National Visiting Committee

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.

James Auld

James Auld, J.D., serves as Director of External Training Initiatives for NextEra Energy and Florida Power & Light. Primary duties include external workforce development initiatives. James works closely with colleges and universities to ensure a robust pipeline of well-educated and highly skilled energy professionals. James works with colleges to advance training programs and develop curriculum. James also collaborates with colleges and universities on grant initiatives. James was the 2015 recipient of the HI-TEC Industry Recognition Award. HI-TEC is a National Science Foundation consortium of colleges across the nation committed to advanced technology education. “The Industry Recognition Award recognizes key industry personnel for outstanding contributions to the promotion of technology education. Nominees for these awards must have had a demonstrated impact on technology education on both the local and national levels.” James is committed to promoting workforce development programs and ensuring their sustainability.

Ellen Bluth

Ellen Bluth 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 Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy.

Deb Hall

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.

Eric Kostecki

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.

Richard Lawrence

Mr. Lawrence is a Program Director at The Solar Foundation, whose mission is to accelerate adoption of the world’s most abundant energy source. He leads Solar Ready Vets 2.0, a Department of Energy sponsored initiative that connects veterans and transitioning service members to training, certifications, apprenticeships, and jobs in the solar industry. He also coordinates the Solar Automated Permitting Process (Solar APP), an industry initiative to streamline the permitting and inspection process for installations. And he co-chairs the Solar Energy Industries Associations’ Quality Assurance Working Group, which creates best practices for the finance and installation of PV systems.  Mr. Lawrence earned a B.S. degree in Science Education from Florida State University, and a M.S. degree in Environmental Education from Lesley University through the Audubon Expedition Institute, where he spent semesters studying in Alberta, the Sonoran Desert, Maine, and Cape Cod. Since 2002, he has focused his career on renewable energy education, training, workforce development, credentialing, advocacy, and quality assurance. He has worked for several non-profit and academic institutions including Self-Reliance, Clean Power Now, Cape Cod Community College, Hudson Valley Community College, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), and the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) in positions ranging from Adjunct Instructor to Executive Director. He has solar on his house in upstate NY, which did cover 100% of his family’s annual electrical load prior to their purchase of two plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Christine "CC" Maurer

CC Maurer is the Engineering and Technical Staff Manager at Advanced Energy, a non-profit energy consulting firm that works in the residential, commercial and industrial, solar, motors and drives, and electric vehicle markets. She has led multiple North Carolina focused projects to assist K-12 schools, community colleges, and local governments with benchmarking, developing strategic energy plans, performing energy audits, applying for energy project grants, and conducting measurement and verification. She also reviewed technical proposals for renewable energy projects when she served as the Resource Manager at NC GreenPower (a subsidiary of Advanced Energy) for six years.  CC’s previous roles in the energy industry include: Adjunct Instructor at Central Carolina Community College (2014-2015) including an Energy Modeling class, Energy Conservation Coordinator at North Carolina State University (2005-2007), and Research Assistant at the North Carolina Solar Center (2001-2005). She received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University.

Ellen Morris

Dr. Ellen Morris is the Director of the University Partnerships Program at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.  She also teaches Energy and Development courses at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and is a Faculty Affiliate at the Center on Global Energy Policy.  Morris is launching a new program at NREL that builds and strengthens partnerships with leading universities and research institutions leveraging NREL’s scientific knowledge and state-of-the-art facilities to solve complex, multidisciplinary challenges in energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, renewable power technologies, and grid integration.  Dr. Morris is a world-recognized expert on energy and international development, with a particular focus on policy analysis, research, and strategy development on energy access, gender equality, and business models for the base of the pyramid.  Prior to joining NREL, Morris served as President of Sustainable Energy Solutions, an international professional services company that she founded to promote the increased use and deployment of clean energy technologies as a means to support economic development and reduce poverty in developing countries. She was also a founder of Embark Energy, a social enterprise that trained and mentored energy entrepreneurs in Tanzania and Arc Finance, a non-profit that expands access to financing for energy, water, and other basic needs to build the income and assets of poor people around the world.  Morris serves as an Advisor and Board member for social enterprises focused on clean energy, including ENVenture (Uganda), Millennium Microgrid (Tanzania), Earth Spark International (Haiti), and Empowered by Light (global).  Early in her career, Morris was a Congressional Fellow on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and was an Exploration Geophysicist at Texaco.  Morris received her bachelor’s degree in Geophysical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and her doctorate in Geological Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography.

Joe Sarubbi

Energy Education Consultant

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.

Partners & Collaborators

Charlie Cohen

Charles Cohen is the Sustainability Education Director for Siemens Industry Inc., Building Technologies Division. Mr. Cohen came to Siemens from the education sector in 2007. His career path took him from teacher to principal to the business office. Mr. Cohen served as a junior high school principal and assistant superintendent for business services at Aptakisic-Tripp School District 102 in Buffalo Grove, IL for 27 years. The primary focus of the Sustainability Education Program is to support educational opportunities in the areas of sustainability, energy awareness, STEM programming, inquiry project based instruction, workforce development, and community outreach. The major goals of the program are to support the environment and help to prepare students for success in a diverse 21st century global economy. Siemens Sustainability Education Programs:

  • Are developed in collaboration with individual customers to reflect their current academic and sustainability initiatives.
  • Access partnerships with academic professionals, organizations, and agencies to assist in meeting articulated customer needs.
  • Reflect Siemens aspiration to strengthen education focused partnerships at both the local branch and corporate levels.

Mr. Cohen’s primary responsibility is to support the wide-ranging needs of Siemens customers and assist them in identifying resources that will aid in the development of local programs and projects – in partnership with the local Siemens Branch Representatives.

Linda Lung

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

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 to 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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