Meet Our Team

The core of SEPA’s clean energy operations

Team

Aaron Smallwood

Vice President, Industry Solutions

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Aaron Smallwood

Aaron has been in Information Technology for 20 years and in the utility industry for the last 15 years. As Director of IT Operations at the Electric Reliability of Council of Texas (ERCOT), Aaron was responsible for the multi-data center IT operations of ERCOT’s real-time grid and market systems, deregulated retail market systems, Enterprise Data Warehouse, systems integration, and market settlement systems. In other roles at ERCOT he led business/technology alignment, IT strategy development, program financial management for the Texas Nodal Market Implementation, IT stakeholder relationship management, and the IT divisional project office.

Prior to ERCOT, Aaron was responsible for managing the relationship between IT and utility business units at Aquila, Inc., working with utility and IT leaders to ensure that IT services were aligned with business objectives and that IT was positioned to support their needs.

Phone: 202.871.7414     Email: asmallwood@sepapower.org

Adam Wasserman

Vice President, Engagement

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Adam Wasserman

Adam Wasserman joined SEPA in 2014 and is driven by a relentless pursuit of value for SEPA members. His team led an organizational rebranding, two successful mergers and a mission that grows membership, engagement and retention each year.

At the intersection of marketing, membership and communications, the team oversees SEPA brand strategy and market awareness. They play a critical role in new products, services and initiatives, as well as creating the messaging to engage members, convert non-members and capture the attention of the industry.

Prior to SEPA, Adam worked with non-profits, technology companies, film and TV productions and advertising firms. A native of Washington DC, he earned his degree from the University of Arizona.

Phone: 202.559.2033     Email: adam@sepapower.org

Andrew Jerdonek

Senior Director, Programming

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Andrew Jerdonek

Andrew Jerdonek is an experienced non-profit management professional who has worked in the medical, pharmaceutical, and energy industries. A former Executive Director of the American College of Medical Quality, and Director, Education for Solar Power Events, Andrew has a keen interest in leading collaborative, boundary-spanning initiatives that work to define and improve the quality and productivity of the industries they serve.

Andrew earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of Mary Washington and is a Certified Association Executive.

Phone: 202.602.6583     Email: ajerdonek@sepapower.org

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Anita Bonner

Office Manager

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Anita Bonner

Anita Bonner Joined SEPA in January, 2015 as a Finance and Operations Associate to ensure the daily operations at SEPA, run smoothly.

With more than 15 years of experience in the Administrative arena, prior experience includes being the Administrative Assistant for one of the most recognize Volunteer Programs in the nation – the “President’s Volunteer Service Awards” and Anita was also a recipient of the award – with more than 4000 hours of volunteer service.

Anita also held positions with the Meltech Corporation, US Department of Labor, State Farm Insurance, US Courts, National Urban League and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Anita has also volunteered her time at Martha’s Table and DC Central Kitchen. Anita truly enjoys helping others – wherever and whenever she can.

The highlight(s) of Anita’s life are her grandkids (and shoes)

Phone: 202.559.1536     Email: abonner@sepapower.org

Ayomide Ibrahim

Staff Accountant

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Ayomide Ibrahim

Ayomide joined SEPA in November 2019, and is responsible for maintaining financial reports and records. He has years of experience in accounting services for both private and public organizations. He has a B.Sc. Accounting from the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria, and is an Associate Member, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. He is currently studying to upgrade this to CPA. His personal interests include volunteering his services in financial aspects for his church and spending time with family.

Phone: 202.869.4384     Email: aibrahim@sepapower.org

Beth Eagle

Vice President, Operations

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Beth Eagle

Beth Eagle joined SEPA in September of 2013 with a background in association operations, human resources, project management and fundraising. Previously, she worked for various non-profit organizations in the operations department throughout Washington, DC.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland and her Master of Arts from George Washington University. She lives in Maryland, with her husband, son and 2 dogs.

Phone: 202.559.2029     Email: beagle@sepapower.org

Brad Benton

Senior Manager, Membership

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Brad Benton

Brad joined SEPA in 2015 as Manager of Executive Affairs and moved to the Membership Team in 2016. In this role, Brad recruits new organizations into SEPA’s community and ensures that current members are getting value from their membership with SEPA.

Prior to joining SEPA, Brad worked at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and for Rep. Emanuel Cleaver from Missouri on Capitol Hill. Brad has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania.

In his spare time, Brad is an avid traveler and photographer. He lives with his wife in Arlington.

Phone: 202.559.2038     Email: bbenton@sepapower.org

Brenda Chew

Director, Research and Industry Strategy

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Brenda Chew

Brenda is a Director at SEPA and has focused much of her time investigating the proliferation and integration of resources along the grid. She covers a range of topics including integrated distribution planning, non-wires alternatives, and demand flexibility. Prior to joining SEPA, Brenda worked as a consultant on Utility of the Future and grid modernization efforts.

She holds a master’s degree in sustainable development from the University of St. Andrews, and a bachelor’s degree in economics and environmental studies from Emory University.

Phone: 202.753.8955     Email: bchew@sepapower.org

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Charisse Raysor

Manager, Member Services

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Charisse Raysor

Charisse joined SEPA in 2013. As manager of member services, she leads all administrative components of membership. She’s accountable for developing and implementing procedures to ensure accuracy of membership records including member engagement, trends, and overall integrity. Prior to SEPA, Charisse served as Membership & Sponsorship Account Manager for the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA). She also held the position of Membership Specialist for the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).

Charisse brings more than 15 years of membership services experience to SEPA.

Phone: 202.559.2024     Email: craysor@sepapower.org

Chris Schroeder

Vice President, Strategic Solutions

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Chris Schroeder

Chris joined SEPA in 2017. He is responsible for helping SEPA members define a variety of programs, strategies, and solutions for distributed energy resources supporting the advancement of clean energy and modernized grid. Chris has over 20 years of management consulting experience across electric utility and renewable energy industries. Chris has also provided strategic consulting services for state regulatory proceedings, complex stakeholder facilitation services, utility tariff review and energy storage initiatives for utilities throughout North America. Chris has a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics from Willamette University and a Master of Science in Building Systems Engineering from the University of Colorado.

Phone: 202.871.9340     Email: cschroeder@sepapower.org

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Courtney Galatioto

Chief of Staff & Vice President, Strategic Partnerships

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Courtney Galatioto

Courtney V. Galatioto joined SEPA in 2019. As the Chief of Staff and Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, she works to align SEPA’s mission and goals with high-quality execution, fosters inclusive and productive relationships throughout the organization and externally, evaluates and manages risks, and facilitates timely decision-making to ensure a productive balance between short-term execution and long-term priorities. She serves as an advisor to the President & CEO and is the principal liaison for SEPA’s Board of Directors and strategic partnerships.

She came to SEPA with a decade of experience in the energy industry and previously served as the Vice President for Stakeholder Relations at the Alliance to Save Energy, where she oversaw business development and corporate relations. She also previously served as a policy fellow for the state of North Carolina.

She serves on the boards of the Women’s Energy Network DC Chapter and #NatSecGirlSquad which works to drive diversity across the national security industry.

Courtney has a master’s degree in government from Johns Hopkins University with a focus on energy, climate change, and security. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

Phone: 202.559.2032     Email: cgalatioto@sepapower.org

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Cynthia Hunt Jaehne

Director, Engagement

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Cynthia Hunt Jaehne

Cynthia leads the executive engagement programs, Working Group communities, and online learning at SEPA. Cynthia’s project management experience coupled with her knowledge of the trends, barriers, and approaches relating to the successful and sustainable integration, deployment and utilization of solar and distributed energy resource technologies informs her role developing and executing programs for SEPA.

Prior to joining SEPA, Cynthia was a Project Manager for Morse Associates, Inc. in Washington, DC. Cynthia has more than 10 years of experience managing utility-scale solar PV and CSP studies and initiatives for a number of clients both in the U.S. and internationally.

Cynthia has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of South Carolina.

Outside of her professional work and interests, Cynthia’s dogs keep her running and she is a comedy-loving movie nerd, a voracious reader, and a classically trained pianist.

Phone: 202.595.1148     Email: cjaehne@sepapower.org

Daisy Chung

Manager, Industry Solutions

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Daisy Chung

Daisy Chung joined SEPA in 2014. She focuses on utility deployment at the distribution level, with specialty in asset management and operations & maintenance. She also collaborates with industry stakeholders such as electric service providers and integrators.

Daisy comes with seven years of thin‐films engineering, process implementation, as well as technical knowledge transfer experience from Samsung. Through her global experience, she specialized in system start‐ups, qualification, standardization, and failure and root-cause analysis through Six Sigma data analytics and system monitoring strategies.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, with minors in Business Foundation and Chinese Language from the University of Texas; she is also an honor’s graduate of the Master in International Public Affairs program, specializing in Energy Analysis and Policy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Longhorns and badgers play nicely together in her household.

Phone: 202.559.2027     Email: dchung@sepapower.org

Erin Phillips

Associate, Communications

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Erin Phillips

Erin Phillips joined SEPA as a Communications Associate in December 2019. In her role, she represents SEPA’s work and vision across a variety of channels, including social media, email, and SEPA TV.

Prior to joining the SEPA team, Erin worked as a research and communications strategist for Ballast Research, helping utility clients assess their state government affairs strategies. Erin holds a B.A. in Social Innovation and Enterprise with a minor in Nonprofit Studies from George Mason University.

Frank H. Grace IV

Director, Information Management

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Frank H. Grace IV

Frank Grace graduated from Virginia Tech in 2009 with a major in public relations and a minor in political science. Prior to joining SEPA, Frank interned on Capitol Hill for Congressman Connolly’s office. He also interned for Senator Whitehouse in 2007 and for Morgan Stanley in 2006.

Phone: 202.280.1557     Email: fgrace@sepapower.org

Garrett Fitzgerald, PhD

Principal of Electrification

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Garrett Fitzgerald, PhD

Garrett joined SEPA in 2021 as Principal, Electrification.  He leads SEPAs work focused on the beneficial electrification of transportation and buildings. Garrett collaborates with the other SEPA pathway teams to help utilities and other stakeholders navigate a smooth transition to a highly electrified and low-carbon future.

Prior to joining SEPA, Garrett spent 8 years working at Rocky Mountain Institute. While at RMI, he built and led the electricity program in India that works to accelerate the integration of electric vehicles and clean energy portfolios. During his tenure at RMI, Garrett managed the Fleet Electrification program, co-led the EV-Grid initiative, and was deeply engaged in work related to energy storage, distributed solar, and load flexibility. He has extensive expertise in technical and business model aspects of EV charging infrastructure, EV-specific tariff design, energy storage, and demand side flexibility.

Garrett holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Santa Clara University and a MS and Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Engineering from Columbia University.

Garrett is passionate about the environment and is an enthusiastic snowboarder, mountain biker, and general lover of the outdoors. He resides in the small town of Carbondale, Colorado with his wife Amy and his toddler son Noah.

Phone: 202.379.1615     Email: gfitzgerald@sepapower.org

Greg Merritt

Director, Communications and Marketing

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Greg Merritt

Greg joined SEPA in April 2019, and works to promote SEPA to stakeholders and the broader markets. Greg has worked in corporate marketing, public affairs and product marketing at advanced technology companies helping change the status quo.

He has served on boards at the Alliance to Save Energy, Duke University’s Fuqua School and other energy-focused organizations.

He has a MS, Operations Research from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BS, Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia.

Greg is an avid cyclist and skier, has two grown boys, and lives in Old Town Alexandria with his wife and pets.

Phone: 202.379.1637     Email: gmerritt@sepapower.org

Ian Motley

Manager, Marketing

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Ian Motley

Ian (He/Him/His) joined SEPA in 2015. In his role, he shapes the marketing and branding strategy for organizational products, events, services, and initiatives. Ian possesses approximately ten years of experience marketing to businesses in the civil engineering, transportation, and energy sectors.

Ian holds an MS in International Marketing Management from Boston University. He is a Safe Zone trained LGBT professional who serves on ASAE’s National Capital Advisory Council.

Ian lives in Washington, DC with his dog Camryn, is a Star Wars junkie, and ardent supporter of the oxford comma.

Email: imotley@sepapower.org

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Janet Gail Besser

Managing Director

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Janet Gail Besser

As Managing Director, Janet Gail Besser oversees strategy for the SEPA Pathways – Regulatory and Business Innovation, Grid Integration and Electrification – and leads content development and execution for Regulatory Innovation.  She brings to this role broad energy industry experience as a regulator, clean energy business association leader, utility executive, developer, consultant, and consumer advocate.  Previously, she was Executive Vice President of the Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC), Vice President, Regulatory Strategy and Policy at National Grid, Chair and Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, where she led electric industry restructuring, and an executive and expert consultant at Analysis Group and Lexecon.  She also held senior staff roles at the Massachusetts Energy Office and New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, served as policy director for a DC-based national independent power association, and began her career as a small hydro developer and low-income consumer advocate.  Janet is a nationally recognized expert on a wide range of energy policy issues with deep relationships across the industry.  She earned a Master in Public Policy degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and a B.A., magna cum laude, from Williams College.

Phone: 202.552.4411     Email: jbesser@sepapower.org

Janine Fiasconaro

Senior Specialist, Digital Marketing

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Janine Fiasconaro

Janine joined SEPA in 2017 and is responsible for digital marketing efforts including advertisements, email, new web pages, and the sepapower.org website maintenance. Her marketing background includes several internships including the Sierra Club where she gained skills in marketing strategy, user experience web design, and HTML. She graduated from American University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Strategic Communication and a minor in marketing. In 2019 Janine received certifications in both Google Analytics and Google Ads. Janine is on a journey to zero waste living in her Bethesda, MD home. She loves taking excursions to nearby parks to hike and camp, especially Shenandoah National Park.

Phone: 202.871.7495     Email: jfiasconaro@sepapower.org

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Jared Leader

Senior Manager, Research and Industry Strategy

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Jared Leader

Jared joined SEPA in 2017. In his role, he develops strategic plans for programs, products, and service offerings for utility and industry stakeholder members and clients that facilitate the integration of distributed energy resources, non-wires alternatives and microgrids onto the modern grid. Jared leads SEPA’s Microgrids Working Group and co-led D.C. Public Service Commission’s grid modernization working groups.

Prior to joining SEPA, he spent several years working as an environmental engineer and consultant for utility, municipal and commercial clients in the energy and water sectors.

He has a MS, Energy Policy and Climate from Johns Hopkins University, and a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Virginia.

Outside of business hours, Jared enjoys skiing, hiking and spending time in the great outdoors.

Phone: (202) 609-8938     Email: jleader@sepapower.org

Jenny Senff

Director, Project Management

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Jenny Senff

Jenny is the Senior Project Management Officer directing and overseeing the project management functions of the content team. Jenny originally joined SEPA in November 2015, working on the Programs and Education team managing SEPA’s annual Grid Evolution Summit as well as its elearning platform, FUSED, along with various working groups, webinars, and workshops. Prior to joining SEPA, she spent five years at the Association for Demand Response & Smart Grid (which joined forces with SEPA in the fall of 2015).

Jenny has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Wake Forest University and a Master of Arts in Government from Johns Hopkins University. When not at the office, Jenny wrangles her two rascally kids and husband in northeast Washington, DC.

Phone: 202.753.8782     Email: jsenff@sepapower.org

John van Zalk

Associate, Membership Data

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John van Zalk

John studied earth and energy science at Leiden University in the Netherlands. His tenure with SEPA began during one of his summer breaks in college, where he supported SEPA’s 51st State Initiative as an intern.

After graduating in 2017, John joined SEPA’s membership team in a full-time capacity. Today, he is developing machine learning predictive models and implementing high-performance applications to improve the SEPA member experience. He recently completed a project to visualize electric companies’ carbon reduction goals across the United States.

Check out the Utility Carbon Reduction Tracker.

Email: jvanzalk@sepapower.org

Jordan Nachbar

Manager, Communications

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Jordan Nachbar

Jordan joined SEPA as Manager, Communications in 2019. In his role, he drives content and SEPApower blog production, coordinates external partnerships, and supports member, media and public outreach.

Prior to SEPA, Jordan worked in strategic communications consulting where he helped non-profits, associations, and companies drive their narratives through comprehensive public affairs campaigns. He also has a background in public and private sector government relations. Jordan graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in political science, economics and music.

When not at work, Jordan enjoys traveling to new places, listening to music and keeping up with the latest electric vehicles news.

Phone: 202.559.2034     Email: jnachbar@sepapower.org

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