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 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.

  • 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.

  • Ella Nielsen

  • Membership and Engagement Director

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 US 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.
  • Lauren Reddington

  • Programs Director

Lauren Reddington is a 2021 environmental studies and pre-law graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder. She was initially selected as an intern for the Zero Emissions Network (ZEN), a program of ASES in the spring of 2021. She was quickly promoted to the role of Operations Manager, then soon after was recruited to be the ASES National Solar Tour Director. She is delighted for the opportunity to continue to learn from board members and write grant proposals, further advocate for renewable energy through the solar tour, design carbon offset projects for the Boulder community and hone her environmental knowledge in an applied capacity. Lauren hopes to utilize her experiences with ZEN and ASES to better advocate for nonprofits in her future law career.

  • Kat Friedrich

  • Solar Today Editor in Chief

Kat Friedrich is an entrepreneurial journalist who has combined engineering, technology and writing for 27 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.

  • 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 Volunteer

Remi is a Masters student at the department of mechanical engineering 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 Solar@Work newsletter since then. Remi’s area of expertness 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.

  • Giselle Rodriguez

  • Data Analyst & Technical Divisions Volunteer

Giselle earned her Bachelor of Science in Supply Chain & Information Systems from Penn State University and has a background in Supply Chain Analytics. She has lived all across the US and fell in love with being outside in nature. She enjoys hiking, gardening, and paddle-boarding on Lake Michigan in her spare time. Giselle began volunteering at clean-up events at her local park, but wanted to expand her passion for sustainability after continuing to see the impact our current supply chain has on the environment. Giselle is excited to learn all she can from ASES and the solar community.

  • Benjamin Streett

  • Programs Associate Intern

My name is Ben Streett and I am currently a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Spanish. I love to ski, run, hike, and any other excuse I can find to be outside. I am thrilled to be part of the ASES team and equally as excited for the opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable world for all.

  • Vaishalee Dash

  • Fundraising and Grants Research Intern

Vaishalee Dash, is currently a Master’s in Electrical Engineering (Power) student at Washington State University, Pullman. Her research work pertains to integration and impact of Renewable Energy (RE) on power distribution grids, mainly around voltage and reactive power control problems. She completed projects exploring future control architectures for Distribution Management Systems and new technologies for active grid control. She holds a MS (research) in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur developing control strategies for hybrid RE systems and has authored several research papers, reports, and proposals.

Prior to joining WSU, she was as a Senior Research Engineer at Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy, a leading think tank in India. She delivered projects on solar PV and battery storage sizing and techno-economic analysis for various applications, helping Government, institutions and other stakeholders working on clean energy transition pathways. Vaishalee is passionate to contribute towards the adoption and integration of RE and drive forward discussions in this area. She enjoys sketching, traveling, and spending time with family and friends in her free time.

  • Kyle Combes

  • Solar Education Intern

Kyle is a software engineer passionate about environmental sustainability. He earned his BS 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.
  • Mick Konstantopoulos

  • Social Media Advocate Intern

Hi! I’m Mick Konstantopoulos and I grew up in Boulder, Colorado, but after high school I moved to Washington DC. I am currently a sophomore at The George Washington University pursuing a major in international affairs with a concentration in international environmental studies as well as a minor in geography. At GW, I manage social media for various club sports and nonprofits and I occasionally work with political organizers on Capitol Hill. In my free time, I love to hike, swim, ski, play water polo, and travel the world. I am very excited to be working with ASES!
  • Zoya Duggal

  • Fundraising Intern

My name is Zoya Duggal, and I am currently a masters in chemical engineering student at University of California – San Diego. I’ve grown up in a small town in India, and have been passionate about saving the environment since I was very young. The childhood passion turned into a professional choice, and during my undergrad, I worked on various projects relating to the sustainable energy and environment sector and now, I am excited to be working with ASES. In my spare time, you’d find me relaxing on the beach reading a fictional novel, or exploring new food places.
  • Pete Lakoff

  • Conference Volunteer

Pete Lakoff assists the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) as a National Conference planner. After graduating from Purdue University, he joined the U.S. Army, where he served as a pilot and flew Blackhawk and Kiowa helicopters. Following his time as an aviator, he served as Senior Program Manager with a Special Forces group, both in the U.S. and Bogota, Colombia. After his military career, he transitioned to a career in the commercial aerospace industry, specializing on lifesaving equipment for mountain search and rescues. He is passionate about learning and advancing the renewable industry, as well as giving back to his local community. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, climbing in Boulder Canyon, and traveling.

  • Tatum Mohr Jentgen

  • Communications Intern

My name is Tatum Jentgen and I am a recent graduate from the University of Colorado Boulder with a BS in environmental studies and a minor in business. Being able to contribute my expertise and knowledge to achieve a more sustainable world is my main goal. In my free time I enjoy snowboarding, reading, playing guitar and listening to music. I am so excited to be a part of the ASES team and can’t wait to contribute to the efforts of such a great organization!

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