SparkFund is a team of entrepreneurs, programmers, finance experts,
and thinkers committed to deploying energy efficiency at scale.



Our Mission


SparkFund brings organizations a new, simpler way to access energy efficient products and services. We partner with contractors, ESCOs and manufacturers to offer Lighting and other technologies "as-a-Service" as well as through payment plans. We're driving adoption of energy efficiency in commercial spaces with all-inclusive energy solutions that customers can understand and sign up for on the spot.

SparkFund is based in Washington, DC. We believe that building scalable, market-driven solutions to our society's greatest challenges is the best way to enact change.


Our Team


Photo of Pier LaFarge
Pier LaFarge

Co-Founder & CEO

Pier is an experienced entrepreneur and changemaker. At ICF International, he co-founded a new ICF service offering focused on energy efficiency finance strategy. Pier also has experience in financial analysis, working on a major evaluation of loan financing modalities employed by the World Bank under its Climate Investment Fund program. In 2010, he founded Race to Replace, a statewide clean energy focused voter registration campaign in Vermont in partnership with League of Conservation Voters.

Photo of Nikko Patten
Nikko Patten-Weinstein

Co-Founder & CTO

At SparkFund, Nikko contributes to corporate governance while overseeing all software development and information technology efforts. He is responsible for ensuring that the business' requirements and opportunities are translated into functional software and systems.

Photo of Leigh-Golding Desantis
Leigh-Golding Desantis

COO

Leigh-Golding DeSantis brings a background in process efficiency, energy efficiency and renewable energy. As Chief Operating Officer, Leigh-Golding leads a team of 10 people responsible for building and delivering the business processes that makes SparkFund run. This includes oversight of legal, operational, and product development. Her past experience with ICF International includes consulting with EPA, DOE and a host of other public and private clients in implementing policies and programs aimed at achieving resource efficiency in buildings and increasing the use of distributed generation. Prior to her time as a consultant, Leigh-Golding helped launch the first Office of Sustainability at Temple University, where she conducted Temple University’s first Greenhouse Gas Inventory, drafted plans to move Temple towards carbon neutrality, and served as Adjunct Faculty.

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Angela Ferrante

CMO

Angela is responsible for SparkFund's sales and marketing teams, leading partnerships, customer outreach initiatives, and the growth team. She has a long track record in the energy efficiency and finance space, particularly on marketing, strategic partnerships, and go-to-market strategy. Previously, Angela was the founding member of the alternative energy group at an insurance company where she led strategic relationships and co-developed a new warranty product to guarantee savings on retrofit projects. She also launched several initiatives to accelerate and streamline efficiency financing and co-authored a white paper with ACEEE on small lender participation in energy efficiency. She holds a BS in business from the University of Southern California.

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Andrew Katz

CFO

Andrew is a seasoned, hands-on financial executive in the Specialty Finance Industry. As the Chief Financial Officer at SparkFund, Andrew is responsible for developing best-in-class financial reporting and financial analysis and working with the SparkFund team to enhance internal policies and procedures. Andrew has over 28 years of audit and accounting experience focused primarily in specialty finance. Most recently Andrew has managed ALK Associates, LLC, a consulting firm that provides interim CFO and other business and lending advisory services to clients in the specialty finance and other industries that are at a stage in their business cycle where they want to institutionalize their accounting and financial reporting capabilities. Industry focus includes small-ticket equipment leasing companies, factoring companies, and specialty distributors. From 2000 through 2013, Andrew built and managed the accounting, finance, internal audit and treasury functions at Healthcare Finance Group, LLC (HFG), a specialty finance lender which offers senior secured asset based and term loans to middle market companies in the healthcare industry. Andrew was instrumental in HFG’s profitable, sustained growth through multiple economic cycles, and its successful sale for $110MM in June 2013. Assets under Management increased from $70MM+ in 2000 to $700MM+ in June 2013.

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Nathan Sorenson

Software Engineer

Nathan is an experienced software engineer with a strong background in mathematics and artificial intelligence. At SparkFund, Nathan develops software that supports the efficient and accurate operation of the fund, designing tools for accounting, analytics, and transaction processing. He has authored several publications in the field of computational creativity and brings considerable functional programming expertise as the developer of an alternative Clojure compiler and a frequent speaker at industry events. Nathan has led teams to create a wide array of technically challenging projects, including a web platform which enabled children to design and sell t-shirts to raise money for their schools, an artificially-intelligent "computer artist" that created artwork for hotels and offices, and an award-winning driving simulator used in police youth outreach programs. At the age of 17, Nathan developed the world's first realistic 3d computer curling game: Take-Out Weight Curling. This solo project was a commercial success, selling over 60,000 copies.

Photo of Jeffrey Stanton
Jeffrey Stanton

Software Engineer

Jeff is a versatile full-stack software engineer with a passion for front-end software development and human-centric design. As part of SparkFund's small engineering team, Jeff does a bit of everything - web dev, building backends, and keeping the servers running. 80% of his time is spent creating full-stack tools and systems to support SparkFund, our partners, and their end customers throughout the process of getting projects financed. He joins SparkFund from Intuit, a financial software company where he applied modern front-end tech and best practices to Intuit QuickBase. Jeff has a breadth of experience in taking new functionality through the whole development lifecycle: initial concept sketches, functional prototypes, user testing, production-ready code, and refinements. He graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Franklin W. Olin College. There, he studied an engineering curriculum that also included emphases on entrepreneurship and on iterative, collaborative design processes. His focus was on software development across a wide range of environments, from tiny embedded microcontrollers to large distributed servers.

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Lauren Basler

Chief of Staff

Lauren is a communications and public relations professional specializing in strategic messaging, brand strategy, and operations management. Lauren joins SparkFund from WeWork where she oversaw building operations for hundreds of businesses in New York’s Midtown and brought WeWork to the DC market with the launch of two buildings. While at WeWork, Lauren was responsible for all building operations, which included sales, supply ordering and management, vendor relations, and training new hires. Prior to WeWork, Lauren was an account executive at a boutique public relations firm, Thunder11, where she managed multiple client accounts in the tech and international fields. Lauren holds a degree from George Washington University in International Affairs with a minor in Geographic Information Systems.

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Emma Mourning

Business Operations Associate

Emma is a passionate operations specialist with a strong background in climate change, clean energy, and communications management. At SparkFund, Emma facilitates partnership and project development through management of myriad processes. From navigating regulatory issues to designing web content to analyzing data trends, Emma works across verticals to ensure project success. Prior to graduating from Middlebury College, Emma interned for conservation organizations including the Wildlife Conservation Society and Rainforest Alliance. At RA, she supported the Sustainable Finance Initiative by conducting market studies and communicating directly with farmers and investors. She also co-led a project focused on research, development and implementation of a carbon pricing mechanism for the state of Vermont. Beginning her SparkFund career as a summer fellow in 2014, Emma has now joined the team full-time. When she isn't working hard in the SparkCave, Emma enjoys camping in the rainforest and interacting with wildlife.

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Sean Willerford

Business Operations Associate

Sean is an adept process builder, quantitative analyst, and programmer. He builds and maintains SparkFund’s data infrastructure and pricing system, and helps each team gain insight from sales and performance data. Sean brings diverse process and project management skills from a variety of organizations, including the US Department of Homeland Security and a Buenos Aires-based think-tank. He graduated from Middlebury in 2014, where he studied international development and earned a BA in International Politics and Economics.

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MaryLauran Hall

Senior Business Operations Manager

Mary Lauran is a skilled and energetic account manager, project manager, and systems thinker with a knack for navigating obstacles that lie between a smart team and a smart mission. At SparkFund, Mary Lauran manages financing projects from lead to execution, including partner onboarding, underwriting and risk analysis, pricing, legal documentation, accounting, payment processing, data management, and close-out. She works closely with the COO to manage and scale SparkFund's operations team to achieve scalable, seamless project execution. Mary Lauran joins SparkFund from the active transportation space, where she led communications, data collection, special projects, and partnerships for the Alliance for Biking & Walking and America Bikes. She has a track record for elevating organizations' public profiles, fostering corporate partnerships, earning positive media coverage, and leading internal process audits to ensure efficient operations. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wesleyan University.

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Virginia Hewitt

Senior Partnerships Manager

Virginia is an energy policy expert and dedicated builder of partnerships. She finds, develops and integrates new SparkFund partners including channel partners (including ESCOs, manufacturers, and contractors), referral partners, and strategic partners. Virginia comes to SparkFund with specific expertise on energy efficiency in the MUSH market. At ACEEE, she coordinated technical assistance on the local level. She authored and published factsheets and memos for local governments to set energy intensity reduction goals, work with local utilities, and expand the role of energy usage data in their communities. Virginia co-authored a white paper at ACEEE on small lender activity in energy efficiency. She graduated from Duke University with a degree in Environmental Science and Policy.

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Claire Alvis

Software Engineer

Claire is a proficient software engineer who specializes in functional programming language design and implementation. She draws from her extensive experience in academia, first graduating with a Bachelor's in Mathematics and Computer Science from Indiana University Bloomington, and then finishing her Master's degree in Computer Science at Northeastern University, Boston. During this time, Claire contributed to the open-source development of Racket, a full-spectrum programming language, and the declarative logic programming language miniKanren. Through these experiences, Claire learned to produce maintainable systems by prioritizing careful software design and strenuous testing. She applies that knowledge at SparkFund by improving the software used to manage the fund's transactions and analytics. She also maintains Spec-Tacular, an open-source library that provides a safe layer for interactions between Clojure and Datomic.

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Kyle Saltsman

Senior Financial Operations Manager

Kyle joins SparkFund from Dartmouth College, where he earned a Masters in Engineering Management. He brings a passion for process efficiency including certification in the Lean Six Sigma method of continual process improvement. Previous employers include Navigant, where Kyle studied federal regulation of energy efficient products, and Global Facility Solutions, an engineering services company.

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Nathan Kowalski

Business Operations Associate

Nathan is a talented operations engineer with a critical eye for process efficiency. Nathan is responsible for legal review and operations support at SparkFund. At Middlebury College, Nathan oversaw a group of students to manage a portion of the college's endowment with an ESG investment thesis, which incorporates environmental, social, and governance risk factors into traditional financial analysis. Nathan led the same group of students to kickstart Middlebury's revolving loan fund with energy efficiency upgrades on campus. When he's not in the office, Nathan enjoys spending time in the mountains and on the river.

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Jake Eisenberg

Marketing Manager

Jake is a digital marketing and design specialist with a passion for visual strategy and growth hacking at SparkFund. While assisting in company partnerships, he also works to establish SparkFund branding and growing market presence. Jake is a graduate from Middlebury College with a degree in Environmental Geography and Chinese Language. While studying at Middlebury, he served as a project lead and coordinator for the 2013 International Solar Decathlon competition. He is passionate about innovative approaches to urban agriculture and energy efficiency.

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Natalie Valentin

Partnerships Manager

Natalie is an energetic relationship builder and communicator with a passion for resilience. At SparkFund, Natalie is dedicated to seeking out new projects and partnerships, leading sales trainings and developing custom tools for existing partners, and striving for constant process improvement. She brings unique experience from her work with the Real Food Challenge , Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, and the Valpo Surf Project, a surf, environmental education, and youth development organization in Valparaíso, Chile. She graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies and Policy from Middlebury College, where she helped launch YouPower, a student-run, electricity-generating cycling studio.

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Markian Dziuk

Underwriter

Markian is a dedicated finance professional with expertise in credit analysis, forecasting and project management. At SparkFund, Markian analyzes and underwrites projects based on the quantitative and qualitative review of various data. He then presents these findings highlighting key metrics, trends, and his investment decision recommendation.He comes to SparkFund after an intense 12-month rotational program at NewEdge and 2 years as an analyst at Fitch Ratings. Prior to graduating from Marquette University with a BS in Finance and Information Technology, Markian interned at Willis Group and Merrill Lynch. With a passion for volunteering, he most recently served as CEO of a non-for-profit Ukrainian youth camping organization, UYCO. When not crunching numbers, Markian, an avid golfer, can be found on the links trying to avoid sand traps.

Photo of Sean Earley
Sean Earley

Business Operations Associate

Sean is a forward-thinking systems designer, financial modeler, and problem solver. With a BA in applied mathematics from Middlebury College, he practices the application of quantitative methods to understand and manage complexity. Inspired by SparkFund’s dedicated and brilliant team, he looks to find impactful solutions for problems in the clean technology space.

Photo of Annie Hurwitz
Annie Hurwitz

Operations Account Manager

Annie is a determined and skilled account manager, project manager and natural problem-solver committed to mission-driven organizations. As Operations Account Manager, Annie improves the efficiency of SparkFund's operations and customer satisfaction. In addition to helping manage the day-to-day execution of projects, Annie coordinates with the Partnerships team to transition partners and projects to internal operations stages. She is responsible for preparing legal documents, conducting pricing analysis, coordinating with the underwriting team for credit risk assessment, managing and tracking transactions, tracking key performance metrics, facilitating tax treatment analysis, and doing light technical equipment review of projects. Annie hails from the land of non-profit international development, where she most recently managed high-level projects and strategic partnerships for Vital Voices, a DC-based women’s leadership organization. Prior to that, Annie served as a Senior Consultant at Taurus Education, an education consultancy agency in Shanghai. Annie graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations with a Minor in Asian Studies.

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Alex Dickson

Product Manager

Alex is a detail-oriented, data-driven project manager and account manager who enjoys applying an engineering mindset to business processes and issues. As Product Manager, Alex manages the entire product line life cycle, from strategic planning to ongoing tactical updates. He works with SparkFund's partners to identify areas where products can help their business. Alex comes to SparkFund from Deloitte Consulting where he specialized in growth and product line strategies for companies in the chemicals, manufacturing, and medical device industries. Prior to Deloitte, he worked as a student researcher in the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Brain Injury and Repair, and focused on finding novel methods for healing traumatic neurological injuries. Alex is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Engineering and Applied Science with a degree in Applied Science in Biomedical Science.

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Donald Ball

Software Engineer

Donald is a software engineer with extensive experience developing, operationalizing, and maintaining production software systems. Donald develops SparkFund's information systems by designing, developing, and installing software solutions. Having been fortunate enough to be introduced to the World Wide Web in its infancy, he has devoted his career to deep mastery of the protocols, languages, tools, and challenges peculiar to developing software systems deployed on the Internet. He's deployed production systems with a variety of languages, including perl, c++, javascript, java, python, php, ruby, and clojure. He is especially skilled at developing robust systems that work reliably with little maintenance. He's contributed to a variety of open source projects in the past, and served on the Apache Software Foundation's board. He has a BS in Mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Michael McLenahan

Portfolio Manager

Michael is a seasoned specialty finance professional with expertise in portfolio analysis, credit operations and asset management. At SparkFund, he works to deliver maximum shareholder value through risk management and portfolio optimization. In addition to managing the daily collateral reporting, he coordinates with the Underwriting and Operations teams to transition partners and projects into Portfolio Management. He comes to SparkFund after working in Government Contract Finance at Federal National Commercial Credit and in Healthcare Finance at CapitalSource. Michael is a graduate of Miami University with a BA in Management Information Systems and a BS in Philosophy. He enjoys travel, sports and spending time with his family.

Photo of Becca Rea-Holloway
Becca Rea-Holloway

Growth Associate

Becca is a passionate problem-solver dedicated to refining processes on SparkFund's Partnerships and Marketing teams. As Growth Associate, she qualifies inbound leads, develops marketing material, and facilitates the operations of the Partnerships team. Prior to joining SparkFund she was a Project Coordinator for a range of nonprofit clients at Elevate, a DC-based development consulting firm. Becca graduated with a degree in Religious Studies from Grinnell College, where she worked with the Liberal Arts in Prison Program, an organization that provides access to higher education for incarcerated individuals.

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Cassandra John

Director of Financial Infrastructure

Cassandra works closely with the Financial Operations and Engineering teams to help us better articulate, coordinate, and prioritize our build efforts. She joins us from JPMorgan with a background in finance and technology. Cassandra has spent the past 12 years working at variety of global banks and financial technology vendors, including Omgeo, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Moody’s, Barclays, and eFront. She has been focused on strategy, process engineering, and regulatory projects in the capital markets and investment management areas, and has specific expertise in product and project management.

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Paul Roberts

Director of Finance

Paul is a seasoned financial professional with expertise in accounting, tax and financial reporting. At Sparkfund Paul is responsible for all aspects of the company’s financial management, including corporate accounting, fund accounting, transaction management and financial reporting. Paul brings over 20 years of experience in the lease industry to Sparkfund from Saab Aircraft Leasing, where he led the accounting and reporting operations for the portfolio of over 175 aircraft. Paul is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a BS in Accounting. When he is not at Sparkfund, you will find Paul travelling with his family, coaching little league, or playing in the yard with his kids.

Photo of Michael Wurzbacher
Michael Wurzbacher

Operations Account Manager

Michael is a driven account manager and project manager who focuses on removing impediments to achieve project success. As an Operations Account Manager, he shepherds projects from lead to completion. His responsibilities at SparkFund include coordinating with the risk analysis teams, pricing projects, generating legal documents, processing payments, assessing tax treatment, and conducting project closeout activities. Michael joins SparkFund from Grant Thornton where, as a Senior Associate, he worked with a federal agency to develop a new application using Agile management practices. Prior to Grant Thornton, he had a two year fellowship with the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation where he supported efforts for multiple business relocation projects. Michael has a MPA from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University and a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Kentucky.

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Asher Burg

Executive VP of Sales & Customer Success

Asher is an energy industry leader dedicated to bringing new technology and creative clean energy solutions to market. At SparkFund, he is responsible for sales channel development and driving customer success. He joins SparkFund most recently having held leadership positions in both sales and customer success at Opower. In these capacities he was responsible for the delivery, client relationships and business growth of a client portfolio representing over $60M in annual recurring revenue. He also led sales strategy for all of Opower’s new products and complex deals. Prior to working at Opower he worked at PG&E, developing the Utility’s residential dynamic pricing strategy. Asher’s energy industry experience is rooted in the 5 years he spent consulting to a diverse set of clients from American Express to the House of Representatives in ICF International’s Energy and Climate practice. Asher holds a BA in Environmental Science and Economics from Middlebury College and an MBA from University of California Berkeley.


Board of Directors


Photo of Reuben Munger
Reuben Munger

Reuben Munger is currently Founder and Managing Partner of Vision Ridge Partners, LLC. a clean energy oriented investment firm. Previously he was Managing Director with The Baupost Group, LLC. a leading investment firm with over $25 billion in assets. He has also been a consultant to Texas Pacific Group and an investment banker with James D. Wolfensoln, Inc. Reuben is Chairman of Securing America’s Future Energy, a trustee of the Rocky Mountain Institute, a founding member of the Executive Committee of the Electrification Coalition, and a member of the League of Conservation Voters board of directors in addition to serving on the boards of a number of private companies. Reuben graduated magna cum laude from Washington and Lee University with a B.A. in Politics and Economics and a B.S. in Business Administration.

Photo of DR Richardson
DR Richardson

DR is responsible for deal sourcing, deal structuring and negotiation, and portfolio management, including corporate governance, financial analysis and strategy, people development and acquisition, and corporate strategy AT VISION RIDGE. Prior to Vision Ridge Partners, DR worked with Altman Vilandrie & Company, a strategy-consulting firm focused on tech, telecom, and energy. DR Holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Brown University.

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Brandon Hurlbut

Brandon Hurlbut is a co-founder and partner of Boundary Stone Partners. He previously served as Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary Steven Chu at the U.S. DOE, where he managed the Department's principal initiatives and oversaw day-to-day operations of a federal agency with a $29 billion budget and a 115,000 person workforce.

Brandon provided leadership and counsel to the White House and Cabinet Secretaries during high profile challenges including the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, the Gulf oil spill, and Hurricane Sandy. He served on the board for DOE's $38 billion investment fund in clean energy, which is the largest of its kind in the world. He began working in the Obama Administration by serving in the White House as the Deputy Director of Cabinet Affairs, serving as the President's liaison to the Departments of Agriculture, Transportation, Interior, Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. He previously served in senior positions on Barack Obama's first presidential campaign and practiced law at Baker & Daniels.

Photo of Pier LaFarge
Pier LaFarge

Pier is an experienced entrepreneur and changemaker. At ICF International, he co-founded a new ICF service offering focused on energy efficiency finance strategy. Pier also has experience in financial analysis, working on a major evaluation of loan financing modalities employed by the World Bank under its Climate Investment Fund program. In 2010, he founded Race to Replace, a statewide clean energy focused voter registration campaign in Vermont in partnership with League of Conservation Voters.

Photo of Joe Indvik
Joe Indvik

Joe Indvik is an entrepreneur and consultant focused on clean energy finance, sustainability, and business operations. Joe co-founded SparkFund and served as its President & COO for two years from 2013 through 2015. He remains an active consultant and advisor to SparkFund. Joe is currently Founder & Principal of Rock Creek Consulting LLC, a boutique consultancy that helps clean energy companies transform the market. Prior to that, Joe was a consultant in the Climate Change and Sustainability practice at ICF International, where he led the creation of a new energy efficiency finance advisory service. Joe holds a B.A. in Economics and Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College, where he founded a $1M green revolving fund as a student. Joe speaks and publishes regularly on energy policy, finance, and economics.


Consultants & Advisors


Dan Reicher

  • ED, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy
  • Policy & Finance, Stanford University
  • Director of Climate & Energy, Google
  • Former Chief of Staff, U.S. DOE

Richard Graves

  • Co-Founder, Ethical Electric

Jeff Navin

  • Partner, Boundary Stone Partners
  • Former Chief of Staff, U.S. DOE.

Suleman Khan

  • Structured Finance, Stationary Energy Storage, TESLA
  • VP Structured Finance, NRG
  • VP Finance, BrightGrid
  • CDO, M&A, CitiGroup

Ray Rothrock

  • Partner, Venrock
  • Former Chair, NVCA

Jeffery Wolfe

  • SVP of Business Strategy, Just Energy
  • Board Member, DG Division Chair, SEIA
  • Founder, Chairman & Fmr. CEO, groSolar

Claiborne Deming, Jr.

  • Campaigns Director, Story of Stuff Project

Nick Devonshire

  • Co-Founder & Former CBDO, SparkFund
  • Energy & Environment Consultant, ICF

Max Harper

  • Co-Founder, Impact Hub DC
  • Co-Founder, Groundswell
  • Founding Advisor, iB5k

Betsy Taylor

  • President, Breakthrough Strategies & Solutions

Ashley Chance

  • CEO, Eco Development

Jon Isham

  • Faculty Director, Center for Social
  • Entrepreneurship, Middlebury College

Billy Grayson

  • Program Director, Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition
  • Former Director of Sustainability, WESCO

Tom Amis

  • Partner, Mercer Thompson LLC
  • Chair, Advisory Board, Sol Systems
  • Cleantech Council, Sierra Club