Board and Staff

Board Photo

Board of Directors

Chair: Susan Petrina

I believe in the power of people to change their circumstances for the better so long as they are provided with knowledge, tools and support. My combined interests in architecture, sustainability, renewable energy and advocacy contributed to the path that led me to get involved with SESA. Prior to joining the board in 2014, I attended many SESA seminars and events for general information and was impressed by the supportive and growing community of renewable energy enthusiasts in Edmonton and across Alberta. SESA has played a pivotal role in shaping the conversation around energy sustainability in the province and I felt it was time for me to jump in and get involved.

I have a diverse professional background that includes politics and government, communications and marketing, and extensive work with non-profits in community development, civic engagement and creative strategic planning. My credentials include an honours degree in sociology and a journalism diploma. I’m an experienced facilitator who gets excited by the prospect of bringing people together to accomplish things. And just for fun, I’m also leading a great group of neighbours to build a new community centre that we hope will be a model of sustainable design and energy efficiency.

Vice-Chair: Bettina Pierre-Gilles

Bettina Pierre-Gilles brings several years of strong corporate finance expertise, management and general industry knowledge to the Board. Currently, she is the President & CEO of a startup Independent Power Producing (IPP) company named Luxeum Renewables Group Inc., a Calgary based solar producing company with the strategic objective of developing utility-scale solar projects in Alberta and Western Canada. She has been the President & CEO of a well-established Consulting firm focused in the energy industry, as well as servicing clients in various related industries. 

Secretary: Karlie Nelson

As a graduate of the NAIT Alternative Energy Technology program and the Inside Salesperson at National Solar Distributors, Karlie is happy to be contributing to the growing renewable energy industry both as a technologist and a SESA board member.

Treasurer: Ron Kube

Ron is a research scientist, specialising in intelligent systems, and an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta. After graduating in 1997, he did his post-doc at a small Edmonton start-up company applying software to electric load forecasting on the provincial grid. In April 2000, he was invited by NASA to come to Washington to discuss the use of robots to build space power systems that deliver massive amounts of solar energy to the Earth’s power grids. It was there, he was impressed by the sense of urgency to develop a truly low-cost renewable energy option for baseline electric power on a global scale. His revived interest in renewable energy, after spending 17 years working in Alberta’s non-renewable energy sector, is what has brought him to volunteer with SESA.

Past Chair: Réal Bouchard

Réal is a long time solar pioneer who has had the honour of working directly with some of the brightest minds in the industry. He has been a fixture in the Alberta solar market since 2006 (which in solar years equates to a whole lot more than 10!) where he has lead in various positions with a few different companies. His longest tenure was with Conergy, which at the time was a publicly traded multinational company where he was the director of operations & finance for Canada. Réal recently completed his MBA from the University of Alberta (Dec. ’15) where he focused his degree in the areas of strategic management and corporate finance. He is also an alumnus of St. Francis Xavier University.

Member at Large: Elizabeth Andrew

Beth Andrew is a Renewable Energy Technologist working for Great Canadian Solar where she works in design and sales. Beth was a part of the first class to graduate from NAIT's Alternative Energy program. Beth believes that SESA offers an important link between the Alberta solar industry and the public, and that education is the best way to promote solar technology.

Member at Large: Desmond Bull

My name is Desmond G. Bull, I am an elected councillor for the Louis Bull Tribe of the Maskwacis nation. Prior to my work in governance I was employed in the field of education for 12 years. As a first nation member, elected official, and environmental steward I was honored to develop and secure funding for a community photovoltaic system in Maskwacis. We completed our project in August 2016 with a ribbon cutting ceremony which was attended by government officials, stakeholders, and leadership. This work also opened opportunities for me to sit with The Alberta Green Economy Network, Energy Futures Lab of Alberta, and be appointed to the government of Alberta's Energy Efficiency Advisory Panel. In 2017 I also joined the 20/20 Catalysts program. In Maskwacis we are currently working towards the completion of our next proposal for the rest of our public buildings. I am also building connections between SESA and First Nations, and helping SESA showcase the work of First Nation leaders in solar energy.

Member at Large: Greg Cole

Greg is the founding member of EnSegs. He started EnSegs to create simple ways for people to own and produce their own renewable energy. His home is powered by a 5.2kW solar PV system. Greg has graduate degrees from the University of Alberta in both education and business. 

Greg is the Chair of the Public Relations committee and the Personnel committee. He also sits on the website, seminar, and the strategic planning committees.

Member at Large: Don Darnell

Don is an electrical engineer with a Wharton MBA serving now as an independent management consultant working with technology firms in Alberta’s new economy. He has co-authored research publications on Business Ethics, and served on several non-profit boards.  Don’s more recent volunteer work includes advocacy for bicycle infrastructure and Solar City Hall, and work on Edmonton’s Light Efficient Community Policy and Winter City Guidelines.  Don is now part of an enthusiastic volunteer team helping establish SESA’s Seminar Series in his new home city of Calgary.

Member at Large: Natalie Hilbrecht

Natalie is an Electrical Engineer who works in electric utilities with a focus on high voltage transmission. She developed an interest in renewable energy while studying at the University of Calgary, and on a study-abroad term in China where she got to visit renewable energy technology manufacturing plants and see how China was working to integrate renewables onto their electric grid. Natalie likes to keep busy and also volunteers for Festival City Winds Music Society and the Edmonton Area Land Trust.

Member at Large: David Kelly

David Kelly, partner at SkyFire Energy Inc has been in the solar industry since 2001. He has been an instructor at Northern Lights College and guest lecturer at the University of Calgary. His credentials include an engineering degree from the University of Waterloo, professional accreditation through APEGGA and APEGBC, CANSIA member and solar thermal installation instructor. David also served three terms on the CANSIA Board. Married and a father of two, his home is partially powered by a 2kW grid-tied solar system and it uses solar thermal water heating.

Member at Large: Mikhail Ivanchikov

Mikhail is one of the founders of Dandelion Renewables. He holds a Masters degree as Engineer-Physicist from Russia. He was responsible for valuation and managing due-diligence processes for large wind farms in Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan worth over $1.2 billion of committed capital. While working on the development of large wind farms he realized the tremendous opportunities and values renewable energy has to offer. Since 2011 he has been happy to lead the Dandelion Renewables team that completed solar projects and energy-efficiency feasibility studies across Alberta and the South Pacific. You can find Mikhail basking in the sunshine, breathing the fresh wind and spreading the renewable energy values.

Staff

Executive Director: Rob Harlan

Rob is a NABCEP-certified Solar PV Installer with eighteen years experience designing and installing solar electric and solar hot water systems in the US and Canada. His experience includes grid-tied and off-grid photovoltaic systems, solar water pumping systems, small wind systems, solar hot water systems and solar home design. He has designed and taught courses in renewable energy technologies at several educational institutions in Canada and the US, and helped found four non-profit renewable energy societies in California.

Assistant Executive Director: Leon Milner

Leon appreciates the opportunity his position offers him, to learn from Albertan leaders in environmental protection and renewable energy, both within and outside of SESA, as he begins his career. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from the University of Alberta. His focuses of study included resource economics, ecology, native studies, political sciences, and environmental sociology. His interests in SESA include strategic planning, and building relationships with members and public solar supporters. Past projects include helping launch the UAlberta Farmer’s Market, and founding the Faculty of Agricultural, Life, and Environmental Sciences Undergraduate Association (FAUnA), as well as serving on the University of Alberta Students' Union. He has also dabbled in teaching basics of the economics of solar, as a guest lecturer at the University of Alberta.

Program Administrator: Daniel J. Kielback

Daniel has worked as a researcher, project developer, digital communicator, and volunteer engagement coordinator for sustainable development initiatives. He has a M.Sc in Geography and completed a Fellowship in Social Entrepreneurship. Since moving to Edmonton in 2016, he has become a Master Composter Recycler with the City of Edmonton, member of the Edmonton Food Council, and Edmonton Tool Library Board of Directors. He is actively occupied by interests in organizational development, futurism, design, and sustainable development.

Webmaster: Russ Miyagawa

Russ Miyagawa is a non-profit swiss army knife providing administrative, communications, information technology, and technical services to environmental and community non-profit groups. He is an active member and Social Chair of the Queen Alexandra Community League, having previously served as Treasurer and as Publicity Chair. He holds a BSc in Civil Engineering, and an MSc in Environmental Engineering from the University of Alberta.

Bookkeeper: Tim Rose

Tim Rose has worked as an accountant for Enbridge Pipelines, a business manager for Edmonton Public Schoolboard and is now working part-time as a bookkeeper whilst completing his four year training (Nov 2015) to become a Feldenkrais practitioner (Awareness Through Movement, specializing in developing neuroplasticity in the brain).