Updated: May 2019

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.

Claire L. Hillan

Claire L. Hillan is a civil-rights attorney in Washington, D.C. and currently serves as a Constitutional Litigation Fellow at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Her passion for wood- and pellet-heating policy began when she interned at Alliance for Green Heat as an undergraduate student in 2010. She grew up in New York City and attended CUNY Queens College for her bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude in 2011. Claire then consulted on political campaigns and later attended Creighton University School of Law, earning a J.D. and an M.S. in Government Organization and Leadership summa cum laude in 2015. During law school, she interned full-time for a semester at U.S. Department of Justice, Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section. After graduating, she clerked for Chief Justice Michael G. Heavican of the Nebraska Supreme Court and then for Judge Joseph F. Bataillon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska.

Claire and her husband live in Silver Spring, Maryland, and have made numerous sustainability upgrades to their home, including purchasing and installing solar panels and a pellet stove. In her free time, Claire volunteers to mentor law students interested in public service, is an adjunct professor overseeing a practicum program for graduate students, trains for sprint triathlons, hikes, and spoils her two adorable rescue dogs.

Jonathan Kays, Secretary

Jonathan is a State Forestry Specialist with the University of Maryland Extension, which is part of the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in College Park, MD. He has been located at the Western Maryland Research and Education Center near Hagerstown, Maryland since 1988 where he develops and implements research and education programs on wood energy, 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.

Jonathan has an M.S. Degree in Forestry from Virginia Tech, and a B.S. Degree in Natural Resource Management from Rutgers University. His interest in wood energy was sparked by a weeklong trip to Austria in June 2008 to study Austria’s progressive wood energy program and a follow-up visit in 2019. 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 advance wood energy technology in Maryland. The Coalition activities have resulting in many advancements in Maryland, including regulatory changes to establish emission for commercial biomass technology, a residential wood grant program, numerous educational events, fact sheets and other initiatives. Jonathan has authored numerous extension publications and books, produces a quarterly newsletter for woodland owners, online courses, a YouTube Channel, and wood energy resources. Presentations from past wood energy educational events and other wood energy resources are available at:

Elliot Levine, Treasurer

Elliott Levine recently “graduated” from the US Department of Energy after a 25-year career leading programs and managing projects in renewable energy and energy efficiency with an emphasis on technology R&D, innovation and biomass utilization for power, energy and clean and efficient cookstoves for 3rd world applications. His efforts led to the commercialization and deployment of ETHOS technologies with significant energy and environmental-saving impacts.

Elliott is currently involved in a variety of sustainable activities as:

* Vice President of the DC Chapter of the Technology Transfer Society (T2SDC) which for the past 25 years conducted forums on regional technology development programs and TT organizations.

* Member of the of ETHOS Board helping to organize the ETHOS 2018 and 2019 technical meeting on the latest advances in developing and deploying improved cookstoves for lesser developed countries.

* Member of the Organizing Committee for the 2018 Wood Stove Design Challenge which provided grants for leading edge, clean, automated and thermoelectric heating stoves and which were featured at an expo on the National Mall.

* Member of the Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club Transportation Committee.

Elliott began his career as an Air Quality Analyst for Carolina Power & Light Co. (now Duke Energy) performing air quality modeling, monitoring and analysis. He later directed Argonne National Laboratory's state-funded Technology Commercialization Center where he assisted startup and early-stage companies.

Mr. Levine holds a B.S. in Chemistry, a MSPH in Environmental Science and Engineering and an M.B.A. in Finance

Elliott actively participates in technology transfer events and is a volunteer trail steward at the C&O National Park. Elliott lives in Rockville, MD with his wife Pamela.

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, Board Chair

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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