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!

  • Carly Rixham

  • Executive Director

Carly Rixham

Carly Rixham is the Executive Director for American Solar Energy Society (ASES). She is the Editor, Publisher, and Art Director for 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.

  • Carly Cipolla

  • Director of Operations

Carly Cipolla

Carly Cipolla is the Director of Operations for the American Solar Energy Society. She is a 2017 graduate from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in Environmental Studies and minor in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science featuring a background in sustainability, renewable energy, and environmental justice. Prior to her joining the ASES team, Carly worked at the University of Colorado’s Environmental Center to further sustainability on campus as a Student Outreach Specialist. Since joining ASES as an intern in 2016, Carly has flourished into her current leadership position focusing on planning the Annual National Solar Conference, managing staff, volunteers and interns, as well as focusing on general operations for the organization. She has planned the last three conferences and successfully developed and implemented ASES’ first ever virtual conference, SOLAR 20/20: Renewable Energy Vision. The conference featured an animated lobby, virtual auditorium, networking lounge, info center and had over 300 attendees, 10 exhibitors, and 17 sessions featuring over 100 speakers. Realizing the success and potential of the virtual event, she plans to add an online component to every ASES conference in the future to allow attendees to gather from all over the world. Carly is focused on expanding the reach of ASES and their programs, and has even started one of the newer programs, the ASES Webinar Series. She has most recently started implementing an online community platform for ASES membership to gather, share information, and more. She is looking forward to continued growth and success with ASES.

  • Sarah Townes

  • Chief Financial Officer and ZEN Director

sarah townes

Sarah Townes has worked in music and finance in Boulder, CO since 1998, and 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, and 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.

  • Narelle Kipple

  • Membership Manager & Programs Coordinator

Narelle Kipple works with Membership and Programs for the American Solar Energy Society. She graduated from the University of Colorado in May 2019 with a Mechanical Engineering degree and minor in Engineering Management. Narelle studied abroad with Semester at Sea and while traveling saw the awful amount of trash and smog that pollutes our planet forming her passion for sustainability. She has canvassed for Environment Colorado for a statewide ban on polystyrene and was a Project Manager for an energy and air quality study of homes as they transition off fossil fuels.  Since joining ASES as the membership assistant in 2019, Narelle quickly gained more responsibility in managing the membership database and involvement in the Tiny Watts and National Solar Tour Programs. Narelle is actively working on this year’s National Solar Tour and its transition to a weeklong virtual event. She is also focused on updating the calculations and registry for the Tiny Watts Program with plans to increase involvement. Narelle’s hobbies include skiing, hiking with her pup, mountain biking, gardening, and learning about new sustainable alternatives and products. Narelle truly believes in the work of ASES and is excited and proud to be a part of ASES and the renewable energy movement.

  • 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.

  • Phil Arndt

  • Business Development

Phil has over three decades in media sales, marketing and management. He has extensive experience with non-profit and renewable energy print and digital properties, including Green Manufacturer magazine, the Sustainability Manufacturing Network, Environmental Leader, Renewable publications in Brazil, India, China and Russia, Water Technology magazine, and Water Tech World.

Phil has a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from University of Southern California. He is an active supporter of PetSmart charities, UNICEF, Freedom Guide Dogs, and Workshops for Warriors. Phil is pictured here with his son and daughter.

  • Remi Akinwonmi

  • Programs Associate Intern

Remi is a Programs Associate Intern at the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). He graduated from the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB) in Nigeria with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and has focused on renewable energy engineering, especially solar energy. As an undergraduate, Remi designed, installed and carried out performance evaluations on a photovoltaic water pumping system in FUNAAB community, as a way of advocating for the solar agenda in Nigerian communities where access to grid electricity is limited. At ASES, he hopes to better understand the solar energy industry and to help the society in the transition to renewable energy and sustainable living future. Remi was born and raised in Nigeria, in his free time, he enjoys reading classic literature and listening to music.

  • Terrell Cato

  • Online Community Intern

Terrell Cato is the Online Community Intern for the American Solar Energy Society. He graduated from the renewable energy solar program at Delaware Technical Community College and is passionate about helping the world go green. Terrell wants to help the solar industry grow by teaching people about the benefits of going green and educating about the affects of climate change. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to music and playing basketball. He looks forward to learning everything he can from ASES about the solar industry. 

  • Luis Alberto Ramon

  • Social Media Intern

Luis Alberto Ramon is a Social Media Intern at the American Solar Energy Society (ASES).  He is a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies with a minor in Business. He was raised in Monterrey, Mexico, and enjoys running, cycling and golf. He wants to pursue a career in the energy field. He is passionate about understanding the solar energy industry. 

  • Amanda (Mandy) Karako

  • Higher Logic and Membership Intern

Mandy is the Higher Logic and Membership Intern at ASES. Mandy is a senior at CU Boulder, working on a degree in Environmental Studies. She is interested in pursuing a career in the sustainable development field, advocating for clean and renewable energy. Outside of work, Mandy enjoys being outside, hanging out with friends, snowboarding, and finding any sort of creative outlets. She looks forward to everything she will learn in this internship position at ASES.

  • Benjamin Guthrie

  • Conference Intern

Benjamin Guthrie is a Programs Associate Intern at the American Solar Energy Society. He is currently a Junior studying Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Benjamin is interested in pursuing a career in the solar industry. He was raised in Honolulu, Hawaii and enjoys surfing, spearfishing, and swimming. Being raised in Hawaii has given him a passion for caring about the environment and moving to a carbon neutral world. He hopes to gain experience and make lasting connections in the renewable energy industry through ASES.

  • Nathan Vandiver

  • Membership and Data Analyst Intern

Nathan is a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder majoring in Environmental Studies with a focus on sustainable development. While also minoring in Business with an emphasis in Real Estate. He is originally from Baltimore, Maryland, and found his interest in sustainable principles and conservation through helping in efforts to clean up and protect the Chesapeake Bay. Nathan’s interest in both sustainable and renewable issues, combined with his real estate studies make him a perfect fit for ASES.

  • Ahalya Sabaratnam

  • Membership and Programs Intern

Ahalya Sabaratnam is a freshman at University of California, Los Angeles majoring in Environmental Science with a possible minor in Environmental Engineering. She is originally from Oakland, California, and found her interest in sustainability through student activism. In her free time she loves to go dog walking, go on hikes and make collages. She’s excited to discover more about renewable energy and what more she can do to implement more sustainability initiatives.

  • Carter Carey

  • Fundraising and Grants Intern

Carter Carey is a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder, majoring in Environmental Studies with minors in Business and Atmospheric and Oceanic Studies. Carter is from New Orleans, Louisiana, a city situated partially below sea-level and very susceptible to climate change, which led her to develop a passion for sustainability and the environment. In her free time, she enjoys spending time in the mountains and cooking with friends. She is excited to be a member of the ASES team !

  • Alexa Minervini

  • Student Membership Coordinator Intern

Alexa Minervini is a senior at the University of California, Los Angeles majoring in Bioengineering. She is involved in the Renewable Energy Association at UCLA and is excited to learn more about solar energy with ASES. After growing up in a suburb of Chicago, her recent move to California has inspired a new appreciation and passion for the environment. With ASES, Alexa hopes to help promote sustainable living practices in her community. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and going to the beach.

  • Mallory Stokker

  • Student Membership Coordinator Intern

Mallory Stokker is a senior at Syracuse University, where she is majoring in Journalism and double-minoring in Writing Studies and Philosophy. A passionate believer in the power of communication, she is excited to help empower students to participate in a more renewable
future. Mallory grew up near Washington, D.C. and enjoys writing for campus publications in
her spare time.

  • Ella Douglas

  • Fundraising and Grants Intern

Ella Douglas is a junior at the University of Colorado Boulder pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies with a minor in Business. Ella is originally from Denver, Colorado, and grew up with a great love for the environment and the natural world. She is interested in understanding the intersection between business and the economy and renewable energy. She hopes to pursue a career in Sustainable Management. In her free time, she enjoys backpacking, snowboarding, mountain biking, and playing with her dog Moose.

  • Mackenzie Blair

  • Chapter Liaison and Programs Intern

Mackenzie is the Chapter Liaison and Programs Intern at ASES. She is currently in her last semester at CU Boulder working towards a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and has a passion for environmental conservation. While interning for ASES, Mackenzie hopes to gain some experience in the solar industry and learn more about renewable energy that can be implemented in her home state of Colorado. In her free time, she likes to explore new places, surround herself with friends and meet new people! She can’t wait to see what opportunities this internship will lead to.

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