NYSERDA Announces New Members Appointed to Board of Directors

New Members Include Executives of National Grid and Con Edison, a Former Senior Science Advisor to President Obama, Clean-Energy Investment Experts, and a Consumer Policy Advocate

July 07, 2014

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced the appointment of six new members to its board and the reappointment of two currently-serving members, which were nominated by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and approved by the New York State Senate.

The new members are the Honorable Sherburne Abbott, a Syracuse University sustainability professor and a former senior science advisor to President Obama; Kenneth Daly, president of National Grid's New York operations; and John McAvoy, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Con Edison Inc.; Jigar Shah, author of Creating Climate Wealth and founder of SunEdison; Charles Bell, programs director for Consumers Union, who works on consumer policy issues, including energy and environment; and Jay Koh a managing director and partner at Siguler Guff, who previously led the federal U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corp.’s (OPIC) $2.6 billion active emerging markets private equity program.

The reappointed members are Elizabeth Thorndike, an environmental policy expert, and Mark Willis, a community-development banking expert who is currently a Resident Research Fellow at New York University.

“As part of the State’s energy policy, Governor Cuomo has called for improving energy affordability, giving customers more control over their energy use and leveraging greater private-sector energy financing. I look forward to working with these members as the expertise they bring in the energy, environment and financial sectors will lend a very valuable voice to the Authority as we aggressively accelerate the scale-up of clean energy markets," said Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York and Chairman of the NYSERDA Board of Directors.

"It is a pleasure to welcome these members to the NYSERDA Board. They bring great insight and experience in our energy systems and markets, and are thought-leaders on our energy, environment and clean-energy economy challenges," said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA. "Their dynamic leadership will help NYSERDA advance Governor Cuomo's vision to create an energy system that is cleaner and more resilient, reliable, flexible and affordable for all New Yorkers. At the same time, I want to sincerely thank George Akel, Kevin Burke, Bob Catell and David Elliman, who have left the board, for their insights and their many years of service."

The new members include:

Honorable Sherburne “Shere” Abbott is Syracuse University’s Vice President for Sustainability Initiatives and University Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy. Prior to this appointment in 2011, she served for two years as a senior science advisor to President Obama. She was on the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin and served as chief international officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and board director at the National Academies’ National Research Council. She has also consulted on environmental science and sustainable development for private foundations, the World Bank, the Brookings Institution and other non-governmental organizations. Abbott earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Goucher College and her master’s degree in environmental science and natural resource policy from Yale University.

Charles Bell is programs director for Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. He works on a wide range of consumer policy issues, including health care, financial services, energy, telecommunications and the environment. Over his 25 years at Consumers Union, Bell has helped to initiate and develop a variety of programs involving outside funding and external alliances -- programs on health care, the environment, energy and telecommunications. In New York, he worked to support the enactment of the Green Jobs - Green New York program to carry out residential retrofits. Bell graduated from Antioch University in 1987. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in international business at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. He serves on the board of Fair Health Inc. and the steering committee of New Yorkers for Accessible Health Coverage, as well as leadership positions at other nonprofits involved in social issues.

Kenneth Daly is President of the New York business of National Grid, which serves 4 million customers in New York State. In 1988, Daly joined National Grid’s predecessor, Brooklyn Union, which later became KeySpan and recently served the company in London for two years as Global Financial Controller. Daly graduated from St. Francis College and has earned both an MBA in finance from St. John’s University and an MS in human resource management from New York University. He achieved the distinguished Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2002. Daly is a member of the Boards of British American Business (BAB), Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center (AERTC) and St. Francis College, where he has been an adjunct professor for 20 years. Since 1992, he has been the Director of the St. Johns' University Executive-in-Residence Program and is also a graduate of the David Rockefeller Fellows Program and a member of the Long Island Energeia Program.

Jay Koh is a managing director and partner at Siguler Guff. He serves as a member of the firm's senior management team and sits on the company's multi-manager investment committees. Before Siguler Guff, Koh was the head of investment funds and chief investment strategist at OPIC. Koh led the federal agency's $2.6 billion active emerging markets private equity program, oversaw 33 funds and was involved in managing a $15 billion portfolio. He also guided the development of OPIC's strategic relationships and new products, and previously served as OPIC's chief financial officer. From 2008 to 2009, Koh led private equity and illiquid investing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at R3 Capital. Previously, Koh was a principal at The Carlyle Group, and also served as a law clerk to Justice David H. Souter, United States Supreme Court. Koh graduated from Harvard College, earned a master's degree in management at Oxford University and a J.D. from Yale Law School. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and The State Bar of California. He is also a member of the Private Sector Advisory Group to the U.N. Green Climate Fund.

John McAvoy is chairman, president and chief executive officer of Consolidated Edison Inc., and CEO of its principal subsidiary, Con Edison Co. of New York Inc. McAvoy joined Con Edison in 1980 and has served in positions of increasing responsibility. In his last position, he served as president and CEO of Orange and Rockland (O&R) Utilities Inc., a Con Edison subsidiary that operates in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Prior to his leadership position at O&R, he was senior vice president of Central Operations. McAvoy serves on the board of directors of Con Edison, the American Gas Association, the Edison Electric Institute, The Business Council of New York State Inc. and the Partnership for New York City. He also serves on the board of trustees of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. He holds an MBA from New York University and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Manhattan College. He is a graduate of the David Rockefeller Fellows Program.

Jigar Shah is an entrepreneur and author of Creating Climate Wealth: Unlocking the Impact Economy. He is the CEO of Jigar Shah Consulting and a board member of the Carbon War Room. Shah founded SunEdison in 2003; today the company is the world’s largest solar services company. SunEdison developed the power purchase agreement (PPA) business model, which allows customers to “pay as they go” for solar energy, eliminating any upfront capital costs of ownership. Shah graduated from the University of Illinois, and holds an MBA from The University of Maryland. Besides the Carbon War Room, he also sits on the boards of the SolarNexus, KMR Infrastructure, Prometheus Institute and Greenpeace USA.

The reappointed members are:

Dr. Elizabeth Thorndike, first appointed to the NYSERDA board in 1997, spent her professional career in the nonprofit and education sectors, and in public policy positions concerned with the environment at the local, state, and federal levels. Thorndike was founder, executive director, president, and member of the board of the Center for Environmental Information in Rochester from 1973 to 2007. She has held appointments as adjunct faculty at Cornell University since 1996. She also served as a Commissioner of the Adirondack Park Agency from 1980 to 1995 and as a member of Governor Mario Cuomo’s Environmental Advisory Board from 1985 to 1994. On the NYSERDA board, she chairs the Waste and Facilities Management Committee, which oversees the cleanup of the West Valley nuclear waste site. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and Harvard University and a doctorate in natural resource policy and planning from Cornell University.

Mark Willis, first appointed to the NYSERDA board in 2010, is a Resident Research Fellow at New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. Previously, Willis spent 19 years in community-development banking at JPMorgan Chase, overseeing its community development programs and products to help strengthen low- and moderate-income communities. He also founded the Chase Community Development Corp. Before Chase, Willis held various positions in economic development and tax policy with the City of New York, and from 1986 to 1989, he was Deputy Commissioner for Development of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. He also served as urban economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Willis has a bachelor's degree in economics from Yale University, a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. in urban economics and industrial organization from Yale University.


NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect the environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York State since 1975. To learn more about NYSERDA’s programs and funding opportunities, visit nyserda.ny.gov or follow us on TwitterLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., FacebookLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., YouTubeLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., or InstagramLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..