Board of Directors
Mark Bell, Chair
President, Empower Energy Technology
Mark Bell is the President of Empower Energy Technology (EET). Empower’s expertise includes design and engineering, project management, startup/commissioning and installation services for Energy Management and Renewable Energy systems – including solar. As President, Mark oversees all aspects of operations and business development. Mark has nearly 20 years of Engineering and Product Management Experience. Most recently Mark was responsible for the High Speed Internet Product portfolio for Cox Communications, which was, at the time of his departure, one of the fastest growing divisions within the company. Mark also worked for telecom leader Bellsouth and engineering firm Simons Engineering (acquired by Amec). Mark earned a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (1990) from Georgia Tech and possesses a Masters of Computer Information Systems from Georgia State University (2000).
Brion Fitzpatrick, Vice Chair
Director of Business Development, Inman Solar
Brion Fitzpatrick is the Director of Business Development for the U.S. based, Inman Solar, an installer and developer of commercial & utility grade solar projects throughout North America. Brion is responsible for new market development and project procurement. These activities include developing projects from the ground up with utility companies and businesses, and also responding to RFP from project developers and end users. He stays attentive to all solar initiatives throughout the US and has extensive experience in the procurement of hard to capture solar incentives and business development in emerging solar markets.
Brion serves as the Vice Chairman of the Georgia Solar Energy Association (GSEA), serving on the Policy Committee and leading organization strategy. This position has allowed him to assist in the creation of local solar programs with Utility Providers, the Public Service Commission by providing industry feedback. He is an advocate for Solar and Sustainability and has been involved in promoting many environmental political initiatives in many forms including speaking at sustainability events, organizations, and universities. In 2010, Brion was awarded the Solar Advocate award from the Georgia Solar Energy Association.
Inman Solar, a NABCEP Certified photovoltaic EPC, providing a full service turn-key process to develop, install, operate, and maintain solar electric installations up to 20MW. Based in Atlanta, GA, they have completed over 60 Commercial and utility scale projects in 8 US states.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Brion moved to Chicago in 1992 where he attended Columbia College Chicago for Marketing Communications (B.A. 2001). In 2002, he moved to Atlanta. He enjoys Traveling, Playing Music, Soccer and Sailing when he can. Contact him at Brion@inmansolar.com For follow him on Twitter! @Solarsailor_
Julie Hairston, Secretary
President, GigaWord Communications
Julie Hairston heads GigaWord Communications, an Atlanta communications and public relations firm. She specializes in sustainable products, and initiatives. She holds an ABJ degree from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia. Before joining the ABOA staff in October 2008, she was a staff writer with the Atlanta Journal Constitution. She has been serving as the GSEA Communications Director since January 2011.
Alan Beale, Board Member
General Manager, SolarMax USA
A high-tech and PV solar industry veteran, Alan Beale, heads SolarMax’s
U.S. office and leading sales, marketing and growth in the U.S. market.
Beale came to SolarMax from REFUsol, where he was vice president of
sales and marketing. Prior to that, Alan has led a long career in
technology including executive leadership roles at Canesta, Immersion
Corporation, SGI and General Electric. He received his mechanical
engineering degree from Clarkson University and has lived in locations
around the world including England, Germany, Brazil, Asia, Detroit and
Allen Bradley, Public Policy Co-Chair
Attorney, Stites & Harbison
Allen Bradley is an attorney and member of Stites Harbison, and is based in the Atlanta office. He is a member of the Business & Finance Service Group, Sustainability & Emerging Technologies Practice Group and the Health Care Service Group. In addition to matters related to renewable energy, his practice focuses on corporate and technology law (emerging company representation); corporate finance and securities; corporate tax; mergers and acquisitions; executive and other non-qualified compensation; and corporate and individual real estate (1031 exchanges). He also represents clients in the healthcare and hospitality industries. Mr. Bradley is listed in Georgia Trend's Legal Elite for the practice areas of Taxes, Estates & Trusts and Corporate Law. Outside the firm, Mr. Bradley is a board member of Freedom Park Conservancy, a volunteer organization whose mission is to promote and maintain Freedom Park in Atlanta.
Bruce Douglas, Public Policy Co-Chair
Attorney, Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Bruce A. Douglas is an of counsel attorney in Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Atlanta office and is a member of the firm’s Corporate Department.
Mr. Douglas has more than 20 years of experience with financing and real estate transactions across a broad spectrum of commercial properties. He also has practical, substantive experience with negotiating/resolving contract disputes, environmental compliance issues, and project finance and construction matters that promote timely and sustainable deployment of renewable energy resources.
Prior to joining Barnes & Thornburg, Mr. Douglas served as general counsel for Enfinity America Corporation, a renewable energy company. There, he set up and managed the legal department and provided full legal support to all business units in managing their legal risks with regard to contract administration, capital project planning, and financial investments. He also drafted and negotiated power purchase agreements, renewable energy construction contracts, leases and procurement contracts. Prior to Enfinity, Mr. Douglas served as senior counsel in the Capital Markets Group of Kilpatrick Stockton LLP and, prior to that, he was a partner in Bingham McCutchen LLP’s Commercial Real Estate and Finance Group. Earlier in his career, Mr. Douglas served as Assistant General Counsel and Associate Counsel in the insurance and financial services industry for CIGNA Corporation and Mass Mutual, respectively.
Mr. Douglas earned his J.D. from Cornell Law School, where he served as student body president. He earned his A.B. with distinction in psychology from Dartmouth College.
Mr. Douglas is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and the American Bar Association (ABA). He is a member of the ABA’s Real Property Probate and Trust section and the Environmental Law and Energy section. Mr. Douglas is also an active member of the board of directors for the Georgia Solar Energy Association, where he serves on the Public Policy Committee. He is admitted to practice in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Georgia.
Stephen Elkind, Treasurer
Managing Partner, Beltline Energy
Mr. Elkind is a Managing Partner at Beltline Energy, a regional leader in renewable energy development. Beltline Energy is focused on marrying technical design, strong local relationships, and superior economic value to deliver stable renewable energy assets that achieve both fiscal rewards and positive community impact.
Prior to joining Beltline Energy, Mr. Elkind was the Senior Director of Development for OCI Solar Power, an industry-leading solar power developer that owns and operates renewable energy facilities ranging from 2MW to 100MW across North America. Mr. Elkind joined OCI in 2012 to head up their 700MW portfolio of projects in MA, NJ, TX, CA and AZ. He led project advancement of the first two 40MW facilities and first 105MW facility of OCI’s Texas-based 400MW initiative, bringing 805 jobs and over $700 million in economic development to the San Antonio area. He is an active member in the Georgia Solar Energy Association and serves on the GSEA policy committee.
Prior to OCI, Mr. Elkind managed the portfolio of solar projects in Massachusetts for Elm Solar, leading teams to identify rooftop and greenfield sites as well as assess acquisition projects for the 400MW Solar Carve-Out Program. He actively participated with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities for state legislation as an industry contributor for the net metering initiatives and was part of the initial SREC facility rollout in Massachusetts.
Mr. Elkind’s role in solar finance comes from his participation in the investment banking team at Bear Stearns where he was involved in over $500M of M&A transactions and $780M of IPO
Mark Gould, Policy and Procedures Chair
Partner, Arnall Golden Gregory LLP
An At-Large Member of the Board of Directors, Mark Gould is a partner at the law firm of Arnall Golden Gregory LLP and is Co- Chair of the firm's Renewable and Alternative Energy Team. He is also a member of the firm's International and Commercial Real Estate Practice Groups. His practice includes the representation of clients developing renewable and alternative energy facilities, multi-family housing complexes, mixed-use and urban redevelopment projects, and other transactions involving public/ private partnerships or financed with tax credits, tax exempt bonds, government grants and incentives and other types of conventional or subsidized financing. He also represents wind turbine manufacturers and the suppliers of other equipment and components used in the production of solar and wind energy.
Mark is Co-Chair of the International Energy and Natural Resources Committee of the American Bar Association's International Section and is also the Editor of the Committee's newsletter, the ENR Global Report. He is also active in the American Wind Energy Association and the State Bar of Georgia. Mark received an A.B. in Economics from Brown University and a J.D. from Emory University School of Law.
Jamie Porges, Technical Committee Chair
Sharon Lee, Programs Chair
Marketing Director, CantSink Manufacturing
Sharon Lee is the Marketing Director for Cantsink Manufacturing, a firm located in the Atlanta, Georgia vicinity. Lee has held this position since February 2010, where she coordinates the marketing efforts for the company as well as being involved with business development. Cantsink has been in business since 1988 as an installer and then manufacturer of helical piles, used for foundation support. In the past few years, the company has become focused on the solar energy market, providing foundations for ground-mounted solar arrays. Prior to her tenure with Cantsink, Lee has held a variety of sales and sales management positions in the fields of media, printing and marketing. Lee was born and raised in middle Tennessee. She attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a BS in Mass Communications and minors in Marketing and Psychology. In 2003, she moved to the Atlanta area, where she now lives with her husband and 2 boys.
Samantha Sayer, Marketing Director
Director, Imagine Atlanta
Samantha currently serves as Legal Operations Manager at NFP Executive Benefits, a financial services company, and heads up the non-profit Imagine Atlanta. She previously worked for General Electric for 5 years, namely GE Energy’s legal operations in Schenectady, New York supporting their Commercial Law, Intellectual Property, Wind Energy, and Environment, Health & Safety groups. Prior to entering into the legal field, Samantha spent over 10 years involved in marketing, promotions, and event planning, with clients spanning the music, retail, and credit industries. She has been active in the environmental community since moving to Atlanta in 2007, focusing on issues related to energy, conservation, sustainability, and transportation. Sam also serves on the Board of the Georgia Conservancy’s Generation Green.
Thomas Dodson, Board Member
AMEC E&C Services
Kenny Hughes, Membership and Outreach Co-Chair
Director of Sales, Suniva
Kenny Hughes is the Director of Sales for Suniva, based in Norcross, GA. Suniva manufactures high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon solar cells and high-power solar modules using patented low-cost techniques. Suniva is advancing solar technology by using proprietary processing techniques that optimize each step of production to achieve significantly higher performance than today’s standard solar technology while maintaining some of the industry’s lowest costs. Suniva exports its cells and modules worldwide and is differentiated by having the right balance of high efficiency and low cost making solar more sensible in the global market.
Before joining Suniva, Mr. Hughes was Director of Business Development for SKANSKA. He specialized in the Heavy Civil market building teams to construct power plants, bridges, airports and environmentally advanced water treatment facilities.
Mr. Hughes holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from Auburn University and lives in the North Metro area. He chairs the Membership Committee for GSEA.