CHERP LGP Staff
President and Executive Director, CHERP Inc., President & CEO, CHERP Solar Works
Devon Hartman is now focusing his 35 years of experience in architecture, construction, and strategic business development on the field of Energy Efficiency and Solar PV. He is an expert in strategic business systems development, consumer-facing sales and marketing strategies and energy efficiency management operations in Home Performance. Newly retired from his decades-long role as Co-Founder and President of HartmanBaldwin Design/Build, Inc., he has Founded CHERP to form collaborative partnerships with cities, counties, community organizations, and contractors to promote sustainable building practices and the reduction of fossil fuel use in buildings throughout California and beyond.
His award-winning architecture and construction work has garnered over 50 national awards, including the Gold Nugget Grand Prize from the Pacific Coast Builder’s Association and the Grand Prize Design Award from Remodeling Magazine. His work has been featured in numerous articles and interviews including Preservation, Wall Street Journal, Remodeling Magazine, LA Times and HGTV and he has worked in France, Peru, Brazil and Egypt. Devon is a General Contractor, Designer, Developer of VGM Santa Barbara, LEED AP, Green Point Rater, lecturer; consultant; community organizer/educator.
Board Member of Pando Populus, Founding Member of Efficiency First, Board Member of Efficiency First California and Sustainable Claremont, Founder of CHERP Inc. (Community Home Energy Retrofit Project), Founder of Claremont|Pomona Locally Grown Power, Co-Founder and Project Consultant for the Pilgrim Place Energy Efficiency Project.
Director of Research and Strategic Planning
Tobias Hecht received his BA and Master of International Affairs from Columbia and his PhD in social anthropology from Cambridge. The author of books ranging from At Home in the Street (an ethnography of homeless children in Brazil that won the Margaret Mead Prize) to the novel After Life, his research and writing has been supported by awards from the National Science Foundation, the H.F. Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for Humanities. During a recent two-year visiting appointment, Tobias taught anthropology at Pomona College. Six years ago he turned his attention to the field of solar energy. Determined to understand the industry from the bottom up, he began this exploration like one more anthropological project: as a manual laborer on rooftop installs. He now works to help Locally Grown Power engage with foundations, cities and public resources in the design of strategies to make renewable energy a reality for economically disadvantaged communities. The key, he thinks, is to grasp the lived experience of poverty when you can’t pay the electric bill.
Megan Anderson has a background in mathematics and theology. In 2019, she received her Master’s from Claremont School of Theology, studying interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in religion, society, and social change. She is specifically interested in how these topics intersect around environmental issues. Megan has significant experience in program management. In 2018, she worked for the Parliament of the World’s Religions, managing the schedule and needs for 900+ sessions. On-site, she oversaw designated volunteers, handled all schedule changes and last-minute additions, and coordinated with Toronto Metro Convention Center (MTCC) and Freeman AV staff to meet speaker needs as much as possible within MTCC guidelines and the Parliament's policies and budget. She also helped coordinate the needs for international speakers during the event’s plenary on Justice. Megan also has experience in Communications. From 2015 to 2020, Megan worked as Associate Editor and Webmaster for The Interfaith Observer. She helped redesign their website, and was responsible for soliciting writers, finding images for each article, updating the website, working with the Chief Editor to edit pieces, and social media engagement. She has continued her communications work as Blog Editor for Religica. In addition to her work at CHERP, Megan works for the Institute of Ecological Civilization. She’s played a variety of roles including project manager and communications manager. Currently she serves as Executive Assistant to the President and Development Associate. Megan comes to CHERP with an enthusiasm to make long-lasting change in those lives who have been hurt most by America’s capitalistic agenda and revert the planet’s climate trajectory. She believes that listening -- to both Earth and local communities -- and taking an intersectional approach to everything it does, are essential if CHERP is to succeed in it’s work.
Database Manager and Program Coordinator
Jose Rios received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a concentration in Environmental Studies from the University of Laverne. Durings his time there, he took on numerous leadership roles in various cultural clubs, deeply enjoying volunteering his time to help create a “home away from home” for many students. He has acute attention to detail, having conducted research as a student on a polluted river in Montana by counting and identifying thousands of water invertebrates. His future aspirations are to obtain a Master’s degree in Ecology or Environmental Science and conduct research that minimizes air and water pollution, promotes best practices in conservation efforts, and leads communities to form eco-friendly societies. His passion in these areas ties directly into CHERP’s mission to reduce carbon emissions and provide quality, sustainable living conditions for many underserved communities.
Director of Manufacturing
Jason Flejter received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Wisconsin Lutheran College and a Six Sigma Greenbelt from Villanova University. He is a self-driven manufacturing leader with an optimistic team building spirit who is enthusiastic about achieving sustainable long-term results that cultivate company growth through people. As the Vice President of Operations from 2015 to 2019 for H&A Inc. (H&A Transmission, H&A Machining, and GearSpeed) he facilitated daily operations from all aspects of manufacturing by maintaining $10M fiscal and $2M capital budgets and increasingly reduced operating costs up to 20% over a four-year period. He obtained grant funding from the Employee Training Program through the state of California to enhance employee education and skillsets, and facilitated strategic planning of operations through Lean Management and Six Sigma continuous improvement initiatives. With experience in aerospace and defense, as a Logistics Manager and Production Planner for Vitron Aerospace from 2012 to 2015, Jason was responsible for maintaining a 98% or above inventory accuracy and on time delivery to support a client base comprised of Honeywell Aerospace and Defense, Rockwell Collins, Raytheon, Celestica, and Lockheed Martin. As a Program Manager for the largest fabricator in the nation, Mayville Engineering, which is an ISO 9001 certified global design manufacturer of industrial, commercial, medical, military and recreational products supporting companies like John Deere, Caterpillar, and Harley Davidson, he coordinated the production planning for one of MEC’s fastest growing customers in which he helped orchestrate production growth of over 30 million in sales over the next 3 years. Jason has now partnered with the team of Locally Grown Power to help make a difference in the community. “The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun.” - Ralph Nader
Pomona Factory Project Manager
Chris McElroy is an engineer who recently graduated from Harvey Mudd College. He’s worked as a manufacturing engineer, circuit designer, and more. To continue building experience in many facets of engineering and computer science, while also learning about managing his own company, Chris created his own 1 person startup, XNO LLC, which produces 3D (4x4x4) tic tac toe products. The first, called ‘4Play’, is a device he single-handedly designed, engineered, coded, and marketed. Since then, he’s been working on the companion app for this device, which allows users to connect over bluetooth and play 3D tic-tac-toe over the internet, while learning about the game at the same time. Chris started working with CHERP in 2018 during his senior year at Harvey Mudd, working with a team of 4 other senior engineers to design a solar manufacturing line specifically tailored to the needs of the IdealPV panels and the site selected for manufacturing. Since graduation, Chris has been working closely with the CHERP team at the Factory Project Manager to ensure that the quality of both the manufacturing facility and the solar panels it produces are ready for UL certification in 2020.
Western States Development Director
Peter Coye worked for the progressive candidate for president, Eugene McCarthy, in four states in 1968. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 1971 and was an educational lobbyist In Washington, DC for several years before earning a Masters degree in politics from the University of Wisconsin in 1978. He worked for the California State Senate, State Assembly, and local governments between 1979 and 1986, when he founded California Medical Innovations, a medical device manufacturing company which he sold in 2011. From 2005 to today, he has worked in the field of renewable energy, founding a wind turbine company and a gravity-based mass energy storage company. His goal is to convince Chevron, the largest energy company in California, to abandon carbon fuels and pursue solar, wind, bio-mass, and tidal surge energy.
Abhi Sambari manages all of CHERP's communications and digital media. Abhi grew up in Mumbai, India and was raised by socially conscious parents. His dad is a doctor who worked wildly long hours but still found time to provide medical services to lower income Mumbai residents. This influence made an indelible impact on Abhi, who cared about helping others from a young age. He joined the workforce during the IT boom in India, and that was his first glimpse into the ways big companies can do good for their communities. He found his footing working for multiple Fortune 500 companies such as Johnson Controls, Anthem and Aetna. But his love for tech coincided with a burgeoning interest in entrepreneurship. He enrolled at the UCLA Anderson School of Management where he received his MBA and the inspiration he needed to propel him forward.
Abhi is also the Founder and CEO of The Change You Want to See, a digital media organization that features and promotes organizations doing incredible work by partnering with brand sponsors and celebrities. The Change You Want to See hones in on the intersection of business and doing good within the community, creating content and awareness for nonprofits and socially conscious companies.
Graphic and Web Design
Whitney Hanlon is the graphic and web designer for CHERP LGP with a lifelong passion for art, business and technology. She received her BA in art from University of Puget Sound, MFA in Art from Claremont Graduate University (CGU), and MA in Arts Management from the Drucker School at CGU. She is a practicing artist with focus in painting and sculpture, and exhibits in galleries along the west coast. She has worked in PR and Marketing at art galleries and museums in Southern California and the Northwest for over a decade, including LA Municipal Art Gallery, Museum of Glass, Maloof Foundation, AMOCA, Riverside Museum, and AC Projects. For the last 4 years she has created her own business, focusing on graphic and web design, digital marketing, brand creation. She is excited to be part of CHERP, a non-profit she believes could change the world through carbon mitigation and truly enrich the lives of people in the community.
Sr. Design Engineer
Ronald has been designing and building his whole life. Exposed to engineering design and construction at a young age, he has become obsessed with learning how things work. Complex systems have always been easy for Ronald. At the age of 5 he was troubleshooting the A/V network at his elementary school on a regular basis. He built a radio-controlled boat from scrap parts when he was 8. Hacked his school districts computer network in high school. Learned from some of the greatest minds in the world while perusing a bachelor of Physics from UC Riverside, and now years later he is building automated manufacturing equipment and processes for the Solar Industry.
While living and traveling in Cuba for a short time with family, he developed a deep sympathy for those who have very little, while their neighbors live in abundance. Now Ronald brings his extensive mechanical knowledge and practical design experience to CHERP where he will help the design and roll-out of new PV module manufacturing facilities.
Ronald is a Life Learner. Everyday Ronald strives to learn more, build something new, push the limits. Hack the world into new things with new uses. This is what made him who he is. A continued thirst for knowledge and skill.
Social Media Coordinator
Melissa Garcia is the Social Media Coordinator for CHERP LGP. She received her Bachelor's degree in Film and Digital Media from the University of California, Santa Cruz. While pursuing her degree, she became inspired by the culture of both environmentalism and student activism. She began devoting her time to creating documentary films that highlighted the various social and environmental justice issues endured by low-income communities in California. After graduating in 2017, she started her career in marketing and has worked as a Marketing Coordinator in the food and healthcare industry. Now having joined the team at CHERP LGP, she is excited to help share their message as she is also incredibly passionate about the environment, sustainability, social justice, and combating climate change.
Inventor & CEO IdealPV
Self-educated inventor, entrepreneur, and visionary, Kent Kernahan is the founder of CHERP’s engineering partner, IdealPV, and he serves as a member of CHERP’s Board of Advisors. Kernahan, a solar industry veteran and pioneer, has a 4 decade-long history of innovating cutting edge technologies. Now, Kernahan has revolutionized solar panel performance, while simultaneously reinventing the business model in which solar is deployed in the U.S.
Holder of no fewer than 55 U.S. Patents , and 35 International Patents, Kernahan was awarded the patent for his revolutionary solar panel control technology in 2015, and a second patent on the resulting optimization of the panel architecture itself was awarded in 2018. As the inventor who “takes the heat out of solar,” IdealPV has created solar panels that correct a longstanding and fundamental flaw in solar cell technology - that of “hot spots” caused by reverse bias (see Hot Spot Video). By eliminating hotspots, Kernahan and IdealPV have created a simpler design, a more affordable solar panel, and a product easily manufactured by small-scale, community-based micro-factories.
With decades of experience as a technology professional and serial entrepreneur, Kernahan shares that he spent many of those years working with international investors and leading venture capital funded start-ups. And as he told Solar Power World in 2019, “As of 2011, in the recession, everything I ever invented was in production in Asia. Is this the right thing to do?” Kernahan asked. “Our model [in the United States] is to divorce the idea of where an invention is going to be capitalized and manufactured from where it’s created. As a consequence, any new technology that’s invented gets financed and then immediately built overseas. We’re undermining our own economy with our innovation.” The result is the elimination of American jobs and the gutting of our local economies by our own inventor class. See Kernahan’s article Great Recession? My fault.
Kernahan realized that, as a life-long inventor, he could bring jobs, renewable energy, and economic stimuli to local communities by harnessing the power he had over the fate of his designs. There was a catch, however - Kernahan needed a partner, one with a successful, established infrastructure that understood manufacturing and the processes and practices of the non-profit social enterprise business model.
Enter CHERP and CLGP. By putting his state of the art intellectual property and technologies into the hands of CHERP, Kernahan is achieving his vision of uniting “solar energy and manufacturing into the same local economy...to permanently ignite a virtuous cycle creating maximum jobs, income and demand - right in the heart of the communities that need it the most.”
IP Council IdealPV
Mike Caldwell has held senior business management roles in major Silicon Valley technology firms across thirty years. He practiced patent law for fifteen years, during which he also founded a patent data analysis company, later sold to a major IP management firm. He now drives IdealPV's intellectual property strategy as well as operational advice to its licenses.
Software Design Engineer IdealPV
Peter Curzon is a software/firmware engineer and mathematician with thirty years R&D experience. He has developed products for some of the world's most successful technology vendors (Amazon, Leica, TRW and others), and has grown startups from seed to market. His scalable system designs are language- and processor-agnostic, and his research areas include analytical number theory and computational geometry. He develops systems and technologies for idealPV and its business associates.
Electronic Design Engineer IdealPV
Marc Stewart is a specialist in electrical engineering with extensive experience as a technical staff member and as an independent consultant. He is currently the Vice President of Engineering at idealPV, where he focuses on circuit design and performance verification, design for testability, and design for manufacturability. His industrial knowledge involves hardware architecture, product development, manufacturing, manufacturing test, and product management. His skills include analog, digital, radiofrequency, power systems, cross-functional team leadership, and embedded software. He is the primary designer of the circuit board for idealPV modules, ensuring it can be assembled by those of low to moderate skill level. He currently holds 14 patents in power systems and communications.