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Meet the MREA Board of Directors

Henry Dykema, President

Henry Dykema owns Sundance Solar Systems, a renewable energy business specializing in the design, sale, and installation of photovoltaic and wind energy systems. He has lived off the grid since 1992 and started Sundance Solar Systems in 1994. He has BS in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana, Missoula and an MS in Wildlife Biology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is a NABCEP certified renewable energy provider specializing in all aspects of the field. Henry has been involved with MREA since its beginning and has served on the board since 2010.

Brad Van Wert, Vice President

Together with his business partner Kyle MacVean, Brad founded Harvest Solar in 2012. A full service Solar Electrical contractor, Harvest believes that if you take the time to answer questions and help people understand how solar can fit in their lives, we can grow this incredible industry here in Montana.
Brad brings years of experience and a wealth of knowledge to the Harvest Solar team. While he is experienced working in every step of the process, he is most passionate about working one-on-one with clients and explaining how solar is a good fit for them.

Throughout each of the past three Montana legislative sessions Brad has taken an active interest in helping move forward responsible policy that is good for the industry in this state. During the 2017 legislative session he took on the persona of ‘Solar Guy’ to help spread the word to Montanans from around the state and rally their support. This campaign showed him first hand just how excited the citizens of Montana are about renewable energy.

Whether Brad is wiring panels on a roof; advocating for responsible legislation and public policy; or outside playing in the mountains, he is proud to say that he wakes up every day going to work for the sun.

Sarah Stands, Secretary

Born and raised in Livingston, Montana, Sarah is an alumni of UofM and began a career in renewable energy and low carbon development in 2009. She holds a Masters in Sustainable Development Planning and Management and is interested in equitable access and supporting a socially and environmentally just energy transition. A majority of her work has focused on utility/commercial-scale independent power producers in sub-Saharan Africa, consulting to international market entrants, developers/operators, and development institutions with special references to meaningful job creation, skills development, gender equality and rural development. Some of the projects Sarah has worked on include job creation and skills development analysis; community needs assessments; structuring economic development plans for private-public-partnerships; identifying regional socio-economic development good practice; and creating gender and diversity strategies for the global sustainable energy sector. She has previously worked with industry associations, such as the South African Wind Energy Association and South African PV Association – and is currently a member of the Global Women’s Network of the Energy Transition, the Yellowstone Bend Citizen’s Council of the Northern Plains Resource Council, Montana Matriarch’s Grant Committee, and sits on the City of Livingston’s Parks and Trails Committee.

Patrick Judge, Treasurer

Pat Judge has advocated for clean energy policies in Montana since 1996. Most of that time was spent working for the Montana Environmental Information Center, as lobbyist and energy program director. He served on the Governor’s Climate Change Advisory Committee and the Helena Climate Change Task Force, and continues to serve on NorthWestern Energy’s USB Renewable Energy Advisory Committee and the Helena Citizen Conservation Board. In 2000, he completed his master’s thesis on Montana’s misguided experiment with electric utility deregulation. Currently, he is employed as a physics instructor at Carroll College.

Susan Bilo

Susan has been an active member of MREA since 2010. She serves on the Policy Committee and is Chair of the Fair & Events Committee. Susan has worked to advance energy efficiency and solar energy for a state energy office, a U.S. Department of Energy regional office, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. She currently teaches a course on energy and sustainability for Montana State University's Gallatin College. Some of Susan's particular interests include education and promotion of net zero energy buildings and the electrification of the transportation sector.

Christopher Borton bio photoChristopher Borton

Chris is the director and co-founder of Sage Mountain Center, an off-grid, sustainably designed educational facility located in Whitehall, Montana. Sage Mountain Center’s mission is to promote personal and environmental awareness. For over twenty years Sage Mountain Center has provided consultation services, seminars and tours in everything from straw bale home building and cordwood construction to solar and wind power for thousands of students, homeowners, and businesses across the state. Chris’ avocations include playing drums for the Butte Symphony Orchestra and various jazz ensembles and competing nationally as a freestyle figure skater.

Jack Isbell

Jack Isbell has owned and operated Solar Montana, a renewable energy contractor located in Helena since 2005. Jack has a B.S. in Information Systems from the University of Montana and has been a NABCEP certified solar installer since 2008. Jack resides in an 1800's Victorian home that has been converted to Solar with his wife and two young sons and enjoys wood-working in his spare time.

Nicola Laverack

Nicola is a native New Englander who came to Montana as a wrangler on a horse ranch in 2007. Her interest in renewable energy was sparked during a permaculture design course she took while traveling after undergrad, which eventually led her to get her Masters degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Montana. During graduate school Nicola studied renewable energy policy and was fortunate to intern for MREA during the 2015 legislative session. Currently living in the Bitterroot Valley, Nicola works as the Communications Director for the solar electric design and build firm OnSite Energy and has served on the MREA Policy Committee since 2019.

Barbara Oldershaw

Barbara “Barb” Oldershaw has extensive experience in both clean energy advocacy and non-profit administration, including more than twenty years of program and event management. Her current community of Livingston features an active chapter of the Northern Plains Resource Council (the Yellowstone Bend Citizens Council), is host to an Energy Corps intern, and has launched a Solarize Livingston campaign to facilitate additional solar installations. Park County is also home to the Park Electric Co-op and adjacent to several proposed wind farm installations, and benefits from the local conservation efforts of the Park County Environmental Council and the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition.

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Barb previously served a two-year term as an elected Board Member for Passive House California, developing programs to increase membership and advocating to incorporate more stringent energy efficiency requirements in the state building code. Her educational background features a BA in Community Development (UC Berkeley), an MA in Architecture and Urban Planning (UCLA), and continuing education certificates in Green Building and Sustainable Practices. She also worked for a B-Corp solar company in Sonoma County, informing clients about PACE financing opportunities and collaborating on educational events such as Drive Electric Day. In Montana, Barb is assisting the US Green Building Council to produce their annual summit, and recently launched a consultancy – Step Into Strategy – offering program management and grant writing services.