Solar Fiesta Speakers
Learn more about this year’s speakers who will be presenting at panel discussions, Ask-A-Pro, and club meetings. View the complete schedule here.
Moderator for PV
Jean is a passive solar advocate since 1980 and involved with PV since the 1999 statewide symposium. She has worked in PV sales and tech support for a racking manufacturer for over 10 years.
Topic: Solar and other Renewables, Policy and Current Events, Indigenous Renewable Energy Transitions
A proud indigenous woman and member of Kewa Pueblo, Sara hopes to enable economic prosperity and environmental justice for her community and indigenous peoples worldwide through environmental policy input and tribal renewable energy initiatives. Sara just completed her Master’s in Environmental Change & Management at the University of Oxford where she focused on the impacts of renewable energy development on Pueblo communities and resilience. Sara now works as the Community Liaison for New Energy Economy, a non-profit in Santa Fe focused on a just transition to 100% renewable energy in New Mexico. Sara is also affiliated with the United Nations Indigenous Peoples Forum to increase recognition for indigenous peoples’ rights. Her mission toward indigenous empowerment sees her continually embracing the big picture and showing that indigenous peoples, as tribal members, activists, and professionals, and especially women, can continue to defy all odds and limitations.
Topic: Solar Cooking 101 / Basic Introduction to the Art & Science
Misty has been cooking with solar for many years with several types of solar cookers, and has represented NMSEA at recent events on solar cooking. She also gave this workshop in Crescent City California at a Food Council event, and it was well-received.
Randy has been interested in solar power and EVs for many years, and finally took the plunge in 2017 to purchase electric vehicles and enough PV to power them. It has been a great experience, and I am happy to share what I have learned.
Topic: Ghost Ranch Solar Balloon
Mark is an architect, ASES Passive Solar Pioneer, and storyteller. He will be sharing how and why the Ghost Ranch Solar Balloon is different from the other solar hot air balloons, as well as the design, engineering, and collaboration that was involved.
Topic: Do-It-Yourself Sustainability, Solar and other Renewables, ask an expert
Athena Christodoulou, energy consultant, is president of the NM Solar Energy Association and designer of a solar, adobe home. She has 4 kW of photovoltaics, 27 sq ft of solar thermal water heating and two electric non-Tesla vehicles. She has committed to 100% ccclean energy by 2023 and wants everyone to make a plan to go clean.
Topic: Project to encourage Rural Electric Cooperative members to increase renewable energy
Delese Delios is a 5th generation New Mexican and a life-long resident of the state. A realtor, she has been volunteering with 350NM for 2 years. She serves on the Steering Committee to lead climate focused campaigns and projects in NM focusing especially on Rural Electric cooperatives to empower them to go 100% clean with solar and wind.
Topic: Solar and other Renewables, Policy and Current Events, Panelist, Energy Storage, Leasing PV, Alternative fueled vehicles
Mark Gaiser is an electrical engineer by training with an MBA degree. He worked over 20 years in the aerospace industry with spacecraft power systems including batteries, inverters, and solar panels, and also ground power systems for these spacecraft. He worked for a Concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) firm and managed the installation of several small CPV systems in various locations around the world. He presently works for the New Mexico Energy Conservation and Management Division promoting solar energy and developing low-cost PV on a pole with the Department of Energy.
Topic: Personal Transitions to 100% Clean Energy, Solar and other Renewables, Future Sustainable Solutions, Small business development
I am a recent graduate from the University of Maryland UMD. Through research investigations, I developed a patent for a small-scale vertical axis wind turbine capable of producing energy at low wind speeds. Through grant funding and support from various organizations at the University of Maryland, I founded Verdant Innovatives, a venture with the goal of providing small-scale wind power to the commercial market.
Topic: Transportation, Electric Vehicle infrastructure
President & CEO of Go-Station, the next generation of vehicle charging.
Topic: Solar and other Renewables, Transportation, Future Sustainable Solutions
Ms. Ispirescu is the new Director of Business Development for Silent Falcon UAS, a local manufacturer of solar electric, carbon fiber, modular small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) designed for numerous commercial, public safety, military and security applications. She comes from an extensive international background that includes international businesses startups, public relations liaison to the Romanian Government, and Strategic Adviser for startups and small businesses involving technologically innovative ideas in collaboration with the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.
Topic: Solar PV in Santa Fe Public Schools
Elena Kayak is currently the Sustainability Program Specialist @ Santa Fe Public Schools. After a decade teaching sustainable architecture and the following decade working to integrate solar and other sustainability programs into public schools, she has expanded her focus to intermodal transportation for students. A commuting cyclist, Elena has written grants for solar installations and lives in an active and passive solar home. Her father, Michael, stewards the 24 hens in her backyard.
Solar and other Renewables, Lease vs Purchase PV
Trishelle Kirk joined the Affordable Solar team in 2014 to help streamline new and effective marketing and business development strategies for solar financing in the company’s wholesale division. From there, Trishelle moved on to tackle Affordable Solar’s residential installation division. As General Manager, she has revolutionized the solar installation process for homeowners in New Mexico by creating new financing partnerships, reducing installation delays, and improving communication through technology. Trishelle has a knack for understanding people, and can quickly recognize and accentuate individual strengths to empower her employees and her customers.
Topic: Solar and other Renewables, Policy and Current Events, Energy Storage, Transportation, Future Sustainable Solutions, air pollution, fossil fuel problem, electric cars, climate misconceptions, etc.
Shahir Masri earned his Doctor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Environmental Health from Harvard University, and his Bachelor of Science degree from UCLA. He is currently an air pollution scientist at the UC Irvine, and college instructor at the Schmid College of Science and Technology at Chapman University where he teaches a course on Environmental Health and Pollution. He is currently on a 36 state, 3 month tour of the U.S. called “On the Road for Climate Action,” doing public outreach to communicate climate science to the public and promote climate solutions.
Topic: Personal water savings, household greywater reuse
Leila Salim is a graphics and web designer and activist from the South Valley. She co-founded and teaches through the ABQ Old School offering homesteading and DIY classes. Together with a team, she helped launch Transition ABQ to work on citywide local sustainability and resilience projects. She is also a social justice activist, working on projects for workers’ rights and democracy reform.
Topic: Policy and Current Events, Transportation
Tom Solomon, co-coordinator of 350.org New Mexico, is a retired electrical engineer. During his 34 year career at Intel Corp he led the team which built Intel’s Rio Rancho, NM Fab 11X in 2001, the $2B microprocessor Fab which employed 4,000 people at its peak. He also led the efforts to build Intel’s first (10kW) solar array in NM in 2008, and a 100kW solar array in 2011.
After retirement in 2011, Tom became a full-time activist. He co-leads 350NM, the NM chapter of 350.org, fighting global warming to ensure a safe climate for his 3 children. He has been an EV owner and enthusiast for nearly 6 years.
Topic: Solar and other Renewables, Policy and Current Events, Energy Storage, Institutional Energy Management
Tony Sparks works for the Facilities Design + Construction Department of Albuquerque Public Schools, where he is Staff Project Manager for HVAC Systems, Energy Efficiency & Sustainability. He is also coordinator of the APS Water and Energy Conservation Committee (WECC). Tony is an enthusiastic advocate for the betterment of our built environment, and has applied his passion as a long-term Board Member of USGBC-NM, commissioning agent, trainer and presenter. His teams have achieved impressive results and garnered numerous awards for their effective and progressive conservation strategies. In 2017, Mr. Sparks was named the Region IV Energy Manager of the Year by the Association of Energy Engineers.
Topic: Personal Transitions to 100% Clean Energy, Energy Storage, C-PACE program and the idea of a NM Green Bank
Andrew Stone is a solar enthusiast since 1974 complete with passive solar house since 1976, Photovoltaics in 2005 and, most recently, Powerwall battery storage in 2018. He and his wife drive Tesla model S & 3, and are organic farmers. He worked with Steve Jobs from 1989 until his death in 2011 (wwwstone.com). He retired to help transition NM to solar by providing capital for commercial and utility-scale solar systems. NMGreenBank.com
Topic: Solar and other Renewables, Future Sustainable Solutions, Communicating about climate change and renewable energy through storytelling
Sarena Ulibarri is Editor-in-Chief of World Weaver Press, a small Albuquerque-based publishing house that specializes in science fiction and fantasy. She is a vocal advocate of solarpunk: optimistic science fiction that imagines a world run on renewable energies. Her multi-author anthology Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers, received favorable reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and others, and was featured on Yale Climate Connections. As a writer, her fiction has appeared in the anthology Biketopia: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories in Extreme Futures, as well as professional science fiction magazines such as Lightspeed, GigaNotoSaurus, DreamForge, and elsewhere.