Board of Directors

Hon. Al Galvez: Board President

Al is an accomplished executive with significant leadership experience in the energy industry with a Fortune 500 corporation, and has a proven understanding of infrastructure and generation project needs. He leads Amani International with strategic business expertise and technical understanding. Al currently serves as President of the Board of Trustees for Madera Unified School District and has advocated our work with their high schools. Al was Public Affairs Manager with PG&E from 1985 to 2010.

Specialties: Extensive experience in leadership positions inclusive of resource and strategic planning; generation and transmission project permitting and development; governmental and regulatory relations. Al has a record of leading teams through long term planning, directing and ensuring corporate goals are met. Al is highly motivated, detail oriented with proven ability to manage, prioritize to ensure successful outcomes.

Benny D. Barco, Esq.: Board Secretary

Benny D. Barco is a Central Valley small business and startup attorney. He acts as business and outside general legal counsel to startups, entrepreneurs, and professionals.

Benny is active in numerous community and charitable causes in the Central Valley. He is a board member for the Junior Company Foundation and an active member of Community Housing Council of Fresno, Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation and National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. 

Benny received a J.D. from San Joaquin College of Law and a B.A. in English Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. 

Gayle T. Merritt, CPA: Board Treasurer

California Certified Public Accountant since 1992, serving small to medium size, non-public businesses and individuals, in the areas of 1) tax planning and compliance, 2) controllership services 3) analyses of business operations and internal controls 4) prime care plus services 5) trustee services and 6) litigation support.  Sole practitioner of Merritt Accountancy

Clientele includes businesses and individuals in various industries including agricultural, real estate, health care, professional services and construction.

Graduated with a B.S. Accounting, May 1989, California State University, Fresno, Magna Cum Laude

PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES

Member, American Institute of CPA's

Member, Division of Firms and Private Companies Practice Section, AICPA 

Member, California Society of CPA's

Marylen Karsted:

Marylen has been a Senior Community Services Officer with the Fresno Police Department for 35 years. Her current assignment is Court Officer in the Prosecution Liaison Office where she reviews criminal cases for prosecution and filing with Fresno’s courts. In 2005, she retired from the US Air Force with the rank of Master Sergeant. During her 28 year career she served in three of the four military branches. She attended GRID CV’s first Volunteer Orientation meeting in Fresno, 2009. Marylen lives with the four legged love of her life, Nick-e. She enjoys traveling in her spare time and working with GRID’s Central Valley Board.

Ivan O. Lopez:

Ivan is a GRID client and passionate community advocate of our program who was instrumental in getting solar installed on 40 homes in his neighborhood with GRID. He has twenty years of experience in social services with a Masters in Christian Ministry and is currently a substitute teacher with Fresno Unified School District working in low-income neighborhoods.

Ernie Richardson:

Ernie has over 28 years of experience in the Affordable Housing Industry. He retired as Housing Program Supervisor for the City of Modesto, in 2003 and was owner of a home-based Environmental Consulting business until 2013.  During his working years, he held positions as Executive and Personnel Director of Champaign County, Illinois Opportunities Industrialization Center, Housing Financial Specialist (and Property Acquisition, Relocation, and Demolition Officer) for the City of Urbana, Illinois, Finance Specialist and later Director of Neighborhood Services Division for the City of Joliet, Illinois, and Executive and Personnel Director of Aurora Housing Authority of Aurora, Illinois.  Ernie received an Associate of Science Degree in Real Estate from Parkland College, Champaign, Illinois, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Franklin University, Columbus, Ohio.

Luis H. Sanchez:

Luis is the CEO of Community Resource Project in Sacramento, and resides in Stockton. Luis has over thirty years experience in government and the private sector with 22 years in the financial services industry. He is owner of LHS Enterprise, consulting company. Currently, Luis is the Chair of the Board for United Way of San Joaquin County, and serves on the Board of Directors with California Human Development, an organization serving families in 7 counties whose mission creates paths and opportunities for those seeking greater self-sufficiency through education, training, housing and other services.