Leadership

Ohio Environmental Council

Award category
Year released
2021

The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) has been a force behind environmental policy in Ohio for over 50 years. The OEC has a long-standing commitment to energy efficiency and has worked to educate decision makers—including state legislators, Governor’s office, PUCO staff and local officials—on the economic significance of the energy efficiency industry and the importance of policies that support the industry’s vitality. OEC has intervened in countless utility regulatory processes, served as a statewide leader on lifting up the value of energy efficiency (including workforce development) and serves as the in-state expert on clean energy.

In recent years, legislation harmful to energy efficiency has been introduced annually and the OEC has taken a leading role to support clean energy and energy efficiency. In 2019, House Bill 6 was introduced and gained momentum under the new DeWine Administration. The OEC stepped up to help to coordinate the preparation of critical research and analysis, as well as testimony, that detailed the benefits of energy efficiency in how it positively impacts Ohio utility customers and the larger state economy. Unfortunately, HB 6 passed into law, effectively ending energy efficiency programs in Ohio. However, with current legal issues around the passing of the law, there is immediate debate on potential to repeal HB 6 and replace with legislation that could reinstate energy efficiency in some form. We believe that much of this change in conversation can be attributed to OEC’s groundwork with partners over the past decade and their continued leadership in navigating the political landscape.

Andy Johnson and the Winneshiek Energy District

Award category
Year released
2021

The Winneshiek Energy District (WED) leads, implements, and accelerates the locally-owned, inclusive, clean energy transition in northeast Iowa’s Winneshiek County. Andy Johnson, executive director of the WED, has been a tireless advocate of efforts to make energy conservation a part of life in Winneshiek County and adjacent communities for more than 10 years. Johnson brings a down-to-earth, quiet resolve in his tireless leadership of a “movement” to champion locally led, clean energy efforts across the Midwest. He applied his education in ecology and natural resources management with the Peace Corps in Guatemala and worked toward sustainable agriculture with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Johnson returned to his hometown of Decorah and became the founding Director of the WED in 2010. His leadership helped to inspire 10 energy districts in Iowa and Wisconsin. Groups in Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota have also formed to pursue Energy Districts.

A notable, long-term effort has delivered efficiency and helped build the next generation of energy professionals through the Green Iowa AmeriCorps (GIA) program (part of the University of Northern Iowa Center for Energy and Environmental Education). At the local level, he’s been a key part of a regular energy breakfast series to inform the local community about energy issues and opportunities. To extend their outreach, Johnson has told the story of WED and energy as a contributor in local publications. Today, Johnson continues to serve as WED Executive Director and took the parallel position as Executive Director of the newly formed Clean Energy Districts of Iowa (CEDI) in 2019.

Senator Megan Hunt, Nebraska State Legislature

Award category
Year released
2020

Senator Megan Hunt is an entrepreneur, activist, and parent elected in 2018 to represent District 8 in the Nebraska Legislature. As a first term senator, she championed a vital update to the Nebraska state energy code, when few senators would, given that previous attempts had rarely moved out of committee. Through Senator Hunt’s efforts, this bill was skillfully shepherded through the legislative process, with no harmful amendments, gaining support and momentum. She was able to work with stakeholders of all political affiliations to have this bill pass three separate votes, per state requirement. Due to her leadership, LB 405 was signed by the governor May 8, 2019 and the 2018 IECC was adopted as the Nebraska state energy code. This update brought Nebraska’s state energy code to the 2018 IECC from the 2009 IECC, leading to a 30% - 35% increase in building energy efficiency across the state.

Senator Hunt has lived and worked in the Dundee area of Omaha for over 13 years. Her good work and impact have been featured Forbes, INC, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and numerous other publications. Megan is motivated by her goal of helping others translate their experiences into positive action and change in the real world.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Award category
Year released
2019

The City of Chicago under Mayor Rahm Emanuel has undertaken numerous sustainability initiatives that position the city as a national leader in energy efficiency. The Sustainable Chicago Action Agenda spearheaded by Mayor Emanuel identified energy efficiency goals and the actions to achieve them. The City of Chicago’s Smart Lighting is working towards the goal of replacing 270,000 of the city’s aging street lights with energy efficient LEDs and install a smart network. The new LEDs will use approximately 50% less energy than the existing lights. The project, which is the largest LED street lighting conversion in the U.S., demonstrates to residents and businesses within the City of Chicago and to communities across the nation how projects that save energy and money can also improve lives.

Richard Mark

Award category
Year released
2019

Under the leadership of Richard J. Mark, Ameren Illinois’ energy efficiency program has been recognized as one of the best in the country — rated #12 by ACEEE, an independent energy efficiency organization. Since Mark took the helm in 2012, Ameren Illinois has helped customers reduce energy usage by millions of megawatt-hours, saving millions.

The vision and leadership of Mark and his team have helped shape and secure progressive energy legislation and regulatory policy in the state of Illinois. Whether he’s negotiating with lawmakers, donating high-efficiency air conditioners to customers in need, or championing energy efficiency in underserved communities, Mark’s vision has made energy efficiency more accessible to customers and communities served by Ameren Illinois.

Governor Rick Snyder

Award category
Year released
2018

Rick Snyder became Michigan’s 48th governor when he was sworn into office on Jan. 1, 2011. In energy policy, his “no regrets” policy built on four key attributes: adaptability, reliability, affordability, and protection of the environment. Energy waste reduction has been a cornerstone of his energy policy, as it meets all four of those objectives. His leadership has brought about a number of advances, including championing the legislation that allowed Detroit to do the largest LED streetlighting conversion in the country and creating the annual Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards to spotlight leadership in the area. Michigan’s comprehensive 2016 energy reform legislation, which included increased incentives for and requirements for energy waste reduction programs, gained strong bi-partisan support, securing support two-thirds of the legislators in both chambers.

Louis James, SEEL, LLC

Award category
Year released
2018

A prolific entrepreneur, Louis E. James has more than 40 years of experience in managing sales, marketing, operations, personnel and merchandising for both start-up and established retail, franchise, manufacturing, and service companies. He has served as a senior executive for the past thirty years and has owned many successful business ventures. One of James’ most successful ventures in the Midwest, MCLJASCO, Inc. provides a diverse range of supply chain management services, quality and containment, including inventory management and steel manufacturing. Solutions for Energy Efficient Logistics (SEEL) is the energy division of MCLJASCO, that provides services within the energy efficiency space. Through SEEL, James promotes positive environmental change by administering energy management programs, on behalf of its clients.

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