Check back in Fall Quarter!

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Event Type

Speaker Series

WWU Institute for Energy Studies Alumni Panel

Description

This session will feature a panel of alumni who graduated from the WWU Institute for Energy Studies. Our featured guests include: 

  • Katy Coleman, Energy & Green Building Assistant at Sustainable Connections in Bellingham, WA. Katy is a nature enthusiast whose love for the outdoors influenced her career path of working within the energy industry. Prior to working at Sustainable Connections, she held positions where she conducted a Greenhouse Gas Inventory and calculated Carbon Offset Credits for Methane Reduction Projects. She holds a B.S. in Energy Science and Technology from WWU. 
  • Whit Jamieson, Program Manager on the Access to Charging and Access to Emerging Modes teams at Forth Mobility. Located in Portland, OR, Forth’s mission is to electrify transportation by bringing people together to create solutions that reduce pollution and barriers to access. Whit’s work includes working in programs around consumer engagement, multi-unit dwellings, workplace charging, and electric tractors. He holds a B.S. in Energy Systems Sciences from WWU.  
  • Jacob Keith, Building Energy Engineer at McKinstry in Seattle, WA. McKinstry's mission is to make every building they touch more efficient and eliminate the barriers standing in the way of a better built environment. Prior to joining McKinstry, Jacob worked at Franklin Energy, Blueprint Technologies, and Alaska Airlines. He holds a B.S. in Biology with minors in Energy Policy, Energy Science, and Psychology. 

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Speaker Series

Maggie Huang, Senior Associate at Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)

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Maggie is a Senior Associate at RMI’s Carbon Free Buildings team, supporting both the REALIZE and Portfolio Energy Optimization initiatives. Her work with the two initiatives is helping facilitate zero-carbon retrofits in the residential sector through advanced building construction, and disrupt the commercial building retrofit market by enabling financial and energy analytics at scale. Prior to joining RMI, Maggie worked on streamlining low-income housing garage retrofit projects in East Palo Alto, CA.

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Speaker Series

Emily Larson-Kubiak, Energy & Green Building Program Manager at Sustainable Connections

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Emily Larson Kubiak is the Energy and Green Building Program Manager at Sustainable Connections, a non-profit that connects and supports local businesses to create thriving communities. She has worked in the energy management field since 2009 and holds a Certified Energy Manager certification from the Association of Energy Engineers. Emily is committed to making energy efficiency affordable and accessible for local businesses through innovative programs and partnerships, and is a proud advocate for climate action initiatives in her hometown of Bellingham, WA.

During her presentation, Emily will provide an overview of the current energy landscape in Bellingham, focusing on the work being done at Sustainable Connections to support local businesses in becoming more energy efficient and resilient. She’ll discuss how these efforts fit into regional efforts to transition to a clean and equitable energy future, and share opportunities to join the conversation.

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Speaker Series

Shannon Wall, Advisory Services Principal at HDR; formerly at Tacoma Power

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Shannon Wall, PE, is an Advisory Services Principal at HDR, Inc. She is a licensed electrical engineer with over 31 years of experience in the utility industry. Shannon’s experience ranges from technical engineering to senior management roles and she has worked in the public utility sector and in private consulting. For the past 15 years she has been leading asset management program development, focused on infrastructure investment planning with incorporation of best practices asset management principles such as life cycle risk-based asset strategies, governance and organizational development, and ensuring support and alignment with strategic priorities and initiatives. Shannon is passionate about working in a field that provides a service that is essential to our quality of life. She is dedicated to mentoring and supporting aspiring leaders and building a more diverse and equitable workforce in the utility industry.

In her presentation, Shannon will discuss the changes happening in the energy industry, including grid modernization, transportation electrification, carbon-free goals, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives that create new opportunities for individuals and our communities.

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Speaker Series

Amory Lovins, Co-founder and Chairman of Rocky Mountain Institute, energy advisor, author

Description

Amory Lovins, MA Oxon. spec. resoln, DSc h.c. mult., is a physicist, cofounder of Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and global practitioner of advanced energy efficiency, renewable integration, and innovative public policy and business strategy since the 1970s. Working in many disciplines, he has taught at ten universities on three continents, was an Oxford don, advised scores of firms and governments, and received many of the world’s top energy and environmental awards. Dr. Lovins has been an energy luminary since his landmark article “Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken,” which reframed the energy debate in 1976, and helped turn energy efficiency from an abstraction into a global resource and one of the pillars of today’s energy decarbonization pathways. He teaches the course, Extreme Energy Efficiency, as Adjunct Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, with the aim to engage students on scaling integrative design for radical energy efficiency, both in entrepreneurial pursuits emerging from the academy and in executive education that reaches broader audiences in the public and private sectors.

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Speaker Series

4/26 - Rep. Alex Ramel, Democratic Member of the Washington State House of Representatives

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Rep. Alex Ramel was appointed to the legislature in January of 2020. Over the past three sessions, he has introduced bills to:

- Create Washington’s scenic bikeways program, a bill that passed with broad bipartisan support.

- Increase the affordability of homes built using the state’s generous multi-family tax exemption.

- Reduce fossil fuel pollution from our homes and buildings while creating a path to a clean energy future.

Raised near Denver, Colorado, Rep. Ramel has called Bellingham home for the last 20 years. He is a graduate of Western Washington University’s Huxley College of the Environment with a B.A. in Environmental Policy and Planning.

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Speaker Series

4/19 - Mary Anderson, Transit Planner at Whatcom Transportation Authority

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Mary Anderson, AICP, TDM-CP, is a Transit Planner at the Whatcom Transportation Authority. Mary has over 15 years of experience managing and implementing sustainable transportation projects. Mary envisions a future where everyone in Whatcom County has access to safe, healthy, and affordable transportation options. A firm believer in practicing what you preach, Mary rides her bike or takes the bus to work and for daily trips. In her spare time, Mary enjoys building Legos with her son and going to consignment stores with her daughter.

Presentation Title: Can Transportation Really Be Sustainable?

We rely on transportation to connect us to work, groceries, education, health care and social activities. The mode of transportation we choose (if we even have a choice) makes a difference in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, roadway congestion, and energy use, amongst other things. Are electric vehicles a better choice? Should we all bike everywhere? Is telework the answer? This is a complex topic with no easy answers (sorry!). Attend this presentation to get a high-level view of the energy used in the transportation sector, the realities of converting a bus fleet to electric and how active transportation falls into the mix.  

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Speaker Series

4/12 - Joel Swisher, Director of the Institute for Energy Studies at Western Washington University

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Joel N. Swisher, is Director of the Institute for Energy Studies and Research Professor of Environmental Science at Western Washington University. The Institute offers interdisciplinary education and training related to the science, technology, policy and business aspects of the conversion and use of energy. Previously, Dr. Swisher was Consulting Associate Professor at Stanford University, where he introduced new, interdisciplinary courses, such as Carbon Neutral Design, Electricity Resource Planning, and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation. Updated versions of these courses are now in the WWU energy course catalogue.

Dr. Swisher was formerly CTO at Camco International and Econergy, two carbon offset developers. During 2000-08, he was at Rocky Mountain Institute, a prominent clean energy think tank, where he was Managing Director of Research and Consulting. At RMI, he led research and consulting work for electric utilities and manufacturers of goods ranging from semiconductor chips to potato chips.

Dr. Swisher earned BS, MS and PhD degrees in Stanford’s School of Engineering and is a registered Professional Engineer. His PhD dissertation topic was carbon offsets, which led him to work on problems that range from the costs of reducing carbon emissions in a US electric utility to the potential for saving carbon in conservation and forestry projects in Central America. He has since worked extensively in Brazil, southern Africa and Scandinavia and speaks five languages.

 

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Speaker Series

Mariel Thuraisingham, Clean Energy Policy Lead at Front and Centered

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Mariel Thuraisingham, Clean Energy Policy Lead at Front and Centered 

Mariel is an environmental law and policy specialist leading Front and Centered’s commitment to advancing the clean energy interests of frontline communities in Washington that are historically disproportionately harmed by climate change. After completing her law degree she worked on justice sector strengthening and rule of law in Central America, Central and Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and West Africa, where she observed the important interplay of communities, institutions and infrastructure in supporting resilient and equitable socioeconomic systems. Through coalition-building, outreach and advocacy, Mariel works at the intersection between progressive policies and their translation into an effective and enforceable legal and regulatory framework for environmental justice, climate change mitigation, and sustainable living. She enjoys gardening.

Zoom Link: https://wwu-edu.zoom.us/j/92712214877

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Speaker Series

3/8 - Institute for Energy Studies Alumni Panel

Description

This session will feature a panel of alumni from the WWU Institute for Energy Studies who are now working in the energy field. Our featured guests will be:

  • Kristen E. Tarr, Development Associate at ENGIE North America in Chicago, Illinois. Kristen works to expand ENGIE's distributed solar and storage project portfolio in the U.S.
  • Lindsay Parpart, Deployment Operations Specialist at Tesla. She recently began working with their Supercharger EV chargers after working on their solar programs for several years.  
  • Patrick Shive, Associate Energy and Climate Coach at Stillwater Energy. He formerly worked as an Environmental and Energy Consultant with Peak Sustainability Group in Bellingham, Washington. 

Zoom Link: https://wwu-edu.zoom.us/j/98689463289

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Speaker Series

3/1 - Xi Wang, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Energy Studies and in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy (UEPP) in the College of the Environment at WWU

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Xi Wang, Assistant Professor at WWU's Institute for Energy Studies (IES) and Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy (UEPP)

Professor Xi Wang is a professor of energy policy and energy social science at Western Washington University in Bellingham. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in English at Cornell University, and attained a Master of Science in Environmental Studies and a Ph.D. in Geography, both at the University of Colorado-Boulder (CU). Her research is interested in questions of energy and climate governance, especially in the context of energy system transitions and efforts at deep decarbonization. Outside of academia, Professor Wang has worked in community organizing for food, environmental, and labor justice in Washington, D.C. and Boulder, on organic farms in D.C., Spain, and Ecuador, for the consulting firm Booz Allen, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

On the day of her presentation, Professor Wang will be sharing a multimedia story version of her Ph.D. exit talk, “Powering China: Surplus Commodities, Coal Generation Overcapacity, and the Wasting Away of Labor”. Attendees are strongly encouraged to watch the research talk on YouTube before the Speaker Series presentation on 3/1. The relevant section of the video is from 0:39:00-1:11:30 (please note that the audio quality improves after a couple of moments). In the talk, Professor Wang discusses overcapacity of coal-powered generation in China's electricity sector, which she argues stems from China's broader problem of capital overaccumulation. 

On the day of the Speaker Series presentation, Professor Wang will present a multimedia story of the same topic. Afterward, she'll ask the audience to compare and contrast the experiences they had with these two different presentation styles on the same topic, and to explore different approaches to engagement when talking about complex issues such as energy and climate. 

Zoom Link: https://wwu-edu.zoom.us/j/98689463289

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Speaker Series

Chris Heimgartner, General Manager at Whatcom County PUD starting February 1, 2022; formerly General Manager of Henderson Municipal Power and Light in Western Kentucky

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Chris was recently selected as the new General Manager of Public Utility District No. 1 of Whatcom County. As part of the Speaker Series, his presentation will focus on an overview of the electric utility industry and his predictions for what it will look like in the future. Chris has over 35 years of engineering, public utility management and leadership, including development of broadband and renewable energy projects. Most recently, Heimgartner was the General Manager of Henderson Municipal Power and Light located in Western Kentucky where he oversaw the transition of electrical generation capacity to renewable energy including the closure of a coal fire power plant, and oversaw the development of the utility’s telecommunication operations. Prior to working at Henderson Municipal Power and Light, Heimgartner served at Snohomish County PUD as the Assistant General Manager in charge of Distribution and Engineering Services, and at Seattle City Light as the Customer Service and Energy Delivery Officer.

Zoom Link: https://wwu-edu.zoom.us/j/98689463289

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Speaker Series

Tarika Powell, former Project Manager at Spark Northwest in Seattle, WA

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Tarika will be presenting on “Energy and Environmental Justice in the Northwest’s Fight Against Fossil Fuel Facilities”. Tarika is an environmental policy expert specializing in the pollution impacts of fossil fuel facilities. Her research was instrumental in defeating several large-scale liquified natural gas and petrochemicals facilities in Washington and Oregon over the last 10 years. She has a law degree from Vanderbilt Law School, as well as a Master's in Education and undergraduate degrees from Oberlin College. Her advocacy work includes mental health access for low-income communities and raising awareness about the diagnostic disparities and lived experiences of Black autistic women. 

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TEST

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TEST

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Speaker Series

IES Speaker Series: Sharon Shewmake

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Rep. Sharon Shewmake is a professor of environmental economics, urban economics, and energy policy at Western Washington University in Bellingham, and a children’s book author, spouse, and mother of two young boys. She completed Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and in Environmental Science and Policy at Duke University, and continued her education at the University of California at Davis, earning her Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics. Before moving to Washington, Sharon taught environmental economics, econometrics, labor economics, and conservation policy at UC-Davis and Vanderbilt University, and in Botswana (through the Experiment in International Living). These areas of academic focus dovetail nicely with her appointments to the House Capital Budget Committee and the Environment & Energy Committee, and her position as vice chair of the House Committee on Rural Development, Agriculture & Natural Resources — key concerns for Whatcom County and the entire state.  Sharon is committed to involving people of all perspectives and parties to make data-driven policies that preserve our land, support our families, and ensure everyone has the opportunity to succeed.

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Speaker Series

2/15 - Garrison Marr, Senior Manager of Power Supply at Snohomish County PUD

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Garrison Marr’s presentation will be about “Embracing the Clean Energy Future at Snohomish PUD” and will share the process and results for Snohomish PUD’s recently adopted Integrated Resource Plan and Clean Energy Implementation Plan. Together these plans lay the foundation for how Snohomish PUD plans to keep electricity affordable and reliable, while showing regional leadership on clean energy investment.

Garrison is an economist whose career in public service has focused on the intersections of energy, sustainability, and public policy that affects the cost of living for families. Marr started his career by growing a one-year post-graduate fellowship with the City of Savannah, Georgia into six years of service developing green, affordable housing and establishing the City’s Sustainability program. Marr then moved west to join Snohomish County’s Office of Sustainability, managing the energy costs and consumption of the County’s real estate portfolio, and administering residential energy retrofit financing programs. The last several years Marr has served in multiple roles planning and managing the Power Supply of Snohomish PUD, a community-owned electric utility serving nearly a million customers. In his current role as Senior Manager of Power Supply, Marr leads a talented team of economists who together manage the policy, cost and reliability aspects of the PUD’s power supply. Marr holds a BA in Economics from WWU, a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Public Administration at Valdosta State University.

Zoom Link: https://wwu-edu.zoom.us/j/98689463289

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Speaker Series