Ben Otto: Board Chair
In Boise, they call Ben Otto “Captain Kilowatt.” That’s because of the Idaho Conservation League advocate’s relentless pursuit of progress on clean energy, particularly energy efficiency. He led the campaign to continue Idaho Power Co.’s demand response programs, is a continual advocate to improve and expand energy efficiency programs, and brings together diverse interests and technical experts before Idaho regulators to promote clean energy options to replace coal power. A frequent intervenor in Idaho Public Utilities Commission cases, Otto has impressed commissioners with his professionalism, thought-provoking questions and knowledge. He helped found the Idaho Clean Energy Association and serves on that group’s board, and the board of Renewable Northwest.
Shanna Brownstein: Vice-Chair and Oregon Caucus Representative
Shanna Brownstein joined Portland General Electric in 2019 and works on the utility’s transportation electrification efforts. Shanna previously worked as NW Natural’s government and community affairs manager, focused on local and regional utility issues and environmental policies. She was also a member of the company’s sustainability team and diversity council. Prior to joining NW Natural in 2011, she managed policy and government affairs at The Climate Trust. She is a certified whitewater rafting guide and enjoys hiking and skiing, eating good food, and hanging with her family. She received a masters degree in public administration from Columbia University in New York City and a bachelor’s in government and international studies from Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
Chuck Magraw: Treasurer
Helena, Montana resident Chuck Magraw has been active in the NW Energy Coalition for more than a decade, previously serving as Montana caucus chair and Board chair. He practices energy law, representing Coalition members in Montana and the region. Prior to concentrating on energy issues, he worked for the state of Montana, litigating an environmental damages case. Before settling in Montana, he practiced environmental law in Washington, D.C.
Eric Mazzi, PE, PhD, CEM: British Columbia Caucus Representative
Bonnie Frye Hemphill: Washington Caucus Representative
Bonnie has a decade of experience making clean energy real and accessible for all. Prior to working in the technical side of helping homeowners go solar with A&R Solar, she helped entrepreneurs and executives advocate together for practical and profitable climate and energy solutions. At E2Tech, the Environmental & Energy Technology Council of Maine, Bonnie connected green entrepreneurs with mentors, investors, and peers across New England. She also launched Maine Businesses for Climate Action, a project of the Natural Resources Council of Maine. Similarly, she helped run a network called Business Leaders for Climate Solutions in Seattle, where she increased membership from 125 to 1,200+ executives and entrepreneurs. Bonnie has also served in the Public Engagement Office of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and as the digital director at the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. Whenever possible, Bonnie is knitting, inventing new recipes, or out pursuing adventures with her baby, friends, and dogs on mountains, rivers, and coastlines.
Jeff Fox: Montana Caucus Representative
Jeff joined Renewable Northwest in February of 2011 to further the organization’s on-the-ground presence in Montana. Jeff is a native Montanan, wilderness lover, elk hunter, and backcountry skier deeply committed to clean energy solutions for Montana and the nation. Jeff’s background includes working as a wilderness ranger in Colorado and Wyoming, before moving to Washington, DC, to join The Wilderness Society. Missing the mountains, he returned home to assist in the Montana Legacy Project, a $520 million-dollar conservation purchase of 320,000 acres of private timber lands threatened by development and fragmentation. Most recently, Jeff was an independent contractor working to organize business support for clean energy. He currently volunteers on the policy committee of the Montana Renewable Energy Association.
Nic Nelson: Idaho Caucus Representative
Nic joined IRU as Executive Director in 2019. A native of Wyoming and a graduate of the University of Idaho, Nic has dedicated his career to conservation, working on conservation efforts for elk, raptors, and waterfowl; in addition to wilderness advocacy and permanent land protection campaigns. When not in the office, you can find Nic wetting a line on one of Idaho’s blue ribbon fisheries or playing in the beautiful mountains that make Idaho the ideal place to live.
Jeff Bissonnette currently works for the Union of Concerned Scientists. Jeff worked for the Citizens’ Utility Board (CUB), Oregon’s residential ratepayer advocate organization, from 1998 until 2016. He campaigned for progressive energy policy as head of the Fair and Clean Energy Coalition and since 2001 directed CUB’s legislative advocacy efforts. Oregon’s Public Utility Commission appointed him to the committee that oversees the renewable energy options utilities offer their customers. He served on the Oregon universal service advisory board, ensuring that everyone has access to affordable basic telephone service and is a member of the Portland independent police review division’s citizens review committee. After his time at CUB, he served as Executive Director of Oregon Solar Energy Industries Association. As a University of Oregon freshman in 1984, he worked to pass the ballot measure that created CUB, leading to a lifetime dedicated to community organizing and public-interest advocacy. In his off-time, he enjoys gardening, hiking, camping and talking about politics.
Joseph Bogaard began working for Save Our wild Salmon in 1996. He got hooked on Northwest salmon restoration efforts in graduate school in the early 1990s while writing a paper on the then-relatively recent Endangered Species Act listings of Snake River salmon and how they might affect the region and its federal lands and dams. Before joining the SOS team, Bogaard spent many years teaching and working in the forests and mountains of the West. Today he lives on Vashon Island with his wonderful wife, Amy, and children Liesl and Jeremiah.
Direlle R. Calica, J.D.| Tux-um-shush
Ms. Direlle R. Calica is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, she is Warm Springs, Wasco, Yakama, and Snoqualamie tribal descent. Ms. Calica brings 18-years of experience as a legislative, policy, planning, and regulatory advisor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office-District of Oregon, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and various Indian Tribes. Ms. Calica has extensive professional experience in intergovernmental affairs, hydro system planning, and tribal energy policy. She has also served as a White House Intern and Mark O. Hatfield Congressional Fellow in the U.S. Senate. Her professional background includes a Juris Doctorate with a focus on Business and Natural Resource policy. Ms. Calica was an Adjunct Professor of Law at Lewis & Clark Law School in the Indian Law Program. Ms. Calica also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (B-E-F), Our Native American Business & Entrepreneur Network (ONABEN), and most recently the Northwest Energy Coalition. Ms. Calica is the Managing Member of Kanim Associates, LLC. She is an active member of the Washington State Bar Association. Ms. Calica’s hobbies include outdoor activities, design, gardening, and spending time with her daughter Kale’a, husband Shirod Younker, and their three dogs Emma, Baxter, and Fritzi.
Hannah Cruz works at the Energy Trust of Oregon, leading communications and reporting, and conducting outreach to stakeholders, communities and business leaders on the value of energy efficiency and renewable energy. She previously worked for the Oregon Department of Energy, developing a clean fuels website and verifying energy projects. Hannah is a participant in the Portland Business Alliance Leadership Portland program, a member of the World Affairs Council of Oregon, a Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest mentor and an avid sports fan and participant. She holds bachelor’s degrees in environmental policy and journalism-mass communication from Drake University.
David works for UMC, Inc. and is known by clients, peers and management as a positive and influential leader, resourceful and trusted team player and creative problem-solver. Having been involved in the past with organizations such as People for Puget Sound, Washington Environmental Council prior to transitioning from healthcare roles into energy efficiency. Trained as a pharmacologist, and spent years “optimizing the body” now “optimizing buildings” in the commercial energy efficiency industry. David enjoys gardening, landscaping, home renovations, boating and camping with his wife Nancy and two dogs. Getting outside into our wonderful different jeweled regions of the Pacific Northwest and preserving those for generations to follow is his passion.
Peter Mostow is a partner in the Seattle office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where he focuses on representing companies involved in emerging and mature energy and clean technology, including solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass project sponsors. Prior to joining the firm, Mostow was a partner and renewable energy practice chair at Stoel Rives.
Megan Owen joined McKinstry 2009 and is responsible for developing, implementing and managing McKinstry’s strategic market development agenda for the West Coast. She provides strategic oversight to complex, high-profile projects throughout the company and supports various nonprofit and philanthropic initiatives throughout the Pacific Northwest. Owen supports clients in the education, healthcare, commercial and industrial sectors by identifying and removing barriers to market adoption and expansion of clean energy initiatives through policy, regulation, finance, campaigns, communication, marketing and/or public private partnerships, and other levers. Her extensive government experience – she was former Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire’s director of King County outreach — helps unite public and private entities around common interests.
Jaimes Valdez works for the City of Portland, focused on the launch of the groundbreaking Portland Clean Energy Fund. Before taking this position with the city of Portland in 2019, Jaimes worked for Spark Northwest, where he covered regulatory, market and legislative policy issues. He has more than a decade of experience in renewables, including in project development, energy planning, utility marketing and advocacy. Before his time at Spark Northwest, Jaimes worked for the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, where he helped launch several energy initiatives and represented Portland in regulatory proceedings. He spent a year on a fellowship in Germany researching renewables development and integration. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and environmental studies from Whitman College. In 2015, he was recognized by the NW Energy Coalition as one of the 4 Under Forty leaders for clean and affordable energy.