SMRT Architects and Engineers
Ellen Belknap, AIA is president of SMRT Architects and Engineers, a full-service firm designing health & wellness, science/technology/manufacturing, education, justice, government and corporate office facilities. Ellen is committed to working with clients to anticipate future state, encouraging them to innovate and position their organizations for success. Ellen is known for her collaborative leadership skills and fully engages in a change management mindset throughout the design and construction process. She advocates for a sustainable design approach driving maximum carbon reduction and energy optimization wherever possible. She has led a variety projects across New England, including the largest Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) hospital in the Northeast, MaineGeneral Medical Center, Alfond Center for Health.
Ellen is active in the communities she lives and works in; she serves on the University of Maine Board of Visitors, the Board of Maine & Company and the Portland Trails Advisory Board. Ellen earned her Master of Architecture at Columbia University and her undergraduate degree at Cornell University. She lives in Portland’s Deering Center and enjoys exploring urban trails near and far.
R. Benjamin Borowski
Robert "Benji" Borowski is a member of the firm's Energy & Telecommunications, Cleantech and Renewable Energy Law, and Climate Strategy groups dedicated to helping clients achieve their legal, policy, and regulatory goals across those sectors. In his practice, he has worked with clients of all sizes and across a wide range of industries on a variety of energy issues. Benji has amassed state- and federal-level experience around the policies that drive regulations, the regulations that constrain markets, and markets within which stakeholders operate. His work has included advising private equity on the acquisition of industrial and electric generation assets, assisting large-scale consumers with financing for efficiency projects, and helping consumer-generator clients navigate the evolving energy markets through regulatory and policy advocacy.
Benji places particular emphasis on efficiency and renewable forms of energy: onshore and offshore wind, large- and small-scale hydro, marine hydrokinetic, biomass, and solar. His work in these fields includes legislative and administrative representation of solar power producers opposing an unfavorable rate design and assisting an innovative off-shore wind project receive regulatory approval. He has also assisted clients in certifying their energy projects as “renewable” under state renewable portfolio standards and advised them on maximizing the value of associated environmental attributes. In addition, Benji has been extensively involved in efforts to reduce energy costs across New England, especially through decreasing long-standing reliance on oil.
Benji is a graduate of Vermont Law School where he earned a J.D. with a Certificate in Energy Law, magna cum laude, and a M.S. of Environmental Law and Policy, magna cum laude. While in law school, he served as an articles editor and production coordinator of the Vermont Law Review. He earned various American Jurisprudence Awards, including in Torts, Environmental Issues in Business Transactions, and Climate Change and the Law.
As President of Iberdrola Solutions, Laney Brown is leading the development and launch of a new energy retail business focused on providing renewable energy and sustainable products to consumers. Prior to her most recent appointment, she was the Vice President at Concentric Energy Advisors advising clients on Future Energy strategies and new utility business models. With 15 years of service in the energy industry, Brown has held a variety of roles from Director, Smart Grids Planning and Programs at AVANGRID to Vice President, Grid Modernization Strategy at Modern Grid Partners, Inc. Outside of AVANGRID, Brown currently sits on the US Department of Energy's Electricity Advisory Committee. She holds a bachelor's degree in English and American Studies from Colby College and double master's degree in Business Administration with a focus on the global energy industry from University of Strathclyde and Universidad Pontificia Comillas.
John Carroll is the Director of Business Development in Maine for Actual Energy, a competitive energy company supplying electricity at dynamic, hourly wholesale prices. Previously, he worked 18 years in corporate communications for electric and natural gas utilities in the Avangrid family of companies. Before that, John spent 10 years in corporate communications and charitable foundation work with UNUM.
Among John's civic activities, he served nine years on the Portland Planning Board (2 as chairman); six years on the Casco Bay Island Transit District Board of Directors; six years on PACTS planning committees for regional traffic planning and alternative modes transportation planning; 3 years on the Board of Directors for the KIDS Consortium, and 9 years on the Board of Directors of the Trefethen-Evergreen Improvement Association (on Peaks).
John has his BA from Vassar College and an MBA from Husson University. He is a resident of Peaks Island.
Erik M. Clapp, Ph.D.
Erik leads SME’s Remediation group. He is an expert geologist with 28 years of experience in geologic investigations, specializing in hydrogeology, geochemistry, sediment transport, and geotechnical issues. He has supervised and conducted regional and international research projects for the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Geological Survey, and some of the region’s largest manufacturing companies. Erik is a member of the E2Tech board of directors with a passion for clean energy topics.
He received bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in Geology from the University of Vermont.
Erik is an avid off-piste skier, mountain biker, brewer, and lover of live music. Erik currently spends much of his free time in a support role to his teenage children.
Phil Coupe is a managing partner and co-founder of ReVision Energy, a certified B Corp and the largest solar energy company in northern New England with more than 6,000 systems placed in service in ME, NH, and MA since 2003. Prior to leading the startup of ReVision Energy's southern Maine and New Hampshire operations, Coupe was co-founder and director of corporate philanthropy at a startup in Washington, DC that twice made the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing companies in America. The company received numerous awards for its commitment to serving disadvantaged children and for its environmental initiatives, underscoring Coupe's philosophy that business can be utilized to create maximum positive impact for people and the planet while also delivering strong financial results. In 1999 he became involved with the Big Brother/ Big Sister program and continues to work with his original match. In addition to his long-time service at E2Tech, he is also on the boards of the Conservation Law Foundation and Envision Maine, and is on the steering committee of Maine Audubon's Corporate Partner Program.
David Ertz - Co-Chair, Marketing & Membership Committee
Through DBE Consulting Services, David provides construction, contract, and project management expertise for the EPC delivery of renewable energy projects. Previously, David was responsible for the engineering and construction activities associated with First Wind’s projects in the Eastern U.S. His group of project managers and construction managers provide the resident expertise to advance projects from the early development phases to commercial operation with a focus on managing the work of engineers and contractors to construct utility-scale wind energy projects. He draws on his 30-plus years of experience in project management, environmental controls and management, and permitting for industry and electric utilities.
Thomas R. Eschner, Chair of the Board
Tom has been involved in energy development, contaminant geology and hydrogeology, and water resources for more than 35 years. He is a senior project manager with expertise managing both large, complex energy-infrastructure projects and multi-media site investigation and remediation projects. As a consultant, he has been involved in the planning and management of FERC and state permit applications, including all associated field surveys, data interpretation, agency coordination, public outreach, and report preparation. He has served as site manager for investigations, feasibility studies, and remedial actions under various federal and state programs.
In addition, Tom served as Managing Director for a European environmental consulting services firm in Wiesbaden, Germany and has provided environmental insurance settlement and litigation support, and implemented and managed the development of environmental management systems. Prior to consulting, Tom worked in private industry and for the federal government. He served as a petroleum exploration geologist in the Gulf Coast region, and as a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska.
William V. Ferdinand, Jr.
Bill is an attorney with Eaton Peabody who focuses his legal practice on environmental and land use law. He also leads the legislative lobbying team for the firm, representing a wide variety of clients in the Maine Legislature, from multi-national corporations to small businesses and individuals.
Prior to joining Eaton Peabody, Bill was on the staff of the State Planning Office where he advised the Maine Legislature and state agencies on environmental and economic development policy. Bill is a graduate of St. Lawrence University and Tulane University Law School. He continued his education by earning a Masters of Environmental Law from Vermont Law School. He is a member of the Bar in the States of Maine and Connecticut.
John M. Ferland
John M. Ferland leads ORPC’s project development, environmental permitting and project licensing activities. John draws on over 30 years of experience in commercialization strategy for renewable energy companies, port emergency response operations, coastal resources management, and public policy. He has served as CEO of an oil spill response company which he led through the clean up of the largest oil spill ever to occur in Portland, Maine’s harbor in 1996, counseled numerous startups as director of a technology entrepreneur incubation program, and was the founding president of E2Tech. John has an undergraduate degree from the University of Maine and a Master of Marine Affairs degree from the University of Rhode Island.
Jim Katsiaficas practices environmental, land use, municipal, administrative, and real estate law. He is a shareholder of Perkins Thompson. Jim represents municipalities; water, sewer, and other special districts; counties; State agencies; and other public entities, as well as individuals, groups and businesses appearing before governmental agencies. His practice includes representation of clients before Maine’s courts and administrative agencies, local and county boards, and the Maine Legislature. Some of the issues he assists clients with include: planning and zoning, environmental permitting, environmental and land use due diligence, property taxation and abatement, stormwater regulation, oil and hazardous substance site remediation, solid waste management, energy regulation, eminent domain, road law, and legislation/lobbying.
Prior to joining Perkins Thompson, Jim was a Senior Staff Attorney for the Maine Municipal Association; he previously had been a partner in a Portland law firm, Associate Corporation Counsel for the City of Portland, and Assistant Director for State and Federal Relations for the Maine Municipal Association.
Jeff Marks is Senior Policy Advocate & Maine Director at Acadia Center, an organization dedicated to building clean, competitive, environmentally sustainable economies through data-driven research, innovative policies, and market-based solutions. Jeff previously served as Executive Director of E2Tech before volunteering overseas with an extreme animal rescue team.
Jeff was Deputy Director of the Maine Governor’s Energy Office where he advised two Governors, Legislature, and State agencies on energy, environmental, and economic policy. Prior to his state service, Jeff was Director, Energy & EHS Policy and managed government relations activities for United Technologies Corporation (UTC), a global Fortune 50 company on the cutting edge of the aerospace, buildings, and energy industries. In Washington, DC, Jeff also represented more than 14,000 small, mid-sized, and large businesses and trade associations at the National Association of Manufacturers and served on action-oriented advisory boards for prominent business and environmental organizations, including Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, International Climate Change Partnership, National Energy Resources Organization, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Jeff has worked on all levels of government – with a city manager, a state senate president, a state attorney general, a former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, and a Federal advisory delegation of elected and appointed leaders from all levels of government. He is one of the founding member of Climate Maine and the Center for Climate and the Economy and is proud to be a Member of the E2Tech Board of Directors.
Becky Metivier - Co-Chair, Marketing & Membership Committee
As a member of one of the first graduating classes from the University of Southern Maine’s Environmental Science and Policy program, Becky joined Vortechnics, a leading stormwater treatment product provider, with a dual role in product testing and marketing. When the company was acquired by CONTECH, Becky was promoted to Marketing Manager for the entire stormwater product offering. Becky went on to lead marketing at The Baker Company, manufacturer of air containment technologies, located in Sanford, Maine, and Fluid Imaging Technologies, developers of the FlowCam, located in Scarborough, Maine. Currently Becky is managing marketing at Sage Data Security, an independent information security firm headquartered in Portland, Maine.
Chris J. Rauscher
Chris is Director of Policy & Storage Market Strategy for Sunrun, the country's largest rooftop solar & storage provider. Chris works on Northeast & Caribbean Affairs, with a focus on storage, virtual power plants, and wholesale markets. Prior to joining Sunrun, Chris was an energy policy advisor in the US Senate where he worked on a diverse issue set, with a particular focus on DERs. Chris has been on various political campaigns and involved in a number of startup businesses. Although he has a law degree, so far he has successfully avoided practicing.
Chris grew up in Bristol, and now lives in Cape Elizabeth. In his free time he surfs, sails, and repairs vintage motorcycles.
Tim Soley, a 1984 graduate from Wesleyan University, established East Brown Cow Management in 1989 and has owned and operated the business ever since. The company’s commercial portfolio includes approximately one million square feet of office, retail, flex space, structured parking and land in the Greater Portland area. Tim has spent time modernizing the infrastructure of his older, historic buildings, making sure that they remain vital elements in their neighborhood while focusing on energy efficiency alternatives. With his newer, non-historic structures, Tim strives to bring these buildings to very high standards and maintain them accordingly.
Tim’s company, East Brown Cow, has earned a reputation for providing first-class service to its tenants and for its commitment to the neighborhood where its properties are located. Tim’s newest development project is a Hyatt Place Hotel. The hotel stands at 7-stories, 80,000 sq. feet, in the heart of the Old Port.
Michael is the first Executive Director of the Efficiency Maine Trust, a position he started in 2010. The Trust’s mission is to help Maine consumers meet their energy needs at the lowest cost through the design and implementation of market-based energy efficiency and alternative energy programs.
Before coming to the Trust, Michael was Senior Counsel at ENE, a non-profit research and advocacy group that specializes in climate and energy policy. He was ENE’s lead energy advocate in Maine, where he worked on the legislation regarding Maine’s involvement in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, reforming Maine’s building energy codes, and restructuring Maine’s administration of energy efficiency programs. Prior to working at ENE, Michael was the Assistant to the Chairman of the Federal Election Commission in Washington and worked for 6 years in international development work at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), traveling across South America and Africa. Michael was appointed to the Maine Energy Conservation Board and also to the Governor’s Emergency Energy Task Force. Michael testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, on “Solutions to Cope with the Rise in Heating Oil Prices.” He also served on the Environmental Technology Advisory Board of the Maine Institute of Technology. Michael holds degrees from Williams College and the University of Maine School of Law. Originally from Brunswick, Michael now resides in Portland.
Elizabeth W. Swain
Elizabeth Swain specializes in environmental permitting and communications. She is a registered professional forester and her consulting practice concentrates primarily on energy and natural resource-related issues. Elizabeth has extensive experience in managing complex public policy issues to achieve a successful outcome. Her work has focused on permitting clean energy projects, including wind, hydro, and natural gas, and providing strategic consultation and community relations on electric transmission and pipeline projects, conservation easements, comprehensive planning, transportation projects, solid waste and Superfund. She also regularly assists clients with government and media relations. A former member of the quasi-judicial Maine Land Use Regulation Commission and four-term Chair, she brings a thorough understanding of regulatory decision-making to each project.
Jeffrey Thaler, Esq.
Jeff Thaler is the University of Maine’s first Visiting Professor of Energy Policy, Law & Ethics, is a Visiting Associate Professor at Maine Law School, and also serves as Associate University Counsel. Jeff has been permitting counsel for on- and off-shore wind projects, hydro power and wood-to-biofuel facilities, as well as many other commercial development projects. For many years, Jeff has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America for his work in environmental and natural resources law, commercial litigation and appellate law, and by Chambers USA for both his environmental and litigation practices; and, by New England Super Lawyers for his environmental work.
Sarah Tracy - Co-Chair, Program Committee
Sarah advises energy generation facilities and industrial and large commercial energy users with respect to energy and regulatory issues and due diligence matters. Sarah also represents electric, natural gas, and telecommunications utilities before state regulatory entities. Prior to joining Pierce Atwood, Sarah worked as a staff attorney with the Maine Public Utilities Commission in the Legal and the Electricity and Gas Division.
Sarah became Chair of the E2Tech Programming Committee in 2018.
ACEEE / Watson Strategy Group
Suzanne Watson received her BA in political theory from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. She was awarded a juris doctor and master of intellectual property law from Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, New Hampshire. She has worked extensively on the linkages between energy policy, environmental quality, and economic development issues from the early nineties to today. Additionally, Suzanne works in New England, and nationally, on multiple clean energy efforts as Principal for Watson Strategy Group.
Suzanne served for almost ten years as the Policy Program Director for the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) starting in 2008, where she worked with staff and external partners to determine how ACEEE’s analysis and expertise could best be directed to create the policy opportunities needed for optimal outcomes in the interest of ever greater energy efficiency leading to a stronger national economy.
Prior to joining ACEEE in 2008, she served many different companies and associations holding various titles including Director for the Office of Innovation at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Energy and Climate Policy Director for the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), Senior Policy Advisor for the Northeast-Midwest House and Senate Coalitions on Capitol Hill, and as Founder and Director of the Maine Environment & Energy Center (E2 Center), which is now E2Tech.
Sarah Watts is a Managing Environmental Scientist and Operations Manager for the Portland, Maine office of Tetra Tech. Sarah has worked professionally in Maine as an environmental consultant since 2000, and has been an E2Tech member since 2013. In her current position, Sarah oversees a group of 20 biologists, natural resource scientists, and planners, who primarily support project work in renewable and conventional energy generation and transmission, with the Department of Defense, and with various state agencies and local engineering firms. Sarah has been a member of the E2Tech Marketing and Membership Committee, and is looking forward to continuing and expanding her involvement in shaping the future direction of the organization.
Steve is currently the lead project manager for the Naval Shipyard Sustainment program at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) working for CACI, Inc. This is a program across the four public shipyards focused on improving operations and maintenance of NAVY ships. Steve has also been an executive and training leader for the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and PNSY.
Prior to working at PNSY, Steve was the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s (MEP) Supply Chain Project Manager, Steve Westra was accountable for the management of the Make it in America Challenge Grant. His responsibilities included supply chain scouting, development of a supply chain capability repository, and supply chain information dissemination to targeted industries which includes aerospace, advanced composites and materials, biotechnology, and renewable energy industries.
Steve is a graduate of Tufts University with a Master's degree in urban and environmental planning, and graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a Bachelor's degree in English and journalism. He received Six Sigma Training at Villanova University, as well as Supply Chain Strategy & Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Steve is involved in volunteer efforts including tutoring refugees in Portland.