Rob Miller – Chair
VSECU – President & Chief Executive Officer
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.
Ellen Kahler – Treasurer
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 DeltaClimeVT (a climate and energy business accelerator). Ms. Kahler is also involved in workforce development efforts through her participation on the State Workforce Development Board.
Richard Cowart – Secretary
Regulatory Assistance Project – Principal
Richard Cowart is a Principal with the Regulatory Assistance Project, a global non-profit advising governments on climate and energy policies. He has over 30 years of experience on these issues in the US, China, and several other nations, including a decade building RAP’s multi-national team in Europe. He has served on Boards and advisory councils for the International Energy Agency, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and the New England and New York power system operators. During the Obama Administration, he served three terms as Chair of the Electricity Advisory Committee of the US Department of Energy.
Richard has also worked on clean energy policies in Vermont. He launched Vermont’s utility-scale efficiency programs and advanced renewables during 12 years as Chair of Vermont’s PUC, serves on the Board of VEIC, and is a member of the Vermont Climate Council. A former law professor, he holds JD and MCP degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, where he directed the graduate program in law and planning.
VEIC – Chief Executive Officer
Rebecca Foster is VEIC’s CEO. Heading up the leadership team, Rebecca guides the organization’s strategic planning, corporate goal setting, business development, and performance. With more than two decades of experience in the clean energy industry, and 10 years at VEIC, Rebecca is dedicated to the organization’s success. Rebecca is a true convener, cultivating strong partnerships and making sure every stakeholder is heard. This was critical in her previous role at VEIC as the Director of Efficiency Vermont. As CEO, her vision is for VEIC to become the leader in decarbonization while centering equity and accessibility. Prior to VEIC, Rebecca spent over a decade at the Consortium for Energy Efficiency, working with over 130 utilities across the US and Canada to reduce energy use in homes. She has an MBA from Simmons University and a BA from Boston University.
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 of 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.
Tara Kulkarni, Ph.D, P.E.
Norwich University – Associate Professor
Tara Kulkarni is the Director of the Center for Global Resilience and Security (CGRS) at Norwich University and an Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Construction Management. She has a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Florida State University and is a licensed professional engineer. She has over fifteen years of experience, spanning state government, management consulting, and academia.
Tara’s expertise is at the intersections of water, energy and environment with critical infrastructure and national security. She brings this interdisciplinarity into her classes and in mentoring K-12 students and teachers, university students, and new faculty. In 2019, Tara was the recipient of the Homer L. Dodge Award for excellence in teaching at Norwich University. She is also professionally active in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), having served as past chair of the Environmental Health and Water Quality committee, and current chair of the environmental council of ASCE’s Environmental Water Resources Institute (EWRI). Since its launch in 2017, Tara has created and led multiple funded CGRS initiatives including the Dog River Conservancy’s stewardship activities, energy resilience curriculum for the US Department of Army, building a Resilient Vermont Network, and working on environmental security. She also serves on the VT Board of the Conservation Law Foundation. Tara complements her technical expertise with advocating for the humanities through co-directing the Norwich Humanities Initiative. She is also a champion of diverse thoughts and ideas. As the first female chair of civil engineering, Norwich’s oldest academic major, Tara hopes to inspire even more women to engineer a resilient and just society for all. Most recently she was a finalist for Vermont’s Athena Leadership Awards.
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.
Capstone Community Action – Executive Director
Sue Minter is the Executive Director of Capstone Community Action, an anti-poverty non-profit dedicated to creating resilient households and advancing social, economic and environmental justice. Minter served the public sector for 20 years, as the Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) in 2015, and as Deputy Secretary from 2011-2014. As Secretary, Sue co-chaired a sub-committee on President Obama’s White House Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience (2015) – a national initiative that brought leaders from across the country together to build national and local strategies for climate resilience. Following the historic flooding from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, Sue was appointed to be Vermont’s Irene Recovery Officer, responsible for oversight of all state recovery and resilience programs and activities. She also led a disaster response team to support Colorado DOT after 2013 flooding.
Minter was elected to be the Democratic candidate for Vermont Governor in 2016 and served as a State Representative in the Vermont legislature from 2004–2010. During her legislative tenure, Sue was a member of the House Appropriations Committee and House Transportation Committee and was selected to be an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership (2009-11) and was designated as a 2008 Emerging Political Leader by the State Legislative Leadership Foundation.
A graduate of Harvard University (BA) and M.I.T. (MA in City Planning), Sue and her husband, David Goodman, live in Waterbury Center and have two adult children.
Burlington Electric Department – General Manager
Darren Springer was appointed and confirmed as General Manager in October 2018, and since that time Burlington Electric developed and published its Net Zero Energy Roadmap, which the Smart Electric Power Alliance termed the “first US Net Zero 2030 plan.” During Darren’s tenure, Burlington has been named the top northeastern city per capita for solar in 2019 and 2020 by Environment America, and launched dozens of new strategic electrification incentive programs and initiatives to help Burlington Electric customers switch from fossil fuel to clean electric technologies in the heating and transportation sectors.
Formerly, Darren served as Burlington Electric Department’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, and in that capacity published a law journal article on the future of utility regulation in the William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review.
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) – Public Policy Manager
An accomplished advocate and campaigner, Jordan joined Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility in December 2019 as Public Policy Manager. He brings several years of experience shaping policy at the local, state, and national levels–having served in various roles with groups such as the Adirondack Council, Land Trust Alliance, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and the Sierra Club.
Jordan is a lifelong conservationist who is committed to protecting the natural, economic, and human landscapes of the Green Mountain State as well as elevating the voices of Vermont’s leading businesses in Montpelier. When he’s not at the office, Jordan can be found hiking, kayaking, fishing, or cooking up new recipes in the kitchen.
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.
L.W. Seddon Consulting, LLC – President
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.
Energy Futures Group – Managing Consultant
Gabrielle specializes in the development of policy and programs for promotion of renewable energy, strategic electrification and energy efficiency, with a special focus on efforts to integrate all three. She has extensive expertise in policy and planning from work as a consultant, as director of Vermont’s statewide renewable energy industry trade association, a member of the Vermont System Planning Committee (addressing transmission grid reliability planning) and as Chair of the Board of the Burlington Electric Department (BED), Vermont’s largest municipal electric utility. In the latter role, Gabrielle has provided strategic direction on BEDs IRP, maintaining BED’s 100% renewably-sourced portfolio and on Burlington’s goal to be a net-zero city across all energy use by 2030. Gabrielle brings to her policy and planning work a grounded understanding of what it takes to move markets from policy incubation in the legislative arena, to program design in the regulatory arena, to the implementation arena, having managed residential efficiency programs, renewable energy incentive programs and pilot programs that simultaneously promote efficiency, electrification of space heating and customer-sited renewables. She is also a State Representative in the Vermont General Assembly where she serves on the House Committee on Transportation.
Public Assets Institute – Deputy Director
Steph is the Deputy Director of Public Assets Institute, a Montpelier-based nonpartisan nonprofit fiscal policy think tank working to improve the lives of everyday Vermonters. She has worked as both a public sector fiscal analyst for the Michigan Senate and a private sector financial analyst. She also has experience in the executive branch of state government, as the Budget Manager for the Michigan Department of Treasury and the Executive Director of the West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service. She earned a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in nonprofit management from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Harvard University. She currently resides in Burlington with her family.
VEIC- Director, Consulting
Jennifer Wallace-Brodeur is a consulting director and leads VEIC’s clean transportation team. She sets the strategic direction for transportation work at the organization, oversees a staff of consulting professionals, and leads clean transportation policy development for VEIC. For over 25 years she has successfully led teams to advance program and policy solutions on a range of issues at the national, state and local levels. At VEIC, her work has focused on transportation electrification, including strategies to accelerate adoption of electric cars, school buses and transit buses. Prior to joining VEIC, Jennifer led AARP’s national livable communities’ program, setting organizational strategy, executing programming in states and communities, and developing resources to educate and support local officials to develop age-friendly programs and policies.
Jennifer is an active community volunteer serving for eight years as Commissioner and then Chair of the Burlington Electric Commission and 10 years as a Burlington Planning Commissioner. She has a BA from Bowdoin College.