Meet the NativeEnergy Team

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Jeff Bernicke

PRESIDENT

Jeff Bernicke, President & CEO of NativeEnergy, has over 25 years of experience building and leading teams in the development and financing of renewable energy, emission reduction, and impact projects and programs. At NativeEnergy, Jeff has driven the expansion of its Help-Build program to provide corporate clients with strategically valuable portfolios of Help-Build projects, including renewable, carbon mitigation, clean water, and ecosystem services projects. Prior to joining NativeEnergy, Mr. Bernicke led the portfolio development and strategy for Greenhouse Gas Services (a joint venture between General Electric and AES Corp) and was a senior member of the executive team for DTE Energy Resources. Earlier in his career, he advised companies in the cleantech sector and worked as a strategy consultant to large corporations across several industry sectors. Jeff holds an M.B.A. with Highest Distinction and an M.S. in Resource Ecology from the University of Michigan and B.S. degrees in Business and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Tom Stoddard

VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUNSEL

Tom earned his JD, magna cum laude, from Boston University, where he served as an editor of the Law Review. He has provided legal advice and conducted business transactions at prominent law firms in Boston, MA and Manchester, NH and subsequently at Green Mountain Energy, where he focused on energy supply and regulatory and marketing compliance. In addition to managing NativeEnergy’s legal and policy affairs, Tom helps lead the company’s origination and asset management teams, and helps the company and its business customers communicate effectively with stakeholders. With NativeEnergy, Tom helped create the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance, an industry organization committed to promoting best practices. Tom co-founded NativeEnergy with the firm belief that business can be good for the environment, and that we can all do well by doing good. Tom lives with his wife Stephanie, their son Ryan, and their dogs and cat on a farm bordering the Green Mountain National Forest, where he and his family raise chickens and got so tired of weeding they now support local farm stands. He is an enthusiastic fisherman, and enjoys crafting furniture in his barn woodshop.

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Jennifer Cooper

VP CLIENT STRATEGY

Jennifer leads NativeEnergy’s client strategy team, collaborating to understand each company’s unique needs and helping build solutions that deliver impact and results. Since 1998, Jennifer has been busy in corporate sustainability – from Volvo Car Corporation in Göteborg to Johnson & Johnson in New Jersey. Jennifer holds an M.S. from Lund University in Sweden and a B.S. from the University of Guelph in Canada. She has lived in both of those countries, as well as in Germany and Scotland. But she is currently trying out life in the USA with her husband and two young children in Pittsburgh, where the mountains are just rocky enough for racing her mountain bike, and just high enough for teaching her children to ski.

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Betsy Dall

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

Betsy manages the day to day operations of NativeEnergy, playing a critical role in the company's accounting, finance and human resources management.  She studied at Champlain College where she earned a B.S. in Business Administration in 2008 and has since gained experience in operations, human resources and accounting. Betsy lives in the Lake Champlain Islands where she enjoys running, hiking and boating with her husband and children.

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Kevin Hackett

CLIENT STRATEGY DIRECTOR

Kevin’s goal is to understand and help define the evolving environmental, social and economic needs of our clients and then match those needs with the value delivered by NativeEnergy’s projects. Kevin leads the client development side of NativeEnergy’s business and also works closely with our project development team. During his time here, Kevin has climbed a wind turbine, quantified the emissions from hundreds of businesses and events, developed strategies with sustainability leaders and spent far too much time thinking about cow manure. Kevin is a graduate of Champlain College. When he is not working, Kevin enjoys spending time with his wife and two children. Kevin stays active by biking to work and skiing.

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Brian KillKelley

SUPPLY & ORIGINATION DIRECTOR

Brian is responsible for sourcing new carbon reduction projects and renewable energy credits for NativeEnergy’s clients – primarily focused on renewable electricity projects powered by wind, solar, and biomass. Brian has over 25 years of experience in the energy industry including utility power plant operations and engineering, Clean Air Act compliance planning, and alternate fuels development at New York State Electric & Gas, residential energy auditing at Conservation Services Group, and renewable energy portfolio management at Green Mountain Energy Company. Brian co-founded a wind energy development firm based in Vermont and has provided renewable energy consulting to businesses and non-profit organizations. He is a licensed professional engineer and holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a M.S. in Solar Energy Engineering from the University of Massachusetts.

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Kirsten McKnight

SUPPLY & ORIGINATION MANAGER

Kirsten has a Biology degree from the University of Montana and was teaching high school science before joining NativeEnergy in 2011. She has worked in client relationships for NativeEnergy but now works exclusively on project origination and management, focusing on carbon sequestration projects. In this role, she vets new opportunities, originates new projects, and sees the development through to managing the carbon asset over the project lifetime. In Vermont, Montana, or anywhere else her travels take her, Kirsten likes to ski, hike, bike, or run followed by a draft brew with friends. She and her husband, James live in Burlington with their son, Matthew, and dog, Foster.

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John Ringer

CLIENT STRATEGY MANAGER

John came to NativeEnergy with a background in energy efficiency and environmental resource management. As Client Strategy Manager, John works with NativeEnergy’s small and medium business clients to develop their sustainability strategies. He believes that business can be done in a way that not only benefits the economy but the environment as well. John was born and raised in the great state of Maine and moved to Vermont to earn his B.S. in Forestry from The University of Vermont. John lives in the foothills of the Green Mountains, where he enjoys biking, skiing and any form of outdoor recreation with his wife and dog, Ollie.

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Jonny Bearcub Stiffarm

DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Jonny, an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Nation, is the business development manager for NativeEnergy. She brings a wealth of experience in negotiation, small business development, contracts, and leadership. She served in Mayor Wellington Webb's administration as the deputy director of the Mayor's Office of Contract Compliance for both the city and Denver International Airport and as his Native American Indian liaison to the local, regional, and national Indian Nation entities. She received her undergraduate from Brigham Young University and a juris doctorate from the University of Minnesota School of Law.

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Lauren Wilkinson

ASSET MANAGER

Before joining NativeEnergy, Lauren gained experience in environmental consulting and also worked in energy efficiency specifically for the agricultural sector. She has a B.S. from the University of Vermont in environmental science with a focus in conservation biology. As Asset Manager, she is responsible for managing the business, technical, financial, and environmental aspects of NativeEnergy’s portfolio of carbon offset projects.

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Aaron Shavitz

SUSTAINABILITY ANALYST

Aaron conducts research into greenhouse gas reduction technologies in order to identify new opportunities that NativeEnergy can provide for its clients. Aaron graduated from the University of Vermont as an honors scholar, with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a minor in Statistics. Prior to joining NativeEnergy, Aaron worked as a database manager in the outdoor retail industry, a writing tutor, and a sea kayaking guide. Aaron lives in downtown Burlington, and enjoys running, paddling, and skiing to stay active.

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Jacob Penner

Soil Carbon Project Developer

Jacob works to assess, develop, and manage NativeEnergy’s growing number of soil carbon sequestration projects. He is passionate about incentivizing land management practices that both store carbon and restore degraded ecosystems. Jacob holds a M.S. in Biology from Syracuse University, where he studied the effects of wildlife grazing on plant growth in Yellowstone National Park, and a B.A. in Environmental Science from Goshen College. Born and raised in the Great Plains of Kansas, Jacob is a recent transplant to Burlington, but has so far enjoyed exploring the mountains, music, and food that Vermont has to offer.

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Nell Achtmeyer

Director, Project Development

Nell came to NativeEnergy with a background in business development, project management, and implementing sustainability strategies for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Nell is passionate about innovative financial solutions and partnerships that fund projects to scale regenerative agriculture practices, sustainable forest management, and broader solutions to mitigate climate change. As Director of Project Development, Nell is responsible for assessing, developing, and executing new carbon reduction projects for NativeEnergy’s clients and their unique climate strategies. Nell is originally from Boston and first moved to Vermont to earn her B.A. from Middlebury College. She also holds an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and an MELP from Vermont Law School. She is excited to be back in New England after several years living and working on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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Emily Pendergraft

Director of Client Strategy

As a Director of Client Strategy, Emily collaborates with clients to understand, define, and implement investment opportunities rooted in supporting each company's business objectives and sustainability aims. Throughout her diverse career experiences- from teaching high school in low-income communities across the U.S., leading New Program development for the international nonprofit 1% for the Planet, to developing consultative recommendations on behalf of a large health insurance company- she has always stayed true to the fundamental belief that future generations deserve to live on a planet that is both sustainable and resilient, and that each individual and sector of the economy has a meaningful role to play in making this a reality. Emily holds an M.P.A. from Indiana University with a concentration in Organizational Management & Development and a B.S. in Education and History from Clemson University (Go Tigers!). Emily lives in Burlington, Vermont and when she is not working she enjoys traveling, being outside, and trying as many new foods and activities as possible.

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Jenna Pugliese

Director of Programs

Born and raised in our neighboring state, New York, Jenna graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a BA in Economics.  While she does love numbers, she realized quickly that sustainability was not only her passion but could be a meaningful profession.  Jenna started her sustainability career in Southern Vermont creating award winning environmental programs for Stratton Mountain Resort.  Her experience in snowmaking, lifts, and other efficiency took her on a path to Program Management at Efficiency Vermont where she oversaw the Efficient Products portfolio.  Now at NativeEnergy she joins the team, as Director of Programs, to implement and expand projects to generate meaningful and scalable carbon reduction projects and strategies.

While not at work Jenna enjoys volunteering at King Street Center, participating on the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, cross country and downhill skiing (sometimes even trying her hand at a biathlon), boating,  floating, and adventuring.