Leadership

AERC’s Board of Directors is a collection of individuals with an incredibly diverse set of expertise with the common goal of making energy efficient products more accessible to consumers.

Jennifer Amann, Buildings Program Director, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
Jennifer Thorne Amann promotes residential and commercial whole building performance improvements, explores behavioral approaches to improving energy efficiency, and analyzes the impacts of stronger appliance efficiency standards. She has authored dozens of publications and articles on appliances, lighting, consumer electronics, equipment installation practices, emerging residential and commercial building technologies, and the progress of market transformation initiatives, among others. In addition, Jennifer is lead author of ACEEE‘s popular Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings, now in its tenth edition. Jennifer serves on the board of directors of the National Home Performance Council. She joined ACEEE in 1997.

Prior to joining ACEEE, she worked in the environmental technology field plus community organizing and education on a variety of environmental and consumer issues.

Jennifer earned a master of environmental studies from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a bachelor of arts in environmental studies from Trinity University.

Mahabir Bhandari, R&D, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Dr. Mahabir Bhandari is an R&D Staff member in ORNL’s Whole Building & Community Integration group. He has more than 20 years of experience in the field of building energy performance. He is a LEED™ Accredited Professional Building Design + Construction (BD+C) and National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) certified simulator and has actively participated in several LEED™ and sustainability projects and contributed significantly in building energy software product developments. In recent years, Dr. Bhandari’s focus has been on advanced fenestration research, module development for EnergyPlus, whole building energy simulation, manual and auto calibration, industrial energy data analysis for energy savings impact, building energy monitoring and performance analysis and the evaluation and integration of energy efficient technologies in buildings. He is a team member of ORNL team that supports the Department of Energy’s Commercial Building Integration program, especially in the area of building envelope. He currently serves on the NFRC Board of Directors.
Lara Bonn, Efficient Products Strategy and Planning Manager, Efficiency Vermont
Lara Bonn is the Strategic Planning Manager for Efficient Products at Efficiency Vermont. She designs the strategic vision for Efficiency Vermont’s incentive and rebate programs for lighting, appliances, and consumer electronics predominantly through the retail space. She is also a Manager in the Strategy and Planning Group at Efficiency Vermont where she oversees the strategic planners of Commercial New Construction, Residential New and Existing Homes, Agriculture, and Hospitality and Restaurant markets. Lara was named one of Vermont Business Magazine’s Rising Stars in 2014 and has led Efficiency Vermont to earn the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award. Prior to working for Efficiency Vermont, Lara worked as a consultant with Optimal Energy and as a senior consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton working exclusively for the U.S. EPA.
Michael Cienian, VP of Quality Assurance, Hunter Douglas
Mike Cienian is the VP of Quality Assurance for Hunter Douglas North America, and has been part of the window covering industry since 1999. Recently, Mike was Chair of the WCMA Energy Committee which pre-dated the AERC, and is currently serving on the Window Covering Safety Council Board of Trustees. His experience includes serving as an Attachments Industry “Board Observer” for the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC).
Katherine Cort, Economist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Katherine Cort is an economist with Pacific Northwest National Laboratoryand team lead of Building America’s Window Attachments effort. Ms. Cort has over 15 years of experience analyzing energy-efficiency programs, technologies, and research and provides technical support for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Buildings Technologies Office, the Federal Energy Management Program, and the Office of Electricity. She has conducted a number of business case and economic impact studies for DOE-supported emerging building technologies such as advanced nanolens window coatings for daylighting, low-e storm windows, and self-correcting controls for VAV systems. Ms. Cort has B.S. degree in economics from Southern Methodist University and M.A. in economics from the University of Washington.
John Crowley, Vice President of Research and Development, Rollease-Acmeda
John serves as vice president of research and development of Rollease-Acmeda, where he is leading programs focused on developing the next generation of fenestration attachment systems. John has founded and built a number of innovative companies in the building sector that were based on introducing a disruptive technology. He co-founded Bath Simple, a business model that has transformed the bath renovation experience. He co-founded and is a board member of CA International, an ongoing business with a manufacturing platform in China, producing bath furnishings, interior door systems, and engineered wood flooring and distribution throughout North America. As President New England Classic, he developed, manufactured and established market channels in Japan and the US for a portfolio of interior architectural products.

John served on the research faculty at MIT and served as the Director of the MIT Innovative Construction Technology Program, a multi-national industry supported program focused on advanced materials and systems development. As president of the JSC group, a management consultancy, John has advised Fortune 500 companies in business and product strategy, product engineering and manufacturing, and market roll-out across a number of product groups, market segments and channels. His client list includes GE Plastics, US Gypsum, Alcoa, Fletcher Challenge, Weyerhaeuser, MacMillan Bloedel, Eucatex, Asahi Kasei Homes, Misawa Homes, Serious Materials, Project Frog, and Springs Window Fashions.

Earlier in his career, John held numerous management positions in the new homebuilding industry, including Research and Development Manager at NVR Ryan Homes, Vice President of PHI Building Systems and Project Manger for the National Housing Research Center (NAHB).

Tom Culp, Owner, Birch Point Consulting
Dr. Thomas Culp is the owner of Birch Point Consulting, located in La Crosse, Wisconsin. After earning a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Culp has spent 16 years in the areas of energy efficient glazing and window performance, low-e glass coatings, and building code development. Dr. Culp has a particular interest in addressing energy efficiency of existing buildings, and has led or supported several projects demonstrating the use of low-e storm windows and retrofit panels to cost effectively improve the performance of both existing residential and commercial buildings.
Robert Curry, Partner Lead, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
Rob helps leadNEEA’s partners to successfully assess and propose innovative, cost effective integrated design strategies that achieve deep energy savings. A native of Portland, Oregon and graduate of Arizona State University, Rob has a decades-long career developing and implementing innovative design ideas and holistic strategies that significantly reduce building energy use. NEEA is a non-profit organization that identifies barriers and opportunities to help transform the Northwest energy market by creating demand and setting new standards for cost-effective energy efficiency.
John Gant, Director of Research and Development, Glen Raven Custom Fabrics
Gant is Director of Research and Development for Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, LLC. He earned a mechanical engineering degree from North Carolina State University, and an MBA from Duke University. John is an active member of organizations such as the US Green Building Council, Professional Awning Manufacturers Association, and Window Covering Manufacturers Association.
Pierre Gaudry, Regional Sales Manager for South Florida, Somfy Systems
Pierre has been working for Somfy Systems since 1997 and is currently Somfy’s Regional Sales Manager for South Florida, one of the company’s largest territories. He has also been Somfy’s Rolling Shutter Business Development Manager for the last 8 years. Pierre works with both exterior and interior window attachments on a daily basis. He has been on the Board of Directors of the International Hurricane Protection Association (IHPA) from 2010 to 2014. Pierre is currently serving his second term as the Exterior Shutter and Screen Association Secretary.
Marc LaFrance, Window Technology Manager, US Department of Energy
P. Marc LaFrance serves as the Windows Technology Manager on the Emerging Technologies Team in addition to promoting advanced technologies and energy policy on the Residential Buildings Integration Team. Prior to his current role, Mr. LaFrance managed the energy analysis for the building’s sector at the International Energy Agency’s Sustainable Policy and Technology Directorate in Paris from 2012 to 2015. He published a buildings sector blueprint to achieve a low carbon future by 2050 along with a Building Envelope Technology Roadmap, MEF Building Performance Metrics and a detail plan for China. He also was responsible for coordinating building’s related international technology research agreements. Prior international experience included an assignment at the Asia Pacific Energy Research Centre in Tokyo working on macro energy policy and economic analyses for the APEC region from 2000 until 2002.

His initial positions at the Department of Energy began in 1993, when he worked on the Codes and Standards program, the ENERGY STAR® program, and an Emerging Technologies lighting, appliance and equipment program. He managed the window and envelope R&D program for 10 years from 2002 to 2012. During his tenure at the US DOE, his programs received four 100 R&D Awards. His program, in partnership with the private sector, also commercialized many new products in pursuit of zero energy buildings, and was able to make other high-performance products affordable. Mr. LaFrance received his bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering in 1985 from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and a master’s degree in urban systems engineering in 1998 from George Mason University. He also is recognized as a certified energy manager and a certified sustainable development professional by the Association of Energy Engineers.

Tom Merker, Director of Engineering, Springs Window Fashions
Tom is Director of Engineering at Springs Window Fashions. He brings 30 years of experience as an engineer and 28 years related specifically to window coverings to the AERC. Tom is a former Manufacturing Manager for primary manufacturing (extrusion, injection molding, metal finishing, metal stamping, rollforming, textile converting) and fabrication areas (blind and shade assembly). He serves as Director for Product and Textile Engineering with direct oversight and management of product and textile design, development, validation, and integration. He is also responsible for regulatory oversight, product liability, and product safety. In addition to the AERC, Tom is a Member of BOD for Window Covering Manufacturing Association (WCMA) and Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC), Chair for Standard Steering Team and Technical Committee for WCMA. Tom has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from UW Madison.
George Pfaller, President, Exterior Shutter and Shade Association
George Pfaller is the General Manager of Alutech United, a leading hurricane and security shutter manufacturer distributing across the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.
Under George’s leadership, Alutech has grown from a two employee operation to a staff of 30 plus with two manufacturing facilities and multiple retail subsidiaries. George drives Alutech to continue research and development of its products working with ASTM as a member to meet rigid standards for quality products. As the president of the ESSA, George has led the group to be a source and representation for exterior retractable products.

Before entering the shutter industry George worked for Weems & Plath Navigational Systems in procurement, research and development and traveled throughout Europe and the Far East for product development. George studied Business Administration and Management at the University of Pittsburgh and Metallurgical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Stefan Poetsch, VP Operation, Rollac
Stefan has been in the exterior solar shading and shutter industry for 9 years and is the VP Operation for Rollac, a manufacturer for rolling shutters and solar shades. Within this profession, he has been involved in product engineering, testing, building code compliance, as well as hands on work from building solar shading products to installing them on residential and commercial buildings. He has been managing projects for residential and large commercial buildings from initial planning, to manufacturing, to installation. In addition, Stefan has supported simulation studies for energy conservation with exterior rolling shutters together with NREL, The Army Corps of Engineering, or Architectural Testing.

Stefan has been a board member for ESSA for the past two years. Previously, he has been a member of NFRC attachment committees. Stefan has bachelor degree in business and logistics from the University of Applied Science in Ludwigshafen, Germany. Besides his degree, he has attended continuous education classes at the University of Houston, College of Technology, and holds a PMP from the Project Management Institute, and a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma. He is fluent in German, English, and Spanish.

Brent Protzman, Manager-Energy Information and Analytics, Lutron Electronics
Brent has a Ph.D in Architectural Engineering from the University of Nebraska and is the author of published articles on human factors in lighting and lighting energy. Brent is a former professor and researcher in the Building Systems Program at the University of Colorado where he focused on human factors in lighting, daylighting design and performance, energy audits and simulations, and sustainable lighting systems. As Manager-Energy Information and Analytics at Lutron Electronics, he drives energy and application research and analysis with a focus on system integration and controls applications. With an expertise in both energy performance and human factors, he has unique understanding of the interactions between building system operation, occupant acceptance, and environmental functionality.
Stephen Selkowitz, Group Leader, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Stephen Selkowitz is Group Leader, Windows and Building Envelope Materials, and Senior Advisor for Building Science, Building Technology and Urban Systems Department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He has over 35 years of experience in building energy performance and sustainable design, with an emphasis on RD&D of energy efficient technologies, systems and design practices. An internationally recognized expert on window technologies, window software tools, façade systems, and daylighting, he leads a multidisciplinary team in the development and demonstration of technologies, systems, processes and tools. Projects range from basic materials research for glazing and daylighting to development of energy simulation tools for integrated building design and operations, and from near term field demonstrations of emerging technologies to research supporting “net zero energy” buildings. He led the proposal team for LBNL’s new FLEXLAB, the Facility for Low Energy experiments in Buildings. The research program balances R&D with an aggressive technology transfer effort so that research results are effectively adopted by the building industry. Selkowitz participates in a wide range of building industry, government, and professional activities in the U.S. and internationally, and author of over 170 publications and holds 2 patents. In 2012 he was the recipient of the first LBNL Lifetime Achievement Award for Societal Impact and in 2014 he received the McGraw Hill/ENR 2014 Award of Excellence for “relentlessly working to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings and for moving the nation towards better building performance.” He holds an AB degree from Harvard College with a major in Physics and an MFA in Environmental Design from California Institute of the Arts.
Darrell Smith, Executive Director, International Window Film Association
Darrell has over 45 years’ experience in marketing, sales and distribution, with the last 40 years in the window film industry. In the last twenty years, he has served as organizational and planning consultant with trade associations, Internet related businesses, and investment firms. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the International Window Film Association (IWFA). He has authored or co-authored many of the generic educational materials used for industry training and for consumer information purposes.

In addition, Darrell has represented the interests of the window film industry to the National Fenestration Rating Council, the Attachments Energy Rating Council, the Glass Association of North America, the Protective Glazing Council International, the Glazing Industry Code Committee, the Glazing Industry Safety Council, the International Code Committees, and the U.S. Department of Energy. He was named one of the Most Influential Persons in the Glass Industry for 2012.

Darrell holds a B.A. in Economics from Wake Forest University, and has pursued graduate studies in business administration/marketing at University of North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and University of Virginia.

Todd Stratmoen, Corporate Engineering Initiatives Manager, Larson Manufacturing
Born and raised in Northfield, Minnesota, Todd Stratmoen graduated from Iowa State University in 1988 with a BS degree in Industrial Engineering. Upon graduation, Todd joined Pella Corporation where he served 16 years as Project Engineer, Engineering Project Manager (double-hung products), Senior Manager Product Design (storm door division), and Senior Manager Product Development (entry systems division). In 2005, Todd joined Larson Manufacturing Company where he currently serves as Corporate Engineering Initiatives Manager focusing on industry and government affairs, codes and regulations, rating and certification efforts, intellectual property, engineering business processes, and product documentation.
Michael Thoman, Director of Thermal Testing and Simulations, Intertek-ATI
Mr. Thoman has served as the Director of Thermal Testing and Simulations at Intertek-ATI since 2000, determining energy performance parameters on residential and commercial windows, doors, skylights, and curtain wall systems. He is highly involved in organizations like NFRC and ASTM, serving in various leadership roles within both organizations. He has served on the NFRC Board of Directors since 2005 and is currently the Technical Committee chairman for that organization. At ASTM, he leads task groups dealing with thermal testing of building envelope products and serves as a section leader on the C16.30 Thermal Insulation Subcommittee. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering and Master’s degrees in Information Systems and Business Administration and is also a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Pennsylvania.
Ralph Vasami, Executive Director, AERC
Ralph Vasami, Esq is a Group Vice President at Kellen and has a broad background in engineering, business management, operations, finance, strategic planning and law. He is actively involved with leading clients’ efforts to modify and enhance National Building Codes, and is regularly called upon to facilitate client strategic planning meetings. He serves as the Executive Director of both the Window Covering Manufacturers (WCMA) and AERC.