People 2017-05-22T21:35:08+00:00



– Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Jr.

Bill-Ritter-new-photo-213x300Bill Ritter, Jr. is the founder and director of the Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE) at Colorado State University which launched on February 1, 2011. The Center employs an assistant director, five senior policy advisors, an executive assistant and a team of student researchers.

The Center works directly with governors, legislators, regulators, planners, policymakers, and other decision makers. It provides technical assistance to help officials create the policies and practices that will facilitate America’s transition to a clean-energy economy.

Ritter was elected as Colorado’s 41st governor in 2006, and built consensus to tackle some of the state’s biggest challenges. During his four-year term, Ritter established Colorado as a national and international leader in clean energy, by building a new energy economy. He signed 57 new energy bills into law, including a 30% Renewable Portfolio Standard and a Clean Air Clean Jobs Act that replaced nearly a gigawatt of coal-fired generation with natural gas. In total, the Colorado new energy economy created thousands of new jobs.

Ritter is a member of the board of the directors of the Energy Foundation and a senior fellow and member of the board of directors of the Advanced Energy Economy Institute. Ritter earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Colorado State University (1978) and his law degree from the University of Colorado (1981). With his wife Jeannie, he operated a food distribution and nutrition center in Zambia. He then served as Denver’s district attorney from 1993 to January 2005.

The Ritters have four children: August, Abe, Sam, and Tally.

Assistant Director

– Maury Dobbie (

MauryDobbieprofessionalpicture_bestsmallMaury Dobbie began her entrepreneurial career at age 19. She has founded and operated six diverse companies, holding CEO or principal positions.

Before joining the Center, Dobbie was president/CEO of a regional not-for-profit economic development corporation in Northern Colorado. Her broad experience across a range of businesses brings the Center expertise in resolving complex issues.

In 1994, Dobbie founded a video production company and expanded it rapidly into an award-winning multimedia enterprise, with a web-development department and live event services.

Dobbie served as a board member on the Northern Colorado Clean Energy Cluster and has been a part of Colorado’s new energy economy movement for years.  She worked with industry partners to create Colorado State University’s Systems Engineering Program and the Clean Tech Certification Program at Front Range Community College.

Over the years Dobbie has volunteered on many boards of directors. Appointed in 2009 by former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, she has served as chair of the board for the Colorado Community College System, which oversees 13 community colleges in 38 locations around the state.  Her commitment to the citizens of Colorado continue as she is still serving the state board when reappointed by current Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

Dobbie was appointed by former Colorado Governor Bill Owens to serve on two state boards: the Colorado Women’s Economic Development Council and the Colorado Film Commission. She has received numerous business awards, including the Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Northern Colorado Business Report; the Woman Leader of Excellence award from the Colorado Women’s Leadership Coalition; Top 10 Women Making a Difference; Creative Vision for Women; the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Women in Business Champion of the Year; and Office Depot’s national Businesswoman of the Year award. She holds a BS in business administration and management from the University of Wyoming. Maury continues to finish her MBA through Colorado State University. Maury has two successful grown children and happy, smart, creative and cute grandkids.

Senior Policy Advisor

– Tom Plant (

Tom-Plant-picture-smallTom Plant served as director of the Governor’s Energy Office in the Ritter administration, with principal responsibility for developing and implementing the Governor’s policies for a new energy economy. He was Colorado House District 13 representative from 1998 through 2006, including two years as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and one year as Chairman of the Joint Budget Committee. Among the key pieces of legislation he sponsored were the Colorado Renewable Energy Act, and energy efficiency tax-incentive legislation.

Plant was named Legislator of the Year by such organizations as the University of Colorado and the Sierra Club of Colorado. He received Green Sense Award for Environmental Leadership from Colorado Conservation Voters, and the Champion of the Family Farmer Award from the Rocky Mountain Farmers’ Union. While serving in the legislature, Plant was executive director of the nonprofit Center for ReSource Conservation in Boulder, Colorado.

After graduating from Colorado State University, Plant worked as an exploration geologist. Then he joined the Union of Concerned Scientists in its Climate Change Department. At UCS, he explored the causes of global climate change and examined transportation and energy solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Senior Policy Advisor

– Jeff Lyng (

JeffLyngphotosmallLyng joined the Center from Opower, where he directed the company’s market development and regulatory affairs in the Western states. Prior to joining Opower, he served as renewable energy policy manager in the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office in the Ritter administration, advising on energy policy and managing several state energy programs. Before that, he was an engineer for Xcel Energy, consulting on demand-side management and solar programs.

Lyng earned his master’s degree in building systems engineering from the University of Colorado, where his thesis focused on implementing solar energy in the production home market. He managed the winning 2005 University of Colorado Solar Decathlon Team.

Lyng has served on the boards of Xcel Energy’s Innovative Clean Technologies Program, the Colorado Energy Services Coalition, the Colorado Renewable Energy Society, and is a past board chair of the American Solar Energy Society.

Project Manager, Powering Forward Plan project

— Bill Becker (

Preferred-Pic-Bill-Becker-207x300Bill Becker is a nationally recognized expert in climate, energy and sustainable development policies at the local, national and international levels.  He has a proven record of developing innovative programs and policies in the energy, environment and sustainable development fields.  He has extensive experience in managing programs, budgets and personnel, including the past 6 years as executive director of a national policy project on global climate change and clean energy, and 15 years as a senior official in the U.S. Department of Energy.

Professional experience includes Senior Climate Policy Advisor, Natural Capitalism Solutions Inc. & Third Generation Environmentalism.  Mr. Becker is a senior policy advisor to two environmental and energy think tanks: Natural Capitalism Solutions, the non-profit “think and do tank” founded by the noted environmental advocate Hunter Lovins; and Third Generation Environmentalism, an international organization based in London.  In addition, he is member of the international Climate Change Task Force created and chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev ( and he serves on the boards of several sustainable development organizations. He is a guest blogger on the Center for American Progress and Huffington Post (

Mr. Becker is Executive Director, Presidential Climate Action Project, and directed a $4 million private-sector project to create climate and energy policy proposals for the President of the United States (  The project has produced four reports with nearly 200 recommendations for changes in federal policies and programs across 18 topic areas. It is widely regarded as the most comprehensive federal climate and energy policy agenda to date.

As Senior Advisor, Global Energy Center For Community Sustainability Gas Technology Institute, Mr. Becker helped create an international network of affiliated organizations to promote sustainable community worldwide, with an emphasis on integrating urban and energy-system design. He has co-led a team of national experts sponsored by DOE to help Chinese officials green the Olympic Village for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and participated in expert teams that assisted the Thai government in greening housing for victims of the tsunami and worked with residents of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans to help them plan “sustainable recovery” from Hurricane Katrina.

Mr. Becker was the Central Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Energy in Golden, CO., one of six regional offices that managed the technology deployment programs of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Regional Energy.  He was Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington DC

As one of the top five officials at the U.S. Small Business Administration, Mr. Becker led the agency’s programs for minority, women and veteran business owners, the Small Business Development Center program, the Senior Core of Retired Executives program and the Office of International Trade.

Senior Policy Advisor, Lead on Western States Clean Power Plan Initiative

— Patrick Cummins (


Patrick Cummins is a Senior Policy Advisor at the Center for the New Energy Economy where he leads the Western States Clean Power Plan Initiative.  Patrick has worked with Western states, tribes, industry, environmental groups, and other stakeholders on air quality and climate programs for 30 years, including as the Executive Director of the Western Climate Initiative and at the Western Governors’ Association (WGA).  While at WGA, Cummins managed the Western Regional Air Partnership (WRAP), working with Western states, tribes, and federal land managers to protect and improve visibility at national parks and wilderness areas in response to EPA’s regional haze rule. During this time, Cummins served as Co-Chair of EPA’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee on Air Quality Management in the United States.

As Executive Director of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), Cummins helped 7 Western states and 4 Canadian provinces design the world’s first economy-wide cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions.  That program is now being implemented in California and Quebec, with other states and provinces making plans to join. Cummins organized some of the first Western state meetings on managing greenhouse gas emissions, including a collaboration with states from across the country to establish The Climate Registry in 2007.  In the 1990s, Patrick served as Deputy Director of Denver’s Regional Air Quality Council where he received an EPA Environmental Achievement Award for his work to bring the Denver area into compliance with federal health-based air quality standards.  He has also worked for the USEPA in Washington, DC and Denver and in the natural gas industry. Patrick holds a chemistry degree from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO and an MPA in environmental policy from Indiana University.

Senior Policy Advisor

— Jim Tarpey (

Tarpey_James_PRJim Tarpey is a regulatory attorney at Ireland Stapleton Pryor & Pascoe.  Prior to joining the firm, he served as a commissioner at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission from early January 2008 to early January 2014. He was initially appointed by Governor Ritter and subsequently reappointed by Governor Hickenlooper. As one of three commissioners, he was vested under Article XXV of the Colorado Constitution with the authority to regulate public utilities.

Among the matters accomplished during his tenure, the PUC implemented the Clean Air–Clean Jobs legislation and ultimately approved the retirement, dismantlement or retrofit of approximately 900 MW on Public Service Company’s electric system. In addition, the PUC oversaw implementation of the Renewable Portfolio Standard legislation; established energy efficiency goals and corresponding incentives for various electric and gas utilities; and resolved a variety of requests by utilities to increase retail rates. Mr. Tarpey also was active in various local, regional and national efforts to improve the transmission system in the west.

In recognition of his extensive involvement in a wide range of regulatory matters and the recognition nationally by both the public and private sectors of his expertise in utility regulatory law, Governor Hickenlooper proclaimed January 9, 2014 as “James K. Tarpey Day.”

Prior to his time as a PUC Commissioner, Mr. Tarpey had extensive legal experience with utility matters. He participated in numerous regulatory proceedings involving alternative forms of regulation (e.g. incentive ratemaking, performance-based pricing, indexing and discounted rate structures); rate related issues (e.g., revenue requirements, cost allocation, rate design, adjustment clauses, prudence reviews); territorial and certificate disputes; and issues related to local telecommunication markets and the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

Mr. Tarpey often appeared before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, the Wyoming Public Service Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission litigating complex utility issues and negotiating settlements of multi-million dollar disputes.

Senior Policy Advisor

— Dennis Arfmann (

Dennis-Arfmann-picDennis Arfmann is a Senior Policy Advisor at the Center for the New Energy Economy.  Dennis brings his unique skill set to the Center.  As a partner in the Colorado office of Hogan Lovells L.L.C. (a large international law firm based in London and Washington, D.C with 46 global offices) he was the Co-Chair of the firm’s Climate Change & Clean Energy Group before he retired from the firm.  Dennis worked with a number of utilities and clean energy companies located West of the Mississippi River. He focused his efforts on air quality, climate change and clean energy matters. He placed particular emphasis on resolving complex policy, regulatory, and legislative policy issues, with a focus on climate change issues.

Mr. Arfmann is a published author and a frequent lecturer on climate change, clean energy & environmental topics. He was appointed to the Western Regional Air Partnership Market Trading Forum, the American Solar Energy Society Board of Trustees, and the Colorado Climate Change Advisory Council.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Earth Day Network in Washington, D.C. and the Board of Directors for the Bridge House in Boulder, CO.

He received an LL.M., with highest honors, in Environmental Law from The George Washington University, and a J.D. from the University of Nebraska.

Executive Assistant to the Director

— Wendy Hartzell (

Wendy started her career as a legal secretary working in the Office of the City Attorney for the City of Fort Collins, Colorado in 1988. She went on to support the offices of Neighborhood Services and Human Rights for the City of Fort Collins until 2006 when she left the City to work for a private family foundation.  She returned to the public sector in 2008 when she came to Colorado State University to support the Director of the CSU Engines and Energy Conversion Lab.  In 2012, Wendy left CSU to support the CEO and Co-Founder of New Belgium Brewing Co., returning in 2014 to support Gov. Ritter and his team at the Center for the New Energy Economy.  She is a CSU graduate, receiving her BA in Liberal Arts, Social Sciences with a minor in Spanish.  Wendy has a terrific husband, two funny children, two messy cats and one adorable granddaughter.

Research Associate

— Jane Culkin (

Jane_CulkinJane Culkin joined the CNEE team as a Research Associate in 2015 after interning for the Center in 2014. In between her internship and current position at the Center, Jane worked for the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder as a Communications and Operations Assistant and was a Research Assistant for Lazer Lab at Northeastern University where she gathered and processed polling data for an international election prediction model. Prior to interning at CNEE, Jane interned for the Boulder County Immigration Legal Center as a translator and at the National Park Foundation as a grants and programs intern. Jane graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Colorado at Boulder as a dual major in International Affairs and Environmental Studies. A Colorado native, Jane enjoys hiking, biking, skiing and anything else that gets her into Colorado’s beautiful outdoors.