VIRTUAL   |   NOV. 9, 2020   |   2-4:30pm EST





Welcome & Introductions of Planning Team and Key U.P. Stakeholders

Conference Moderator: Richelle Winkler, Michigan Tech University,
Professor of Sociology and Demography

U.P. Tribal Nations as Clean Energy Leaders

Bryan Newland, Bay Mills Indian Community Chairman

Update and Message From the U.P. Energy Task Force

Liesl Clark, Chair of the U.P. Energy Task Force, and Director of Michigan Department of Energy, Great Lakes and Environment


Overview of U.P. Energy Needs and Opportunities

Douglas Jester (invited), 5 Lakes Energy and U.P. Energy Task Force member 


Is Renewable Energy Good for My Community?

Dr. Sarah Banas Mills, Graham Sustainability Institute & Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan;

Michael Larson, Michigan Energy Options/ U.P. Energy Task Force moderator

Bradley Pischea, Michigan Project Director, Land & Liberty Project


Review Upcoming  Clean Energy Presentation Series



Richelle Winkler 
Michigan Tech University Professor of Sociology and Demography, Social Sciences

Dr. Winkler is a multidisciplinary scholar operating at the intersections of sociology, demography, geography, community development, and applied social science.  Her primary professional goal is to understand and promote rural community sustainability, with an interest in just energy transitions in rural communities. Richelle was involved in the creation of the Houghton County Energy Efficiency Team (HEET), and recent academic work combines her demographic expertise with emerging solar technologies to explore the economic feasibility for residents of Michigan's Upper Peninsula to get off the grid with solar-hybrid systems. Richelle received a PhD from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010, a Master Degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2004, and a Bachelors of Arts from University of South Carolina in 1999.


Bryan Newland

President of the Bay Mills Indian Community Executive Council

Chairman Newland has been president of the tribal council since November 2017. As part of his duties, he also serves on the Board of the Chippewa Resource Authority (CORA), which is a consortium of five (5) federally recognized Indian tribes that were signatories to the 1836 Treaty of Washington. Bryan previously served as the Chief Judge of the Bay Mills Indian Community Tribal Court, and he was a policy advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Interior for Indian Affairs under President Obama. Bryan earned a law degree from Michigan State University College of Law in 2007, and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University’s James Madison College in 2003.

Liesl Eichler Clark

Director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy 

Director Clark was appointed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer effective January 1, 2019. Her previous position was co-founder and partner of 5 Lakes Energy, a policy consulting firm that serves businesses, policymakers, and other stakeholders seeking to advance the transition to a clean energy economy. Director Clark, a Howell resident, has also served as president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council and as deputy director for energy programs at the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, & Economic Growth. Liesl was founder and first president of Michigan’s first trade association dedicated solely to the emerging clean energy industry in this state – the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (EIBC). She completed a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Michigan State University while working full-time, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Economy from MSU’s James Madison College. She has completed the Great Lakes Leadership Academy and serves on the board of Advancing Women in Energy.


David Gard

Senior Consultant with 5 Lakes Energy

As a Senior Consultant, Mr. Gard focuses on energy policy analysis, utility system modeling, and business advocacy. Prior to joining 5 Lakes Energy, David spent more than a decade in the nonprofit sector to advance renewable energy and build community resilience. He holds master’s degrees in business and resource policy from the University of Michigan where he won the 3M Prize in Industrial Ecology for applied research in life cycle assessment. David also serves as part-time executive director of the Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association (MEECA), a statewide network of companies which help their customers save energy and lower utility bills. David served as an officer in the U.S. Navy, and earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University.  David also serves on the board of directors of Michigan Energy Options and on the external advisory board of University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems.


Michael Larson

Upper Peninsula Operations Manager at Michigan Energy Options

Mr. Larson oversees the daily operations of MEO’s Upper Peninsula Office in Marquette and manages projects across the state. Michael’s duties include oversight of MECA utility energy efficiency programs and leading MEO’s community engagement on energy issues in the U.P. Michael has a Masters of Public Administration and has been working with MEO since 2011. He enjoys tinkering with old technology including phonographs, brass blade fans, mechanical clocks, is a former fly-fishing guide, and currently serves as a Planning Commissioner and a member of the Board of Zoning Appeals for the City of Marquette.


Sarah Banas Mills 

Senior Project Manager, Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP), Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

Dr. Mills manages CLOSUP's Energy and Environmental Policy Initiative (EEPI), including the National Surveys on Energy and the Environment (NSEE) and the new Energy and Environmental Policy Research Group, expanding the reach of UM's research related to renewable energy policy. Sarah's own research considers how energy development impacts rural communities, and in turn how state and local policies facilitate or hinder renewable energy development. Sarah received her doctorate in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Michigan, where her dissertation looked at the impact that wind energy projects have on farming communities. She has a master's in engineering for sustainable development from the University of Cambridge, and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Villanova University. Sarah also serves on the City of Ann Arbor Planning Commission.



Bradley Pischea

Michigan Project Director for the Land & Liberty Coalition

Mr. Pischea directs projects in Michigan in support of the Land & Liberty Coalition goal of giving local citizens a voice on their energy future. The Coalition seeks to provide a forum for those within the community who already support utility-scale renewable energy projects coming into their community AND works to spread awareness, offer resources to those looking to learn more about proposed projects.Prior to this role, Bradley served as a Caucus Services Specialist for the Michigan Senate Majority Communications Office, working to create and execute incumbency strategies for members of the Michigan State Senate. Bradley graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with Distinction in 2016.