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Network and Nosh


Our Moderator

Martin Voelker
Leader of Colorado Renewable Energy Society – Jefferson County Chapter

Martin Voelker worked as a newspaper and science reporter in Germany, a department administrator at Tufts University, and produced a progressive radio show in Boston. After moving to Colorado he co-founded a chapter of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES), trained with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, co-founded New Energy Colorado and joined the Boards of CRES and 350Colorado. He believes that a renewable energy revolution represents our best solution in the face of climate change.

Featured Speakers

Alyse Opatowski
Founder and CEO of Sow Green

Alyse, grew up in Denver and loves the outdoors. As a child, she experienced winters with no snow and witnessed contaminated rivers like the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. Knowing she wanted to make a difference, Alyse studied International Studies in Global Environment and Health at the University of Michigan. During this time, she gained experience in real estate working in her family’s business. She discovered that buildings account for almost 70% of our electricity consumption. So Alyse decided to use her knowledge of sustainability and her experience in real estate to change things by working in various non-profit, government and for-profit organizations.

When Denver passed the Green Roof Initiative in November, Alyse knew that developers would need help navigating the complicated law. She also knows that homeowners and renters want to lower their energy bills. So she moved home and started Sow Green. At Sow Green, we believe in helping everyone create healthier, sustainable communities with green building design.

James Barry
General Counsel of Gravity Renewables, Inc.

James serves as the General Counsel for Gravity Renewables, Inc. As a graduate of University of Colorado Law School with a Certificate from the Renewables and Sustainable Energy Institute, James has built a career focused on energy and energy-efficiency industries. Prior to his role at Gravity, James ran his own law practice where he advanced a variety of power marketing initiatives and asset acquisition for both emerging and established technologies. Before his law practice, James worked at The Cadmus Group, Inc., where he advised over 25 municipalities on solar development decisions including successfully negotiating over 10MW of solar PPAs. In addition, James has advocated for the solar power industry at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”) and designed legislation on energy efficiency for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. James has a BA in History and Political Science from the University of Denver and was a Judicial Fellow with Colorado Court of Appeals.

Nicholas Thornburg, Ph.D.
Chemical Reaction Engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Nicholas (Nick) Thornburg is a Chemical Reaction Engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a federal government research & development (R&D) facility owned and operated by the U.S. Department of Energy. At NREL, Nick and his research team study new ways of using high-temperature chemistry to break down plants and agricultural wastes into their individual molecular building blocks, so that these organic base components can be reconstructed into more valuable industrial products like synthetic transportation fuels and bio-based commodity chemicals. Nick has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University, in addition to industrial R&D experience with the Dow Chemical Company and 3M. He is also currently an independent technical consultant for Emerging Infrastructure Capital Partners, where he helps vet new start-up technologies in renewable energy and sustainable water treatment. Nick has a passion for chemistry, calculus, and economics and has dedicated his professional career to studying important environmental and manufacturing problems for the greater good.

Shalom Fox
Water Quality Expert at Blue I Water Technologies

Shalom is an Israeli water scientist from Ramat HaNegev, Colorado’s partnership region, temporarily living in Colorado.

Shalom comes to us with extensive academic background, he has a PhD from Ben Gurion University where he researched treatment of contaminated ground water using innovative biological and engineering processes. In Colorado he was a post-doctoral research fellow the Golden School of Mines where he researched treatment of by-products of the fracking industry and became part of the collaborative research group where researchers from Stanford, Berkley, NMSU and Golder School of Mines collaborated in the ReNUWIt project to Re-invent the nations urban water infrastructure. Dr. In all of these, Shalom Fox has published 5 articles in scientific journals.

In addition to his academic work, Shalom is the former Treasurer of the Ayalim association, a non- profit organization whose mission is to strengthen Israel’s periphery through encouraging young adults to build homes there.

Currently shalom works as the Mid-west agronomist for Phytech, an Israeli company implementing précises agricultural tools. At Phytech he works with corn and soy farmers in Kansas and Nebraska to enhance crop production per area through smart and efficient irrigation.
Shalom is Married to Osnat Fox, JEWISHcolorado’s Israel emissary and father to Shahar, Sagi and Yogev.