Board of Directors
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 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. He is currently Board Chair of Energy Action Network.
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 the Climate Economy Business Network. Ms. Kahler is also involved in workforce development efforts through her participation on the State Workforce Development Board.
Vermont State Employees Credit Union, 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.
Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, Director, Business Strategy and Innovation
Christine Donovan is a national energy efficiency and renewable energy leader with more than 30 years of experience leading non-profit organizations and businesses seeking to advance the use of solar electricity, solar thermal, biomass energy, and other renewable energy technologies for buildings and transportation. Christine joined VEIC in 2008 after founding and leading her own energy and environmental consulting firm for 25 years. Christine currently serves as a Managing Director of the $4 Million Flexible Capital Fund in Vermont and is Vice-President of the Board of the national Biomass Thermal Energy Council. She served on the VEIC Board of Directors for six years before, during, and after the creation and launch of Efficiency Vermont. In addition, Christine is past Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Solar Energy Society, Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, and Maine Solar Energy Association. She was selected by the Electric Power Research Institute and National Audubon Society to serve on the prestigious National Biofuels Roundtable; was a Founding Board Member of the Renewable Energy Policy Project based in Washington, D.C; and was appointed by President Clinton to serve on his national Climate Change Task Force. Christine was voted Solar Energy Industry Professional of the Year by the New York Solar Energy Industries Association in 2008, was the first woman distinguished nationally as an American Solar Energy Society Fellow, and has received numerous other awards and distinctions. Christine holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Hampshire College. She received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy for her thesis, one of the first community-wide energy plans completed in the nation.
Burlington Electric Department, General Manager
Darren Springer was appointed and confirmed as General Manager in October 2018. Formerly, Darren served as Burlington Electric’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.
Rath, Young, and Pingatelli – Senior Counsel
Mary currently works as tax counsel at Rath, Young and Pignatelli. Previously she served for six years as the Commissioner for the Vermont Department of Taxes. She also was elected for three terms to the Vermont House of Representatives; serving as Clerk of the Ways & Means Committee and Chair of the Joint Legislative Council. Mary was Chair of the Williston Selectboard and on the Board of Directors of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. She also has worked in private practice in Boston, MA and Burlington, VT and as special counsel for the Department of Public Service. She graduated summa cum laude from St. Lawrence as a Government major and received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.
Norwich Solar Technology, Chief Executive Officer
Solar industry veteran Jim Merriam is Chief Executive Officer at Norwich Solar Technologies. In this role, he continues his mission of making it easy for businesses, schools, and municipalities to go solar, save money, and do good.
Jim came to Norwich Solar Technologies from SunCommon where he was Vice President of Operations. Merriam previously worked in the renewable energy industry as VP of Operations at Northern Power Systems and at groSolar where he served as Chief Operating Officer.
Jim is familiar to many in Vermont as the longtime Director of Efficiency Vermont, the nation’s first statewide energy efficiency utility. He holds an electrical engineering degree and an MS in Engineering Management.
Bennington County Regional Commission (BCRC) – Executive Director
Jim is the Executive Director of the Bennington County Regional Commission (BCRC), a regional planning commission serving municipalities in southwestern Vermont. The BCRC’s mission is to work with local governments to build strong, resilient, and sustainable communities, while supporting regional cohesiveness, advocating for adherence to regional policies, and facilitating effective communication between local, state, and federal levels of government. Prior to assuming his current position, Jim led efforts in land use, transportation, and environmental planning at the BCRC. He began working in Vermont as the Town Planner for Manchester during a period of rapid development in the mid-1980s. As Chair of the Energy Committee of the Vermont Association of Planning and Development Agencies Jim has overseen efforts to integrate an awareness of energy issues into all aspects of local and regional planning, and also has helped to develop and implement a coordinated regional energy planning program throughout the state. Jim is a graduate of Colby College in Maine and received graduate degrees in Natural Resource Management (Cornell University) and Public Administration (Syracuse University).
Vital Communities – Executive Director
Sarah Brock joined Vital Communities, a regional nonprofit serving 69 towns in the Upper Connecticut River Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire, in 2013 as Energy Program Manager. Sarah provides support for her region’s 40+ local energy committees, engaging with dozens of volunteers and clean energy businesses in programs like Solarize Upper Valley, Weatherize Upper Valley, and the Upper Valley Green Real Estate Network. Prior to joining the Vital Communities team, Sarah was a fellow with the High Meadows Fund, a supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation. Sarah now lives in Warner, New Hampshire, with her husband Zach and their growing flock of chickens.