Congratulations to the 2023 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards Winners and Nominees!

The nominations are in and registration for the Leadership in Energy Efficiency Awards hybrid event is now open! Join the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s (NEEA) Board of Directors and staff for the hybrid celebration on Monday, Dec. 4 from 12 – 1 p.m. PST to celebrate this year’s winners and nominees. 

The in-person event will take place at AVENUE, located at 631 NE Grand Ave in Portland. RSVPs are required no later than Friday, November 17 to attend the event in-person. Doors for the event will open at 11:30 a.m. The presentation of awards will begin at 12 p.m.

In an ongoing effort to honor the collaboration and innovation within the Northwest, each year NEEA’s Board of Directors and staff recognize individuals, teams and organizations from across the region for their exemplary dedication and performance in energy efficiency. Nominations were submitted for the 2023 ceremony in the categories of Rising Star, Innovative Collaboration and Lifetime Achievement. The alliance will also recognize an individual with the Chairperson’s Award, an honor bestowed by NEEA’s Board chair and executive director.

This year’s judges have selected winners from all the submissions for the Leadership in Energy Efficiency awards the region sent in on Without further ado, the 2023 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award recipients are:

The Leadership in Energy Efficiency Rising Star Award:
Grace Weger, Habitat for Humanity

“Grace Weger with the Central Oregon/Bend-Redmond affiliate of Habitat for Humanity has dedicated her career to reducing energy burdens for underserved communities and developing homes that are safe, healthy and energy efficient. Grace has an ability to identify needs and create and implement strategic ways to address them such as using triple-pane windows as an innovative way to improve comfort and enhance energy efficiency without exceeding a limited budget. 

Her commitment to value engineering and creative problem solving enables Bend/Redmond Habitat to deliver the levels of comfort and above-code efficiency, more commonly associated with high-end green builders, to low-income families.”

Leadership in Energy Efficiency Innovative Collaboration Award:
Tacoma Power Income Qualified Rental Program: Sara Bowles (lead), Jenae Elliott, Anne Larrabee, Martha Lantz, Ali McKinney, Bernie Peterson, Bryan Russo, Abbie Sunich and Hollis Tamura

    “In October 2022 Tacoma Power launched their innovative new Income Qualified Rental Program. A program designed to reduce the energy burden of income qualified customers living in rental properties. For two years prior to program launch the development team embarked on an outreach effort to gather stakeholder input to help design a program. The goal was to develop a program that would appeal to property owners, address the split incentive issue, reduce energy burden of our most vulnerable population, and support affordable housing initiatives in the City of Tacoma. 

    To date, this collaboration between utility staff, community agencies, the trade ally community and customers has resulted in reduced energy burden for 12 households with 13 more in the pipeline.”

    Tom Eckman Leadership in Energy Efficiency Lifetime Achievement Award:
    Craig Smith, Seattle City Light

    “Craig’s professional career has embodied outstanding achievement in advancing energy efficiency in the Northwest. Throughout his career he demonstrated great leadership in pushing energy efficiency as a primary energy resource. He also possesses several traits that have made him successful over his long-tenured career: a commitment to public service; a business-oriented perspective; a collaborative and cooperative nature; and the vision and aptitude necessary to create organizational structures to meet the evolving needs of the industry. Craig has been a steadfast presence in the Northwest and has contributed so much to the industry, directly and indirectly. 

    Leadership through mentorship is Craig’s ongoing gift to the energy efficiency landscape in the Northwest. Craig’s profound belief and care for individual growth is unmatched and he uniquely recognizes that an individual’s success ultimately benefits everyone, often in unpredictable and surprising ways. Craig has shown appreciation and respect for everyone he works with. Craig is welcoming, transparent, and understands the value of collaboration for the region. He has dedicated his career to advancing energy conservation within the region and his commitment to public service is unwavering. For these, and so many other reasons, Craig is deserving of receiving this prestigious award."

    Chairperson's Award:
    Fred Gordon, Energy Trust of Oregon

    "Fred Gordon, considered a founder of Market Transformation, has played a pivotal role in shaping the foundational practices of NEEA. He has served as a trusted advisor and active member of the alliance since its beginning. Through his experience, his seemingly boundless capacity for caring about how NEEA’s work unfolds, and his mentoring of those advancing efficiency in the region, Fred has had a huge and lasting impact on the alliance and the people that make up the energy efficiency community in the Northwest."

    This year’s ceremony will also include posthumous recognition of the contributions of Dr. Tina Jayaweera, senior advisor in the power division for the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. Tina was an educator at heart and embraced opportunities to share her knowledge and mentor people throughout their careers. This made her a valued advisor to many organizations and individuals across the region, including the alliance.

    Finally, the alliance would like to congratulate all of this year's nominees. It is an honor to be chosen by your colleagues for this recognition. On behalf of NEEA and the region, thank you for your leadership in energy efficiency!

    Leadership in Energy Efficiency Rising Star Award:

    • Mischa Egolf, New Buildings Institute
    • Kelsey Lewis, Snohomish PUD 
    • Taylor Pitts, Puget Sound Energy 
    • Daniel Poppe, Seattle 2030
    • Shelby Ruiz, Washington State University, Integrated Design + Construction Lab
    • Bonnie Watson, BPA
    • Joe Wachunas, New Buildings Institute
    • Grace Weger, Habitat for Humanity
    • Amanda Zuniga, Energy Trust of Oregon

    Leadership in Energy Efficiency Innovative Collaboration Award:

    • Amy Burke, BPA
    • Advanced High-Capacity Heat Pumps Research Team: Debra Bristow, Amy Burke, Erin Hope, Nathan Kelly, Tony Koch, Robert Weber, Bonneville Power Administration; Christopher Dymond, NEEA and consultants John Bush, Erin Connor, Bob Davis and Ben Larson
    • Advanced Water Heating Initiative team: Joseph Wachunas, (Project Manager) and Alexi Miller, New Buildings Institute; Paul Campbell, ICF; Jon Heller, Ecotope; Owen Howlett, Sacramento Municipal Utility District; Keshmira McVey, BPA; Helen Townsend, D+R International; and Geoff Wickes, NEEA
    • California Embodied Carbon Codes Team: Webly Bowles, New Buildings Institute; Ida Antoniolli Clair AIA LEED AP CASp, State Architect at California Department of General Services, Division of the State Architect; Michael Malinowski FAIA, Licensed Architect, Consultant to American of Institute of Architects California
    • Clean Buildings Accelerator Program at Puget Sound Energy (PSE): Ellis Bouw, Beth Robinweiler, Ian Tachibana and Brian Zoeller
    • David Cohan, Institute for Market Transformation
    • Community Energy Project and Partners: Charity Fain
    • Customer Awareness and Participation Survey and Report Working Group: Ryan Crews, Matt Getchell, Andy Griguhn, Mana Haeri, Marshall Johnson, Alex Novie, Dan Rubado, Sloan Schang and Amanda Zuniga, Energy Trust of Oregon and Rebecca Descombes, member of Energy Trust’s Diversity Advisory Council
    • Electric Motor Standards Working Group: Kirk Anderson, NIDEC
    • Energy Trust of Oregon’s Community Partner Funding: Ryan Crews (lead)
    • HeatAmp: Corey Blackman, Magnus Ekblad, Ingemar Hallin 
    • Idaho Energy Code Collaborative: Charlie Allen, City of Ammon; Ginger Bidegaray, IDABO; Jason Blais, City of Boise; Alexa Bouvier, Idaho OEMR; Dave Freelove, Idaho Circuit Rider; Todd Greenwell and Sheree Willhite, Idaho Power; Dawn Hall, Mary Alice Taylor, AIC and Rob McQuade, AIC (former); Jerry Peterson, Home Energy Services; Blake Ringeisen and Tess Studley, NEEA; Jerica Stacey, ICC; Patrick Sullivan, City of Nampa; Damon Woods, Integrated Design Lab
    • Income Qualified Rental Program, Tacoma Power: Sara Bowles (lead), Jenae Elliott, Anne Larrabee, Martha Lantz, Ali McKinney, Bernie Peterson, Bryan Russo, Abbie Sunich and Hollis Tamura
    • Nationwide Marketing Group (NMG): Frank Sandtner
    • PAWS Leadership Team: Doug Anderson, EPA; Mahabir Bhandari, Oak Ridge National Lab; Kyle Biega, Marc LaFrance and Alexander Rees, U.S. Department of Energy Buildings Technology Office; Michelle Blackston, National Fenestration Rating Council; Katherine Cort, Pacific Northwest National Lab; Thomas Culp, consultant; Deepti Dutt and David Lis Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership; Grace Diller and Isaac Smith, Minnesota CEE; Rick Dunn and Jesse Largent, NEEA; Robert Hart, Berkeley Lab; Kirstin Janocha and Walter Zalis Energetics; Brady Nemeth and Ellen Rubinstein, Resource innovations (Representing Nicor Gas and California CEE interests); Stephen Selkowitz, consultant
    • Residential Building Stock Assessment Work Group: Debbie DePetris, Clark County PUD; Jesse Durst, Puget Sound Energy; Christian Douglass and Josh Rushton, Regional Technical Forum (Contract Analysts); Leona Haley, Avista; Haixiao Huang, NW Natural; Laura James, PacifiCorp; Tina Jayaweera, Northwest Power and Conservation Council; Jessica Kenyon, Seattle City Light; Caleb Reimer, Cascade Natural Gas; Dan Rubado, Energy Trust; Sinh Tran, Snohomish County PUD; Joan Wang, Bonneville Power Administration; Kathy Yi, Idaho Power
    • TV Test Method: Gregg Hardy, Pacific Crest Labs and NEEA team members Nick Leritz, Eric Olson and Chris Wolgamott
    • Ultra-low Temperature Freezer Midstream Rebate Team: Emma Johnson, Seattle City Light and Tianna Byrtus, Puget Sound Energy
    • Bret Van Den Heuvel, Gensco

    Tom Eckman Leadership in Energy Efficiency Lifetime Achievement Award:

    • Steve Bicker, Tacoma Power
    • Fred Gordon, Energy Trust of Oregon
    • Steve Lacey, Energy Trust of Oregon
    • Michael Lane, Puget Sound Energy
    • Craig Smith, Seattle City Light
    • Kevin Watier, Snohomish County PUD

    Congratulations again - join the alliance on December 4 to celebrate the work of all the nominees!