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 Littlebear (Northern Cheyenne)
President, Chief Dull Knife College
Richard (Dick) E. Littlebear was born on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana USA and grew up in Busby, Montana. He holdsdegrees 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. Littlebear 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.
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.
Kim Pate (Cherokee, Choctaw)
Managing Director, NDN Fund / NDN Collective
Kim is an attorney who has specialized in representing the interests of low-income women, families, Native Americans and disadvantaged communities. She has been a public speaker, trainer, technical assistance provider, coach and writer on issues affecting economic opportunity for twenty years. Prior to her work with NDN Collective, Kim helped develop and launch the Native CDFI Network, a trade association of Native CDFIs that promotes policies that support access to capital in Native communities and provided strategic consulting to initiatives for low-income people with the goal of improving their economic futures and promoting lasting change. Earlier in her career, Kim was Chief External Relations Officer for the Prosperity Now (formerly CFED) in Washington, DC. During her fifteen years at Prosperity Now, Kim was responsible for the biennial Assets Learning Conference, which brings together over a thousand leaders in the asset-building field to discuss ways that assets can help create prosperity and expand economic opportunity for low-income people. Kim also created and managed a national Community Development Financial Institution, the National Fund for Enterprise Development, coordinated strategic events, partnerships and communications across CFED’s priority areas of work, including asset building; entrepreneurship; tribal, state and local economic development; and affordable homeownership. Kim holds a Law Degree from University of California at Los Angeles School of Law and is admitted to practice in Nez Perce Tribal Court and California. She received a B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University.
The Honorable Jack Quinn
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.
Principal, Converge Strategies, LLC
Wilson is a Policy Fellow with the Center for Climate and Security. He is also a Founder and Principal at Converge Strategies, LLC, with over fifteen years of experience in the field of international renewable energy policy and market design. He has advised 25 countries on new energy strategies and has led global studies focusing on renewable energy on behalf of partners such as the International Energy Agency, REN21, the United Nations Development Programme, and the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He currently serves on the National Visiting Committee for the Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education and previously supported clean energy workforce programs at the Center for Sustainable Energy at Bronx Community College. Wilson focuses on the intersection of advanced energy, resilience, and national security in his roles as Principal of Converge Strategies, LLC, and as a Policy Fellow with the Center for Climate and Security. He previously served as CEO of Meister Consultants Group. Under his leadership, MCG supported energy policy and program development across all 50 U.S. states and provided technical assistance to thousands of municipal officials.
Wilson began his career in energy working with the German Wind Energy Association as part of a Congressionally-sponsored professional exchange. He remains a strong supporter of international exchange and has worked with study tour delegations from the United States, Germany, Poland, and South Korea.
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.
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.