TXSES Announces New Board Members and Officers

The Texas Solar Energy Society (TXSES) announced the election of six new members to its board of directors, as well as the full slate of officers.

Joining TXSES’s board of directors are Howard ‘Scot’ Arey, owner of Solar CenTex; Dr. Ariane L. Beck, Research Fellow at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin; Ann Hamilton, former senior grant officer at Houston Endowment Inc. (HEI); Mary C. Palmer, Environmental Program Coordinator, Austin Energy; Dub Taylor, Director Texas State Energy Conservation Office (retired); and Ron Zagarri, Director-at-Large North Texas Renewable Energy Group, former vice-chair of the TXSES Board.

“We are honored to welcome this impressive group of individuals to our board,” said TXSES Executive Director Patrice ‘Pete’ Parsons. “They bring enormous talent, insight and dedication to clean energy and are committed to helping TXSES carry out our mission as an independent, national not-for-profit organization accelerating the clean energy transformation through quality educational materials that will grow the industry, protect clean air, build healthy, resilient communities, support local, well-paying jobs and lay the foundation for energy independence.”

Howard “Scot” Arey | Chair
Scot is the owner of Solar CenTex, a solar installer from Harker Heights operating since 2013. Scot was a former TXSES board member and chairperson and after a multi-year hiatus, wants to return to the board during a critical period for Texas distributed generation.

Dr. Ariane L. Beck
Ariane is a Research Fellow at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on how interactions between underlying social, behavioral, economic, and technological components of the energy system impact diffusion of clean energy technologies and how information channels can accelerate diffusion processes. Previously, she was project manager for a consumer side smart grid research project and served as Assistant Department Chair for the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UT-Austin. She has managed over $25million in DOE projects throughout her career and has over 40 peer-reviewed publications. Her recent projects include producing a roadmap for scaling community solar in Texas and developing a better understanding of the role of community-based organizations and knowledge spillovers in the solar ecosystem. Dr. Beck received her Ph.D., MS, and BS in Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.

Ann Hamilton
Ann served as senior grant officer at Houston Endowment Inc. (HEI), Texas’s largest private philanthropy, whose portfolio includes solar and energy efficiency, for 18 years. During her tenure, she developed its environmental grant-making portfolio, became familiar with environmental groups statewide, researched and visited potential grantees, and recommended over 1,000 grants for board approval, totaling over $220M. She co-founded and presided over Texas Environmental Grantmakers Association for 12 years and Cullinan Park Conservancy for 10 years. Hamilton has been recognized for her efforts by the Texas Land Trust Council, Lady Bird Johnson Center, Hermann Park Conservancy, and other groups. She received the Terry Hershey Woman in Conservation Award from the Texas Audubon Society in 2016. Hamilton currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Aransas Project, The Progressive Forum-Houston, and Bayou City Initiative. She is an emeritus director of the International Crane Foundation and The Philosophical Society of Texas.

Mary Palmer
Endorsed for her specific brand of organization, compassion and focus, Mary is a leader within the Customer Renewable Solutions team at Austin Energy. As an Environmental Program Coordinator, Mary works to accelerate the transition to a carbon-free energy future by engaging with commercial and residential customers and the solar contractor community. In her work, she implements program design and strategic planning to grow the City of Austin’s renewable energy programs. Mary is skilled at combining business acumen with a human-centered design approach. She is passionate about being a catalyst for continuous improvement and brings unique perspectives gained from seven years of experience in the non-profit sector. Her proudest achievement is working with local communities and volunteers from all over the world to install rainwater harvesting systems; a total capacity of 82,900 liters of potable, accessible water to residents of Fiji.

Dub Taylor
For more than 25 years, Taylor has helped advance cost-effective, clean energy technology and policy through his work in the public sector. For twenty years, he was Director of the Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO). Prior to SECO, he was with the Texas Railroad Commission’s Alternative Fuels Research and Education Division. At the federal level, Taylor served on and twice chaired the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Advisory Board (STEAB). Originally appointed Chair by President George W. Bush’s Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, he was again appointed to this role by former Energy Secretary and Texas Governor Rick Perry. Taylor currently serves on the Boards of PACENation, the National Association of State Energy Officials Institute, Conservative Texans for Energy Innovation and the Austin ISD Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee. He is a member of the Austin-San Antonio Chapter of the Association of Energy Engineers and the Texas Chapter of the Energy Services Coalition.

Ron Zagarri | Treasurer
In 1918, labor leader Nicholas Klein observed, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” The same can be said of energy disruption, considering that America can arguably attain 100% sustainable energy in this decade. As a fossil fuel leader, this transformation places Texas squarely in the fighting stage on the path to decarbonization. Although we can expect a bumpy ride, Ron believes TXSES is uniquely positioned to accelerate this great transition. Former vice-chair of the TXSES Board, Ron has been assisting the organization with the conversion of its accounting practices.

With the election of Arey, Beck, Hamilton, Palmer, Taylor and Zagarri, TXSES’s board includes Amy Olsen, Wells Solar, Vice-Chair; Joshua Rhodes, Ph.D. Webber Energy Group, the University of Texas at Austin and IdeaSmiths LLC, Secretary; and David Brearley. According to TXSES by-laws, each TXSES chapter has a seat on the TXSES board. The five TXSES chapter representatives are: Rosa Orenstein, J.D., North Texas Renewable Energy Group; Dylan Rup, Houston Renewable Energy Group; Leslie Libby, Solar Austin; Kaylyn Randolph, Build San Antonio Green; and Shelby Ruff, Eco El Paso.