- President: Ashley Orgain, Burlington
Global Director of Advocacy and Sustainability, Seventh Generation
Ashley has served as a VPIRG board member since 2014. At Seventh Generation, Ashley is responsible for the development, implementation and management of the Company’s issue advocacy campaigns and outreach. In 2010, she became the first Executive Director of the Seventh Generation Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to promoting social and environmental progress through education, conservation, research and advocacy. Formerly, she served as the Company’s representative in developing the curriculum offered by the Kaplan-Seventh Generation Sustainability Institute. Ashley received her Green MBA in Environmental and Organizational Sustainability from Antioch University New England. She is an active member of her community, serving on the Wellness Committee for her son’s pre-school and formerly sitting on Hinesburg’s Planning Commission. She credits her move to Vermont in 1998 to valuable time she spent working on VPIRG’s summer canvass. Ashley was elected VPIRG Board President in 2018.
- Vice President: Chris Miller, South Burlington
Social Mission Activism Manager, Ben & Jerry’s
Chris is the Social Mission Activism Manager at Ben & Jerry’s, a unique position within the corporate world. He is responsible for development and execution of the company’s issue advocacy campaigns that are rooted in its progressive values. Ben & Jerry’s has a long history of running campaigns on issues like mandatory GMO labeling, marriage equality, money in politics, and climate change. Before joining Ben & Jerry’s, Chris led the sustainability work at Seventh Generation, the leader in natural non-toxic household and personal care products. He also directed Greenpeace USA’s national climate change campaign and served on the staff of then Congressman Bernie Sanders. Chris also serves as the chair of the board of directors of Car Share Vermont and is vice-chair of the board of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility.
- Secretary: Jen Duggan, Montpelier
Vice President and Director of Conservation Law Foundation Vermont
Jen has served as a VPIRG board member since 2018. Throughout her career, Jen has worked to protect public health and ensure all communities have equal access to a clean and healthy environment. Before joining CLF, Jen was the General Counsel for the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. Prior to her position with the Agency, Jen was Managing Attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project. She managed the Coal-Free Waters Campaign and represented community groups and other organizations in permit proceedings, citizen enforcement actions, and federal and state rulemakings pertaining to coal plants, oil refineries, and other large sources of pollution. Jen developed and co-counseled litigation requiring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to limit toxic discharges from coal plants for the first time; developed and co-counseled litigation requiring clean up of three coal ash landfills; and persuaded a state environmental agency to withdraw construction permits for two waste coal power plants. Jen earned her JD and Master of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School.
- Treasurer: Marianne Barton, Moretown
Co-founder, Catalyst Clean Energy Finance, LLC
Marianne has used her innate entrepreneurial skill over a 30-year career to successfully launch and lead both for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises. As a social entrepreneur, Marianne was a founding member and now serves as a trustee of the Circle School, a Sudbury-inspired democratic school in Harrisburg, PA. She founded her first company at 23, launching the first green real estate development firm in Pennsylvania. Marianne later brought her talents into the areas of electronics, communications technology, and the green energy sector. Marianne currently serves as co-founder of Catalyst Clean Energy Finance, LLC, and co-chair of Vermont’s Energy Action Network’s Capital Mobilization workgroup. Marianne matches her creativity and boundless enthusiasm for entrepreneurship with a deep commitment to identifying and pursuing opportunities to enact meaningful, lasting positive change for the greater good.
- Aiko Schaefer, Stowe
Director, Just Solutions Collective & Strategic Consultant
Aiko directs the national Just Solutions Collective which identifies, analyzes and curates equitable and racially just clean energy policy and program models to foster replication, scaling and greater capacity for diverse communities to engage in the environmental movement.
Aiko has nearly 30 years of experience working on public policies on climate justice, anti-poverty, consumer protection and tax reform, as well as partisan campaigns. She has worked in a number of states and with diverse communities across the US. Most recently Aiko was a principal author and leader of Washington State’s 2018 climate justice ballot measure. Prior to her work on climate and environmental policy, Aiko was a faculty member at the University of Washington in Seattle.
In addition to directing Just Solutions Collective, Aiko provides strategic consulting to political campaigns, non-profits, government and foundations on policy and program development. She lives in Stowe, Vermont with her husband and their two teenage children.
- Anna Marchessault, Burlington
Student at University of Vermont
Anna Marchessault is a student at UVM, where she is studying Natural Resource Ecology and Community and International Development. She has previously worked with VPIRG as a summer canvasser and a field manager, and is active with the VPIRG Club on the UVM campus. Growing up in Vermont, she was always interested in community engagement and sustainability, which led her to get involved with political campaigns and other volunteer experiences throughout the Burlington School District. Anna believes that it’s crucial for young people to have a voice in shaping our response to the climate crisis, and is eager to continue advocating for and empowering young Vermonters as a student trustee.
- Biff Mithoefer, Dorset
Author and Yoga Teacher
A VPIRG board member since 1995, Biff Mithoefer has taught yoga at Nosara Yoga Institute in Costa Rica, Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, and at workshops in Vermont, Hawaii, and California. He is a 500-hour Yoga Alliance registered teacher, and has studied shamanism. Previously, Biff was the President of East Mountain Environmental Services, engaged in the development of large-scale organic waste composting projects and is the former President and owner of East Mountain Transport, a solid waste handling, transportation, and recycling company.
- Diana Gonzalez, Winooski
Director of Leadership Programs at Equality Federation
Diana (pronounced De-ahna) has over two decades of experience developing social change leaders in education, activism, and electoral politics through her work as a trainer and facilitator. She lives in Winooski and represented Chittenden 6-7 in the Vermont House of Representatives from 2014-2020; sitting on the House General committee as the Ranking Member and the assistant leader of the Progressive House caucus. She proudly worked on climate solutions, racial justice bills, and many labor rights bills.
She grew up in Southern California and has called Vermont her home since 2002. Her full time work is now as the Director of Leadership Programs at Equality Federation, the strategic partner to state-based organizations working to win equality in the communities we call home. In addition to her masters degree in Conflict Transformation from the SIT graduate institute she may one day finish her dissertation in Education, Leadership and Policy from the University of Vermont.
- Drew Hudson, Rochester
Executive Director at Environmental Action and Founding Partner at PowerThru Consulting
A VPIRG board member since 2008, Drew describes himself as a cat-herder, wrangler of impossible coalitions, and developer of complex communications and field campaigns. His consulting confab specializes in helping candidates and campaigns identify the messages and tools to effectively mobilize people in pursuit of peace, justice and sustainability — from simple websites to massive voter mobilization and everything in between. Recent clients have included Greenpeace, TrueMajority.org, USAction and others. Drew built his skills in political organizing and communications as a fellow at MoveOn.org, Field Director for the Symington for Governor Campaign and at VPIRG, where he served as Field and Communications Director from 2003-2008. Before settling in Vermont, Drew worked for the State PIRGs and their affiliates in Maryland, Georgia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the Green Corps Field School for Environmental Organizing and New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.
- Dori Wolfe, Strafford
Owner and Principal, Wolfe Energy
Prior to launching Wolfe Energy, Dori co-founded groSolar, a national distributor and installer of renewable energy systems. She managed nearly all aspects of the company at different times since its inception in 1998. She has been an active member of the Strafford Energy Committee since 2006. Dori is currently serving on the Governor’s Council for Energy & the Environment, and has just completed her tenure on ReSource Vermont’s Green Jobs Council. As former clerk of SolarFest, the largest renewable energy fair in New England, she helped lead the organization to a stronger position in education and outreach. Prior to forming groSolar, Dori was a Senior Engineer at Bard, Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers. Dori has a BSME degree from Cornell University.
- Duane Peterson, Essex Junction
Duane has served as a VPIRG board member since 1998. Duane is a social entrepreneur with an eclectic 35-year career in socially responsible business, campaign management, government service and community involvement. He moved his family from California in 1996 to Vermont where he worked as Chief of Stuff at Ben & Jerry’s for 12 years getting to execute Ben Cohen’s creative vision. Committed to advancing values-led business models, he’s a member of the national Social Venture Network, Vermont Venture Network and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. He also serves on the Boards of the HowardCenter and USAction. Duane co-directs SunCommon, a solar venture modeled after VPIRG’s highly successful solar communities program.
- Kanika Gandhi, Montpelier
Agrichemical Section Chief, Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture
Kanika is the Agrichemical Section Chief at Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture. Prior to joining the Agency, Kanika was a standout advocate with VPIRG, focusing her efforts over 18 months on energy, environmental, and agricultural policy work. In particular, she was a leading voice on our campaigns dealing with plastics and pesticides. Before coming to VPIRG, Kanika worked as a policy specialist at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and with the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. She also worked briefly as a consultant with the City of Providence Department of Economic Development.
Kanika fell in love with Vermont when she spent time farming on an organic vegetable operation in southern Vermont. While her interests are varied, she has always been drawn to agricultural issues and she has a love for politics. She is a graduate of the highly regarded Emerge Vermont program. Kanika earned her BA and MPA from Brown University and now makes her home in Montpelier.
- Mathew Rubin, Montpelier
President of Spruce Mt. Design
A VPIRG board member since 1984, Mathew is the President of Spruce Mountain Design where he is engaged in run-of-river hydro project operations and energy conservation work. Mathew is also President of East Haven Windfarm, a small commercial wind energy project. He has previously developed, and continues to own and operate, three small hydroelectric power plants in Vermont, and has consulted on the development of numerous other hydro projects in New York and New England. Mr. Rubin has served on the boards of directors of a wide array of community and civic organizations including Renewable Energy Vermont, the Vermont Independent Power Producers Association, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and the Vermont Public Interest Research Group.
- Dr. Michael Scollins, South Burlington
Retired Doctor of Internal Medicine
Dr. Scollins is a retired primary care internist who practiced medicine in Vermont for 35 years. He spent 20 years in his own practice at Aesculapius Medical Center in South Burlington, before joining forces with Fletcher Allen Health Care (FAHC) – a partnership that lasted an additional 15 years. Mike is a former President of FAHC medical staff and spent time as one of their attending physicians. He also served as a Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at UVM College of Medicine. Mike has a special interest in cardiovascular prevention, adverse drug reactions, innovative models for health care delivery and cost control. He joined VPIRG as a trustee in 2010.
- Talia “Tali” Crowley, Burlington
Student at University of Vermont
Talia Crowley is a student at the University of Vermont, where she is double majoring in economics and environmental studies and minoring in Public Policy Analysis. She grew up in the suburbs of New York City, had a weekend job as a ski instructor at Mad River Glen in Fayston, Vermont, and spent her summers living with family friends in a small town located on the border of Yellowstone National Park in West Yellowstone, Montana – a diverse combination of experiences that exposed her to a broad range of perspectives and taught her listening and communication skills that have served her well as a canvasser. As a student trustee, she is excited to support the work of an organization that holds values mirroring her own.