Board of Trustees
RMI is governed by a self-perpetuating Board that has complete oversight and policy responsibility, is kept currently informed of the Institute’s affairs, confers frequently on an individual basis with RMI’s operating officers, and meets for two days twice a year.
Meet Our Board
Edward D. White
Edward “Ted” White is the Managing Partner of Fahr LLC, the umbrella entity for business leader, philanthropist, and renewable energy advocate Tom Steyer’s business, policy, political, and philanthropic efforts. Ted is also the “name” partner of Denver-based law firm Moye White LLP, where his legal practice primarily focuses on business transactions. Ted is the Founder and Advisory Board Chair of Estabrook Funds which invests in global, multi-strategy investments. His civic leadership includes acting as Chairman of the Boettcher Foundation, Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute, Founding Chair of Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, and Director of Advanced Energy Economy Institute. Ted graduated from Yale University with honors and received his J.D. from the New York University School of Law.
Lead Independent Trustee; Chair, Executive and Compensation
Jean Oelwang is the CEO of Virgin Unite, the entrepreneurial foundation of the Virgin Group and a Partner in the Virgin Group focused on People Innovation. In 2003, Jean left her post as joint CEO of Virgin Mobile. Australia to begin working with Richard Branson and the Virgin staff from around the world to create Virgin Unite. Over the last 10 years, Jean has worked with partners to create new approaches to social and environmental issues, such as the Branson Centres of Entrepreneurship and a global platform to support budding entrepreneurs. She has built collaborations to incubate a number of global leadership initiatives such as The Elders, the Carbon War Room and The B Team. In addition, Jean has been instrumental in working with over 25 Virgin businesses across 15 industries to put the wellbeing of people and planet at their core.
David Allen is Principal and Executive Vice President of McKinstry, a Seattle-based construction, energy and facility services firm. During his 35-year career, David has championed countless marketing and strategic initiatives for his firm and others within the industry. He is widely respected for his contributions to creating McKinstry’s positioning strategy, which has enabled the company to emerge as a valued thought leader on the sustainable built environment. In addition, David has played a significant role in establishing McKinstry’s Innovation Center, a business incubator created to help newly established companies quickly bring their products and services to market. David currently serves on the executive committees of Enterprise Seattle and the Washington Clean Technology Alliance, of which he is a former board chair. He is also a Seattle Chamber of Commerce board member and former chair of the Construction and Green Design/Building Skills panel for the Workforce Development Council of King County.
Roy Bedlow is Chief Executive and Cofounder of Low Carbon. Founded in 2012, Low Carbon deploys capital into renewable energy development companies and renewable energy projects with the aim of creating as many MWs of clean, green electricity as possible. Investments to date have included projects generating electricity from solar PV, concentrated solar power, onshore wind and anaerobic digestion. Prior to focusing on climate change, Roy was Vice President and General Manager of Palm for Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Before joining Palm, Roy founded the European entity of Handspring in Geneva Switzerland. Earlier roles included European Director of Iomega International in Geneva and a variety of sales and marketing positions at Apple Computer, which culminated in European Marketing Director, based in London and Munich. Roy is a director of Andromeda Capital, a private equity firm investing in climate change, education, and communities. Roy sits on the Board of the energy efficiency technology company enModus and the Board of Sparx, which is developing new technology to revolutionize learning.
Peter Boyer is the former owner of a design-build residential construction firm. He is also a fine art painter, exhibited widely in U.S. and Japan with works owned by numerous private and public collections. In addition to being a Chair of the Development Committee at RMI, Peter is also Trustee of The Ayrshire Foundation, a member of the National Advisory Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Peter holds a degree in American Studies from San Francisco State University.
Chair, Finance Committee
Thomas Dinwoodie is the Founder and CTO, SunPower Corporation Systems based in Richmond, California. He is also the former Founder, CEO and Chairman of PowerLight, a leading and global supplier of photovoltaic products and systems. Dinwoodie has authored numerous papers and holds over 30 patents on building-integrated photovoltaic and related products, and holds a Master’s degree in Architecture from UC Berkeley, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Structural Engineering from Cornell University.
Mark Ferron is a leader in the intersection of energy, the environment, finance, and philanthropy. Mark currently serves on the Board of Governors of the California Independent System Operator, which manages the high-voltage electricity system in California and parts of the West. He is also active with a number of environmental and other mission-driven organizations. Before moving to California in 2009, Mark spent 25 years in global finance, banking, and operations. From 2001 to 2009, he worked as chief operating officer for the Global Markets Division of Deutsche Bank in London, where he had responsibility for all operational activities globally across fixed income, currency, commodity, and equity markets. Mark holds a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in economics from Stanford University.
José María Figueres
José Maria Figueres Olsen joined the Carbon War Room as its Chairman in 2009; In 2012 he became the organization’s President (Chief Executive). José María stepped down in 2017 as he seeks reelection for the presidency of Costa Rica in 2018. After a successful business career, José María served as Minister of State and was later elected President of Costa Rica (1994–1998) at the age of 39. As President he created a comprehensive national development strategy based on the tenets of sustainability: sound economics, investment in human development, and a strong alliance with nature. José María pioneered the linkage between sustainable development and technology, which he continued after his time in government by helping to create the United Nations’ ICT Task Force, and then serving as its first Chairperson in 1999. He was also the first CEO of the World Economic Forum, where he strengthened global corporate ties to social and governmental sectors. Later he was named CEO of Concordia 21, dedicated to supporting organizations that promote development and democratic values around the world. In 2013, José María helped launch the Global Ocean Commission to formulate politically and technically feasible recommendations to address key issues facing the high seas. He currently serves as its Co-Chair.
Michael Haas is the Founder and CEO of Orion Renewable Energy Group LLC (Orion), Co-Founder of RDC Developments Ltd. (RDC), and the Founder of Alliance for Climate Education (ACE). Orion, headquartered in Oakland, CA, was formed in 1998 and became an early pioneer in the development of low cost, utility-scale renewable energy. Michael received his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, and his master’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Stanford University. He spends his free time outdoors with his family.
Maria Van Der Hoeven
Maria van der Hoeven served as Executive Director of the International Energy Agency from September 2011 to September 2015. Under her leadership, the IEA admitted its 29th member, Estonia, and increased its cooperation with OPEC and the International Energy Forum (IEF) as well as signed a partnership accord with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). A member of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate led by former President Felipe Calderón of Mexico, Ms. Van der Hoeven has initiated discussions at the IEA between policy makers and industry representatives on the impact of climate change on energy security, and sought to raise awareness among young people around the world of the problem of climate change and the need to get informed and take action. Prior to leading the IEA, Ms. Van der Hoeven served as Minister of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands from February 2007 to October 2010, during which time she demonstrated leadership on energy policy at the national, regional and global levels. She also served as Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science from July 2002 to February 2007, having spent more than a decade before that as a member of parliament in her country.
Chief Executive Officer of RMI
Jules was previously CEO of Topell Energy BV, a company developing a leading technology for the torrefaction of biomass. Before that, Kortenhorst served as the founding CEO of the European Climate Foundation, the largest philanthropic organization in Europe focused on influencing government policy on climate and energy. At the ECF among others, he lead a major effort to develop the roadmap for decarbonized power generation in Europe. Before launching the foundation, he was elected as a member of the Dutch parliament for the Christian Democratic Party.
Rachel Kyte, CMG is Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, MA. As the 13th Dean and first woman of the first and oldest graduate school of international affairs, Kyte assumed leadership of the school with a mandate to prepare global leaders for a fast changing world. Previously, Kyte served as Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and co-chair of UN Energy where she focused on efforts to realize the sustainable development goals in particular affordable, reliable and sustainable energy as the key to combating both poverty and climate change. Ms Kyte served as World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development and the International Finance Corporation Vice President for Business Advisory Services. Recipient of numerous award for leadership on climate action and sustainable development, she was recognized in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List by Queen Elizabeth II and made a companion of the Order of St Michael and St George. She holds a master’s degree in international relations from Fletcher, and a bachelor’s degree in history and politics from the University of London.
Amory B. Lovins
Cofounder, Chief Scientist of RMI and Chairman Emeritus
Snowmass, Colorado. MA, Oxford (by special resolution), twelve honorary
doctorates; physicist, author, consultant.
Dennis McGinn was appointed and served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment from September 2013 until January 2017. Previously, Mr. McGinn served on active duty in the United States Navy for 35 years as a naval aviator, test pilot, aircraft carrier commanding officer, and national security strategist. His capstone assignments as Vice Admiral included serving as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations and as Commander of the United States Third Fleet. Mr. McGinn is former President of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and a past member of the Steering Committee of the Energy Future Coalition, United States Energy Security Council, Bipartisan Policy Center Energy Board, and CNA Military Advisory Board. He currently serves as a board member for the Rocky Mountain Institute, Customer First Renewables, Willdan Group Inc., HALO Maritime Systems, and is a senior advisor to the Electric Power Research Institute, Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the Center for Climate and Security. Mr. McGinn holds a degree in Naval Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and was a Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Fellow at the U.S. Naval War College.
Martha C. Pickett
Managing Director and General Counsel
Marty Pickett is a Managing Director, Trustee, and General Counsel of Rocky Mountain Institute. A 17-year veteran at RMI, Marty focuses on the Institute’s advancement in alliances, funding, and governance as well as general strategy and legal counsel. Marty holds a Masters Degree in Community Development and Planning from the College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado, Denver, and a law degree, with an emphasis in environmental law, from the University of Denver. Prior to joining RMI in 1998, Marty practiced land use planning and land use and real estate law in Denver and Aspen Colorado. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for the Environment at Catawba College in North Carolina, the board and executive committee of Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (a 501(c)(6) organization aka REBA), and the board of REBA Institute.
Chair, Programs & Strategy Committee
George Polk is the Managing Partner of Tulum Trust, a private equity firm which works primarily with family offices and delivers high returns while having a meaningful impact on climate change. Among other things, Tulum has a special focus on industrial energy efficiency, where it funds energy generation projects that have very significant greenhouse gas impact and an annual cash yield of circa 15% for the 20+ year life of the project. George has been applying his skills as an institution builder, investor, and philanthropist to the challenge of creating a viable and vibrant low-carbon society since 2007, when he stepped out of a successful career as a technology entrepreneur to focus on tackling climate change.
Mary Powell served as president and chief executive officer for Green Mountain Power (GMP) Corporation from 2008 through 2019. Powell launched an ambitious energy vision to provide low-carbon, low-cost, and reliable power to Vermonters. She is leading an energy transformation, providing customers the latest innovations and comprehensive energy makeovers to help people save money and use less energy. GMP is the first utility to become a member of B Corp, showing a commitment to use energy as a force for good. In 2014 Powell was recognized by Power-Gen as the Woman of the Year, and in 2016 Fast Company named her one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business.
Chair, Development Committee
Elizabeth Sall is the founder and president of UrbanLabs LLC, where she manages a portfolio of mission-driven projects spanning travel analysis research to policy. Prior to UrbanLabs, Sall served as the deputy director for data, technology and analysis, and as the interim deputy director for planning at the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. She is an active volunteer for the Transportation Research Board, serving on the Transportation Research Record Advisory Board and as a member of several committees. She serves on the Sall Family Foundation board, where she leads investment in “Entrepreneurial Initiatives.” Sall has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University and an M.S. from University of Texas.
Todd Stern was “a leading architect of the Obama administration’s international climate change strategy,” according to Politico. Stern was appointed to the position of U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change on January 26, 2009, by former
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He was the chief U.S. negotiator of the successful Paris Agreement. Stern previously served in the Clinton administration as Assistant to the President, and as Staff Secretary in the White House from 1993 to 1998, during which time he also acted as the senior White House negotiator for the Kyoto Protocol and Buenos Aires negotiations.
Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella
Kandeh Yumkella is an internationally renowned consultant, distinguished development economist, and an expert in agricultural economics with over 25 years of experience. He is founder and CEO of The Energy Nexus Network, a regional ecosystem hub for sustainable energy solutions. Previously he served for almost two decades in United Nations System including as Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and founding Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Initiative. Yumkella is a former Chairman of UN-Energy and a two-term former Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). He has facilitated international cooperation and strategic partnerships with bilateral and multilateral development agendas, including other United Nations agencies. Yumkella is a prominent moderator and public speaker in international forums and addresses issues including climate change, global trade, development, and energy issues.
I am delighted to be joining the Board of Trustees of Rocky Mountain Institute. Following the landmark Paris climate agreement last year, the central challenge for countries around the world will be to rapidly accelerate the transition to a clean energy, low-carbon global economy. RMI has been a clean energy leader for years, helping companies and governments take concrete steps to improve their energy profile and paving the way for national energy transition planning with work like Reinventing Fire: China.
‐Todd Stern, Board Member