Board of Directors
Solar Austin – 501(c)(3)
Kaiba White, Board Member, President
Kaiba has a passion for protecting the environment and conserving resources, so advocating for utilization of solar energy, as well as other renewable energy sources, fits right in with her priorities. Kaiba earned her B.A. in sociology from Rice University in 2006 and her M.A. in urban and environmental policy and planning from Tufts University in 2009. She then spent two and a half years as a research associate for the Climate Change an African Political Stability (CCAPS) program at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas in Austin, where she contributed to research on vulnerability to climate change in Africa and used geographic information systems (GIS) to assess and map current and projected climate change impacts and vulnerability in Africa. She is now an Energy Policy and Outreach Specialist in Public Citizen’s Texas office. She contributes to policy research, online activism, grassroots organizing and coalition building, as well as recruiting and overseeing interns. You can email Kaiba at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Burton, Board Member, Treasurer
Scott Burton’s interest in alternative energy grew out of the sudden vulnerability and soul searching that hit adults around him during the oil supply crisis of 1973. Creative solutions bloomed for the few years that followed, but, interestingly, their failure to take root was hugely driven by the relative attractiveness of their simple economics. Getting a deeper understanding of this fundamental driver that must be present for good ideas to flourish has been a passion ever since. Scott went to high school in Austin, has a B.A. with Honors in Economics from Brandeis University, and an M.B.A. in finance from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. He was an economist, financial analyst and finance manager in Hong Kong for four years, a Global Strategist at Samsung HQ in Seoul for two years, and has held corporate finance and consulting roles with green-tech, software and technology organizations in Texas since 1999. His work has included thin-film solar panel manufacturers, solar power system integrators, residential system sales and marketing teams, and solar power leasing firms. His professional home is now in corporate finance at the fabulous Volusion, Inc. in Austin.
Rachel Stone, Board Member, Event Organizer
Rachel Stone is the Development Officer at the International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology (ICAST), where she provides grant writing, development, and technical assistance to expand ICAST mission of developing and implementing market-based solutions for issues that plague under-served communities. ICAST is currently focused on educating and assisting affordable housing providers undergo and finance green rehab.
Rachel has a BA in Urban Studies from Brown University and attended the University of Texas School of Law. After graduation, she worked as an Attorney-Adviser for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) until she returned to Austin to work on clean energy advocacy and developing alternative financing programs such as PACE and Pay-For Success for implementing green rehab.
Carey Ibrahimbegovic returned to Austin in 2009 with a goal of transitioning her career into the solar industry. A former executive recruiter in the strategy consulting industry with a few years focused in the Oil & Gas industry, she saw the profits for the extraction of fossil fuels far outweighed the concerns of environmental damage and felt compelled to help make a difference. Since, she has started a successful local solar installation company with her husband Adi and can be contacted at email@example.com. Carey enjoys spreading the word on all of wonderful benefits solar brings to our community. She has BA in Economics from the University of Texas.
Michael Lumbley is a 4th generation Texan who has lived in Austin for over 20 years. His love for Austin and all of its natural beauty inspired him to leave the oil and gas sector in 2007 to pursue a career in solar. Since then he has worked with multiple solar companies in Central Texas and internationally. Starting out as a local solar advocate and installation tech, he worked his way through increasing levels of technical and industry expertise until joining Texas Solar Outfitters as the Vice President of Business Development and Commercial Sales. Today he focuses his time and efforts on strategic partnerships, policy initiatives, volunteering and working with commercial clients to achieve their solar aspirations. Having utilized Solar Austin as one of his original resources to learn and integrate into the local solar industry, he was honored and obliged to commit his efforts to the organization when asked to join. He is now a proud Board Member who looks forward to helping Austin continue its upward trajectory towards clean energy independence and the solidifying its legacy as the Solar Capitol of the Lone Star State..
Valerie Paxton realized how much she missed the sun during her 4 years of undergrad in Washington. She quickly moved to Austin to become an AmeriCorps volunteer building Energy Star housing for Casa Verde Builders. From there, she spent time at Austin Energy’s Solar Rebate Department and also at various local installation companies. Her interest in education and outreach led her to join Imagine Solar, where she organized NABCEP solar coursework. Valerie spent 6 years at local solar panel manufacturer HelioVolt as Marketing and Project Manager. She now focuses on business development for new homes and helping homeowners get solarized through NATiVE. Valerie moved to Austin to become involved in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and she joined Solar Austin to continue to advocate for solar and to make sure Austinites don’t miss out on the sun!
Josh Rudow is a Conservation Program Coordinator for the Community Tree Preservation Division within the City of Austin. He earned his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2016. His dissertation research focused on how smallholder farmers in the Peruvian highlands of the Rio Ica watershed adapt their agricultural strategies to a changing climate. This research has been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at national and international conferences. Josh has also taught courses to hundreds of undergraduates on environmental topics including climate change.
Solar Austin Foundation – 501(c)(4)
(see bio above)
Mark Begert serves as Executive Vice President and Director of Meridian Solar responsible for operations, corporate strategy, and financing. Mark joined the company to develop the business strategy and to help execute Meridian Solar’s shift from a residential and commercial solar installer to a leading Engineering, Procurement, and Construction company focusing exclusively on solar in the commercial, public and utility-scale market segments. Mark graduated from Harvard University.
David’s awakening to the potential of a clean energy future began with a seventh grade science fair project on alternative energy. This was in the early 80’s when there was less than 10MW of PV installed in the entire US. It amazes me to know that we now have over 1000x that amount of installed capacity.
David earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science degree from the University of Connecticut in 1994. After five years in the HVAC industry, he returned to the University of Texas at Austin and earned a Masters in Mechanical Engineering, with a focus in environmental science and solar design in 2000. After several years in the semiconductor industry, David teamed up with some like minded individuals to get Native off the ground in 2008. Native is a net zero energy home builder and provider of renewable energy solutions. It is a dynamic and exciting environment and David continuously looks to improve the capabilities, comfort and sustainability of our homes. Most of his free time is spent with his wife and two daughters. The days of ultimate Frisbee and mountain biking have been supplanted with coaching his daughters’ sports teams and watching them grow too quickly.
(see bio above)
Matthew has worked in the semiconductor industry for manufacturers of semiconductor process equipment & metrology tools, and enjoys technology startups. He currently works at the UT Pickle Research Campus in an NSF funded engineering research center focused on nanomanufacturing systems development. He has BS and MS degrees in Chemical Engineering from the Universities of Colorado (Boulder) and California (Davis) respectively. Between these educational pursuits he spent over 2 years in Central America with the Peace Corps constructing gravity fed potable water distribution systems. These experiences make him appreciate that fossil resources are too valuable to merely burn when they have so many other unique uses, especially when our current market design socializes their negative consequences. Water too is too precious to casually place at risk in fossil fuel recovery in the absence of indemnification for people and ecosystems reliant on at risk waters. Promoting solar energy utilization is thus a natural interest.
Our MissionSolar Austin’s mission is to accelerate the transition to clean renewable energy in Central Texas to build a healthy community and a strong local economy.
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