BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Todd Parker, President

Customer Service Manager, Michigan Saves

Todd Parker is the customer service manager for Michigan Saves, a multimillion-dollar nonprofit organization managed by Public Sector Consultants whose mission is to stimulate and support investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy systems in homes, businesses, and public buildings. He assists homeowners and business owners, oversees a network of authorized contractors, supports new program development and operational management, evaluates and improves quality assurance efforts, and analyzes data on loan trends. Todd wants people to spend as little money as possible on energy, so that they can spend money on the things that truly matter – family, experiences, personal well-being. Todd is a proud alumnus of Michigan State University and the Vermont Law School.

Tim Schmitt, Vice President

Community Development Director, City of Howell

Tim Schmitt initially joined the Board in 2013, as a representative of the City of East Lansing. The City and MEO (previously Urban Options) have had a long partnership, which includes the City’s ownership of the Energy Demonstration Center where MEO is located. Tim is now Director of Community Development for the City of Howell, focused on downtown preservation and corridor planning, bringing elements of the Regional Energy Study further afield from, its initial boundaries. He’s a proud Ohio University alum, with an undergraduate degree in Geography. Tim also serves on the board of the East Lansing Art Festival and the Capital Collective (a local placemaking nonprofit in the Lansing region). He is known to volunteer at many events around the City, supporting community building efforts in any way possible.

Abby Corso, Secretary

Chief Program Officer, Elevate Energy 

Abigail is the Chief Strategy Officer at Elevate Energy, located in Chicago, Illinois. In this role, she oversees Elevate’s strategy in developing new programs nationwide from energy efficiency, solar, and planning including building up Elevate’s existing dynamic pricing and flagship multifamily building retrofit programs. Prior to this role, she served as Chief Program Officer and Director of New Market Initiatives, and was responsible for expanding Elevate’s affordable multifamily energy efficiency programs into new markets outside of the Chicago region including Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Oregon.

Prior to joining Elevate Energy in 2012, Abigail was a Managing Director at the Delta Institute where she managed Delta’s sustainability consulting and industrial pollution prevention and energy efficiency program areas which included developing energy efficiency loan products for various Midwest initiatives.

Matt Gougeon, Treasurer

General Manager of the Marquette Food Co-op

Matt Gougeon is the general manager of the Marquette Food Co-op (MFC), a vibrant 3,600-member consumer cooperative located in Marquette, Michigan where MEO has our Upper Peninsula Office. The MFC specializes in sourcing local, organic, fair trade, and wholesome food and goods for its members and other customers. In addition to operating as a community-owned retail grocery store the MFC provides significant outreach services and programs for its members and the community at large. Matt believes that building resilient local and regional food systems, increasing the capacity of small sustainable farms, and promoting healthy eating to individuals are keys to reducing negative environmental impact and increasing energy efficiency. Matt also serves as the fiduciary representative from the MFC to the U.P. Food Exchange, a regional food hub in the Upper Peninsula.

Nathalie Osborn, Board Member

Senior Energy Consultant

Nathalie Osborn is a natural energizer with a passion for inspiring efficiency, productivity, profitability and teamwork. She provides consultative sales, program management, and strategic business solutions and has assisted clients with implementing over $500M in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainability projects. As co-author of Ignite your Leadership: Proven Tools for Leaders to Energize Teams, Fuel Momentum & Accelerate Results, Nathalie also enjoys sharing keynote presentations, workshops and webinars on her chapter “Powering Personal Energy.”

Dr. Jessica Thompson, Board Member

Associate Professor, Communication and Performance Studies, Northern Michigan University

Jes Thompson teaches courses in environmental communication and public relations. She is a trained facilitator and earned a graduate certificate in Adaptive Management of Environmental Systems at the University of Utah, where she earned an interdisciplinary doctoral degree in environmental communication. Her research is focused on communication about complex ecological issues, including climate change (check out her TEDx talk). Recent research projects include working with interdisciplinary teams studying climate resilience in Mongolia, ecosystem services in the Gulf of Mexico, and building communication capacity for climate change engagement at National Parks and USFWS Wildlife Refuges across the US.

Mary Ellen Mika, Board Member

Director, Global Compliance and Sustainability, Steelcase Inc.

Mary Ellen Mika is Director of Global Compliance & Sustainability for Steelcase Inc., the global leader in the office furniture industry. She leads a team responsible for the company’s energy, renewable energy, and climate change response strategies including the development of science-based targets for greenhouse gas emissions; managing compliance with environmental regulatory requirements for products, facilities, and operations including implementation of the company’s ISO 14001 environmental management system and addressing environmental due diligence for potential acquisitions; pursuing product certifications for sustainability and indoor air quality; tracking and reporting waste, water, energy, recycling and composting efforts and setting goals for continuous improvement.

Mary Ellen is a LEED-accredited professional and recently served on the Materials and Resources Technical Advisory Group for U.S. Green Building Council. She has a B.S. in Biochemistry, an M.A. in Counseling Psychology, and over thirty years of experience in environmental consulting and industry.

Caroline Michniak, Board Member

Program Manager, Grow Eastern Market, Eastern Market Historic District

Caroline Michniak is a Michigan native who has worked in the sustainability field for the past decade. Her specialty is the food systems world and currently is the Grow Eastern Market Program Manager at the Eastern Market in Detroit. Her interest lies in the intersection of sustainability and innovation in small scale farming. She has a master’s degree from Wayne State University in Public Relations & Organizational Communication and spent her undergraduate years at Kalamazoo College focusing on Economics and Environmental Science.

Michelle Jackson, Board Member

Executive Director, Sustainable Community Farms

Michelle Jackson is a fourth-generation farmer and the founder of Sustainable Community Farms. Michelle works hard on behalf of her community with the goal of uplifting the quality of life for those that live, work, and visit the neighborhoods. As the Executive Director of Sustainable Community Farms, she engages her community by organizing and presenting diverse platforms, for community members of all ages to participate in finding solutions to solving community issues. Michelle works collaboratively to transform the urban landscape diverse methods such as compost and compost systems.

Michelle also has a passion for working on climate change issues, using her knowledge and expertise to introduce residents to the information needed to help them connect the dots between climate change and their everyday lives. Michelle’s work on climate change and urban farming has earned her an invitation to the White House to speak about Climate Change and its effects on small farmers. Michelle has also earned a seat on the Environmental Justice Work Group, appointed by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of the 13th District.

Nick Occhipinti, Board Member

Government Affairs Director, Michigan League of Conservation Voters

Nick Occhipinti is the State Government Affairs Director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.  Nick has a broad range of environmental policy experience having served as the Policy and Community Activism Director for the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC), worked as a staffer for the Chair of Hawaii’s State Senate Energy and Environment Committee, in Lansing for the Granholm administration, and at the Rocky Mountain Institute.  He has also worked directly in communities as a field organizer for the Obama campaign in 2008 and as a Corps Member for AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and a Masters degree in Public Policy.

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