Colorado’s 41st Governor
Bill Ritter, Jr.
Bill 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, four senior policy advisors and analysts, a research manager, a research associate, and a team of student researchers.
Ritter authored a book that was published in 2016 entitled, Powering Forward – What Everyone Should Know About America’s Energy Revolution.
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.
Gov. Ritter was formerly the chair of the Board of Directors of the Energy Foundation and currently serves on the Regis University Board of Trustees. Gov. Ritter is a member of Blackhorn Venture Capital and serves as an advisor to Green Alpha and Millennium Bridge, among others. 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.
Suzanne Tegen is the Assistant Director of the Center for the New Energy Economy with expertise in energy economics and policy, and a Ph.D. in Energy Policy from the University of Colorado. At the Center, she works on clean energy policy education, research, and solutions for decision-makers including state legislators, governors’ energy offices, and others. Her current work also includes research on the equitable transition from coal power in rural America. Suzanne came to CNEE from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) where she spent 14 years as an energy analyst, researcher, and manager of the Technology, Engineering, and Deployment group for wind and water power.
She has authored or co-authored over 50 reports focused on domestic renewable energy jobs, stakeholder engagement, and the levelized cost of wind energy. She co-wrote a report on clean energy policies for the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Clean Energy Solutions Center and received the Ministerial’s C3E Mid-career award in 2016. She represents the United States in the International Energy Agency’s wind energy social acceptance task and has made countless presentations on responsible renewable energy development across the country. Before graduate school, Tegen worked for the U.S. Antarctic Program at the South Pole and McMurdo stations and for the Center for Resource Solutions in San Francisco.
Beyond her job requirements, she is passionate about mentoring and energy education, diversity, and inclusivity. She is a founding member of Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy and served on their Executive Committee for 9 years.
Senior Policy Advisor
Tom 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
Patrick Cummins is a Senior Policy Advisor at the Center for the New Energy Economy where he leads the Center’s work with Western states, utilities, and stakeholders on the transition to a low-carbon economy. Patrick has been working with Western states and stakeholders on air quality and climate programs for 30 years, including at Metro Denver’s Regional Air Quality Council, and as the Director of Air Quality and Climate Programs at the Western Governors’ Association. Prior to joining Governor Ritter’s team at Colorado State University he served as Executive Director of the Western Climate Initiative, where he helped develop and implement the world’s first economy-wide cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions which is being implemented by the State of California and the Province of Quebec. Patrick has a Chemistry Degree from Fort Lewis College and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Policy from Indiana University.
Executive Assistant to the Director
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 earning an MBA and BA in Liberal Arts, Social Sciences with a minor in Spanish.
Katherine Heriot Hoffer
After interning with CNEE as a Research Associate since 2013, Katherine (“Trina”) joined the CNEE team full-time as Research Manager in April of 2017. Trina oversees our research team, leads the development and maintenance of the Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker, the State Policy Opportunity Tracker for Clean Energy, The Clean Energy Policy Guide for State Legislatures, and contributes to a number of other CNEE projects.
Trina received her Ph.D in Political Science from Colorado State University. Her Dissertation examined policy diffusion and policy change through the lens of Renewable Portfolio Standards. Trina also received her M.A. in Political Science from Colorado State University, and has published research in Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Policy Sciences, and other venues.
A Colorado Native, Trina is proud to hail from Red Cliff, where she grew up exploring the White River National Forest and the Holy Cross Wilderness.
Carlyn Petrella joined the Center for the New Energy Economy as a Policy Analyst in the spring of 2020, supporting the Center’s work across all initiatives. After earning her BS in Biotechnology from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Carlyn served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya working as a Secondary Math and Science Teacher. Post Peace Corps, she worked as a Regulatory Biologist with the Environmental Protection Agency, developing and implementing federal pesticide use policy. After five years, Carlyn left the EPA to earn a MS in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University. While earning her degree, she focused her studies on energy and environmental policy and was a 2019 EDF Climate Corps Fellow.
Liam joined CNEE as an undergraduate intern in June of 2018. Prior to his time at CNEE Liam interned at the National Resource Conservation Service through the USDA as a research assistant and data analyst. Most of Liam’s work at the Center involves research and maintenance of the State Policy Opportunity Tracker for Clean Energy and the Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker, while assisting with the annual Clean Energy Legislative Academy. Liam graduated with Latin Honors from the University of Colorado Boulder with a bachelors in Environmental Studies and a emphasis on environmental policy. Liam was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado and became fascinated with the correlation between energy and the environment.
Seth joined CNEE as a graduate intern in June of 2017. Most of his work at the Center involves research for the State Policy Opportunity Tracker for Clean Energy and the Advanced Energy Legislation tracker. Seth is also a PhD student in the Political Science Department at Colorado State University, where he studies American politics and environmental policy, focusing on issues such as ecological conservation and energy/mineral extraction on public lands. Seth lived in Atlanta prior to beginning his program at CSU, where he is originally from. He received a Master of Natural Resources degree from the University of Georgia’s School of Forestry in 2015. Currently, Seth’s dissertation research is examining environmental regulation of the electricity sector and implementation of state energy policy.
David Oonk joined the CNEE team in the summer of 2019. David has a PhD in Technology, Media, and Society from the University of Colorado. David also earned graduate certificate in Science and Technology Policy from the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (CSTPR). He was advised by Max Boykoff, faculty in the Department of Environmental Studies and former Director of the CSTPR.
David’s dissertation research focused on hydraulic fracturing policy in Colorado, including the social and technical dimensions of the energy transition and the role that science and expertise play in regulatory and policy processes. He has also conducted research in science and climate communication. He has experience designing programs and conducting research in environmental science communication and education using visual media and art.
Ellen is a Masters student at the University of Denver in the Environmental Policy and Management program. She is focused on the intersection of environmental science and policy, and the creation of comprehensive, science-based environmental policy. Ellen’s work at CNEE includes research for the Clean Energy Legislative Academy, the SPOT for Clean Energy, and the AEL Tracker. Ellen grew up in Arvada, CO where she developed an interest in the environment. Ellen received a Bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, with a minor in Environmental Affairs in 2018. While there, she worked with Professor Dimitris Stevis on his work on Green Transitions and Environmental Justice. Her other undergraduate work focused on how the public interacts with scientists and research projects.
Senior Policy Advisor
Dennis Arfmann is a Senior Policy Advisor at the Center for the New Energy Economy. 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. 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.
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.