About Us

Advisory Board

Updated: May 2014
John Bonitz

John Bonitz joined Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) in April of 2007 to focus on farm outreach and agricultural-energy policy advocacy. He promotes renewable energy from farms and forests across the Southeast region, emphasizing economic development and responsible policies to ensure bioenergy is done sustainably and in ways that help the climate. With SACE John has helped organize numerous biomass conferences, helped develop a consensus definition of biomass, built grassroots support for important federal and state legislation on clean energy, analyzed the climate benefits of bioenergy, and written a study of bioenergy industry deployment in the Southeast region. As a fifth generation North Carolinian, John's passion for the environment, energy, sustainable agriculture and community development took root and bloomed in Chatham County, NC. There in Silk Hope, his parents run a 25 year-old dairy farm, and are consumers of solar and geothermal energy. John lives with his wife Elizabeth, and son Henry in Pittsboro, NC.

Andrea Colnes

Andrea Colnes currently serves as Executive Director of the Energy Action Network, a systems-based effort to transform Vermont's energy economy to one based on efficiency and renewbales. Prior to joining EAN, Andrea spent much of her career working on natural resource public policy and coalition building throughout New England and elsewhere in the country, where she has held a variety of positions focused on large-scale land conservation, sustainable forestry and energy. Her background in climate and energy issues began with her work on Vermont's first Comprehensive Energy Plan under Governor Madeleine Kunin, and more recently has worked with the Biomass Energy Resource Center and partners on expanding the community-scaled biomass thermal energy sector and atmospheric carbon research. Andrea was founding executive director of the Northern Forest Alliance, policy director of the Northern Forest Center, and deputy director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council. She co-founded Americans for Our Heritage and Recreation and the Eastern Forest Partnership and helped launch the National Rural Assembly. Andrea served as the policy leadership director for the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire, where she worked with nonprofit leaders throughout northern New England. She has a master's in Wildlife Conservation from the University of Maine and a BA in Political Science from Williams College.

Gary Dodge

Gary is the Director of Science and Certification at the Forest Sustainability Council (FSC). He is responsible for programs designed to ensure FSC system integrity and increase uptake of FSC certification by forest managers in the US and Canada. His expertise in both the ecological and human dimensions of forest management are central to his role at FSC-US.

Gary leads our work in developing and applying US and international standards and policies for forest management, facilitating access of the FSC system to small landowners, increasing access to ecosystem service markets (such as carbon), and assisting market linkages. Gary is based in Placerville, CA.

Gary comes to FSC-US with over twenty years of professional experience as a conservation biologist and ecologist. Gary holds an M.S. in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology and a Ph.D. in Plant Ecology from the University of Maryland.

Josh Elmore

Josh Elmore is Co-Director of The Arbolito Foundation, which awards grants to individuals and small organizations that are putting compassion into action within their communities.  He has helped launch numerous small non-profit organizations and continues to actively participate in their respective Boards.  Josh is also a member of the Board of Directors and lead investor in Lighthouse Solar (, a solar installation business based in Boulder, Colorado with offices in Austin, TX, New Paltz, NY, and Carbondale, CO. 

Formerly, Josh co-founded, Inc. in 1996. became one of the most popular web sites of the time, achieving a web traffic ranking in the top 20 most visited web sites in the world.,Inc. was acquired by Looksmart Ltd. in 1998.  Josh lives with his wife Allison and three children outside Nederland, CO.

Michael Green

Michael Green is Executive Director of the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) which he founded in 1996. As Director of CEH (, he has been a leader in national efforts to protect children and families from lead and other toxic chemicals in consumer products, and from illnesses related to pollution in our air, water and food. Michael has done two stints in Washington DC at the US Dept of Energy and US EPA and two in India where he designed a solid waste management plan for the Tibetan refugee community in Dharamsala, and cared for the sick at Mother Teresa's mission in Calcutta. He is a recipient of The California Wellness Foundation's Leadership Award, as well as the Compassion in Action Award, presented jointly by the Dalai Lama Foundation and Committee of 100 for Tibet. He reports directly to his two direct supervisors: Dylan Green, born in 2007 and Juliette Green, born in 2008.

Sat Jiwan Ikle-Khalsa

Sat Jiwan Ikle-Khalsa has been an advocate and activist for the environment since 2000, working and volunteering for non-profit environmental groups and energy efficiency companies. He is a green building and environmental consultant and works with a team of green architects, designers, builders and energy experts (Helicon Works) to build and remodel very green homes. Sat Jiwan is also current president of the Save Our Sky Home Heating Co-operative (a.k.a. the "Corn Co-op") and a board member of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. He is the monthly "Going Green " columnist for the Takoma Park/Silver Spring/Kensington Voice, won the Azalea Award for "Green Takoma" in 2009 and served on the Task Force on Environmental Action for Takoma Park 2009-2010. He uses biomass for 90% of his home heating using a corn pellet stove and solar panels for his electricity and hotwater.

The Save our Sky Home Heating Co-operative installed and maintains two urban corn bins located less than a mile outside of Washington, DC. The bins are filled with Maryland-grown corn (no till, non-GMO, minimal synthetic fertilizer and herbicide/pesticides) keeping the operation sustainable and lowering agricultural carbon emissions. The Co-op serves over 70 families, enabling them to replace or drastically reduce fossil fuels for heating.

Eric Kessler

As founder and Managing Director of Arabella Advisors, Eric Kessler has built a social venture firm dedicated to making philanthropy more effective. His client work at Arabella includes philanthropy strategy, evaluation, foundation management and project execution. Eric has spearheaded evaluations of many of the world's most significant nonprofits and served as executive director of numerous foundations through the Arabella Foundation Management platform. His insights on civil society and effective philanthropy are often quoted by Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and National Public Radio's "Marketplace."

In addition to founding Arabella, Eric also founded and serves as president of the New Venture Fund, an innovative, independent 501(c)(3) organization that houses donor collaboratives, serves as a global grant-making intermediary, and provides fiscal sponsorship to new project ideas inspired by philanthropists and foundations. He is also a co-founder of the Creation Care Fund and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

Earlier in his career, Eric served as the National Field Director for the League of Conservation Voters and then as a White House appointee, helping to manage conservation issues during the Clinton Administration. He spent six years in the former Soviet Union, Southeast Asia and throughout the Middle East, training civic and political organizations on effective organizing strategies and advising donors who invested in their efforts.

Eric is on the boards of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers. He is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, the Association of Small Foundations, the Environmental Grantmakers Association, and Summit Series. He also serves as a trustee of his own family's foundation, which holds assets generated by the sale of a fifth-generation family-owned business.

Eric is a co-owner, with Chef Mike Isabella, of Graffiato, a well-reviewed restaurant in Washington, DC. He holds an International M.B.A. from Georgetown University and a B.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Steve Nadel

Steve Nadel is the Executive Director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a non-profit research organization that works on programs and policies to advance energy-efficient technologies and services. He has been at ACEEE for nearly 20 years serving as Deputy Director of the organization and Director of ACEEE’s Utilities and Buildings programs prior to his promotion to Executive Director in 2001.

Steve has worked in the energy efficiency field for nearly 30 years and has over 100 publications on energy-efficiency topics. His current research interests include equipment efficiency standards, utility-sector energy efficiency programs and policies, and state and federal energy and climate change policy.

Scott Nichols

Scott Nichols is the president of Tarm Biomass. Scott's background in business served him well as he returned to Lyme, NH in 1995 to take a leadership role in his family's home heating business. His extensive experience in the various applications of wood heat as well as his commitment to consumer education has significantly contributed to the rapid growth of Tarm Biomass. Under Scott's leadership, Tarm Biomass has diversified its thermal offerings and expertise while retaining a commitment to best practices for biomass combustion.

Scott is one of the nine original founders of the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, is an original steering committee member for the Heating the Northeast with Biomass Expo, and helped found the Northeast Biomass Thermal Working Group.

Scott holds a B.S. in Business Law and Public Policy from Syracuse University. He lives in Lyme, NH. When not spending time with his family and friends participating in various sporting hobbies, Scott spends as much time as possible on his wood lot. Preferring cord wood heating utilizing a Fröling FHG wood boiler, Scott's home includes a 2.5 KW PV array, a 4 panel solar thermal system, and a fully automatic Fröling P4 boiler.

Charlie Niebling

Charlie Niebling works for Innovative Natural Resource Solutions and its principals, Charlie Levesque and Eric Kingsley. His work focuses on renewable energy, high efficiency biomass technologies, forestry, policy development and advocacy, and strategic communications.

Formally, Mr. Niebling was General Manager with New England Wood Pellet LLC, the largest manufacturer of wood pellet fuel in the northeastern US. He is responsible for marketing and business development, wood procurement for the company's three plants, corporate communications, and government and public affairs. Among external representations, he served as chair of the board of directors of the Biomass Thermal Energy Council in Washington DC.

From 1997 to 2005, Mr. Niebling was vice president for policy and land management with the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, a non-profit land conservation and environmental advocacy organization. Prior to assuming this position, Mr. Niebling was a consultant for two years in the firm Innovative Natural Resource Solutions, specializing in natural resource policy, research, advocacy and public relations for corporate, government and non-profit clients. From 1987 to 1995, Mr. Niebling served as executive director of the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association, the state's forest landowner and forest industry trade organization. From 1984 to 1987 he worked as a research biologist with the U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest & Range Experiment Station in Berkeley, CA.

Mr. Niebling holds forestry degrees from the University of Vermont (BS) and the Pennsylvania State University (MS). Mr. Niebling is a licensed professional forester.

Jon Strimling

Jon Strimling is CEO of SMTP, a NASDAQ-listed marketing technology company. Previously, Mr. Strimling served as CEO of US Dynamics, which focuses on the commercialization of innovative products and services, including several companies in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Jon spun out of US Dynamics in 2006, and the firm continues to provide renewable heating fuels to consumers in the Northeast. Jon also founded UltraCell Insulation, which is bringing a cost-effective form of advanced cellulose insulation to builders nationwide. Jon brings extensive background in operations and technology commercialization from earlier senior leadership experienceat New England Wood Pellet, GE, American Industrial Partners' portfolio companies and DEKA Research and Development.

Education: Masters in Management from MIT Sloan School of Management and Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MS, Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University.

Scott Williamson

Scott is the founder and owner of, New England's largest independent service provider for all pellet and multi-fuel burning appliances. The company, though small, has loyal customer base in all 6 New England States with thousands of service calls performed each year. In a niche service market dominated by hearth supply equipment dealers and chimney sweeps, Scott's company is unique; they have a working knowledge of more than 200 different product models dating back to 1982 when the first pellet stove was invented and do not work on anything except wood pellet or other automated biomass systems.

Scott is an NFI Pellet Specialist and holds a Solid Fuel Construction Supervisor license in Massachusetts. He has been a guest speaker at the Heating the Northeast conferences in Manchester, NH and Saratoga, NY, has been a guest speaker at numerous manufacturer sponsored events and seminars. In 2012 Scott also started a marketing consulting group that works with small to medium sized hearth related businesses to implement marketing and website development strategies.

Scott has a small farm in Rehoboth, MA with his wife Holly, two kids Noah and Isabelle, a dog, two cats and a whole mess of chickens

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