Midwest Energy News’ 40 Under 40 award program highlights emerging leaders throughout the region and their work in America’s transition to a clean energy economy. The cohort of 2016 recipients are being announced on Sept. 28, Sept. 29, and Sept. 30.
Vice President and Director Climate Initiative, National Audubon Society
Matthew Anderson began as the Director of Audubon’s Climate Initiative in 2015. He joined Audubon in 2013 as the Executive Director of Audubon Minnesota. Anderson spent two and half years as Executive Director of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment. Before that, he directed the Creation Care Fund and served as the Director of Environmental and Rural Advocacy/Education for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and as Executive Director of Faith in the City, a multi-sector faith-based coalition. Anderson serves on the board of the The Regeneration Project. He graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in environmental studies.
VP of Public Relations, Ever-Green Energy
Nina Axelson oversees public affairs for Ever-Green Energy and its affiliates. Axelson’s role includes community energy planning and authoring studies, including reports for the Department of Energy and International Energy Agency. This work also features education programming, including the development of a local education and sustainability platform. She also leads major initiatives for the organization, including project development and oversight of the nation’s largest solar thermal installation. Before joining Ever-Green, Axelson worked in community and business development with a focus on energy and the environment. Axelson holds a B.S. in natural resources and environmental studies from the University of Minnesota.
Product Manager, Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L)
Tyson Brown manages demand response (DR) for Kansas City Power & Light. In this capacity, he helps the utility build a burgeoning, technologically advanced residential and C&I demand response portfolio of over 100 MW and growing. Previously, Brown served multiple roles on Honeywell’s Smart Grid Solutions team and implemented two-way technology upgrades within demand response programs for major utilities across North America. As a thought leader and innovator within the demand response space, Brown regularly speaks on the topic of DR innovation and played a key role in KCP&L’s reception of the 2016 Green Tech Media Grid Edge Award in Innovation.
Director of Development, SoCore Energy
Laura Caspari has continually pursued progressive ways to identify new business models and find greater efficiency across the company to expand the use of solar in various markets. At SoCore Energy, she is responsible for the strategy and execution of a portfolio of projects that represents the largest ground-mounted solar energy rollout in Wisconsin history, roughly doubling the existing amount of solar energy generated in the state. Previously, Caspari managed the design and construction of new projects for the Lincoln Park Zoo and developed wind energy projects in the U.S. and Australia. Caspari grew up outside of Melbourne, Australia and holds a B.S. from Monash University in conservation biology and environmental science/geography.
Vice President of Solar Development, Geronimo Energy
Nathan Franzen has over fourteen years of solar development experience, including extensive knowledge of solar project design, permitting, project finance, interconnection and construction management. He successfully developed some of the first commercial-scale solar projects in Minnesota, and owns and operates several distributed projects. Before joining the Geronimo team, Franzen created and led Westwood Professional Services’ Utility Scale Solar Division, which is now one of the nation’s top photovoltaic design firms. In his current role, Franzen manages the Geronimo solar department and all aspects of Geronimo’s 450 MW solar portfolio. This includes the 100 MW Aurora Distributed Solar project, which received global industry and media attention for its success in competing directly against natural gas competitors in an all-source request for proposal process – a first in the nation. Franzen has a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
Vice President of Operations, SunVest; SunVest Solar
Adam Gusse has been working as a solar installer/developer for 9 years, primarily in the Wisconsin market. Gusse has made a name for himself by promoting solar consistently among homeowners, schools, businesses, municipalities, and especially with the local utility providers. Prior to joining SunVest, he was a Vice President at H&H Solar Energy. Gusse’s experience and knowledge makes him one of the most highly regarded “go-to” resources in our State for all types of solar projects. Gusse holds a masters in environmental science from the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse.
Senior City Advisor, Community Energy Program Manager, Kansas City, MO, Institute for Market Transformation (IMT)
Based in Kansas City, Jennifer Gunby manages the IMT’s local City Energy Project, serving as the Community Energy Program Manager for the city. CEP is a groundbreaking initiative to cut energy waste in large buildings and make American cities healthier and more prosperous through energy efficiency. Before joining IMT in 2014, Gunby developed a broad background in sustainability, energy efficiency and project management experience. Gunby is a licensed engineer (PE), a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP), and an Association of Energy Engineers Renewable Energy Professional (REP).
Vice President of Market Development, Renovate America
John Maslowski is the Vice President of Market Development in Missouri for Renovate America. Renovate America provides residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. Previously, Maslowski led business development in the Midwest for Instacart, started Maslow Ventures, and served as Vice President of Supply Chain at Roundy’s. He is also a member of the Environmental and Energy Council for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Maslowski’s prior experience as an investment banker focused on mergers, acquisitions and advisory for a boutique investment bank. He earned an M.B.A. and a B.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Energy Program Director, Michigan Environmental Council
Sarah Mullkoff has worked in natural resource policy in a variety of capacities, most recently as Energy and Climate Policy Coordinator with the National Wildlife Federation. Mullkoff serves on the board of directors for the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association as well as on the steering committee for RE-AMP, a 160-member coalition of Midwest nonprofits and foundations working on energy policy and climate change. Mullkoff is a graduate of Michigan State University’s James Madison College with a major in international relations and specialization in science, technology, environment, and public policy.
Policy & Program Developer, Empower Gas & Electric
Tremaine Phillips has nearly ten years of experience developing and implementing energy policies and programs through his work at the Michigan Environmental Council, Michigan Dept. of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth, and as a legal intern with the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Phillips has been recognized as an emerging energy and environmental policy leader by the World Wildlife Fund and the Toyota “TogetherGreen” program. He recently completed a duel-degree program through The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, earning a J.D. and an M.P.P. Phillips received his undergraduate degree in environmental economics and policy from Michigan State University.
Senior Advisor, Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council
Dan Scripps is a national leader in energy finance and policy. His work with the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council and Institute for Energy Innovation promotes greater understanding of advanced energy and its economic potential for Michigan. He leads efforts to educate the public and expand opportunities for advanced energy deployment in the state. Scripps worked as an energy attorney with Latham & Watkins and represented the 101st District in the Michigan House of Representatives. He lives in Northport, Michigan, with his wife Jamie and two children. Scripps is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and Alma College and is licensed to practice law in Michigan and Washington D.C.
CTO, Design Flux Technologies
Tom Vo has focused his academic and professional career on the clean energy industry, working with electric vehicles and advanced energy storage systems. After working for nearly a decade in a variety of engineering positions with NASA, startups, and as an engineering consultant, Vo now serves as CTO for Design Flux Technologies and leads a technical team of three university students in product development. Vo has five patents in his name, including being the primary inventor of Design Flux Technologies’ IP. Vo holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Akron with a specialization in battery management and control systems.
Director, Renew Missouri
PJ Wilson’s leadership in clean energy policy at the state level has had a massive impact. In the nearly ten years since he co-founded Renew Missouri, Wilson has helped establish and oversee the implementation of transformative policies like Missouri’s Renewable Energy Standard, the PACE financing law, Missouri’s Energy Efficiency Investment Act, and several others. Because of his tireless efforts, Missouri has significantly climbed the ranks nationally for clean energy jobs, installed clean energy capacity (especially solar), and energy efficiency programs. Previously, Wilson served for two years in the Peace Corps as a Water & Sanitation Engineer, and was trained on renewable energy at the Solar Living Institute. PJ Wilson holds a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Southern California. He has worked as a solar & wind installer and policy advocate in Missouri since 2006.