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Green Heat Resources

Task Force on Wood Heat Incentives

The Task Force on Wood Heat Incentives is part of a year-long project that is exploring the environmental, social and energy impacts of wood heat incentive programs. The Task Force was convened by the Alliance for Green Heat, a non-profit organization and includes a cross section of wood heat stakeholders, including manufacturers, industry associations, air quality regulators, energy efficiency experts and forestry experts from both the public and private sector. The project is funded in part by a grant from the USDA’s Wood Education and Resource Center.

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John Ackerly
The Alliance for Green Heat

The Alliance for Green Heat is proud to present, in close collaboration with five other organizations: Heating the Northeast with Renewable Biomass A Vision for 2025.​

In this vision we propose that 25% of the total thermal energy consumption will be produced through the utilization of renewable energy by the year 2025.

John Crouch
Director of Public Affairs

John has worked for 20 years on Air Quality and Energy issues for the North American trade association that represents all the manufacturers and retailers of Hearth Products, and the trade association of Pellet fuel producers, the Pellet Fuel Institute. John has worked with state, local, and tribal communities as they work to meet their clean air goals, and still continue to use wood heat. For several years he has worked with EPA and others on programs to encourage woodstove change out programs. Most recently he was the industry lead on a ‘whole town’ change out in Libby Montana, which involved replacing all the woodstoves in the town in a 3-year period. John resides in Sacramento, California.

Dan Henry
Chief Technical Officer
Hearth & Home Technologies

The Alliance for Green Heat is proud to present, in close collaboration with five other organizations: Heating the Northeast with Renewable Biomass A Vision for 2025.​

In this vision we propose that 25% of the total thermal energy consumption will be produced through the utilization of renewable energy by the year 2025.

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Jeremy Johnson
Director of U.S. Marketing, Tulikivi

Jeremy is the Director of U.S. Marketing for Tulikivi and is also involved in European efforts to promote heating with wood and the benefits of masonry heaters. He is also the spokesperson for Tulikivi in North America. Tulikivi is the leading producer of heat storing fireplaces. A Tulikivi fireplace currently surpasses the strictest air quality regulations for wood burning worldwide. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, Jeremy spent five years leading tours across North America; six years as operations manager for an environmental adventure company and three winters as a backcountry ski guide in Yellowstone National Park. Jeremy moved to his wife’s home country of Finland and began a career with Tulikivi as their U.S. Marketing Director in 2008. Jeremy and his wife share the love for nature and participate in local running, cross-country skiing, biking and orienteering competitions, but most enjoy raising their new baby daughter.

Melanie Loyzim
Environmental Specialist
Maine Bureau of Air Quality

Melanie is an Environmental Specialist with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Air Quality. She manages the emissions inventory, air toxics, information technology and fee programs for the Bureau. She leads development of a voluntary woodstove replacement program, and implementation of Maine’s Air Toxics Strategy. Melanie previously worked in Maine DEP’s Underground Storage Tank Program, as a rule-writer for Colorado’s Air Pollution Control Division, and as a Health and Safety Officer on Brownfield redevelopment sites in Denver, Colorado.

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Steve Nadel
Executive Director
American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy

Steve has been at ACEEE for 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 30 years and has over 100 publications on energy-efficiency subjects. He has testified ten times before Congress on energy efficiency subjects and also testified before multiple state legislatures. He was a major contributor to national energy legislation passed by Congress. His current research interests include utility-sector energy efficiency programs and policies, state and federal energy and climate change policy, and appliance and equipment efficiency standards. He has an M.S. in Energy Management from the New York Institute of Technology, and a M.A. in Environmental Studies and B.A. in Government from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

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Chris Neufeld
Vice President
Blaze King Industries, Inc.

Chris has been in the hearth industry for nearly 15 years, all of which have been with Blaze King Industries, Inc. of Walla Walla Washington, the industry leader in catalytic wood combustion technology. He is an Executive Committee Member of the Catalytic Hearth Coalition (CHC) and recently served as an SER (Small Entity Representative) to the EPA during an NSPS review. A graduate of California State University Polytechnic in Pomona, Chris received a B.S. in Marketing. Prior to working in the hearth industry, Chris was the Vice President of Marketing for Bay Meadows and Santa Anita Park, both leaders in the thoroughbred horse racing industry. Chris is married to Carolyn, his wife of 28 years and has two grown sons. Chris enjoys working with local, state and Federal air resource regulators and is committed to working towards more aggressive stove change out programs. An avid outdoorsman, Chris enjoys hiking, running, fishing and hunting.

Charlie Niebling
New England Wood Pellet
BTEC Chairman

Charlie Niebling is General Manager with New England Wood Pellet LLC, the largest manufacturer of wood pellet fuel in the northeastern US. He is responsible for wood procurement for the company’s three plants, marketing, corporate communications, and government and public affairs. 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. 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.

JRachael Sakata
Air Quality Planner
Oregon DEQ

Rachel Sakata is an Air Quality Planner with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. During her 9 years with the DEQ, Rachel has worked as the lead technical staff person for particulate matter and woodstoves issues. She is currently a project lead on developing the attainment plan for Klamath Falls, a community that is in violation with the daily PM2.5 health standard. She also is the project lead for the Columbia River Gorge air quality study. Previous to her job at DEQ, Rachel worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington D.C. working on drinking water contaminants in the nation’s water supply and was a Peace Corps volunteer teaching environmental education in the Philippines. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Washington University in St. Louis with a double major in Earth Science and History.

Al Steele
Physical Scientist/Forest Products Specialist
USDA Forest Service

Al Steele is a Physical Scientist/Forest Products Specialist for the USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry. Located in Morgantown, West Virginia, Al works to support the integration of utilization in Forest Service stewardship, urban forestry, and forest health programs. In collaboration with state agencies, industry, non-governmental organizations, academia and others, Al is often called upon to help develop strategic solutions to a wide array of issues impacting the sustainable use of forest resources. Recent efforts include examining the role of ecosystem services as a means to improve the viability of forest land ownership, methods to address the spread of invasive species via firewood, and developing strategies to improve the ability of forest products manufacturers to create jobs and remain internationally competitive. Prior to joining the Forest Service, Al’s experiences include working for industry and Native American tribes. His educational background includes degrees in forestry, engineering, and an MBA.

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Jon Strimling
President & CEO

Jon is the President of and has been in the wood pellet industry for more than 15 years, with experience in manufacturing and distribution. His vision was to make getting pellets from the mill to the customer more efficient and affordable, and thus was born. Jon is from Massachusetts, and he attended MIT’s Sloan School, where he earned an MS in Management and Engineering. Jon recently completed a 62-mile charity bike ride, and he loves spending time with his wife, son, and daughter

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Chris Wiberg
Chief Operations Officer
Twin Ports Testing, Inc.

Chris Wiberg is a 1995 graduate of Minnesota State University with a B.S. in Toxicology and a B.A. in Chemistry. He is currently the Chief Operations Officer of Twin Ports Testing, Inc., a fuels analysis laboratory located in Superior, WI. Twin Ports Testing, Inc. has provided biomass analysis services for over 30 years. Chris has recently focused on the development of biomass analysis methodology and standards. He is a co-chair of the Pellet Fuel Institute Standards Committee, a member of the United States Technical Advisory Group and 5 of the 6 Working Groups for ISO Technical Committee 238 for the development of international standards for solid biofuels. Chris is also a Steering Committee member for the "Heating the Midwest with Renewable Biomass" initiative, which is modeled after the “Heating the Northeast with Renewable Biomass” initiative.

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