Board of Directors
April Montgomery, Chair
Director, Client and Technical Services
April Montgomery has worked in the fields of renewable energy, historic preservation, environmental permitting and local government planning for more than fifteen years. As a project manager, development consultant and regulatory specialist she has extensive experience navigating the boundary between the public and private sectors. Her experience in these fields and her passion for community investment projects are what led her to establish REAP.
April is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and a LEED Green Associate. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Florida State University, and a Master of Arts in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Florida. April lives in Sanford, North Carolina, with her husband, David, and three children.
Jason Du Terroil, Vice Chair
Director, Business Development
Jason Du Terroil is a Director of Business Development with Avangrid Renewables, responsible for developing wind and solar projects in New England, New York, eastern PJM and the Southeast. Previously he directed Avangrid Renewables development in ERCOT, SPP, western MISO and Arizona. He has been a developer with Avangrid Renewables since 2006 and has successfully developed over 900 MWs of renewable energy. From 2001 through 2006 he worked in the United Kingdom, first for a waste-to-energy developer and then as a real-time electricity trader for Scottish Power. Jason is veteran of the U.S. Army and holds a BS from the United States Military Academy and an MBA from the University of Cambridge.
Brian O'Hara, Treasurer
Senior Vice President of Strategy & Government Affairs
Brian O’Hara is Senior Vice President of Strategy & Government Affairs at Strata Solar, which was ranked as one of the ten largest solar developers in the world. In this role he leads external affairs for the company, including policy and regulatory activities, as well as internal strategic planning and other special projects.
Previously, he was President and Founder of the Southeastern Wind Coalition, where he led wind energy development, policy, and advocacy efforts in the Southeast since 2009.
Brian has extensive experience in energy, project development, project management, engineering, policy, and finance. He began his career as an engineer with ExxonMobil on deep water, offshore oil & gas operations in West Africa. He has also led development teams and finance efforts in the U.S. real estate industry, gaining a depth of experience in permitting and environmental studies. Brian holds an MBA and an MS in manufacturing systems engineering from Stanford University as well as a BS in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech where he graduated in the top 0.25% of the university.
Olugbenga Ajala, Director
Olugbenga (Olu) Ajala is a research engineer for the research and development organization of Southern Company, a leading U.S. energy company. In this role, he is responsible for developing and managing a variety of projects within the renewables, storage and distributed generation program area. This includes a portfolio of projects ranging from photovoltaic solar and wind energy systems to battery energy storage and microgrids.
Olu has 10 years of experience in the oil, gas and electric power industries. He began his Southern Company career with Southern Power, where he managed financial, contractual and commercial operation activities for large renewable power plants with an estimated annual revenue of $90 million. He also coordinated multifunctional teams to implement solar power purchase agreements for power plants in Texas with a total capacity of 280 megawatts.
Prior to joining Southern Company, Olu worked as an engineer in oil and gas refining and gas exploration businesses and managed a microgrid development company.
Olu holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Louisiana State University and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. A registered professional engineer in the State of Alabama, Ajala is a member of several professional organizations, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and American Association of Blacks in Energy.
Lisa Bianchi-Fossati, Director
Director of PolicyLisa is the Policy Director for Southface, a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, GA. Southface promotes sustainable homes, workplaces and communities through education, research, advocacy and technical assistance. In her role as Policy Director Lisa is responsible for promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions with legislatures and utility commissions. She is also developing and leading an expanded agenda on clean energy policy matters, including energy codes, green infrastructure and sustainable development strategies in Georgia and the Southeast. Lisa has almost two decades of experience partnering with energy and utility companies across North America and Europe to improve their business and information technology operations. In her 15 years at Accenture and three years at a data analytics firm thereafter she designed, developed and implemented business and technology solutions across the electric utility value chain, including generation, transmission & distribution and retail services. Immediately prior to joining Southface Lisa supported the Georgia Legacy Coalition with its efforts to establish a long-term, sustainable source of funding for land and water conservation in the state. Lisa is passionate about advancing the sustainable use of natural resources and holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science & Policy from Duke University.
Thomas J. Flaherty, Director
Operations Leader, Global Supply ChainTom Flaherty is the current Global Supply Chain Operations Leader for GE’s Onshore Renewables business. Tom has 34 years with GE holding a variety of Supply Chain positions and has been with the Renewables business since its start in 2003. During his time in Renewables, Tom was a key contributor in growing GE’s Wind Turbine manufacturing footprint over the last decade to support significant volume growth across the globe. In his current role as Operations Leader, Tom is responsible for Global Planning, Manufacturing Engineering, and Operating Excellence for the Onshore Renewables business. Prior to Renewables, Tom worked in GE’s Power, Nuclear, Advanced Materials, and Plastics Businesses holding leadership roles in Manufacturing, Quality, Product Development, Materials Management, and Sales & Operations Planning.
Tom is from Rochester, NY and holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University and an MBA from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. He is married, has 1 son and spends his time away from work skiing, golfing, and boating.
Hayes Framme, Director
Government Relations and Communications Manager
Hayes Framme joined Orsted in November 2017 as Government Relations & Communications Manager for the Southeast. In this role, Hayes oversees state and local government outreach, stakeholder engagement, and increasing brand recognition to help power the Virginia economy entirely on green energy. Prior to this role, Hayes served in the administration of former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe as Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade. As Deputy Secretary, Hayes advised the Governor on policy and legislative matters related to energy, telecommunications, and economic development. During his professional career, Hayes has also worked as a Public Affairs Manager for a public affairs firm based in Richmond, in the Economic Research office of a major Virginia company, and as Executive Aide to the Governor in the administration of former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. Hayes holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the College of Charleston in South Carolina and a Masters of Business Administration from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois.
Don Giecek, Director
Senior Development Manager
Since 2003, Don has actively facilitated collaboration between wind developers, utilities, scientists, environmentalists, permitting agencies, landowners, planners, and local government officials. His experience in the wind energy field includes employment in the academic, non-profit, and for-profit development arenas, including a faculty appointment as the Director of the Virginia Wind Energy Collaborative at James Madison University (JMU).
As Business Development Manager with Chicago based Invenergy, Don focused on developing utility scale wind assets in the Mid-Atlantic region. With Richmond based Timmons Group, Mr. Giecek performed siting, fatal flaw analyses, and due diligence studies on multiple offshore wind turbine sites for Virginia’s Advanced Technology Demonstration Project (VADTP), a project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and overseen by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy.
Currently, Mr. Giecek is Senior Development Manager with Apex Clean Energy in Charlottesville, VA. He manages all aspects of wind development, including site selection, landowner relations, transmission interconnection, permitting, legislative and regulatory initiatives, local government relations, and public relations.
Don is a Virginia native and a graduate of James Madison University.
Andrew Gohn, Director
Director, Eastern State Policy
Andrew Gohn is the Eastern Region Director on AWEA’s State Policy team. Before joining AWEA, he spent six years at the Maryland Energy Administration, advancing wind energy development in the state. Andrew worked to develop and enact the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act, as well as several major legislative and administrative efforts that supported deployment of the state’s first 180 MW of wind power. Prior to working for Maryland, he interned at the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and spent time developing environmental policy in the office of Sen. Ben Cardin. Andrew received a law degree from University of Maryland in 2009 and remains a member of the Maryland bar in good standing.
Mary Hallisey, Director
Senior Research Associate & Director of Research and Business Operations
Mary Hallisey is a Senior Research Associate and Director of Research and Business Operations for Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute. Her current projects investigate energy policy applications as they apply to technology development and deployment. This work includes feasibility studies for offshore wind development focused on stakeholder issues, coastal & marine spatial planning applications, and wind energy policy development & implementation. Her research and outreach activities include engagement with multiple state and federal agencies, NGOs, and other stakeholder groups. Ms. Hunt was part of the team that developed Georgia’s model wind ordinance for state and local planners. She has engaged in planning and peer review workshops for the Department of Energy’s Wind and Water Program and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). In 2015, she was honored with the DOE WINDExchange Outstanding Leadership Award for her service in the field. She has co-authored several reports, conference papers and posters on topics associated with offshore wind. Some of these include “Southern Winds: A Study of Wind Power Generation Potential Off the Georgia Coast”, “Innovative Partnerships for Offshore Wind Development” and “Georgia’s Offshore Renewable Energy Potential: Spatial Mapping and Planning.”
Melisa Johns, Director
Vice President, Distributed Energy Resource Business and Product Development
Melisa Johns is vice president of Business and Product Development for Duke Energy’s Distributed Technology team. She is responsible for leading the development and implementation of customer offers and investment opportunities related to distributed assets for the regulated companies.
Previously, Melisa was responsible for developing strategy for the Emerging Technology team and directing Duke Energy’s technology demonstration projects which provide lessons learned regarding the technology application, operational implications, and technology transfer within the business.
During her tenure with Duke Energy, she also served as director of wholesale origination and was responsible for leading the wholesale origination team in the execution of long-term sales contracts from the regulated generation portfolios of Duke Energy Carolinas and Indiana and for the procurement of supply side resources for the company. In addition, she has operational experience in system, planning and operating, and power delivery, as well as experience in regulatory affairs and business planning.
Melisa earned her Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree, in Electrical Engineering, from Clemson University. She has also completed the Strategic Leadership Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Mandy Mahoney, Director
PresidentMandy Mahoney has served as president of the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance since March 2013, and was previously its vice president of policy and operations. Prior to joining SEEA in 2011, Mandy served as director of sustainability for the City of Atlanta under Mayors Reed and Franklin. She holds a master’s degree in environmental management from Duke University, and earned a law degree and a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental studies from Emory University. Selected to Georgia Trend’s 2016 “40 under 40” list and the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2014 “40 under 40” list, Mandy is also a graduate of LEAD Atlanta 2010; the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership 2010; and the 2011 American Council on Germany’s Young Leaders Program. She serves on the boards of the Piedmont Park Conservancy, the Turner Environmental Law Clinic, and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). She and her husband Sean are the proud parents of Paul.
Katherine Ross, Director
Katherine Ross represents businesses and local governments in regulatory matters and civil litigation.
In her energy practice, Katherine provides counsel on the acquisition, sale, financing, and permitting of renewable energy facilities across the Southeast, coordinating transaction documents and due diligence for portfolios ranging in size from five megawatts to hundreds of megawatts. Her clients include developers of renewable energy facilities, investors in those developments, and entities providing loans and credit vehicles to them. She also represents commercial and industrial businesses seeking renewable energy resources.
Katherine routinely advises energy clients on power purchase agreements, interconnection agreements, and agreements for the sale of renewable energy certificates. She also represents clients seeking utility commission and other development-related permits at the local, state, and federal levels. She helps clients navigate regulatory changes and advises on regulatory compliance matters.
Katherine’s regulatory practice extends beyond the energy industry as well. As businesses grow, land use, zoning, environmental, ad valorem tax, and other issues involving governmental entities frequently come up. Katherine works with clients to navigate these complex issues and evaluate the most cost-efficient path forward, including through negotiations with local and state agencies when necessary.
In her litigation practice, Katherine represents clients in complex civil matters, focusing on real property disputes. While Katherine understands that businesses and governmental entities tend to avoid litigation, she also knows that at times it is unavoidable. She has obtained favorable bench and jury verdicts, and she works with clients to identify when it is worth fighting and when it makes business sense to resolve a matter without a judge or jury. Whether a client is involved in a condemnation action, resolving an easement dispute, or fighting a property tax assessment, Katherine can assist.
In addition, Katherine chairs Parker Poe's Pro Bono Committee. She spearheads and coordinates pro bono initiatives across all seven of the firm's offices.
Emma Singletary Battle, Director
President and CEO
Emma Singletary Battle is President and CEO of Market Vigor, a business services and consulting company. She also serves as President and CEO of Higher Education Works, a non-profit organization with a mission to increase grassroots knowledge of, support for, and participation in North Carolina’s public higher education systems.
Over her more than thirty year career, Emma has served in several leadership roles including; President and Chief Operating Officer at Crisp Digital Agency, Vice President of Client Success at Windsor Circle, Vice President of Marketing and Merchandising at Art.com, and, Vice President of Marketing, Vice President of Strategic Planning, Director of Marketing and Director of Operations & Sourcing, at HanesBrands, Inc.
Emma holds an MBA in Business Administration from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Spanish from Duke University. She and her husband Joe reside in Chapel Hill, NC and are the proud parents of two sons, Khari (Elon 2017) and Iyin.
Malesia “Nikki” Taylor, Director
Public Policy Specialist
Malesia “Nikki” Taylor is a Public Policy Specialist at Dominion Energy, a leading electric and gas utility that serves nearly 7.5 million customers across an 18-state nationwide footprint. In her current role, she manages the company’s strategic community outreach and education program. She is also involved in developing grassroots, advocacy, and outreach plans that support the regulatory and legislative initiatives associated with major capital projects.
Nikki began her career in the energy industry in Dominion Energy’s Customer Account Management department as a front line supervisor. She then moved to Alternative Energy Solutions (AES), an internal research and development group which pursued new technologies and business opportunities for Dominion Energy. There, she primarily monitored and conducted detailed research on current and proposed federal and state energy policy issues, including laws and regulations.
Nikki provided the policy support that informed the company’s planning for projects such as the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project (formerly known as VOWTAP) as well as various smart grid projects that included Dominion Voltage Inc.’s volt-var optimization technology. She also maintained favorable relationships with utility commissioners outside of Dominion Energy’s footprint, educating them on how certain technologies could help their state’s utilities meet policy objectives.
Nikki holds bachelor’s degrees in Criminal Justice and Spanish and a master’s degree in public policy from Virginia Commonwealth University. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority and chairs the Legislative Issues and Public Policy committee and the Newsletter committee for the Virginia Chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy.
Chris Vlahoplus, Director
Partner and Clean Tech & Sustainability Practice Lead
Chris Vlahoplus has been a management consultant to the energy and utility industry for 25 years. He leads ScottMadden’s clean tech & sustainability practice area including a role as co-leader of the firm's nuclear consulting practice. He has assisted more than 45 companies focusing on electric generation business management, merger integration, strategic and business planning, organizational restructuring, and management models.
Chris earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of South Carolina, an M.S. in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to joining ScottMadden, Chris worked in nuclear safety at Duke Power Company.
Carl Wilkins, Director
Vice President, Distribution & Asset Operations
Carl L. Wilkins, PE, Vice President, has extensive experience in the electric utility industry serving in a variety of managerial, research and consultative roles working with electric & gas utility companies. His team performs renewable energy grid integration studies for wind and solar PV projects. Combining experience in engineering, sales, marketing and project management with applied technical skills, he brings a wide array of talents to his consulting engagements. Carl managed several projects related to transmission and distribution storm hardening assessments and emergency preparedness plans for large electric utilities. Carl has led benchmarking studies on transmission maintenance and construction practices.
Prior to joining Quanta Technology, Carl served at Advanced Energy as the Director of Utility Services where he managed the senior management relationships and the delivery of energy efficiency and renewable energy services to electric utilities. He has worked with utilities in areas of smart grid, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, policies to address climate change and environmental sustainability.
Carl was the chief architect in the design, coordination and development of North Carolina's green power program, NC GreenPower, the first statewide green power program where all electric utilities in the state agreed to collaborate and use one marketing campaign.