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Awards Honor Leadership in Community Wind

In Albany at last week's "Community Wind Across America" northeast regional conference—an event designed to showcase ordinary people who are doing extraordinary work for residential and commercial wind energy development on a local level—Windustry recognized three outstanding leaders in community wind with the inaugural presentation of the Distinguished Service in Community Wind Award and the Community Wind Innovator Award.

The 2011 recipient of the Distinguished Service in Community Wind Award is Thomas A. Wind, PE, of Wind Utility Consulting, based in Jamaica, Iowa. The annual award was established by the Windustry board of directors to acknowledge a person who has made an exceptionally significant contribution to the establishment and growth of the community wind market sector. “This person is an exemplary professional and a mentor for others,” said Lisa Daniels, Windustry executive director. “This person is regarded as a creative leader in his or her professional field and embodies methods of practice and aspects of being that we aspire to ourselves.”

According to Windustry, Wind was selected based upon his years of pioneering work in the field, coupled with his creative and practical leadership. In his work supporting both community wind projects and the industry as a whole, he was credited for his willingness to share and put many unpaid hours of effort into mentoring. Wind even established the first municipal-owned wind turbine in Waverly, Iowa in the 1990s.

In presenting the award, Daniels stated, “Through sharing his expertise as an electrical engineer with extensive utility experience, Mr. Wind has helped communities across the country make wise decisions about wind projects.”

The 2011 Community Wind Innovator award went to two individuals who made significant progress over the past two years in forging ahead with new policies, new approaches, new business models, or new research to further community and distributed wind energy. The first inaugural recipient of this award, Kevin Schulte, CEO and founder of Sustainable Energy Developments in Ontario, N.Y., was acknowledged for giving a voice to many of the issues and market challenges facing the installation of both distributed and commercial wind projects. Schulte and his company have worked to install projects up and down the East Coast and create new markets in such places as municipalities, schools, and ski resorts. He has made progress in both wind technology and business models and siting and permitting policy issues.

Larry Flowers, deputy director of distributed and community wind for AWEA, recognized Schulte for his inspiring, boundless passion and personal energy for a clean energy future through distributed and community wind.

Jacob Susman, CEO and founder of OwnEnergy based in Brooklyn, N.Y., was also named a 2011 Community Wind Innovator by Windustry. According to the group, Susman has effectively advanced the community wind agenda on the federal and state levels. Susman was also recognized for helping to promote the Community Wind Investment Tax Credit legislation which was introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this month. His experience in business development and investment in renewable energy also earned him accolades.

“Jacob has been an inspirational leader in forging ahead and leading us forward on the first federal community wind legislation in the U.S.,” said award presenter Sue Jones of Community Energy Partners. “Jacob has razor-like focus and determination in achieving his goals.”

Carl Levesque is the Communications Editor at AWEA. This article first appeared in the AWEA Windletter and was reprinted with permission from the American Wind Energy Association.

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