Executive Director & Board Member
As Executive Director, Derek provides overall leadership and strategic direction. Derek engages RII’s advisory bodies, including the Strategic Advisory Council and Technical Advisory Council Leadership Committees, develops global partnerships and oversees the organization’s policy work.
Before RII, Derek led Clean Energy Works, recognized as one of the most successful American Recovery & Reinvestment Act ("stimulus") programs. He has directed energy programs for the City of Portland, managed operations for a VC-backed start-up and created an award-winning corporate sustainability program for a national retailer. Derek has testified to the US Senate Energy Committee and briefed the US Secretary of Energy.
Derek enjoys playing and listening to a range of music, soccer (especially his hometown Portland Timbers), hiking and travel.
Technical & Operations Director
Gretchen is a professional engineer who has spent the past five years optimizing controlled environment agriculture operations for resource efficiency and productivity. Schimelpfenig earned a B.S. in Architectural Engineering from the University of Wyoming and an M.S. in Civil Engineering, Sustainable Design & Construction with a concentration in energy from Stanford University. Her diverse professional experience includes time spent commissioning commercial buildings, designing utility energy efficiency programs, and helping businesses like the University of Vermont and the City of Burlington benchmark their resource consumption. She specializes in analyzing the operation of building systems for cultivation facilities and helps the members of RII’s Utility Working Group reach cultivators with their financial incentives and technical assistance.
As Technical & Operations Director of RII, Gretchen manages the PowerScore resource benchmarking platform, facilitates RII’s Technical Advisory Council Working Groups and creates curriculum and training to educate producers, efficiency programs, and design and construction communities. She works with members and subject matter experts to publish best practices guidance for production of plants in controlled environments, develops and delivers curriculum, and supports PowerScore users with resource benchmarking analysis and reporting compliance. Schimelpfenig writes for industry publications and is a columnist for GIE Media and Meister Media and publishes in Greenhouse Grower, Greenhouse Management, Cannabis Business Times, and the Cultivation Classroom column for Cannabis Science & Technology. Gretchen grows vine crops and herbs in her veggie garden, greenhouse, and basement in her Vermont farmhouse and is constantly using her HVAC and lighting knowledge to optimize her grow environments.
She works directly with the DesignLights Consortium to increase the adoption of third-party certification of horticultural building systems. Gretchen also represents RII on several industry committees developing standards for CEA including the ASABE PAFS-30 (Plant Systems Group), ES-300 (Electrical Utilization & Energy Group), and ES-310 (Agricultural Lighting Group), ASHRAE Technical Committee 2.2 (Plant and Animal Environments), ASTM Committee D37 on Cannabis, IES Horticultural Lighting Subcommittee, and Task Group 1 of the UL 3600 Scorecard for Measuring and Reporting Circular Economy Aspects of Products, Sites and Organizations.
Finance & Human Resources Manager
Dulce Dorado serves as RII’s Finance & HR Manager. As Finance Manager, Dulce monitors RII’s financial health and is responsible for creating the organization’s annual budget. Dulce manages all financial activities and provides direction to the management team. As Human Resources Manager, Dulce serves as the link between RII’s management and its employees, enforcing company policies and practices. She has a passion for ethics and equity and believes having a system of support is crucial for any organization.
Prior to working for RII, she was an accountant for an international California-based company where she helped manage day to day operations and international affairs, later becoming the President’s right-hand and financial advisor. Currently, in addition to working with RII, she holds the position of Controller for a large industrial company in the Pacific Northwest, where she manages finances, oversees accounting departments and human resources in several locations on the West Coast.
Whenever she finds time in her busy schedule, she is looking for the next tasty plant-based restaurant.
Communications & Community Manager
Hamza is originally Algerian but spent the past twelve years living and working in Italy. He speaks Arabic, French, Italian, and English. His communication background includes experience in journalism, corporate communication and publication production. In 2021, he obtained his Project Manager Professional certification from the Project Management Institute. After working for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, Hamza moved to Portland in 2020 with his wife and daughter. He is excited to be furthering his communications experience in the field of agriculture and starting a new chapter with RII. In his spare time, Hamza enjoys scuba diving, hiking, playing the saxophone, and spending time with his family.
As Project Engineer at RII, Carmen Azzaretti contributes to the RII team through project coordination, supporting activities related to PowerScore expansion and development, coordinating logistics associated with Technical Advisory Council activities, and supporting technical activities of the team.
Carmen has a mechanical engineering degree from Rochester Institute of Technology. While climbing wind turbines in the mountains of Vermont, she got her certification as a passive house consultant and further cultivated her passion for resource efficiency in the built environment, leading her to RII.
Colorado located, she is training towards competing in disc dog events with her rescue Aussie.
Morgan Lesko codes the Cannabis PowerScore and supports users through the survey process. He is a lifelong activist and long-time web-based programmer, with 15 years experience using PHP and MySQL. He founded a chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) at the University of Maryland in 2002, and later volunteered to run SSDP’s national website using his own content management system. For several years, he built and managed youth activism management software with Rescue Social Change Group.