and sustainable chemicals and fuels that was acquired by Renewable Energy Group (Nasdaq: REGI), and he also served as CFO of Nexant, a provider of energy efficiency software and services. Jon is a member of the Board of Directors of the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF), an innovative private non-profit spurring investment in start-up clean energy companies. He also serves as chair of the utilities advisory commission in Palo Alto, CA, a leader in the use of renewable energy. Prior to moving to the Silicon Valley, Foster served as a deputy director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Foster holds a BS in mechanical engineering from Yale University and a JD from Harvard Law School.
Susan Goldhor, Biologist
After being taken to several EcoSalons by longtime friend and E2 New England Co-founder, Berl Hartman, Susan decided to join E2 as a way to have access to NRDC and integrate her work, as well as her love of hiking and wilderness, with political advocacy.
Trained as a biologist, Susan works with the fishing industry and associated communities to develop methods to reduce and recycle waste water and seafood processing waste. When a fish is processed for human consumption, about half of that fish becomes waste. This is a concern not just because fish are a diminishing resource, but also because the waste often ends up polluting the ocean waters or landfills in which it gets dumped. As Susan will tell you, though, there are many ways to turn that waste into a resource. She has worked with fishermen, large and small processing plants, engineering firms and municipalities in the Northeast and Alaska to develop economically viable machinery, processes and products to fit their requirements and capabilities. These include species-selective long-line baits, fishmeal for the aquaculture industry, fish gelatin used in food products, fish-oil biofuel and high-grade fish oil for human consumption.
Susan has taken her industry expertise and concern about the health of the oceans to advocate on behalf of E2. In July 2006, she joined Berl Hartman and NRDC Oceans Advocate Roberta Elias in meetings with Massachusetts Congress members Edward Markey and Jim McGovern to discuss the economic benefits of marine protected areas as well as a strong reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation & Management Act – and the pitfalls of weaker alternatives and amendments being offered. In April, she joined three other E2 members in a meeting with the staff of Senator Therese Murray to emphasize strong support from the business community for the Massachusetts Ocean Management Bill, which ultimately passed the Senate. Susan is also involved in a New England oceans team convened by Berl that involves E2 members as well as community activists. Fish and oceans are not, however, Susan’s only concerns. In February 2006, she was among E2 members who testified at a Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection hearing in favor of strict regulation of carbon emissions from the state’s power plants.
“I’ve certainly met a number of people through E2 and it has made me politically active. Lobbying in a group is much easier than going it alone, and I feel that I have a much more powerful platform because of E2. I’ve been impressed talking with legislators in Massachusetts by the power we have because of our economic clout and our link with NRDC.”
Dan Goldman, Co-Founder and Managing Partner
In late 2001 Dan Goldman met with Bob Epstein in California to discuss a business opportunity and simultaneously learned about E2’s efforts to start a chapter in New England. He had already been familiar with NRDC for many years and had begun weighing his options for transitioning into the field of clean energy, a nascent sector at that time. He had held senior positions in more conventional energy companies and felt it was time to align his professional activities and past success with a desire and obligation to address climate change. The idea of E2 was very appealing to Dan – there wasn’t anything like it, and the fact that it was volunteer-oriented seemed unique and all the more powerful. So a couple of months later he joined forces with Chris Kaneb and, shortly thereafter, Berl Hartman, to officially co-found the E2 New England chapter.
From his years as an active and engaged E2 chapter leader, Dan calls out three highlights. The first is his participation in E2’s DC trips – he was a delegate on our annual trip in 2006 and 2009 and has made separate trips focusing on single issues this year. Dan has enjoyed advocating on Capitol Hill because “through NRDC’s reputation and E2’s mandate, we get very good access to members and our message is heard and appreciated, even if the legislator is not always in agreement. The impact we’ve had is a massive accomplishment, such that not only do we now get requests to deliver testimony, but we’ve also been called upon to advise on and help draft specific legislative language.” The second is being able to make inroads at the local/regional level – principally in Massachusetts. “An early challenge for the New England chapter was not having an NRDC office close by, but we’ve worked out a strategy that has allowed us to deploy our resources successfully and expand our name and reputation in the region, including aligning with other organizations in the region with similar policy positions to NRDC. It’s been very satisfying.” The third is the opportunity and resources to reach out and expand the membership of E2 to support NRDC. “It’s not always an easy thing to do, but I think we’ve garnered a significant following of both those who are donating members and those who simply believe in our proposition and like to keep up with what we do.”
On a more personal level, Dan does feel his involvement in E2 has informed and helped his efforts in starting clean energy companies and making the cleantech sector more mainstream. He is currently a founding Managing Partner at Clean Energy Venture Group, an early-stage clean energy angel investment group. He previously co-founded New Energy Capital, one of the first investment companies focused on clean energy project investments. His previous and current jobs have taken him all over the world, and as E2 considers its development for the next decade, Dan recognizes an opportunity for E2 to expand beyond the United States. “While there would be structural questions to work out, I would love to see E2 ‘go global’ in the next decade of its growth. I really don’t think there is anything like E2 outside of the U.S., but I think there is an interest. The opportunities are there, especially in China and the rest of Asia where environmental issues are of paramount importance if we realistically want to address climate change.”
While Dan serves on the board of several clean energy companies and is involved with other energy and advocacy organizations – including the Board and Executive Committee of the Northeast Clean Energy Council and clean energy-focused activities at MIT – he has found E2 to be a unique opportunity to “interact with other members and people who come from different professional backgrounds, different parts of the country, and have different perspectives on environmental issues. It has been very satisfying, on an intellectual level, to collaboratively figure out how to move the climate change debate forward and in the process to be educated on complex issues by the experienced staff members in NRDC. I can’t wait for the next decade!”
John Harper, Principal
John is founder and principal of Birch Tree Capital, LLC, a financial advisory firm that assisted clients in financing clean power projects with a focus on wind and solar photovoltaic projects. Previously, John was Vice President, Finance and Treasurer of Ze-gen, Inc., a renewable energy company that combines proprietary gasification tecnology with ordinary waste streams in order to generate clean, sustainable, low-cost synthesis gas for multiple industrial applications. John has over 20 years’ background in financing clean energy and other infrastructure projects domestically and abroad. John joined E2 in September 2003, on the suggestion of founding E2 New England director Dan Goldman. He saw E2’s successes advancing a clean energy agenda in California, and decided he wanted to support and adapt E2’s activities to achieve similar results in Massachusetts.
Since then, John has been a regular participant at E2 events in the greater Boston area. He has testified on clean energy policies before state legislative and regulatory hearings and to the transition team for the Patrick Administration. He joined multiple E2 delegations to Beacon Hill, including meetings to encourage long-term upward adjustment of Massachusetts’s renewable portfolio standard and the state’s energy policy. In 2009, he traveled to Washington, D.C. with E2 and urged Congressional leaders and staff to support climate change legislation. With E2 New England Director Berl Hartman, John currently is working with the New England Clean Energy Council to advise the Patrick Administration on improved renewable energy tax incentives. “E2 has given me a way to lend my voice to a group of business professionals lobbying at the state level and in a state that can then be a model for the nation.”
John lends a credible voice to arguments in favor of renewable energy as beneficial to the Massachusetts’ economy and energy profile. He can speak from experience about why money will or won’t flow into projects, what makes some projects more financeable than others, and what role state policy can have in fostering the flow of investment capital. “What I bring to the table as someone from the financing community is a reality check. Many states want to add more renewable power generation. Helping policymakers remove constraints to mobilizing capital to finance new projects is a key goal.”
John values the team spirit E2 New England’s chapter leaders have built over the years in lobbying on Beacon Hill. “I appreciate the opportunity to work with people who believe that change is possible and are willing to pitch in to try to make a difference. E2 provides a great platform for mobilizing a broader audience to effect positive change in the energy sector.”
Mike Hart, CEO
Sierra Energy is a waste gasification company founded in 2004 in Davis, Calif., by entrepreneur Mike G Hart. Along with a team of engineers, Hart, 50, has developed a machine called the FastOx® gasifier
Devices such as the FastOx gasifier are indicative of the type of back-to-the-future technologies that are being created today in response to expected increases in demand for clean fuels as California rolls out its groundbreaking low-carbon fuels standard.
Using steam, oxygen, and pressure to create a chemical reaction, the FastOx gasifier transforms unrecyclable, everyday waste – plastic bottle caps, leaves, tubes of toothpaste, wood chips, etc. – into a clean, renewable form of energy called synthesis gas, or syngas.
After it’s produced and captured, syngas has multiple applications. It can be combusted to generate electricity, converted into liquid transportation fuels like diesel, or used to power hydrogen fuel cells.
Practically anything can be gasified – a fact that amazes visitors who toured their demonstration plant.
“When they come by they’ll ask me what we can gasify: ‘Can you gasify a bowling ball?’” Hart said. “And I’ll say, ‘Yep, we can gasify that.’ Radioactive waste is about the only thing we can’t put into the gasifier.”
One part tried-and-true industrial blast-furnace technology, one part cutting-edge clean energy technology, the gasifier heats trash to 4,000 degrees. By closely controlling oxygen levels, the trash does not ignite, minimizing the production of emissions.
Instead, organic matter is vaporized and captured as syngas, while any inorganic matter melts. The inorganic matter is collected and removed as either molten metal or inert stone, both of which are valuable commodities. (Inert stone, for instance, is a black, non-leaching, stone-like substance used in cement and road construction.)
Biofuels proponents have touted syngas production as an important component of market-based energy policies designed to improve the environment and economy by reducing emissions. Sierra Energy, for instance, could benefit from California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program, or LCFS, because it encourages polluting companies to adopt renewable alternatives, like the FastOx gasifier, in order to offset the use of fossil fuels and lower their carbon footprints to meet new government standards.
LCFS encourages clean tech innovation and drives investment into the sector, Hart said. Sierra Energy aims to grow along with the industry, expanding production and hiring more employees. Currently, 25 full-time people work at Sierra Energy; several are engineers who have ties to the University of California-Davis.
The cost of equipment for a small-scale system starts at $3 million and then varies according to size and project parameters. Currently, Sierra Energy is designing and developing a commercial demonstration facility for the Department of Defense, in partnership with the California Energy Commission, to assist with the U.S. Army’s “Net-Zero” waste and energy goals. The system will create electricity to power the base’s operations and later produce biofuels.
“This project is part of Fort Hunter Ligget’s ongoing efforts to meet Net-Zero standards for both waste and energy,” Col. Donna Williams, the garrison’s commander, said in a statement. “Disposing of the installation’s waste and using it to generate clean energy meets both of these goals.”
Like a gasifier that could be used by any other institution, business, or municipality, the Army’s gasifier will redirect trash otherwise destined for landfills. This helps reduce emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas.
There are more than 50,000 landfills across the country – 48,000 are abandoned and another 2,000 remain open, Hart said. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, landfills are the third-leading source of human-caused methane emissions in the United States, accounting for 17 percent of all U.S. methane emissions in 2009.
Landfills are also constantly at risk of leakage, which puts precious groundwater resources at risk, Hart said, adding that Sierra’s technology could be used to mine those abandoned landfills, thereby recovering the recyclable materials, protecting the water table, and reclaiming the land.
Entities with large waste removal and landfill expenses are Sierra Energy’s target customers. Depending on the size of the landfill, a FastOx system could generate more than 20 percent annual return on their investment, making their money back in four or five years, on top of all the environmental benefits, Hart said.
“What we’ve done is taken one of the oldest polluting technologies and turned it into a cutting-edge clean technology,” he said. “And that’s an amazing opportunity.
Berl Hartman, E2 New England Chapter Director
Berl first met E2 Co-founder Bob Epstein while working in strategic marketing at Sybase, a database software company Bob co-founded. Years later, having moved to Boston and changed jobs, Berl found herself feeling that events were heading in the wrong direction: “It was early 2003 – the dotcom bubble had burst, the Senate had just been turned over to Republicans’ hands and the start of the U.S. war in Iraq was imminent.” She got a call from Bob, inviting her to a talk he gave in Boston about E2’s successful efforts to pass a clean cars bill in California. Berl had always been interested in local politics, and at the time was particularly concerned about global warming. When Bob asked her about starting a New England chapter of E2, she agreed to do what she could, but with a caveat. “I told Bob I didn’t know anything about the environment. On a good day, maybe I recycled. He assured me I’d learn it; that it was easier than selling software.”
Berl’s earliest efforts as Chapter Leader focused on recruitment events to build membership in New England. The chapter now has approximately 75 members and has gained four additional chapter co-leaders (see E2 Leadership webpage), all thanks to Berl’s guidance. Today, advocacy is just as important a component to the New England chapter’s activities as events. (Keep reading this issue for a summary of the advocacy accomplishments the chapter has enjoyed in just the past year.)
As a result of joining E2 and learning more about clean energy issues, Berl turned her professional skills to cleantech marketing consulting which she pursued for several years. Berl now focuses her time and energy on E2 and the New England Clean Energy Council, which she helped to found in 2007. She now serves on its board of directors and is the co-chair of the Council’s Policy Committee. She still very much enjoys both the event-planning and advocacy aspects of her E2 involvement. “E2 has become central to my perspective on issues. It showed me that when people are determined and organized they can actually make a difference. I’ve seen it this year here in Massachusetts where E2’s voice played a role in changing the environmental policy debate– and that has been very, very important.” With characteristic modesty, Berl is quick to share credit for the success of the New England chapter with her co-chapter leaders and the experts of other regional environment-oriented organizations with which she has formed close working relationships.
In addition to New England regional activities, Berl has been very active on E2’s national projects. She is a regular delegate to the annual delegation trips to Washington, DC, has participated in recent efforts to redesign E2’s website and update E2’s marketing plan, and serves on E2’s Advisory Council to help inform and guide growth and strategic direction.
Maggie Kaplan, Founder and Executive Director
Maggie Kaplan is the Founder and Executive Director of Invoking the Pause, an innovative small-grants program that strategically funds interdisciplinary collaborations to advance public awareness and engagement about climate change.
Previously, Maggie worked as a corporate attorney, specializing in real estate, estate planning and non-profit organizations. Later, she was the general counsel of a California real estate development company, working on large scale commercial development projects in the Bay Area, before finally transitioning into the arts. In recent years she has immersed herself in various philanthropic endeavors, including founding Invoking the Pause (ITP) in 2007.
E2 was selected as an ITP Grant Partner in 2014. Their “pause” brought together individuals and groups from governmental agencies, the military, religious leaders, a football hero, and small business owners, including a solar energy executive–to create a compelling story about the interdependence of business and environmental sustainability. This resulted in a meeting with Governor Branstad of Iowa to discuss the Clean Power Act as well as generating significant media coverage. They received a second grant in 2015, to continue this type of advocacy work in Michigan. E2 has been an active and networked ITP grant partner in many ways, including connecting with other ITP grant partners at COP in Paris last year.
More about Invoking the Pause can be found at www.invokingthepause.org.
Further, Maggie has funded for the past 3 years a paid summer internship program between the Presidio Graduate School of Sustainability and E2, whereby a PGS graduate student works in E2’s San Francisco office on various policy initiatives important to E2’s advocacy work.
Additionally, through a generous partnership with Maggie, E2 established the E2 Strategic Membership Fund, which has enabled E2 to bring on 35 new members who add important voices and perspectives to E2 and who might not otherwise be in a position to join. The fund is available for memberships that fulfill strategic objectives in the following categories: Professional, Geographic, Chapter Specific, and Young Entrepreneurs. As an experienced convener of collaborative efforts, Maggie quickly understood the value of bringing in non-traditional members:
“In my previous career, learning the art of collaboration across disciplines and finding “common ground” to create winning strategies for all interests – from local government officials, architects, construction workers, banks, outside legal counsel, marketing and real estate brokerage companies, to players within the company- was key.
Consequently, I strongly believe in drawing people from many disciplines together to incubate new, “out-of-the-box” creative initiatives and strategies to address many of the climate challenges we face today. At Invoking the Pause, we are a sort of “early-stage idea-incubator — investing in thought leaders with innovative ideas and providing them the “gift of time” – to take a respite from their busy professional lives, forming collaborations that otherwise wouldn’t exist, and working to capture what I’ve coined as “RORs“ (Return on Relationship”).
If social entrepreneurship is to succeed, it will be at the brilliant nexus of creativity, intelligence, and “Collateral Delights” – where collaboration, connections and exploration produce positive and oftentimes unexpected results.”
Sam Leichman, Co-Founder
E2 Member Sam Leichman comes from a background in finance and the retail sector. Sam recently came out of a five year stint at Design Within Reach, where he oversaw strategic and corporate development. In April 2012 Sam co-founded LivingPlug, a modern hardware consumer product venture aiming to boost energy conservation, improve child safety and enhance home aesthetics (to be launched in 2013). Sam’s focus on the environment and energy issues are key hallmarks of the company’s core values.
His interest in environmental issues stems from a lifelong appreciation of the outdoors and a pragmatic view that “environmentalism is not an extreme word.” He saw a need for a young patrons group focused on environmental causes so 7 years ago he helped found the SF Council. Partnered with NRDC, the SF Council is a community of young professionals with the goal of supporting the environment and getting involved in environmental issues. One of the things that led him to NRDC was how pragmatically they deal with these issues. He feels it was an obvious jump for him from the SF Council to E2.
Sam joined E2 in order to utilize his resources and time in a way they would have the greatest impact. He put his retail expertise to use with TB117 (California’s outdated flammability standard that encourages the use of toxic flame retardants) by contributing the business perspective of the furniture industry to the Chief of Consumer Affairs in Sacramento. “It’s been a lot of fun and an honor for me to be able to participate and speak to the concerns that I know the business community has from a retail and manufacturing perspective.”
One of Sam’s goals is “leaving the world for our children in as good or better condition than we had,” therefore he has a special interest in oceans and water issues.
Mark Liffmann, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Business Development
Mark Liffmann caught wind of E2 when the Palo Alto Weekly published an article in March 2002 featuring the group, at the time less than one year old. While keenly interested in environmental issues, Mark and wife Brooke were too busy with their careers to get involved meaningfully in the movement. From the Palo Alto Weekly article, E2 – with its orientation toward busy professionals – sounded like “the perfect group for us.” In April 2002, they tested the waters by attending a Northern California EcoSalon about national energy policy. The following month they formally joined E2 and have since been among E2’s most active members, participating not only on our Action Alerts, but also regularly attending in-person and TeleSalon events.
“E2 provides four great benefits,” Mark says. “Efficient and effective direct advocacy, financial support for NRDC, fascinating and highly relevant educational events, and an exclusive network of the highest-caliber professionals aligned around a common interest.”
E2 has helped Mark become more educated on environmental issues – and opportunities. When he joined E2, he was a corporate law attorney. Less than a year later, having learned about the issue of global warming, he moved into a business role at Solar Depot LLC. He then joined SunPower Corp., where he co-founded the residential and light commercial business unit. Mark has come to believe that global warming “is the single defining challenge of our generation. I am very enthusiastic about our ability to solve the problem of climate change through innovations in the clean tech space.”
In the summer of 2009, when he and Brooke moved from Palo Alto to Seattle, Washington – where he is now Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Business Development at Clean Power Research and she a professor of law at Seattle University – E2 asked Mark to see about getting the Pacific Northwest chapter off the ground. By September, he was ready to launch the chapter, and less than four months later, he successfully recruited seven additional chapter directors from both Washington and Oregon.
E2 could not be more grateful and excited to have someone like Mark – who participated on his first E2 DC trip in 2010 – spearheading efforts in the Pacific Northwest and is looking forward to seeing the chapter continue to grow.
James Marvin, Regional Manager, North America East & Canada
Less than a year after retiring from service in the military, James Marvin, a former Commander in the US Navy, now leads a consulting practice to help the Federal government reduce its dependence on oil. CDR Marvin joined the Navy right out of college and began his twenty year military career with Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training graduating class 176. During his career as a Naval Special Warfare officer, CDR Marvin led and supported operational and staff level duty positions in the United States as well as overseas. He was stationed in Guam, Hawaii, the Island Kingdom of Bahrain and traveled all over the world in support of taskings and mission requirements. His last duty assignment before he retired in 2009 was in Norfolk, VA as the Director of Operations for Naval Special Warfare Group FOUR (NSWG-4). He has transitioned from a career serving the country to a new career helping the Federal government embrace opportunities for environmental progress.
After retiring from the military, James was looking for an opportunity to get involved with an organization that makes an impact and creates a better place to live and work. He wanted to be involved with an organization that can help change the world, one person at a time; James wanted to trade hard power for soft power. In April of 2010 he attended the E2 Pacific Northwest Chapter’s inaugural EcoSalon, “National Climate Change Legislation: Getting to 60 Votes”, featuring U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and joined E2 immediately.
“E2 provides the best opportunity to make a difference,” James says. “I was in the military for 20 years and briefed senior civilian and military leaders around the world, but when you talk to a legislator there’s a sense of connection and involvement here at home that you just can’t get abroad. Going to an E2 event and having a connection with Senator Cantwell is an opportunity that you can’t put a price on. Having a vehicle to help you achieve your goals and objectives is priceless. E2 turns talk into action. That’s how you change the world.”
James was formerly a Chapter Director for the Pacific Northwest Chapter and has now relocated to the New England Chapter. He has transitioned from a career serving the country to a new career helping the military embrace opportunities for environmental progress. In James’ view, dependence on foreign oil is a real national security issue. “Dependence on foreign oil takes lives. It’s not a left or a right issue – it’s an ISSUE that affects everyone. People need to understand that climate change will put an increased demand on limited resources and create instability in certain regions. There’s an industry out there that has solutions and E2 connects the dots. E2 bridges the gap better than other organizations. E2 understands that it’s also a matter of national security, which saves American lives.”
|E2 Member James Marvin, a 20-year Navy veteran and former Navy SEAL, discusses the military’s leadership on clean energy initiatives and why it’s important to our nation’s future|
David Miller, Executive Managing Director
David S. Miller, Ph.D. is a founder and Executive Managing Director of Clean Energy Venture Group. An engineer by training, he brings over 20 years of technology startup management experience and over a dozen years of seed stage investing experience. He is on the board of directors or advisory board of several clean energy companies, including Azima DLI, Next Step Living, MyEnergy, and Cambrian Innovation and has mentored many others. He is also a research affiliate at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Dave is also an E2 New England Chapter Director.
In 2012, we sat down with Dave and had a conversation covering topics ranging from residential energy efficiency to the role of strategic partnerships. Here’s what he had to say:
On residential energy efficiency
“There exists significant room for energy efficiency improvement within the residential sector. With respect to comfort – heating, cooling, free use of appliances – it’s possible to get the exact same level of performance while cutting energy consumption anywhere from 30-50%. Much of these improvements are made with simple technology: more efficient lighting, hot water savings, insulation and air sealing are usually where you want to start. Other options include energy-efficient appliances, HVAC systems, better performing windows, and distributed energy solutions.
A case study is my own house, which is a net-zero-energy building. My previous home was built, to code, in 2005 – so relatively new. By focusing heavily on insulation and air sealing, passive solar siting, as well as installing a more efficient HVAC system, we used 88% less energy to heat our new home on a per square foot basis last winter. We went from paying energy bills to being paid by the utility due to those energy savings and our installed solar. The take-away here is that a typical home, built to the standards and codes required in 2005, could be using 88% more energy than necessary – a large room for improvement. Partly, this fact can be attributed to the building codes themselves. The real key to bridging this gap is continuing innovation in building materials and tech, as well as the introduction of mechanisms to align the interest of builders, owners, and renters.”
On the agency dilemma in construction and retrofits
“The classic principal-agent problem is central to the issue of creating energy efficient buildings – builders and/or owners want to minimize capital costs, while leasers are the ones that pay energy bills. One way to get around this problem is simply with the introduction of stricter building codes. Alternatively, energy efficiency could be promoted as a more salient factor in real estate transactions. The easy analogy here would be to MPG rating for cars, which is a real factor for buyers. In a rational market, buildings with better (lower) HERS ratings should command a premium since the cost of ownership is lower.
In general, even in retrofit situations, insulation and sealing improvements have a very good payback, so economically its good policy to promote these types of improvements. “
On the different types of plays in the energy efficiency sector
“There exists a significant opportunity in energy efficiency, since so much of our current energy production is essentially wasted – this is an economic opportunity, as well as a social opportunity to reduce unproductive waste of resources. As an early-stage angel investor, we are typically looking for capital-efficient companies, and energy efficiency companies tend to meet that criteria.
Our portfolio company, “Next Step Living,” has become a leader in residential energy assessments and efficiency retrofits as well as HVAC and solar installations.
Another type of play is the information/data play. An example is one of our portfolio companies, “MyEnergy.” They provide better information to residential users about their energy usage via their website and emails – this type of service costs their customers relatively little to provide, and costs end users nothing, but provides information that can lead to appreciable energy, and therefore cost, savings.
There are also innovations being made in hardware systems to collect better information about energy usage, or improve energy usage. Another one of our portfolio companies, “OutSmart Power Systems,” creates systems for commercial building that allow users to collect very detailed information about energy usage, accessible and usable in real time, while also providing information on the health of equipment within the system and thus smarter preventative maintenance.
There exist opportunity across all sectors: residential, commercial, and industrial. In industrial applications, decisions really come down to long-term overall energy use, and significant hardware installs are on the table if they make economic sense. In homes, on the other hand, you really are typically looking for relatively low cost on a per-home basis.”
On the renewables sector
“While our focus is primarily within energy efficiency, we see opportunities across the renewable sector. For example, while solar is facing significant foreign competition on low-cost plays, there is opportunity in boosting efficiency. Wind is much more mature, but similar opportunities exist. Wave/tidal energy, geothermal – it all holds great promise. One of our portfolio companies, “Purpose Energy,” creates waste-to-energy systems designed to process brewery waste – this technology not only creates energy, but has tremendous value inherent in its ability to process waste product. Heat-to-energy is another category that shows promise – in fact we have two companies in our portfolio that address this: MTPV and Deltatrec.
Energy storage is important because it will be key to mitigating the intermittency of renewables. We have two companies that deal in storage, one that creates grid-scale solutions -General Compression – and another that creates distributed storage -VCharge. The underlying tech behind General Compression is extremely large-scale, cost-effective, compressed-air energy storage, using geologic formations. VCharge’s underlying storage technology can be very simple – such as bricks heated with electric resistance. Combined with VCharge’s control algorithms, customers are able to manage this process in a very fine-grain way; for example, at nighttime, or in certain situations when electricity has a negative price on the grid due to overproduction of baseload, these systems will take up that energy, store it as heat, and use the thermal energy at some point in the future when electricity prices are higher.
Clean energy is growing exponentially – while it may look initially small and easy to dismiss to some observers, if this type of growth continues, it will get big quick. This is coming in the energy sector – it won’t necessarily happen in days, weeks, or even years, but it certainly is one of the biggest and most important opportunities in our lifetime. Small companies today have the potential to play very significant roles in the future world economy.”
On strategic relationships with existing key players
“Most large companies are looking for ways to reduce their footprint for both social and economic reasons. It all really just comes down to where the best fits are.
As an example, 3M recently came in as a significant strategic investor for one or our portfolio companies, “7AC Technologies,” which produces high-efficiency commercial AC systems. These systems use somewhere from 50-70% less energy, creating an extremely good ROI for the end users. This kind of play is huge when you think about the energy used for commercial sector cooling and this particular partnership between a major player and a startup is a real win-win.
Companies are interested in adopting energy efficiency practices as well –our portfolio company “Practically Green,” which enables users to track all sorts of consumption habits and lead more sustainable lives, works with several companies that are interested in using this type of service to enable their worldwide employee base to become more sustainable and reduce their footprint.”
On international considerations
“The energy industry is enormous. Clean energy, as a portion of this industry, is growing exponentially, and will eventually overtake fossil fuels as the most important source of energy. The country with the leadership position in this sector will likely also have the leadership position within the global economy. Notably, China is making a tremendous play to be that leader.
Today, most companies need to be thinking international from the beginning. However, our companies are generally very early stage, and typically are not yet addressing international markets in big way. Especially with energy startups that are focusing on capturing local markets, it will be some time before we start moving beyond our borders. One exception within our Portfolio is “Solantro,” which builds integrated electronic technology for a wide range of solar solutions – that’s a global market today.
Much of the energy industry is rather local. For example, in solar, people are talking about China taking over, but really they are only talking about one step of a multi-step value chain: building low cost panels. Domestic companies are still the ones installing the panels or creating specialized building technology. While countries such as China are certainly playing a significant role in certain parts of the value chain, the other parts, especially service, can be much more regionally focused.
Moreover, many of the energy services that we work with are very locally tuned and regionally based – they really have to be tailored utility-by-utility. It would be hard for foreign energy service companies to be competitive unless they decided to fully engage in tailoring their products to local and regional utilities within the US. On the flipside, I would presume this home-court-advantage benefits comparable companies in China as well. If an American company wanted to go to China and install panels or provide energy usage information to local users, they’d have a hard time penetrating that system and supplanting local competition.”
David Moyar, President & CEO
In November 2008, David Moyar sat down for lunch with NRDC’s Dale Bryk, a Senior Attorney and Director of the Air and Energy Program, to discuss his interest in being more actively involved in supporting NRDC’s work – he had been writing checks for his membership dues for nearly two decades. Given his role as President and CEO of MEI Hotels Incorporated and his Yale Law School degree, Dale recognized that E2 might be the perfect conduit for his interests and skills. In February 2009, David attended his first E2 New York event, an EcoSalon that discussed NRDC’s vision for improved carbon cap-and-invest legislation for the U.S.
An Eagle Scout in his youth, David has always been environment-minded and these days is passionate about fighting global warming, transitioning to clean sources of energy, and protecting air and water quality.
Professionally, David says his participation in E2 has positively influenced the environmental policies and practices of his firm, which he and his father co-founded in 1998. MEI and its affiliates own and manage four Hilton branded hotels with over 200 employees. “We are now much more proactively ‘green’ in our investment and purchasing decisions. We want to be supportive of cleantech industries. We are currently in the process of getting state specific green lodging certifications at our hotels, after which we will likely go for LEED-EB (Existing Building certification.”
For David, the most rewarding aspect of being involved with E2 is the opportunity to convey the economic rationales for environmental legislation directly to policymakers. “It’s important to show decision makers there are real-life business people with true concerns about the environment and our natural resources. With E2, you can go face-to-face with these decision makers and while it’s hard to know whether you’ve made an impact, you fulfill a civic function as a citizen and as a business person.”
David has already gone face-to-face with policymakers three times with E2 – on our 2010 annual Washington, DC, trip in February, a March 2010 trip to DC, and E2 New York’s 2010 annual Albany visit. David also participated in E2’s 2010 radio tour project to support federal clean energy and climate legislation, which targeted constituents and members of Congress from Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Montana and Virginia.
As E2 continues to grow, David looks forward to more networking opportunities both at events and through cyberspace, promoting E2 to more business people like him who are with companies that are not cleantech firms per se, and seeing that E2’s existing membership gets more deeply leveraged for our advocacy campaigns.
Carl Nettleton, President
Carl Nettleton is a speaker, moderator, analyst and the president of Nettleton Strategies, a firm specializing in in forming complex community coalitions and handling high profile issues involving government, media, businesses and neighborhoods. Carl is known for his ability to provide critical insight and strategic problem solving to both old and new issues. He regularly brings clients innovative ideas and fresh ways to look at their issues. As a senior counselor with strong networks in governmental, environmental, regulatory, media and business communities, Carl mixes who he knows with interpersonal skills that foster an atmosphere of cooperation to achieve client goals.
A key strategy implemented in this work is facilitated mapping, the use of advanced geographic information systems (GIS) technology to create location-based consensus and create opportunities for collaboration and conflict resolution. He says this about his firm’s work:
“At Nettleton Strategies, we try to create a sense of trust and a safe place for discussing and resolving issues. Participatory mapping is often the starting point for a process that leads to positive dialogue and relationship building.”
His subject matter expertise includes oceans, all things water, energy, climate, and the U.S. Mexico border. He regularly presents or moderates panel discussions at local, national and international meetings involving these subjects.
Carl is also the founder of OpenOceans Global, an international non-profit linking people to the world’s oceans.
Since joining E2 in December 2010 and becoming co-chair of the San Diego Chapter, he has helped to build the chapter by listening, fact-finding, and facilitating discussions with chapter members and local experts. Carl hopes the San Diego Chapter will be seen as a group supportive of E2’s state and national objectives and contributing to the resolution of environmental issues using sound business thinking.
As a delegate on the 2011 Washington, D.C. advocacy trip, Carl used his expertise to learn how individual elected offices viewed E2 issues while helping to highlight the need for using intelligent maps to create sustainably managed oceans that will benefit the economy for years to come.
His contribution to E2 includes using his ability to bring together businesses, the environment, and the NRDC to foster better communication and understanding that will help solve the traditional economy-environment gap that exists in policy. Carl says “We have to get to a sustainable place where we realize the benefit of the environment within the economy. We need to enable interest groups to work together with trust and respect.”
Carl’s favorite aspect of E2 is the opportunity to interact with like-minded people in such a collegial environment. “I’ve really enjoyed all the people I’ve met through E2. There is a great energy around this group, he says. “They are forward thinking and open to change and new ideas.”
David Readerman, Managing Member and Portfolio Manager
David Readerman, CFA is the managing member of Endurance Capital Partners, LLC and the portfolio manager of Endurance Capital Fund, L.P.
The Endurance Capital Fund is a San Francisco-based, research driven investment strategy that focuses on the technology sector and tech-impacted industries such as carbon-based – to – clean tech industries. The investment process spans technology life cycles from rapid, emerging growth – to – disrupted, mature businesses.
When he was introduced to E2 in 2000, he believed in the business plan and became an active E2 member. Supporting E2’s mission, David notes that “clean environment is good economics; it’s profitable and sound public policy. Global growth requires energy resources and a clean, safe environment.”
David joined E2’s Delegation to Washington, DC, in 2003 and again in 2007, and participated in the 2008 Department of Commerce’s “Green Trade Mission” to China and India. He was also a chapter leader and co-founder of E2’s Rocky Mountains Chapter, founded in 2007. Under his leadership, the Rocky Mountains chapter grew to 25 members in a short amount of time. David is now an active member of the Northern California Chapter.
David strongly believes that “the United States needs a bi-partisan national energy policy. It’s not simply about wind or solar for renewable portfolio standards. It’s more than year-to-year Congressional infighting for investment tax or production tax credits. I believe that E2 – with its non-partisan, ‘we care, we vote’ membership – can and should make its voices and insights heard.”
David regularly meets with key energy sector players in Washington, DC. He is uniquely positioned to make strong, non-partisan appeals for sound environmental policy that also builds economic prosperity. “My impact is that I am not a lobbyist. I pay my own way to participate. I go to bring an ounce of real-world, business perspective to the political process.”
David’s efforts have helped to increase E2’s presence in Washington, DC, and expand E2’s membership in the Rocky Mountains. But perhaps the best part about David’s tireless work is the opinion of his son, who thinks that “Dad is cool – he wants to save the planet.”
David Rosenstein, President
David is the President of Intex Solutions – headquartered in Montebello, Calif. – a national company providing commercial carpet, stone and textile care, as well as emergency water damage remediation services. David had long been a supporter of NRDC when he learned it would be opening its LEED Platinum-certified Santa Monica office in November 2003. He called the Santa Monica office administrator to offer – and ultimately get agreement to – his company’s cleaning and care services at no charge. “I wanted to donate my services to NRDC, I wanted the building to look good and, of course, it was a good way to get the word out about Intex.”
David learned of E2 through Southern California Chapter Tim Sexton, whose children attend the same school as David’s, and from talks with Nancy Golden, NRDC’s former Southern California Development Director. After attending a couple of EcoSalons and hearing E2’s pitch, he decided “it was a no-brainer” to join, which he did in the spring of 2004. “It was clear that E2 was providing what can still be, unfortunately, a really unique voice from the business community on environmental legislation. I looked at the things E2 had accomplished, I could see it was an organization that was active in making a difference, and that it was not just people sitting around talking.”
In 2006, David was very active himself helping E2 on its Southern California advocacy efforts. In the summer of 2006, David was among a handful of E2 Southern California members who organized letters of support from Southern California businesses, placed phone calls into key legislative and executive offices, and attended district office meetings to help make the business case in favor of AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act. In 2007, he participated in writing letters and attending meetings to build support for SB 974, the Clean Ports Investment Act by Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach). What David appreciates most about E2 are the results it achieves. “Our activities have, for the most part, been really effective. That is the most important thing. In some cases, our message has given legislators ’cover’ to push environmental policies that they have been wanting to do, but perhaps would not have pursued because of a perceived lack of business support.”
Michael Rucker, President
E2 welcomes Michael Rucker, President and Co-Founder of Harvest Energy Services, as a Chapter Director for the Rocky Mountains chapter of E2. Michael is also Managing Director of Mariah Acquisition, a wind and solar energy developer.
Harvest is a wind operations and maintenance and asset management company based in Boulder, Colorado. Mariah Acquisition develops wind and solar energy projects and recently closed financing for and is constructing a 230 MW wind farm in West Texas as part of the first phase of the 600 MW Mariah Energy Center.
Michael has over 20 years of renewable energy management experience. He was CEO of Juwi Wind North America, a leading renewable energy developer and operator headquartered in Boulder, CO. Michael also served as VP of Business Development at Clipper Windpower Development, and as the Western Region Commercial Director at GE Energy. Michael’s experience also includes pioneering work in power market operations and REC trading at Automated Power Exchange, Inc., and significant policy and programmatic work in renewable energy and climate change at the International Energy Agency (IEA) Energy Technology and R&D program. Michael started his energy career as a Manager at the Edison Electric Institute, the Washington, DC based trade association for US investor-owned utilities. He has a M.A. degree in International Economics from the energy and environment program of the Johns Hopkins University (SAIS), and a BA degree in International Relations from Pomona College in Claremont, California.
Tedd Saunders, President, EcoLogical Solutions, Inc.
Tedd is a third-generation co-owner and Executive Vice President of environmental affairs for the Saunders Hotel Group, President of EcoLogical Solutions Inc., and author of The Bottom Line of Green is Black. Often credited with creating luxury ecotourism in the 1980s, Saunders Hotel Group and EcoLogical Solutions pioneered the most well recognized environmental management models in tourism. His work demonstrates how companies can reduce costs and environmental impacts while generating customer loyalty, employee morale and community goodwill. A Presidential Gold Medal and awards from the Travel Industry of America are among the recognition Saunders Hotel Group has received for its work, and EcoLogical Solutions has helped its clients earn positive press coverage on outlets such as CNN and The New York Times.
Tedd first heard about E2 through Chris Kaneb, an E2 New England chapter leader. Soon after, John Adams, Founding Director of NRDC, who sits on the board of the Woods Hole Research Center with Tedd, told him that E2 would be a great fit for an environment-minded business person. After going to a number of E2 events, and meeting co-founder Berl Hartman and chapter leader Dan Goldman, Tedd decided to join. Ever since, he has been very active, advocating for environmental policies on behalf of E2 and NRDC. His earliest E2 activity was a meeting in September 2005 with Massachusetts Congressmember Mike Capuano to introduce E2 and discuss our work on oceans and the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). More recently, he joined E2 and NRDC’s Director of Air and Energy, Ashok Gupta, at the Massachusetts state house to discuss a global warming bill with Senator Frederick Barry’s office that would enable Massachusetts to rejoin RGGI. Tedd’s presence helped demonstrate that “mainstream businesses recognize and support the benefits of good environmental policy – policies that create opportunities and avert risks.”
“I talked about my background in the hotel industry, how we’ve incorporated numerous comprehensive environmental initiatives and how they have benefited our company in a wide variety of ways, including our bottom line.”
By joining E2 members at the State House and meeting with senators and congress members, Tedd has gained “a wonderful sense of connection to the political system. For most of us, politics is a distant and unappealing mystery. It’s nice to feel engaged, see how things actually work, and know that you’re part of the solution.”
“It’s also gratifying to be involved and make a difference without a huge commitment of time. E2 is so well organized that it always makes the best use of my hectic schedule and finds ways to leverage the value I can bring to a given situation. I’m on at least nine other environmental boards, but I feel E2 is one of the most effective, when it comes to involving business in solutions to our future.”
Joel Serface, Managing Director
Joel is a founding member of E2, having first discovered the organization via the Internet in 2001 when E2 was less than a year old. “I was in New York City on September 11 and knew immediately I needed to commit myself to solving our energy problems. I joined E2 because it was a community of like-minded business leaders who could put a business face on environmental advocacy.” As a member, Joel has written letters, held the first meeting at his office with California Treasurer Phil Angelides crafting what would become the California “Greenwave Initiative,” helped with research on California biofuels, and recently was a delegate to Washington, DC. He advocated plug-in hybrids early on with NRDC researchers to make sure it was on their radar screens.
Joel is one of the early leaders in the clean-tech community, having created or funded more than 20 companies, non-profits, and policy organizations over the last decade. He advises and serves on boards of directors for companies and non-profit organizations that advance cleantech policy, community development, technology commercialization, and finance, including the Clean Economy Network Educational Foundation, the CleanTX Foundation, the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association, where he also serves as Policy Co-Chair, SXSW Eco, and the Clean Tech Open.
Currently, Joel is the Managing Partner of Catalyze, a company dedicated to accelerating the transition to renewable energy. Prior to Catalyze, Joel co-founded and was Managing Director of Brightman Energy, a renewable energy development firm focused on utility scale wind and solar energy projects. He previously served as the first Entrepreneur in Residence at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory with venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Joel headed renewable energy efforts at the Austin Clean Energy Incubator, Eastman Ventures, and Sierra Ventures.
Joel was also one of the founders of the Pecan Street Project, the nation’s first SmartGrid 2.0 test implementation, supported by the Department of Energy. He served on the California Blue Ribbon Task Force on Nanotechnology, the board of the California Nanosystems Institute, a joint research program between UCLA and UCSB, and founding board member of the MIT Club of Northern California’s Cleantech Speaker Series and progenitor of the California Cleantech Open. Joel received his B.S. In Chemical and Environmental Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and his M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School of Management where he received the Patrick McGovern Award for Entrepreneurial Leadership.
Tim Sexton, Principal
Los Angeles-based Sexton has benefited from close working relationships with leading figures in business, finance, entertainment, government, and non-profits. Tim is an Emmy Award winning producer who has served as an executive, advisor and consultant to film studios, recorded music companies, technology concerns, investment banks, Nobel Laureates, live events, pro sports franchises, Fortune 100 firms, non-profit organizations, and rock stars.
Tim was a senior creative executive or creative consultant to Columbia Tri-Star Pictures, Fox, Warner Brothers, Universal, Disney, and Intermedia. He was also a leading producer of music for films, credited in nearly 100 major motion pictures including many box-office hits, #1 records, and Grammy awards. Later, Tim was EVP of Alliance Entertainment Corp, one of the country’s largest home entertainment distribution and supply-chain management firms. He also led Digital On-Demand, a retail services technology company.
In 2006, Tim was Executive Producer of Live 8, the largest music event in history viewed by 3 billion people worldwide (garnering an Emmy). In 2007, he was an Executive Producer of American Idol’s historic groundbreaking and Emmy winning charity event – Idol Gives Back.
Sexton is a member of the Alliance for Climate Education Board of Directors, Environmental Media Association Corporate Board, Liberty Hill Foundation’s Board of Advisors, and Seven Arrows School Board of Trustees. He is a former officer and director of Rock the Vote. He is the Southern California co-founder of Environmental Entrepreneurs – the business voice of the NRDC. Tim lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their teenage son.
Laura Shenkar, Principal
Laura Shenkar advises leading corporations in developing secure, high-performance water resilience strategies using emerging water technologies. She works with corporations such as Walmart, Intel and IBM to identify, pilot, then scale proven water tech solutions that address needs for sustainable multi-site operations. Laura has been working with experts in the US military and large industrial concerns to develop adaptable water-integrated microgrid models for 24/7 secure mission-critical sites.
Laura’s firm, Artemis Water Strategy, focuses on the emergence of innovative water technology. At Artemis, Laura built the Artemis Water Tech Top 50 process to become the definitive benchmark for operational innovation in the water industry. End users and potential customers can now analyze the best emerging water technologies that are applying advanced chemistry, biology and engineering innovations to contribute to a more resilient, sustainable water future for the world.
Laura is an internationally recognized expert on advanced water technology and its potential for mitigating water risk in business operations. Her thought leadership has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Economist and Inc. Magazine.
In February 2007, Laura met E2 Co-founder Bob Epstein at a Cleantech Investor Forum in San Francisco (hosted each year by the Cleantech Group), where she asked him how she could contribute to E2’s efforts to improve water management. Bob forwarded her inquiry to E2 Northern California member Rick DeGolia, who was just starting a study for E2 that estimates the impact of basic conservation with existing approaches and technologies in addressing the requirements of California’s climate change legislation, AB 32. (See “Reducing Greenhouse Gases through Improved Water Policies.”) Laura was happy to sign on.
Having spent most of her career outside the U.S. in places where water scarcity has been a more significant issue, Laura was the perfect co-author for E2’s water study project. She brought an understanding of the potential of cutting-edge technologies that consumers, industry and agriculture could use to help remediate local water availability problems. For example, drip irrigation is well-established as a general approach in water-scarce regions similar to California, like Israel, Australia and Spain, but it is viewed as a niche solution here in the U.S., both for homes and for agriculture.
Being involved in the project also increased her base of knowledge. “This project helped broaden my understanding of the big picture for water management. The water policy paper looked at water management challenges from a policy perspective, rather than a market perspective. I gained an understanding of how advanced technologies fit in the overall potential for improved water efficiency. Low-flow toilets aren’t advanced technology, but they are an important part of California’s water efficiency strategy.”
The water policy paper has also served to prepare Laura to support other E2 initiatives. Over the longer term, Laura hopes to identify technologies that address the applications which offer the most energy savings: onsite water recycling, cooling towers using water rather than air, and drip irrigation.
Laura feels her time working on E2 projects has been well spent. “Usually when you provide your time pro-bono, you don’t get a lot of bang for your buck. What’s exciting and rewarding about my work with E2 is that is has been listened to – it has had the opportunity to influence policy. E2 has a very shrewd, agile approach to implementing that which is possible and most important. It is also extraordinarily effective at answering questions and understanding what conditions need to be in place to expedite the implementation of environmental solutions.”
Jon Slangerup, CEO
Jon Slangerup serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Long Beach where he brings 35 years of leadership experience in multi-modal logistics and environmental technologies. Prior to joining the Port in 2014, Jon served for 20 years as a president, CEO and/or board director of both public and private companies ranging from environmental technology companies to the billion-dollar Canadian subsidiary of FedEx Corporation. He serves as a Director on various corporate and industry boards, and is a trustee of his alma mater, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
In 2003, Dan Goldman invited Jon to join the newly forming E2 New England chapter, of which Dan is now a chapter leader. At the time, Jon was based in Toronto and while he joined and even spoke at a May 2003 Boston event, he found he didn’t have quite enough time to fully participate. When Jon moved to Los Angeles in 2005 for his work with Solar Integrated Technologies, he immediately contacted E2 and started getting more involved. “I’ve always believed the biggest focus for environmental issues has to be on government policy and legislation. Since NRDC has been so active and successful at that, and with the backing and leadership of the organization so prominent in that regard, I felt it was important for me and [wife] Tracy to support the organization. And E2 by association was a natural fit.”
Jon describes himself as a strong advocate for energy security and addressing climate change as it pertains to energy and transportation. Jon was actively involved in advocating for the passage of AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act. He was part of a team of Southern California E2 members who met with targeted legislators in their district offices to educate them about the bill, listen to their concerns, answer their questions and ultimately steer them toward voting for passage of the bill. The bill passed in August 2006, but Jon has remained heavily involved, attending implementation workshops and contributing to draft reports on specific solutions strategies.
Jon has also volunteered considerable time and expertise as a delegate on E2’s advocacy trips to Sacramento and Washington, DC. He regards the opportunity to serve as an E2 delegate an honor and privilege. “E2 allows me to participate in the political process in a very positive, action-oriented way. There’s sincerity and power about what we’re doing that I think is never lost on the people with whom we meet. We’re not paid and not there for a specific company’s benefit. We’re there for a higher purpose, and people understand that. I think that’s why E2 has been so effective.”
With graduate and undergraduate degrees in business administration and aeronautics, Jon also has been involved with the California Hydrogen Business Council, California’s Fuel Cell Partnership, California’s Hydrogen Network Advisory Team, the U.S. Department of Energy’s International Partnership for a Hydrogen Economy, E2C2’s Business Climate Network, Global Green and World Wildlife Fund. Asked why he thinks E2 stands out, Jon says he appreciates “the quality of leadership. Bob and Nicole are remarkable and inspirational in their commitment. It’s been great to be involved with a high-quality, high-charge organization. I’ve formed great friendships with people I would not have otherwise met.”
Bill Unger, Partner Emeritus
Bill first met E2 Co-founder Bob Epstein through his work in venture capital, and had long known about NRDC. After attending several E2 events, Bill was so impressed with what Bob and Co-founder Nicole Lederer were championing that he joined in May 2002 and immediately asked what he could do to help. The following February, he and his wife hosted an E2 EcoSalon about public health at their home in Atherton.
Bill has continued to be one of E2’s most active volunteers. He has participated on six of E2’s annual delegation trips to Washington, DC, every year becoming more of an expert on what questions to ask and how to gauge the readiness of legislators and their staff to act on the solutions E2 and NRDC promote to important environmental challenges. In conjunction with the past three trips to DC, Bill has also spearheaded E2’s efforts to get signatures on letters from the investment and venture capital communities. In 2005 and 2007, these letters focused on supporting global warming legislation and carbon emissions caps, and in 2006 the investment letter promoted sensible oil savings policy.
In the spring of 2006, Bill agreed to be one of the E2 Advisory Board’s inaugural members. At the E2 Advisory Board Fall 2006 meeting, Bill and fellow board members Jeff Lawrence and Roger Ullman presented an “E2 Five-Year Strategy,” posing key strategic questions meant to produce a framework to inform the activities of the board’s five other working groups.
Bill looks forward to contributing to E2 as much as he can in the future. A Partner Emeritus of Mayfield Fund, Bill currently focuses his efforts on advising and supporting a number of philanthropic and nonprofit organizations, including CARE Enterprises, Wildlife Conservation Network, Microvest, and as Board Chair of D-Rev. When not working Bill is typically wandering out in woods.
“With my commitments to other philanthropic and non-governmental organizations consuming much of my time, being able to trust E2’s leaders, Bob and Nicole, to advise me on current issues they know are of interest to me. They let me know how I can be useful in the efforts of E2 to impact legislation, making my involvement of time feel spot on and truly useful. My interactions with the government have been some of the most meaningful experiences I have had. I like E2’s model because it fits with the VC model – entrepreneurs getting what they need to get things done without too much structure. It is a privilege to work with E2 and NRDC.”
Samuel Weaver, President/CEO
When he’s not spending his free time in Utah on the many mountain biking trails surrounding Moab, Sam Weaver is President and a co-founder of Cool Energy, Inc., a power conversion equipment company located in Boulder, CO. The main applications of Cool Energy’s products are waste heat recovery, solar power, and biomass power, and the scale of the equipment is intended for on-site and remote power generation.
Sam first came to E2 in 2009 after hearing about E2 through a friend. “The hardest part of joining was the financial commitment. It’s a pretty big donation to join, but I’ve really seen how worthwhile that donation is.” “It is more than just writing a check. E2 asks for a much more important thing than money. It takes a position on legislation and asks its members to do the same. It also provides a great place to talk with other members.”
Sam enjoys discussing federal clean energy policies, which serves him well in his roles as Secretary of the Board of Directors for the State of Colorado Clean Energy Development Authority (CEDA), and member of the Board of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association. “You have more impact on state policies, but you learn a lot at the federal level.” On the April 2011 Washington D.C. Advocacy trip, Sam had the opportunity to weigh-in on these federal policies. “I got to see what staffers respond to and what they don’t respond to. I got to see how business-like the military is and how committed they seem to cutting their carbon footprint and reducing our dependence on oil. I was especially impressed by how professional all of the executive folks were in their approach to solving problems and thinking about solutions to problems. Overall the trip was well-organized and we were busy all day from morning to night. It was effective from an advocacy perspective and it was eye-opening as a business person to see where opportunities exist.”
Paul Zorner, Venture Partner
Paul is President and General Manager of Locus Agricultural Solutions, Chairman and Founder of Sensorygen Inc and a Venture Partner at Finistere Ventures, which has founded and invested in some of the most successful AgTech companies of the last quarter of a century. He is also Adjunct Professor of Horticulture at North Carolina State University and serves on corporate and non-profit foundation boards. He first learned of E2 when E2 Southern California chapter leader Lee Stein brought co-founder Bob Epstein and E2 member Anna Halpern-Lande (who were working then to pass California’s biofuels legislation, AB 1007) to Diversa where Paul worked for a tour of the facilities. After observing E2’s network and the remarkable passion and dedication of E2 members, Paul decided he needed to be part of it all.“E2 members have both tremendous integrity and tremendous clout, and they are willing to contribute of themselves whatever it takes to achieve what they believe. They also have remarkably open minds to other people’s ideas and options on how to pursue those ideas. It’s really exciting to be part of such a remarkable team of people.”
Paul was very involved in E2’s AB 32 campaign. Working with Bob, he researched alternative fuel processes that would best contribute to the greenhouse gas emissions reductions California was looking for, compared different ethanol options and explored the feasibility of electricity generation as a byproduct of ethanol production. Paul met with the San Diego Chamber of Commerce to advocate for the global warming bill and subsequently has helped to get the word out to local governments and the press over the years on the economic and business benefits of managing our carbon footprint. Paul has also been active with Nicole Lederer on several visits to Washington DC to advocate for sound clean energy and clean water policy. He is currently interested in working with E2 to address important economic and resource sustainability issues in agriculture.
David Rosenheim, Executive Director
Though his early career as a touring and recording musician took him away from direct engagement with environmental issues and into the music industry, David has always looked to merge his interest in the environment with his experience in the music and high-tech industries. Having founded both Inkblotmagazine and Musicfans, Inc., and having acted as CEO of JamBase, David has leveraged his connections with the music industry to gather support for environmental issues. For example, during the push to pass federal climate legislation, he worked with musicians to support the NRDC Action Fund by giving away free live music tracks to people who signed a support letter.
Now, in his role as Executive Director at The Climate Registry, David is responsible for providing the strategic direction for The Registry and oversees its program, services and staff. He acts as chief liaison with the state and provincial Board members and leads an annual delegation of high ranking sub-national officials to the annual UN climate talks.
David is a proven senior executive with experience as COO, CEO and Director on several corporate and non-profit boards. In his previous position, David oversaw U.S. business development for Offsetters, a leading carbon management organization. Prior to that, David was an entrepreneur in the high tech sector, founding and/or leading innovative internet start-ups.
Though joining E2 in 2008 solely to stay educated about the issues, he has become involved in many of E2’s most important projects, especially in California, working to defeat Prop. 23 (The so-called “dirty energy proposition”) and pass a stronger Renewable Portfolio Standard in California. He has participated in several E2 advocacy trips at both the Federal and State level. “E2 provided a really good training mechanism for advancing my knowledge and voice. It is amazing to go from 0 to 60 and get the kind of access to congressmen and generals that E2 has.” David also serves as co-director of the Northern California chapter of E2.
David’s strongest interests are in climate, energy and water. He sees the transparent use of data as well as the development of a cleantech economy as paramount to developing the economy. “I’ve lived a career in high-tech, and the concentration of capital in Silicon Valley for high-tech completely dwarfed everywhere else. You can see the positive results. I want to make sure that happens to the U.S. with the next major tech trend: cleantech.”
Whitney Painter, Partner
With her husband, Bart Sheldrake, Whitney Painter owns and runs a solar installation business named by Bart for her childhood nickname – Buglet Solar Electric Installation.
While Bart brought a strong technical background to the endeavor, Whitney’s roots are in journalism and activism. She spent a decade gaining experience in Washington, D.C. from a variety of angles – working for CNN, the United States Senate, The White House Bulletin, and a range of environmental and women’s issues organizations.
When they decided to work together, Bart and Whitney were inspired by the prospect of combining their skills to make the world a better place through the grassroots implementation of on-site renewable energy systems.
Whitney’s background also has played a role in her state and local activism for progressive policy that supports clean energy and other important policies, which is a natural fit for E2’s mission and its important work. Energy is a vital issue for businesses of all types and sizes, and the decisions made now will affect America’s ability to thrive for many decades to come.
“By defying traditional assumptions that business interests should be wedded to outdated and regressive policies, E2 offers exceptional leadership in the vital debates and conversations of our era,” says Whitney, “That’s part of how we’re going to get to where we need to be.”
RJ Harrington, President
RJ Harrington formed Sustainable Action Consulting PBC in 2015. A Public Benefit Corporation (PBC), Sustainable Action Consulting continues RJ’s safe, clean, renewable energy advocacy work across many sectors. Principally representing Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) dba National Car Charging, Microgrid Controller Applications, and Battery Storage Systems, RJ also works with teams to promote all solutions to an economy free of fossil fuels.
He was previously the Executive Director of Clean Energy Action (CEA), the Policy Director for the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA) and has worked in the solar industry for several years in a variety of roles.
E2 membership is a natural progression from those advocacy roles. “I had heard of E2 in the past, but hadn’t seen tremendous organizational activity in CO until my friend, Susan Nedell, reached out to me as E2’s Rocky Mountain Advocate.”
Since answering Susan’s recruiting call in 2015, RJ has been impressed by his fellow members’ diversity of contribution to economic and environmental entrepreneurship. “That diversity of business interests represents well when E2 members connect with each other and the community to promote the environmental benefits of our capital investments and job creation. Our voice is gaining strength with decision makers as the cost of renewable energy continues to fall and eliminating greenhouse gasses from our economy becomes increasingly profitable.”
Following a recent trip to engage with legislators at the CO state capitol RJ notes, “The business case for a healthy environment has never been more compelling and E2 is the foil to traditional energy interest groups who stand on riskier economic footing. When fossil prices fall that industry fires its workforce. When renewable prices fall our industry hires their workforce and there’s no end in site to that job creation.”
RJ Harrington was nurtured on clean, renewable energy, although it took him almost 25 years to realize that fact. He was raised on a dairy farm in Central Pennsylvania and the sun, wind, and earth were undoubtedly instrumental in the sustainable operation of the family business. When RJ moved to the Western Slope of Colorado, he was introduced to solar as an electrical generation technology for off-grid applications. It was then that he understood the true power of the sun and how it energized every aspect of his life.
Since then, RJ has worked in the financial services industry where he gained knowledge of and practiced risk management strategies. It is this experience combined with his work in the trenches of the solar industry that enables him to collaborate with colleagues, staff, and volunteers to build collective impact around the need to eliminate CO2e from our energy portfolio in the heat, electricity, transportation, and built environment sectors of our economy.
“Each and every decision we make must consider the needs of this and every future generation. That guiding principle of early cultures was lost and the businesses that E2 members represent have rediscovered that morality and are spreading it with a smile.”
Kevin Morse, Vice President of Sales
Kevin Morse serves as Vice President of Sales for Clean Energy Collective, the leading developer and operator of community solar gardens in the country. His work focuses on providing low-cost, or no-cost, solar power solutions to commercial customers – governments, businesses, and non-profits – enabling them to reduce energy expenses and achieve their sustainability goals. Kevin joined the cleantech industry in 2009, when, after a 21-year career as an executive in the capital markets and banking industry, he decided that it was time to follow his passion for helping to solve the globe’s environmental and climate issues.
Kevin was drawn to E2 because it provides a non-partisan business leaders’ perspective in advocating for sound environmental policy. As a member, Kevin has found that E2 provides the platform and opportunities for every member to immediately get involved in direct discussions and advocacy work with leading legislators, working on the most important environmental issues of the day. “It has also been fun and exciting to team up with members from a wide variety of cleantech fields – such as wind, solar, biomass, energy efficiency, and EV – to collectively advocate for policies that benefit the whole.”
Mark Bauhaus, Partner
Mark Bauhaus is a 30 year technology industry veteran and sustainability innovator. He is a general partner with Just Business, which incubates startups at the intersection of Purpose and Profit. Mr. Bauhaus is also a senior advisor to the board of Joint Venture Silicon Valley and an American Leadership Forum Senior Fellow.
For 7 years at Juniper Networks, Mr. Bauhaus had roles including Executive Vice President and General Manager for its $1B revenue Layer 4-7 and Security Products, its $1 billion revenue Services and Support business, and the company’s $5 billion Supply Chain. Previously at Sun Microsystems, he served 20 years in various roles including Senior Vice President of Service-Oriented Architecture Software, Enterprise Software, Identity Management and Java Web Services product groups. He began his career at Hewlett-Packard.
Mr. Bauhaus joined E2 in 2007 to join with fellow entrepreneurs in calling for multi-decade market signals to shift our economy to a sustainable, carbon-neutral basis. He sees this as the biggest economic growth opportunity this side of the Internet, or perhaps the shift to oil a century ago.
His dedication to a sustainable energy economy started with his handcrafted Bachelor of Science degree in “Business Management and Environmental Systems Analysis”, which he earned with high honors from the University of California at Davis. It continues today in his work and his play, as he also bikes and hikes and enjoys the outdoors with his wife and daughters in California and worldwide.
“Smart renewable energy is the ultimate multi-partisan revolution that’s good for our economy, national security, jobs, new entrepreneurs, quality of life, natural systems and even the reduction of funds to terrorists. Our future is vastly brighter when we open the gates to innovation and market adoption for this new sustainable economy world.”
Zach Tucker, Director of Marketing and Communications
Zach Tucker is a St. Louis-based social entrepreneur and Director of Marketing and Communications at One3LED. With an education in Communications and Public Relations from the University of Central Missouri, Zach has played vital roles in multiple start-ups, nonprofits, and missions of change. In 2012 he turned his focus to energy efficiency and co-founded One3LED. With Zach’s leadership, One3LED has become Missouri’s leading LED lighting provider and has now completed over 500 commercial projects across the US.
Zach is a big believer of conscious capitalism – which is doing business in a way that has a positive effect on your employees, your customers, and the world around you. Zach propels this business philosophy at One3LED by fostering a progressive company culture, strong moral and business ethics, and giving back to those in need. A big part of this focus has been One3LED’s giving program, Change The Bulb. After witnessing the impressive energy savings LED lighting provided their clients, Zach and his team harnessed their passion for helping others to create a giving program that brought these same savings to low-income families and nonprofit organizations. Today, Change The Bulb is partnered with Habitat for Humanity St. Louis and donates low-wattage LED lighting fixtures to provide much needed savings to inner city families. Change The Bulb has also recently completed projects in Haiti and Nicaragua.
More about One3LED and Change The Bulb can be found at www.13led.net
Aside from his work at One3LED, Zach spends his time consulting for local small businesses in the St. Louis area. His services focus on marketing, story branding, company culture, and giving program development.
Zach joined E2 shortly after One3LED was showcased in E2’s 2015 Missouri Clean Jobs Report. He quickly became an active member by participating in several E2 events, including the COP21 Climate Change Summit in Paris as an E2 member delegate. Zach has remained very engaged with E2 and plans to stay steadily involved in the years to come.
“Becoming an E2 member was a true turning point for our business. As a member, you and your business become a voice for environmental advocacy. And E2 ensures your voice is heard. We went from trying to make a difference locally, to being heard nationally and eventually internationally.
E2 isn’t just another environmental group – it’s a movement. E2 brings together business owners, thought-leaders, and entrepreneurs who all have one thing in common – they care for the environment. We’re each trying to do our part as individuals, but by working together through E2, our efforts are amplified like never before.
At my first E2 event, the first two conversations I had were with E2 members from Facebook and Google. Being a young professional from Missouri, that was a big deal for me. But that’s just what E2 does. They mix people who are passionate about the same issues, yet would otherwise never have the opportunity to collaborate.
With E2 I’ve had the opportunity to travel the country, meet with senators, mingle with celebrities, attend events at The White House, and even bring our business overseas. To top it all off, throughout all of these incredible opportunities I had the chance to spread the good word about One3LED and Change The Bulb. And as an E2 member, that’s the whole point. People engaged with E2 want to hear about who you are, what you’re doing, and what you care about. From these experiences with E2 our business has been featured on The Huffington Post, WhiteHouse.gov, countless online news outlets, and several local TV, Radio, and print publications. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – becoming an E2 member was one of the best business decisions I’ve ever made.”