Our Team

We’re a small office on a big mission. At ASES, it’s all about the people who make it happen. Whether publishing Solar Today and Solar@Work or producing the National Solar Tour or National Solar Conference, these talented individuals cover the solar and renewable energy scene from coast to coast. Meet the ZEN intern team!

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement: ASES provides equal opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment. No person shall be discriminated against regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or any other category that is protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.
  • Carly Rixham

  • Executive Director

Carly Rixham

Carly Rixham is the Executive Director for American Solar Energy Society (ASES). She is the Publisher of Solar Today magazine. She received her Masters in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of Colorado at Boulder where she researched microalgae for the production of biofuel. While studying in Boulder, Rixham served as Director of Arts and Sciences at CU Energy. Rixham also was a microbiologist at BioVantage Resources, culturing algae for bio-remediation of nutrients in wastewater. Prior to her renewable energy career, She taught Biology and Ecology at the university and high school levels and worked in software development at Intuit. Rixham captained the University of Denver Pioneers Lacrosse team and coached for the University of Colorado (Go Buffs) Lacrosse Team. She enjoys travel, art, mountain sports, and nature.

  • Sarah Townes

  • Chief Financial Officer and ZEN Director

sarah townes

Sarah Townes has worked in music and finance in Boulder, Colorado since 1998. She was delighted to join the ASES team in 2016 to promote solar energy and sustainability in our beautiful world. Sarah enjoys working with the dynamic staff. Managing the finances for such a positive organization brings great job satisfaction. ASES’s large membership base and non-profit status require full accountability and transparency in all its dealings, financial and social, and it brings her pleasure to work in non-profit accounting in such a high-integrity organization. Outside of ASES, Sarah enjoys singing, teaching singing, and performing, and her latest album is available for sale on iTunes. Favorite recreation includes hiking, relaxing by the fire at the St. Julien, and having fun with her family, both immediate and extended. She finds inspiration daily in her young son and his friends.

  • Ella Nielsen

  • Membership and Engagement Director

Ella-Nielsen
Ella Nielsen is the Membership and Engagement Director, hired in June 2022 after serving as the Online Community and Membership Intern. Energy sparked her interest when she interned at a local solar energy nonprofit in Tanzania when she was in college. During her internship, she completed a report on the impact of rural electrification and its effects on women in East Africa. After studying abroad, she did a summer internship at the U.S. Department of Energy under their Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office, focusing on rural energy in the United States. In her free time, she enjoys climbing, skiing, and hiking around the Rocky Mountains.
  • Kat Friedrich

  • Solar Today Editor in Chief

Kat-Friedrich

Kat Friedrich is an entrepreneurial journalist who has combined engineering, technology, and writing for over 20 years. In 2012, she co-founded Clean Energy Finance Forum, a news project that Yale University acquired. Later, she co-founded and managed a sister website on innovation in forestry, water, agriculture and urbanism.
She has written and/or edited for Popular Mechanics,  the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, Renewable Energy World, YouthBuild USA, Yale Center for Business and the Environment, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Texas at San Antonio, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, Hoffman Power Consulting, Conservation Services Group, Energy News Network, Microgrid Knowledge, and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Previously, she was an engineer for the Forest Products Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and American Superconductor. Kat has two degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison — a B.S. with distinction in mechanical engineering and an M.S. in science and environmental journalism from the Land Resources Program. She spends her free time learning about dance and functional fitness, snowshoeing and hiking in Wisconsin’s beautiful state and local parks, reading science fiction, and exploring music events.

  • Sunshine Urbaniak

  • Creative Director/Webmaster

sunshine urbaniak

Sunshine joined ASES in 2017 and serves as Creative Director and Webmaster, ensuring brand guidelines are consistent across all marketing collateral, including Solar Today magazine and ases.org. With more than 22 years in graphic design communication, she has given a unique voice to numerous businesses through her passionate, creative design services including brand identity, print, web, and interactive.

  • Brian Searles

  • Sales

Brian Searles

Brian has 35 years in B2B and Association publishing serving in every position from in-house sales rep to VP/Group Publisher. He launched a successful magazine in the family entertainment industry and helped revitalize American Libraries, the member magazine of the American Library Association.

Brian is passionate about moving the world toward a more sustainable future. He contributes regularly to PawsChicago, a no kill animal shelter, the ACLU, Doctors Without Borders, and the Special Olympics.

His favorite quote is: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity/An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

  • Remi Akinwonmi

  • Programs Associate Volunteer

Remi-Akinwonmi

Remi is a Masters student at the department of mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder as well as the graduate program ambassador. Remi has been volunteering with the ASES for the past three years and was vice-chair of the Photovoltaic Technical Division. He has also been curating the Solar@Work newsletter since then. Remi’s area of expertise is in clean energy technology and storage systems. Remi was born and raised in Nigeria, in his free time, he enjoys listening to music and road cycling.

  • Kyle Combes

  • Strategic Directions Volunteer

Kyle-Combes
Kyle is a software engineer passionate about environmental sustainability. He earned his B.S. in Engineering from Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering and currently works full-time for Oceanworks, Inc on supply chain traceability for recovered and recycled ocean-bound plastic. He joined ASES to learn more about renewable energy and the challenges facing the industry and to meet other passionate people in the sustainability space. In his free time, he enjoys snowboarding, cycling, playing soccer, and proving to the world how much stuff you can fit in (or tow with) a Prius.
  • Tristan Romer

  • Fundraising Campaign & Grants Research Assistant

Tristan is a fourth-year Environmental studies major at the University of Colorado at Boulder. While primarily focusing on Environmental science, he is also double minoring in cinema and atmospheric/oceanic studies. He is excited to gain experience in working with environmental non-profits. He has specific goals of environmental sustainability and justice, which he hopes to spread awareness about through creative fundraising endeavors and the organization of grant research. Tristan enjoys camping, drumming, and even sometimes drumming while camping in his free time.

  • Emmanuel Iddio

  • National Solar Tour Intern

Emmanuel is a PhD student at the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering at the University of Wyoming. He is interested in building energy simulation, net zero home designs and rooftop solar for residential and commercial buildings. Originally from Ibadan, Nigeria, he appreciates the experience of all four seasons and especially likes the cold and the windy winters that Wyoming is known for. He enjoys watching soccer, reading novels, biking, and experiencing other cultures through food and documentaries.

  • Thomas Doherty

  • Social Media Advocate

Thomas Doherty is a third-year student at the University of Colorado, Boulder, majoring in environmental studies and minoring in business. He’s enthusiastic about the environment and is currently a social media intern at the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). His goal is to raise awareness about sustainable practices and their positive impact on our planet, fueled by his deep appreciation for nature.

Originally from Massachusetts, Thomas adores natural landscapes and is an avid traveler. His passion for sustainable energy extends across various fields, and he’s intrigued by the human aspects of climate change and our responsibility in addressing it.

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