Bookmark and Share

Workforce Development

Highly skilled energy professionals are the key to achieving clean energy goals.

A clean energy future that integrates renewables, energy efficiency, and grid modernization is supported by government policy, private investment, and the public. As the energy industry grows, the workforce must grow also.

But energy employers struggle to find workers with the skills and experience they require now and for the future. Employers’ capacity to provide education and training is limited, and other industry and labor market trends – such as predicted retirements – pose formidable staffing, economic, and energy security challenges.

Our workforce development specialists craft effective strategies to address workforce concerns. Our team works with:

  • Industry to define current and anticipated workforce needs
  • Education to develop and implement training programs that address workforce needs
  • Policymakers to help shape the economic environment

Our research and analysis are customized to:

  • Enhance our clients' understanding of workforce challenges
  • Inform our clients' decisions
  • Improve our clients' program results

As members of the Evergreen Jobs Leadership Team, we advise the Governor and policy makers on federal investments in green economy and energy-related research, workforce education, and training.

Recent Clients and Projects

Labor Market and Economic Research

Washington State Legislature – Prepared analytical reports on green and clean energy economic development, innovation, and workforce education and training policy.

Washington State Employment Security Department – Created the Washington state green economy jobs report. We also completed a green jobs report for the state of Pennsylvania, and see potential for similar work in other states.

WSU Energy Systems Innovation Center – Conducted a labor market study of power engineering employment and workforce trends in the Pacific Northwest.

Tacoma-Pierce County’s Workforce Development Council Prepared sustainable economy and environment reports to support the promotion of a sustainable economy featuring energy-efficient projects and the use of local products and labor.

Center for Advanced Manufacturing-Puget Sound and Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Materials Manufacturing Focused on advanced manufacturing, sustainability, and workforce development.

Education and Training

U.S. Department of Energy Smart Grid Workforce – Developed a career lattice for 10 energy craft and professional occupations; conducted a five-state labor market study of electric power employers; created skill standards for utility customer service representatives; reported on workforce implications of smart grid demonstration projects in the Pacific Northwest.

Washington Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board – Conducted industry research, and developed a job skills profile and policy recommendations for energy efficiency managers in manufacturing.

Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy at Centralia College – Our workforce team serves on the advisory board of this national Center of Excellence.

Skill Standards

National Science Foundation Developed industry-defined job-skill profiles for two energy management occupations: Energy Conservation Program/Project Manager and Commercial Building Analyst.

California Community Colleges Central Region Consortium – Created Skill Standards for Maintenance Mechanics for Food Manufacturing.

Publications

Our Staff

Jacob C. Fey

Jake Fey, Director of the WSU Energy Program, has served in this leadership position since 2001. He has decades of experience providing leadership in energy and other arenas. At the WSU Energy Program, Fey has built, strengthened, and diversified key funder, political, and other stakeholder relationships, and enhanced the visibility of the program within the energy community.

Fey recently served as the chair of the Association of State Energy Research & Technology Transfer Institutions Executive Committee and the National Association of State Energy Officials Industrial Committee. He was also a member of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Regional Bioenergy Program Steering Committee and the Northwest Power Planning Council Conservation Resource Advisory Committee. In addition, he served as vice chair of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

Before signing on to lead the WSU Energy Program, Fey held management roles for the Washington State Energy Office and the City of Tacoma, and served on many boards including the Puget Sound Regional Council on Transportation Policy, Pierce Transit and Sound Transit, and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. Fey also served as chair of the Tacoma Public Utilities Board and president of the Electric League.

In 2012, Fey was elected to the Washington State Legislature as a Representative from the 27th District in Tacoma. He is vice chair of the House Transportation Committee and a member of the House Education, Environment, and Technology committee and the Economic Development committee. Previously he served as the deputy mayor of Tacoma and was a member of the Tacoma City Council.

Todd Currier

Todd Currier, Assistant Director of the WSU Energy Program, is the Community Business Programs, Engineering, and Fiscal Division Manager. He has three decades of experience in energy efficiency program development, implementation, and evaluation – the last 25 of which have been in supervisory and management positions. Currier represents the organization in a variety of forums at the state, regional, national, and international levels. He leads staff members who are engaged in building science research, building code development and implementation, indoor air quality improvement, workforce development issues and trends, resource conservation programs, industrial energy efficiency, renewable energy programs, and energy efficiency upgrades for homes and small businesses. He is currently serving as a co-chair of the Industrial and Combined Heat and Power Work Group of the State Energy Efficiency Action Network, and is a member of the Pacific Northwest’s Regional Emerging Technologies Advisory Committee and the Washington State Energy Strategy Technical Experts Panel.

Sheila Riggs

Sheila Riggs, Assistant Director of the WSU Energy Program, is the program’s Communications, Legislative, and Administrative Division Manager. Prior to her time with the organization, Riggs worked for the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems as the member communications and seminars manager and as the School Employees’ Retirement System communications manager. She was also a public information officer for the Washington State Department of Information Services. Prior to her state service, Riggs was a press secretary for a U.S. congressman and deputy press secretary for a U.S. senator in Washington, D.C. She also worked for the U.S. Department of State. Riggs holds a B.A. from Washington State University with a double major in political science and communications. She also has two M.A. degrees – one from Washington State University in communications and the other from The George Washington University in international affairs.

Adria S. Banks

Adria Banks is an energy program analyst at the WSU Energy Program, providing data management, manipulation, and visualization support. She also assists in analyzing, interpreting, and reporting data for research-based projects and energy efficiency programs. Banks has over 10 years of experience in management and leadership roles in scientific and higher education positions, as well as experience in peer/volunteer coordination, mentoring, and working as an effective liaison. She holds an M.S in biology from Western Washington University and a B.S. in zoology from the University of Washington.

Tanya Beavers

Tanya Beavers is an energy professional who works closely with the Building Science Division. She also provides executive support for other areas of the organization, writes communication material, and assists in coordinating training classes. Her professional background includes experience in marketing, financial services, and technical writing. She holds a B.A. in public relations with minors in business communication and Japanese from Central Washington University.

Sue Brown

Sue Brown is a program coordinator of the Plant Operations Support Consortium. She manages the Consortium's custodial support effort, which includes conducting custodial assessments, training, and providing work-loading assistance. Brown is on the annual Energy/Facilities Connections Conference coordinating team. In addition, she represents the Consortium to members and potential members, and responds to member requests for assistance. Brown is certified as an ISSA Custodial Industry Management Standard Expert. Brown joined the Consortium staff in 2005 and has worked in state service since 1999.

Nels Christianson

Nels Christianson serves as a senior software engineer and has worked for the organization since 1996. Christianson has also been a computer analyst and programmer for the Washington State Energy Office, a self-employed computer analyst and programmer, a college instructor at Northern Marianas College, a regional engineer for Africare, Inc., and a service technician for S.C.A. Corporation. He served several times as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer – as an instructor, a district engineer, and a computer system programmer. In 2006, Christianson served as an on-site engineer in Sri Lanka in rebuilding efforts after the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia. He has two B.S. degrees, one in computer science/management from The Evergreen State College and one in civil engineering from the University of Washington.

James L. Colombo

Jim Colombo has served as the Information Systems Department Manager and IT specialist for the WSU Energy Program and the Washington State Energy Office since 1987. Colombo has over 30 years of experience providing technical service, support, and training to citizens, management, and employees at state agencies and universities. Prior to his time with the WSU Energy Program, he worked for South Puget Sound Community College and the King County Library System.

Donna Cowsert

Donna Cowsert serves as our management analyst/fiscal officer. With 30 years of experience in the accounting field, she provides financial/grants management services, and reviews and submits proposals. Cowsert assists with subcontract setup, submitting match documentation, and resolving grant issues with the sponsor, principal investigator, and university. Her prior experience includes serving as accounts receivable manager, responsible for building and coaching a team to effectively implement grants, contracts, and interagency agreements.

Ken Eklund

Ken Eklund is the building science and standards team leader. He and his team focus on Washington State Energy Code implementation and building science research and training, including emerging technologies. Eklund has over 30 years of experience in energy efficiency and renewable energy research, training, demonstration, program development, implementation, and management. During much of his career, he has served in supervisory and management positions in the energy field. Eklund served as a voting member of the Regional Technical Forum of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council for nine years, and is the author/co-author of myriad peer-reviewed papers in technical and program implementation areas. Eklund holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Idaho College of Law and a B.A. from Stanford University.

Marla Hacklander

Marla Hacklander is an energy project analyst for the WSU Energy Program. She is part of the state certifying organization for the ENERGY STAR Homes Northwest Program, and is a training coordinator for ENERGY STAR Homes NW and Performance Tested Comfort Systems (PTCS) classes. Hacklander has over 25 years of experience in project management, office management, customer service, bookkeeping, and accounting. She previously worked as a program manager for PTCS, a contract accounting employee for Two Rivers Energy Services, and a training coordinator for the Inland Northwest HVAC Association.

David Hales

David Hales is a building systems specialist, leveraging more than 30 years of experience in building science and construction to provide skills training, curriculum development, field research, and technical support. Before joining the WSU Energy Program, Hales was an energy specialist for the Washington State Energy Office and a managing partner for Sun Construction. Hales has a B.S. in physics from the University of Chicago and is an ASHRAE member.

Luke Howard

Luke Howard is a building science specialist with the WSU Energy Program. With 13 years of academic and professional experience researching, analyzing, and implementing sustainable and resource-conserving building design strategies, Howard educates industry professionals and the public about resource and energy conserving practices. Howard’s primary responsibilities with the WSU Energy Program are in residential energy conservation and indoor air quality research, code development, and educational resource development and implementation. He has been an active member of the State of Washington’s Mechanical and Ventilation Codes Technical Advisory Group since 2011. Howard is a certified Sustainable Building Advisor, is certified in duct sealing and heat pump commissioning, and is an infrared thermographer, Level 1. He has a B.A. from The Evergreen State College.

Karen Janowitz

Karen Janowitz is a program coordinator at the WSU Energy Program. She has over 20 years of experience in project leadership and management; implementing, marketing, and managing energy efficiency and environmental programs; group facilitation; environmental education; communications; and administration. Janowitz holds a B.A. in geology from the University of Colorado and a Master of Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College.

Jim Jensen

Jim Jensen is our senior bioenergy and alternative fuels specialist. He conducts research and provides up-to-date information and technical assistance about bioenergy and alternative fuels and vehicles. Jensen supports federal and state agencies, local governments, and private clients. His current research activities include biogas/biomethane, biodiesel, electric vehicles, and green fleets. He serves on the state’s multi-agency bioenergy team, the anaerobic digestion task force, the Alt Fuel/Vehicle Technical Assistance Group, and the Western Washington Clean Cities Steering Committee. During 20+ years of work in the private and nonprofit sectors, Jensen has provided technical assistance to businesses in dozens of industries, assisted corporate social responsibility programs, and supported new green technologies and products. His technical knowledge and experience encompass research, development, and implementation of projects in the voluntary carbon market, renewable energy, recycling, waste prevention, anaerobic digestion, and composting. Jensen holds a B.A. from Grinnell College, Iowa.

Gary Kaufman

Gary Kaufman is a technical support specialist for the WSU Energy Program. With over 30 years of cross-functional experience in business strategy, operations, and product and project management in the private and public sectors, Kaufman currently works with the U.S. Department of Energy Northwest Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership, the Bioenergy Coordination Team, and other collaborative energy efficiency improvement efforts in the WSU Energy Program portfolio. He holds a B.A. from The Evergreen State College.

Seth Kolodziejski

Seth Kolodziejski is a building science specialist, responsible for providing technical assistance and delivering training in support of Building America projects, Northwest ENERGY STAR activity, Washington State Energy Code, and Washington Community Energy Efficiency Program contractor network development. Kolodziejski has extensive experience in Home Performance contracting, energy conservation program administration, project coordination, and community education. He holds a B.A. in psychology from Bowdoin College.

Phil Lou

Phil Lou is our solar energy specialist. He has 21 years of experience in the building industry, culminating in designing and installing modern photovoltaic systems. Lou holds a B.S. from the University of Oregon and certifications in photovoltaic design and application, solar thermal design and application, and energy audit and weatherization. He developed curricula for and taught courses in the clean energy technologies program at a local community college.

Michael Lubliner

Michael Lubliner has worked in the energy conservation and renewable energy field for over 35 years, starting his career as the Pacific Northwest regional distributor for Grumman, Bio-Energy Systems and other renewable energy products. In 1983, Lubliner began working for the Washington State Energy Office, where he helped develop, implement, evaluate, and refine the Northwest Power Planning Council’s Model Conservation Standards, state energy codes, and Super Good Cents site-built and manufactured housing programs. He works in support of the U.S. DOE Building America Program and the U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR Program. Lubliner has a B.S. in energy engineering from The Evergreen State College.

Gilbert McCoy, P.E.

Gil McCoy, a registered Professional Engineer, is a senior energy systems engineer with the WSU Energy Program. He provides technical assistance and energy auditing services to industrial and public sector clients. McCoy’s areas of expertise include optimization of industrial systems (motor/drive, compressed air, steam, combined heat and power, and pumping). He served as lead engineer for development of software products including MotorMaster+ (motor energy management), International Motor Selection and Savings Analysis, AirMaster+ (compressed air system assessment), and BallastMaster (lighting system/ballast selection) software. McCoy is a U.S. DOE Qualified AIRMaster+ Specialist and a Qualified Steam Tools and Process Heating Specialist. He holds a B.S. in metallurgical engineering from the University of Washington and a M.S. in engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Anneka McDonald

Anneka McDonald is a performance and accountability specialist, leveraging skills in fiscal management, customer service, and database management. With training in various software applications and a focus on public agency issues, McDonald identifies and works to resolve accounting issues.

Phil Partington

Phil Partington is a program coordinator for the Plant Operations Support Consortium. Partington, who joined the Consortium staff in 2002, is responsible for responding to day-to-day member requests for assistance and managing numerous training events, including the annual Energy/Facilities Connections conference. Additionally, Partington provides program, web, and outreach development for the Consortium; produces the Consortium’s newsletter, Shop Talk; and assists Consortium members with grant-writing opportunities and project management. He graduated from Saint Martin's University in 2003 with a B.A. in English and a minor in business administration.

Rob Penney, P.E.

Rob Penney, a registered Professional Engineer and Certified Energy Manager, is a senior energy engineer at the WSU Energy Program. He oversees a team of engineers and energy specialists to provide comprehensive technical responses, research, training, and publication development on a variety of building energy systems topics for the industrial, commercial, and institutional sectors. Penney also served as lead engineer for the organization’s Clearinghouse Services programs. Previously, Penney was the director of engineering services for Southface Energy Institute, where he managed projects such as energy auditing, building science research, and training. He was also a mechanical engineer for Rosser Fabrap International, where he performed HVAC, plumbing, and fire protection design calculation, layout, and specification writing for commercial and industrial facilities.

Michael Pierson

Michael Pierson is an information technology support specialist. He is the primary contact for technical support for all outside client networks contracted by the WSU Energy Program. Pierson also supports the Energy Program’s day-to-day operations and works with the network administrator to upgrade network architecture and servers.

Gerry Rasmussen

Gerry Rasmussen has served as the graphic designer for the WSU Energy Program since 2004, where he has been instrumental in keeping the program’s publications and presentations looking consistent and professional. He holds a B.A. in fine arts/graphic design from Washington State University. Rasmussen worked for 33 years as a graphic designer in Washington state government, ending his tenure as the manager of the graphics unit at the Washington State Department of Transportation. Rasmussen continues to freelance – now for over 50 years – lending his graphic design expertise to clients in both government and private industry.

Carolyn Roos, Ph.D.

Dr. Carolyn Roos is a mechanical engineer with over 25 years of experience improving energy efficiency in industrial and building systems, specializing in developing Excel-based applications for engineers and contractors. She provides technical assistance on commercial and industrial energy system efficiency and renewable energy projects. She also provides technical support to the U.S. DOE Northwest Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership, focusing on CHP, biopower, and waste heat to power applications. Roos previously worked as an energy management engineer at Puget Sound Energy, where she performed energy efficiency analyses for commercial and industrial customers, and at the Army Corps of Engineers Hydroelectric Design Center. For her doctorate in systems science and mechanical engineering, she developed software to simulate simultaneous heat and moisture transfer in building environments. For her M.S. in mechanical engineering, Roos developed software to aid in the design of high-temperature solar concentrating furnaces.

Vince Schueler

Vince Schueler is a program and system analyst with over 30 years of experience providing customer research, performance management, process improvement program evaluation, policy analysis, and strategic planning in state government and the private sector. He has a practical, result-oriented focus on energy efficiency and resource conservation. Schueler holds an M.B.A. in quantitative methods from the University of Washington and a B.A. in urban studies from the University of Maryland. He also earned a Lean Six Sigma Certificate of Achievement from Villanova University in 2008 and completed training at the Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute.

Melinda Thiessen Spencer

Melinda Spencer is our communications specialist, responsible for providing quality control as our technical editor; producing technical, educational, and promotional materials for all program areas; and publishing newsbriefs for our energy library. Emphasizing plain language and user-centered design, Spencer has worked since 1984 as a university writing instructor; instructional designer, web content developer, and software localizer for Microsoft; textbook co-author and editor; communications team manager for an environmental consulting firm; and community involvement specialist at Superfund sites. She holds an M.A. in technical and scientific communication from Miami University, Ohio; an M.Phil. in international peace studies from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland; and a B.S. in biology/pre-med from the University of California, Davis.

Mike Steele

Mike Steele is an information technology specialist responsible for maintaining day-to-day operations of the computer network, assisting staff with technical issues, offering training on new technologies and tools, and serving as a primary network support for several of the WSU Energy Program’s outside clients. Steele has a B.S. in computer engineering technology from DeVry University.

Lisa Terefenko

Lisa Terefenko is a software engineer with the WSU Energy Program. With a solid background in application/web development, management, and customer service, Terefenko plays a key role in launching and maintaining major websites and works with the WSU Energy Program’s industrial services team to develop and distribute the International Motors Selection and Savings Analysis software tool. As a private consultant, she worked with clients such as Microsoft, Chevron, and the University of Washington. Terefenko attended Pennsylvania State University and holds a B.S. in computer science from The Evergreen State College.

David Van Holde, P.E.

David Van Holde, a registered Professional Engineer, is a senior energy systems engineer. He leverages deep experience working with utilities, government, and consulting firms to implement energy solutions and lead organizational change. Van Holde’s expertise includes distributed energy systems, government/utility energy policy, project and staff management, energy efficiency technologies, strategic energy management, customer-facing services, and utility program design. Previously, he served as managing engineer and director of technical analysis and energy management for EMI Consulting, and held leadership positions with SBW Consulting, King County Dept. of Natural Resources and Parks, Seattle City Light, E Source, and Tektronix. He also taught in the mechanical engineering departments at Oregon State University and Portland State University. Van Holde has a M.S. in mechanical engineering from Oregon State University and a Bachelor of Engineering from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Anne L. Whitney

Anne Whitney is a librarian with over 30 years of experience in the library field, including positions as cataloger, indexer, library information specialist, head of a cataloging service, cataloging instructor, and art college librarian. Whitney holds an M.A. in art history and an M.S. in information and library science from Case Western Reserve University.

Bruce Whitney

Bruce Whitney is a senior software developer for the WSU Energy Program. He develops and maintains in-house and distributed software applications, as well as web applications and interfaces. Whitney holds bachelor degrees from MIT and The Evergreen State College, one in computer science and the other in history and science. He also has a teaching certificate from The Evergreen State College.

Laurie Wingate

Laurie Wingate has been the information systems coordinator for the WSU Energy Program since 1997. She purchases and inventories computer hardware, software, and supplies for the organization, and provides technical support for office printers.

"Each of us has a part to play in a new future that will benefit all of us. As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs – but only if we accelerate that transition. Only if we seize the moment. And only if we rally together and act as one nation – workers and entrepreneurs; scientists and citizens; the public and private sectors."

President Barack Obama, June 15, 2010

Workforce development factsheet, December 2013