Board of Directors


Leslie Cole-BrooksExecutive Director


Leslie Cole-Brooks has had a passion for the environment and energy issues for many years.  She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Geology with honors from U.C. Davis, where she went on to work in water quality.  She later completed a certificate in Energy Management and Design and worked for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s peak demand and efficiency program.   Her love for the ocean brought her to Hawaii where she attended the William S. Richardson School of Law.  She is now a member of both the Hawaii and California State Bars, and holds a certificate in Environmental Law.  After graduation, Leslie worked Hawaii where she attended the William S. Richardson School of Law.  There, she completed her J.D., in addition to a certificate in Environmental Law.  As a law student, she also won several awards, including the Alston Hunt Floyd Ing award for best environmental brief, and an award for best oralist in the International Environmental moot court competition.  Upon graduation, Leslie worked as Representative Cynthia Thielen’s environmental and legal analyst, and Ms. Cole-Brooks is now a member of both the Hawaii and California State Bars.  Ms. Cole-Brooks was appointed to the position of Executive Director of the Hawaii Solar Energy Association in May of 2012, and currently handles legislative, regulatory, and educational affairs on behalf of HSEA. 


Chris DeBonePresident

Chris has over 20 years of business operations, management, sales and marketing experience in the printing industry. In 1997, Chris started working for Hawaii’s largest commercial printing company, Hagadone Printing.  Chris had many positions with the company including plant manager to oversee all production departments of the company.  The duties Chris had as plant manager included department budgets, production efficiency, overall quality control, building maintenance, and management of the 140 production employees. In early 2007, Chris resigned his position at Hagadone Printing Company to start Hawaii Energy Connection (HEC).  Fueled by the passion of creating affordable renewable energy options for the people of Hawaii, HEC launched the popular Kumukit solar packages in early 2008.  In 2011, Hawaii Energy Connection was named third fastest growing company in Hawaii according to the Hawaii Business News.  Hawaii Energy Connection was also accepted on the Inc. 500/500 list for 2012 and again for 2013 as one of the fastest growing private companies in the Nation.



Christian AdamsVice President

Christian Adams is currently the sales director and a partner at Bonterra. He was the general manager of the alternative energy division at American Electric. He has nearly 8 years of experience in the PV industry overseeing megawatts of PV installations. He spearheaded the start of the AE division to a 60 plus employee, over thirty million dollar major contributor to American Electric. He was previously part of the upper management team at The Solar Center in New Jersey. Heading up the expansion of the company, he helped it grow from 5 to 60 employees in less than 3 years. During this process Adams was an active member of different solar installer associations in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. After The Solar Center he was hired by the Obama campaign to run one of the campaign field offices in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania. Prior to the Solar Center, Mr. Adams had management, sales, and leadership experience in the loan and insurance industries. He lives in Kaimuki with his wife, daughter, and son. He is also an active volunteer with The Salvation Army, Surfrider Foundation, and other organizations that focus on the environment in Hawaii.



Rolf ChristTreasurer

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.



Bob SumpfSecretary


Bob Sumpf, raised in Southern California, has lived in Hawaii since 1972.  After separating from the U.S. Army in 1975, he owned and managed restaurants for several years.  In 1990, Bob joined Pepsi-Cola Hawaii and served in several different sales and operations management positions with state-wide responsibilities.  After retiring from Pepsi he embarked on a second career in the solar industry which combined his business and leadership experience with a life-long commitment to a healthy, sustainable environment.  Bob entered the solar industry in 2008 as sales manager with Smart Energy Hawaii. In 2011 Bob joined American Electric as sales manager of the Alternative Energy Division.  In June, 2013, Bob became General Manager of the Alternative Energy Division at AE, with full P&L responsibility for the division results.  Bob is an active member of the Rotary Club of Honolulu and regularly participates in Rotary sponsored community service projects.  He holds a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.B.A from Pepperdine University.



Board Members

Gary Ralston

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 Director 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.



Richard “Rick” Reed


Rick Reed joined The Solaray Corporation (TSC) in Honolulu, HI. in 1982 after working for both the federal Department of Energy’s Western Solar Utilization Network (WSUN) and the state of Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT). Appointed TSC president in 1987, Mr. Reed has direct responsibility for Solaray’s three operating companies which include SunEarth Inc., Inter-Island Solar Supply and Pacific Liquid and Air Systems.


Mr. Reed holds bachelors and masters degrees from Claremont McKenna College and the University of Hawaii, respectively. He was an East-West Center grantee from 1977 – 1979. Rick Reed has served on the boards of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA), the Hawaii Solar Energy Association (HSEA), and the Solar Rating & Certification Corporation (SRCC). He is a founding member of the Hawaii Renewable Energy Alliance (HREA) and EchoFirst, a startup company that was recently acquired by SunEdison. Mr. Reed is beginning his third-term as the president of CALSEIA.



Russ Winkelman

Russ Winkelman is the Director of Finance for Sunetric, a renewable energy company with operations in Hawaii, California, Colorado, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.  With its headquarters in Hawaii, Sunetric has installed some of the largest photovoltaic systems in Hawaii since 2004.


Since 2010, Winkelman has managed Sunetric’s finances and supply-chain operations. He has 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 master’s degree in business administration from Arizona State University, and is a Certified Professional in Supply Management from the Institute of Supply Management.