President – Nicole Maestas Olonovich
Bringing strong business, social, and equity skills to NMSEA, Nicole Maestas Olonovich is a disabled veteran of Operation Iraq Freedom. She is a victim of environmental toxins from being downwind of burn-pits 12 hours a day during her service to this country in Iraq (2004). She lives by the motto “do better, be better” with an emphasis on actionable change. A Hispanic woman who comes from a large loving family with linage to New Mexico that predates statehood. Well versed in communications, a published author in multiple mediums, and an environmental activist Nicole is no stranger to working for equity and justice. Earning two master’s degrees, one in social work as well as a master’s degree in business, she understands that to work for historically disenfranchised populations means also understanding the systems we live in order to make those strides. Her goal in life is to work in partnerships with people, grassroots communities and frontline coalitions that demand human rights, equitable access, economic justice, and a deep understanding of the intersection of Mother Earth at the core of all.
Treasurer – Walter Gerstle
Walter Gerstle is Professor Emeritus of civil engineering at the University of New Mexico with an emphasis in structural engineering and structural mechanics. Gerstle has been active in researching the computational modeling of fracture of composite structures. He is a licensed professional engineer. He has worked for many years as a structural consultant, and has spent summers and sabbaticals performing research at NASA, Sandia National Laboratories, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. He is the Engineer of Record on many UniRAC, Inc. and Array Technologies, Inc. facilities and products and has provided engineering expertise for both companies in the early development of their now successful business models for the solar energy sector. Gerstle is past president of the New Mexico Section of ASCE, past president of NMSPE, and he is currently Secretary of the NM Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Surveyors. He is now CTO of CSolPower LLC, https://www.csolpower.com .
Secretary – Stefi Weisburd
Stefi Weisburd (Secretary) never ceases to be amazed that electricity can be generated from what is essentially a pile of sand. She has shared that amazement with students as the K12 education outreach coordinator for the National Science Foundation QESST and other Engineering Research Center grants at the University of New Mexico, as a science writer at Science News and other journals and as the author of two books of poetry. With degrees in physics/applied physics from UC Berkeley and Stanford University, she also worked on solar issues as a Congressional analyst.
Tom Solomon, co-coordinator of 350.org New Mexico, is a retired electrical engineer. During his 34 year career at Intel he led the team which built Intel’s Rio Rancho, NM Fab 11X in 2001, the $2B microprocessor Fab which employed 4,000 people at its peak. He also led the efforts to build Intel’s 100kW solar array in 2011.
After retirement, in 2013 Tom became a co-coordinator of 350NM, the NM chapter of 350.org, fighting global warming to ensure a safe climate for his 3 children.
350NM’s campaigns include UNM divestment, large public rallies to demand action on climate, public education forums on the need to rapidly convert from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and helping to pass the 2019 Energy Transition Act, legislation which expanded NM’s renewable electricity standard to 100% carbon free by 2045.
Tom has been a board member of NMSEA the New Mexico Solar Energy Association since 2015. Tom’s commitment to solar energy dates to 1977 when he built his first tracking solar PV system for a college project. His electric car is powered by rooftop solar on his home in Albuquerque.
Athena Christodoulou is a technology entrepreneur and leader. She has been launching new companies in various industries since 2007. As such, she has designed and built out a cafe, spec home, clean tech consultation, and online app, Udorami. While completing her 2nd masters at UNM she led a team of engineers and MBA student to win the UNM 2012 Technology Business Plan Competition and was the initial Project Manager for the UNM/ASU Solar Decathlon team. She has been active in the clean energy world as president of the NM Solar Energy Association and new technology business consultant. She brings integrity, fresh innovation, outstanding analysis ability, and strategy to her team. Whatever group she leads thrives, be it non-profit or for profit. She says “Together, we will make it happen.” She adheres to the triple bottom line business model: People, Planet, Profit.