Clean Energy, Jobs, and Economic Recovery

Event Recording

Missed the event or just want to watch it again? You can find a recording of the event on our YouTube channel. The video is also embedded below.

Check out the recording of our livestream of the forum from March 23, 2021


The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the largest annual economic contraction in the United States since World War II, opening the door for clean energy as a key to jump-starting the economy and creating jobs while reducing emissions. As the new administration considers investments in clean energy infrastructure, however, these investments must include the workers and communities—many of color—whose lives and livelihoods are closely tied to the fossil fuel industry and who have been underrepresented in the clean energy workforce. How can we quickly build supply and demand for clean energy jobs, particularly in Wisconsin, while ensuring a fair and just transition for all?

Join us on March 23rd from 4:30–6:00pm CT to discuss jump-starting the economy with clean energy jobs.

Register here


Marah CurtisKen Walz

Science and Engineering Instructor and Renewable Energy Program Director

Dr. Kenneth Walz has taught science, engineering, and renewable energy at Madison Area Technical College since 2003, where he serves as the Director of the CREATE Energy Center funded by the National Science Foundation. Dr. Walz earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin while performing research on advanced lithium-ion batteries with Rayovac and Argonne National Laboratory. Dr. Walz is an alumnus of the Academies Creating Teacher Scientists Program at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and he also spent time as a visiting scientist with the University of Rochester Center for Photoinduced Charge Transfer. Dr. Walz is an adjunct professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, where he has taught graduate courses in Engineering Professional Development and Teaching Methods for Scientists and Engineers. He also serves as an advisory board member for the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education, the K-12 Energy Education Program, and the Solar Ready Vets Program. Dr. Walz has been recognized as Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and as the Energy Educator of the Year by the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education.


Sara Conzemius
Founder & Co-Owner of Illume

Sara ConzemiusSara Conzemius is an expert in the design and implementation of customer-sided energy programs. An awarded industry leader, Sara provides savvy guidance on program design, policy and EM&V strategy for utilities, states, and private entities. Sara has provided legislative and commission testimony in multiple states and supported the development of national legislation intended to support energy efficiency in U.S. homes. Sara is a sought-after thought-leader, speaker, and strategist. She has served in multiple industry leadership roles, including as a founding board member for the Program for the Evaluation and Assessment of Residential Lighting (PEARL), Chairperson of the Board for the Association of Energy Service Professionals (AESP), and the current Chairperson of the Energy Efficiency Working Group for the Dane County Office of Energy and Climate. Sara has received multiple prestigious industry awards for her dedication to and work on behalf of the industry including the Michael C. Thompson Award presented by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for her dedication to the energy efficiency industry, and the B.H. Prassad award for her work on behalf of AESP.

Ellen Barlas
Solar Workforce Manager, MREA

Ellen BarlasEllen manages MREA’s Solar Ready Internship Program, connecting technical college students with resources to complete internships with solar contractors across the state of Wisconsin. Ellen is a workforce development professional with experience in program management, non-profit administration and business development. Ellen has her BA in English from the University of Illinois and has recently completed an Associate’s degree in Energy Management Technology at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Ellen has lived for many years in Door County and continues to enjoy the natural beauty of the county.

Larry Williams Jr.
Labor and Coal Coordinator, Sierra Club

Larry Williams Jr.Larry Williams Jr., the Sierra Club's Labor & Coal Coordinator, is a seasoned organizer and Labor leader. The Labor and Economic Justice Program builds national, state and local campaigns to create good, family-supporting clean energy and energy efficiency jobs, especially in front line communities, and negotiate and organize for fair treatment of workers when fossil fuel plants are retired and mobilizes a coalition of labor and environmental groups in support of a clean energy future that works for all. In 2015, Larry founded UnionBase, a first of its kind pro-union social networking platform. Larry is the President of Progressive Workers' Union (PWU) and has been a union organizer, educator and leader for 10 years in Washington, D.C.

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