Wafa May Elamin
Wafa May is joining VA-REA as the new Executive Director. She has always had a particular passion for being in the forefront of creating more sustainable communities and formally received a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Policy and Planning and Bachelor’s of Arts in International Studies concentrated in Environmental Affairs from Virginia Tech to bring her one step closer to that. Wafa May’s varied professional experience has proven to be advantageous towards establishing sustainable programming and long-term connections. She has worked as the Vice President and then Acting President providing strategic guidance and nonprofit management for Moving Forward Sudan, a nonprofit she led and brought to fruition with the backing of her Sudanese-American community in the DC-Metropolitan area; Community Development Manager with Microsoft; an HIV Program Coordinator with the Virginia Department of Health providing support to 12 health districts receiving federal funding for targeted programming across the Commonwealth; Campus Electoral Organizer mobilizing young voters at Virginia State University, a public Historically Black College and University (HBCU); and currently serves as the Secretary of the Board of Directors for Work of Art, a local Richmond nonprofit serving underrepresented girls ages 13-18.
Having always been very mission driven, Wafa May is excited to couple her extensive experience in nonprofit management, advocacy, coalition-building, and community-based development with her educational foundations in Environmental Policy and Planning towards advancing VA-REA’s vision for Renewable Energy in Virginia.
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Nicole serves as the Membership Coordinator for VA-REA as of May 2018, where she manages VA-REA outreach, event coordination, communication, and media. She also works for Secure Futures in the Richmond, VA office where she handles marketing, customer service, and policy analysis for the solar developer.
Nicole graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in Global Development Studies in Sustainability with an Economics minor. Her academic focus centered on sustainable policy, business development, and community planning.
Board of Directors
Thompson McMullan, P.C.
Cliona Mary Robb, LEED® AP, is the Director of Thompson McMullan, P.C. Formally, she was the chair of Christian & Barton's Sustainability, Energy and Green Development practice group and a member of the Energy and Telecommunications department. She represents municipal, industrial, and commercial customers of electric, natural gas, and water utilities regarding rate, service and transmission line siting. Cliona also works on renewable energy transactions involving solar power and wind power and has been appointed by the Governor to the Solar Energy Development Authority, where she serves as Chair.
VA-REA Vice Chair
Sarah has been with Dominion for 18 years and works in Dominion’s Corporate Public Policy team in Richmond, VA. Sarah’s efforts at Dominion include analysis and research of energy policy and regulation in all 50 states. For five years, Sarah served in Dominion’s Alternative Energy Solutions group where her efforts focused on policy research related to renewables and advanced grid technologies as well as alternative regulation and rate design. Prior to her tenure in the Corporate Public Policy and Alternative Energy Solutions groups, Sarah held roles in the Company’s Regulation, Legal, and Corporate Ethics and Compliance groups. Sarah holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Sarah is also a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt.
Rick Thomas specializes in Environmental Services and Energy projects and provides environmental consulting services for a wide range of the Timmons Group’s municipal, State, Federal and private clients.
Mr. Comer is a mechanical engineer specializing in energy and environmental systems. He is experienced in: R&D and market assessments for advanced energy systems; power plant performance testing and analysis; biomass fuel supply studies; biomass repowering and cofiring in fossil fuel-fired boilers; energy use evaluation and energy auditing; performance and economic modeling for energy systems; environmental permitting for power generation projects; feasibility and design studies for solar photovoltaic systems; project management and performance assessment for installation of solar photovoltaic systems; and public outreach for “green” energy.
Preston is a senior vice president at McGuireWoods Consulting, where he works in the firm's infrastructure and economic development group.Preston’s practice centers largely on infrastructure and economic development, where he advises clients on State government and its legislative and regulatory processes. Preston regularly represent clients before the General Assembly, Governor’s Office, and regulatory agencies. Preston served as Virginia secretary of natural resources in the cabinet of Governor Timothy M. Kaine (2006-2010), overseeing the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Department of Historic Resources, and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.
Collegiate Clean Energy
Guy is President of Collegiate Clean Energy at Ingenco; CCE & Ingenco provide customers with 100% renewable energy 24x7 from their landfill gas generation portfolio. Guy brings over 20 years of experience in the energy industry with experience in clean energy research & project development, practical experience in large scale greenhouse gas inventories, carbon trading and clean energy strategy development.
An experienced strategist and consultant, Rob has spent his career advising leaders in every level of government and in the private sector. He currently serves as Senior Advisor, Public Affairs for Sun Tribe – Virginia’s largest distributed solar provider – where he oversees the company’s work in public policy, communications, media relations, and legislative affairs.
Prior to his time at Sun Tribe, Rob founded Pen Public Affairs in Charlottesville, and worked at CLS Strategies (Omnicom), where he represented Fortune 500 companies facing significant crises and provided media training for clients engaged in high-stakes litigation. Previously, he served in the Obama Administration as the speechwriter for U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Assistant Secretary for Health Karen DeSalvo; as the speechwriting consultant to Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s transition team; the Chief Speechwriter and Deputy Press Secretary for Maryland Lieutenant Governor (now Congressman) Anthony Brown; Chief of Staff to Baltimore City Councilman Jim Kraft; and for a variety of campaigns and elected officials in Illinois, New York, and Maryland. A New York native, he got his start at the Clinton Foundation.
Eric Heintz is co-sponsor of M&T’s Solar Tax Equity Initiative and a Relationship Manager with M&T Bank’s Greater Washington commercial lending group. In regards to Solar Tax Equity, Mr. Heintz helps customers identify solutions for structured finance applications and is working to bring M&T to market as an active tax equity investor. Mr. Heintz is responsible for 1) the development and deployment of the tax partnership as a new product at M&T Bank (product still in development), 2) building relationships with developers and other centers of influence in the renewable energy space, and 3) structuring, diligence, and underwriting of renewable energy transactions.
Francis Hodsoll is the co-founder and CEO of SolUnesco, where he leads strategy, business development, policy, performance management, and community engagement. He uses his expertise in energy wholesale markets, policy, land use, and finance to develop utility-scale solar projects that connect society’s needs to sustainable, cost-competitive energy. SolUnesco has more than 1 GW of projects under development. Francis holds a BA in economics from Colby College and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He has served as Board Member of the MD-DC- VA Solar Energy Industry Association, Chair of the Energy Workgroup for Governor McAuliffe’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission, Committee Member of Governor McAuliffe’s Energy Committee, and Founder of the Virginia Advanced Energy Industries Association. Francis also founded and serves as President of E&E Frontiers, an energy management consulting company whose clients include the U.S Military, US AID, Nextera, Advanced Energy Economy, ICF, LMI, Sun Edison, Sol Systems and Standard Solar.
Emily Hughes is a Project Manager at EDP Renewables North America (EDPR NA), specializing in greenfield development and acquisition of utility-scale solar and wind projects in the eastern United States & Canada. Emily is based at EDPR NA’s corporate headquarters in Houston, TX. EDPR NA develops, constructs, owns, and operates wind farms and solar parks across North America. The company has developed more than 6,900 megawatts (MW) and operates more than 6,300 MW of renewable energy projects, with many more projects—including offshore wind—currently under construction and in the development pipeline. Emily graduated from Rice University in 2013 and has 7 years of experience in the energy industry, including energy business software consulting, renewable energy development and project management.
Appalachian Power Company
Ronald Jefferson is an External Affairs Manager with Appalachian Power Company. He has 37 years of experience in the electric utility industry, working all 37 years for Appalachian Power. Ron’s current responsibilities include developing electric utility policies in Virginia and working with State Government. Ron attended Patrick Henry Community College before graduating summa cum laude from Averett College with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1992. Ron lives in Mechanicsville, Virginia with his wife, Cindy, and two children.
Will’s early career was based in Kentucky focused on breeding and racing thoroughbred horses. Will moved back to Richmond in 2011 and started working in the real estate business as a commercial agent and Director of Investor Relations for Markel | Eagle Partners. Two years later Will co- founded an award winning custom home building company that has delivered dozens of custom homes to clients in the past three years. In 2016 Will founded a roofing company to supply labor to roofing companies including NCI, Inc. After joint venturing with NCI on several roofing projects, Will and NCI owner David Cheon realized they would be more successful as business partners. Will manages the solar energy division, general business development, and corporate strategy.
Outside of business Will is involved in several non-profit organizations and was the founder and first President of the Massey Alliance, which has raised and donated over one million dollars to VCU Massey Cancer Center since 2002.
James Madison University
Dr. Jonathan Miles serves a professor in the Department of Integrated Science and Technology at James Madison University and director of the Center for Wind Energy at JMU. He previously served as Program Director of the international Master’s program in Sustainable Environmental Resources Management at JMU and on an IPA assignment with the wind program at the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Miles holds a B.A. in physics from Clark University and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
174 Power Global
Deborah Reyes brings 25+ years of experience in the global energy sector shaped by a broad spectrum of commercial and leadership positions in the U.S. & overseas markets leading power project development in renewables and conventional power. Ms. Reyes' expertise includes originating and advancing projects to construction through her intimate knowledge of: site selection, land acquisition, interconnection/ transmission issues, permitting/ entitlement processes, origination, financing, project marketing, strategic market entry analysis, contract negotiations and deal structuring in several languages and multiple countries.
Currently, Ms. Reyes is Vice President, Development, Eastern U.S. Region & County Manager for Mexico for 174 Power Global USA, an affiliate of the global solar module manufacturer Hanwha Q Cells, USA.
Ben is responsible for development, permitting, entitlement and environmental compliance efforts for renewable energy projects for sPower. He recently helped lead the effort to gain approval for the 500 MW Spotsylvania Solar Energy Center which is the 5th largest solar facility in the United States. Prior to joining sPower, Ben was an environmental auditor and a siting and permitting consultant at Dominion Energy. He has extensive experience with development, environmental compliance and permitting in Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia with a focus on high voltage transmission system projects, natural gas transmission and power generation facilities. Ben holds a BA in Political Science from Sewanee: The University of the South and a Master of Science degree in Environmental Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Secure Futures LLC
Tony serves as President and CEO of Secure Futures LLC, bringing over 30 years of experience in energy efficiency, solar energy, and community development in Vermont, Pennsylvania and Virginia. In 2016, Tony led Secure Futures in the development of over 1.7 MW of distributed solar power in Virginia, including the first PPA in the Dominion PPA Pilot Program, a 205kW system at the University of Richmond. He serves as a board member of the Virginia Renewable Energy Alliance. Tony earned a Masters in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD from the Wharton School of Management, University of Pennsylvania.
Chris has been responsible for leading Environmental Permitting, Civil Engineering, and Survey for wind and solar projects across the United States. He currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Fisher Associates.
Apex Clean Energy
Tyson serves as Vice President of Development for Apex Clean Energy. He is responsible for the origination and development of projects across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. Apex is based in Charlottesville, VA and is actively building one of the largest, most diversified portfolios of renewable energy projects in the nation.
Old Dominion Electric Cooperative
Andrew Vehorn is Vice President of Government Affairs for the Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives. In this role, he is responsible for coordinating public policy initiatives and public affairs activities at the state and federal level for electric cooperatives in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. Prior to joining the co-ops, Andrew spent 10 years at the Richmond-based public affairs firm of Capital Results, specializing in lobbying, issue advocacy and coalition development. A native Virginian, Andrew resides in the West End of Henrico County with his wife, Cristen, and two daughters.