The cliché is true—our people are our greatest assets.
Our ExpertiseSHOW ALL
- Board of Directors
- Communications & Outreach
- Construction & Retrofits
- Contractor Support
- Program Support
- Energy Assessment & Analysis
- Energy Benchmarking & Green MLS
- Energy Efficiency Financing
- Green and Healthy Homes
- Residential Electricity Programs
- IT and Data Support
- Operations Support
- Policy Advocacy
- Program Design & Implementation
- Research & Analysis
- Water & Energy Nexus
Board of DirectorsSince Elevate Energy was formed in 2000, we’ve strived to build a smart, passionate, and experienced team of people to help us bring smarter energy use to all. This is especially evident among our Board of Directors. Through their unique perspective and strong leadership, our Board provides direction and advice, from managing our growth to achieving greater impact with our programs and our mission. Our talented Board also brings quite a mix of skills, experiences, and passions. Read on to learn about their interest in our organization, where we can find our Board members on those rare occasions when they’re not working, and what advice they have for young people interested in a career in energy efficiency and sustainability.
Communications & OutreachThe single greatest barrier to widespread adoption of energy efficiency is education. We are experts at distilling complicated energy terminology into simple and actionable language. Our team members have managed multi-million dollar marketing campaigns, performed regional outreach efforts, and leveraged our deep roots in the community to creating lasting impact.
Construction & RetrofitsQuality counts when it comes to installing energy efficiency upgrades. The best work maximizes savings and comfort, extends the useful life of the improvements, and ensures everything meets and exceeds safety standards. Our team members have visited thousands of job sites, worked with hundreds of contractors, and know how to identify issues before they become problems.
Contractor SupportContractors have demanding jobs. In addition to providing good work at a reasonable price, running their business requires marketing skills, project management, customer service skills, and understanding available loans and rebates. We provide a wide range of support in all of these secondary areas, because we know that helping these small businesses succeed creates local jobs and a stronger energy efficiency marketplace.
Program SupportEnergy efficiency can be a complicated topic, so we have a team of dedicated specialists who can provide one-on-one guidance and support to help customers with almost any problem.
Energy Assessment & AnalysisWe take a rigorous analytical approach to determine which energy efficiency opportunities are the most effective. Our team gathers data from on-site inspections and then combines it with historical utility data and energy models to provide every customer with the most pragmatic recommendations. Our goal is the same as yours – to maximize the energy savings at an affordable price.
Energy Benchmarking & Green MLSWhen energy efficiency is measured and valued, the marketplace responds. People make improvements and see the benefits, creating a virtuous cycle. We are working to ensure that these benefits are clear to everyone – whether they’re considering improvements to their own homes or business, or buying one.
Energy Efficiency FinancingEven though energy efficiency is a great investment, the upfront costs can be a barrier. We have an encyclopedic knowledge of the existing incentives and a wide range of partner lenders, and we’re also helping to advocate for new incentives and loan funds to improve the affordability of energy efficiency.
Green and Healthy HomesMaking indoor spaces healthier, while also making them more efficient, is central to our mission. Whether it’s looking for opportunities to address health and safety concerns when retrofitting older buildings, combating lead poisoning by replacing old windows, or conducting research into the indoor environmental changes associated with weatherization, our staff is working to make our housing stock greener and healthier.
Residential Electricity ProgramsThanks to our efforts, Illinois is a national leader in the development of hourly pricing programs for electric utility customers. These programs reward customers for using less electricity when demand is highest, by providing low-priced electricity during most of the year. We administer the state's two programs: ComEd’s Residential Real-Time Pricing, and Ameren Illinois' Power Smart Pricing.
IT and Data SupportTechnology is embedded into everything we do, so it’s only logical that we have a set of experts who can manage advanced IT networks, code, and huge customer databases.
Operations SupportElevate Energy is a hive of activity, and our Operations Support team members are critically important to the day-to-day functioning of all our programs. From managing our office space, to paying our bills on time and supporting the professional development of our staff, these staff members are the bedrock of our organization.
Policy AdvocacyBecause energy is such a tightly regulated industry, policymakers and the laws they create have an enormous influence on the landscape. Our staff has the relationships and political fluency to actively participate and help shape policy that balances the interests of utilities, energy users, business, and the environment.
Program Design & ImplementationJust show us the goal, and we’ll design and implement a plan to achieve it. Our staff includes engineers, construction and energy efficiency contractors, researchers and analysts, call center and customer service staff, policy advocates, urban planners, senior managers, and communications and outreach staff. Several staff members are accredited as Project Management Professionals (PMPs) by the Project Management Institute, and all team members learn and use project management processes.
Research & AnalysisOur research team serves two differing but critically important roles – using data analysis to spark innovation and to validate the benefits of our work. Just as importantly, we put the data in context, enabling us to interpret the results and make them meaningful for our partners.
Water & Energy NexusWe’ve known for a long time that water is a precious resource, and energy and water use are inextricably linked. Our experience in energy efficiency has quickly translated to making an impact in water systems and management. By helping our customers to use water more efficiently, we save them money and reduce the burden on the environment.
For over 20 years, Abby has been working to bridge the gap between great ideas and functioning programs. She’s an adept business planner and program designer, an engineer with an MBA, and someone who has made a career out of solving tough problems. In her current role at Elevate Energy, she focuses on providing technical and business planning assistance to organizations establishing energy efficiency programs.
Abby is experienced in program design and development of energy efficiency initiatives for both residential and commercial/industrial sectors. Specifically, she was involved in developing the Michigan Saves residential loan program and a residential on-bill financing program for Racine, Wisconsin. Additionally, she combined her sustainable purchasing and energy expertise to work with local partners in Madison to design a solar PV bulk purchasing program for residential customers.
As part of her commercial/industrial experience, she has developed energy and waste audit and retrofit programs for broad range of commercial and industrial building types as a strategy to promote energy reduction and pollution prevention. Specifically, she piloted industrial process mapping methods that help manufacturing companies reduce use of hazardous materials while improving energy and water savings.
Abby is a registered Professional Engineer has a MBA from Stern School of Business at NYU and a BS in Civil Engineering from Drexel University.
Angel Sierra Gutierrez
Whether you’re a business, a non-profit organization or a working family, Anne believes that you should have the facts and resources to make smart decisions about energy. It’s a simple goal with huge implications – by being smarter about how we use energy, we can create jobs, boost business profitability, make homes more affordable and comfortable, and improve our environment. Through Anne’s leadership, Elevate Energy developed a range of programs that accomplish all of these objectives–and they’re growing bigger and more effective every year.
Anne has credibility with leaders in government, utilities, finance and community activism, and the uncommon ability to bring them together. An engineer and public health scientist by training, she easily navigates the intersection of energy efficiency and healthy environments to develop programs that provide comfortable, affordable, and safe living spaces. Her resume of accomplishments is too long to list, but here are a few highlights: She was the architect of Energy Impact Illinois and Energy Savers, led the implementation of dynamic electricity pricing for ComEd and Ameren, and has been a leader of regional green and healthy homes initiatives for 18 years.
Anne sits on Executive Committee of the Board of the National Center for Healthy Housing and she’s an alumni of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. In addition, she acted as lead researcher on the Chicago Climate Action Plan and the Regional Energy Plan for the Chicago Metro Agency for Planning (CMAP).
Anne has a PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a MS in Energy Management and Appropriate Technology from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Applied Engineering and Physics from Cornell University.
Anne leads the policy department at Elevate Energy, where she helps our staff and clients understand how the political landscape will affect our strategy, and vice versa. If you’re at a regulatory meeting or legislative proceeding that concerns energy, she is probably there too, spreading common sense with a slight southern twang.
She has testified before the Illinois State Senate and presented findings and recommendations at dozens of conferences. Along the way, she has built relationships with key policy makers, utility regulatory leaders, environmental NGOs and consumer advocates – and helps each see the world from the other’s point-of-view. Anne knows that policy improvement, like her long distance running, requires determination and a long term perspective.
When not out in the world, she’s busy submitting suggestions to improve energy policy and writing white papers. Her recent paper “Engaging as Partners in Energy Efficiency: Multifamily Housing and Utilities”, was picked up by Forbes and Fortune magazines, and “Bringing Residential Real Time Pricing to Scale in Illinois: Policy Recommendations” helped to inform changes to electricity policy.
Anne has a BS and MA in Economics, as well as a JD from The George Washington University Law School.
Anne has been on Elevate Energy’s board for more than seven years . She serves on affiliate Center for Neighborhood Technology’s board, and was interested in Elevate Energy’s efforts to improve the sustainability and energy efficiency of buildings. “It’s a critically important niche,” Anne said.
Anne knows organizations. She’s a lifelong social entrepreneur who has built highly successful organizations from the ground up, at the city, state, and national level. Anne has a unique talent in finding and collaborating with exactly the right people needed to institute real and lasting change, especially when it comes to school policy and reform.
Anne’s a go-getter in her non-work life, too. She’s been doing Cross Fit for six years. The workout is scalable, planned, and fun, she said. “It’s intense, but everyone can do it.”
We asked Anne where we could find her in the summer. She’s often in the state of Washington, at a lovely energy-efficient home on Hood Canal where she reads, steams clams, and cooks oysters with friends over glasses of wine or sometimes a craft tonic made of fresh turmeric and ginger root. We’d very much like to join you there, Anne.
Bob has a really cool job: He’s an inventor. Bob is the president of RW Ventures LLC, where he assembles teams of experts to invent products and enterprises that drive market-based economic development across neighborhoods, regions, and industries. His specialty is technical and economic analysis of urban assets and markets.
It takes a creative, rigorous, and analytical mind to become an expert in applied invention. It also might take a sense of adventure – when not working, you can find Bob taking adventure trips with his family rafting the Grand Canyon or hiking in Patagonia.
Bob finds a strong fit with Elevate Energy’s ethos. “The organization is creative and smart about how they achieve greater energy efficiency,” he said. “It’s not only policy and research, but creating effective, practical products and programs like hourly pricing through data and modeling.”
Bob was our founding board chair, and was a former chair and long-standing board member of the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), which founded Elevate Energy.
When it comes to the work Elevate does, Bob takes a systems view and understands that progress toward energy efficiency is influenced and shaped by market, social, financial and other factors. If we want to drive sustainable, large-scale change, we must understand how the deals will add up to systems change, he said.
Chinwe Onyeagoro is the Chief Strategy Officer of Great Place to Work, a high-trust, culture consulting firm that helps companies around the world transform their workplaces to create a better society.
Chinwe is our board treasurer, and we couldn’t be in more capable hands. She was the CEO and cofounder of FundWell, a web-based small balance lending platform that provided loan products for business borrowers and credit providers. Previously, as the founder of O-H Community Partners, Chinwe designed strategic growth plans for public-private partnerships for foundations, financial institutions, and municipalities.
When she joined our board nearly five years ago, Chinwe was involved with a number of projects in the sustainability space, and was interested in the local leadership role that Elevate Energy played in energy efficiency and planning. “I wanted to stand alongside an organization that was driving change,” she said.
Chinwe is particularly interested in our buildings program, and the work that we do at the nexus of affordable housing and community development. She understands that to have lasting impact, we need to be as passionate about business models and development as we are about protecting the environment.
Chinwe is a passionate writer. We can also find her indulging in her favorite Ethiopian food, whether near her home in San Francisco or while traveling in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Dan knows energy efficiency. He joins our board as the Utilities, State, and Local Policy Program Fellow at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). So what intrigued Dan about Elevate Energy? “It was fun to be involved with a group that was on-the-ground, doing innovative and quality work, and serving markets that hadn’t been well served,” he said.
Dan will undoubtedly play a role in the future of the nation’s energy utilities. At ACEEE, Dan tracks utility policy and regulation trends that affect energy efficiency, including innovative pricing models. We’re on the cusp of major transformation in the electric utility industry, he said. “It’s going to be a very different world.”
All this change bodes well for the young people interested in a career in energy efficiency and sustainability. Dan’s advice to these burgeoning minds? “We need you,” he jokes. There are opportunities for people of varied backgrounds, from engineers to marketers to musicians. “Energy efficiency continues to grow in ways that were never imaginable even 20 years ago,” he said.
Before ACEEE, Dan was a Fulbright fellow in Norway, where he studied energy planning at the University of Oslo and worked with a Norwegian regulatory agency. These days, there’s a good chance you’ll find Dan in a kayak. He resides in Madison, Wisconsin, where’s he an avid kayaker and teaches at a local paddling shop. He just completed a second 21-day kayaking trip down the Grand Canyon and is off to Tanzania next for a dry-land adventure
Dave is our board chair and a refreshing addition to our talented team. He brings not an environmental background per se, but rather expertise in managing rapidly growing small business, especially those with a social mission. He understands the unique challenges and opportunities these businesses face. Before joining the board, Dave was president and CEO of South Shore Bank and a founder of a private equity fund, SB Partners.
Dave recognizes the things that Elevate does exceptionally well. What interests him is how we can scale these unique services and programs to serve more people with greater impact.
He’s an accomplished and dynamic leader in his field. And the same goes outside of his professional life – Dave’s an active runner, hitting the pavement five times a week. When not running or watching his favorite Chicago sports teams, you can find Dave visiting his children, who reside in Portland and Silicon Valley.
Delmar implements operational and project management processes that support Elevate Energy’s growing portfolio of new energy projects, leading critical transitions in IT, accounting and human resources. What does this mean? He creates a strong root system below ground that supports and feeds the visible growth above. This impacts the management of all our resources, making us more effective and creating greater impact for our clients, customers, funders and partners.
Delmar launched the effort to bring more science to our project management process, leading many of our staff to become certified Project Management Professionals, and helping the rest of our organization to incorporate project management principles in all our work. He applies the same management rigor to his work with clients, assembling the right team and providing strategic planning to create the preconditions for their success. He also compliments the strengths of Anne, our CEO. She is the architect, and he’s the general contractor – together, they can build anything.
Prior to joining Elevate Energy, Delmar worked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, leading strategic and process optimization efforts for internal customers and members. Prior to this, he was with RWD Technologies, overseeing all Chicago-based projects and coordinating business development activities. He is involved with several professional and community service organizations, most notability the YMCA’s Black and Latino achievers program, for which he was recognized as a Distinguished Volunteer.
Delmar has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland, and an MBA in marketing and Information Technology from Loyola University.
Dick is one of Elevate Energy’s newest board members, joining us from the Environmental Defense Fund, where he serves as the Director of Midwest Clean Energy. He works to advance clean energy in Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania with a focus on energy policy and electricity markets. And talk about leading the way. Dick was named by Smart Grid Today as one of the 50 Smart Grid Pioneers of 2015.
Why does Dick serve on our board? “My current job is to advance efficiency and clean energy,” he said. “Broadly, it’s what we’re doing on the ground at Elevate Energy. Making it happen is critical.” Dick is impressed by our outreach strategies that help bring the benefits of energy efficiency to low-income and underserved communities.
His advice for someone interested in energy efficiency is to just go for it. “Now is the greatest time possible,” he said. “The electric industry is changing dramatically and we must ensure that this change is good for the consumer, the economy, and the environment. The ability to effect change has never been as pronounced as it is at this moment.”
Dick also has a secret life. He’s a prolific writer, covering topics ranging from figures like George Fabyan and Jacques Cousteau to complex issues like the future of electricity. Perhaps he gets ideas while working in his garden or during his frequent motorcycle rides on the country roads west of Chicago. We’re honored to have Dick on our board and we admire his expertise and fortitude toward a smarter energy future.
As president and founding principal of Farr Associates Architecture & Urban Design, Doug practices sustainability at all scales, from the building itself to the larger neighborhood and community. His firm integrates innovations in policy and design to create some pretty great spaces. In fact, he designed several of the LEED Platinum buildings in Chicago, including 2125 W. North Ave., Elevate Energy’s first office space and where affiliate Center for Neighborhood Technology still resides.
Doug joined our board because he admires Elevate Energy’s ability to navigate building energy efficiency that serves lower-income populations. He’s been a great fit.
Doug believes that the future energy efficiency leaders are worldwide and varied. Protecting our environment and building a better future is a broad and long-lived campaign that will take millions of people of varied strengths and skillsets, he said.
When not designing some of the most cutting-edge and sustainable buildings around, you can find Doug anywhere from his front porch to the basketball court, soccer field, or even the dance floor.
Elena Savona serves as Technical Programs Manager at Elevate Energy, a nonprofit organization in Chicago dedicated to promoting smarter energy use for all. Elena is a certified project manager professional with 13 years of experience in the energy and sustainability field. In her role at Elevate Energy, Elena manages initiatives and programs that focus on advancing energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainability objectives. These include assisting local communities, utilities, and other partner organizations in the implementation of community solar development, LED streetlight upgrades, and other energy efficiency initiatives.
Prior to joining Elevate Energy, Elena served as Client Program Manager at CB&I’s Energy Management and Sustainability practice for eight years, where she provided consulting services to the public, private, and utility sector, focusing on energy efficiency and sustainability planning, community-based energy efficiency program design and implementation, and process improvement. Elena also managed a new initiative to support utilities and municipalities in the inventory of streetlights and other assets.
Elena served as Energy Designer at Cosentini Associates, a Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing (MEP) firm in Chicago, supporting the mechanical design of high rise buildings through energy modeling focusing on code compliance and energy optimization for LEED credits. Before joining the private sector, Elena served as Research Associate at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) for four years, working with the Renewable Energy Group at the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering. She managed and executed government and privately-funded research projects related to sustainable buildings and to renewable energy. During her tenure at IIT, she co-funded a start-up business aiming to produce solar photovoltaic windows using an innovative optical approach to enhance efficiency.
Elena has Masters degrees in Architectural Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago and in Architecture from the University of Palermo, Italy. She is a Project Management Professional (PMP) certified from the Project Management Institute, Certified Energy Manager (CEM) from the Association of Energy Engineers, and is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP BD+C) from the US Green Building Council.
Jeanine combines the best aspects of marketing and advocacy to help grow our programs and increase the visibility of the Elevate Energy brand. Her roots are in community organizing and public affairs, where she learned the importance of making complex concepts accessible and appealing, and built partnerships by finding common purposes with a wide range of organizations. Now she is a seasoned manager with project management expertise and the ability to do everything from strategic planning to managing events.
Starting in 2010, she led the outreach and marketing effort for our Energy Savers program, creating a deluge of multifamily housing retrofits and demonstrating the power of a community-based approach. She also handled outreach for ComEd’s smart meter pilot, where her fluency in Spanish was indispensable. Most recently, Jeanine was the executive management fellow at Elevate Energy. In this role she managed our capacity building initiative, which strengthened our accounting and IT systems, and led a comprehensive strategic business planning process across all departments. In addition, she worked directly with our CEO and COO on a range of other staff and business development projects.
Jeanine received an Integrated Marketing Certificate from University of Chicago, and a BA in Spanish and Sociology from Luther College. She is also part of a secret society of trombone players. (The first rule: Don’t talk about trombone club.)
Jennifer Tescher is the President & CEO of the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), the nation’s authority on consumer financial health. CFSI leads a network of financial services innovators committed to promoting high-quality financial products. Through its Compass Principles and a lineup of proprietary research, insights, and events, CFSI connects members of its network to build a more robust financial services marketplace.
Jennifer founded CFSI in 2004 and has since achieved notable success in championing increased access to high-quality financial products and services for underserved consumers as an objective for the industry. She has become a nationally known expert on this topic, frequently quoted in national and financial press including The New York Times, NPR’s Marketplace, and Washington Post, with major speaking engagements at a broad spectrum of industry and policy convenings. Jennifer also launched CFSI’s annual conference, newly titled “Emerge: Consumer Financial Health Forum,” which presents cutting-edge thought leadership and showcases innovators, executives, and emerging companies in the financial services industries. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Jonathan Eig, and her children, Lillian, Lola, and Jeffery.
After one conversation with John, it’s clear that he’s all about process and learning opportunities. “You have to have a deep understanding of the operating details of the systems you are seeking to change,” he said.
He gives a good analogy: If you want to make manufacturing more sustainable, you have to know how manufacturing works. The same goes for electricity supply – if you want to improve the grid, you have to know how utilities work alongside public commissions and energy supply. And, if you want to work on buildings, you better understand not only building science but also how city government works.
John’s approach perhaps stems from his earlier days, in which he spent ten years doing strategic planning work for automotive suppliers (think stamping, injection molding, and sales). “Process-oriented companies are fascinating,” he said. “For every new customer I work with, there is a new process to learn and new plans to understand.”
John is particularly interested in our hourly pricing programs. “Over time, virtually everyone in the utility market will have some time-of-use or variance of time-based pricing,” he said. “It’s exciting to see Elevate Energy at the forefront, and how it is managing consumer interface.” John was also involved with our multifamily buildings initiative and helped us establish new markets, opportunities, and platforms.
During the summer, you’ll likely find John out in the woods, in his flower garden, or enjoying his favorite warm weather hobby, which is building stone walls. In the winter, look for him on the ski slopes.
Kimberly is the consummate program manager: a collaborative and level-headed leader, who is detail-oriented but sees the big picture. She has high standards for herself and the projects she manages.
Because she sweats the small stuff, complex programs are simple and accessible to our participants. Energy Impact Illinois epitomized this – a multi-year umbrella program with hundreds of collaborators across dozens of disparate organizations, promoting multiple initiatives with financing, educational and construction elements. Kimberly was the eye of this hurricane of activity, staying calm and ensuring the best possible customer experience.
Prior to her program management role, Kimberly was an energy planner, working to connect energy and sustainability issues to traditional planning. Her work included the Chicago Regional Energy Snapshot for Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), ComEd’s Pilot Municipal Hardship Program to assist low-income communities in reducing energy costs, the Oak Park River Forest Baseline Metric Study, the Kane County 2040 Energy Plan, and a project that provided energy and emissions profiles to 276 municipalities in the Chicago metropolitan region.
Kimberly has a BA in Environmental Studies from Goshen College and continued coursework in Environmental and Growth Management Studies at Rollins College.
Larry is the chief engineer at Elevate Energy, providing project management and electrical engineering services for energy efficiency, demand response and dynamic electricity pricing programs and smart grid initiatives. More generally, he is our all-knowing oracle of the technology and systems that make up the electrical grid. Whenever a difficult technical question comes up, everyone looks to Larry, who thoughtfully pauses and explains the answer – in whatever level of detail required. After 25 years at ComEd, and another 13 at Elevate Energy, he’s effectively a human extension of the electricity grid.
Larry’s knowledge and ideas have always placed him at the center of innovative programs. He was a key player in the ComEd Customer Applications Program (CAP) which tested dynamic rates, smart meters and in-home display technologies to inform the statewide smart grid roll out. Before the term “smart grid” existed, Larry was piloting consumer and commercial programs with technologies that have become industry standard.
He is the chair of the ANSI C12 SC17 and IEEE SCC31 Standards Committees (like internet protocol, but for electric meters), a member of the National Institute of Standards and the Technology Smart Grid Interoperability Panel, and is an Illinois Licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.). Consider all the technology made possible by electricity, and be grateful for people like Larry.
Larry has a MBA in Statistics from Roosevelt University and a BS from Illinois Institute of Technology
Lindy is a certified planner with a wealth of experience, working with municipal groups since 1999 to integrate sustainable energy use into mainstream planning processes. In retrospect, it seems obvious: governments need to plan for the future energy use of their communities, just as they consider water use, land use, transportation, and other factors. But Lindy was on the leading edge of educating local leaders about the importance of energy planning, using persistence and diplomacy to build consensus and set the stage for long term sustainability.
Starting in 2004, she led the Kane County Energy Solutions project, which predicted growth in Kane County’s energy demand (based on projected population growth and land use changes) and recommended strategies for mitigation. Recent projects have included the Decatur Sustainability Plan, an Oak Park River Forest Baseline Metric Study, the Kane County 2040 Energy Plan, a regional energy analysis for the seven-county planning area of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), and a project that provided energy and emissions profiles to all 276 municipalities in the Chicago metropolitan region.
Lindy provides Elevate Energy with meeting facilitation and participatory planning expertise for non-energy projects like TransopolyTM, the Milwaukee Avenue Corridor Development Plan and quality of life plans for Dubuque, Iowa and Joliet, Illinois. She also offers these services on a contract basis, with past projects including continued work with the City of Aurora and assisting the New Communities Program with neighborhood planning sessions for Chicago’s Washington Park.
Master of Urban Planning, Hunter College of the City University of New York, NY
Bachelor of Arts, History, University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign
Margaret O’Dell joined the board of Elevate Energy in 2014. She is currently a senior fellow, writer, and editor for pfc philanthropic advisors. For twenty years, she served as program officer for the environment at the Joyce Foundation, where she oversaw the foundation’s energy and environment grants.
Margaret has also held served as Associate Director for Foundation Relations at the University of Chicago and managed the editing of more than 100 journals and periodicals published by the University of Chicago Press. A former board chair of the Environmental Grantmakers Association, Margaret currently serves on volunteer boards including the Center for Neighborhood Technology and the Surface Transportation Policy Project.
A lifelong resident of the Great Lakes region, Margaret is delighted to be able to contribute to Elevate Energy’s efforts to expand efficient and sustainable energy options to urban communities throughout the region and beyond.
Marjie oversees Elevate Energy operations in collaboration with project managers. Her responsibilities include developing new programs, establishing standards, and supporting staff in project management. She provides the constant and gentle reminder that “If it can’t be measured, it doesn’t exist”. We pride ourselves on innovation and agility, but it wouldn’t be possible without Marjie keeping our sprawling expertise organized and anchored in reality. She’s the sweetest and toughest critic you’ll ever meet, and improves everything we do.
Marjie contributes a wide breadth of knowledge and history of energy efficiency, and collaborates closely with Elevate Energy’s research team on new and ongoing programs. She has presented at numerous conferences, has contributed to peer-reviewed journals and other publications and is an early adopter of new energy technology – 13 years ago, she was the first person to connect her solar panels to the ComEd grid, and their customers have been using her sunlight for electricity ever since.
Beyond her official capacity, Marjie provides many more intangibles. She is the glue that binds our greatest ambitions to our day-to-day responsibilities. As one of the original members of Elevate Energy, she is a vital link to our founding values – which is invaluable to our rapidly growing organization. Marjie is deeply embedded within community activism networks, helping us keep a pulse on what’s happening on street level.
Marjie has an AB from the University of Chicago.
Mark is the construction manager for the Energy Savers program, and an indispensable source of industry knowledge who has gained the trust of building owners, contractor business owners and their on-site installers. He oversees the construction phases of energy retrofits; from defining scope of work, to soliciting bids, monitoring installation and making post-retrofit inspections.
If you could amalgamate all the areas of relevant energy and construction experience into one person, you would end up with Mark. He has worked as a union carpenter, HVAC serviceman, and natural gas pipefitter. During fourteen years of field work at People’s Gas in Chicago, he handled all parts of natural gas infrastructure – from main distribution piping to individual building services, pressure regulators and meters. Since 1998 he has worked as a project manager on new commercial and residential construction, extensive rehab projects in residential high rises and vintage apartment buildings, amounting to more than 330,000 square feet of new and retrofitted construction. He has both managed and performed steam and hot water boiler replacement, forced-air furnace replacement, system control upgrades, and building envelope improvements such as air-sealing and insulation.
Mark puts this experience to work every time he sets foot on a job site – he knows what good work looks like, and how to identify problems far in advance, ensuring no corners are cut and exceptional work is recognized and praised.
Marty comes to us with an enormous wealth of experience in the energy industry, as he served as the Executive Director of the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) for 14 years. “I’ve known about Elevate’s fantastic work for many years; it syncs up with my interests and commitments,” said Marty. He was drawn to Elevate’s work after he saw how we bring together utilities, consumer organizations, environmental groups, and advocates for and from low-income communities.
This comes as quite a compliment to Elevate as Marty worked at CUB during a crucial restructuring of the electricity industry and negotiated a massive piece of legislation with utilities, decision makers, and consumer advocacy groups in 1997. “CUB really stuck their neck out for customers. It’s still a work in progress, even now, but electric rates in Illinois have gone down from among the highest in the Midwest to among the lowest,” he said.
Before Marty worked at CUB, he held a rich variety of positions. “In my younger years, I was a potter. I started the Lillstreet Art Center 41 years ago and it’s still going! I was a roadie for REO Speedwagon, and made a living as a potter. I also did political work for various candidates including Harold Washington,” he explained. “By the mid-80s, I wanted to make a living in a different way. I heard about CUB, got a job there as a temp doing administrative work in 1985 and ended up staying more than 20 years!”
The energy industry has undergone monumental change in the past two decades, and Marty sees a wealth of opportunity for young people. “My advice to [them] would be to find a specific piece of the sector to focus on and learn it in great depth,” he said. “These issues are extremely complicated with immense ramifications, so focus in on something and figure out where that leads you.”
When he’s not doing consulting work for utilities and public interest groups, Marty can be found playing guitar at soup kitchens, golfing, or making pots in his studio.
Bonus: Marty is a long-time participant of ComEd’s Hourly Pricing program that we administer. He has saved $1467.86 over 81 months, which amounts to over 30% savings on energy.
Mary Jo Warskow
Areas of Expertise
Peter leads the large and growing team that helps buildings become more energy efficient. As a native New Yorker, he understands firsthand how housing costs can affect families and communities, and this experience ensures his programs have a pragmatic focus on savings for building owners and affordability for renters.
Peter’s primary role is to refine and grow existing programs, find new opportunities for underserved markets, and manage and develop his staff – which has grown from four to nearly 20 members. Since starting the Energy Savers Program in 2008, his team has retrofitted more than 17,000 housing units, creating over 500 jobs and $37 million in local economic impact. The Energy Savers approach takes the complexity out of the energy efficiency process, and has expanded from multifamily buildings to smaller residential buildings, non-profits and new markets outside Illinois. The program has been praised widely and featured in Forbes and Fortune magazines.
Despite his urban-centric nature, Peter routinely uses his vacation to visit places far off the grid, and he has a knack for spotting and identifying rare bird species around the city.
In 2013, Peter won the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) Young Energy Professional of the Year award for Region III, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. AEE Awards are presented to energy professionals who have achieved international, national, regional, or local prominence in their fields.
Peter has a BA from Wesleyan University and is accredited by the Association of Energy Engineers as a Certified Energy Manager.
Rachel leads the research department at Elevate Energy, which serves as the bedrock for our program management and innovation efforts. She manages staff responsible for implementing Elevate Energy research related to regional energy efficiency retrofit initiatives, energy consumption in buildings and climate change, demand side management, real-time pricing and regional energy planning.
Her current research initiatives include a key role in Partnership for Advanced Residential Retrofit (PARR), a U.S. Department of Energy Building America Research Team, whose research goal is to develop, analyze, and implement strategies that achieve significant home energy savings for new and existing homes. She has also led teams evaluating post-occupancy building energy performance for USGBC, Habitat for Humanity, and the City of Chicago’s Public Building Commission, providing expertise on pre/post retrofit analysis, energy rating systems, labels, benchmarks and measured performance.
Though Rachel’s last name is pronounced “shy”, don’t mistake her deliberate nature for timidity. She’s a vocal advocate of measured performance data in residential and commercial buildings, writing extensively on the subject and presenting at conferences such as Greenbuild and Affordable Comfort.
Rachel has an MA in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a BA from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Scott leads the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s work to understand and better disclose the economic value of resource use in urban communities, and helps craft strategies to capture the value of this efficiency productively and locally.
He studied at Northwestern University, served on the research staff of Northwestern’s Center for Urban Affairs, taught at UCLA and was a founding Board member at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Center.
President Clinton appointed Scott to the President’s Council for Sustainable Development, where he co-chaired its task forces on Metropolitan Sustainable Communities and on Cross-Cutting Climate Strategies and contributed to other federal advisory panels on climate change, development strategy, and science policy. He helped write a climate change strategy for the 1st 100 days of the new Administration. Scott is a Fellow of the Center for State Innovation, a Board Member of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and Congress for the New Urbanism, works with governors, mayors and metropolitan organizations across the US, and helped create the Chicago Climate Action Plan at the request of Mayor Richard M. Daley. Scott also offered strategies for incorporating location efficiency into Memphis Mayor A C Wharton’s visionary plan to reduce the city’s poverty rate by 10% in 10 years.
Some key ideas in Scott’s work are that successful urban and metropolitan economies are “high-road,” that is, they provide higher wage, lower waste and most inclusive economic pathways; that they work best if founded on economies of scope or network economies as opposed to simple economies of scale, and that communities contain assets that too often are hidden, disconnected or poorly deployed—all of which are changeable conditions. A beneficial result of these ideas is a blurring of the lines between “consumers” and “producers” of public goods.
Susan Page Estes
Susan, aka Scotti, is an entrepreneur, technologist, and strategic problem solver. She’s built companies as well as digital art installations. She joined our board because she is committed to neighborhoods and the power of collaboration for our collective local and global goal of smarter energy use.
Scotti is a founding partner of DesignHouseChicago, an organization committed to revitalizing local manufacturing through design, technology, and education. Her efforts utilize existing machines to help create jobs and educate people on skills needed for prototyping and manufacturing. With a strong local focus, her goals also include efficiency gains through lower travel and shipping costs.
Scotti’s career spans biochemistry, environment science, economic development, and emerging technologies, including digital imaging, global trading platforms, software systems, and digital manufacturing. We’re impressed.
We look to Scotti for her extensive experience in technology, strategy, finance, job creation and community building. When she’s not in the board room, Scotti can usually be found in her studio painting, making videos, or composing