2021 ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT SYMPOSIUM SPEAKERS
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
LIBERTY OILFIELD SERVICES
Chris Wright serves as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Liberty Oilfield Services. Additionally, Chris founded and serves as Executive Chairman of Liberty Resources, a Bakken-focused E&P company and Liberty Midstream Solutions. He has had a lifelong passion for energy and its role in human life. He has spoken on energy to the UK House of Lords, the States Attorneys General, Federal and State Judges, debated the merits of the shale revolution on TV and given over 100 talks.
Chris founded Pinnacle Technologies which created the hydraulic fracture mapping industry. Pinnacle's innovations in fracturing practices helped launch commercial shale gas production in the late 1990’s.
Chris has consulted and taught courses on all six inhabited continents and authored / co-authored over 60 technical papers and articles. He has received numerous industry awards and several U.S. patents. Chris also worked on fusion energy, solar energy, and geothermal energy. Chris grew up in Colorado and is a passionate skier, cyclist, climber, and outdoor enthusiast. He serves on the board of numerous nonprofits including PERC, ACE Colorado, ACE Montana, PRI, and the YCCF.
DIRECTOR PROJECT DEVELOPMENT
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Energy Management from the University of Oklahoma in 2013, Ali started her career working as a Surface Landman in Denver, Colorado for a large E&P oil and gas company, focusing on horizontal well development in urbanizing municipalities. After negotiating several agreements as a counterparty to Silicon Ranch, she left the oil and gas industry to bring her experience in holistic energy development and jurisdictional permitting to the team.
During her tenure, Silicon Ranch has grown to a top twenty Independent Power Producer and attracted Royal Dutch Shell as a strategic investor to become its United States platform for solar development. Her primary focus is development in Connecticut, the Rocky Mountain Region, Pacific Northwest, and Tennessee Valley Authority, and she has also led the development efforts in California, Texas, and throughout the Southeast.
As Director of Project Development, Ali is responsible for all aspects of the project development process, including identifying and negotiating strategic land, mineral, and easement acquisitions, managing and executing site due diligence, and securing all regulatory permits necessary to support utility-scale solar development. With a veteran background in negotiating complex commercial transactions, Ali also leads Silicon Ranch’s Project Acquisitions team and supports Business Development with creating tailored energy solutions for its commercial and industrial customers. In her five years at Silicon Ranch, Ali has transacted on and developed nearly a gigawatt of projects.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
COLORADO OIL AND GAS ASSOCIATION
Mr. Dan Haley serves as President & Chief Executive Officer of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association. As President, Mr. Haley is responsible for leading the industry in Colorado legislative, regulatory, and public relations matters.
Previously, he was Vice President of Communications, Development and Strategy at EIS Solutions, a public affairs firm where he served as a consultant for numerous corporate and political clients, including oil and gas interests. Prior to that, Mr. Haley spent more than 20 years in the communications field, including 13 years at The Denver Post, where he was the Editorial Page Editor. He also was Director of Corporate Communications for CoBank, a $100 billion bank headquartered in Denver.
A Colorado native, Mr. Haley has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Wyoming and sits on the Advisory Council to the USO Denver as well as the Colorado Advisory Committee for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
URBAN SOLUTION GROUP
Heidi Gill serves as CEO of Urban Solution Group. She founded Urban in 2017 to bridge the gap between oil and gas development and social compatibility. Focusing on comprehensive mitigation plans and products, Heidi designed and filed a patent on a new type of sound wall that helps mitigate impacts to surround communities during oil and gas operations. She spearheaded the capital raise to fund the manufacturing of her patented sound walls and now has over six miles of wall on the market which is enough inventory to be on 20-25 locations at once. Her most recent endeavor has been developing NavPlanIQ. A first of its kind, cloud based energy specific software for long term planning and execution of energy locations with a high focus on regulatory, compliance, noise monitoring and modeling, comprehensive mitigation and stakeholder engagement and grievance management.
Prior to founding Urban, Heidi worked for Anadarko Petroleum where she oversaw all mitigation related activities with her primary focus on drilling, completions and production facilities. Heidi graduated from University of Oregon with bachelor’s degree in public relations and communications.
Heidi was awarded the Denver Business Journal’s 2020 Outstanding Women in Business for the Energy category along with being selected as one of their 2019 40 Under 40. She was awarded the Society of Petroleum Engineers 2019 Steward of the Industry Award. In 2018 she was awarded the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s 2018 Emerging Leader Award and recognized by the Denver Business Journal as one of Denver’s 2018 Top Women in Energy.
GARTH BOYD, PHD
The CONTEX NETWORK
Garth combines his depth and breadth of life-long experience in animal agriculture across production, academia, agribusiness and consulting with his passion for teamwork and delivering results to help clients in the following areas:
Experience / Specialties:
Value creation in responsible food chains
Sustainability, environmental stewardship, environmental assets and bioenergy issues spanning local to international project scopes with specialty in agricultural carbon science, policy and markets.
Environmental technology research, development, implementation and continuous improvement
Resource recovery from animal manure
Education & Certification:
Ph.D., Reproductive Physiology, Kansas State University
MS, Reproductive Physiology, University of Georgia
BS, Animal Science, University of Georgia
Garth and his wife Maria live on their ranch near McCoy, Colorado
MAYOR of FORT COLLINS
Panel Moderator, Sustainable Housing
As State Representative in the Colorado General Assembly, Jeni Arndt served as a member of the House Rural Affairs and Agriculture Commitee, a member of House Business Affairs and Labor Committee, and the Statutory Revision Commission. In addition, I have been appointed Vice Chair of the Western Council of State Governments’ Agriculture and Water Committee and I serve on the Colorado Commission of Higher Education in an advisory capacity.
Arndt earned an undergraduate degree in Sociology at Colorado College, an MA in Geography from the University of Colorado followed by an MA in Special Education from Purdue University in Indiana. After teaching special education, Arndt earned a Ph.D. in Literacy and Language from Purdue.
Her work experience includes Congressional intern, ESL teacher, Peace Corps volunteer, secondary special education teacher, middle school principal, International Baccalaureate Coordinator, university faculty member and department head.
In addition to working, teaching and attending school, Arndt was been an active volunteer, having served in the Peace Corps in Morocco and having served on school boards in Lafayette, IN and in Mozambique. After moving back to Fort Collins, she served on the Commission of Disabilities as well as Childsafe before running for State Representative in 2014. As a State Representative she have focused on water, agriculture, small business and public education. After 3+ terms in the General Assembly Arndt was elected Mayor of Fort Collins in April, 2021 and lives there with her husband of 32 years. Her mom, Libby James, is her rock and role model.
COLORADO STATE SENATE
Chris Hansen is the current State Senator for Colorado Senate District 31. He specializes in energy sector economics and data analytics, with 20 years of experience in the global energy industry. He was formerly the Representative for House District 6 from 2017-2019, representing the east-central neighborhoods of Denver. He currently serves on the Joint Budget Committee. During his time in the State Senate, he has served on the Finance, Appropriations, and State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committees. Throughout his tenure in the Colorado House of Representatives, Hansen served on the Capital Development, House Transportation & Energy, Appropriations, and Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources committees, and as Chair on the House Appropriations Committee.
In 2012, he was selected as a Marshall Memorial Fellow by the German Marshall Fund and in 2017 was selected as a Public Leadership Fellow at Harvard University by the Gates Family Foundation. In 2019, he was selected as one of fifteen leaders from across the country to join the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), a selective national network of rising state and local elected officials.
In addition to his current role in the state senate, Hansen serves as the Co-Founder and Director of Programming at the Colorado Energy & Water Institute, and as Co-Founder of the Colorado Science and Engineering Policy Fellowship.
Amy Simpkins has over 15 years of experience in technical engineering and project management of complex systems and software. She is Chief Executive Officer at muGrid Analytics.
Prior to joining muGrid, Amy was an engineer and spacecraft systems architect with Lockheed Martin, where she worked on advanced R&D and design integration for earth observing and manned spacecraft. In this capacity, she assessed architectural choices based on design performance, operational power constraints, and program finance. Amy also spent several years in flight operations for unmanned scientific exploration spacecraft, where she helped monitor and manage the solar array performance, energy storage systems, and power budgets of long duration deep space missions. Her technical expertise includes system and software architecture, system-level performance modeling, and design tradespace analysis.
Amy has coached and consulted on product innovation, business strategy, marketing, and sales for startups and small businesses in the renewable energy, healthcare, and SaaS sales spaces. She is an internationally recognized speaker on innovation and integration for entrepreneurs and is author of the book, Spiral: A Catalyst for Innovation and Expansion (Amazon). She holds an MS in Astronautical Engineering from the University of Southern California and an SB in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
INAUGURAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
DR. GLEN MURRELL
WYOMING ENERGY DEPARTMENT
Dr. Glen Murrell has more than two decades of experience in energy related R&D and technology/product development and is the inaugural Executive Director for the Wyoming Energy Authority. He holds a Doctorate in Geology and has contributed to more than 10 publications and several patents related to thermochronology, oil recovery and technological innovations in oil and gas production. He has held leadership positions in industrial, academic and public service settings. He has led and contributed to multiple projects related to waterflood enhancement, conventional and unconventional EOR, reservoir analytics and digital rock physics. He has more than a decade of experience in CCUS, with emphasis on CO2 EOR and Sequestration. His more recent technology interests include the Energy Transition, the Hydrogen economy and blockchain applications.
DIRECTOR Regenerative Energy, Land Management
SILICON RANCH CORPORATION
Michael is responsible for developing and implementing Silicon Ranch’s internal and external facing Regenerative Energy Program, a holistic design and land management program converting lands housing utility-scale solar power plants to duel-use terrestrial carbon sinks by co-locating solar energy production with regenerative agriculture. Michael has over 15 years of diverse land and resource management experience across various ecosystems and land use types, coupled with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and formal training in soil science.
COLORADO OIL AND GAS COMMISSION
Julie Murphy was appointed as the COGCC Director on July 1, 2020, from her position as Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor. Murphy’s strong oil and gas regulatory expertise draws from 7 years of service with the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. Murphy has knowledge of the complex issues, including conflicts, facing natural resource management from the policy, technical and legal perspectives and works with Colorado’s diverse oil and gas stakeholders to find common sense, consensus solutions.
Murphy will now lead the division’s transition from a historically volunteer-led commission to a professional commission structure. Prior to her appointment in 2020, she served as the COGCC’s Director and the Hearings and Regulatory Affairs Manager. Also, she was an Assistant Attorney General representing the Commission and Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety. In the private sector, Julie spent five years representing clients in land use, natural resources, private property, and environmental disputes. Murphy’s remarkable work experience is also matched by her education.
She earned a B.S. in Wildlife Biology, Kansas State University; a Master of Earth and Environmental Resources Management and J.D. from the University of South Carolina; and a Masters of Studies in Environmental Law from the Vermont Law School. As a Denver native, she can be found exploring the wilderness with Ben and their son Walter on foot, in a raft, or on skis when not working.
WELD COUNTY COMMISSIONER
EMCEE, Panel Rural Caucus Leader
Commissioner Scott James is a fourth generation Colorado native reared in LaSalle, Colorado; a community his great grandfather and great-great grandfather helped found. Scott, his wife, Julie, and son, Jack, reside in Johnstown, Colorado, where he served for nearly 20-years as Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, Member of Town Council, and Mayor.
Appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission in 1999 and elected to Town Council in 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, and as Mayor in 2016, Scott’s leadership accomplishments in Johnstown and Northern Colorado include:
Liaison to the Johnstown-Milliken Chamber of Commerce
Johnstown representative on the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization
Voted to add sworn officers to the Johnstown Police Department
Led initiative to open a Johnstown Police Annex at 2534
Led initiative for the Construction of the debt free Johnstown Community Recreation Center
Led the initiative for the development and implementation of a Model Service Plan for Metropolitan Districts in Johnstown
Led the initiative for the development and implementation of economic development incentives in Johnstown
Voted to retire municipal bonds early
Led Johnstown from a $13 million debt to an over $80 million surplus, making Johnstown one of two debt-free municipalities in Colorado
Voted to contribute $8 million to the expansion of I-25
Voted to refer a 5-mil property decrease to Johnstown voters
James is a familiar face and voice to two generations of Coloradans. A 36-year award-winning radio personality, Scott delights in serving his community. Through his many non-profit and philanthropic endeavors, James has helped raise over $2 million for Northern Colorado charities.
A graduate of Northeastern Junior College, Aims Community College, and Colorado State University, Scott is active at Rez.Church, serves on the Weld Food Bank Board of Directors, and passionately endeavors to shave a stroke or two off his double-digit golf handicap.
COLORADO HOUSE of REPRENTATIVES
SOLAR AFFORDABILITY PANEL
Alex Valdez represents Colorado’s House District 5, which encompasses the urban core of Denver. He was elected in 2018 to succeed former-House Speaker Crisanta Duran.
Alex Valdez was born and raised in the Denver Metro area.
After the recession hit, he started a solar business with a grassroots campaign out of a co-working space in the River North Art District (RiNo). Today, his dedication and hard work has helped that company flourish into one of Colorado’s largest solar companies.
Alex believes that it is critical, especially in times like these, that we stay focused on policy that will create a better living world.
He currently serves as the Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee, as well as on the State, Civic, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee. He was elected to serve as the First-Year Representative to Leadership, the first incoming member in the history of Colorado to be elected to this role. Alex is Chair of the Latino Caucus, and serves on the LGBTQ Caucus and the recently founded Aviation Caucus.
Rep. Valdez received the Solar Champion Award from the Colorado Solar and Storage Association.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM MGR.
Lissy Velez started working for ASTM International in December 2018. With a diverse career in various industries, Lissy’s expertise lies in problem-solving, business development and relationship management. At ASTM, Lissy is responsible for the identification and development of new business opportunities and ventures across ASTM’s full spectrum of products and services. She is part of a cross-functional team that creates and executes innovative, strategic organizational initiatives based on market trends, national/international priorities, emerging technologies, marketplace challenges and innovation.
OWNER AND BUILDER
MITCHCRAFT TINY HOMES
Mitch Holmes is the owner of MitchCraft Tiny Homes, a custom tiny home builder located in Fort Collins, CO. He and his team have been on the forefront of the tiny home industry, focusing on high quality tiny homes built to exceed industry standards and expectations. With a professional background in cabinetmaking, finish carpentry, and residential construction, he gained an appreciation for the details and creative ways of expression through the built environment. While building his own personal tiny home, he realized his passion for building and designing small spaces, and saw the need for an alternative way to approach housing. Since 2015 MitchCraft has constructed over 70 tiny homes on wheels, for customers nationwide.
UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN COLORADO
Andy Feinstein is the 13th president of the University of Northern Colorado. He has devoted a career to teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and student success, which is his top priority at UNC. Throughout his presidency, Dr. Feinstein has sought to enhance the fundamental characteristics and commitments that make UNC a great place to live and learn by intentionally placing students first. As UNC’s president, he has recommitted the university and its leadership to design and activate new approaches that honor and celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion. He has also positioned UNC for the future by overseeing development of a new vision and strategic plan, leveraging data analytics to improve decision making, and building the university’s financial capacity. His positive influence is felt across Colorado; Dr. Feinstein’s efforts to coordinate the state’s public higher education executives has helped to ensure institutions advocate for the needs of higher education with one voice— benefitting students across the state. Dr. Feinstein arrived at UNC in 2018 after serving as the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at San José State University, one of the largest and most diverse public universities in the Western United States. He has also served as a college professor, department chair, and dean. He has published research and books on such topics as student success, strategic management, simulation modeling and foodservice operations.
CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER
Jake is the Chief Operating Officer of Jordan Energy. He brings past experience in strategy development, growth & innovation, and project management. He believes in the power of solar to change the world's energy future and is passionate about creating a strong team environment. At Jordan Energy, he oversees project development, on-site energy analysis, financial modeling, project operations. Prior to joining Jordan Energy, Jake was an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company. At McKinsey, he led strategic projects across a variety of industries and geographies gaining experience in North America, Africa, and Oceania. Jake is a Board Member of the Let's Share the Sun Foundation, an organization that provides solar to communities in need around the world.
DIRECTOR of STATE & LOCAL GOV'T AFFAIRS
MIZRAIM S. CODERO
Mizraim serves as regional director of state and local government for United Airlines. In
this role, Mizraim develops and maintains strong relationships, educates, and advocates
on behalf of United’s interests and strategic objectives to external stakeholders and
elected leaders in a 10-Mountain state region. Before United, Mizraim served as the
Denver Metro Chamber’s vice president of Government Affairs, where he strived to
promote business-friendly policies for the State of Colorado. Mizraim joined the
Chamber by way of its statewide policy affiliate, the Colorado Competitive Council, as
its director. He is a former director of government affairs for the City of Commerce City
and is committed to building lasting relationships between businesses and the
community at large. Mizraim also serves as an elected commissioner of the South
Adams County Water and Sanitation District, an appointee by Governor Polis to the
Colorado Creative Industries Council, an appointee of Denver Mayor Hancock’s
Economic Relief and Recovery Council, on the board of the Colorado Enterprise Fund,
a non-profit FDIC insured community bank, as well as a member of the Colfax Marathon
Board of Directors.
WIND AND HYDROGEN PANEL
Greg Brophy is a political activist and fourth generation family farmer from Wray. He served 9 years in the Colorado State Senate and 3 years in the Colorado House. Greg also spent a year as Chief of Staff in the US House of Representatives. Greg is a frequent guest commentator on 9News, Channel 7, KOA and KHOW. He and Angela have been married for twenty nine years. They have three kids and four grandchildren.
Mr. Yost is Vice President and Chief Technical Officer for A1 Organics, having joined A1 in 1990. Established in 1974, A1 is the Rocky Mountain Regions largest commercial organic recycling company managing in excess of 425,000 tons of organics per year including foodwaste at its two Class III Composting facilities and three greenwaste recycling facilities in Colorado. Bob’s experience includes product and market development, site and operations development and management, new business development, technical evaluation, permitting and regulatory compliance and project and corporate management duties. Bob has served on numerous advisory and technical boards at both state and national levels and currently serves on the United States Composting Council Board of Directors, USCC Market Development and Membership Committees, and is Chair of the Seal of Testing Assurance Advisory Committee. When not knee deep in a compost pile, he enjoys time with his wife of 50 years and hunting, fishing, and hiking in the Rocky Mountains near their home in Brighton Colorado.”
CHIEF TECHNICAL OFFICER
ENCINO ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES
Mr. Etheridge is founder and Chief Technical Officer of Encino Environmental Services. He is based in Houston, Texas.
Mr. Etheridge has 20 years of experience in environmental management for energy sector operations. As the Chief Technical Officer of Encino, he is responsible for to delivering turnkey compliance and project management services focusing on air quality, subsurface investigations, and special projects for the energy sector.
Mr. Etheridge’s areas of expertise include regulatory applicability screening and permitting of new developments and acquisitions for exploration and production assets, corporate environmental audit lead for global management systems, remediation and project management, source evaluation for new source performance standards and national emission standards for hazardous air, emergency response and crisis management, expert witness testimonies, and as an environmental resource for due-diligence efforts.
Prior to founding Encino, Mr. Etheridge served as Environmental Team Lead for ConocoPhillips’s Gulf Coast Business Unit. Prior to joining industry, he was the Technical Account Manager for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s Emissions Cap and Trade group.
Mr. Etheridge is versed in a variety of American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standards and United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Reference Methods for air quality sampling and source evaluation. He also has a B.S. Bioenvironmental Sciences from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
COLORADO SOLAR STORAGE ASSOC.
Mr. Kruger has served as the President and CEO of COSSA since October 2018. Previously, he was the Director of Communications for the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) in Washington, DC. He oversaw all public communications for the organization, including public speaking engagements, research reports and the annual SEPA Power Players Awards program. Prior to joining SEPA, Kruger was the Deputy Director of Communications for the U.S. Department of Commerce under the Obama Administration. He also served on the communications staff for the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee. Kruger earned a Master of Arts in Education and Social Justice from the University of London and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Western Washington University. When he’s not explaining the wonders of the electric grid, you can find him watching baseball.
TOM PARKO, JR.
WELD COUNTY PLANNING
Tom Parko served his country in the United States Navy on USS O’Brien DD-975. He received his undergraduate degree at Western State University and his masters at the University of Colorado.
Parko served the citizens of the Town of Elizabeth as the Community Development Director before serving as the Planning Director for the City of Fort Lupton.
Tom Parko currently serves the citizens of Weld County as the Director of the Weld County Planning and Zoning Department and is the recipient of the Colorado Solar & Storage Association's Friend of Solar Award.
COLORADO STATE SENATE
SENATE RURAL CAUCUS LEADER
Senator Jerry Sonnenberg represents Colorado Senate District 1 which includes: Cheyenne, Elbert, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Weld, Sedgwick, Washington, and Yuma Counties.
Senator Sonnenberg is a Colorado native who has been farming and ranching his entire life. He grew up in Sterling, Colorado, graduated from Sterling High School, and attended Northeastern Junior College.
As a father of four, Senator Sonnenberg is a strong advocate for youth programs and education. Senator Sonnenberg is a champion for Colorado students and their families, fighting to give families more control over their child’s education and help students receive an education that suits their individual needs. He was a substitute teacher at Sterling schools as well as a part time instructor in the Farm Business Management department at Northeastern Junior College for two years. He served as Chairman for the Colorado preschool pilot program and was a member of the Sterling Schools Building Accountability Committee.
Senator Sonnenberg has won numerous awards over his legislative career, including the 2008 Colorado Representative Of The Year award from Green Industries of Colorado, Guardian of the Taxpayers award from the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, The Common Sense In The Courtroom award for several consecutive years from the Colorado Civil Justice League and Legislator of the Year award from the Colorado Associations of Conservation Districts and Corn Growers. Sonnenberg was also awarded Friend of Farmers Union by Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Colorado Farm Bureau Pinnacle Award and Legislator of the Year from the Colorado Outfitters Association.
He previously served on the Colorado Farm Bureau Board of Directors, the Republican River Conservation District Board of Directors, and on Colorado Water Congress Policy Committee. He also served as President of the Coloradans for Conservation and Development. As a President of the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program, Senator Sonnenberg is a dedicated advocate for the Colorado agricultural community, Senator Sonnenberg is committed to promoting water storage to prevent needless water loss and keep more of our state’s water here in Colorado.
Senator Sonnenberg is married to Vonnie, a teacher at Merino Elementary School. They have four children and four grandchildren.
PRESIDENT AND CEO
Mark A. Gabriel, United Power’s President and CEO, is a 25-year veteran in the electric utility business. Prior to United Power, he served as Administrator and CEO of the Western Area Power Administration. He holds a BA in political science and completed the coursework for a MS in management.
WELD COUNTY, SB181 PANEL
Bruce Barker is the Weld County Attorney. He was appointed County Attorney in April 1993. Bruce was Assistant Weld County Attorney from 1983 to 1993. He received a bachelor’s degree in Business/Finance and his law degree from the University of Colorado. Bruce has served as President and Secretary/Treasurer of the Colorado County Attorneys Association (CCAA). Throughout his career with Weld County, he has presented Continuing Legal Education (CLE) topics for the CCAA and the Colorado Bar Association. Bruce assisted the Board of County Commissioners of Weld County in developing the Weld Oil and Gas Assessment Location (1041 WOGLA) regulations in 2019 and the Solar Energy Facility (1041 SEF) regulations in 2021.
VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS
VARRA COMPANIES, INC.
TERRY RANCH PROJECT PANEL
Garrett Varra serves as the chair of the South Platte Basin Roundtable and as the Director for District 1 of the Saint Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District. Garret Varra is the VP of Operations for Varra Companies, Inc., the largest family owned and operated Sand and Gravel & Ready Mix Concrete Company in Northern Colorado.
KEVIN VAN WINKLE
COLORADO HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES
SOLAR AFFORDABILITY PANEL
Sworn into the State House in January 2015, he is a small business owner in Highlands Ranch and a longtime advocate for free markets and the principles of liberty. Prior to serving in office, Rep. Van Winkle would put his small business on hold during the legislative session to serve as the Senior Policy Analyst for the Colorado Senate Republicans.r
Rep. Van Winkle is currently the Ranking Member of the House Finance Committee and a member of the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee. Additionally, he sits on the esteemed Legislative Board of Ethics, is President of the Colorado Channel, and is a member of the Police Officers’ and Firefighters’ Pension Reform Commission.
Rep. Van Winkle received the Solar Champion Award from the Colorado Solar and Storage Association.
TONYA VAN BEBER
STATE OF COLORADO
HOUSE RURAL CAUCUS LEADER
Tonya Van Beber, Colorado House Representative (House District 48), is a third generation native of Colorado and Weld County and grew up on a farm in northern Weld County. Living in the Eaton, Evans and Greeley areas of the county, she has experienced and is familiar with the various concerns and challenges from one of the largest and fastest growing counties in the state. These life experiences have been instrumental in her passion for advocating agriculture/ranching and business development.
As a 1989 graduate of Eaton High School, Tonya received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Northern Colorado in Social Sciences/Psychology. Tonya then spent the next 10 years at the Greeley Tribune as a District Manager and as the Newspapers in Education Coordinator/Marketing Manager. From there she owned and published two direct mail newspapers in Weld and Larimer counties. She has been teaching World, American History, Leadership and 7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens at University Schools for the last 17 years in addition to educationally consulting with schools around the nation. Tonya most recently received her Master’s Degree in 2013 in Educational Leadership from Regis University in Denver.
As a graduate of the Leadership Program of the Rockies in 2018 and an involved community member about Weld County governmental practices and decisions, Tonya also currently holds a position as County Council At-Large, having been elected in November 2018. In the House of Representative she serves on the Energy & Environment and Health & Insurance Committees as well as the interim Behavioral Health, Early Childhood & School Readiness and Commission on Higher Education Committees. As a former host family and foster parent over the last two decades, advocacy for school choice, foster care and adoption and academic excellence have been a focal point outside of the classroom.
Tonya has volunteered with various community organizations and schools as well as political groups that focus on America’s founding principles and how they can be applied to the challenges that communities face today. As a Policy Circle Moderator, she is most recently encouraging women to engage in discussions in their communities about the most pressing issues of the day. This summer she was awarded the Family, Faith & Freedom award from the Centennial Institute and the Common Sense in the Courtroom award from the Colorado Civil Justice League.
Tonya and her husband Jeff have owned and operated Quality Excavating, based in Eaton, for the last two decades and School Success Systems, an educational consulting company, for the last 14 years.
Tonya currently resides in rural Weld County in the Eaton/Severance area.
DIRECTOR OF WATER DEVELOPMENT
JAMES SUTHERLAND, PG, PMP
WINGFOOT WATER RESOURCES
JAMES SUTHERLAND, DIRECTOR OF WATER DEVELOPMENT
Provides leadership and support for all portfolio businesses connected to sustainable water resource development and environmental stewardship
Over 20 years of experience in natural resource development, engineering/infrastructure, and government services
Expertise in hydrogeologic site characterization, resource feasibility analysis, business development
Registered Professional Geologist
Project Management Professional
Education: B.S. in Geology and M.S. in Hydrology from the University of Nevada
VANGAURD RENEWABLES AG
Steve manages all aspects of the dairy-based anaerobic digestion development process for Vanguard Renewables Ag including siting, due diligence, engineering, permitting, and construction. His experience working with farm-based anaerobic digestion to renewable natural gas technology as well as his extensive knowledge of renewable energy compliance markets is key to his role at Vanguard. Steve joined the manure-only anaerobic digestion team from parent company, Vanguard Renewables, where he was a senior development analyst and development manager focused on development of co-digestion projects combining dairy manure and other off-site organic substrates.
COUNSEL, STRATEGY AND INNOVATION OFFICER
ACCE, ALEC, RURAL CAUCUS
A descendant of the family of Sir William Wallace (“Braveheart”), that Bartlett is a passionate defender of and fighter for freedom and liberty is hardly surprising. Understanding that he is a relentless tinkerer helps a person understand why he is enamored with innovation, invention and creation.
A known thought leader, writer and speaker on all issues of innovation, communications and technology, he has spent his entire public policy career in the technology and innovation space. A research fellow with the Institute for Policy Innovation in Texas, and Senior fellow, Tech and Innovation for the Pacific Research Institute in California, Bartlett also serves as a member of the U.S. Stakeholder Council.
Growing up simply and living most of his life outside of the Washington bubble, he understands the effect of government on people and the advantages of freedom and liberty. Bartlett’s decades of work in public policy have been informed by his broad array of work and education outside of traditional public policy channels. Whether relying on his business background of MBA, work at a human resources consulting firm or as a CEO, he seeks to make every policy debate relevant to what happens to real people and to real business. He has spent many years in the world of public policy think tanks, technology trade associations, social welfare organizations and on Capitol Hill. On Capitol Hill he was intimately involved in numerous critical debates including encryption and “supercomputer” export controls, the Internet Tax Fairness Act, Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Communications Decency Act, the 1996 Telecommunications Act and others, including efforts to increase information for citizens about Congressional activities and efforts.
He previously served on the Internet Education Foundation Board of Directors, which involved working closely with the Internet Caucus on Capitol Hill. He served two terms as the Chair of the Technology and Communications Taskforce of the American Legislative Exchange Council. He also sat on the Internet Safety Technical Taskforce, a group comprised of leading Internet businesses and organizations and formed by 49 state attorneys general to focus on identifying effective online safety tools and technologies.
He worked for Americans for Tax Reform as technology and policy counsel, and advised Commissioner Grover G. Norquist on the Advisory Committee on Electronic Commerce. Later he represented the software industry handling a variety of copyright issues including open source and proprietary challenges, and a variety of tax and finance issues particular to the software industry, serving as tax and associate general counsel at ITAA, and later as Regional VP of Texas for TechAmerica.
Bartlett graduated from Millikin University with a B.S. in philosophy and business administration. He received his Masters of Business Administration, as well as his law degree with a specialization in international and comparative law, from St. Louis University. He is admitted to the Missouri bar.
When not found on the soccer sidelines or in the softball stands cheering his girls to victory, Bartlett can be found in the kitchen attempting to perfect his grandma’s German, pastry and American country cooking recipes; admiring comic book pop art of the late 50’s and early 60’s; or planning the next vacation with his wife.
COLORADO JOINT BUDGET COMMITTEE
STATE REPRESENTATIVE KIM RANSOM
RURAL CAUCUS PRESENTER
Kim Ransom was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 2014 and is now serving her fourth term. She is currently one of six members on the Joint Budget Committee, which determines the budget for the entire state. She is also Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee.
Kim has lived in Douglas County for over 30 years, and loves her County and our state. She is the mother of 4 grown children.
WELD COUNTY OIL&GAS ENERGY DEPT.
As Director of the Weld County Oil and Gas Energy Department, Jason Maxey oversees the day-to-day operations of a department designed to firmly establish local control over mineral resources in Weld County — a delegation included in Senate Bill 181 and accepted by the Weld County Commissioners upon the bill being signed into law on April 16, 2019. Jason also provides residents with information related to the oil and gas industry in Weld County and serves as a technical resource and liaison between residents and various stakeholders.
Prior to becoming director, Jason served in various leadership roles with multiple organizations and groups, including the Weld County Planning Commission, Weld County Board of Adjustment, Weld County Board of Health, Platte Valley RE-7 School Board, the South East Weld Chamber of Commerce, the Metro North Chamber of Commerce and the Kersey Community Church. In 2014, he was named Leadership Person of the Year by the Metro North Chamber of Commerce.
SAN MIGUEL COUNTY COMMISSIONER
SOLAR AFFORDABILITY PANEL
Hilary Cooper is in her second term as a San Miguel County Commissioner. With a professional background in natural resources, Cooper's policy work focuses on public lands issues and climate resiliency at the local, state and federal levels. In addition, Cooper is engaged in affordable housing and behavioral health issues for the county. After a childhood in Seattle, WA, Cooper received a BA in Communications at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She lives in Telluride, CO with her husband and two daughters.
FCM CARBON SOLUTIONS
Zach serves as Chief Executive Officer of FCM Carbon Solutions, a dedicated carbon sequestration project developer based in Denver, CO. Prior to FCM, Zach had spent the majority of his career in the oil and gas industry, building and leading teams in Finance, Operations, Strategy, and Project Management. He served as Head of Asset Development for Noble Energy in Colorado and spearheaded Noble Energy’s carbon management initiatives in the state. The knowledge gained through this work led Zach to identify a practical need for near-term, low-cost carbon emissions solutions in the industrial sector and FCM was founded to address these needs. Zach was born and raised in Colorado and received a BBA in Finance & Accounting from the University of Colorado-Boulder. He is a 4th generation energy pioneer that believes everyone should share in affordable energy, a strong economy, and a clean environment.
LOGAN COUNTY COMMISSIONER
PANEL, Rural Caucus Leader
Byron Pelton serves as a Commissioner for Logan County and serves on the Board of Directors for Colorado Counties Incorporated as the Eastern District Representative.
DIRECTOR of CLIMATE IMPACT INITATIVES
Matt Berchtold currently serves as the Director of Climate Impact Initiatives and Director of Product Development at Context Labs, a software technology company focused on enabling trust in data, including non-traditional financial or ESG data. At Context Labs, Matt oversees the company’s program of energy and climate-related projects and leads the strategic development of the company's technology platform. Over the past 15 years, Matt has held wide-ranging roles across the energy sector spanning upstream and downstream oil & gas and renewable energy, in functions bridging engineering, operations, project management, and finance/investment
banking. Matt is a licensed professional engineer and earned a B.S. from Northwestern University in Chemical Engineering and Economics and an MBA at MIT Sloan School of Management with concentrations in Finance, Sustainable Business, and Renewable Energy.
Ramboll US Consulting, Inc
Mr. Eric Hodek has over 24 years of environmental management experience with emphasis in air quality permitting, impact analysis and compliance. He is an expert in air quality permitting and impact analysis under Clean Air Act (CAA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations at the state and federal level. Mr. Hodek began practicing environmental and air quality management in Colorado in 2003 as the Environmental Manager for Cemex in Lyons. He is currently a principal at Ramboll, a global engineering and consultancy firm, providing permitting, compliance and regulatory advocacy support to large and small oil and gas operators on state, federal, and tribal land across the Intermountain West, Permian Basin, Southwest, Appalachia, and Alaska. As an advisor, he has been in heavily involved air quality legislative and rulemaking efforts affecting energy, transportation, and agriculture in Colorado. He holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Oklahoma, College of Engineering and a M.B.A. cum laude from the University of Colorado in Boulder.
City of Greeley Water and Sewer Board:
Board Member for 24 years, Chairman for the last 18 years.
Executive Publisher of the book “CONFLUENCE: The story of Greeley Water
Owens, Hoppe, Ament, Salazar South Platte Committee – 2003
Statewide Water Supply Initiative (SWSI) – 2004 through 2007
Member of the South Platte Basin Technical Roundtable
Member of the GAP, Conservation, and Alternative to Ag Dry-Up
Technical Roundtables for SWSI Phase 2.
Interbasin Compact Committee -2005 to 2015
Member of South Platte Basin Roundtable, Weld County Municipal
Representative, Served as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Roundtable
Governor Ritter’s South Platte River Task Force – summer 2007
Life Member American Society of Civil Engineers
Member Colorado Water Congress
Member Water Education Colorado
DIRECTOR of ENGINEERING AND DEVELOPMENT
JOHN VASQUEZ, P.E.
“John Vazquez is a graduate of Colorado State University with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He has spent much of his career performing environmental assessments and general civil designs in the mining sector for small sand and gravel mines to large gold mines owned by publicly traded companies. Mr. Vazquez is a partner in Plasma Development which is the platform creator for O&G waste streams recycling technologies, as well as, the biorefinery capable of processing 150,000 tons of landfill diverted carbonaceous waste. He is the Engineer of Record for a CDPHE approved Engineering, Design, and Operations Plan for the Rattler Ridge Recycle Facility and Use by Special Review with a Certificate of Designation approval in Keenesburg, Colorado.”
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Tom founded AGPROfessionals in 2000. Previously, he was the Vice President at Envirostock Inc. from 1997-2000, which he also purchased in 2002. He was Vice President of Environmental Services at the Colorado Livestock Association from 1997 to 2000, and the Director of Natural Resources at Colorado Cattle Feeders Association from 1994 to 1997. Tom began his career at Stewart Environmental Consultants in Fort Collins in 1992.
In 1992, Tom received (with Honors) his Associate of Science in Environmental Science and Hazardous Materials from Front Range Community College. He also studied Construction Management and Civil Engineering at Colorado State University and Biology at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. Tom served in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged as a Sergeant. During his service, he also held the rank of Drill Instructor in Fort Benning, GA, and Fort Jackson, SC, from 1988 to 1992.
He is a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager, a WSO Certified Safety Specialist and Registered Ag Consultant. He was President of the Coal Creek Irrigation Company from 1997 to 2002, Board Member of the Colorado Horse Council from 1998 to 2007, and is currently a member of the National Western Stock Show and the Weld County Farm Bureau. Tom also served on the Weld County Agricultural Advisory Committee in 1997 and in 2007. He currently serves as Chairman on the Executive Committee of Upstate Colorado Economic Development.
Matt is a co-founder of Silicon Ranch and served as CEO of the company until becoming Chairman in July 2019. As Chairman, Matt works closely with the
company's executive leadership to set and implement its ambitious growth
strategy. Under his leadership, Silicon Ranch has become one of the fastest growing developers, owners, and operators of solar energy plants in the U.S., with a portfolio that includes more than 3 Gigawatts of PV systems that are contracted,
under construction, or operating coast to coast. Matt brings a unique background to Silicon Ranch having been a business owner and having served eight years as Tennessee Commissioner of Economic Development. He has also worked with
industry leaders from across the U.S. and around the globe to bring investments and jobs to Tennessee. During his tenure as Commissioner, Tennessee received over $33 billion in new capital investment and over 200,000 new jobs. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Matt served 10 terms in the Tennessee House of Representatives and held numerous leadership positions including Chairman of the powerful Finance, Ways & Means committee which
handles all revenue and spending legislation. In the private sector, Matt grew up in his family's Jackson, TN department store business and developed a great love for the people and the business. He has owned a number of successful small businesses
and served as Vice President for Business Development for First Tennessee Bank prior to leading Tennessee's economic development efforts. Matt is married to Paige Kisber and they have a son who attends Southern Methodist University and
a high school daughter who attends Harpeth Hall. He is currently Chairman of the Tennessee Business Roundtable, member of the board of directors of the Adventure Science Center, Nashville Library Foundation and is a founding board member and
former Chairman of the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council.
Jason Suntych is the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of Xiant Technologies, which has created a highly differentiated approach to agricultural lighting. The goal of this technology is reduction in stress, improved welfare and increased productivity.
XTI uses the visible light spectrum as a primary controller of biological function by targeting specific photoreceptors in a variety of living species. This targeting results in very specific control of a variety of factors in order to produce favorable economic results.
• Improved livability and welfare for animals
• Increased yields and improved feed conversion ratios
• Improved animal behaviors
DIRECTOR of Communications & Public Affairs
COLORADO OIL&GAS ASSOCIATION
Scott Prestidge is the Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the Colorado Oil & Gas Association. He is responsible for external media and communication efforts, as well as managing the political and policy initiatives at the state and federal level impacting Colorado’s oil and gas industry.
Previously, Scott worked as Energy Industry Director for the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (EDC), where he was responsible for managing a Metro Denver EDC affiliate, the Colorado Energy Coalition (CEC). Scott was also responsible for coordinating with the Denver Metro Chamber’s Public Affairs Department on energy policy issues, as well as managing the retention and recruitment of Colorado energy companies.
Prior to that, Scott work for United States Senator Mark Udall. As the Metro Denver Regional Director for Senator Udall, his duties included speech writing, policy formation, and community engagement throughout the nine-county metro region.
Scott has Bachelor’s Degrees in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Colorado in Boulder, as well as a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Political Science from the University of Colorado in Denver.
Finally, community engagement has been a driving force of Scott’s personal and professional life, serving as a Board Member of the Regional Air Quality Council, Board Member of the Economic Development Council of Colorado, Board Member of the Stapleton Development Corporation, Board Member of Vital for Colorado, and Co-Chair of the Advance Industries Accelerator Energy Review Committee at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
VICE PRESIDENT of DEVELOPMENT
With more than thirteen years of project development experience in the renewable energy industry, John Wycherley oversees Leeward’s wind development projects from site evaluation through the start of commercial operations.
Mr. Wycherley originally joined Leeward as a Senior Director of Development in 2016. Prior to that, he held positions in project and business development at Tri Global Energy and Nordex USA. Mr. Wycherley began his renewable energy career with Enerco Energy Ltd in his hometown of Cork, Ireland.
Mr. Wycherley earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and a Master’s degree in Business, both with honors, from the National University of Ireland in Cork.
PROJECT DIRECTOR DEVELOPMENT
NEXTERA ENERGY RESOURCES
Jennifer’s diverse military and civilian background lead her to NextEra Energy Resources over a decade ago. She started on the construction side of the business, managing the major material procurement team for new builds of wind, solar, gas and transmission line projects, totaling over 8GW in North America. She now works in Colorado as a Project Director for new greenfield wind, solar and battery generation facilities that have helped diversify the state’s energy sector. She is responsible for all aspects of the projects from early stage development through commercial operations date. NextEra Energy Resources has built over 2.6GWs of renewable energy generation for Colorado since 2007 and continues to develop new projects to meet the needs of this ever-growing state.
Mrs. Herron graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Environmental Horticultural in 1997 and a Master’s in Business Management in 2015. She spent ten years in the United Stated Navy as Surface Warfare Officer on board ships and reserve time in Naval Expeditionary Combat Command. After joining NextEra Energy Resources in 2011 she helped form a Veteran’s Employee Resources Group that now has over 500 members. VetNEXT’s mission is to hire, advance and retain veterans for the company and use the collective power of our group to help local veteran charities all over the country that are improving the lives of those who served our great nation.
Born in Kentucky, raised in Maryland, Robin originally took over a family construction business in 1974 and has been self-employed in construction ever since. He moved to Florida in 1992 to help rebuild Homestead, Florida after Hurricane Andrew. In the summer 2015, he started NOAH Certified, a third-party inspection and certification company for tiny houses on wheels.
As Founder of NOAH Certified, Robin brings 40+ years of experience building homes. From concept to completion, he’s designed homes, drawn plans, and built homes of all sizes. His experience working with the permit department, building inspections/inspectors, and planning and zoning provide a deep body of knowledge for the inspection and certification process.
Robin enjoys traveling the county speaking about standards and building codes for tiny houses on wheels. And, in his spare time, Robin likes to fish, snorkel and go hiking in the mountains. He is a happily married empty-nester, with four kids and seven grandkids, with three generations of family currently serving on the NOAH Certified team including Robin’s 23-year-old grandson.
PROJECT DIRECTOR DEVELOPMENT
NEXTERA ENERGY RESOURCES
Oliva graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. She then joined NextEra Energy Resources as part of the Rotational Engineering Development Initiative (REDI) in the Power Generation Division, where she supported the engineering services group that manages the daily operation of the NextEra’s entire 25GW portfolio outside of Florida. This success in REDI lead her to being chosen for the Renewable Development group’s Innovation Team, who is committed to being a leader in the green hydrogen industry. Her role as the Innovation Team is to support the decarbonization of the economy through the adoption of renewable energy. The transition to green hydrogen is a vehicle to do this across multiple economic sectors across the United States and help our country maintain its energy independence.
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
With experience in solar asset management and project development over the last seven years, Patrick now leads solar and energy storage development throughout the Mountain West.
Patrick joined Leeward earlier this year when the company acquired First Solar’s project development portfolio and platform. Before joining Leeward, Patrick held other positions in the renewables development industry at First Solar and Teichos Energy.
Mr. Nolan holds a Bachelor of Arts in both Environmental Science and Communications from the University of Michigan.
LIFE SIZE: TINY COMMUNITIES
Joe Callantine, an electrician by trade and tiny homeowner, has set out to solve the biggest problem
with tiny homes. “Where do we put them?” In 2018, Joe launched his company Life Size: Tiny
Communities (“LSTC”) to serve as a leader in tiny home community development. Working with cities
and counties here in Colorado to help elected officials, zoning, planning and building departments
understand what a tiny home is and what it’s not.
“Tiny homes can pave an easier pathway toward home ownership. Whether someone chooses
to live in their tiny home for the rest of their days, or just use it as a springboard into a bigger
home; tiny should be an option.”
LSTC aims to create a template community that will help with the widespread adoption of tiny homes
for any city, any county currently experiencing a shortfall of attainable housing.
Together, we can Bring Tiny… home™!
PRESIDENT and CEO
Cortney has 25 years of diverse experience in the water industry, including 4 years as a water utility planner. He specializes in water infrastructure development, integrated water resource planning, aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) systems, groundwater investigations, program management/owner’s advisory, and applied financial analysis. Cortney has led many high profile groundwater analysis projects, including a multi-phase aquifer storage pilot project for Denver Water, which included planning, permitting, geochemistry, site selection, conceptual design and cost estimation. He served on the Board of Directors of a utility in the Denver Metro area and participates in State-level water planning and policy committees. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in geology, and an MBA degree.
Curtis Olafson was raised, and has lived his entire life, on the land homesteaded by his pioneer immigrant paternal grandparents who came from Iceland in 1883. His maternal
grandparents also emigrated from Iceland. He has been in business since the age of 16 as a partner in the family operation with interests in farming, registered cattle breeding and earthmoving construction. He is now retired from the family business and operates a busy multi-faceted consulting business.
He is a graduate of NDSU with a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science.In 2006, he was appointed to the District 10 State Senate seat and was elected to the position in 2008 and served until 2012. He was twice named the “Legislator of the Year”
by the North Dakota Township Officers Association for his dedication to grassroots government and to local control.In 2006, he was appointed to the District 10 State Senate seat and was elected to the position in 2008 and served until 2012. He was twice named the “Legislator of the Year”
by the North Dakota Township Officers Association for his dedication to grassroots government and to local control.
He was married to Björk Eiríksdóttir, whom he met while on one of his visits to Iceland. They were married in 2004. Björk passed away on June 5th, 2021 after a 7 year battle with cancer. Curtis has two grown children and 3 step-children. Together, Curtis and Björk have ten grandchildren.