Net Zero Cities brings together Northern Colorado’s top minds in government, education, and business… a collaborative effort toward a net-zero world.

Jake Arlein

Partner, stok

Jake Arlein is a sustainability consultant and Partner at stok. An expert across all rating systems, Jacob has managed over 100 LEED projects and has led over 30M SF of real estate—including many of California’s largest and most iconic buildings—to heightened levels of performance and efficiency. He has worked on over 10 ZNE projects and is currently guiding several projects through ILFI’s Zero Carbon Certification. Jacob’s passion lies in proving the financial case of high-performance buildings. He developed stok’s Sustainability Financial Impact Analysis tool to provide comprehensive triple bottom line cost/benefit analysis of commercial real estate improvements.

Session IV | Climate Change, Business & Industry – 12:30pm-1:30pm

Jeremy Attema

Senior Project Manager, stok

Jeremy Attema uses in-depth financial analysis to demonstrate a business case for sustainable and energy efficient strategies on individual projects and across real estate portfolios. Utilizing stok’s Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) and Sustainability Financial Impact Analysis (SFIA) tools, he highlights the importance of identifying a project’s economic value drivers and demonstrating how sustainable design can support them. With a BA in Financial Management, a Masters in Urban Planning with a thesis focused on Life Cycle Costs of Passive House buildings, and substantial, rigorous industry research, Jeremy helps clients realize financial benefits from high performance buildings at scale. Most recently, Jeremy developed a framework for quantifying the external benefits of high performance buildings, including productivity, retention, and occupant health and wellness.

Session V | Building Smart – 12:30pm-1:30pm (Moderator)

Peter Backlund

Associate Director, School of Global Environmental Sustainability

Peter Backlund has devoted his career to the planning, management and leadership of complex research organizations. His interests include the relationship of human activities, climate change, and other environmental changes; assessment of climate change impacts, vulnerabilities and response strategies; development and use of information and observational technologies for environmental research and education; use of scientific research for decision-making and public policy; and improving the communication of scientific information to non-technical audiences.

Lunch Keynote | The Growing Urgency – 11:30am-12:15pm

Suzanne Jones

Executive Director, Eco-Cycle, Inc.

Suzanne Jones has over 25 years of public policy experience at the local, state and federal level, and has made a career of environmental conservation and climate change advocacy. Suzanne is currently Executive Director of Eco-Cycle, a 43-year old community non-profit dedicated to promoting and implementing recycling, composting and other zero waste efforts across Boulder County and beyond. She also just completed serving eight years on the Boulder City Council (from 2011-2019), including the last four years as Mayor of Boulder, where she focused on climate and sustainability, affordable housing and homelessness, and becoming a more equitable and inclusive city.

Session II | The Circular Economy – 10:15am-11:15am

Chuck Kutscher

Fellow and Senior Research Associate, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute

Dr. Charles F. (Chuck) Kutscher is a Fellow and Senior Research Associate of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, a joint institute between the University of Colorado-Boulder and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). He served as the Director of the Buildings and Thermal Sciences Center at NREL from 2013 until his retirement in July 2018. He has worked in the field of renewable energy for over four decades, during which time he has led research in a wide range of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. He is a Fellow of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and served as the Society’s chair in 2000 and 2001. He led the ASES study, Tackling Climate Change in the U.S., a 200-page report detailing how energy efficiency and six renewable energy technologies can greatly reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 2030. He is the lead author of the third edition of the college textbook, Principles of Sustainable Energy Systems, and has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Colorado School of Mines.

Session IV | Climate Change, Business & Industry – 12:30pm-1:30pm

Susan McFaddin

CFO, Solaris

Susan McFaddin has been a green developer and is currently CFO of Solaris Energy, a commercial solar developer. She developed the first LEED-Platinum Office Park in northern Colorado and certified the first LEED-Existing Building. She was the development consultant for Revive, the first zero-energy development which won the Department of Energy’s Grand Prize for Housing Innovation for 2016, 2018 and 2019. She has served on numerous boards including CSU Institute for the Built Environment, Leadership Fort Collins, Climatewise, was a founding member of NoCo USGBC and served as a Commissioner for the Fort Collins Housing Authority. After graduating from CU Boulder in Chemical Engineering, Susan performed natural gas research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. She later earned a MS in Chemical Petroleum Refining Engineering and a PhD from Colorado School of Mines in Mineral Economics while having three awesome children. Susan is a LEED-AP and a Certified Energy Manager.

Session V | Building Smart – 12:30pm-1:30pm

Donald McPhail

Senior Product Marketing Manager, Uplight

Joining Uplight in February 2019 after over a decade working with utilities in the energy sector across the USA, Australia, UK, and Netherlands, Donald McPhail leads product marketing for the Orchestrate product line. At the nexus between product, sales, marketing and customer success, Donald crafts solution designs to ensure successful client outcomes.

Session VI | Reliability in a Net-Zero World – 1:45pm-2:45pm

Kara Mertz

Sustainability Manager, City of Boulder

Kara Mertz graduated in 1988 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Civil & Environmental Engineering degree. After graduation, she moved to San Francisco and worked with the Cities of Fremont, Union City, and Newark, California as a regional recycling coordinator. After a temporary assignment as the Chief Science Officer at a commercial food and yard waste composting firm in New Jersey, she embarked on a solo backpacking journey through the Canadian Rockies. Her love of the mountains inspired her to settle in Colorado, where she has worked for the City of Boulder for the past 26 years – and today, she manages the city’s zero waste programs. Kara and her team are working to develop a “circular materials” strategy for the city of Boulder – to move beyond recycling and composting our waste and into the larger system of material use and consumption.

Session II | The Circular Economy – 10:15am-11:15am

Joe Mitchell

President & CEO, UQM Technologies Inc./Danfoss

Joe Mitchell is the VP of Danfoss Editron located in Longmont Colorado. He has over 29 years of experience in the automotive industry, with more than 23 years in the development and production of electric powertrains and vehicle electrification.

Prior to Danfoss, Mr. Mitchell was President and CEO of UQM Technologies from July 2015 to July 2019. He joined UQM in 2012 as Vice President of Operations and led all manufacturing, quality and purchasing functions.

Previous to joining UQM, Mr. Mitchell was Director of Operations and Quality for Continental Automotive’s North American Hybrid and Electric Drive business unit, where he led all North American manufacturing, advanced manufacturing strategy, planning and global sourcing for the hybrid electric drive business unit. His previous experience also includes senior management positions at Siemens VDO, Ballard Power Systems. Prior to that, Mr. Mitchell held a series of manufacturing and quality management positions at Ford Motor Company.

Session III | Electrifying Mobility – 10:15am-11:15am

Yvonne Myers

Health Systems Director, Columbine Health Systems

Yvonne Myers has served as Health Systems Director at Columbine Health Systems since 1998, which has grown from five businesses to twenty-two and currently employs over 1,500 people. Over the past 32 years, Yvonne has been involved in numerous boards and associations such as the President’s External Advisory Council on the Status of Women at CSU, Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, The Coloradoan editorial board, Larimer County Emergency Health-care Coalition, UCHealth, Northern Colorado Foundation, United Way of Larimer County, Poudre School District, Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce.

Session II | The Circular Economy – 10:15am-11:15am

Victor Olgyay

Principal, BUILDINGS, Rocky Mountain Institute

A principal architect directing Rocky Mountain Institute’s buildings practice, Victor Olgyay is leading an initiative to encourage widespread adoption of comprehensive building energy retrofits resulting in energy savings of at least 50 percent. Victor has a wide range of experiences in architectural design and planning, with specializations in bioclimatic building and daylighting design.

Session V | Building Smart – 12:30pm-1:30pm

John Phelan, PE

Energy Services Senior Manager, City of Fort Collins

John Phelan is the Energy Services Senior Manager for Fort Collins Utilities, leading the team that provides energy efficiency, conservation, demand response and renewable energy services. His responsibilities include planning, implementation and evaluation of the Utility’s energy policy and related programs. He also supports Fort Collins renewable energy, green building, climate and sustainability initiatives.

Mr. Phelan has a long history of association with related fields of energy efficiency, engineering and architecture. He has a Masters Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder and a Bachelor of Science in Conservation of Natural Resources from the University of California Berkeley. Mr. Phelan is a registered professional engineer in the state of Colorado.

Session V | Building Smart – 12:30pm-1:30pm

Josie Plaut

Associate Director, CSU – Institute for the Built Environment

Josie Plaut guides companies, municipalities, and organizational through developing capacity and action plans for regeneration and sustainability. Her work spans domestic and international projects and organizations across a variety of scales including buildings, master plans, municipal programs, coalitions, and organizational development. She is the Associate Director at the Institute for the Built Environment and Executive Director at CLEAR (Center for Living Environments and Regeneration).

Session V | Building Smart – 12:30pm-1:30pm

Jim Quinlan

President, Jax Mercantile

Jim Quinlan’s goal as president of Jax Mercantile Company is to help people get their projects done and get outdoors having fun. He says, “Using renewable energy makes great business sense because it reduces operating costs, increases employee and customer satisfaction, and helps protect the great outdoors.”

Session IV | Climate Change, Business & Industry – 12:30pm-1:30pm

Tim Reeser

CEO & Founder, Lightning Systems

Tim Reeser is CEO and Co-Founder of Lightning Systems. Lightning Systems manufactures and sells zero emissions powertrains and the associated technology solutions for fleet trucks and buses, including powertrains for battery electric trucks and buses, fuel cell vehicles, telematics systems, analytics systems, and charging and energy solutions. Lightning Systems was founded in 2008. Its investors include BP Ventures, Aravaipa Ventures, and CoorsTek, and its customer list includes Amazon, DHL, Google, and ACE Parking.

Tim has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from CSU, and has been involved with alternative transportation technology since 1990, when he helped design the first dedicated CNG truck for General Motors while at Colorado State University.

Session III | Electrifying Mobility – 10:15am-11:15am

Samantha Reifer

Business Development Analyst, Scale Microgrid Solutions

Samantha Reifer’s career has been devoted to developing and supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts in Colorado, California, and New York. The majority of her career was spent on the Policy team at the Colorado Energy Office, where she had the opportunity to work on a diverse portfolio of projects that have allowed her to work with a variety of industries, sectors, and stakeholders in the state. This has provided her with a vast network within and understanding of the Colorado energy market. She has worked in both the public and private sectors on topics that range from policy implementation to project development and, for the last two years, has worked on the business development team at Scale Microgrid Solutions building the 21st century energy grid. She has worked (and continues to work) with customers that range from rural to industrial and from these experiences has developed an intimate understanding of the challenges to EE/RE adoption that face a variety of industries.

Session VI | Reliability in a Net-Zero World – 1:45pm-2:45pm

Sophie Shulman

Chief of Innovative Mobility, CDOT

Sophie Shulman is the Chief of Innovative Mobility at the Colorado Department of Transportation, focusing on transit, mobility options, and new transportation technologies such as connected, autonomous and electric vehicles. Sophie most recently led partnerships and business development at Electrify America, an electric vehicle charging company. Before joining Electrify America, Sophie served as the acting Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology at the U.S. Department of Transportation. During her time at USDOT, Sophie worked extensively on the $40 million Smart City Challenge grant. She had several other roles across the federal government, including the White House Domestic Policy Council, the Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. Department of Energy. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Johns Hopkins University.

Session III | Electrifying Mobility – 10:15am-11:15am

Mark Stevens

Environmental Initiatives + Activism, Patagonia

Mark Stevens is the environmental coordinator for Patagonia’s central district, supporting the company’s environmental programs. This includes grantmaking, advocacy, community outreach, employee activism, and working with retail staff to implement company-wide environmental campaigns and initiatives. Previously, he spent 20 years in Washington, DC campaigning on a range of issues from chemical regulation to ocean wildlife conservation.

Session IV | Climate Change, Business & Industry – 12:30pm-1:30pm

David White

Vice President, Member & Government Relations, Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association, Inc.

David White has been with Poudre Valley REA for 14 years and leads the Member & Government Relations team, focusing on creative ways to engage consumers in energy related conversations. In a fast-changing industry, it is important for consumers to understand topics affecting a critical infrastructure service. Taking technologically complex topics and communicating them in easy to understand concepts is what David enjoys most. Before his role in public relations and communications, David spent 20 years managing information technology in the financial services industry. He is a native of Fort Collins and loves spending time skiing, hiking, and fishing.

Session VI | Reliability in a Net-Zero World – 1:45pm-2:45pm

Christian Williss

Director of Transportation Fuels and Technology, Colorado Energy Office

Christian Williss is Director of Transportation Fuels and Technology at the Colorado Energy Office. Christian leads office efforts to accelerate adoption of zero emission vehicles through policy, planning, and research, management of statewide infrastructure grant programs, and education and outreach. He previously served as Director of Programs and Initiatives where he oversaw a team of program managers and engineers responsible for managing existing programs and launching new initiatives in the energy efficiency and alternative fuels markets. Prior to coming to the Energy Office he worked as Sustainability Program Administrator at the City and County of Denver where he led a number of citywide sustainability initiatives including the City’s energy efficiency program. Christian holds a BA in Political Science and an MS in Construction Management.

Session III | Electrifying Mobility – 10:15am-11:15am (Moderator)

Ben Woolf

Director of Commercial Investments, Conscience Bay Company

Ben Woolf has served as CBC’s Director of Commercial Investments since co-founding the company in 2011. Ben oversees the sourcing, underwriting, due diligence, acquisition and management of CBC’s commercial properties, now totaling 1.5 million square feet. Previously, Ben spent eight years in development and asset management roles with various commercial real estate companies in Denver, CO. Ben is a 1999 graduate of Lafayette College, and received his MBA in Real Estate and Finance from the University of Colorado in 2004.

Session V | Building Smart – 12:30pm-1:30pm

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