Staff

Lilli Ambort — Intern, Energy Democracy Initiative

Lilli Ambort is an Energy Democracy Intern with the Energy Democracy initiative where she contributes to blog posts and interactive features. She is currently studying Global Studies, Political Economy and Environmental Change, with a minor in Chinese Language and Culture at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Recent Posts

Michelle Andrews — GIS and Data Visualization Researcher

Michelle Andrews is a GIS and Data Visualization Researcher with the Community Broadband Initiative. She received her Masters of Science in GIS from Clark University and served for two years in CTEP AmeriCorps in the Twin Cities. She pairs her data analysis and mapping background with the on-the-ground digital equity work to make data both applicable and easily understandable to a wide range of audiences.

Contact

Jordan Ashby — Communications Intern

Jordan Ashby is the Communications Intern for the Institute of Local Self-Reliance. She assists in research for the communications team as well as content development for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and the Building Local Power podcast. She is currently a rising Junior at Yale University studying American Studies with a certificate in Education Studies.

Contact

John Bailey — Development Director

John is the Director of Development and is responsible for coordinating fundraising and related outreach for ILSR.  He was a senior researcher at ILSR from 1992 until 2011, specializing in decentralized energy policy and analysis including topics of renewable energy, climate change, efficiency, tax policy and electric vehicles.

Contact – Twitter

lindabilsens

Linda Bilsens — Project Manager, Composting for Community Initiative and Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders Program

Linda is the Project Manager for ILSR’s Composting for Community project and Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders community composter training program. Her role is dedicated to fostering a skilled, collaborative network of composters who are regenerating their communities, both socially and ecologically.

Full BioContact – Recent Posts – Twitter

Drew Birschbach — Intern, Energy Democracy Initiative

Drew Birschbach is an Energy Democracy Intern working as a producer on the Local Energy Rules podcast and blog posts. He is studying Professional Journalism with minors  in Sustainability Studies, Information Technology and Computer Science at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Recent Posts

Jessica Del Fiacco — Communications Manager

Jessica Del Fiacco is the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Communications Manager. She works closely with all of our initiatives to build community power and combat monopolies, and she runs ILSR’s social media networks on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Jessica also produces the Institute’s Building Local Power podcast.

Contact Jessica for media inquiries.

ContactRecent PostsTwitter

John Farrell — Co-Director & Director, Energy Democracy Initiative

John Farrell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its work on energy democracy. John is best known for his vivid illustrations of the economic and environmental benefits of local ownership of decentralized renewable energy.

Full BioContactRecent Posts – Twitter

Sean Gonsalves — Senior Reporter, Editor, and Researcher, Community Broadband Networks Initiative

Sean Gonsalves is a a senior reporter, editor and researcher for ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative. Sean was a longtime former reporter, columnist, and news editor with the Cape Cod Times. He is also a former nationally syndicated columnist in 22 newspapers, including the Oakland Tribune, Kansas City Star and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. His work has also appeared in the Boston Globe, USA Today, the Washington Post and the International Herald-Tribune.

Full BioContactRecent Posts

India Gorden — Operations Manager

India Gorden is the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Operations Manager. India has managed day-to-day office operations for non-profit organizations since 2003 and maintains her professional relationship with various vendors. Her focus is in office management, finance and general human resources.

Contact

Susan Holmberg – Senior Editor and Researcher, Independent Business Initiative

Susan Holmberg is Senior Editor and Researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Independent Business Initiative. She writes on corporate power and inequality and has been published in the New York Times, Time, The Atlantic, The Nation, and Democracy Journal.

Full BioContact – Twitter

Sophia Hosain – Baltimore Project Lead, Composting for Community Initiative

Sophia Hosain is the Baltimore Lead on ILSR’s Composting for Community project and Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders community composter training program. A graduate of the Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders program and part-time vegetable & flower farmer, Sophia now works in sustainability and is interested in alternative energy, permaculture and circular economies.

Contact

Katie Kienbaum – Senior Researcher, Energy Democracy Initiative

Katie Kienbaum is a Senior Researcher with ILSR’s Energy Democracy initiative, where she researches and writes about equitable and decentralized clean energy and its impact on communities across the country. Before joining the Energy Democracy initiative, she was a Research Associate with the Community Broadband Networks initiative

Contact

Linda Knapp — Director, MACREDO Project

Linda Knapp is a Senior Program Manager for ILSR, overseeing the Mid-Atlantic Consortium of Recycling and Economic Development Officials, a recycling market development group funded by US EPA Region 3. Her current work focuses on increasing on-farm composting.

Full BioContact

Ron Knox — Senior Researcher and Writer

Ron Knox is the senior researcher and writer for the Independent Business Initiative. He has studied and written about antitrust and monopoly power for more than a decade. Before joining ILSR, he worked in various senior editorial roles at Global Competition Review, and his antimonopoly writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Slate, The American Prospect and elsewhere. He is based in Kansas City.

Contact Twitter

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken — Senior Researcher, Community Broadband Networks Initiative

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken is a Senior Researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative. He is interested in the democratizing power of technology, systems engineering, and the history of science, technology, and medicine. Previously, Ry worked as an Adjunct Professor of American History in Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Minnesota. Ry holds a PhD in American History from Oklahoma State University.

ContactTwitter

Maria McCoy — Research Associate, Energy Democracy Initiative

Maria McCoy is a Research Associate on the Energy Democracy initiative, where she contributes to blog posts, podcasts, video content, and interactive features. Her research focuses on how communities can transition to clean, decentralized energy systems that are both equitable and economically viable.

ContactRecent Posts

Virgil McDill — Communications Director

Virgil McDill has more than 20 years of experience developing and executing media campaigns for government and non-profit organizations. Before joining ILSR in 2020, Virgil served as Associate Director of Public Affairs at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where he led key national media campaigns focused on saving historic places and revitalizing communities.

Contact

Christopher Mitchell — Director, Community Broadband Networks Initiative

Christopher’s work focuses on telecommunications — helping communities ensure the networks upon which they depend, are accountable to the community.  He has published several reports, articles, and interviews while also offering technical assistance to communities around the country.

Full BioContactRecent Posts – Twitter

Stacy Mitchell — Co-Director & Director, Independent Business Initiative

Stacy is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its initiative to decentralize economic power and level the playing field for independent businesses. She has produced many influential reports and articles, designed local and federal policies, and collaborated to build effective coalitions and campaigns.

Full BioContactRecent Posts – Twitter

David Morris — Distinguished Fellow

David Morris is co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and currently ILSR’s distinguished fellow. He writes the blog, From the Desk of David Morris. He has served as an adviser or consultant to local, state and national governments and to private businesses large and small.

Full BioContactRecent Posts – Twitter

Jeffrey Neal, PE — Urban & On-Site Compost Consultant, Composting for Community Initiative

Commander, Jeffrey H. Neal is a retired United States Navy Civil Corps Engineer Officer and a graduate of ILSR’s Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders (NSR) Composter Training Program program. He provides his unique skill-set and expertise in composting, and facilities and program management to organizations and businesses that are considering composting.

Full BioContact

Brenda Platt — Director, Composting for Community Initiative

Brenda Platt is a recycling expert and composting advocate, and directs ILSR’s Composting for Community project.

Full BioContactRecent Posts – Twitter

Ronaldo Reyes — Intern, Composting for Community Initiative

Ronaldo is a Composting for Community Initiative Intern. His primary responsibilities are to provide support for the initiatives’s ongoing projects as well as researching and documenting policies and resources to advance composting. He recently completed majors in International Studies and French Language & Culture at Towson University.

Contact

Neil Seldman — Director, Waste to Wealth Initiative

Neil Seldman, Ph.D., co-founded the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and is Director of the Waste to Wealth Initiative. Seldman is a leading recycling and zero waste activists assisting citizen, environmental and small business organizations in stopping garbage incinerators in scores of US cities. Subsequently, he works with these cities to increase recovery of materials from the waste stream and grow the local economy by adding value to materials through local processing, manufacturing and job creation. Prior to founding ILSR Seldman was a manufacturer of consumer products and professor of political science.

Full BioContactRecent Posts

Kennedy Smith — Senior Researcher

Kennedy Smith is a Senior Researcher with ILSR’s Independent Business initiative. Kennedy is one of the nation’s foremost experts on commercial district revitalization and independent business development. Her work focuses on analyzing the factors threatening independent businesses and developing policy tools that communities can use to address these issues and build thriving, equitable local economies.

Full BioContact

Shaoul Sussman — Legal Fellow, Independent Business Initiative

Shaoul Sussman is a Legal Fellow at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. His research focuses on the intersection of antitrust law and big tech. Shaoul has published an academic paper and a number of articles about Amazon’s anticompetitive practices and the company’s negative influence on firms that rely on its e-commerce platform.
Full Bio – Twitter

Mary Timmel — Small Business and Consumer Organizer, Independent Business Initiative

Mary Timmel is ILSR’s Small Business and Consumer Organizer. She supports and develops the leadership of small businesses and consumers to win policy changes that check Amazon’s outsized power and address rising corporate concentration across the economy. She brings decades of small business, social justice, and community organizing and advocacy to the role. Prior to joining ILSR, Mary worked with Girls Who Code, Missouri Jobs With Justice, and the Small Business Majority.
Contact

 

Board of Directors

NoraGoldsteinNora Goldstein

Nora Goldstein is the Editor of BioCycle, the magazine and website authority on composting and anaerobic digestion, where she oversees such projects as “www.findacomposter.com” and manages conferences related to composting and zero waste. She received the U.S. Composting Council’s “Hi Kellogg Award” in January 2014, and the American Biogas Council’s “Biogas Visionary Award” in October 2013.

JolieJonesJolie Jones

Jolie Jones is the founder of the Take It Back Foundation, which has worked to encourage recycling efforts.  Her varied career spans art, modeling, and music.

Chris-LewisChris Lewis

Christopher Lewis is Vice President for Government Affairs at Public Knowledge and he leads their federal advocacy efforts. Prior to joining Public Knowledge in 2012, Chris served at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as Deputy Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs and advised the FCC Chairman on legislative and political strategy. He is a former U.S. Senate Staffer for the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and has over a decade of organizing and campaign experience. Chris graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelors degree in Government. He lives in Alexandria, VA where he loves working on local civic issues and is elected to the Alexandria City Public School Board.

KirkMarckwaldKirk Marckwald

Kirk Marckwald, the Chairman of the Board, helms California Environmental Associates, a consulting firm that works with a wide range of businesses, nonprofits, foundations, and public institutions to promote conservation. Marckwald has extensive experience with energy and environmental regulation, and prior to founding CEA in 1984, worked as the Under Secretary of California’s Natural Resources Agency, and as a consultant with the Environmental Defense Fund.

David MorrisDavid Morris

David Morris is co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and currently ILSR’s distinguished fellow. He writes the blog, From the Desk of David Morris. He has served as an adviser or consultant to local, state and national governments and to private businesses large and small.

RoyPriestPhotoRoy Priest

Roy Priest is a Commissioner on the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County (Md.) and retired Executive Director and CEO of the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority in Alexandria, Va.  Priest has worked in community economic development and finance over his 50-year career, and prior to his current position, served seven years as the President and CEO of the National Congress for Community Economic Development, and 17 years with the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development, including as the Director of the Office of Economic Development.

AndyReicher

Andrew Reicher

Andrew Reicher is Executive Director of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, where he started in 1978 and which he has led since 1981. Over his tenure, UHAB’s base of tenant-run and tenant-owned housing cooperatives has grown from several dozen to more than 1,500 in New York City and beyond. He is the 2003 recipient of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives’ highest honor, the “Jerry Voorhis Award.”

Photo credit: Carol J. Ott

GinaSchaeferGina Schaefer

Gina Schaefer is the Founder & CEO of nine Ace Hardware stores in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Md. She manages operations for the $20 million company, oversees 210 employees, and chairs the Retail Committee for the Ace Hardware Corporation Board of Directors. Additionally, she is a member of the Board of Think Local First D.C., a group focused on transforming D.C.’s economy by strengthening the local business community, Vice Chair of the Board for House of Ruth, and a member of the Advisory Board of Jubilee Jobs.

Neil SeldmanNeil Seldman

Neil Seldman, Ph.D., co-founded the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and is Director of the Waste to Wealth Initiative. Seldman is a leading recycling and zero waste activists assisting citizen, environmental and small business organizations in stopping garbage incinerators in scores of US cities. Subsequently, he works with these cities to increase recovery of materials from the waste stream and grow the local economy by adding value to materials through local processing, manufacturing and job creation. Prior to founding ILSR, Seldman was a manufacturer of consumer products and professor of political science.

 

To reach ILSR staff members not listing an address, send e-mail to info@ilsr.org