Staff and Trustees
The Foundation operates with a very small staff and a dedicated board comprised of Switzer family members, Switzer Fellows and environmental professionals from the NGO, government, academic and private sectors. Read the profiles of staff and board members of the Foundation below.
Joe Aldy is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, a Visiting Fellow at Resources for the Future, a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a Senior Adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. His research focuses on climate change policy, energy policy, and mortality risk valuation. He also serves as the Faculty Chair of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government Regulatory Policy Program. In 2009-2010, he served as the Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Environment at the White House. In this position, Aldy was responsible for the energy and environmental policy portfolio at the National Economic Council, for coordinating policy development and evaluation for the Office of Energy and Climate Change, and for coordinating international energy and environmental policy in support of the National Security Council. Aldy previously served as a Fellow at Resources for the Future (2005-2008) and worked on the staff of the President's Council of Economic Advisers (1997-2000). He served as the Co-Director of the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements and Co-Director of the International Energy Workshop before joining the Obama Administration. He earned his doctorate in economics from Harvard University, a masters of environmental management degree from the Nicholas School of the Environment, and a bachelors degree from Duke University.
Adrienne Alvord is the Union of Concerned Scientists’s California and western states director, based in Berkeley, California. She is working to ensure we transition to a clean energy and fuels economy that reduces global warming, promotes equitable economic growth, and improves public health in western states. Ms. Alvord is leading UCS’s effort to ensure robust implementation of the California Global Warming Solutions Act, California’s landmark climate law known as “AB 32.” She also is working to ensure California’s renewable energy standard and clean vehicle standards are enforced.
Prior to coming to UCS, Ms. Alvord was the environmental policy director for California State Senator Fran Pavley and served as lead staff on AB 32. She led successful legislative efforts to establish clean energy programs and accompanying funding sources, clean vehicles and fuel technology standards, air and water quality rules, and natural resources protection programs. She worked extensively in climate, energy, fuels, waste, and agricultural policy and has deep experience both in translating scientific and technical work into policy ideas and creating strategic partnerships to achieve those policies. Prior to working in the California Legislature, Ms. Alvord served as a gubernatorial appointee directing state pesticide legislation and regulations, and previously was policy director for a California non-profit promoting sustainable agriculture.
Bruce has over 25 years of experience in environmental and investment research and management. Currently, Bruce is the Portfolio Manager at Sustainable Insight Capital Management. Previously, Bruce was a Director in Deutsche Bank’s Asset Management division where he acted as an investment strategist conducting high-level analytical research on sustainable investing including clean tech, water and agricultural-based investment strategies as well as ESG/SRI strategies. Prior to that, he managed assets at Smith Barney's Private Wealth Management Group in sustainable investments including agri-business and clean tech for Foundation/Endowment, HNWI and Institutional clients. Bruce currently serves as a Trustee and member of the Finance Committee of the Jesse Smith Noyes Foundation, a US endowment and funder of sustainable agriculture organizations in the US. He also serves as a member of the Board of Visitors for the Gaylord Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and is on the Technical Review Panel of National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Recently Bruce has joined the Advisory Council of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and serves on the Advisory Panel of Mercer Investment Consulting and Management’s Sustainable Opportunities Fund. Bruce holds a BA in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut; MS in Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures from Auburn University; PhD in Land Resources from University of Wisconsin, Madison; recipient of both a J. William Fulbright Scholarship and a National Science Foundation Fellowship in ecological economics. Bruce currently is a Lecturer at Columbia University’s Earth Institute in the Sustainability Management Program.
Jen is Program Director at the Compton Foundation, which supports leadership and storytelling to advance positive social and environmental change. She has previously directed grantmaking portfolios on climate change, fresh water, rural sustainability, food systems, and art/activism. Jen has been working on sustainability issues for more than 15 years, with a focus on natural resource-based economies and collaborative decision-making. Prior to joining Compton, Jen worked on a variety of community-led projects in California, Montana, and the Pacific Northwest. She conducted post-doctoral research on sustainable food systems in northern California, and completed her PhD at UC Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. Her academic research focused on contemporary collisions between environment and economy, particularly the processes of marketing, consumption, and investment that link natural resource industries to networks of urban capital. She received her BA from Stanford University in Human Biology (concentration in environmental policy) and English in 1994. She chairs the boards of the Switzer Foundation and the Pesticide Action Network North America, and serves on the advisory boards for the Northern California Grassroots Fund and Carpe Diem West.
Dr. Elise Switzer has been involved in research and development of sustainable energy technologies for over 15 years with a focus on energy generation, storage, and conversion systems. A registered patent agent with interests in intellectual property strategies for widespread adoption of emerging clean energy technologies, Elise works at SunPower Corporation, a global renewable energy company based in Silicon Valley. Previously, she was a battery research engineer at Arizona State University and venture-funded startup Fluidic Energy. She has consulted on intellectual property matters applied to clean tech start-ups. She is an author of several peer-reviewed publications and inventor on patents relating to the integration of innovative materials for energy storage systems. Elise was a Graduate Research Fellow at Sandia National Laboratories while completing her PhD (Chemical Engineering, 2008) at the University of New Mexico, and received her BS (Chemical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude, 2004) from Tulane University.
Jessica Switzer Green
Jessica Switzer is a founding partner of Blue Practice, an advocacy marketing firm devoted to companies and causes that further ecological health and human wellness. www.bluepractice.com. As Blue Practice, she co-authored an optimized eBook on start ups called YOU ONLY LAUNCH ONCE, and serves as a mentor to Fellows on launches and start-ups. She is a champion of Cradle to Cradle thinking, representing esteemed William McDonough, a global sustainability thought leader and she has served as a marketing advisor to the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. Prior to Blue Practice, Jessica was vice president of marketing for Tesla Motors, a zero-emission, plug-in electric sports car manufacturer. Before Tesla, she was Managing Director of Ruder Finn/Switzer's San Francisco office. Ruder Finn, the second-largest, independently owned PR agency in the world, acquired her firm, Switzer Communications in 2003. Switzer was president of Switzer Communications, a public relations and marketing firm which she founded in 1995 with annual billings of $3 million and 25 employees. She has served as Executive Director for a nonprofit. She received a bachelor degree in politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Carol has worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency for over 17 years in various programs including air emissions, water enforcement, emergency response, Superfund and Brownfields. In addition, Carol has worked for three years on a detail to the City of Lowell in the Division of Planning and Development as the City’s Brownfields Coordinator. She is currently a supervisor in the US EPA New England Brownfields Program. Carol received a Master in City Planning from MIT in City Design and Development in 2002. She has a M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and a B.S. in Engineering from Brown University. Carol is also married and has two children.
Don is currently the Administrative Officer at the Switzer Foundation. He has been with the Foundation since January, 2004 and previously worked at Unity College, a small environmental undergraduate college in Unity, Maine. Since 1991 Don has been a trustee and administrator for the John Sage Foundation, a small family foundation which gives grants to environmental organizations in Maine.
Lauren completed her Master's degree in Journalism at UC Berkeley and taught multimedia journalism at the University of Florida’s Department of Telecommunication. She served on the University's Sustainability Committee and on the Governing Board for the Bachelor of Science in Sustainability and the Build Environment in the College of Design, Construction and Planning. She left academia in 2010 to teach multimedia skills and focus on environmental and sustainability communications.
Erin has been with the Switzer Foundation since September, 2003. She joined the Foundation after working in the land conservation field for various land trust organizations in northern New England. Erin received her master’s degree in Conservation Biology from Antioch New England Graduate School in 2001, and subsequently worked as a conservation planner for Maine Coast Heritage Trust in Topsham, Maine, and as Director of Lands and Stewardship for the Damariscotta River Association in Damariscotta, Maine. In addition to her work with the Switzer Foundation, she volunteers with her local land trust and serves on the board of the John Sage Foundation. Erin lives in Hallowell, Maine, with her husband, daughter, and an enthusiastic yellow lab, where they all enjoy spending time in Maine's wild open spaces as often as possible.
Lissa Widoff is Executive Director of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation (www.switzernetwork.org), an environmental foundation based in Belfast, Maine that supports graduate Fellowships in New England and California and a Leadership Grant Program supporting NGO partnerships with Switzer Fellows to work on critical environmental issues. Lissa began as Executive Director in 1999 and has overseen the growth of the organization in its program development, governance structure engaging family and non-family trustees and financial management. Ms. Widoff has extensive experience in managing philanthropic initiatives in environmental issues and the arts. Ms. Widoff is trained as an ecologist and has worked for the State of Maine, The Nature Conservancy, the University of Maine, and co-directed the Land for Maine’s Future Program managing state acquisition of over 40,000 acres of new public lands from 1989-1992. She has served on the Boards of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, the Maine Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and until September 2011, on the Maine Board of Environmental Protection. She holds a B.S degree from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and an M.P.A from Harvard Kennedy School.