OUR TEAM

Experienced Professionals Dedicated to Promoting Renewable Hydrogen and the Transition to Clean Energy.

Executive Director

Michelle Detwiler

Michelle Detwiler has worked in diverse areas of the energy sector for over 20 years. After obtaining her Master of Public Administration degree at George Washington University, she started her career at the World Bank in Washington, DC. She worked on infrastructure projects sited in China, North Africa and Iran and is where she first realized her interest in energy. After moving to Portland, Oregon, she worked for the Ater Wynne law firm in their energy practice as a paraprofessional representing municipal and cooperative utilities all across Alaska. In 2007, she joined JELD-WEN and became the Director of government affairs working on federal energy efficiency policy in the building products sector. She rounded out her energy sector experience most recently as a government affairs specialist managing the Washington and California state legislative portfolios at PacifiCorp, a Portland, Oregon based multistate electric utility subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy. Her consulting firm, Barlow Strategies, is a founding member of RHA.

Director of Market Development

Martina Steinkusz

Martina joined RHA in 2019 as Director of Market Development. She acted as an Interim Executive Director between January and March 2021. Before moving to Portland, OR,  she was the Project and Communication Manager at the  European Small Hydropower Association in Brussels, Belgium. She led the industry’s communication and outreach activities and managed several EU co-funded projects touching upon hydropower policy and the implementation of small hydropower cooperatives across several EU countries.

Martina holds a German-British double-degree in business and received a Masters in Urban Studies from the University of Vienna, Austria, with a focus on urban energy and the development of smart grids.

Board of Directors

President

Don Ruff

Don managed a 30-year structural engineering career with BPA whose distraction from designing transmission lines included joining with Ken Dragoon as co-directors of BPA’s after-school hands-on science program and summer science day camp— a program that at its height served some 150 classrooms in mostly lower-income schools around the Northwest and still exists on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Don also started two child care centers and two bilingual summer day camps (one Spanish/English, one Japanese/English).

Don presently advises EPRI and IEEE on engineering matters as Ruff Consulting and continues to serve the global community as President of Oregon Partners of the Americas— when he is not or trotting off to some third world country to help with a solar or hydropower construction project for Green Empowerment.

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Vice President

Dr. John Lynch

John D. Lynch received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Cum Laude, from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City in 1979. From 1979 to 1995 he worked in the high-tech industry in California and Oregon as a computer engineer, including positions at Floating Point Systems, Intel, AMD, Pyramid Technology, and Adaptive Solutions. From 1995 to 1998 he managed ASIC Design Engineering for InFocus Corporation. From 1998 to 2002 he was Director of IC Design Engineering at Pixelworks, Inc. In 2002 he joined the School of Science and Engineering (formerly the Oregon Graduate Institute) of Oregon Health & Science University as an Instructor, where he developed and taught courses in a variety of computer engineering subjects. In 2007 he was appointed Director of OHSU’s Computer Engineering and Design Education Program. In 2009, after completing his Ph.D. in electrical engineering at OHSU, he joined the engineering faculty at Washington State University Vancouver. Since 2012 he has served as Coordinator of the electrical engineering program at WSU Vancouver.

Secretary/Treasurer

Jason Busch

Jason Busch is Executive Director of the Pacific Ocean Energy Trust (POET), an organization that supports the responsible development of marine energy on the West Coast. Mr. Busch is also a co-chair of the Marine Energy Council, the national trade group for the marine hydrokinetic energy sector.

Mr. Busch is actively involved in both business and community organizations. He is on the Energy Trust of Oregon’s Renewable Energy Advisory Committee, Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development Territorial Sea Plan Rulemaking Project Committee, the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center Advisory Council, and the Department of State Lands Rulemaking Advisory Committee. He has multiple publications, including most recently a chapter in Climate Change Impacts on Ocean and Coastal Law, published by Oxford University Press.

Prior to joining Oregon Wave Energy Trust, Mr. Busch was Principal at Sustainable Legal Solutions LLC, where he provided legal services specializing in renewable energy company start-ups and project development. Previously, he was an attorney for Ater Wynne and Stoel Rives in Portland, Oregon.

Mr. Busch holds a B.A. in Political Science from Texas A&M University and a M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Southern Mississippi. He received a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in 2006 from the University of Oregon School of Law, graduating with honors and admitted to the Order of the Coif.

Board Member

Ken Dragoon

Ken founded the Renewable Hydrogen Alliance in 2018 and served as its Executive Director until January 2021 when he became Director of Hydrogen Development for Obsidian Renewables. He is a three-plus decade veteran of the electric power industry in the Pacific Northwest, focused almost entirely on providing reliable power service with variable renewable resources. He authored “Valuing Wind Generation on Integrated Power Systems,” a book on calculating wind integration costs in 2010.

Board Member

Nicole Hughes 

Nicole Hughes joined Renewable Northwest as Executive Director in July 2018. Nicole has over 14 years of experience in project development and consulting for utility-scale wind and solar energy projects, working for AWS Truepower, HDR, Element Power, RES Americas and Tetra Tech. She has also contributed to policy,serving on the American Wind Energy Siting Committee and the Health and Safety Standards Committee, the Oregon Department of Lands and Conservation Division Rules Advisory Committee, and worked on Wind Energy Guidelines for Washington, Oregon and California. In her previous work, Nicole engaged with Renewable NW as a member and understands first hand the importance of the organization’s coalition work between advocacy organizations and renewable energy businesses in moving the region forward towards a clean energy future.

Board Member

Shanna Brownstein

Shanna Brownstein is Senior Manager for Transportation Electrification at Portland General Electric. She formerly worked for NW Natural in Portland, Oregon where she worked on the Public Affairs team, focusing on local and state climate change policy and planning. Prior to joining NW Natural in 2011, she managed policy and government affairs at The Climate Trust.  She is a certified whitewater rafting guide and enjoys hiking and skiing, eating good food, and hanging with her family. She received a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University in New York City and a Bachelor of Arts from Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

Advisory Committees

Executive Advisory Committee Chair

Ellen Briggs

Ellen Briggs is a dedicated CPA with experience developing and implementing financial systems, budgeting strategies, mergers and acquisition activities, and processes and controls that significantly improve P&L scenarios. She specializes in establishing accounting functions, systems, best practices, cost-reductions, and automation. She has worked in audit, federal tax preparation, and private accounting as CFO and Controller of small corporations as well as several nonprofit organizations.
The Executive Advisory Committee (EAC) provides RHA with needed member input and guidance through this period of growth and increasing responsibility. The EAC advises on budget, fundraising, staffing, and organizational strategic planning. It has oversight of other RHA committees and works closely with the RHA Board and Executive Director to ensure the effectiveness of the organization.

 

 

Technical Committee Chair

Abraham Mooney

At TriMet for the last 8 years, Abe has focused on light rail signals and train control, and he is also TriMet’s Non-Diesel Transition team engineer, mainly focused on battery electric buses. Before that Abe was a wood cook stove emissions engineer at Aprovecho, an NGO in Cottage Grove, focused on developing world biomass energy conversion and reduction of CO2, CO, and particulate matter. Abe is also a returned Peace Corps volunteer having served in Bolivia for two years where he met his wife, a Boliviana from Santa Cruz. Abe holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering, an MS in Ecological Engineering, both from Oregon State University, and a PE in Civil Engineering.

Policy Committee Chair

Chad Stokes

Chad Stokes is a partner at Cable Huston LLP where he represents clients on energy, administrative law, and public utility matters. Chad has significant experience in both electric and natural gas matters and represents clients including project developers, consumer-owned utilities and end-use customers on commercial transactions, contract negotiations, rate proceedings, compliance issues, permitting, regional power and transmission issues, retail rate and service issues, administrative litigation, and other regulatory matters. Chad also has experience in the financing, development, and sale of renewable generation facilities, utility infrastructure siting and permitting, and wholesale power, interconnection and transmission agreements. Chad holds a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara.

 

Policy Subcommittee Chair (Oregon)

Kris Nelson

As one of four founding advisors to RHA, Kris has been active in the association since its inception. He previously managed the development of a breakthrough hydrogen electrolyzer as principal of Phoenix Finance, a small business financing and consulting company. He’s been a registered lobbyist for nearly twenty years and serves as legislative director for an advocacy organization that he co-founded. Over the decades, he’s authored or co-authored 15 bills in Oregon’s Legislature, including two for RHA: a temporary property tax exemption for hydrogen projects and an economic benefits study. As program and operations manager for The Climate Trust, he developed and wrote the first carbon dioxide offset certificates in the Northwest. In the nineties, he conducted studies and EV savings audits as principal of Alternative Fuels Consulting. He co-founded Oregonians for Renewable Energy Progress, SunOregon, a thin film startup, and a cleantech venture capital firm. He earned an MBA from Willamette University’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management and is a certified paralegal.

 

Policy Subcommittee Vice-Chair (Oregon)

Gabrielle Thompson

Gabrielle is an environmental and energy attorney at K&L Gates LLP.  Her practice includes providing advice to clients investing in, developing, and operating renewable energy facilities, including wind, solar, and hydropower.  Gabrielle holds a J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law and Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and Political Science from the University of Oregon.

 

Policy Subcommittee Chair (Washington)

Dave Warren

Dave is the Principal of The Warren Group, LLC, a lobbying and consulting firm specializing in energy and natural resource issues. Dave has more than 30 years’ experience at the nexus of science and democracy, having served in positions ranging from Legislative Director for the WA DNR to the chief energy lobbyist for the WA PUD Association, as Director of state energy regulatory and policy shops, and as legislative staff. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of New Mexico and is licensed as a Professional Engineer in New Mexico and Washington State.

Policy Subcommittee Vice-Chair (Washington)

Matt Kirsch

Matt brings six years of experience with Rockwell Automation and other process control engineering companies working for clients in a variety of industries, including electricity utilities, waste to energy research, EV manufacturing, semiconductor, and food and beverage. He has worked on each layer of the systems involved in controlling process equipment and managing data integration for use by higher-level enterprise software applications. He holds a BS in chemical engineering from Oregon State University, is certified in energy procurement by the American Energy Engineers, and is continuing part-time graduate study in energy policy at Portland State University.

 

 

Commercial Development Committee Chair

Evan Ramsey

Evan is a specialist in renewable energy systems and leads the project development and management activities for Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s Renewable Energy Group, which advances renewables in the Northwest with innovative and creative solutions. Evan has managed hundreds of small scale renewable projects and over 10-Megawatts of large commercial projects. The clients he has helped transition to renewable energy include Walmart, Safeway, Bayer, Hewlett Packard, Intel, local governments, and several universities. Evan is an accredited solar installation professional certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Nature and Culture from the University of California at Davis. In addition to his schooling at UC Davis he has studied abroad in Chile, completed a Himalayan Ecology Field Study, and spent many years leading work in the backcountry of Kings Canyon National Park.

 

 

Acting Communication Committee Chair

Matthew Klippenstein

Matthew Klippenstein P.Eng. is a professional engineer with 20 years’ experience in the clean energy economy, most of them in the field of hydrogen fuel cells. He also worked for international consultancy Wood Group in wind and solar energy consulting, and at the non-profit Plug In BC performed outreach and administered the province of British Columbia’s pioneering plug-in electric vehicle infrastructure rebates for multi-unit dwellings, giving 150 presentations in roughly 450 days. Canada’s first chronicler of the plug-in electric vehicle market, he received about 100 media mentions in 2018-2019, including NPR in the United States.

A co-author of E4Tech’s Fuel Cell Industry Review in 2017 and 2018, he has written about hydrogen and fuel cell technology in GreenTechMedia and elsewhere. Through Electron Communications (soon to be renamed Electron Consulting Canada) he has provided engineering documentation and technical writing services for ZEV policy, hydrogen stations and fuel cell bus deployments, and co-authored the 2019 British Columbia Hydrogen Study. His “batteries are exoskeletons” analogy was made into a video by Ch2ange and his December 2017 article originated the expression that “fuel cells [or hydrogen] are where solar was in the early 2000s”.