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 Manager

Ella Nielsen is the  Membership and Engagement Manager, 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

  • National Solar Tour 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. Lauren feels fortunate to now lead the ZEN intern team and feels inspired by the sustainability work that is being accomplished. Most recently, she was also appointed to assist Sarah Townes with managing the finances for ASES, as well as, creating content for events. She is delighted for the opportunity to continue to learn from board members and write grant proposals, further design carbon offset projects for the Boulder community, and hone her environmental knowledge in an applied capacity. Lauren hopes to utilize her experiences with ASES and ZEN 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 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.

  • Emily McCollum

  • Communications and National Solar Tour Intern

Emily is a Communications and National Solar Tour Intern at the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). She is pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies and Economics at the University of Colorado Boulder. Emily has always been passionate about the Environment and renewable energy and she hopes to explore careers in sustainable business. Emily believes equity and community are building blocks of a sustainable future and she is grateful to participate in a nonprofit (ASES) that reflects these values. In her free time, Emily enjoys cooking, hiking and reading.

  • Brynne O'Connor

  • Programs Associate Intern

Welcome one of the newest members of the American Solar Energy Society team. This is Brynne O’Connor, she will be working as the Program Associate Intern, performing tasks to aid both the Solar Energy 2022 Conference and the Solar Energy Tour. Brynne was fortunate enough to graduate in person from St. Lawrence University in April 2021. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies with a minor in Public Health. During her time at St. Lawrence, Brynne was able to participate in a wide breadth of environmental management and energy efficiency courses which she hopes to apply toward her position with ASES. Brynne is a Massachusetts native, living just north of Boston where she enjoys engaging with her outdoor community. Some of the activities Brynne indulges in in her spare time includes, long walks with her hound Hobey, mountain biking, trail hiking, and summer time beach trips. Brynne’s environmental breakthrough began as a senior in high school when studying the detrimental effects of factory farming on all ecosystems. She possesses an eagerness to create meaningful change by influencing how others understand solar energy strategies that are less detrimental to the environment. Brynnes studies developed her love and passion for the environment and plans to capitalize on her opportunities with ASES to create a more sustainable community for all.

  • Tobias Hanson

  • Social Media Intern

Tobias Hanson is a Social Media Intern at the American Solar Energy Society. He is also a Research Assistant with the Solar Commons Project at the University of Minnesota where he assists in research focused on community empowerment through solar energy. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from the University of Minnesota. Having worked and studied sustainability in local, national and international contexts (Italy, Norway, Puerto Rico, Mexico), Tobias is particularly interested in how cultural and social differences shape energy transitions. In his free time Tobias enjoys cooking, reading, playing sports and gardening.

  • Nathan Freeman

  • Data Analyst and Technical Divisions Intern

Hello! My name is Nathan Freeman, and I am a student currently studying Renewable Energy Technologies with a specialty in Solar Technologies! The institution I am attending is Delaware Technical Community College where I have learned a lot in both Renewable Energy and Alternative Energy production and storage methods. The subject of Renewable Energy and its implementation to try and replace fossil fuels has been a heavy focus of mine in the past few years, and I have decided to assist in working towards that goal by pursuing a career path in Solar Technologies. With my father having been in the USAF for the majority of my life, I’ve had the privilege of traveling around the country, living in different areas, and having the opportunity to understand the needs of people around the country (even spent about 4 years of my childhood in England). In my personal time, I enjoy exploring different interests such as painting with acrylics on mostly miniature models (but occasionally venture back into canvas painting when inspiration hits), music, and practicing Historical European Martial Arts, also known as HEMA.

  • Emmanuel Agboba

  • Fundraising and Grants Research Intern

Emmanuel is a Fundraising and Grants Research Intern at the American Solar Energy Society. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Chemistry from the Federal University of Technology Minna, Nigeria, in 2018. Driven by his passion for environmental sustainability, Emmanuel successfully developed an adsorbent for the sustainable removal of heavy metals from industrial wastewater to curb environmental pollution from industrial effluents. This study was also published in the 2019 School of Physical Sciences Biennial International Conference (SPSBIC) Journal and presented to a larger audience at a conference on Sustainable Energy in Changing Climate.

In order to advance his career in renewable energy, Emmanuel will begin his Master’s program in Chemistry for Renewable Energy at Uppsala University, Sweden, in August 2022. His professional goal is to lead Nigeria’s transition to a low carbon economy to reach its 2050 net-zero emissions target for a climate-resilient Nigeria. Emmanuel enjoys nature, traveling, meeting people, and playing musical instruments.
  • David Moss

  • Membership Assistant

David Moss is a Membership Intern at the American Solar Energy Society. He is currently studying Environmental Studies and Economics at the University of Colorado Boulder. David has always had a passion for the outdoors which has led him to be interested in sustainable business and conservation. He is excited to work with ASES in finding ways to provide opportunities and information to the community. In his free time, David enjoys climbing, foraging for mushrooms, cooking, and hanging out with his dog Jasper.

  • Tyler Sconce

  • Social Media Intern

From Roseburg, Oregon, I am a 5th year Senior at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and I am on the Track and Field Team here as well.

  • Tianyong (Vince) Yuan

  • Conference Intern

My Chinese name is Tian Yong Yuan. People also call me Vincent. I am from China, but I came to the United States for high school when I was 16. This experience has made me more independent and better at taking care of myself. Since growing up, I have loved nature, which is why I hope to contribute to the environment of the planet in the future. When I was a high school international student, I started a recycling bin program, which promoted the separation of garbage in the school. I also love various sports like basketball, tennis, badminton and skateboarding. Sports have enriched my life and I am passionate about learning and exploring. I played basketball, soccer and track for my school in high school in the United States. All of these experiences have made me an active, athletic, and sunny person.

  • 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.

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