Industry Roundtable & Lunch
Session Moderators: Paulette Middleton and Sarah Townes
All are welcome to join Industry Round Table Luncheon where sponsors will each give a five-minute pitch for their business or offering, along with an insightful keynote by Tony Seba, author and disruptive innovator, on renewable energy advances to expedite the energy transition. Join us as we flip the script!
David LeevanChief Executive Officer at cQuant.io
David Leevan has over 18 years of multi-commodity, energy solutions experience across market analysis, trading, risk management, forecasting and physical asset operations. With an extensive knowledge of business and technology trends, David’s background includes a range of leadership positions in software solutions for the energy sector. David received a Master of Public Administration with an emphasis in Environmental Policy & Law from the University of Colorado.
Janna West-HeissDirector of Communications & Corporate Development, Solaris Energy
Janna is passionate about climate action and made it her career. She has previously held positions in communications, outreach, education and program management for local government and non-profits focusing on climate change and sustainability. She graduated with high honors from Colorado State University with a B.S. in Natural Resource Environmental Communication and from University of Colorado (CU Denver) with an MBA in Managing for Sustainability. She was the Vice Chair of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society board for 4 years and currently holds seats on Governor Polis’s Pollution Prevention and the CU Denver School of Business Managing for Sustainability Advisory Boards. She is also a Delegate for the Biennials for the Americas Youth Congress for Sustainable Americas and a mentor for the Denver Youth Sustainability Advisory Board.
Jenifer SecristVP of Vision Operations
Jenifer grew up in rural Iowa, the daughter of a hog farmer who instilled in her the obligation to work hard, do good, and help others. Jenifer graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in the top two percent at Iowa State University in Agricultural Science and Education. She then pursued a teaching career in the sciences. During that time she obtained a Master’s of Education with an additional 45+ post-secondary credit hours ranging from leadership, pedagogy, educational equity and justice, and collaboration. For the past 22 years, she has taught high school biology and AP Environmental Science and holds a Master Teacher license. As the recipient of A+ in Excellence, multiple shine awards, and her district’s Outstanding Teacher of Excellence award, Jenifer found great success connecting with students and helping them maximize their potential. In addition, she served on an Instructional leadership Team and advised an outreach club for children battling life-threatening illnesses, where she has raised nearly three-quarters of a million dollars for children and their families. In 2010, following the Earthquake in Haiti, Jen decided to travel to Haiti to build one of her student’s grandmother a new home. The mission was a huge success and initiated the birth of her non-profit, One Nation Education. ONE has traveled to Haiti for eight years, building schools and empowering youth. Following the pandemic, Jen made the bold decision to leave the classroom to pursue her greatest and truest potential. She plans to use her gifts to inspire humanity as a keynote educator and Eco-tech Advisor for sustainability. Jen currently serves as VP of Vision Operations for Moxie | America’s Solar Company, where she will have the opportunity to share the MOXIE vision of obsessively leading the change to a sustainable future.
Jesse WeissburgBilld Co-Founder and CCO
Jesse Weissburg is an accomplished business development leader with experience across a variety of industries — including finance, real estate development, construction and renewable energy — managing strategic relationships and providing customized financial solutions to help organizations meet their goals. Recognizing cash flow inefficiencies in the commercial construction industry, Weissburg co-founded Billd, a disruptive payment solution that provides access to upfront funds for materials, helping contractors and suppliers alike grow their businesses. As CCO, he supervises all sales, marketing and business development efforts for Billd.
With a bachelor’s degree in finance and financial management services, Weissburg began his career as an account manager with the multifamily housing finance company MMA Financial. In this role, he oversaw MMA’s investment in large real estate developments in their low-income housing division, maintaining relationships with developers and working hand-in-hand with them to successfully execute projects.
Weissburg joined Bank of America as a client manager, where he managed and grew a portfolio of around 75 banking clients with annual sales revenue between $10-$100MM, providing C- suite executives with customized financial solutions, managing the bank’s credit risk and maintaining strategic relationships with key organizations. Desiring to help build a business from the ground up in a startup environment, he briefly worked with the mobile analytic startup Gridskippr before joining Dividend Solar (now Dividend Finance) as one of the renewable energy financing company’s first team members. Tasked with developing contractor partnerships with solar installers, Weissburg helped take Dividend from a startup to series A funding. Today, the company originates nearly a billion dollars in loans annually.
At Dividend, it quickly became evident that solar installation contractors often ran into problems obtaining credit for project materials — and, from his experience at Bank of America, Weissburg already knew firsthand the difficulty small- and medium-sized contractors have with securing working capital from traditional financial institutions. He and fellow team member Christopher Doyle were inspired to provide a practical payment solution for these small business owners that would help overcome cash flow hurdles and power business growth, eventually launching Billd. For contractors who usually aren’t paid until more than 90 days from purchasing materials, Billd provides 120-day terms so they can scale their business and stabilize cash flow.
Weissburg is a Certified Credit Analyst (CCA) and is certified in Data-driven Decision Making to inform business strategies. He enjoys traveling internationally, spending time outdoors and currently resides in Austin, Texas.
Ken ClemSouth-Central Regional Sales Manager, Roof Tech
Ken began his career working on commercial energy efficiency upgrades and went on to develop the solar division of an environmental company which he expanded to install the largest solar farm in Missouri. He and a friend then took the risk of launching their own solar installation company and Ken subsequently sold his share to join the Roof Tech team in 2019.
“I just love the products and the team at Roof Tech,” he said. “Our flexible flashing method of installation is almost too good to be true. It’s so easy to install and never has any leaks.”
Luke GlassRealX CEO
Luke Glass is an executive with a range of experience from founding a software start-up to serving on the Executive Team of a public company. Entrepreneurship has been a central theme of his story starting with his family’s garbage business in WV; studying Entrepreneurship at Babson College; selling his first start-up to Realtor.com; and ultimately launching his newest endeavor, RealX.
Marianne LeoneMid-Atlantic Solar & Storage Industries Association, SolarAPP+
Marianne Leone has been serving the sustainability industry as a professional meeting planner and consultant on organizational excellence for 20 years. After working with the US Green Building Council and USGBC New Jersey Chapter, she began work with the Mid-Atlantic Solar & Storage Industries Association, and has been the coordinator for 10 years. From that role, she is the ASES Affiliate Chapter representative and this year also represents NJ on the new state SolarAPP+ campaign team, along with Lyle Rawlings. The Solar APP+ Campaign is currently being implemented across the country and she is here to share information about this new and exciting program.
Paulette Middleton Board Member (ISES and ASES), Coordinator (GEIA), and Advisor (Panorama Pathways)Paulette MiddletonBoard Member (ISES and ASES), Coordinator (GEIA), and Advisor (Panorama Pathways)
I have extensive experience advancing the renewable energy transformation through my work with the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) and the U.S. section ASES, where I currently serve on the Board of Directors for both. For almost 50 years, I have worked to create a better world for all using my expertise in air quality and climate change science; program management and strategic planning; stakeholder dialogues aimed at earth aware policy development; and communication
through diverse media. As an atmospheric chemist (PhD Chemistry 1973 University of Texas) specializing in scientific assessments that support decision making at regional and international levels, I have held leadership /executive positions at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Atmospheric Sciences Research Center at the State University of New York at Albany, Science & Policy Associates, Inc., and RAND. In addition to my work with ISES and ASES, other ongoing activities include Global Emissions IniAtive (GEIA) http://geiacenter.org/ coordinator, and environment /energy advisor to diverse organizations through my company Panorama Pathways (http://www.panoramapathways.net).
Robert FosterCollege of Engineering, New Mexico State University
Robert has over 30 years experience with solar energy projects in 43 countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Robert first worked in Afghanistan in 2006, and served from 2008-09 in Afghanistan for NMSU as the Deputy Chief of Party of the USAID Afghanistan Water, Agriculture, and Technology Transfer Program where he introduced indirect solar food dryers to the country. From 2009-12 he was the Chief Engineer for the USAID Afghanistan Clean Energy Program where he furthered solar food dryer development. He continued to work in Afghanistan through 2014 on UK and New Zealand solar projects. He is an Assistant Professor with the NMSU College of Engineering teaching solar energy. Robert serves as the current ASES Chairman.
Presentation Title: COMMUNITY SOLAR FOOD DRYING IN AFGHANISTAN
Presentation Description: Traditional outdoor food drying techniques are non-hygienic and inefficient drying on rocks, rooftops, etc.at relatively low drying temperatures which are highly dependent on ambient conditions. NMSU introduced newer and superior passive and active hygienic solar food drying technologies that greatly improved drying times by 3 or more times faster. NMSU worked with development partners like MEDA, GERES, GPFA, and the Kabul University Renewable Energy Lab to use solar food dryers for local economic development. NMSU taught carpeteners how to build and sell solar food dryers. Afghan communities readily adopted the improved drying technology with thousands of units now used by communities across the country.
Robert is also Speaking at the Industry RoundTable representing SolAqua.
Sarah TownesCFO & ZEN Director at American Solar Energy Society Inc
I have worked as a singer running a small vocal school in Boulder for 25 years. In 2016 I wanted to get more involved in the environmental movement and started working in finance for ASES. In 2019 I started the Zero Emissions Network program for ASES, which has been a fast and deep dive into the teamwork, sweat, financing and magic that it takes to bring GhG emissions down as an individual or business. It’s fantastic work and I love it. This plus singing makes for the perfect professional life.
Presentation Title: ZEN and the Art of Reducing our Carbon Footprint
Presentation Description:Do you worry about your carbon footprint? Do you know the nuts and bolts of how to reduce your personal GhG emissions? Do you apply the knowledge that you do have into daily habits to minimize consumption and maximize contribution to the health of our environment? Do you help others to do so? If your answer to these was Yes, Not Really, Not Consistently and No, then you’ll understand why I started the Zero Emissions Network for ASES. This presentation is the story of my personal quest to turn my answers into No, Yes, Yes and Yes and how our amazing ZEN team and clients have succeeded. This session will not be a lecture but rather a conversation so… you’ve been forewarned.
Tony SebaAuthor, Educator, Co-Founder RethinkX
Tony Seba is a world-renowned author, thought leader, educator, speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon best-selling book “Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation – How Silicon Valley Will Make Oil, Nuclear, Natural Gas, Coal, Electric Utilities and Conventional Cars Obsolete by 2030”, which has changed the global conversation about the future of energy, transportation and climate change.
Seba’s work focuses on technology-based disruptions: the convergence of technologies, business model and product innovations that are disrupting the world’s major industries including energy, transportation, infrastructure, real estate and finance. He has taught thousands of entrepreneurs and corporate leaders at Stanford University’s Continuing Studies. Seba is also the co-founder of RethinkX, an independent think tank that analyzes and forecasts the speed and scale of technology-driven disruption and its implications across society.
A serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur and angel investor, Seba was an early employee at disruptive Internet companies Cisco Systems and RSA Data Security.
Seba has been featured in leading global media, including Bloomberg, CNBC, ARD, and TVChosun. Seba has been a keynote speaker at hundreds of global events including Google, the European Commission, CLSA, J.P. Morgan, Nomura, Davos, COP21 World Climate Summit, Intersolar and Global Leaders Forum. His speaking engagements have included investors with more than $30 trillion in Assets Under Management.
Seba has a Stanford MBA and a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.