Board of Directors
Leslie Cole-Brooks is a graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law and is a member of the Hawaii and California State Bars. In addition, Ms. Cole-Brooks has relevant experience as an environmental and legal analyst for State Representative Cynthia Thielen. Leslie intends to use her vast knowledge and experience in Policy and Law to assist the State of Hawaii with forwarding on to it's goals of energy independence.
Andrew Yani is the Principal at Bonterra Solar, a local company founded in 2009 that delivers superior renewable energy and green building products, along with consultation services to its clients. Andrew brings years of experience from the entertainment industry related to investigative reporting as well as Construction business development. As Vice President of the Hawaii Solar Energy Association, Andrew intends to use his experience by ensuring the utmost representation of the Solar Energy initiative. Andrew also serves as the Board's Public Affairs representative. Andrew earned his Bachelors Degree from the University of Hawaii, Manoa campus, studied at the University of Michigan and attended Pepperdine University for Graduate School Studies.
Gary Ralston is the founder and owner of Hawaiian Island Solar (HIS). For over a decade, Gary and Hawaiian Island Solar have been installing hot water and photovoltaic systems across the state of Hawaii. Gary's expertise in the Solar Hot Water industry and Photovoltaic industry as well as being a previous member of the Board of the HSEA allows him to play a key role in understanding policy and help shape Hawaii's future of energy independence. As Secretary of the HSEA, Gary intends to use his expertise to improve the Solar Energy industry by working diligently to resolve key energy issues in the state.
Rolf Christ is the President and CEO of R&R Solar Supply, the only manufacturer of flat plate solar collectors in Hawaii. Starting out as an installer in 1981 and later founding R&R Solar Supply in 1988, Rolf continues to be an outspoken voice of the solar industry. Currently acting as Treasurer, Rolf has served on the HSEA board for more than 17 years consecutively. Active in the industry on a national level, Rolf also serves on the Board of Directors for the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC), known for the certification of solar hot water collectors and systems to be eligible for the federal tax credit. His “from the ground - up” industry experience and involvement both nationally and locally give him a unique perspective into the needs of the association and its contractor members.
Board Member Emeritus
A founding member of HSEA, Cully Judd’s appreciation for simple durable designs got him started in the solar thermal business in the early 1970s. His lifetime love and commitment of harnessing the Sun’s energy now finds him at the helm of Inter-Island Solar Supply, Hawaii’s largest wholesaler of renewable energy and other environmental products, and SunEarth Inc. in Southern California, the Nation’s leading manufacturer of solar thermal equipment. At home in Hawaii, Cully is proud to have helped facilitate the highest per capita use of solar hot water systems in the Nation, and on the Mainland US he hopes to see the solar thermal market wake up once again. When he is not at the office or traveling the world looking for solar equipment, he can be found at his North Shore solar shack with partner Carol, daughters Julie, Meleana and their dog Ewe.
Christian Adams is currently the general manager of the alternative energy division at American Electric. He has over 7 years of experience in the PV industry overseeing sales, design, and installation of more than 7 megawatts of PV systems. He has led the growth of the PV division at AE to its current position as a top 10 solar integrator in Hawaii. Previously he was part of the upper management team at The Solar Center in New Jersey. Leading the expansion, he helped grow The Solar Center from 5 to 60 employees. During this process Christian was an active member of solar industry associations in New Jersey (MSIEA), New York (NYSEIA), Long Island (LISEIA), and Connecticut. After leaving The Solar Center before making Hawaii his home, Christian was hired by one of the presidential campaigns in Pennsylvania. Since moving to
Hawaii Christian has been married and started a family. He is also an active volunteer with The Salvation Army, Surfrider Foundation, and other organizations that focus on the environment in Hawaii.
Chris Debone is a Co-Founder of Hawaii Energy Connection, also known as the "Kumu Kit". Chris Debone started Hawaii Energy Connection in 2008 as one of the first PV only solutions for residential and commercial properties. The Kumu Kit solar package led to the company becoming the 3rd Fastest Growing company in Hawaii according to Pacific Business News. Hawaii Energy Connection was also accepted to the Inc. 500 list for 2012. Chris places a heavy focus on policy and regulatory issues for Solar projects in the State of Hawaii.
Rick Reed is President of the Solaray Corporation in Honolulu, HI, the parent company of three operating companies which include SunEarth, Inc. a Fontana, CA based manufacturer of solar thermal collectors and systems, Inter-Island Solar Supply, a wholesale distributor of renewable energy equipment, and Pacific Liquid and Air Systems. He has worked for the federal Department of Energy’s Western Solar Utilization Network and the State of Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Rick has served on the boards of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in Washington D.C. and the Solar Rating & Certification Corporation (SRCC), and is a current board member of the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA). He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Claremont McKenna College and the University of Hawaii, respectively and was an East-West Center grantee from 1977-1979.
Russ Winkelman is the Director of Finance for Sunetric, a renewable energy company with operations in Hawaii, California, Colorado, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. With its headquarters located in Hawaii, Sunetric installed some of the largest photovoltaic systems in Hawaii since 2004.
In today's rapidly evolving solar market, advocacy, education and networking by members of the solar community are crucial. Adopting the latest financial tools and offerings will help fuel the future growth of the Hawaii renewable energy industry. Serving on the HSEA board is one way to make a meaningful impact on our solar industry's success.
Since 2010, Winkelman managed Sunetric's finances and supply-chain operations. He previously worked for Goodrich Aerospace and Motorola, bringing more than a decade of experience to the board. He has a bachelor's degree in Supply-Chain Management and a Master's Degree in Business Administration from Arizona State University and is a Certified Professional in Supply Management from the Institute of Supply Management.
Technical Support Volunteer
Gabriel Chong is the Solar Photovoltaic Field Engineer for Johnson Controls, a Global Fortune 100 Company with over 180,000 employees worldwide and a firm specializing in the development of commercial and public sector renewable energy projects. Starting as an installer and working in nearly every department in a Solar Company, Gabriel understands the importance and contribution of every role in the solar industry.
As the Technical Support Volunteer, Gabriel is dedicated to applying focus to the improvement of Solar Energy in Hawaii as a whole; from Policy and Legislation to Construction Codes and Standards. Gabriel supports the board members through web development campaigns and management of the HSEA website.
Gabriel is a Native Hawaiian and graduate of Kamehameha Schools, received his Bachelor's Degree in Engineering from Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania and holds numerous industry relevant certifications such as NABCEP PV Installer, NABCEP PV Technical Sales and Roof Integrated Solar Energy Certified Solar Roofing Professional (RISE CSRP). Gabriel is also a pioneer in Electric Vehicle Charging infrastructure holding numerous certifications for energy management and EVCS integration through Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) and Schneider Electric since 2010.