OUR PAST TEAM
In 2005, Maurice “Mo” Rousso co-founded the non-profit organization SunEnergy Power International. He served as a Director of SunEnergy Power International. Mo was previously a highly productive Sales Engineer for Ingersoll-Rand Corporation, and western region Vice President of a national utility consulting firm. He has a strong track record of successful business development, profit and loss management, and revenue growth. Mo has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Arizona, an MBA in Finance from the University of Phoenix.
In 2001 Mo founded HelioPower, a thriving solar PV systems integrations firm, gaining extensive experience selling, designing, permitting, installing and servicing residential and commercial PV installations throughout California. In addition to their in-house PV business, HelioPower oversees the sales, design, and installation of PV systems for 11 (and growing) Home Depot stores in southern and northern California. HelioPower has offices in San Diego and Sacramento. They are well respected within the PV installation field, and are occasionally contracted to correct installation problems of PV systems installed by other firms in the region.
In 2005 Doug Parsons co-founded the non-profit organization SunEnergy Power International. He was a Director of SunEnergy Power International. Doug has significant high-technology startup and management experience. Prior to becoming involved in solar PV in late 1999, he was President and Managing Director of a $9M high-technology medical product sterilization green-field startup in Thailand which reached commercial production in record time and on budget. A proven engineer and serial entrepreneur, and graduate of the U.S. Navy's nuclear propulsion program, Doug earned Masters degrees (with honors) in both Nuclear Engineering and Industrial Education from The Pennsylvania State University where he was on a fellowship from the power industry and passed the national Engineer-in-Training certification examination. He notes that he's still in the nuclear business, but the first ninety-three million miles are wireless! He has started and operated several high-technology firms, both in the U.S. and Asia. Doug has visited many Asian countries including Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mongolia, etc. and has lived and worked in the People’s Republic of China and Thailand. He has a proven ability to take an eclectic approach in identifying a market need, planning the project, assembling a dynamic team of talented individuals, and integrating diverse backgrounds and resources into the implementation of startup organizations to address and fulfill the identified need.
Walt's wife, Jeanne Ratterman, served as Director on the Board. She provided invaluable insight regarding Walt's mission, work ethic, and visions for the future.
Christopher Freitas worked with SunEPI since October of 2008 and participated in all of the projects in Haiti working as a Project Engineer. Christopher was a co-founder/co-owner of OutBack Power Systems, a leading U.S. manufacturer of solar power electronic components used on many of the systems installed by SunEnergy Power International.
Prior to starting OutBack Power, he was the Director of Engineering at Trace Engineering, where he worked from 1994 to 2001.
Christopher installed his first PV system in 1986 and has worked continuously since then in the solar industry developing products, providing training and overseeing projects in the US and internationally.
Carol Weis worked part-time for Sun Energy Power International (SunEPI) and trains for Solar Energy International (SEI). She is a Certified Master PV Trainer by the Institute of Sustainable Power & Quality, she has her PV Installer Certification with the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, and she has worked as a licensed electrician and solar installer in Colorado. For over a decade, Carol has been a lead member of SEI's PV technical team creating a world class PV curriculum for a mainly U.S. market. That curriculum, which was originally created to train technicians, is now being used to train community college professors in a "train-the-trainer" program and the materials are licensed to colleges to start renewable energy programs throughout the country. Carol's technical curriculum experience encompasses off-grid, grid-direct, and grid-tied with battery back-up systems, and has co-authored SEI's Photovoltaic Design and Installation textbook with full lesson plans.
Carol is comfortable teaching in front of diverse audiences from high level technicians, end users, decision makers, home owners, school kids, women-only classes, different cultures, and non-technical people.
Carol began working with SunEPI to bring that same rigor of producing a high quality train-the-trainer program to the developing world. Carol has done international work in Mexico, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Haiti.
Salinee Tavaranan is Project Director for Border Green Energy Team with five years experience in this role providing appropriate technology solutions to underserved populations along the Thai/Burma border. Salinee’s background is in Mechanical Engineering and obtained a Master’s in Energy Engineering (University of Massachusetts, Lowell) while focusing on energy applications in developing countries with a thesis on Solar Lantern Technologies for Remote Areas. Salinee was born and raised in Thailand and gained international experience through her education in the U.S.A. and development work in South America which has helped her to easily interact and work alongside local and international partners.
To address climate change caused by fossil fuel based electrification in developing countries, Dipti Vaghela is focusing her academic and career efforts to establish decentralized renewable energy programs for rural communities in India, using a participatory approach that facilitates beneficiaries to become aware of and take ownership of their region’s development.
Dipti’s interests in using sustainable technology to alleviate poverty and drudgery in developing communities was triggered by her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley, her perspectives as a product design engineer in Silicon Valley, and her family’s roots in rural India. In pursuing a MS degree in Environmental Studies at San Jose State University, Dipti is doing applied research on micro hydro electrification in Orissa, India. In parallel with managing the renewable energy program at Gram Vikas (GV), a large grassroots NGO working in rural Orissa, Dipti is case studying community participation in GV’s micro hydro program. Her dual role as a researcher and practitioner helps her to understand socio-technical and institutional aspects of renewable energy applications, in order to trial a strategy that transforms isolated micro hydro projects into regional programs. The strategy involves facilitating NGOs to become community-driven, to implement projects in clusters of communities, and to influence rural electrification trends such that renewable energy is given priority over grid electricity produced from fossil fuels.
Dipti is a 2008 Switzer Foundation Fellow.
Chris Greacen has been involved in Renewable Energy since before he was born. In his younger years, Chris was an editor at Home Power magazine, the world’s leading small scale renewable energy hands-on periodical. At Home Power he was involved in the testing of the wide assortment of new products that were coming out, to determine which ones worked. His strong interests in energy subjects of all types led him to a PhD from the Energy and Resources Group (ERG) at UC Berkeley.
Currently, and for the past 8 years, Chris has been working on the technology and policy aspects of renewable energy systems (from small scale up to the very large system scale), especially in Thailand and SE Asia. He is founder of Palang Thai, and a co-founder of Border Green Energy Team (both Partner NGO's of SEPI) in Mae Sot, Thailand, and has been working with villagers there to build and maintain micro-hydroelectric and solar electric systems.
Brad Burkhartzmeyer came to SunEPI as an experienced solar system designer and installer. In 1993 he founded Sun’s Eye Power Company, a solar energy and electrical contracting company. Brad is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners as a photovoltaic system installer and has completed training courses at Solar Energy International. Brad spearheaded efforts to bring solar lighting to a women’s college in India together with Rotary International.
He has worked for the Solar Electric Light Fund as project manager helping to install solar power on health clinics in Rwanda and solar systems for the Make It Right foundation in the lower 9th ward of New Orleans. Brad has helped install renewable energy systems in the developing nations of Guatemala, Nicaragua, Rwanda, and India. Brad trains installers and teaches classes for community groups wishing to know more about solar possibilities for their own homes.
Back in the Netherlands he started working as a logistics manager on relief projects for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), mainly in Africa. Later on he continued doing the same work for the British charity Oxfam.
In 1999 Jos decided to do a post-graduate course in Sustainable Energy Systems at Oxford Brookes University. He left for India straight after graduation and started installing solar PV and solar thermal systems in remote off-grid locations in India, including Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh.
In 2007 he relocated to Singapore and joined SunTechnics´ new South-East Asia team for a year. After finding that job too much office-bound, he decided to start working as an independent solar energy engineer, with a particular interest in remote, small-scale PV projects. The most recent solar project he worked on was on the outer islands of the Federated States of Micronesia in the north Pacific.
Jos is passionate about the benefits solar energy can bring to remote off-grid communities and is in particular interested in the training of end-users and the long-term sustainability and maintainability of solar systems. Issues that are often forgotten or at least under-estimated.
Chris Playford is a Solar Thermal Engineer, and installed his first solar water heating system in 1978. He has many years’ experience in the design, integration and installation of large and small scale, solar hot water systems. For the last 7 years he has worked mainly in the West Africa region on various solar thermal projects. A major emphasis has been on the introduction of solar hot water training courses, in association with local technical training institutes, and incorporating these courses into the existing relevant syllabus. The courses cover the design, installation, & maintenance of solar water heating systems, including the construction of a flat plate collector from locally available materials. These collectors are now manufactured on a small scale in The Gambia and have been installed in health clinics and Eco tourism camps.
Chris is currently based in Sierra Leone working as Renewable Energy Advisor for Environmental Foundation for Africa (EFA). Part of this role is to carry out surveys and advise on all aspects of water supply and solar thermal opportunities, primarily in the health sector. The introduction of solar thermal and photovoltaic courses at the Government Training Institute SL had led to recent funding for the creation of a Renewable Energy Department.
Chris served a full apprenticeship as a plumber / heating engineer. He ran his own heating business for 20 years before specialising in solar thermal technology. When in the UK, he designs & manages the installation of large and small scale linked heating systems, incorporating solar energy.
Sadly, we report the passing of our friend and SunEPI Project Engineer Harvey Toub. Harvey died in August at his home in Georgia from cancer.
Harvey graduated from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. with a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1961. He worked for various companies and spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia teaching in a Malay language school and as a community development worker in Sarawak on the island of Borneo. He retired in 1997 and has been putting his experience to work in various volunteer positions, including projects for SunEPI.
We fondly remember travelling with Harvey for projects on two occasions:
In 2005, Harvey and Briana accompanied Walt on a training and implementation project on the Thai/Burma border. Focus was on mobile solar medical clinics for the Karen IDP camps. Also, in 2006, Harvey and his wife Bobbe, Briana, and Walt traveled deep into the Ecuadorian Amazon to solar electrify a Shuar village. The Shuar communities are located a significant distance (1-2 days by foot) from roads and other infrastructure networks in Ecuador. The villages, therefore, have limited access to markets, capital and other public services-including health care and education.
Harvey's last project with us, providing solar electrification for medical technicians living in El Peten, Guatemala near the Mexican border, began in April 2010. These technicians work out of their homes and treat people all hours of the day without pay and without electrical lighting. Now they have a solar lighting system with the ability to charge phones and perform detailed medical procedures at night. In addition, several villages in the area received solar water pumping installations to ensure the accessibility to clean, potable water.
Briana Ratterman was involved with SunEPI since its inception, and is grateful for having had the opportunity to travel with her father, Walt, to Ecuador, Nicaragua, and the Thai/Burma border. She oversaw the Business, Development, and Administrative duties as SunEPI's Administrative Director.