The PACG Renewable Energy Conference Was a HUGE Success!
Since so much important information was shared, we are making the conference program, presentations, and contact information readily accessible. (Note: The Renewable Energy Specialist Program is offered by Eastern Iowa Community College (Scott County Community College) and they were one of the exhibitors at our conference. This training may be of interest to some.)
Mike Thoms is the current mayor of Rock Island. Mike is a fourth generation resident of Rock Island and a business leader in the Quad Cities community. He is the former COO of Thoms-Proestler and former President and CEO of Renaissance Rock Island.
Eric Sorensen brings two decades on air experience to WQAD News 8. He has received two Silver Dome Awards by the Illinois Broadcasters Association, and has been nominated three times for Emmy awards. In 2018 he became a fellow of the Society of Environmental Journalists. Eric attended NIU, receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree. While he studied weather, he also held minors in journalism and math. Eric chased tornadoes and hurricanes while working in Lufkin TX as Chief Meteorologist and as Morning Meteorologist in Tyler, TX. Before arriving in the QC, Eric spent a decade forecasting the weather for his hometown of Rockford, IL.
David Osterberg is emeritus professor of environmental health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, and founder of the Iowa Policy Project. He still teaches at the University and researches environmental issues at the IPP. David has earned degrees at Washington State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and received further education at the University of Stockholm. He has served in the Peace Corp in Iran, and taught at a number of colleges and universities. He also served as a representative in the Iowa General Assembly.
Sarah Moskowitz is the managing director of outreach at the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), an Illinois consumer advocacy group that focuses on electric, natural gas, and telecom issues. She graduated from the University of Chicago in 2000 with a degree in anthropology and immediately started work in CUB’s consumer advocacy department. She returned to U Chicago in 2004 to earn her MA at the School of Social Service Administration, and now manages CUB’s statewide consumer education and organizing efforts. These efforts include a variety of activities, including energy efficiency program management, media campaigns, and face-to-face consumer engagement across the state.
Rebecca Judd is the Clean Energy Advocate for the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club, the nation’s largest grassroots environmental organization with over 100,000 members and supporters in the State of Illinois. Rebecca is the lead policy advocate for Sierra Club efforts to move Illinois to 100% clean energy, particularly focused on strong and just implementation of Illinois’ new clean energy law, the Future Energy Jobs Act. Before joining Sierra Club in September 2017, she was an environmental lawyer and legislative counsel in Washington, DC for nearly 11 years.
Robert and Sonia Vogel founded the Illinois Renewable Energy Association, whose mission is to be a network for sharing ideas, resources and information with individuals, businesses and communities to promote a resilient future through renewable energy, energy efficiency and earth friendly technology. They serve on the Illinois Renewable Energy Advisory Board and have offered the Illinois Renewable Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Fair at the Ogle County Fairgrounds. Both are retired professors from the Lorado Taft Campus of Northern Illinois University where Robert taught environmental quality, alternative energy and research, and Sonia taught field ecology, seasonal and prairie studies and interpretation.
Mike Carberry earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Iowa in 1983. He has worked as Executive Director of the Iowa Renewable Energy Association; Midwestern Nuclear Campaign Coordinator for Friends of the Earth; Senior Regional Field Director with the Iowa Global Warming Campaign; Campaign Manager for Citizens for Public Power; and Director of Green State Solutions. Mike’s volunteer efforts also reflect his interest in the environment. He has served in many roles with the Sierra Club, and was awarded the 2013 Environmental Activist of the Year award from the State Chapter of the Sierra Club. Mike currently serves on the boards of the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Iowa Wind Energy Association and the 1000 Friends of Iowa. Mike was elected to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors in 2014.
Stephanie Weisenbach is a program manager with the Energy Office at the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), which has a variety of initiatives to help implement the Iowa Energy Plan created in 2016. Stephanie is currently preparing to re-open a loan program for renewable energy projects, inherited by IEDA along with the Iowa Energy Center. For several years, she led IEDA’s efforts on alternative fuels and electric vehicles.
Tim Dwight is president of the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association. He travels around the Midwest educating people about solar energy and demonstrating how cost effective the technology is today. He advocates for the job growth produced by this industry, and lobbied the Iowa legislature for the solar tax credit. As an Iowa native and graduate of the University of Iowa, Dwight returned to Iowa after his 10 year stint in the NFL and encourages homeowners, farmers and businesses to invest in solar.
Mark Schwiebert graduated from Augustana College in 1972 and went on to obtain his law degree from Drake University. He has practiced law in Rock Island since 1975 and was the Mayor from 1989 to 2009. As mayor he co-sponsored the Revolving Loan Fund, sponsored one of Illinois’ first certified Historic Preservation Ordinances and established the Advanced Technology and Sustainability Consortium. He serves on the boards of Unity Point, Figge Art Museum, Augustana College, Rausch Foundation, Rock Island Library Foundation and Amy Helpenstell Foundation. He established the Mark W. Schwiebert Fund for Environmental Studies in 2015 through the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend.
Jeff Nelson has been the General Manager for MetroLINK (Rock Island County Mass Transit) for the past 35 years. His strategic focus has been on implementing cutting edge programs with an emphasis on economic growth, environmental sustainability, enhanced technologies, and workforce development. Nelson was an early adopter of alternative fuels, and most recently took delivery of 3 Proterra, battery electric, zero emission transit buses. Additional projects include the construction of a state-of-the-art 150,000 square foot “Operations and Maintenance Center” built to LEED Gold standards. He was also instrumental in the planning, development, and construction of the “Moline Multi Modal” station in downtown Moline. Currently he is the Chairman of the Quad Cities Manufacturing Lab, and is involved with the boards of the Two Rivers YMCA, the Illinois Public Transportation Association, and the Quad City Chamber of Commerce Regional Opportunities. He has held leadership positions for the National Transit Institute at Rutgers, the Moline Planning Commission, the Moline Police and Fire Commission and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Mr. Nelson holds a B.S. in Political Science from Western Illinois University, a M.B.A. from St. Ambrose University, and is a graduate of the Kennedy School of Business “Creating Collaborative Solutions” program.
Jeff Kaman is Manager of Energy and Climate Strategy for John Deere and Company. He is experienced in energy efficiency projects, as well as renewable energy and operations management. He holds a BSE (Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and MS (Environmental Engineering) from the University of Notre Dame.
Rick John is head of the nationwide staffing firm, the Sedona Group. He was recently honored as service-division finalist for the Illinois/Northwest Indiana Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. Sedona is headquartered in Moline and has 31 offices nationwide. He previously worked as manager of consumer products for John Deere and Company. He also serves on the boards of Junior Achievement, United Way and Trinity Regional Health System, and on the Black Hawk College Foundation committee.
Ralph Russell is now retired after 44 years with HR Green, Inc. Russell graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Civil Engineering. Russell worked as a resident engineer, design engineer, project engineer, project manager and department head prior to serving as President and CEO. During the latter part of his employment with Green, Russell worked in the firm’s Renewable Energy Department including two years as President of the Energy Business Unit. Since his retirement Russell has had the opportunity to pursue a long-time interest, renewable energy. He currently owns a 75kW solar facility, which generates energy used in an animal confinement facility on an eastern Iowa farm. Additionally, he is consulting on an on-site natural gas fired energy generation for an eastern Iowa industry. Russell also owns, with family members, a 55kW wind turbine and a 45kW solar array, both of which provide renewable energy to family businesses. Russell’s newest renewable energy project is an 182kW roof-mounted solar array for an Eastern Iowa non-profit organization that used a significant amount of energy, which will provide 65% to 75% of the energy used by the organization. Russell is active in professional, business, and civic organizations and has served on numerous boards.
Celeste Wilkinson lives in Bettendorf. She installed an electricity-producing photo-voltaic solar array on her roof in 2015. Her home also has geothermal heating and a tankless water heater, and she drives a hybrid vehicle. She is committed to renewable energy.