Solar Energy International

We've trained over 76,000 people from 145 countries. SEI Alumni have designed, installed, commissioned, or maintained over 10% of the WORLD's installed solar PV. This is having a real impact on climate change, and we're just getting started.

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Kathy Swartz, CEO/Executive Director
Start Date: 2007

Before coming to SEI, Kathy ran the environmental education program at Camp Arroyo in Livermore, CA, which was one of the first environmental education centers in the country to incorporate sustainable design into all of its buildings. The buildings utilized passive solar design, incorporated solar hot water and radiant floor systems, and demonstrated both rice straw bale and rammed earth construction. She was responsible for getting the camp's first grid-tied PV system installed and incorporated PV and sustainable building concepts into the curriculum. Kathy has a degree from West Virginia Wesleyan and enjoys gardening, canning, and hiking with Huck the Saint Bernard and Penny the Big Newfie Dog.

Paul Gibb, Financial Director
Start Date: 2003

Paul Gibb escaped corporate life in Austin, Texas, for western Colorado in 2000. Since then, he has been helping small businesses and nonprofits with their finances while enjoying the rural lifestyle of Paonia. Paul has consulted with more than a dozen organizations of varying size and at different stages in their evolution. Paul hooked up with SEI in 2006 and signed on as Financial Director in 2008. When not crunching numbers, Paul chases around his twin 7-year-old sons and provides free labor to his wife's organic farming operation. Paul is a graduate of Boston University (MBA) and Colgate University (BA).

Chris Turek, Marketing Director
Start Date: 2009

Chris Turek has more than 15 years of marketing, online learning, and educational technology experience working with organizations all over the world. As a marketing and educational technology consultant, Chris has guided corporate, government, and non-profit organizations to effectively adopt new media strategies and online learning technologies to spread their message. He is a Sam Houston State University alumnus with a Bachelor's of Business Administration degree in Information Systems Management and Graduate-level studies at Texas A&M University in Educational Technology. When he isn't buried in his laptop and Solar Energy International's Online Campus, Chris and his wife, Monique, and his son, Ethan are out exploring the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountain area. If he isn't on the ski slopes you can find him landing trout (catch and release, of course) at the beaver dams on McClure Pass between the Carbondale and Paonia, Colo., Solar Energy International (SEI) offices.

Sandy Pickard, Business Manager
Start Date: 1995

Sandy Pickard feels that Solar Energy International has changed the way she thinks and behaves. Her role as Business Manager has been the greatest job for her personal growth for the past 14 years. She has watched the growing interest in renewables into becoming not only the right path for us citizens of the world but a great investment opportunity as well. She's happy to work in the accounting department and also to host a community radio show "Solar Sisters" on a monthly basis. Her background in speech pathology from Oklahoma State University did not prepare her like her experience and training here at Solar Energy International!

Kristopher Sutton, Business Development Director
Start Date: 2009

Kris Sutton has worked full-time in the PV industry since 1999. Kris was a NABCEP Certified Solar PV Installer. He regularly teaches technical trainings on the design, installation of photovoltaic systems--both commercial and residential, with a heavy emphasis on safety. He has been employed as an installer, project manager, and owned his own solar consulting business working with utilities, architects, engineers, general contractors, building departments, and homeowners through all phases of the PV design and installation process. Kris serves as Solar Energy International's Instructor-Trainer and helps develop curriculum.

Matthew Harris, Spanish Director
Start Date: 2001

Matthew Harris has more than 17 years of experience in the renewable energy and sustainability fields. Educated in architectural design with a focus on restorative and regenerative principles, Matthew holds a vision of a built environment focused on the story of place. These ideals run parallel with the mission and vision of SEI whom Matthew joined in 2004. In his time with SEI Matthew was the initial lead project manager on the planning and development of SEI's 7-acre Renewable Energy Training Facility in Paonia, CO, co- coordinated SEI's Green Building program, and helped to launch SEI's Programa Hispano, which he now serves as its Director of Business Development. The Programa Hispano aims to establish SEI as a leading renewable energy training provider for Spanish speakers, with a focus on Latin America. Matthew and his team have brought SEI's Spanish training's to over 6 countries including online learning, training over 3,000 Spanish speakers since 2013. Matthew lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife Alexis, two cats Magic and Percy, and his six solar cookers. When Matthew is not working to fulfill SEI's mission he spends time as an Improvisational comedian, playing soccer, spending time in Colorado's beautiful mountains, and drinking Yerba Mate.

Marla Korpar, Development Director
Start Date: 2017

A native Western Pennsylvanian, Marla fell in love with nonprofits and the environment when she was only a teenager. Inspired by her high school's Interact Club and the Youghiogheny River, Marla quickly developed a deep passion for charitable work and the great outdoors. This resolve stuck with her through college, driving her to earn her BS in Environmental Systems Engineering while chairing a student-run nonprofit that fought pediatric cancer. After a pit stop in Corporate America, Marla joined the SEI family first as a student and volunteer, and now as an employee. At SEI she marries her passions of people and the planet by fundraising to develop SEI's outreach programs and share its vision, one dollar at a time. On the side, Marla can be found providing environmental consulting, working with her local solar PV installer, and trying desperately to harden up her soft hands as she tends her garden and cares for eight hens.


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