The Northeast Biodiesel Team

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Phil Cherry, General Manager

Phil is an industrial chemist. He worked for Mobil on a new assignment every year or so to get one of their petroleum plants back up and humming, serving as the plant manager, chief chemist, or quality control specialist. After 9 years, Phil began his biofuel career in ethanol. He served as plant manager and general manager for five start-up projects. His favorite thing to do is to get a plant to produce quality product running over capacity. He enjoys the excitement of a start-up business and chose Co-op Power because he’s hoping to help all of our community energy co-ops get biofuel plants started up in their communities. 

Steve Ronhave, Recycled Oil Collection Specialist

Lowering our local carbon footprint is my immediate as well as long-term objective. After a career in sales in the food service industry, my "encore career" began with a Certificate in Renewable Energy from Greenfield Community College. I recently became a member of the Co-op Power community outreach team specializing in the recruitment of waste vegetable oil suppliers. 


Board Members:

LYNN BENANDER, CEO & PRESIDENT   
 

LYNN [@] COOPPOWER.COOP

Lynn Benander builds community ownership of sustainable energy resources and works with Co-op Power's network of Community Energy Co-ops to develop consumer, producer, worker-owned and other locally-owned businesses that meet basic energy needs. Ms. Benander brings expertise in community finance, participatory planning, and governance to support new business development and job creation.  She has provided fundraising, strategic planning, marketing, executive search management, business planning and technical assistance consulting to hundreds of businesses in the Northeast including Cabot Creamery, Collective Copies, Northeast Cooperatives, PV Squared, Hillside Organic Farm and Pizza Company, and River Valley Market. Lynn Benander lives in Shelburne Falls, Mass. and serves on numerous cooperative and community boards and formerly served as her town’s finance committee chair. 

Mark Tajima, Board Chair

Mark Tajima brings a strong background in finance, strategic planning, education, and energy efficiency. He helped create the business plan that secured a $540,000 grant to launch Energia and now works there as the Chief of Operations. Mark currently is Chair of the board of Co-op Power and is a member of the board of Northeast Biodiesel. Mark has 20 years of experience in banking and 10 years of experience in energy efficiency work. Mark has been involved with Co-op Power since 2009.

Christian Lagier, Clerk

Christian Lagier has a background in entrepreneurship, business operations, and strategic business development in the United States and Europe. He has particularly valuable experience related to the energy sector and renewable energy and is passionate about the values and benefits of local and cooperative ownership structures. He currently works for Baystate Health, as founder and Managing Director of a their new Technology Innovation Center in Springfield, MA. He has experience related to the energy sector and renewable energy and is passionate about the values and benefits of local and cooperative ownership structures. 

In his past, Christian worked for Smith College Science Center and Northern Power Systems, the oldest renewable energy company in the country. He opened their San Francisco office, established operational infrastructure and pursued strategic goals for Northern Power Systems, primarily related to development of solar, wind, cogeneration, and hydrogen projects.  He has held management jobs in technology and management consulting. Christian Lagier has been a Co-op Power member and avid supporter since 2005 when he, as co-director, helped get both Co-op Power and Northeast Biodiesel off the ground. Christian is Danish and French national, grew up in Denmark, and speaks multiple languages. He holds a Masters Degree in Economics and Business Administration and lives in Williamsburg, Mass.

Frank Stiebel, Board Member

Frank Stiebel serves as the President and Owner of Stiebel Eltron, Inc., the largest manufacturer of water heaters in Germany and a pioneer in solar heating technologies. 

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BETH PAULSON, VICE-CHAIR

Beth embraces environmental consciousness and individual empowerment as the basis of her work. She is an educator, training energy efficiency professionals about high performance buildings for the Center for EcoTechnology, and teaching architects and students to apply regenerative/microclimatic landscape design principles for the Sustainable Design Institute at the BAC. She is an advocate for transformational change and responsibility, both as a self-defense instructor, and as a cast member of the Survival Theatre Project.

BRIAN CLARK, TREASURER

Brian Clark was born and raised in Ashfield, MA. He has an M.S. in Computer Science and worked at IBM for 30 years as a computer operating system designer. He was appointed as an IBM Fellow in 1996. In 2007, he returned to family’s 4th generation apple farm (Clark Brothers Orchards), as a partner. There he oversaw the financing and installation of the farms 40Kw Solar PV system in 2011. Currently Brian is serving in Ashfield’s Conservation Commission and Green Communities Committee.  He has served on the Board of Northeast Biodiesel for two years.  He is a member of the board of directors for the MA/RI State Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation and manages its largest research orchard.