Danny Kennedy 

Managing Director of New Energy Nexus and President of CalCharge

Prior to New Energy Nexus and CalCharge, Danny worked as a cofounder of Sungevity, Inc., the largest privately held solar company in the US that he moved to California to start in 2007. Sungevity, which he still advises, has grown to employ more than 1,000 people and serve tens of thousands of happy customers in four countries.

Kennedy is an internationally recognized opinion leader on climate and energy issues. He is the author of Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy – and the Planet – From Dirty Energy (2012), a book that has been described as the clean energy manifesto for the next greatest generation. PBS awarded him the “Innovator of the Year” for moving the planet forward in 2011; in 2013 Rolling Stone described him and Sungevity CEO Andrew Birch as “solar mavericks.”

Danny also co-founded Powerhouse, the only incubator and accelerator solely focused on supporting solar entrepreneurs to succeed. Additionally, Danny serves on the board of VoteSolar, ecoAmerica, The Solar Foundation, in Washington DC, and several solar start-ups including Powerhive, a solar utility in Kenya, and Sunergise, a Fijian company taking solar as a service across the South Pacific.

In 2010, Danny spearheaded Sungevity’s “Solar on the White House” campaign that resulted in a decision by the Obama administration to place solar panels on the First Family residence. The Administration honored this commitment in 2013.


Ken Alston

Chief of Staff & Investment Manager, New Energy Nexus

Ken Alston is Chief of Staff & Investment Manager at New Energy Nexus.  He leads the organization’s development of financing strategies required to develop clean energy technology solutions at scale.  Prior to joining CalCEF, Alston worked from 2012-2016 in the Obama Administration at the White House and U.S. Department of Energy.  At the White House, Alston worked at the National Economic Council on economic and energy policy.  At the U.S. Department of Energy, he worked as Special Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy.  Alston is co-founder of the Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Investment Center, chaired the Department’s Energy Finance Working Group, led the Department’s efforts to secure $4 billion in commitments for the White House Clean Energy Investment Initiative, and was an advisor on Power Africa. 

Alston’s past experience also includes investment firms Penta Group and Investor’s Circle, technology startup Simbol Materials, and strategy consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton.  He holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and an MS in Environment and Resources from the Stanford School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences, where he was a Chevron Fellow.

Leadership Council

Julie Blunden

Founder of Julie Blunden Consulting

Julie Blunden serves as Board Chair CalCEF Catalyst and Board Member of CalCEF Ventures as well as founder of Julie Blunden Consulting. She works with boards, investors and allies to accelerate a clean energy future using her deep experience in strategy, market design and development, financial markets and communications.

Ms. Blunden has served in executive roles at SunPower, SunEdison, Green Mountain Energy, and KEMA Xenergy as well as Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of ClimateWorks Foundation. She draws on her three decades of experience growing companies and markets in the power industry to support her clients and friends.

Joshua Bar-Lev

Former Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations, BrightSource Energy

Joshua Bar-Lev provides regulatory and policy advice to renewable energy companies. He was vice president of regulatory affairs and government relations for BrightSource Energy from its startup until he retired in May 2011.  Joshua has been a key policy “thought leader” in the renewable energy industry. Joshua was also a founder and Board member of the Large Scale Solar Association (LSA), a trade association of utility scale solar developers.

Before joining BrightSource Energy, Joshua served as Chief Counsel at the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.  Joshua is a Founder and former Chair of the Coalition for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technology. He has been a member of the Federal Energy Bar Association (FEBA), the State Bar of California, and the American Bar Association (ABA), and served as Articles Editor for Natural Resources and Environment magazine of the Environment, Energy and Resources section of the ABA. Joshua graduated Phi Beta Kappa, with Honors in Economics, from the University of Michigan, and holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Mark Hartney

Director of Strategic Planning and Program Development
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Dr. Mark Hartney is the Director of Strategic Planning and Program Development at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, a newly created position he began in April 2012.  In this role, Mark is responsible for expanding the engagement of SLAC with industry partners, funding sources and the Stanford campus with an emphasis on renewable energy, but also covering diverse areas such as detectors, medical imaging and therapy as well as structural biology.

Prior to his role at SLAC, Mark served at the Department of Energy as one of the founding directors of ARPA-E, from July, 2009 to March 2012.  As a program director, he was responsible for selecting and managing technical projects, and defining new research program opportunities.  Mark led ARPA-E’s efforts in carbon capture technology, (the IMPACCT program), as well as a number of other projects in wind technology, energy efficiency, biofuels, power electronics and lighting.

Before coming to ARPA-E, Mark served as the Chief Technical Officer for FlexTech, an industry-government partnership focused on research and development for flexible electronics including displays, photovoltaics and OLED lighting.   While at FlexTech, he also founded and served as the managing director for the 3D@Home Consortium.  Mark previously worked at Silicon Image, a semiconductor manufacturer in a variety of technical management, marketing and business development roles, and in similar roles at dpiX, a display and sensor manufacturing company spun out from Xerox PARC.

From 1992 to 1996, Mark worked in a variety of positions in Washington DC executing federal policy and managed projects on both semiconductor manufacturing and displays, at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).   Mark also previously held research and development staff positions at MIT Lincoln Labs and AT&T Bell Labs.

Mark is a graduate of MIT (B.S. and M.S.) and earned his doctoral degree at University of California at Berkeley, all in chemical engineering.  He has over 60 technical publications, 100 conference presentations and 4 issued patents.


Bernie Kotlier 

Executive Director
Sustainable Energy Solutions
Labor Management Cooperation Committee, California

Bernie Kotlier directs the development, promotion, and delivery of sustainable energy training for electricians, and business development programs for electrical contractors in California including energy auditing, energy efficiency, photovoltaics, electric vehicles, energy storage and micro-grids. Bernie has been a member of the California Public Utilities Commission Advisory Committee on Energy Efficiency Workforce Development, the PUC Working Group on Lighting, and the State of California Schools of the Future Initiative Advisory Committee. He now serves as co-chair of the California Advanced Lighting Controls Training Program, national co-chair theElectric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program / EVITP, and is a member of the Zero Net Energy Advisory Committee to the California Public Utilities Commission. Prior to the LMCC, Bernie directed business development for Solectria Renewables in the Western U.S., was President of Brunswick Bicycles International, President of Bell Sports Specialty Retail Division, and President of Service Cycle/Mongoose. He has also been a published contributor to the Harvard Business Review.

Douglas Rotman 

Director, Energy and Climate Security
Office of the Deputy Director for Science and Technology, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Dr. Douglas Rotman is the Director of Energy and Climate Security at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Dr. Rotman is responsible for growing LLNL’s Energy and Climate Security Program by aligning the Laboratory’s capabilities with the needs of its federal, state, and industry customers in the areas of energy security, infrastructure resilience, and climate security.

Dr. Rotman began his LLNL career in 1985, performing research in atmospheric chemistry, climate, and energy. He has served as group leader for Atmospheric Chemistry, deputy division leader for the Atmospheric Science Division, program leader for Energy and Environmental Programs, and most recently, program director for Energy and Environmental Security (2007–2015).

Dr. Rotman has served on advisory panels for the Department of Energy (DOE), National Science Foundation, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He chaired the DOE National Energy Research Scientific Computing User Group Committee, which produced input for a DOE Office of Science five-year computing plan. He is currently serving on the University of California Office of the President Applied Energy Working Group to the UC President’s 2025 Carbon Neutrality Initiative.

Gao Liu 

Group Leader, Applied Energy Group
Energy Storage and Distributed Resource Division at Lawrence Berkeley Naitonal Laboratory 
Dr. Gao Liu is the Group Leader of the Applied Energy Materials Group in the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, specialized in materials and energy storage R&D. Dr. Liu has led research projects for the U.S. Department of Energy and industry. He has over 100 peer-reviewed publications and over 20 patents and patent applications. He has received numerous awards from his work on electrochemical energy storage materials and systems. The most recent awards include R&D100 Award in 2013 for the conductive polymer for lithium-ion battery application, and FMC Scientific Achievement Award in 2014 for the understanding fundamentals of prelithiation, and R&D 100 Award in 2015 for the high capacity lithium-ion anode design.


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