Leigh Seddon is the founder of Solar Works, Inc., which became Alteris Renewables in 2008 and merged with Real Goods Solar in 2011. Over the 30 years since the founding of Solar Works, he has overseen the design and installation of thousands of photovoltaic and solar thermal projects in the U.S. and in developing countries. Leigh currently works as a renewable energy consultant located in Montpelier, Vermont. Over his career, he has served as an energy consultant to electric utilities, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the World Bank. Leigh has also served as a trustee of Renewable Energy Vermont, the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG), the Vermont Natural Resources Council, and other Vermont non-governmental organizations. He is currently Board Chair of Energy Action Network.
Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund – Executive Director
Ellen Kahler became the Executive Director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) in late 2005. She is a graduate of Bucknell University in Pennsylvania with a BA in Political Science and from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University with a Masters in Public Administration. VSJF provides business assistance, value chain facilitation, network development, and strategic planning in agriculture and food systems, forest products, waste management, renewable energy, and environmental technology. VSJF manages the Farm to Plate Network, the Forest Products Industry Network and the Climate Economy Business Network. Ms. Kahler is also involved in workforce development efforts through her participation on the State Workforce Development Board.
Robert Miller is President and Chief Executive Officer for VSECU, a statewide credit union with 59,000 members, $684 million in assets, 160 employees, and 9 branch locations. Rob graduated from the University of Vermont and started a career in financial services with Citibank in New York and Chicago. He relocated back to Vermont as a state employee and public servant; working for the Vermont Department of Economic Development where he ultimately served as Commissioner. Prior to joining VSECU, Rob spent well over a decade in various executive roles in the institutional investment management industry with Dwight Asset Management (now Goldman Sachs) and Conning.
Darren Springer was appointed and confirmed as General Manager in October 2018. Formerly, Darren served as Burlington Electric’s Chief Operating Officer and led the Center for Innovation team which includes the Policy & Planning, Finance, Information Technology and Energy Services divisions.
Prior to joining BED, Darren served as Chief of Staff for the Office of Governor Peter Shumlin. Before working in the Governor’s Office, Darren was appointed as Deputy Commissioner at the Vermont Public Service Department, leading the advancement of the 2014 net metering law and 2015 renewable energy standard.
Previously, Darren worked for 4 years in the Washington, D.C. Office of U.S.. Senator Bernard Sanders as Senior Policy Advisor for Energy & Environment, and later as Chief Counsel. He has also worked for the National Governors Association as Program Director for Energy and Transportation. Darren has a B.A. from Florida Atlantic University and earned a J.D. and Master of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School. While at Vermont Law School, he was selected as Managing Editor of the Vermont Law Review, and clerked for U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is a member of the Vermont Bar, Virginia Bar, and Florida Bar. Darren has also served as a Policy Fellow on Climate Change and Renewable Energy at the University of Vermont Center for Research on Vermont.
As Director of the statewide energy efficiency utility, Efficiency Vermont, Rebecca Foster leads the organization’s work helping Vermont transition to a more affordable and cleaner future. This includes a focus on partnerships throughout Vermont to save customers money, strengthen our state’s economy, and lower carbon emissions. Rebecca also serves on the Steering Committee of the Working Communities Challenge, a 3-year competitive grant process to drive community and economic development across Vermont. Rebecca previously served as Director of Consulting at VEIC, the nonprofit organization that operates Efficiency Vermont under and Order of Appointment from the Vermont Public Utility Commission. Prior to joining VEIC, Rebecca directed the Consortium for Energy Efficiency’s residential sector initiatives for more than a decade.
Mary served for six years as the Commissioner for the Vermont Department of Taxes. She also was elected for three terms to the Vermont House of Representatives; serving as Clerk of the Ways & Means Committee and Chair of the Joint Legislative Council. Mary was Chair of the Williston Selectboard and on the Board of Directors of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. She also has worked in private practice in Boston, MA and Burlington, VT and as special counsel for the Department of Public Service. She graduated summa cum laude from St. Lawrence as a Government major and received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.
Energy Co-Op of Vermont – General Manager
Brian Gray is the General Manager of the Energy Co-Op of Vermont. A native Vermonter, Brian grew up in the northeast kingdom and currently resides in Essex with his wife Nancy and their two dogs. He has served on various boards including Colchester Youth Baseball and Crime Stoppers. An avid hunter and fisherman, Brian also enjoys making maple syrup, gardening and landscaping. Brian joined the Energy Co-op as General Manager in November of 2017. He has over 30 years experience managing Vermont utility and efficiency services. Prior to joining the Co-op he was Energy Services Manager at Vermont Gas, responsible for customer growth, marketing, and energy efficiency programs.
Norwich Solar Technology – Chief Executive Officer
Solar industry veteran Jim Merriam is Chief Executive Officer at Norwich Solar Technologies. In this role, he continues his mission of making it easy for businesses, schools, and municipalities to go solar, save money, and do good.
Jim came to Norwich Solar Technologies from SunCommon where he was Vice President of Operations. Merriam previously worked in the renewable energy industry as VP of Operations at Northern Power Systems and at groSolar where he served as Chief Operating Officer.
Jim is familiar to many in Vermont as the longtime Director of Efficiency Vermont, the nation’s first statewide energy efficiency utility. He holds an electrical engineering degree and an MS in Engineering Management.
Jim is the Executive Director of the Bennington County Regional Commission (BCRC), a regional planning commission serving municipalities in southwestern Vermont. The BCRC’s mission is to work with local governments to build strong, resilient, and sustainable communities, while supporting regional cohesiveness, advocating for adherence to regional policies, and facilitating effective communication between local, state, and federal levels of government. Prior to assuming his current position, Jim led efforts in land use, transportation, and environmental planning at the BCRC. He began working in Vermont as the Town Planner for Manchester during a period of rapid development in the mid-1980s. As Chair of the Energy Committee of the Vermont Association of Planning and Development Agencies Jim has overseen efforts to integrate an awareness of energy issues into all aspects of local and regional planning, and also has helped to develop and implement a coordinated regional energy planning program throughout the state. Jim is a graduate of Colby College in Maine and received graduate degrees in Natural Resource Management (Cornell University) and Public Administration (Syracuse University).
Sarah Brock joined Vital Communities, a regional nonprofit serving 69 towns in the Upper Connecticut River Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire, in 2013 as Energy Program Manager. Sarah provides support for her region’s 40+ local energy committees, engaging with dozens of volunteers and clean energy businesses in programs like Solarize Upper Valley, Weatherize Upper Valley, and the Upper Valley Green Real Estate Network. Prior to joining the Vital Communities team, Sarah was a fellow with the High Meadows Fund, a supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation. Sarah now lives in Warner, New Hampshire, with her husband Zach and their growing flock of chickens.
Neale F. Lunderville joined VGS in June 2020 and serves as President and CEO effective October 1st. Neale recently served as Interim Director of the Community & Economic Development Office (CEDO) in Burlington, Vermont and, from 2014 to 2018, as General Manager of Burlington Electric Department. Prior to that, he was Chief Executive Officer of NG Advantage LLC, a natural gas distribution company. In 2011, he was appointed Irene Recovery Officer for the State of Vermont, leading and coordinating Vermont’s recovery from the worst disaster to hit the state since the floods of 1927. He served in two top cabinet posts in Vermont state government: Secretary of Administration from 2008 to 2011 where he oversaw the daily operations of state government; and, as Secretary of Transportation from 2006 to 2008. He also served as Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs and a member of the governor’s senior staff. He is a chair of the board of the Preservation Trust of Vermont and serves on the boards of the Vermont Journalism Trust, Champlain College, and Energy Action Network. He is a member of Governor Phil Scott’s Government Modernization and Efficiency Team (GMET). He is also involved with the Intervale Center’s Celebrate Intervale! campaign, Change the Story’s Champions for Change, and Vermont Council on Rural Development’s Climate Energy Action Team. He graduated from American University in Washington, D.C. and was given their 2012 Alumni Achievement award.
Energy Action Network – Senior Fellow
Linda McGinnis is an economist and policy analyst with over 30 years of developing concrete solutions to sustainable development challenges, both globally and locally. As a Lead Economist and Senior Manager at the World Bank for 20 years, she led research, policy negotiations and investments in environment, energy, education, agriculture, and health in countries across Africa, Latin America and South Asia. She is currently a Senior Fellow and Board Member with EAN.
Since moving to Vermont in 2010, Linda’s focus has been on state-level climate change strategies, renewable energy and energy efficiency policies and programs. She has provided her expertise across two administrations, serving as Director of Governor Shumlin’s Energy Generation Siting Policy Commission, as co-chair of the Clean Energy Development Fund, and as Commissioner for Governor Scott’s Climate Commission. In 2015, she joined EAN as Program Director and initiated the annual Energy and Climate Progress Report as part of EAN’s goal of providing backbone support to help further Vermont’s strategic vision, investment and collective action towards its total energy and climate goals.
Linda is also a Trustee and past Board Chair of the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, and a founding member of the VCRD Climate Economy Council. She holds degrees from Stanford (BA International Relations), Princeton (MPA Development Economics), l’Institut des Etudes Politiques in Paris (MA Economic Policy) and Harvard Business School (Exec Ed). She is passionate about the future of the planet, of our beautiful state, and the role that each of us plays in ensuring that we do everything in our power to continue to enjoy its beauty.