Aimee Skrzekut joined SEEA as president in April 2021. An innovative leader serving nonprofits for more than 25 years, Aimee is passionate about energy efficiency for all.
Before joining SEEA, Aimee served as a management consultant specializing in strategic planning, fundraising, policy development, program design, and evaluation. She also designed energy efficiency program solutions for Hoosier Energy. Aimee served as director of programs at the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, where she first collaborated with national and regional partners like SEEA. Aimee’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion extends well beyond her work in energy, having led a national center at the American Bar Association.
Aimee serves as a member of the Beneficial Electrification Advisory Council. She previously served as an AESP chapter president and HealthConnect One board member. She has supported fundraising efforts at nonprofits including HealthConnect One, Project Bona Fide, and Teatro Vista.
Aimee received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois. She is an avid hiker, reader, and gourmand. She loves traveling with her family and looks forward to many walks throughout the Southeast with both new and old friends.
As chief operating officer at SEEA, Ashley Blackwell is responsible for the general management and operations of the organization. She oversees administrative procedures, finance, technology and systems, human resources, and organizational culture. Her experience and leadership focus on ensuring SEEA’s operational practices support high-quality work products, a high-functioning, collaborative team, and strong financial health for the organization.
Ashley is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute. She has a bachelor’s degree from Agnes Scott College and received her master’s in business administration from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.
Claudette Ayanaba serves as SEEA’s policy manager. As a member of the policy team, she works on finding ways to provide research, technical assistance, and engagement to help stakeholders make smart informed energy-related decisions and advance energy efficiency in the region.
She previously worked as a rule and state plan writer with the State of Georgia, Environmental Protection Division, Air Protection Branch. Although her career has been in environmental engineering, her bachelor’s degrees are in physics (Spelman College) and mechanical engineering (Georgia Institute of Technology). She also holds a master’s degree in environmental planning and management from Johns Hopkins University.
Her passions include her daughters, reading, hiking, teaching, making connections, policy design, and trying to figure out how to fit it all into 24 hours.
Cyrus Bhedwar serves as SEEA’s director of policy, and spent the early part of his career working in energy efficiency and sustainability at the local, state and regional levels.
He currently spends his time thinking hard about how we create the understanding, connections and infrastructure needed to advance energy efficiency in an eleven state region where grits and/or sweet tea are in plentiful supply. Cyrus works with utilities, policy makers and the energy efficiency industry because they keep returning his calls. He’s trained in the Collaborative Operating System so will make sure others play nicely with you. At 5’6” and 120 lbs. Cyrus is compact enough to take anywhere, leaving you no excuse to be without a small, Indian man who grew up in Delaware and still sounds funny saying “y’all.”
Justin Brightharp serves as the energy efficient transportation manager supporting SEEA’s transportation initiatives through policy, research, and stakeholder engagement. His prior experience includes deploying clean transportation projects in the southeastern and western United States and coordinating the City of Atlanta’s fleet transition to electric vehicles.
Justin volunteers his time through different groups such as Generation Green, the Sierra Club Metro Atlanta Group, and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy. Justin has a bachelor’s degree in geosciences from Georgia State University.
In her role as communications manager, Sarah oversees SEEA’s identity and brand, manages communications strategy and implementation, and capitalizes on any opportunity to share and celebrate SEEA’s evolving portfolio of work. She joined SEEA in 2019 with more than 15 years of experience helping nonprofits, corporations, and independent schools tell their stories and build communities of support. Sarah has had the pleasure of working with Hands on Atlanta, Kate’s Club, Atlanta Celebrates Photography, Anthem, Atlanta Celebrates Photography, and the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. Most recently, Sarah worked at Marist School where she was a member of the institutional advancement team.
She has a bachelor of arts in English literature/creative writing from Agnes Scott College. Sarah lives in Grant Park with her family, tries very hard at gardening, and sometimes makes it to yoga.
William D. Bryan, Ph.D.
Will Bryan serves as SEEA’s director of research. Prior to this role, Will served as a built environment project manager. Before joining SEEA in 2018, Will taught at Georgia State University in Atlanta and conducted independent research as a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University.
Will earned a bachelor’s degree from Furman University, and an master’s and doctorate from Penn State University. He is the author of a book about conservation policy in the South, which is based on his award-winning doctoral dissertation, The Price of Permanence: Nature and Business in the New South (University of Georgia Press, 2018).
When he’s not at work, you can find Will out searching for the best donut in Atlanta.
Maggie Kelley Riggins
Maggie Kelley Riggins serves as SEEA’s senior program manager. She has devoted her career to developing innovative approaches to solving gnarly climate and energy problems in the South. Maggie is laying the landscape for equity through climate and workforce in energy efficiency. She manages SEEA’s energy-efficient building code portfolio and the building-oriented pilot project models for local governments to increase energy efficiency as a solution for residential, commercial, and municipal buildings. Maggie believes that we need to understand the “why” behind energy efficiency in order to bring it to the widest group possible.
Maggie’s work allows her to build coalitions, convene non-traditional stakeholders, and manage teams to design solution sets and pathways to action that are future thinking while maintaining feasibility. She has a keen ability to bring people together who are committed to changing the lives of others through pursuing equitable solutions in climate, energy, and housing spaces. Maggie is a life-long learner and her love for people is what wakes her up in the morning.
Laura Kuehl serves as SEEA’s research intern, assisting the research department with data analysis and quantitative storytelling. She is completing her undergraduate degree in economics at Agnes Scott College.
You can generally find this self-identified fashionista birdwatching by day or out dancing with her friends by night.
Sydney G. Roberts, Ph.D.
Sarina Sawyer recently joined SEEA as the workforce training and partnerships manager. She will administer SEEA’s portfolio of workforce development activities, resources, and training programs to cultivate a thriving and skilled clean energy workforce across our 11-state region.
She brings over 10 years of work experience in housing finance, environmental advocacy, local government, and comprehensive planning. In addition, she has a master’s degree in city and regional planning from Georgia Tech and a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College.
Sarina spends most of her time snuggling her four dogs, cooking with her partner, playing soccer, and trying to grow her own fruit and veggies.
Lily Smith serves as SEEA’s energy efficiency policy intern. Her major ongoing projects and responsibilities include the finalizing of state utility guides which detail breakdowns of policy initiatives, utility makeups, energy demand, and coordinating offices. While interning with SEEA, Lily’s goal is to oversee the completion of the utility guides for the entire region.
Lily is applying the skills and concepts she learns as she pursues a master’s degree in sustainable energy and environmental management at the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy and explores possibilities within the field.
An avid animal lover, Lily loves to go home to her family’s farm on the weekends and play with horses, donkeys, goats, dogs, and piglets!
Labeebah Thompson brings more than 20 years of accounting and financial management experience in nonprofit organizations. Labeebah has always been drawn to the nonprofit sector and feels a special connection to each group she serves.
Before joining SEEA, Labeebah was the Director of Finance and Administration for Scottdale Early Learning, a four-location preschool serving diverse communities based in Scottdale, GA. Labeebah was responsible for managing federal, state and privately funded grants, financial compliance, risk management and leading human resources. Her prior roles include financial management positions with CARE USA, YMCA of Metro Atlanta, and American Cancer Society.
Labeebah earned an undergraduate degree from Shorter College and an MBA from Ashford University.
Joy Ward serves as SEEA’s research associate. Joy supports the research department and all its initiatives. Prior to this role, Joy served as SEEA’s energy research intern.
Joy has a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, with a concentration in sustainability from Queens University of Charlotte. More recently, Joy completed her master’s of interdisciplinary studies in urban studies from Georgia State University.
Outside of work, she enjoys exploring Atlanta and all that it has to offer. She is constantly looking for restaurant and shop recommendations.