Phyllis Currie is on the board of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, the regional transmission organization for a number of Midwest and southern states. She also serves on the Electricity Advisory Committee for the US Department of Energy, and consults on strategic issues for public power and water agencies. Phyllis spent 14 years as general manager of the Pasadena Water and Power Department, retiring in 2015. During her career in the City of Los Angeles, she held positions which included chief financial officer of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, assistant city administrative officer and director of the city’s rent control program. She has been board chair of the American Public Power Association, president of the California Municipal Utilities Association and president of the Southern California Public Power Association.
National Board of Directors
Phyllis Currie, Chair
Orson Aguilar, Vice Chair
Orson Aguilar is the President of the Greenlining Institute, one of the nation’s largest and most successful multi-ethnic, advocacy and leadership development nonprofits. Greenlining envisions a nation where race is never a barrier to economic opportunity and communities of color thrive. Because people of color will be the majority of our nation’s population by 2040, Greenlining believes that America will prosper only if communities of color prosper. Under Orson’s leadership, Greenlining has become a leading voice in the movement to fight redlining by advocating for greenlining policies, particularly in the areas of the economy, the environment, health, energy, voting, and telecommunications.
Pilar Thomas, Treasurer
Pilar Thomas (Pascua Yaqui) is of counsel at Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP in Tucson Arizona, where she provides strategic legal advice to tribal governments and tribal enterprises on energy planning and policy, renewable energy project development and finance; federal and state energy regulatory, programs and policy efforts. Ms. Thomas previously served as the Deputy Director, Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs at the U.S. Department of Energy. Ms. Thomas is also the former Deputy Solicitor for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior, interim attorney general and chief of staff of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and Trial Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice. Prior to her law practice, Ms. Thomas worked for fifteen years in the financial services industry for a Fortune 250 company. Ms. Thomas received her J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law, magna cum laude, with a certificate in Indian law, and her B.A.
Brad Sparks, Secretary
Brad is Executive Director of Global Corporate Citizenship for KPMG. In this role, he focuses on integrating corporate responsibility across the KPMG network, with specific responsibility for the firm’s environmental sustainability initiatives. He also serves as KPMG’s Liaison Delegate for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Prior to Brad’s current position, he served as Director with the Forensic practice of KPMG LLP, assisting clients with a variety of corporate responsibility initiatives such as internal investigations, sustainability reporting, and supply chain integrity. Other professional experiences include serving as a labor standards monitor with the non-profit Kenan Institute of Asia, a sustainability advisor with KPMG in South Africa, and as an internal auditor with Gateway computers. Brad is a Certified Public Accountant, has a MBA degree in Sustainable Enterprise from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Masters of Accounting fro
Mark has been serving as the Vice President of Volunteer and Institutional Engagement at Habitat for Humanity International since July 2012. He's been with the nonprofit since 1993, first managing new country programs in Sri Lanka and India. In 1998, he joined the US field support staff before returning to international work as Regional Program Manager for Habitat’s work in the Pacific in 2002. Returning to the United States in 2004, Mark lead a review of Habitat’s US operations resulting a major restructuring of support functions for Habitat’s 1,500 US affiliates. He was then assigned to lead Habitat’s largest corporate relationship, “Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity”. In this joint venture Mark managed staff from both organizations in the design and implementation of a multifaceted $200 million international program.
Ron Binz was appointed by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter as the Chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission in January 2007 and served until April 2011. As Chairman, Ron led the Colorado PUC in implementing the many policy changes championed by the Governor and the Legislature to bring forward Colorado’s “New Energy Economy.” Ron was an active member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, serving as Chair of NARUC’s Task Force on Climate Policy, and as a member of both the Energy Resources and Environment Committee and the International Affairs Committee. He is currently the Principal of Public Policy Consulting and Senior Policy Advisor for the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University.
A 30-year veteran of public affairs and policy, Karen Edson is the Vice President, Policy and Client Services for the California Independent System Operator Corporation (California ISO). She joined the organization in 2005 and has responsibility for the areas of customer service and industry affairs, government/regulatory affairs, communications, and policy development. Prior to joining the ISO, Ms. Edson served in a number of senior roles within state government, including Commissioner on the California Energy Commission and Assistant Director of the California Research Bureau. From 1985-2000 she headed a small consulting firm that specialized in energy policy development and power plant permitting, with clients that included major geothermal and other non-utility power plant developers. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California Berkeley.
Mara has over 30 years of professional experience in socioeconomic impact assessment, land use and housing market analysis, public participation programs and more. Her consulting business has dealt with the evaluation of potential impacts of major development projects on community land use, regional employment and income, population and demographic characteristics, adopted local plans and policies, and quality of life. Mara is deeply involved in her community, serving on several boards including, most recently, the San Francisco Beautiful Board and Habitat for Humanity San Francisco.
Bill focuses his law practice on energy and environmental matters as a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Brockius LLP. He typically represents conventional and renewable energy companies in matters relating to power plants and transmission before state and federal agencies. Bill has held senior positions in federal and state government. He worked at the State Dept. and the White House from 1997-2001. He was senior deputy legal affairs secretary to Gov. Gray Davis and a member of the Governor’s Energy Task Force during the 2000-2001 electricity crisis. Bill was also a member of the California Electricity Oversight Board, after being appointed by Gov. Davis in 2002. He currently serves as a Gov. Jerry Brown appointee to the SF Regional Water Quality Control Board.
Mr. Robinson currently works as Special Assistant to the President at Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, he was trained by the Institute of Cultural Affairs to do Strategic Planning and Goal Setting, and by San Diego Mediation Center to do community mediations. Mr. Robinson has served on numerous Boards and Commissions for the City of San Diego. During the Civil Rights Movement, he had the opportunity to march with great names like Dr. King, Jesse Jackson and others along with the NAACP Youth Leaders. He rode on the Freedom Train from Florida to Washington D.C. for the “March on Washington” with his Dad, who was one of the 1st black conductorson the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad.
Mary Wenzel is Senior Vice President and Director of Environmental Affairs at Wells Fargo. Under Wenzel’s leadership, Wells Fargo has created aggressive environmental goals to be achieved by 2020. These goals include the conversion of at least 35 percent of Wells Fargo’s buildings to LEED certification; a 35 percent reduction in absolute greenhouse gas emissions; managing a $100 million environmental philanthropy program; and making $30 billion in investments to environmentally beneficial businesses. Wenzel joined Wells Fargo in December 2004. Prior to joining the company, she worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9 in San Francisco. At the U.S. EPA, Wenzel was responsible for working with tribal nations in the Western region of the U.S. Wenzel also worked for the U.S. EPA in Washington, D.C.,managing renewable energy and Energy STAR programs.