Updated: May 2014

Board of Directors

John Ackerly

John Ackerly is the Founder and President of Alliance for Green Heat, a non-profit that promotes cleaner and more efficient residential wood and pellet heating, with a strong focus on low and middle-income families. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, the Board of Advisors of the Maryland Clean Energy Center and the Steering Committee of the Northeast Biomass Thermal Working Group. He has testified before Congress numerous times and has been a frequent commentator for the BBC, CNN and VOA. He attended Dartmouth College and American University Law School. He is an avid rock climber, outdoorsman and wood stove aficionado. He lives in Takoma Park, Maryland with his wife Nina Smith and son Sammy.

David C. Atkins

Dave is a “Sustainabilist”, a Forester and Forest Ecologist by training and practice; he retired from the U.S. Forest Service in 2014 after 38 years. As a sustainabilist, his passion is to bring together the social, environmental and economic elements needed to create a sustainable society. He got a B.S. in Forest Science at Humboldt State. He had various positions working for National Forests in Oregon and Montana accomplishing reforestation, forest improvement, writing silvicultural prescriptions and timber sale planning and implementation. He also had experiences with Wild and Scenic River assessments, Off-Highway-Vehicle management for multiple states and invasive species management. In mid-career he got a M.S. degree at the University of Montana with a thesis on the definition of Old Growth Forests in the northern Rocky Mountains.

The second half of his career was in the State and Private Forestry branch of the Forest Service. He managed the Forest Health Monitoring Program for a 5 state area. He developed and managed the Fuels for Schools Initiative starting in 2001, which used waste trees and parts of trees to produce wood energy; initially at schools and then at a wide variety of facilities including hospitals, colleges, ski resorts, prisons, etc. He finished his career in the Forest Service national office working with the office of the Secretary of Agriculture and multiple USDA agencies, DOE, EPA and nongovernmental partner organizations and the private sector managing the Wood to Energy program (based on the Fuels for Schools model) and initiating the Wood Innovations effort. Wood Innovations includes efforts to expand the use of mass timber products in commercial mid and high-rise buildings. The mass timber products store carbon, while also reducing the fossil energy and carbon needed to build these structures. In retirement he is continuing to pursue his passion of creating a more sustainable society.

Lily Donge

Lily Donge is the Principal at the Business Renewables Center at the Rocky Mountain Institute. Previously, she was Knowledge Leader, Global Cleantech Center at Ernst & Young LLP. Before that, she was Manager of environment and climate change, where she managed research and due diligence for the Calvert Social Index, the global alternative energy and water funds, and a green bond investment strategy. She has testified and briefed a range of policymakers on financing cleantech, alternative energy and climate change. She serves as a Board member of the Roberts Environmental Center, an institute that created the Pacific Sustainability Index. Prior to Calvert, she worked at the World Resources Institute, at Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette, and at WI Carr in Southeast Asia. She has an MBA from Yale School of Management, an MA in International Development Economics from Yale University, and a BA in Economics and International Relations from Claremont McKenna College. Lily's background is global -- she was born in Vietnam, raised in the Philippines, has French citizenship, but now calls Washington DC her home.

Jonathan Kays

Jonathan has an M.S. Degree in Forestry from Virginia Tech, and a B.S. Degree in Natural Resource Management from Rutgers University. His background includes county forester with the Virginia Department of Forestry, research assistant at the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in NY, High School Earth Science teacher, and forestry technician with the U. S. Forest Service in northern Idaho.

Jonathan has been with the Western Maryland Research and Education Center near Hagerstown, Maryland since 1988 as a Natural Resources Extension Specialist. He works on forest stewardship, woodland owner volunteer training, wildlife damage management for deer and voles, alternative income opportunities utilizing natural resources, and the use of biosolids to grow forest trees on gravel spoils.

His interest in wood energy was sparked by a weeklong trip to Austria in June 2008 to study Austria’s progressive wood energy program. In April 2010 he organized the Maryland Wood Energy Coalition with the Maryland DNR Forest Service to bring together representative from state agencies, industry, nonprofits and others, to determine how to increase the wood energy in Maryland. This resulted in the February 2012 release of a Prospectus on Increasing Wood Energy in Maryland. Jonathan has authored numerous extension publications and books, produces a quarterly newsletter Branching Out for Maryland forest owners, and other materials that can be found on his website.

Ben Larson

Ben Larson works on biomass at the National Wildlife Federation, promoting biomass policy and development that is compatible with wildlife and reduces atmospheric carbon. Ben also works on grasslands conservation. Ben's prior biomass consulting practice focused on creating markets and projects that give landowners management tools to care for their land. His clients include the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Restore Capital, a CT water utility, a MD-based conservation organization and the Prettyboy Watershed Alliance.

From 2006-2010, Ben worked as a renewable energy policy advocate/analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in Washington, DC, specializing in biomass. In addition to advancing state and federal renewable energy and climate legislation, he developed consensus with forest owners, foresters, conservationists and biomass generators on sensible, cost-effective sustainability standards for biomass policy.

Ben is a native of North Dakota and Minnesota, and for ten years farmed five acres of organic produce, for farmers markets, CSAs, restaurants and grocery stores. Larson has a Master of Forestry from the Yale School of Forestry (2010).

Nick Salafsky

Nick Salafsky is Co-Director of Foundations of Success, a non-profit organization that seeks to improve the practice of conservation. FOS works with conservation practitioners around the world to define clear and practical measures of conservation success, determine sound guiding principles for using conservation strategies, and develop the knowledge and skills of individuals and organizations to do good adaptive management. Nick is also product manager for the Miradi Adaptive Management Software program

Prior to starting FOS, Nick worked for the MacArthur Foundation where he was responsible for environmental grantmaking in Asia and the Pacific. Before that, Nick worked for the Biodiversity Support Program, testing enterprise-based approaches to biodiversity conservation across the Asia/Pacific Region. Nick also spent several years in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, conducting interdisciplinary research on the forest gardens, a locally developed agroforestry system, and the behavorial ecology of the red-leaf monkey. Nick has a Ph.D in Environmental Studies and an MA in Resource Economics from Duke and an AB in Biological Anthropology from Harvard.

Norbert Senf

Norbert Senf is a mason by trade, and has studied Mechanical Engineering. He lives with his wife on a rural property in Quebec with a maple/beech/oak forest. He has been building masonry heaters since 1979, and joined early efforts to write codes and standards. He was a founding member of the Masonry Heater Association of North America (MHA) where he currently chairs the technical committee. As the need to measure masonry heater performance and emissions became evident, he worked through MHA to develop in-house testing expertise and build a database on PM emissions performance. He hopes that the recent development of simpler testing technology will accelerate the search for the cleanest ways to burn wood on a domestic scale. He likes the fact that masonry heaters can be built with local skilled labor, are a proven low emissions technology with a long history, and yet recent research in Austria has resulted in a very substantial further drop in emissions. Norbert was also one of the Judges of the Wood Stove Decathlon on the National Mall in November, 2013.
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