Local Government Summit 2018 - Speakers | wisconsinacademy.org
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Local Government Summit 2018 - Speakers


Mark Abeles-Allison obtained a BA degree in Political Science from Kalamazoo College and a MS degree in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University. Abeles-Allison has served as City Administrator and Village Manager in the states of Kansas and Michigan, and is currently in his eighteenth year as the Bayfield County Administrator.

Robert Abraham is the Assistant Police Chief of the La Crosse Police Department. He has been instrumental in deploying alternative fuel vehicles in the La Crosse Police Department, implementing the Department’s second generation of propane equipped patrol vehicles, which now stands at a fleet of 19.

Josh Arnold is an associate director in Navigant's Clean Energy and Sustainability practice based in Madison. Arnold works with clients across North America, Europe, and Asia. Currently, he is part of the consulting team developing the City of Madison's strategy for 100% renewable energy and net zero carbon emissions. 

Oscar Brandser is key account manager at Xcel Energy. He previously worked at Deere & Co., RTE Corp. and USAID. Brandser has experience in facilities engineering, maintenance, manufacturing engineering, marketing and product application engineering.

Chelsea Chandler was the director of the Academy's Environmental Initiatives from 2016 to 2020. She led the Climate & Energy and Waters of Wisconsin Initiatives, to which she brought her interdisciplinary experience and passion for researching and communicating solutions to environmental challenges.

Sara M. Drescher is the Forest County Potawatomi Community’s in-house environmental and energy attorney working out of the Tribe’s Milwaukee office.

Jane Elder recently retired from her position as Executive Director of the Wisconsin Academy. She brought to the Wisconsin Academy a strong background in public policy leadership, nonprofit management, and involvement in Wisconsin arts.

Warren Gaskill is Managing Partner of Rapid Improvement Associates LLC in Black Earth, Wisconsin. RIA works with a range of clients—units of government, hospitals, engineering firms and nonprofits—to monitor energy use in a portfolio of buildings and to coordinate action to improve.

Neal Gruber is an accomplished professional engineer and manager with broad based project, operations management, staffing, marketing, and mentor expertise coupled with domestic and international experience in Engineering Feasibility, Design, and Analysis; Environmental Assessment; and Project, Program, and Business Management.

Sherrie Gruder, LEED AP, is a Distinguished Sustainable Design Specialist and Energy Strategist with UW-Madison Division of Extension.

Kelly Hilyard is the Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Middleton, WI. Before joining city staff two years ago, she worked with local governments around the state on climate, water, and agricultural issues with the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, & Letters.

Jon Hochkammer serves as the Outreach Manager for the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA), overseeing outreach and training efforts with all 72 counties and any other groups that interact with county government. He previously served as Legislative Director, as well as the Director of Insurance Operations for WCA.  

Nick Hylla is executive director of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, where he works in partnership with organizations throughout the Midwest to advance renewable energy education and market development initiatives.

John Imes is the Co-founder and Director of the Wisconsin Environmental Initiative (WEI) since 1998. Previously, John was the Environmental Manager for Quad/Graphics, a company long known for its environmental stewardship and social responsibility, garnering a long list of local, state, and national honors.

Tim Kabat is the 42nd Mayor of the City of La Crosse. In 1988, Kabat graduated from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. In 1990, he attended graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, graduating with a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning in 1992.

Eau Claire City Council President Kerry Kincaid is a graduate of UW-Eau Claire with degrees in Political Science and Secondary Education, and holds a Master's Degree in Library Science from UW-Madison. She is currently working on a doctorate in leadership at St. Thomas University in St. Paul, MN.

Erika Kluetmeier is a sustainability advisor at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. She provides technical assistance to businesses and local communities who want to find innovative solutions to create more sustainable organizations.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Megan has spent more than a decade working with building energy efficiency both with the low-income weatherization program and with the Wisconsin State Energy Office (now known as the Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation).

Lorrie Lisek is the president and co-owner of Legacy Environmental Services Inc., a woman-owned, Indiana Certified Women's Business Enterprise located in Crown Point, Indiana. Lisek has served as Executive Director of Wisconsin Clean Cities since 2011. Under Lisek’s leadership, Wisconsin Clean Cities has been named a U.S.

As a founding principal of Sustainable Engineering Group LLC, Manus McDevitt has over 25 years of experience in high performance building design, energy engineering and building commissioning. Manus also has experience working on several local government committees to help guide communities towards meeting their sustainability goals.

Ned Noel, Associate Planner for the City of Eau Claire, has practiced urban planning for over 13 years within the Twin Cities and Eau Claire markets. In his role he also helps the City coordinate efforts on sustainability and healthy community design.

Gary Radloff is the principal at The Radloff Group, a policy research and consulting firm. Radloff is a recently retired researcher from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was the Director of Midwest Energy Policy Analysis for the Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI).

Maria serves as the Director of the Wisconsin Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy and has worked for the State of Wisconsin for 21 years.  Maria is accountable for planning, administration and oversight of statewide energy programs and policies.  In addition to helping with the development and implementation of the recommendations from the

Kurt Reinhold is the founder and president of Legacy Solar Wisconsin Cooperative. His company, Solar Connections LLC, put together the first municipal tax financing project for solar in Wisconsin in 2013, Reinhold has helped develop community-funded solar projects for communities across Wisconsin.

Keith Reopelle is the Director of Dane County’s Office of Energy and Climate Change. Prior to coming to Dane County, Reopelle was the Senior Policy Director at Clean Wisconsin where he worked for 32 years leading clean energy campaigns at the state and regional levels.

A longtime champion of public higher education, Dr. James Schmidt has served as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since July 2013.

Jason Stringer is a Senior Manager of Clean Energy Finance at Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation (WECC).  In his role at WECC, Stringer serves as a project finance expert with a successful track record of creating value in the clean energy finance and commercial real estate development industries.

Julie Thoney is the Community Service and Economic Development Manager for Xcel Energy’s east central Wisconsin service area. She has twenty years of experience with Xcel Energy and has held various positions in Customer Care, Service Policy and Energy Efficiency.

Ken Walz earned his PhD in Environmental Chemistry and Technology at the University of Wisconsin while conducting research with Rayovac and Argonne National Laboratory on advanced lithium-ion batteries for hybrid and electric cars.

Adam Wehling is Dean of Agriculture, Energy & Transportation at Chippewa Valley Technical College. As a Dean at Chippewa Valley Technical College, Wehling has the opportunity to work with many programs that train students in agriculture, energy, construction and transportation.

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