metro region of MN

Metro CERT Steering Committee welcomes new members

Metro CERT Steering Committee

The Metro CERT Steering Committee is proud to welcome five new members beginning their service in 2023. Steering Committees help guide the work of CERTs’ seven regions. They are the eye and ears, the clean energy ambassadors, and the guides that ensure CERTs work is timely, relevant, and meaningful. Their ability in community outreach, sustainability, and energy is invaluable to us as we work together to amplify clean energy in the Metro. 

These folks are fabulous new additions to the Metro CERT steering committee. They are already getting clean energy resources into the hands of their various communities. They’re looking forward to informing others about financial incentives found in the Inflation Reduction Act and to help with CERTs activities like reviewing seed grant applications.

Learn more about each new committee member's involvement, background, and passions.

Didier Bolanos Gonzalez

Community Liaison, Department of Climate and Resiliency at Hennepin County

Didier Bolanos Gonzalez“I am aware of the challenges and the importance of reducing green gasses emissions through better transportation and clean energy.  

“I grew up in the rural Andean mountains of southern Colombia. I completed Agronomy studies in Costa Rica, and I hold a master's degree in development practices from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs that focuses on sustainable development goals. My experiences include adapting crops to our changing climate, working as a community organizer, program coordinator, and business manager. These allow me to offer a holistic analysis to the committee. 

“I am interested in contributing diverse voices from communities that have been historically marginalized to the committee. I will propose creative ideas based on realistic and effective alternatives based on my experiences.”

Say Yang

Former Senior Program Advisor, Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED)

Say Yang“Recently, I was the senior program advisor at the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED). At CEED, the work involves policy analysis, research, and community education on equitable climate and energy issues. In my past role as the senior program advisor, I worked closely with the education team in the design and implementation of CEED’s popular education programming.  

“I believe that my participation with the Metro CERT steering committee is one that is valuable to the team to better supply resources and support historically marginalized communities. I bring the learnings and best practices through the many years of outreach and engagement in BIPOC and immigrant communities.”

Scott Firman

Director of Research and Development and Corporate Sustainability, Nonin Medical, Inc.

Scott FIrman“I am the former President of the Minnesota chapter of the ISSP (International Society of Sustainability Professionals). I have a master's in science in Sustainable Management from University of Wisconsin-Stout and certifications in energy efficiency and sustainability.

“I’m excited to be a part of the Metro CERT steering team for four key reasons. First, I’m impressed with the on-the-ground work that CERTs does all around Minnesota. Second, I am passionate about electrifying everything including vehicles, space heating, and water heating. Third is that I enjoy bringing small and large groups together for a common goal to find pragmatic solutions. Lastly, I would like to ensure our clean energy progress is inclusive for all communities.”

Annette Kuyper

Community Outreach and Beneficial Electrification Director, Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association

Annette Kuyper“I am passionate about clean energy and healthy communities. I have experience working with communities to achieve sustainable goals. I’m excited to add a unique perspective as a representative from an electrical co-op. Lastly, I already love working with the Metro CERT team!”

Mari Ojeda

Energy Access and Equity Senior Policy Associate, Fresh Energy

Mari Ojeda“I’m excited to join the steering committee because I think Metro CERT is a valuable organization that supports clean energy projects across the area. I currently work on advocating for equitable policies and improving programs to ensure folks who have historically been left behind in clean energy decision-making have a seat at the table and will be prioritized in this energy transition. I have a long-standing relationship with CERTs staff. I am grateful to continue the relationship and support clean energy projects happening on the ground. Reducing energy burden, investing in energy efficiency, electrification, and benefits that directly go to under-resourced households and communities (i.e., BIPOC, low-income) is my priority. I want to continue supporting CERTs’ work, community project seed grants, and communications. Observing how policies and programs are directly benefitting (or potentially harming) historically marginalized communities will help inform my work at Fresh Energy and ensure policies and programs are benefiting — and not further harming — these communities.”

We are thrilled to have such a talented and dedicated group of individuals join our team, and we look forward to working together. Welcome, Didier, Say, Scott, Annette, and Mari!

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