The U.S. C3E Awards recognize the outstanding leadership and extraordinary achievements of mid-career women working to advance clean energy. For the past five years, the C3E program has conducted a nationwide campaign for Award nominations. C3E Ambassadors select the winners and these remarkable Awardees are recognized for their work at the C3E Symposium each year.
Biographies of the 45 C3E Award winners to date highlight the significant impact these women are making in clean energy. In addition, the U.S. C3E 5th Anniversary Book features personal narratives and advice from C3E Award winners.
Use the arrows to scroll through the winners. Click on names to read their bios.
As the Program Lead for Hydrogen Safety, Codes and Standards at Sandia National Laboratories, Chris LaFleur is responsible for fire risk program activities. Her main research involves evaluating fire risks for emerging energy technologies, with her recent work focused on characterizing the risks from traffic incidents involving hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in tunnels for several metropolitan areas on the east coast. This work also includes evaluating the impacts of hydrogen jet flames on steel and concrete structural members. She has also led risk characterization efforts for maintenance facility modifications to allow natural gas- and hydrogen- powered vehicles to be repaired indoors. Additional studies include failure mode analysis for liquefied natural gas-fueled locomotives and other heavy fleet vehicles. These analyses enable the safe implementation of cleaner transportation fuels to reduce U.S. reliance on fossil fuels and increase the availability of renewable energy solutions. She has represented the United States in developing hydrogen codes and standards for maritime applications and has authored peer-reviewed papers on performance-based designs for hydrogen fuel stations. Before joining Sandia National Laboratories, she worked at General Motors, where she managed corporate fire protection standards and was responsible for property insurance and enterprise risk management. She began her career as an environmental engineer for Parsons Engineering Science. She is a licensed professional engineer and serves as a principal member of the sprinkler discharge criteria committee of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, and NFPA 2, Hydrogen Technologies Code. She also serves on the U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Safety Panel. She earned a BS in Geology and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester, an MS in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland, and a Doctorate of Engineering in Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Michigan.
Anna Bautista is Vice President of Construction and Workforce Development for GRID Alternatives, the nation’s largest non-profit solar installer. GRID develops and implements rooftop and community solar projects for affordable housing providers and households in low-income communities most affected by climate change, environmental injustice, and underemployment. Through a unique, people-first model, GRID puts money back into families’ pockets, reduces the energy cost burden for housing providers, and jump-starts solar careers with hands-on installation training. In addition to driving installation standards of safety, quality, and efficiency, Bautista leads GRID’s two major workforce diversity programs: RISE (Realizing an Inclusive Solar Economy), an initiative launched in 2015 aimed at increasing diversity in the solar industry; and the Women in Solar Program, launched in 2014 to provide pathways to technical careers for women and highlight the voices of women of color in the industry. Bautista is also an executive sponsor of GRID’s internal work to advance equity and leadership throughout the organization and build a culture of inclusion that supports and retains a diverse group of employees that represent the frontline communities GRID serves. Bautista has over 12 years of experience in solar as a site supervisor, trainer and educator, project manager, designer, and installer. She is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) as a PV (photovoltaics) Installation Professional and holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Leslie Marshall is the Corporate Energy Engineering Lead for General Mills. General Mills has committed to reducing its absolute greenhouse gas emissions across its full value chain by 28% by the year 2025 using 2010 as a baseline. Marshall is tasked with developing and executing the global strategy for reducing the energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions that result from production at General Mills’ food processing plants. Since 2013, General Mills’ corporate and plant energy teams have reduced the company’s adjusted energy usage by 11% and saved $23 million in energy costs. She manages the utility data for General Mills’ food processing plants and identifies the largest opportunities for reducing energy usage. Her work involves providing cost analyses to justify implementing capital projects for new technologies that will enable plants to run more efficiently. General Mills’ energy reduction strategy emphasizes making behavioral changes to plant utility and facility operations. In addition to eliminating energy usage, this has improved the reliability of the utilities delivered to production departments and decreased maintenance costs. Her work has demonstrated that energy reduction can be achieved in businesses even when the company’s priority is to deliver a different product to the consumer. She actively participates in sustainability events to educate her community about General Mills’ commitment to the environment, and she frequently speaks at international conferences to collaborate on energy-reducing best practices with her peers across other industries. She is a member of Middle Tennessee State University’s Engineering Technology Department Advisory Board, which provides input on how the department can develop students to meet the community’s needs. She also volunteers with Partners in Food Solutions, providing technical consultations to food processing plants in Africa that wish to reduce energy consumption but do not have on-site resources for assistance. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
Allison Archambault is President of EarthSpark International, a nonprofit organization incubating businesses that solve energy poverty. Under her leadership, EarthSpark has built a town-sized, solar-powered smart grid in rural Haiti and is currently laying the groundwork for an investable plan for the next 20 microgrids. Each grid is powerful enough to energize industry and progressive enough to deliver affordable 24/7 power to every household in its footprint. EarthSpark applies smart grid principles to rural electrification and also ensures that women’s voices and roles are important throughout the planning and implementation of the electrification process. She is a co-founder of Enèji Pwòp, a Haitian social enterprise performing grid operations in rural Haiti, and SparkMeter, a smart meter company now enabling grid operators worldwide to expand energy access to low-income customers. She has consulted to clean energy companies, governments, and advocacy groups. She previously worked with 3TIER on large-scale renewable energy siting and integration and with GridPoint, an early clean tech company combining distributed energy storage, solar photovoltaics, and energy management. She did her undergraduate thesis on rural solar electrification in Mali, and worked with Soluz, Inc. on its pioneering fee-for-service model for household solar systems in the Dominican Republic. She holds a BA from Tufts University and a Master of International Public Policy degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Sarah Valdovinos is a Co-Founder of Walden Green Energy, a company focused on developing utility-scale renewable energy projects. Walden is backed by RWE Supply & Trading, the energy trading arm of Germany-based RWE, one of Europe’s top five electric and gas utilities. In addition to their work at Walden, Valdovinos and her Co-Founders make discretionary growth investments in clean energy companies; these include distributed solar companies in Latin America, an electric vehicle charging station distributer, and a composting facility, among others. Valdovinos transitioned to clean energy after a career in commodities sales & trading. She believed her experience in the highly volatile commodities markets could be put to good use as an investor and project developer facilitating the shift to a low-carbon economy. Valdovinos is also working to ensure the workforce will be prepared to harness this trend. She is currently sponsoring and fundraising for an initiative with the University of California (UC), San Diego, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to incorporate clean energy and sustainability science into middle and high school students’ curricula to provide career & technical education built on a strong science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) foundation. Prior to Walden, she was a Managing Director at Barclays and served as Head of Commodities Origination for Latin America, Canada, and U.S. Oil and Gas. She joined Barclays from Goldman Sachs’ Commodities Latin America team. She started her career in energy at Southern California Edison. Valdovinos holds a BA in Political Science and a BA in Ethnic Studies from UC San Diego and an MBA from The Anderson School at UCLA.
Emily Kirsch is the Founder and CEO of Powerhouse, the world’s first and only incubator and accelerator dedicated to intelligent energy. Powerhouse backs seed-stage founders that are building solutions enabled by software for distributed energy, storage, and grid modernization. Since inception in 2013, Powerhouse has housed over 50 intelligent energy startups and organizations in its co-working space in the San Francisco Bay Area, has invested in 17 startups, and has celebrated 4 acquisitions. Powerhouse startups have collectively generated tens of millions of dollars in revenue, raised hundreds of millions in capital, and have created hundreds of jobs. Before founding Powerhouse, she worked with Van Jones, a former advisor to President Obama turned CNN political commentator, to launch the Green Jobs Corps, Oakland’s first renewables-focused job training program. She is the founding convener of the Oakland Climate Action Coalition, which drafted and secured passage of what was the most ambitious energy and climate action plan of any city in the country. In addition, she worked with the solar company Mosaic to secure its first customers and launch its pilot platform. She is a 2012 New Leaders Council Alumni, was featured in the ‘15 for 2015 Women Leaders in Cleantech,’ was a 2015 winner of the ‘East Bay Innovation Award for Cleantech,’ and was included in ‘Grist 50: The 50 People You’ll Be Talking About in 2016.’ Emily serves on the board of PV Complete and is on the advisory board of the University of San Francisco’s Masters of Science in Energy Systems Management program. She has guest lectured at University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University.
Inês M.L. Azevedo is the principal investigator and Co-director for the Climate and Energy Decision Making Center. Azevedo’s research interests focus on how to transition to a sustainable, low-carbon, affordable and equitable energy system. She combines engineering and technology analysis with economic and decision science approaches. She has published more than 57 peer-reviewed publications in journals such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Applied Energy, Environmental Science & Technology, Environmental Research Letters, Energy Policy, and Energy Economics. She has participated as an author and committee member in several National Research Council reports from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (Assessment of Solid State Lighting, 2013; Assessment of Technologies for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, Phase II, First Report, 2014 and Phase II, Final Report). She has graduated 19 PhD students and currently advises or co-advises 11 PhD students in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy. She received the World Economic Forum’s “Young Scientists under 40” award in 2014. Papers from her research team have received awards in 2012, 2013, and 2014 at the International Symposium on Sustainable Systems & Technology, the best poster award at the 2015 U.S. Association for Energy Economics conference, and two awards at the 2014 Pike Powers competition. She earned a BSc in Environmental Engineering (2004) and an MSc in Engineering Policy and Management of Technology from the Technical University of Lisbon (IST-Portugal), and a PhD in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University (2009).
Nicole Lautze is Associate Faculty at the University of Hawaii Manoa (UHM), where she founded the Hawaii Groundwater and Geothermal Resources Center (HGGRC). During her five-year tenure at UHM, she has mentored more than 30 undergraduate and graduate students and has been granted nearly $2 million as lead investigator. She leads a team of senior scientists in the development of an updated geothermal resource assessment for the state of Hawaii. The resource assessment involves the compilation and collection of geological, geochemical, and geophysical data across the state, and the development and implementation of a statistical methodology that integrates the data into a geothermal resource probability map. She previously led a geothermal digitization effort for the state that culminated in the launch of www.higp.hawaii.edu/hggrc in 2015. The HGGRC website is a community resource that has received tens of thousands of hits and more than 150,000 document downloads since launch. The Hawaii legislature set a policy objective that the state be 100% renewable by 2045, but there is surprisingly little discussion of better characterizing the state’s geothermal resource potential, a situation that Lautze is trying to change. She holds a BS in Geology from UCLA and a PhD in Geology and Geophysics from University of Hawaii Manoa. She received two Fulbright fellowships (to Italy and Peru), a National Science Foundation International Research Fellowship (to Italy), and a U.S. Geological Survey Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellowship.