Team

RII has assembled a highly qualified, passionately committed team. We value agility, transparency, community and transformation.

Derek Smith

Executive Director & Board Member

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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.

Gretchen Schimelpfenig

Technical & Operations Director

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As Technical & Operations Director, Gretchen manages the PowerScore resource benchmarking platform, facilitates RII’s Technical Advisory Council Working Groups and manages our continuing education program for producers, efficiency programs, and design and construction communities. She works with members and subject matter experts to publish technical guidance for production of plants in controlled environments, develops and delivers curriculum, and supports PowerScore users with resource benchmarking analysis and reporting compliance. She authors RII’s Best Practices Guides for controlled environment agriculture, as well as the first state-specific best practices guide for cannabis cultivators for Massachusetts.

Gretchen is a licensed Civil Professional Engineer (Construction) in California and Vermont. She brings her experience as an energy efficiency program engineer for commercial and industrial buildings to help other utility program implementers in the Utility Working Group reach cultivators with their specialized incentives and technical assistance. She was the Project Engineer for the Burlington 2030 District, a developer of the Burlington Electric benchmarking program, and a peer reviewer of the city’s roadmap to achieve net zero energy by 2030. She also has a specialty in analyzing the interactive effects between HVAC and lighting systems and commissioning controls systems.

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.

Dulce Dorado

Finance & Human Resources Manager

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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.

Brandy Welvaert

Communications & Community Manager

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Brandy Welvaert joined RII in 2021 to support its mission and membership as Communications & Community Manager. With experience in journalism, public environmental education and marketing, Brandy has worked on diverse teams to launch a range of projects.

As a journalist with the Moline Dispatch Publishing Company (Ill.), she helped found and became the second editor of Radish magazine, a regional environmental and health publication, covering sustainable agriculture, local foods and alternative healing modalities.

At Waste Commission of Scott County (Iowa), she educated multiple stakeholder groups as well as the public about a new single-stream recycling program that helped extend local landfill capacity by 20 years, mainly through additional plastics diversion, driven by increased program participation and resident behavior change. Brandy wrote the educational campaign, then presented about it at the Iowa Recycling & Solid Waste Conference (2016).

During her time with American Power Systems, Inc. (Davenport, Iowa), the company implemented its first strategic marketing and export plans and was named Exporter of the Year (2019-2020) by the Small Business Administration (Region 7).

Brandy lives in Western Illinois with her spouse, two sons and two rescue dogs who think they’re human.

Carmen Azzaretti

Project Engineer

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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

SOFTWARE

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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.