Board and Staff

Board of Directors

Chair: Don Darnell

Don is an electrical engineer with a Wharton MBA serving now as an independent management consultant working with technology firms in Alberta’s new economy. He has co-authored research publications on Business Ethics, and served on several non-profit boards.  Don’s more recent volunteer work includes advocacy for bicycle infrastructure and Solar City Hall, and work on Edmonton’s Light Efficient Community Policy and Winter City Guidelines. During his time on the board, Don has helped establish SESA’s Seminar Series in his home city of Calgary.

Vice-Chair: Adrian Lopera-Valle

Adrian is Ph.D candidate in materials engineering at the University of Alberta, currently working on sustainable polymers for packaging and sensors. He is highly passionate about environmental issues linked to food waste, plastic pollution, and energy generation.  Adrian employs hard work, initiative, attention to detail, team work, and communication skills to empower his communities and influence his professional career. He has gained experience planning events, coordinating volunteers, and organization planing with  SustainSU and Student Energy at the University of Alberta, and, for the last two years, with SESA. Adrian actively contributes to bringing the community together for talks, seminars, and panels and through campaigns for social media, fundraising, and operations.

Past Chair: Susan Petrina

I believe in the power of people to change their circumstances for the better so long as they are provided with knowledge, tools and support. My combined interests in architecture, sustainability, renewable energy and advocacy contributed to the path that led me to get involved with SESA. Prior to joining the board in 2014, I attended many SESA seminars and events for general information and was impressed by the supportive and growing community of renewable energy enthusiasts in Edmonton and across Alberta. SESA has played a pivotal role in shaping the conversation around energy sustainability in the province and I felt it was time for me to jump in and get involved.

I have a diverse professional background that includes politics and government, communications and marketing, and extensive work with non-profits in community development, civic engagement and creative strategic planning. My credentials include an honours degree in sociology and a journalism diploma. I’m an experienced facilitator who gets excited by the prospect of bringing people together to accomplish things. And just for fun, I’m also leading a great group of neighbours to build a new community centre that we hope will be a model of sustainable design and energy efficiency.

Treasurer: Xiaosu "Cecilia" Zeng

Cecilia is an associate manager, private investment assets, for Alberta Investment Management Corporation. Cecilia is a financial professional in the private investment field; a team player, who is happy to collaborate with the board and the SESA staff to help SESA achieve its goals and impact larger societal goals such as the Carbon Strategy of Alberta.  While she is new to the Solar Industry Cecilia will use her time to pro-actively learn about and promote solar.  Cecillia believes that Board diversity is always a good practice, and is confident that she will be bring a different perspective to the table.

Secretary: Ranice Macyk

Ranice has lead the development of unique financial products for Alberta entrepreneurs, including ATB’s first Solar Financing Program. ATB’s goal is to catalyze a transformational change in Alberta’s energy needs and set the stage for greater adoption of renewable sources.
ATB Financial is an organization dedicated to helping Alberta’s entrepreneurs and supporting initiatives that would have a legacy impact on our province. As a potential member of the board, Ranice would serve as a linkage with Alberta’s premier financial institution to provide strategic guidance and galvanize support that would advance awareness, use and market adoption of solar energy in Alberta. 

Member at Large: Elizabeth Andrew

Beth Andrew is the Lead Solar Designer at Generate Energy.  Beth was a part of the first class to graduate from NAIT's Alternative Energy program and has been working in Alberta's solar industry for over 5 years. Beth believes that SESA offers an important link between the Alberta solar industry and the public, and that education is the best way to promote solar technology.

Member at Large: Carla Cichowska

Carla has a degree in environmental studies from the University of Alberta and a law degree from Dalhousie with an environmental law specialization. She also has experience organizing events and managing volunteers: she was co-Chair of the Environmental Law Students Society where she organized speaker series, a Bike Sale, and fundraising events. She also helped raise $10,000 for a renewable project initiative - the installation of solar panels on a building. At the UofA she was President of a student group where she managed volunteers and organized fundraising events. 

Member at Large: Csilla Harsasi

Csilla is a graduate of the NAIT Alternative Energy Technology Program and holds a MSc degree in Security and Defense Policy from Hungary. She’s been volunteering for SESA the past 2 years and joined Great Canadian Solar in 2018 as a designer. Her passion for sustainability and renewables drives her towards the most challenging projects, such as Ruling the Roost net zero bat house or off-grid solar projects. As an Energy Manager in Training she also has experience in high performance building design. For Csilla, being part of SESA means an opportunity to change the way people relate to energy. 

Member at Large: Kelvin Tan

Kelvin is an ardent supporter of all forms of distributed generation including solar photovoltaics systems. He recently obtained a Masters degree in Sustainable Energy Development from the UofC. Kelvin is also a firm believer in environmental education and had volunteered with two non-profit organizations delivering workshops to grade school kids in Calgary. One of the workshops was on solar photovoltaics. With a professional career spanning over 20 years, in both Asia and Canada, he had been involved with program management and business development extensively. Based in Calgary, Kelvin would like to assist with the seminar and Calgary committees. 

Staff

Interim Executive Director: Todd Herron

Todd has 15 years experience  running technology and consulting companies, extensive experience working for and consulting governments in the area of technology commercialization. He created frameworks for small businesses to do business with big businesses and government; and establish the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation’s Digital Solutions Alliance trade association. Todd led the development of Canada’s national health technology strategy. For 4 years, he was Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for Homeward Trust, a $30 million non-profit facilitating ending homelessness in Edmonton. He is the owner of Go Net Zero, Inc, an energy portfolio management company.

Marketing and Operations Lead: Daniel J. Kielback

Daniel has worked as a researcher, project developer, digital communicator, and volunteer engagement coordinator for sustainable development initiatives. He has a M.Sc in Geography and completed a Fellowship in Social Entrepreneurship. Since moving to Edmonton in 2016, he has become a Master Composter Recycler with the City of Edmonton, member of the Edmonton Food Council, and Edmonton Tool Library Board of Directors. He is actively occupied by interests in organizational development, futurism, design, and sustainable development.

Program Administrator: Alec Forest

Alec's career interests lie at the intersection of sustainability, leadership, and technology, with a background in nonprofit programming, sustainability project operations, event planning, volunteer engagement, public outreach, and ecology conservation research. He is pursuing a degree in Environmental Sciences, has trained as a Master Naturalist with the City of Edmonton, and is a proud French-Canadian. Alec loves to share and cross-pollinate ideas and mental models from different fields, including organizational leadership, project management, coding and design, performance psychology, tech innovation, and culture. In his free time, he enjoys cycling year-round, strength training, ballroom dancing, and Classical piano. 

Calgary Events Coordinator: Harleen Aujla

Harleen serves as event support in the coordination of SESA efforts in Calgary, and now works as a Project Coordinator at Simple Solar.  Starting as an enthusiastic volunteer with CalSESA, Harleen’s involvement within the organization has grown, with a great commitment to keeping operations flowing in Calgary. Currently undergoing a career transition, Harleen holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Energy Management from the University of Calgary, and is completing the Renewable Energy and Conservation certificate at Lakeland College. Her passions include active participation in a more sustainable city, with future interests in project management and city planning. Prior work experience includes administration and management at a private accounting firm.

Webmaster: Russ Miyagawa

Russ Miyagawa is a non-profit swiss army knife providing administrative, communications, information technology, and technical services to environmental and community non-profit groups. He is an active member and Social Chair of the Queen Alexandra Community League, having previously served as Treasurer and as Publicity Chair. He holds a BSc in Civil Engineering, and an MSc in Environmental Engineering from the University of Alberta.

Bookkeeper: Tim Rose

Tim Rose has worked as an accountant for Enbridge Pipelines, a business manager for Edmonton Public Schoolboard and is now working part-time as a bookkeeper whilst completing his four year training (Nov 2015) to become a Feldenkrais practitioner (Awareness Through Movement, specializing in developing neuroplasticity in the brain).

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