2024 Speakers


Jennifer Balch

Director — Environmental Data Science Innovation & Inclusion Lab, University of Colorado Boulder

Dr. Jennifer Balch is director of the National Science Foundation’s newest data synthesis center, the Environmental Data Science Innovation & Inclusion Lab (ESIIL), at the University of Colorado-Boulder. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and a Fellow at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. Dr. Balch’s research aims to understand the patterns and processes that underlie disturbance and ecosystem recovery, particularly how people are shifting fire regimes and the consequences. Her work spans from temperate regions to the tropics and leverages big data from satellites to social media. She has conducted research in the field of fire ecology for over twenty years, and has lit a few experimental burns to understand the consequences of altered fire regimes.


Richard L. Belt, P.E., P.H.

President – Beltwater, Inc

Mr. Belt has been working in water resources in Colorado and throughout the US for 30 years.  He is currently a consultant representing clients engaged in endangered species recovery programs and related issues, water rights matters, and water resources issues in the electric utility space.  He was previously the Director of Chemistry and Water Resources for Xcel Energy in which he was responsible for the chemistry organization and water rights portfolio supporting over 29,000 mega-watts of generation across eight states.  Rich is a registered professional engineer and hydrologist.  


Clayton Bartczak

Community Engagement & Sustainability Specialist — Institute for the Built Environment, Colorado State University

Clayton is a Community Engagement & Sustainability Specialist for the Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University. An eternal optimist and open communicator, Clayton believes we will successfully meet today’s most pressing challenges through a combination of authentic connection, compassionate communication, and recognition that we stand to gain much more working together than in competition. Clayton’s green building expertise is informed by over a decade of experience as a sustainability consultant at a Denver woman-owned business; service as a volunteer team leader with Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village program, where he has led 12 teams on build trips around the world; and five years on the board of the US Green Building Council’s Colorado Chapter. Clayton enjoys using his professional working proficiency in Spanish to connect with native Spanish speakers in diverse settings from the construction site to the board room.


Tyler Cooper

Mechanical engineer – General Services Administration Office of Facilities Management

New technology has been developed and tested in Region 8 that could change the tide on getting buildings to be more energy efficient. Tyler Cooper, Mechanical Engineer in Region 8’s Office of Facilities Management, led the project team to install lightweight quad-pane windows in Region 8’s regional office building on the Denver Federal Center. The project was a partnership between the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) and local company Alpen High Performance Products. “We worked with the company to review the product and bring it into the Green Proving Ground program,” said Cooper. “Then NREL was selected as the technology evaluator through our collaboration with the Department of Energy.” Building 41 was chosen as the test site due to its proximity to both the product company and NREL.  Installation of the windows occurred in October 2020 and the study ran for approximately 8 months which allowed the team to collect data over both heating and cooling seasons. Cooper’s study focused on the fact that about 34% of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) energy in commercial buildings is lost through windows.


Paul Davis

Distributed Energy Resources Manager — Platte River Power Authority

Paul Davis has 30 years experience in the energy field and has served as Platte River’s manager of distributed energy resources, a new position established in 2022. In this position, he is leading the development of a virtual power plant (VPP) in collaboration with Platte River’s four owner communities: Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland. The VPP is intended to harness customers’ flexible distributed energy resources to support Platte River as it decarbonizes its generation while maintaining the financial sustainability and reliability of the electric system.


James Eklund

Member – Sherman & Howard

James Eklund leads the Water & Natural Resources practice where he is a strong advocate for smart water infrastructure and a recognized authority on water management in the American West.

James works with sovereign governments, multi-state authorities, state agencies, and private interests to deliver critical water infrastructure projects and to design policy regarding water law, natural resources, infrastructure, and environmental protection. He uses his depth of policy-making experience and notable connections with federal, state, and local decision makers to assist clients on a wide variety of matters including environmental, regulatory and legislative issues, and matters involving the use of public-private partnerships.

James served as served as Colorado’s lead negotiator and signatory on the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan and as Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board where he built a reputation as a leader in negotiation and diplomacy. He is recognized for bringing together numerous stakeholders with opposing goals to collaboratively craft binding solutions to common problems. James was the architect of Colorado’s Water Plan, the largest civic engagement process in state history, and served as legal counsel to Colorado’s Governor.

James teaches at the University of Colorado Denver, School of Public Affairs, and the University of Denver.


Mike Freeman

General partner & CEO, Innosphere Ventures

CEO, Colorado-Wyoming Climate Resilience Engine

Mike Freeman is the CEO  of the National Science Foundation’s Colorado-Wyoming Climate Resilience Engine and the general partner and CEO of Innosphere Ventures, a multi-faceted organization with a 25-year-old science and technology-focused incubator, specialized facilities for R&D-intensive startup ventures and venture capital. Freeman is responsible for all Innosphere operations, finances, strategy, and execution. Freeman is the general partner in Innosphere Ventures Fund I and Fund II and has led multiple investment rounds in science and technology companies in Colorado and surrounding states.


Eric Fried

Building code official, Larimer County

Eric Fried started with Larimer County as a building inspector in 1997 and became Building Official in 2012. With over 30 years’ experience in code administration, including adoption and implementation of energy codes, Eric is certified by the International Code Council (ICC) as a Building Official, building inspector and plans examiner. A founding member of Larimer County’s Climate Smart/Future Ready team, he serves as Damage Assessment Coordinator during natural disasters and is a member of Colorado ICC’s Legislative Affairs Committee. In his spare time, he serves on the board of Ranked Choice Voting for Colorado. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Eric graduated from Harvard College and lives in Fort Collins.


Bart Geerts

Professor, University of Wyoming

Dr. Bart Geerts received his PhD from the University of Washington (Atmospheric Science, 1990), and BS (Physical Geography, 1984) from the University of Louvain in Belgium, his country of origin. He conducts research into cloud-scale to mesoscale atmospheric processes through observations and modeling, including regional climate modeling. Much of his research builds on field campaign observations, and he led several multi-institution field campaigns. He has advised and graduated ~25 MSc and 12 PhD students. He currently is the PI of a $15.8M NSF Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure award that is building the next-generation King Air atmospheric research aircraft, and co-PI on a $20M NSF award WyACT (Wyoming Anticipating the Climate Transition). He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS).

Cole Gustafson

Source water supply manager — City of Greeley

As the source water supply manager for the city of Greeley, Cole Gustafson oversees all of Greeley’s source water assets in the Upper Poudre River basin. His responsibilities include managing five reservoirs and one trans-mountain ditch diversion, as well as ensuring the City efficiently utilizes its source water supplies. Cole, a second-generation water resource professional, has dedicated his entire career to working for municipal water providers in Northern Colorado. He brought his expertise to Greeley in 2019, taking a leading role in the city’s water acquisition program and supporting the operations of the source water supply system. Cole is a level A Certified Water Operator with over 22 years of experience in water resources and treatment. He was on the front lines in managing the post-fire effects of both the High Park and Cameron Peak fires. During High Park, he served as a Lead Water Treatment Operator for the City of Fort Collins and was the Project Manager for the Cameron Peak Fire mitigation effort from 2022-2023. Cole is passionate about continually looking for ways to manage water resources more effectively through building and maintaining collaborative relationships with all water users, from agriculture to the federal government.


Alex Hager

Reporter – KUNC

Alex Hager covers the Colorado River basin and water in the West for KUNC public radio in Northern Colorado and a network of 20+ NPR stations throughout the Southwest. He previously covered environmental issues and the resort economy for Aspen Public Radio in Colorado, and reported on the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery for KDLG public radio in Alaska. He is a graduate of Elon University who enjoys skiing and mountain biking.


Bryan Hannegan

President & CEO — Holy Cross Energy

Bryan Hannegan is President and CEO of Holy Cross Energy, a not-for-profit, member-owned electric cooperative utility providing electricity and energy products and services to more than 42,000 customers in Western Colorado. Prior to joining Holy Cross in July 2017, Bryan was an Associate Laboratory Director at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), where he co-founded the US Department of Energy’s Grid Modernization Initiative and started up the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF), a unique “distribution grid in a box” enabling utilities, entrepreneurs and consumers to work together on cleaner, more affordable and more reliable energy systems. Earlier in his career, Bryan held senior leadership roles at the Electric Power Research Institute, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.


Scott Holwick

Managing Shareholder – Lyons Gaddis

Scott Holwick is committed to protecting the water rights of Colorado residents and organizations. His practice is focused on representing clients in water rights litigation, water quality issues, and transactional matters. He works with individuals and organizations throughout the state, including corporate entities, Title 32 special districts, water conservancy districts and other governmental agencies. His area of expertise expands beyond water and encompasses real estate, land use and corporate and governmental law. 

Amy Jiron

Director for building decarbonization policy — Colorado Energy Office

Amy Jiron is the director for building decarbonization policy at the Colorado Energy Office. She previously served an energy project specialist managing the High Impact Technology Catalyst program with the Commercial Buildings Integration team at the U.S. Department of Energy. The HIT Catalyst program accelerates cost-effective, voluntary, high-impact technologies into the commercial buildings market based on strategic analysis of commercial buildings markets and technologies. Prior to her work with DOE, Amy served as the executive director of the U.S. Green Building Council Colorado Chapter, advocated for low impact development with the National Resources Defense Council, and evaluated, commissioned and verified high performance building design and retrofit strategies as an architectural engineer. Amy received her Juris Doctor from the Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. and earned a B.S. in Architectural Engineering from the University of Colorado in Boulder. 


Adam Jokerst

Rocky Mountain Regional Director – WestWater Research LLC

Adam Jokerst is the Rocky Mountain regional director for WestWater Research LLC and leads the Colorado office in Fort Collins. Adam brings over 15 years of experience in both the private and public sectors. He has overseen long-range water supply planning, water acquisition, water rights protection, and water conservation programs.  He has also led the development of large-scale dam and reservoir projects and underground storage projects, including acting as program manager for federal permitting processes. Prior to joining WestWater, he served as Deputy Director for Water Resources at the City of Greeley, where he led a multidisciplinary team that plans, develops, and operates water supplies serving 150,000 residents.  At WestWater, Adam assists clients to optimize water resource management and pursue and protect water rights through a variety of economic and engineering analyses.  Adam holds a B.S. in biological engineering from the University of Arkansas and an M.S. in civil engineering from Colorado State University and is a licensed professional engineer in Colorado. He is passionate about finding innovative solutions to solve complex water problems.


Mike Kruger

President & CEO — Colorado Solar & Storage Association

Mike 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. 


Kyle Mazanti

Senior vice president, business development — IEdrives

Kyle Mazanti is a highly motivated and experienced business executive and CCO at IE Drives specializing in strategic direction and operational maturity. He previously worked as Senior Vice President of Business Development at AYRO, Inc., where he strengthened his expertise in CCO duties, grew investor confidence and Wall Street engagement through aggressive communication strategies, and secured partnership orders and deals to generate new company profit and revenue.


Joe Mitchell

CEO — IEdrives

Joe is the CEO of IEdrives, a Colorado based company designing and manufacturing transmissions for the electric commercial vehicle market.  Joe is also a founding partner in the consulting group, GTIQ Partners, whose main focus is on supporting emerging and early-stage companies with an emphasis on the new energy market. Over his career history, Joe has worked with a number of companies in this space from very mature to start up including Ford, Ballard Power, Siemens and Continental Automotive and A123 systems.  In 2012, Joe moved to Colorado to head up Operations for UQM technologies and in 2015 took over as President and CEO of UQM and led the company to win a number of major electric commercial vehicle contracts globally.  These wins positioned UQM very positively in the market and in 2019 Joe led the successful merger of UQM with Danfoss, a large European based global industrial company looking to enter the EV market and supported the formation of Danfoss’s new Division whose focus was on the development of Electrification products for the commercial EV markets.  Subsequent to the Danfoss merger, Joe stayed involved in the EV industry as CEO of Phoenix Motors and COO of Electracmeccanica prior to his current positions with IEdrives and GTIQ partners.

Amy Moyer

Director of strategic partnerships — Colorado River District

Amy Moyer serves as the director of strategic partnerships for the Colorado River District who oversees the District’s Community Funding Partnership following the passage of Ballot Question 7A. In addition, she facilitates additional partnerships and policy discussions to support West Slope water users from all sectors. She has been with the District since March 2021. 

Moyer previously worked at the Colorado Department of Natural Resources as the assistant director for water, where she developed and implemented water policy for the state of Colorado. Prior to that, Moyer served as the Department of Natural Resources as a policy adviser covering federal lands issues and as a budget analyst. Before joining DNR, Moyer worked at the city and county of Denver to develop the city’s first Climate Adaptation Plan. 

Amy holds masters’ degrees in public policy and economics from the University of Denver and a bachelor’s degree in communications from the College of Charleston. 


Damian Smith

Principal — CMTA Inc.

Damian Smith is a mechanical engineer and a leader of CMTA’s Colorado office. His construction design experience spans many sectors, including hospitality/retail, commercial, multifamily, science & tech, civic & government, and research/university. Current work emphasizes high-performance design and community geothermal ambient loop systems. Damian is a long-time Denver resident and is involved in helping shape its future. He recently served on the Sustainability Advisory Council for Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability & Resiliency and has helped Denver Public Schools plan their 2024 bond referendum as a member of the Community Planning Advisory Council.


Seth Terry

CEO — New Day Hydrogen

Seth Terry is Co-Founder and CEO at New Day Hydrogen. Prior to New Day Hydrogen, Seth was a technology originator and founder of Nutrinsic Corporation, a company developed to produce microbial protein from process waters at food and beverage manufacturers. Seth served as an executive through Nutrinsic’s C Round before exiting to a joint-venture and channel partner. Since then, Seth has worked in renewables and IoT energy efficiency, tracking hydrogen opportunities over the last eight years. Seth has significant international experience, loves languages, and is fluent in French and Spanish. Seth holds an AB in History and European Cultural Studies from Princeton University, a PhD in Environmental Science and Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, and an MBA from Regis University.


Joe Taddeucci

Director of public works — City of Boulder

Joe Taddeucci, P.E., is the director of public works for utilities. Taddeucci joined the city of Boulder in 2005 as an engineering project manager and was promoted to Water Resources manager in 2012. Prior to joining the city, he was an engineering consultant for 15 years. Taddeucci holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Michigan Technological University. During Taddeucci’s tenure with the city, he led the development of the 2009 Source Water Master Plan, project-managed numerous capital improvement projects including the Boulder Canyon Hydroelectric Modernization Project, Carter Lake Pipeline and several source water dam and pipeline projects. As Water Resources Manager, Taddeucci oversaw the work group that manages the city’s source water supply, hydroelectric program and instream flow program.

Mary Till

Senior business development specialist — Sawatch Labs

Mary Till serves as senior business development specialist with Sawatch Labs, a fleet-electrification software firm. Till first began working with fleets in 2006, assisting with the Pennsylvania statewide emergency radio rebanding (PA-STARNet). She has worked with fleets in many industries and in over 20 countries to leverage the power of driving data to create positive behavior change, demonstrating results in reduced fuel consumption & emissions, and increased safety. Till also serves as board secretary for Drive Clean Colorado, a Clean Cities Coalition.

Grant Tupper

Director of operations and business development, Rocky Mountain Region — Select Water Solutions

Grant Tupper has been in the industrial water space in Colorado for the past 12 years. As the Rocky Mountain Region business development and operations director with Select Water Solutions, Tupper procures water sources for developing needs in the oil and gas space and designs and orchestrates the construction of innovative produced water recycling facilities. Grant has recently been charged with forecasting infrastructure needs throughout the region and creating a symbiotic relationship among major O&G organizations for build-out in preparation for Colorado’s long-term energy needs. Appointed to the Colorado Produced Water Consortium in 2023, Tupper aspires to be a resource that allows for increased sustainability in the energy industry while protecting Colorado’s environment for generations to come.


Patrick Wells

Water Strategy Specialist – Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District

Patrick Wells is an engineer with over 25 years of experience in the water resources, utilities, and environmental professions.  Mr. Wells joined Northern Water in February 2023 as a Water Strategy Specialist where he currently works on a wide range of projects and initiatives involving water policy and strategy, water rights protection, resource management, and regional water negotiations and collaborations.  Prior to joining Northern Water, Mr. Wells served as the General Manager of Water Resources & Demand Management for Colorado Springs Utilities, where he oversaw a department of over 30 employees responsible for integrated water resource planning, water rights protection and development, water conservation, watershed health, and related water resource management activities for the State’s second largest municipal water provider.  He has been actively involved in the Basin Roundtable process since its inception under House Bill 1177 in 2005 and currently serves as a Governor’s Appointee to the Interbasin Compact Committee.   Mr. Wells holds a B.S. in Geological Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and is a registered professional engineer in Colorado.  

“Water is emerging as one of the most important and controversial subjects to be addressed in the 21st century. Water issues are particularly complex, and understanding the nuances is critical for good decision-making.”

Water Literate Leaders of Northern Colorado Program

From energy to waste, an increasing number of cities are seeking to achieve aggressive sustainability-related goals. But what does it mean to be “net-zero?”
This event will unpack what it means for cities and counties and the reason behind the movement,
as well as address implications for the private sector and the regional population at large.