Board of Directors
Leigh 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.
Catalyst Financial Group, Inc., Co-founder and CEO
Bob has over 35 years experience in finance and business innovation and co-founded Catalyst Financial Group, Inc in YEAR. Over the last 28 years, his work has focused on financing renewable energy (solar, wind, hydro, co-generation), energy and water efficiency as well as recycling and pollution prevention projects. His venture capital experience has been focused primarily on energy. Most recently Bob co-managed an $11 million energy Revolving Loan Fund for Delaware’s Sustainable Energy Utility.
Bob has served on the Board of Directors or Advisory Board of numerous financial institutions including: Community Capital Bank; the Highland Expansion Fund; People’s United Bank’s Socially Responsible Lending Fund and the Flexible Capital Fund that provides financing to growth companies in Vermont.
Bob is a founding member of Investors’ Circle (the largest angel investing network in the United States focused exclusively on socially responsible businesses) and a founding member of Social Venture Network (a multi-country social change business network comprised of the leading social entrepreneurs in the U.S. and overseas). He is a frequent guest lecturer, trainer and keynote speaker on energy finance issues. Bob holds a B.A from Pace University, and is a 1991 graduate of the National Association of the Small Business Investment Companies Venture Capital Institute’s training program.
Megan has worked at Shelburne Farms for 30 years and has been the Vice President and Program Director since 1989, responsible for organizational development and the leadership of education programming. Since arriving at the Farm as a student intern, she has been an energetic, creative force in the evolution of the farm’s education programs, and has taken those programs into partnerships around the world. She is a recognized expert in the subjects of sustainable communities, environmental and agricultural education, and the importance of local food systems. Megan has served as a consultant/partner for the Institute for Sustainable Communities, working with national and international sustainability projects.
Among other affiliations, Megan is an affiliate representative to the North American Association of Environmental Education, a partner of the U.S. National Park Service’s Conservation Study Institute, a member of the IUCN (The World Conservation Union) Commission on Education and Communication, The Vermont Sustainable Agriculture Council, and an advisory board member of the University of Vermont College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, and the National Forum of Children and Nature. Megan is currently on the board of directors of the Vermont Fresh Network, the Castanea Foundation and the Vermont Natural Resources Council. In 2013, Megan was honored with a Doctor of Letters Degree from Middlebury College for her achievements in advancing education for sustainability in Vermont and around the world.
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.
Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, Director of Policy and Public Affairs
Karen is the Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC). In this role she leads the policy development and strategic direction of the organization in the promotion of electric, thermal and transportation efficiency.
She was VEIC’s first Director of Transportation Efficiency where she developed and oversaw the strategic direction for VEIC transportation efficiency efforts including management of the Way to Go, Go Vermont and Drive Electric Vermont programs as well as the development of a Transportation Efficiency Utility (TEU).
She served as the Director of the UVM National University Transportation Center (UTC) and interim co-director of the UVM TRC and is the author of numerous publications including the annual Vermont Transportation Energy Report. She served as the Vermont Clean Cities Coalition Coordinator (2007-2009).
At the Vermont Agency of Transportation she served as Director of Policy and Planning, Deputy Secretary and Acting Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Transportation (1995-2003).
She was admitted to the Vermont Bar in 1990 and served as a member of the Vermont House of Representatives from 1985-1990.
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.
Norwich Solar Technology, Chief Executive Officers
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.
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.
Burlington Electric Department, Chief Operating Officer
Darren Springer is Chief Operating Officer and Manager for Strategy and Innovation at Burlington Electric Department. In that role he leads the Center for Innovation which includes policy and planning and energy services. He currently is also a Climate Change and Renewable Energy Policy Fellow at the University of Vermont Center for Research on Vermont.
Prior to joining BED, Darren served as Chief of Staff for Governor Peter Shumlin. Before working in the Governor’s Office, Darren was Deputy Commissioner at Vermont’s Public Service Department, and was the administration lead on the 2014 net metering legislation 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 a 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.
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).