Nicole Maestas-Olonovich, President

Nicole is am a mother, sister, daughter, community member and perpetual student of life. She has spent the bulk of her adult life in the political world. She strives toward a better future for “the greater-good.” Living by the motto “do better, be better” with an emphasis on actionable change. Nicole’s family lineage predates New Mexico statehood. She is a disabled veteran due to environmental toxins from Operation Iraqi Freedom. She is a self proclaimed civic chingona.

Niole’s life journey has driven me to advocate and study within the humanities. Her undergraduate degree is from the University of New Mexico with a dual major BA, in Psychology and Interpersonal Communication. Going on to earn two master’s degrees from New Mexico Highlands University— one in Social Work, as well as a Master’s in Business Administration, summa cum laude.

As a published author and political activist her goal in life is to work in partnerships with people and coalitions that demand human rights, economic justice, equitable access, and a deep understanding of Mother Earth at the intersection of it all. Her work has been with, but not limited to, LGBTQIA+ rights, veteran reintegration, behavioral and mental health access, early childhood prevention programs, voting rights, workers’ rights, renewable energy, advocating for indigenous sovereignty and uplifting stakeholders in systems historically neglected from societal and political priorities.

Destiny Rae, Vice President

Destiny Ray, a 21-year-old African American and Native American woman, stands at the forefront of change as a dedicated community activist. Currently serving as the Director at RISE (Resilient, Inclusive, Sustainable, and Empowered) Youth Collective and holding a position on the steering committee for YUCCA, Destiny has been a force for positive transformation from a remarkably young age.

Destiny’s impactful advocacy extends to critical issues, such as the high-end excise tax and an anti-LNG plan. She strives to create a more just and equitable world for all through her efforts.

Beyond her activism, Destiny is a creative spirit who dedicates her free time to music, art, and social media endeavors—all aimed at fostering positive change. Destiny reinforces her commitment to building a more inclusive society with every stroke of her artistic expression and every note of her music.

As Destiny Ray continues to push boundaries and advocate for a brighter future, her story is an inspiring testament to the power of activism, compassion, and creativity in shaping a better world for everyone. Let’s join Destiny in pursuing a more inclusive and harmonious world!

Walter Gerstle, Treasurer

Walter Gerstle is Professor Emeritus of civil engineering at the University of New Mexico, where he has been on the faculty since 1986. Walter specializes in structural engineering. Walter is a former president of the New Mexico Society of Professional Engineers and is former president of the New Mexico Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is a cofounder of CSolPower LLC, a company developing thermal energy storage technology for the energy transition. Walter is on the steering committee of Walter plays the cello and is on the board of the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra.

Troy McGee, Secretary

Troy is a 5th-generation New Mexican with a computer science and information technology background. Troy is interested in all solutions that benefit New Mexico households, jobs, and the economy through our difficult transition away from fossil fuels. Troy has worked with several rooftop photovoltaic solar installers in the region and recently has been working on New Mexico’s Community Solar program.  Troy is a liaison between NMSEA and the Renewable Energy Industries Association of New Mexico (REIA-NM). His ultimate goal is to see each high school in New Mexico have an energy storage or agrovoltaic project built by students. This way, all students can witness firsthand the practical applications of renewable energy generation and storage and lead more students to renewable energy career paths.

Alysha Shaw, Board Member

Alysha Shaw is the Campaign Director of Public Power New Mexico. She has been a community organizer for most of her life, contributing to and leading grassroots issue advocacy campaigns and political campaigns in a variety of roles. She previously served as the Director of Constituent Services for the New Mexico State Land Office, which informs her understanding of how advocates and organizers can be impactful in their outreach to elected officials. She is deeply committed to organizing to affect the policy changes we need to catalyze a renewable energy future that will improve our communities and save our planet. 

Alysha holds an MFA in Art and Social Practice from Portland State University and a BA in Politics and Interdisciplinary Art from College of Santa Fe. In addition to her political work, she is an interdisciplinary artist and musician who performs Balkan and Middle Eastern music with Rumelia Collective and original music as well as global folk music as Nocturne Spark

Gino Perez, Board Member

From Vaughn New Mexico, went to school in Santa Rosa, and grew up farming and ranching where his solar journey begun. Was in the renewable energy program at Luna Community College. Has taught intro to renewable energy. 

Is a Navy veteran. Was a Board Member at Luna College. Has taught at both trade schools and within APS. 

Works at Sandia National Laboratories at the national solar site. Has extensive teaching and technical experience.

Tom Soloman, Board Member

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 at his home in Albuquerque.“

Tom 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, 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.