In addition to our governing Earth Island Board of Directors, the Covenant Solar Initiative team is proud
to be guided by the advice and support of the esteemed individuals who make up our Advisory Board:


Dr. Richard Little Bear (Northern Cheyenne)
President, Chief Dull Knife College 

Richard (Dick) E. Little Bear was born on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana USA and grew up in Busby, Montana. He holds degrees from Bethel College in Kansas and Montana State University and received his doctorate degree in education from Boston University in 1994. He is President of Chief Dull Knife College located in the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Dr. Little Bear actively promotes bilingualism, advocating for bilingual education on a local, state, national and international level. He encourages the continued oral, written and reading usage of the Cheyenne language specifically, and of all indigenous languages, generally. He considers learning to read and write the Cheyenne language—his first language—as his greatest academic achievement.


Chief Henry Red Cloud (Oglala Lakota)
Executive Director, Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center
Founder, Lakota Solar Enterprises

Chief Henry Red Cloud is a fifth-generation direct descendant of Mahpiya Luta (Chief Red Cloud), one of the last Lakota war chiefs and a signer of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty. Henry has been a protector of the Lakota Oyate for decades and a teacher of renewable energy and sustainable building for almost twenty years. Henry is currently the Executive Director of the non-profit organization, Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center. He and his team teach ‘a New Way to Honor the Old Ways’ to students from more than 50 tribes across the Northern Plains and far beyond. For almost two decades, Chief Red Cloud has worked to develop and share renewable energy technologies for Great Plains tribes to become energy independent, create jobs, and improve living standards for American Indians.

Henry founded Lakota Solar Enterprises in 2004. The company employs tribal members who manufacture and install efficient solar air heating systems for Native American families living on reservations across the Great Plains. In 2008 he opened the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, where American Indians from around the country visit to receive hands-on training in renewable energy technology and sustainable building practices from fellow Native trainers. Among his many honors are an honorable Doctor of Public Service from Washington College, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council’s Annual Innovation Award, the World Energy Globe Award, the White House’s Champion of Change for Solar Deployment, and MIT’s Solve Fellowship.


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Robert Blake (Red Lake Ogichidaa)
Founder and CEO Solar Bear
Executive Director, Native Sun Community Power Development

Robert “Bob” Blake is a tribal citizen of the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe Indians, and the Founder and CEO of Solar Bear “Gizis-o-makwa” in Ojibwe. He is passionate about spreading the word of renewable energy through communication, cooperation, and collaboration. Robert is the Executive Director of Native Sun Community Power Development, a native-led non-profit that promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency and an equitable energy transition through education, workforce training and demonstration. Robert is a graduate student enrolled in the University of Minnesota’s Carlson Executive Master of Business Administration (CEMBA) program. His passion is spreading the word about renewable energy through communication, cooperation, and collaboration.


Christina Manansala West
Executive Director, Pazala Foundation

As a mechanical engineer, Christina built a career from the mid-80’s into the 2000’s on sustainable building design teams through consulting with architects and developers to integrate passive solar technologies into building construction, by designing cutting edge mechanical and solar energy systems, and by producing and teaching workshops in photovoltaic design engineering. In 2009 Christina co-founded Zep Solar Inc, along with PV innovator and inventor Jack West and solar contractor Daniel Flanigan. Zep Solar revolutionized the standardization and adoption of residential solar in the US, and was acquired by SolarCity in 2013. Christina and husband Jack West then founded their family foundation, Pazala, to continue work on environmental projects, to provide support to humanitarian projects, and to promote artistic endeavors. Christina is on the Advisory Board of the Schatz Energy Research Center as well as the Covenant Solar Initiative. Christina is a first generation immigrant from the Philippines, born in Japan of adventurous parents, and a graduate of the University of California, Davis in Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in Energy Policy.


Sandra Kwak

Sandra Kwak
Founder and CEO, 10 Power

Executive strategist and systems thinker, Sandra is applying disruptive innovation to create a regenerative future. Before launching 10Power, she scaled AutoGrid from prototype to a global brand, creating automated intelligence out of big data from the smart grid. Prior, as Co-Founder / President / COO of energy efficiency company Powerzoa, she brought building management hardware and software tools to market. Sandra has also served as CEO of a software company producing the world’s first mathematically lossless video codec. She worked at Pacific Gas & Electric implementing the ClimateSmart program and has consulted with clients including Mitsubishi, the Transamerica Holding Company, and The San Francisco Foundation. Sandra has an MBA in Sustainable Business from Presidio Graduate School and a BA in Political Science and Visual Art from Emory University.


Clark Miller

Dr. Clark A. Miller
Associate Director for Faculty and Professor
School for the Future of Innovation in Society, College of Global Futures
Arizona State University

Professor Miller’s research is centrally concerned with the problem of public reasoning-how political systems reason collectively about policy challenges-created by a rapidly globalizing world. His newest project is a comparative analysis of the epistemic constitution of global security in three powerful expert agencies-the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Health Organization, and the International Monetary Fund-from their inception in the years following World War II through the end of the Cold War, the rise of globalization, and the politics of global dissent at the turn of the new millennium.

Clark is the faculty coordinator for an exciting new CSPO initiative, the Project on Global and Comparative Knowledges, an effort to establish at ASU the critical capacity to systematically evaluate the knowledge bases underpinning decisions of planetary significance. The project seeks to refine our understanding of epistemic power, conflict, and confrontation in international governance, grounded in empirical and theoretical evaluations of the organization of systems of practice and discourse for deliberating, warranting, and critiquing knowledge and expertise in international governance. The project’s ultimate ideal is to avert, in the future, the kind of major failures in how policy problems are identified and framed, evidence evaluated, and expertise mobilized at the global scale that have, in recent decades, cost tens of thousands of lives and created a crisis of trust and credibility in international governance that continues today to feed smoldering resistance amongst global publics.

Dr. Miller is the editor of Changing the Atmosphere: Expert Knowledge and Environmental Governance (MIT Press, 2001, with Paul Edwards) and the author of nearly fifty articles and reports on the politics of science and decision making in democratic governance and the physics of the Earth’s upper atmosphere. In 2003, he served as a consultant to the United Nations Environment Programme and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and he currently is participating in follow-up discussions of the institutionalization of biodiversity expertise in global politics on a more permanent basis. He also is a founding co-organizer of the Science and Democracy Network, a professional organization for scholars and practitioners working at the intersections of knowledge, expertise and democratic governance.

In addition to his leadership at CSPO, Clark serves as the associate director of the Center for Nanotechnology in Society and chair of the PhD Program in Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology. He also serves on the advisory committee for the Nanotechnology Informal Science Education Network and the Bovay Center for Engineering, Ethics, and Society at the National Academy of Engineering.

Before joining ASU, Dr. Miller was a professor of science studies and public affairs at the University of Wisconsin and of political science at Iowa State University. He received his doctorate from Cornell in electrical engineering in 1995 and has held postdoctoral positions at the Department of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Carlos Ramirez
Senior Director, Environmental Health, Safety & Sustainability, Sunrun
Former Vice President, Environmental Health, Safety & Sustainability, Tesla-SolarCity

Carlos has over a decade of risk and environmental health and safety management experience in the renewable energy and construction industries. His knowledge and leadership resulted in SolarCity attaining the lowest accident and injury rate in the solar industry.  He pioneered the development innovative safety solutions that are easy to use, economical, with the utmost safety considerations in mind. The fall protection systems and anchors he helped to create in use by nearly every solar installation entity in the country.  His teams have authored Cal-OSHA regulatory changes and lobbied for the changes that increased employee safety and clarified regulations to ensure compliance for all trades.  Carlos is proud to have served our Country in the United States Marine Corps.


Joseph Sarubbi
President & CEO, Trilogy Workforce Solutions, LLC

With more than 35 years in industry and education training experience, Joe has garnered a national reputation for the design and delivery of renewable energy and other industry training programs. Joe is a Board Member of the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and a Board Member of the Association of Community College Energy and Water Educators. Joe is a technical education and training and workforce development consultant, currently serving as Project Manager for DOE’s Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment initiative (GEARED), administered by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.  He managed both SunShot programs, the Solar Instructor Training Network, and Solar Career Map, on behalf of DOE, as well. Before joining IREC, Joe was a professor, department chair, and executive director at Hudson Valley Community College where he was the main architect for the college’s TEC-SMART facility, the country’s first totally integrated Training and Education Center for Semi-Conductor Manufacturing and Alternative and Renewable Technologies. In 2009, Joe was honored by the visit of President Obama in which the president recognized his work in developing model programs for other institutions to emulate. With over thirty-five years in industry and education training experience, Joe has garnered a national reputation for the design and delivery of renewable energy and other industry training programs. Joe has twice given expert testimony regarding renewable energy training programs and policy before the U.S. Congress, and is a Journeyman Electrician.


Amir Chireh Mehr | Yale Center for Business and the Environment

Amir Chireh Mehr
Vice President, Transaction Execution at Climate Change Real Impact Solutions

Amir is a Vice President, Transaction Execution at Climate Change Crisis Real Impact (“CRIS”), the first climate Special-purpose Acquisition Company. CRIS is led by an experienced team of industry professionals who seek to effect a business combination with a company with the potential to play a pivotal role in scaling solutions that address climate-related issues whilst delivering meaningful economic, environmental, and social value to all key stakeholder groups, and society at large.

Prior to this, Amir was an Assistant Vice President at GE Energy Financial Services in the Execution and Portfolio Management team, where he supported the underwriting and subsequent asset management of common and preferred equity investments in power plant projects across the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions.

In 2017, Amir graduated with an MEM and MBA from Yale with a focus on the intersection of energy systems and capital markets.

During his time at Yale, Amir worked as a summer Associate at Rabobank North America Wholesale. In his first year, Amir was a a summer Associate at the New York Green Bank, a $1 billion state-sponsored specialized financial entity. Amir also served as a Teaching Fellow for many courses, and was a member of the CBEY Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies, and Renewable Thermal Technologies teams.

Prior to coming to Yale, Amir worked as an Analyst in the New Zealand Direct Investment Team at the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. While at the NZSF, he worked on a number of transactions, with a particular focus on the natural resources sector.

Amir holds an AB in Physics, and Italian and European Studies from Duke University, where he was a member of Robertson Scholars Program Class of 2012. Amir is a Kiwi by way of Iranian descent, and as such, he is an avid fan of Rugby, Pineapple Lumps, and Medieval Persian poetry.


Cesia Kerns
Former Regional Director, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign

Cesia Kearns has worked for over 20 years as a changemaker in human rights, environmental, and energy issues. Her efforts to stop climate change through grassroots powerbuilding began as a community organizer and has spanned the Midwest, Pacific Coast, Intermountain West, the Gulf Coast, and Alaska, and includes collaborations with Tribal leaders and international allies. A former Regional Director for Sierra Club’s National Beyond Coal Campaign, she endeavored with partners in the Western U.S. to transform the electric sector to clean, renewable, and equitable energy, and to stop harmful coal mining and export projects. She has served on executive teams for the Power Past Coal, Stand Up to Oil, Oregon Blue Green Alliance, and the Alaskans for Energy Freedom coalitions. She brings organizing, campaigning, policy, strategy, facilitation, communications, and fundraising experience, as well as the love of a good public hearing or theme party (sometimes in combination). She holds a BFA in Visual Art and a multi-disciplinary BS in Anthropology, Ethnic Studies, and Theatre Design from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and is an MBA candidate at Willamette University. Growing up in a military family traversing many geographies taught her the importance of community, culture, and place, and the responsibility of leadership to prevent harm. She aims to put her creative and campaigner background to work to transform our economic systems and institutions into ones that center people and the planet.


The Honorable Jack Quinn  (Board Member, Emeritus)
Former Congressman, and
President, Emeritus, University at Buffalo–Erie Community College

With a Masters in Education as well as a Superintendent credential, Mr. Quinn’s early career began in education, as a middle school English teacher for 10 years.  His political beginnings include serving on the Hamburg, New York Town Council from 1982 to 1984, followed by a stint as town supervisor until 1993.  Mr. Quinn was elected to the House of Representatives in 1992,representing most of Buffalo and suburban Erie County in the heavily Democratic 30th District. However, the moderate Republican Quinn defeated Erie County Executive, Dennis Gorski in an upset.  Mr. Quinn was re-elected five more times by surprisingly wide margins,in what was by far the most Democratic district in the Nation to be represented by a Republican.

During his tenure in Congress, representing New York’s 30th and 27th Congressional Districts, from 1993 to 1995, Mr. Quinn was a chair and/or active member of numerous committees, subcommittees, and caucuses, including the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he served as chairman of the Railroads Subcommittee, and as a member of the Subcommittee on Water and Environment.  Mr. Quinn was also a member of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, and its related Subcommittee on Hospitals and Health Care. He served on the Joint Economic Committee as a member.  Further serving as a leader of Congressional committees, Mr. Quinn co-chaired both the Northern Border Caucus and the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition, and was also a member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus.

To aid his constituents, the Congressman opened and closed more than 10,000 working cases during his time in Congress. This type of commitment to completing federal casework has been described as “legendary.”

After leaving Congress, Quinn joined the Washington, D.C., lobbying firm, Cassidy and Associates, as President.  In 2008, out of 59 Nationally-considered applicants, Mr. Quinn was appointed by the Board of Trustees as President of Erie Community College, part of the State University of New York system.  During his years at ECC, President Quinn initiated clean energy education programming at the college, working closely with representatives from SolarCity Corporation in order to train the staff of their 1GW solar panel manufacturing facility, the largest in the Western Hemisphere.

©[2018] Covenant Solar Initiative, a Project of Earth Island Institute, 501(c)(3) Made with  in Oakland, CA


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