Insight into Federal Programs | Just Transition
March 29, 2022
October 4, 2022
Cleantech Leaders Roundtable (CTLR) and the Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN) are thrilled to announce the second cohort of the Mária Telkes Fellows!
The Mária Telkes Fellowship is intended to help promising cleantech professionals from underrepresented demographics tap into networking connections, positive exposure, and champion-building opportunities to realize their full potential for executive leadership. The fellowship is named for Mária Telkes (December 12, 1900 – December 2, 1995), a Hungarian-American scientist who is considered one of the founders of solar thermal storage systems, earning her the nickname “the Sun Queen.”
Out of a large volume of highly qualified applicants, 10 Fellows have been selected for the 2022-2024 cohort. Learn more about the Mária Telkes Fellowship program and meet the 2021-2023 cohort of fellows.
Andrea has been named one of the top 10 Most Influential Spanish Entrepreneurs for her work as the Co-Founder and CEO of RatedPower, which has developed a cloud-based software to help companies discover smarter ways to maximize the potential of a solar PV plant. The firm’s pvDesign automates and optimizes the study, analysis, design, and engineering of photovoltaic plants to reduce construction costs. After growing the company’s reach and expanding into the US market, RatedPower underwent a successful merger and acquisition with Enverus in 2022. Andrea will now serve as the firm’s Vice-President of Power and Renewables. Having shattered the glass ceiling in herself, Andrea is committed to diversity at her company; more than half the firm’s employees are women, including many in executive positions.
Hilary has rolled up her sleeves to tackle the economic and environmental justice crises facing her hometown. After watching her father join with neighbors to bring employment opportunities to East St. Louis, she was inspired to do the same. In 2019, she founded an energy design build company to champion climate preservation and community impact by designing, developing, and financing cutting-edge projects that integrate energy efficiency, renewable energy, and cleantech. Her efforts to support environmental justice in her community extend beyond her professional life. Hilary is involved with numerous local organizations ranging from the Missouri Chapter for US Green Builders Council, Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, to the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce. Notably, she supports the nonprofits Ntosake and Macedonia Development Corporation to empower and support women and those in her community with a green ecosystem, workforce development clearing house, and business accelerator.
Janice has been a champion in the clean energy industry, developing and financing renewable energy projects before founding her first company. She was part of the renewable microgrids business line at NRG and was part of financing North America’s largest portfolio of organic waste-to-energy investments at Generate Capital, a project finance fund that focuses on investing in sustainable projects. As a BIPOC female leader and daughter of Vietnamese refugees, her company Kanin Energy has hit the ground running and has announced its first commercial projects set for 2023. Beyond business, Janice lends her expertise to support others. She serves in many trade association groups and remains involved with Student Energy, a global youth-led organization empowering young people to accelerate the sustainable energy transition, which she co-founded in 2009.
John is the biological son of a 12-year-old orphan girl brought to the US from Saigon during the Vietnam War. John is also service-disabled veteran who served 11 years in the US Navy as a nuclear engineer, Navy diver, and submariner. They identify as two-spirit (non-binary) and a dedicated climate activist and water protector. John is the President & Co-Founder of Mana Pacific, a public benefit corporation working to address the climate crisis by uniting the 21 Pacific Islands Countries and Territories together around the Moana Pledge. They also serve as a board trustee for other non-profits. As a Telkes Fellow, John is looking forward to connecting with other visionaries and leaders to help cultivate successful ideas and partnerships.
Kathryn is a cleantech executive whose work supports a healthier, more sustainable environment and economy. Throughout Kathryn’s academic career she focused on the impacts of climate change on people and planet. Since joining industry, Kathryn has supported early-stage cleantech companies through her work in acceleration, incubation, venture capital, and via operational experience at a growth-stage company. She has interfaced with government, eNGOs, and global multilateral initiatives, forging partnerships and advocating for climate-forward policies. Kathryn sees inclusivity as non-negotiable in the cleantech sector and has supported diverse founders, cohorts, and constituents. She is affecting change through her role at Energetic Insurance, where she works to enable renewable energy and efficiency financing and deployment in underserved markets.
As the daughter of Salvadoran war refugees, Nathaly’s experiences with injustice have motivated her to address the root causes of the climate crisis. Her career goal is to cultivate leaders in climate tech to be part of constructive, inclusive innovations that address the needs of those on the frontlines. At Elemental Excelerator, a nonprofit investor with over 150 companies in its portfolio, Nathaly is leading the development of the Equity is Dynamic: Journey program. This web app and curriculum teaches CEOs and leaders to embed social equity and justice in their work activities of the climate tech sector. Through her work with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator as well as the Elemental Excelerator, Nathaly is a passionate leader driven to make innovation more inclusive.
It was late in her career that Patty joined the renewable energy industry. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community hailing from a blue-collar background with a 2-year degree obtained in her 40s, her trajectory into cleantech has been non-linear. After losing her business and going through financial hardships during the 2008 recession, she began attending community college and completed her associate’s degree. With a passion to change the world, she made the leap into the energy sector in 2013 as a corporate paralegal for a utility-scale solar developer. She worked her way up over the next decade, specializing in utility-scale project development to become Chief of Staff at Pine Gate Renewables. In that decade, Patty managed the development and acquisition of a GW of solar currently in service. As a leader in clean energy, she is excited to see the industry gaining momentum and be a part of that push. Patty also works with a local environmental conservation group and focuses on the intersection of equity, environmental justice, and the impacts of climate change on our underserved communities.
Riean has over ten years of experience with early-stage renewable energy development. He managed the origination and acquisition of 50k+ acres and 250k+ sq. ft. of rooftops for utility-scale and distributed generation wind and solar projects up to nearly 500MW across the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and Southeast United States. As he moves forward in his career, Riean hopes to help address a blind spot in the siting and development process that ignores the potential for projects on minority and low-to-moderate income (LMI) agricultural owned land, ensuring everyone can benefit from the energy transition. As a Telkes fellow, he hopes to gain the relationships and resources needed to pursue his goal of addressing that gap.
Having grown up and worked in Nigeria, Roberta is conversant with the power and infrastructural challenges developing countries encounter on their path to economic growth and the impact of this journey on transforming the lives of its people. This experience led her to pursue a career in energy, where her work included collaborating with diverse stakeholders to solve some of the most pressing regional challenges – from building supply chain resilience to building business capabilities her passion for driving organizational and people transformation shines through. She recently completed an MBA at MIT as a mid-career Sloan Fellow, accelerating her leadership development and motivating her to play a bigger role in the energy transition within her organization and community. Long term, Roberta hopes to create various social and developmental platforms to champion and enable sustainable development in Africa.
Always innovative, Uche has led large-scale projects and grown global companies that improve access to clean energy. As Founder & CEO of InfraNergy, a company which finances, develops, and builds solar microgrids, he provides reliable power to critical infrastructure and underserved markets in the U.S. and Africa. He has led breakthrough projects, including co-managing a $10 billion project finance & tax equity portfolio of over 150 solar and wind projects. Uche has been a pioneer in industry and academia. He became the first African American director with responsibility for large grid-scale batteries, and began teaching university courses at age 30 while completing his PhD. He had overall P&L, commercial, operational, and regulatory responsibility for the then largest portfolio of 140 MW of some of the first grid-scale batteries in the U.S. Uche is currently building SolbloX AI, a platform which democratizes wholesale power market analytics and financing for distributed energy resources to strengthen the response to climate change. Uche has been a supporter of diverse populations, delivering solar to off-grid communities, and supporting mentoring, sickle-cell anemia, and breast cancer causes.
Cleantech Leaders Roundtable (CTLR) is a fellowship among peers of leading cleantech CEOs, investors, and influencers. This community facilitates trusted exchange of information, collective problem-solving through partnerships, and amplification of individual business and communications efforts. Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN) is the small business voice for the clean energy economy. CEBN’s mission is to enhance opportunities for small- and midsize clean energy companies through policy engagement, market and technology education, and business development assistance.