National Visiting Committee
The National Visiting Committee is composed of energy and education experts that serve as advisors to CREATE and help to assess the Center's progress. NVC members also disseminate information about CREATE at their home institutions, at meetings of professional associations, and to the business and industry community to expand the reach and increase the impact of the Center.
Andrew McMahan is the Chair for the Department of Sustainability at Central Carolina Community College in Pittsboro, North Carolina. Andrew has been involved in renewable energy education in North Carolina since 2004; first as an instructor, then as the program coordinator for CCCC’s biofuels program. From 2010-12 Andrew worked as the Energy Sector Director for the Code Green Super CIP, a statewide initiative tasked with integrating renewable energy training and workforce development into existing vocational programs at all 58 community colleges across North Carolina. He has also written and managed multiple grants to support the growth of renewable energy education and workforce development in North Carolina. Andrew is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a degree in Environmental Policy & Planning.
Since January of 2001, Dr. Deb Hall has had the honor of teaching at Valencia College within its Division of Engineering, Computer Programming, and Technology. Deb has been teaching courses under a variety of Valencia’s degree programs. These include Valencia’s Pre-Major Engineering Associate in Arts Degree, Valencia’s Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology, and Valencia’s Electronics Engineering Technology Associate in Science Degree. Currently, she is in the midst of developing Valencia’s exciting new Energy Management and Controls Technology (EMCT) Associate in Science Degree. Valencia’s EMCT graduates will assist in making our buildings more energy efficient which right now are responsible for approximately 40% of our nation’s overall energy consumption. As you might be guessing right about now, Deb is most passionate about energy efficiency and renewable energy. Prior to coming on board with Valencia College, she worked in the industry as an electrical engineer involved in theme park ride and show control, electric vehicle battery testing, and solar power feasibility studies. Deb has earned both her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and her Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Central Florida where her thesis research involved the fabrication of thin film solar cells at the Florida Solar Energy Center. She has participated in a variety of renewable energy related trainings in wind, solar, and biodiesel with Solar Energy International, North Carolina State University’s Renewable Energy Technologies Diploma Series, the Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center Fellows Institute, the Florida Solar Energy Center’s Banner Center Project “Train-the-Trainer” program, and the CERET Renewable Energy Train the Trainer Academy Photovoltaic Education and Training. Deb earned her Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership from Nova Southeastern University where her doctoral dissertation research involved yet another one of her passions. Deb wanted to better understand how to implement effective methods of increasing the number of female students within Valencia’s Engineering, Computer Programming, and Technology Division. She currently is the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Valencia Collegiate Section Faculty Advisor. Deb has also been involved in SWE as a past SWE National Conference presenter, past CFL SWE Director of Education officer, and with various K-12 hands on engineering project outreach events within the Central Florida area and at past National Conferences with her extraordinary SWE Valencia Collegiate Section student members as well as with her fellow CFL SWE Professional members.
Ellen Kabat Lensch
Ellen Kabat Lensch serves as the Vice Chancellor for Workforce and Economic Development at the Eastern Iowa Community College District. In this capacity she also leads and oversees economic development and resource development activities, workforce development (WIOA) as well as the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC). Ellen has over 25 years of community college administrative experience in a multi-college district, including Executive Director for Resource Development and Innovation, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Director of Telecommunications, Associate Director of Program Development and Alternative Delivery Systems, Curriculum Designer, and Research and Marketing Specialist. She has successfully written and administered numerous grants and contracts. Ellen has expertise in areas of program development, evaluation, environmental, vocational/technical education, and distance learning. Ellen serves on numerous local, state and national committees. She has designed and implemented staff development offerings in areas of assessment, curriculum development, evaluation, distance learning, communications and continuous quality improvement. She has taught courses for a variety of institutions, delivered numerous speeches and presentations, and has published in areas related to program development, environmental and distance education. Ellen holds a B.S. in biology from Iowa State University, an M.B.A. from St. Ambrose University and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Iowa. She is an ACE Fellow and also holds a certificate in Fundraising Management from the Indian University Lilly School of Philanthropy.
Mr. Kostecki is the Manager of Customer Project Support at WPPI Energy, a joint action agency serving 51 customer-owned electric utilities in Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. In this role, he directs, designs, administers, supports and delivers electric utility customer services that result in productive and lasting business relationships between WPPI Energy member utilities and their retail customers. His program responsibilities are focused on providing funding for renewable energy demonstration projects in member communities as well delivering energy efficiency technologies to the utility customers. Mr. Kostecki supervises program coordinators and energy services representatives. He has been with WPPI Energy since 2006. During this time Mr. Kostecki has represented WPPI Energy at the Wisconsin Distributed Resources Collaborative. He was first elected to the WIDRC Steering Committee October 2011 and named treasurer October 2012. Re-elected to the steering committee October 2013, Mr. Kostecki has served as chair since December 2013. Prior to joining WPPI Energy, he worked for Alliant Energy - Wisconsin Power & Light as a power quality specialist supporting the commercial and industrial account management staff. Before that, Mr. Kostecki worked at Superconductivity, Inc/American Superconductor Corp designing power electronics to control the delivery of back-up power to megawatt-sized, critical electric loads. He earned his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a Certified Energy Manager (CEM) from the Association of Energy Engineers.
Joe is a technical education and training, and workforce development consultant with over thirty-eight years in industry and education training experience. Joe is currently serving as Project Manager for the Interstate Renewable Energy Council for a Department of Energy SunShot initiative –Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment, known as GEARED, as well as a senior advisor for The Solar Foundation’s Department of Energy STEP initiative. Joe has an MS in Education Administration & Policy Studies and was a Professor, Department Chair, and Executive Director at Hudson Valley Community College. Joe was the main architect for the college’s TEC-SMART facility, the country’s first totally integrated Training and Education Center for Semi-Conductor Manufacturing and Alternative and Renewable Technologies, and in 2009 was honored by the visit of President Obama in which the President recognized his work in developing model programs for other institutions to emulate. Joe is a Board Member of the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and has twice given expert testimony regarding renewable energy training programs and policy before the U.S. Congress.
Linda Lung has managed the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) education programs for more than 18 years and is a founding Department of Energy science education staff member. She has an extensive background in the planning, management, and implementation of undergraduate and teacher research programs, teacher professional development programs, the Science Bowl, and the Faculty and Student Teams (FaST) programs at NREL. Lung is very involved in the science community and is on education boards and advisory councils for several organizations.
Wilson Rickerson is an entrepreneur and author specializing in energy and security opportunities. He has deep experience in sustainable energy policy and has advised governments in 25 countries – from Saudi Arabia to Trinidad and Tobago – on new energy and climate strategies. In the United States, Wilson has worked extensively at the state and city levels to develop clean energy policies and programs across the country for over fifteen years. From 2005-2007, Wilson served as a Program Associate for the Center for Sustainable Energy at Bronx Community College where he helped launch a range of new clean energy research products and curricula. He went on to build a successful consulting company, Meister Consultants Group, where he served as CEO until 2016. He has co-authored over 100 publications on energy and climate topics, including the REN21 Renewables 2015 Global Status Report, and studies for the International Energy Agency focusing on islands (REMOTE), consumer PV adoption (RE-PROSUMERS and RE-COM-PROSUMERS) and renewable heating and cooling (RES-H-NEXT). Prior his time in the energy field, Wilson worked in international development and was the lead singer for ska bands whose members frequently outnumbered their audiences in the US and Europe. Wilson has also distinguished himself by getting crushed on the television gameshow Jeopardy. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Clean Energy Solutions Center, the Editorial Board of BioCycle Magazine, and the Board of Responsabilidad Ambiental Corporativa in Costa Rica. He holds a Masters in Energy and Environmental Policy from the University of Delaware and a B.A. from the College of William and Mary.
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