A dynamic leader with more than 25 years of experience, Aimee has a diverse background leading regional energy efficiency efforts. She has served as a management consultant specializing in strategic planning, fundraising, policy development, innovative resource and program design. She has also created energy efficiency program solutions for Hoosier Energy and served as director of programs at the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA). At MEEA, Aimee delivered energy efficiency programs across thirteen states and became hooked on the benefits of energy efficiency through her collaboration 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 on the Alliance to Save Energy board, previously served on the Beneficial Electrification League Advisory Council and is a member of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership. She has served in leadership for Touchstone Energy, as an Association of Energy Service Professionals chapter president and HealthConnect One board member. She has also provided leadership support to numerous nonprofits including HealthConnect One, Project Bona Fide, Habitat for Humanity and Teatro Vista. Aimee received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois. She is an avid hiker, paddle boarder and foodie who loves traveling with family and friends.
Olivia Begalla (she/they) serves as our buildings associate. A proud alumna of Agnes Scott College, Olivia graduated with a major in business management, a minor in studio art, and a specialization in global learning. Her unique academic background provides a robust foundation in creative thinking, management skills, and a broad global perspective.
Olivia combines a strong passion for environmental and societal betterment with innovative problem solving to produce practical and creative solutions to modern challenges. Their previous experience working for social and environmental nonprofit organizations brings valuable insight to SEEA.
When not at work, Olivia can be found drawing, cooking, arranging floral bouquets, and sewing.
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.
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.
Laura Diaz-Villaquiran is a committed research associate at SEEA. She holds a master’s degree in geographic information science & technology from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her affinity for geographic information science blossomed from her previous work with the historic MARTA archaeological collection at Georgia State University’s Phoenix Labs. Laura is passionate about leveraging energy efficiency research to enhance community resilience and promote energy equity in the Southeast.
Beyond her professional pursuits, Laura enjoys gardening, strength training, and reading a good book!
Jamie Fitzsimons joined SEEA as director of membership and corporate development in 2022. Jamie brings over 20 years of sales and business development experience both in the non-profit and for-profit fields. From hospitals, to universities and trade associations, Jamie brings a wealth of experience in member and donor development and engagement.
Jamie holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Maryland, Go Terps!
When Jamie isn’t cultivating meaningful relationships at work, you can more than likely find her on the go with her two boys and their canine partner in crime, Bonnie.
Jaylan Jacobs serves as a program associate at SEEA. She is an empathetic communicator with expertise in stakeholder engagement and public health. In her current role, she works across teams on energy efficient buildings and transportation, relevant public health research and workforce development. Previously, she worked at a grassroots environmental justice organization, where she helped facilitate actionable strategy, virtual communications and create online learning tools. Throughout her work, she continues to build just and trustworthy relationships on the principles of sharing ideas, values, power and mutual respect. Jaylan received a Master’s in Public Health, with a certificate in Climate and Health, from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health.
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.
Ashley McBride, Esq.
Ashley McBride joined SEEA as director of policy in 2023. In her role, Ashley is most excited about leading and managing policy efforts to increase regional investments in advancing energy efficiency in the Southeast and advocating for policies that invest equitably in communities within the region.
Before joining SEEA, Ashley led Oakland County, Michigan’s first community engagement division, served as a Legislative Director for a state representative, and as a Judicial Law Clerk. Ashley previously served as an Executive Board Member for the North Oakland NAACP chapter and is a board member of The Association of Detroit Mercy’s Black Law Alumni and a proud alumnus of Michigan State University’s Michigan Political Leadership Program.
Ashley received her bachelor’s from Wayne State University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Detroit Mercy. She is a proud Warrior, Titan, and Spartan (Go Green!). She is an avid foodie, loves to cook, and loves to travel with family/friends.
Catherine serves as our marketing and events associate. Driven by her passion for climate and environmental justice, Catherine is dedicated to making an impact through effective communications work.
With a strong background in social media marketing, event management and web design, Catherine seamlessly combines her expertise with her passion at SEEA. Her previous experience with environmental nonprofits brings valuable insights to the team.
A North Carolinian, Grace recently graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies and a minor in advertising/public relations and geographic information systems. Prior to graduating, Grace worked on a range of climate and energy policy research at Throwe Environmental, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), and the Environmental Law Institute. Grace brings to SEEA a strong background in research and advanced data analytics, and she has extensive experience using GIS platforms for geospatial analyses.
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.