Incubator welcomes public and private industry leaders to scale its climate impact
Somerville, Mass., Oct., 13, 2021 — Greentown Labs, the largest climatetech startup incubator in North America, today announced three new board members, Katherine Hamilton, Chair of 38 North Solutions; Dawn James, U.S. Director of Sustainability and Environmental Services at Microsoft; and Kathleen Theoharides, Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA). Greentown’s Board of Directors appointed Alicia Barton, CEO of FirstLight Power to Board Chair. These public and private sector clean energy and climate leaders will provide strategic direction and guidance to Greentown as the incubator furthers its mission and expands its climate impact over the next 10 years.
“As Greentown Labs celebrates its 10-year-anniversary and the positive momentum across the climatetech industry, we’re honored to welcome Katherine, Dawn, and Katie to Greentown’s Board of Directors, and thrilled to have Alicia serving as our Board Chair,” said Greentown Labs CEO Dr. Emily Reichert. “Their deep experience and expertise in climate technology, innovation, and policy will play an essential role in helping direct Greentown’s next decade of climate impact!”
Katherine Hamilton is Chair of 38 North Solutions, a bipartisan consulting firm that provides business development and public policy services to innovative companies and organizations with expertise in clean energy and innovation. Ms. Hamilton has led several councils at the World Economic Forum and is currently Co-Chair of the Global Future Council on Clean Electrification. She served as President of the GridWise Alliance, advocating for nearly $5 billion in funding for smart grid projects in the Recovery Act. Prior to that role, Ms. Hamilton was a policy advisor for Good Energies, Inc., co-directed the American Bioenergy Association, led building research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and spent a decade at Virginia Power. Ms. Hamilton is a co-host on The Energy Gang, a Wood Mackenzie podcast.
“Having worked with several of the entrepreneurs as well as with Emily and her team, I am so impressed with Greentown Labs and am thrilled to become part of fostering the continued growth of the Greentown ecosystem as a model for climate technology innovation,” said 38 North Solutions Chair Katherine Hamilton.
Dawn James is U.S. Director of Sustainability and Environmental Services at Microsoft where she is responsible for the sustainability strategy and thought leadership for the organization with a focus on digital transformation solutions. She has more than two decades of experience as a geoscientist and systems leader. Ms. James is a certified naturalist, formerly serving as the Americas Energy Lead at Microsoft and Research Hydrogeoligist with the U.S. Department of Interior. She is a distinguished speaker on “The Business of Sustainability” at the Nazarian School for Business and Economics and an advisory board member for the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development. Ms. James has been recognized as a 2021 DEI Champion by the National Diversity Council.
“The climate crisis presents an unprecedented challenge and opportunity for transformation, both present and future,” said Microsoft U.S. Director of Sustainability and Environmental Services Dawn James. “As a grounded optimist, I believe that for every challenge there is a solution, and nuance is a key part of the equation for understanding the limits of your own perception. When you change the way you look at things, what you look at begins to change. I’ve spent my career researching, working in the field and problem-solving challenges from conservation to energy equity. I’m excited to join the Greentown Labs family, where our shared sense of purpose will help drive leadership in the clean technology sector while offering a framework for the hard work necessary to change—subsequently expanding our tolerance for transformation.”
Kathleen Theoharides is the Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs where she oversees the Commonwealth’s six environmental, natural resource and energy regulatory agencies, which include the Departments of Environmental Protection, Public Utilities, Energy Resources, Conservation and Recreation, Agricultural Resources, and Fish and Game. Theoharides joined the Baker-Polito Administration in 2016 as Director of Climate and Global Warming Solutions in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. As Director and later Assistant Secretary, Theoharides implemented an Executive Order on climate change action, led the development of the State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan and created the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program. Since her appointment as Secretary in May 2019, Theoharides has spearheaded key initiatives to advance the Administration’s climate, clean energy, and environmental agenda, including establishing a nation-leading target of Net Zero Greenhouse Gas emissions by 2050, significantly expanding statewide resiliency efforts, and supporting the development of the offshore wind industry in Massachusetts. Secretary Theoharides also played a key role in negotiating comprehensive, nation-leading climate legislation signed by Governor Baker in March 2021, including key provisions related to environmental justice.
“Massachusetts has set the bar for climate action in the United States by establishing nation-leading commitments to reduce emissions while building a vibrant clean energy sector that is helping us meet those ambitious targets,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “The Commonwealth is fortunate to have organizations like Greentown Labs that are fostering the innovative spirit we need to develop next generation climate solutions, and I am honored to join its Board of Directors as we work to build on Greentown’s progress and achieve our shared clean energy and climate goals.”
Alicia Barton is the Chief Executive Officer of FirstLight Power, a leading clean power producer and energy storage company with a portfolio that includes nearly 1.4GW of pumped-hydro storage, battery storage, hydroelectric generation, and solar generation—the largest clean energy generation portfolio operating in New England today. Prior to joining FirstLight in 2020, Ms. Barton held several clean energy leadership roles in both the public and private sectors. Her past public service includes serving as the President and as CEO of the New York Energy Research and Development Authority and as CEO the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center where she helped lead both New York and Massachusetts’ efforts to advance nation-leading climate and clean energy strategies. Ms. Barton’s prior private sector experience includes serving as Co-Chair of the Energy and Cleantech Practice at Foley Hoag LLP, and as Chief of Operations of the Global Utility business unit at SunEdison. She has served on Greentown’s Board of Directors since 2014 and was appointed Board Chair in August 2021.
“Building upon our recent success expanding to Houston, Greentown Labs is strategically positioned to be one of the single most impactful organizations in the country when it comes to accelerating innovation in climatetech,” said FirstLight Power CEO Alicia Barton. “I’m thrilled to have such outstanding new Board members as Katherine, Dawn, and Katie joining our organization at this crucial moment for climate action, and I look forward to working with them to help drive even greater success for Greentown looking ahead.”
Ms. Hamilton, Ms. James, and Secretary Theoharides join Ms. Barton and seven existing board members, two of whom are current Greentown member company CEOs and two of whom are Greentown co-founders:
- Matthew Nordan, co-founder and Managing Director of Prime Impact Fund
- Dr. Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs
- Mitch Tyson, principal at Tyson Associates and co-founder of the Northeast Clean Energy Council
- Adam Rein, co-founder of Greentown Labs, co-founder of Altaeros Energies (a founding company of Greentown Labs), and co-founder of CapShift
- Sam White, co-founder of Greentown Labs, co-founder of Promethean Power (a founding company of Greentown Labs), and Chief Business Officer of Emrod
- Shreya Dave, Community Board member, co-founder and CEO of Via Separations, a Greentown Labs member company
- Darryl Pollica, Community Board member, President and CEO of Ivys Inc., a Greentown Labs member company
About Greentown Labs
As the largest climatetech startup incubator in North America, Greentown Labs brings together startups, corporates, investors, policymakers, and many others with a focus on scaling climate solutions. Driven by the mission of providing startups the resources, knowledge, connections, and equipment they need to thrive, Greentown Labs offers lab space, shared office space, a machine shop, an electronics lab, software and business resources, and a large network of corporate customers, investors, and more. With its headquarters in Somerville, Mass. and a recently opened incubator in Houston, Texas, Greentown Labs is home to more than 180 startups and has supported more than 400 startups since the incubator’s founding in 2011. These startups have collectively created more than 7,800 direct jobs and have raised more than $1.5 billion in funding. For more information, visit www.greentownlabs.com or Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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