Janet Bridgers, Activist/Film Maker, Board Member
Janet Bridgers has been an environmental activist for over 30 years. She is co-founder of Earth Alert (www.earthalert.org), an award-winning media-oriented 501(c)(3). She and the organization have been deeply involved in many issues, but particularly marine mammals, coastal protection, recycling and renewable energy.
Janet has been an NMSEA board member since 2007. She served as publicity manager for the 2008 Solar Fiesta and exhibit manager for the 2010 Solar Fiesta. Janet then served as General Manager of the 2013 and 2014 Solar Fiestas at Santa Fe Community College, and the 2014 & 2015 Solar Fiesta in Albuquerque. Janet helped produce the Renewable New Mexico TV series, as well as a dozen videos of Solar Fiesta workshops which have been published to NMSEA’s YouTube channel.
“We have the opportunity to grow in the use of digital media for education. While this should not supplant our face-to-face SunChaser program or Solar Fiestas, it will give us an affordable way to expand our reach.”
Athena Christodoulou, Energy & Environmental Engineer, President
I am a solar ambassador, degreed in civil engr, environmental engineering, and nanoscience (the good, the bad, and the teeny tiny). We should be using the sun’s energy for ALL our needs, directly and indirectly. After all, it is the oldest and newest technology, clean, and wireless. I use it to heat my water, house and have 4kW in grid-tied photovoltaics. More to come
Jim DesJardins, Board Member
Albuquerque Chapter co-leader since 2011. More to come
Lois Fuller, Designer, Secretary
I have been involved in energy issues since at least 1975 when I was a member of NMSEA and worked against WIPP. In the late 70’s I took Paul Lusk’s Appropriate Technology workshop held at the DH Lawrence Ranch. We built a direct gain room, a composting toilet, and retrofitted cabins for energy efficiency while enjoying nightly lectures from excellent cutting-edge experts. Soon after that, I built a solar greenhouse onto my adobe home in Placitas, NM.
Following my Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, I moved to western North Carolina where I led and participated in numerous energy and environment activities. During these years, I also ran a landscaping business in Highlands, NC where I emphasized native plants, natural and organic plant management, and a commitment to emulating natural patterns found in the Southern Appalachians.
In 2008 I was delighted to return to my home state of New Mexico. Since then I have worked in the solar industry and am a founding member of SEEDs – Securing Energy and Economic Democracy – a Silver City organization. I moved to Albuquerque in 2016 and am proud to be a member of the sales team for Sol Luna Solar.
Elena Kayak, Educator, Vice President of Education
Elena Kayak, aka The Green Queen, is the Energy/Environmental Specialist for Rio Rancho Public Schools. Her background is in teaching sustainable architecture; she currently administers sustainability projects for RRPS, including energy-efficiencies in electric, gas, water, and solid waste processes. She is an advocate for solar energy at school sites; both comprehensive high schools in RRPS have 1.2 megawatt solar arrays. Her goal is to have three RRPS sites net-zero by 2020. She lives in an active and passive solar home and tends 22 chickens.
Rolf Nitsche, Dipl-Ing Business Manager, Board Member
I came to Albuquerque in 2008 managing construction and startup of the SCHOTT Solar plant with 1 PV module and 2 CSP Receiver production lines and have worked as the Residential Business Division Manager at Array Technologies until they focused on the Utility Tracker Business.
I am a U.S.-German citizen with a Diploma in Electrical Power Engineering from University of Hannover, Germany. I joined NMSEA in 2011 at the Solar Fiesta. In 2013 I was elected to be a Member of the Board of Directors and focus to make NMSEA more attractive for its current and future members as they are the base of our organization.
Currently looking for a new professional opportunity and exploring the political renewable energy landscape in New Mexico, I am supporting the implementation of efficient and environment-friendly usage of resources.
Wendy Schumann, Eco Services Networker, Board Member
Born and raised in Victoria, Australia, l trained as a practical Nurse and then spent 2.5 years in my early 20’s traveling from Central Asia overland to Europe. During these travels, I witnessed first-hand poverty and struggles to attain fuel and the need for simple sustainable solutions. My experience cooking at many sustainable building colloquiums and workshops has exposed me to the tremendous potential of Solar energy in design. Together with my passion for wholesome nutrition and gardening, experience running rural buying clubs, coordinating volunteers, substitute teaching and cooking with Solar, makes me passionate in fueling the onward momentum of NMSEA and its continued effort to educate the masses. I have been in the USA for 32 years and have recently acquired a B.F.A.
Thomas Solomon, Energy/Environmental Activist, Board Member
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 and ramped Fab 11X in Rio Rancho. He also led the efforts to build Intel’s first (10kW) solar array in NM in 2008, and the larger 100kW array on the roof of Intel’s RR5 office building in 2011.
After retirement, Tom became a full-time activist and now co-leads the NM chapter of 350.org, fighting global warming to ensure a safe climate for his children. 350NM’s campaigns include UNM divestment, large public climate rallies, public education forums on methane leakage, rooftop solar advocacy at neighborhood associations, and coalition efforts at the PRC to replace the power from PNM’s San Juan coal plant with wind and solar energy.
Tom’s commitment to solar energy dates back to 1977 when he built his first tracking solar PV system for a college project. His electric car is fully powered by rooftop solar on his home in Albuquerque.
Julia Stephens, Community Planner, Treasurer
The ‘amazing use of solar’ came to light at the Ghost Ranch Passive Solar Adobe Workshop, taught by Mark Chalom and Quentin Wilson in 1977 and I joined NMSEA. I then began a passive solar retro-fit of my old adobe home in Bernalillo County’s South Valley. Wanting to do and know more, I obtained a Masters of Environmental Planning at ASU, School of Architecture and Design, with an emphasis in renewable energy and community based organizations, studying with Jeff Cook and John Yellot.
Returning to New Mexico, I joined with others to rebuild NMSEA including expanding Board participation and served as Board President, 1990-92. I took the part-time Coordinator position of Rebuild NM 2002-06 to improve energy efficiency in commercial, schools and public buildings, and took the opportunity to pay for resource assistance from NMSEA members by funding service contracts.
I have worked with community and resource development in rural and low income NM communities over 45 years, focusing in the South Valley of Bernalillo County the past 30 years and was recently inducted into the NM Association of Energy Engineers: Energy Hall of Fame 2015. We have a 5.0 kW rooftop PV grid connected system and two passive sun rooms on our home. I am currently semi-retired, contracting and volunteering with various community organizations and efforts. I believe I can continue supporting NMSEA, helping to focus our mission and strategies to remain unique in relation with current work of sister organizations and other advocates, while strengthening renewable energy and community sustainability, as a NMSEA Board member.