STAFF AND BOARD MEMBERS
Meet the CCLEP Team
In February 2023, CCLEP underwent strategic planning sessions to sustain our mission to lead crucial climate resiliency work for Cook County.
Photographed from the left: Chris O'Brien, Don Grant, Emma Adams, Carly Puch, Kat Meyo, Tonty Walzer & County Liaison Ann Sullivan. Not photographed: Kristina Mattson & Chel Anderson.
Secretary and Board Member
Chel's professional background and career have been in plant ecology and conservation. A resident of Cook County since 1974, she's been part of many local and statewide nonprofit boards and advisory committees focused on the arts, conservation, land use and water quality. She is co-author of North Shore - A Natural History of Minnesota’s Superior Coast. She with lives with her husband in greater Hovland, where they have been very satisfied alternative energy system (PV) users since 1997. Given the relationship between energy production and use and the land and waters that sustain us all, she is committed to working with the community to advance local awareness and action for a transition to clean energy, energy conservation and greater energy independence.
Staff: CCLEP Executive Director
Kat is responsible for engaging with Cook County community members and organizational partners, planning and facilitating events, and making sure that CCLEP and the Cook County community work together to move towards a more resilient energy infrastructure. Originally from Ohio, Kat studied Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology at Ohio University with a minor in Sustainable Agriculture. Kat is new to Minnesota after working on the West Coast for many years. She has worked in land conservation and environmental education, as a Wilderness Ranger, Backcountry Crew Leader, Trail Designer, Yoga Instructor, and Professional Backpacking Guide. Kat can be found communing in the forest, diving into a creative project, or getting excited about learning something new. Kat is passionate about protecting nature and uniting the community to make climate justice a reality.
Board Vice President
Being born and raised in Grand Marais, MN, Carly never thought she would come back to live here. But after being gone for a few years and returning to the community as an adult, she has a new appreciation for this place. She works as the Outreach Coordinator for Cook County Higher Education, serves on the Local Mental Health Advisory Council, and volunteers with the Violence Prevention Center and Cook County Restorative Justice...in addition to being a member of the Cook County Local Energy Project board! She enjoys learning more about sustainability and its important intersections, and loves learning and sharing about sustainability, health, wellness, environmentalism, social justice, plant-based eating, and everything in between, through her writing and her podcast, "Consciously Clueless." Her passion has always been to help people, and she feels lucky to be back in Grand Marais doing just that.
Chris is a retired business executive with a lifelong passion for cleaner energy. He and his wife, Jane Alexander, have lived in Cook County full-time since May 2016, and part-time for many years before that. Chris’s first job after college was as a Peace Corps volunteer in The Gambia, West Africa, where he launched a country-wide program promoting energy-efficient cookstoves. Chris later worked for several leading global solar panel and equipment manufacturers and was responsible for business development, marketing, strategic planning, and policy advocacy. For several years, he was the Chairman of the Solar Energy Industries Association, based in Washington, DC, and in that position played an important role in the introduction of key federal and state solar energy policies and incentives. Chris currently serves on several boards, including CCLEP, North Superior Ski and Run Club, Fresh Energy, and the Cook County Community Fund. He and Jane installed a 15.6kW solar PV system on their home in 2019, and love knowing that most of their electricity is solar-generated. Chris and Jane feel very fortunate to be living in Cook County, and spend much of their time in the outdoors, skiing, canoeing, and exploring the county by bike.
Emma Adams works as an educator at Great Expectations Charter School and Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center in the summer. She has a degree in Environmental Education and Interpretation and a minor in Sustainable Energy from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. New to the Cook County community Emma hopes to bring her knowledge of outreach and education to CCLEP. She loves spending her spare time hiking and exploring Minnesota’s various parks and green spaces. Emma has a huge passion for plants; reading and trying out different medicinal and culinary recipes from things she finds in the forest. Emma is passionate about the small grid and wind energy and hopes to be the proud owner of small wind and solar farm one day.
Don has a bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and a master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. Before joining the CCELP board, he founded North Shore Sustainable Energy, a firm focused on assisting individuals, companies, and local governments in shifting toward sustainable energy usage. He also founded and retired from CT Associates, Inc., a firm focused on the analysis and purification of fluids. Don is a board member of the Cook County Whole Foods Co-op and the Cook County Community Fund. He lives in a near net-zero home with solar electric and solar thermal energy systems.
Kristina has a bachelor’s in nursing from Gustavus Adolphus College and worked as a hematology/ oncology nurse in Southern California and the Twin Cities for over a decade. Kristina has seen first-hand how the impacts of toxin burdens disproportionally affect fence line, front line and communities historically most impacted. It was through this experience, and her family history of marginalization and cancer she decided she could no longer remain silent and got involved. Elected to her local community council in Saint Paul she represented 2,600 of her neighbors fostered community inclusion and engagement, advocated for safe routes to school (SRTS) , pedestrian safety, multimodal infrastructure, Saint Paul’s sustainable take-out container ordinance. Through community engagement and organizing, she rallied her community to halt the construction of an air-polluting and dangerous Starbucks drive-thru which would create a dangerous pedestrian hazard on an SRTS route near three local schools in her grid. She is a Master Recycler Composter (MRC) through Dakota county, co-founded Zero Waste Saint Paul (ZWSP), integrative nutrition health coach, and culinary nutrition expert. Kristina is excited to share and apply her various civic engagement, community organizing, and advocacy experience with our board. Currently she works for Cook County Public Health as the State Health Improvement Partnership Coordinator for Cook County, which connects all the dots of her passions for chronic disease prevention, active living and transportation, healthy food, and community building. She hopes to someday install solar on the home she shares with her husband and three kids.
Tony has degrees in landscape architecture, park planning, and drafting and design technology from Penn State University. His professional experience includes working as a community and redevelopment director, a planner and Main Street Project manager, and as the acquisition and development specialist at the Minnesota DNR in Bemidji. Tony is an ardent proponent of local food systems and food cooperatives, as well as energy conservation - everything from site orientation to weatherization and solarization. He is a strong believer in the importance of the 3Rs: reducing, reusing and then recycling. Tony is also a very satisfied solar PV/SPF (solar powered furnace) homeowner.