2018
Chris Mertens
Chris Mertens
Government Affairs Director
April 06, 2018

I Want to Ride My Bicycle 

Do you ever feel like you’re spending the nicest parts of the day confined in your car? I live in one of the most spectacular places I can imagine yet I often only experience my surroundings from the 97 cubic foot interior of my Subaru.

It’s probably why I savor the times I’m able to ride my bike to work or run errands around town with my senses unconfined.

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Kerri Timmer
Vice President Climate and Energy

Kerri Timmer

Vice President, Climate & Energy



As Vice President of Climate & Energy, Kerri works in partnership with local, regional, state and federal agencies and officials to advance sustainable communities strategies, climate action planning, energy efficiency programs and other SBC activities.

Kerri is a communications and management specialist with more than 25 years of public- and private- sector experience in community and government relations, business communications, land and water conservation, and nonprofit management and capacity building.  Prior to joining SBC, Kerri spent six years with the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, where she served most recently as that agency’s Regional Policy and Program Manager.  Before that, she was Executive Director of a non-profit conservation group, operated her own consulting practice where she cultivated relationships with watershed organizations, land trusts and other community groups within and outside the Sierra, and served as account executive and creative director for a community and government relations firm in San Francisco.  Kerri holds a B.A. in English Literature from San Francisco State University and a certificate in Land Use and Natural Resources planning through UC Davis Extension.  Kerri has also authored a number of publications addressing land and water conservation and community sustainability issues in the Sierra Nevada. 

Personal Highlights

Kerri and her husband John live in the foothills of the western Sierra Nevada, where they enjoy hiking, biking, boating, camping and hosting backyard barbeques for friends and family.

March 21, 2018

Stand with the Region You Love: Getting to Know Proposition 68

You’ve probably noticed a recent uptick in SBC outreach around Proposition 68 – the Clean Water and Safe Parks bond measure on the June statewide ballot – and if so, great! SBC is part of a growing number of organizations and individuals who support this measure because of the critical investment it makes in California’s water, parks, and natural resources.

Unlike many previous bond measures, this one allocates substantial funding – $142 million – specifically to the Sierra-Cascade region.

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Jessica Carr
Program Manager

Kerri Timmer

Vice President, Climate & Energy



As Vice President of Climate & Energy, Kerri works in partnership with local, regional, state and federal agencies and officials to advance sustainable communities strategies, climate action planning, energy efficiency programs and other SBC activities.

Kerri is a communications and management specialist with more than 25 years of public- and private- sector experience in community and government relations, business communications, land and water conservation, and nonprofit management and capacity building.  Prior to joining SBC, Kerri spent six years with the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, where she served most recently as that agency’s Regional Policy and Program Manager.  Before that, she was Executive Director of a non-profit conservation group, operated her own consulting practice where she cultivated relationships with watershed organizations, land trusts and other community groups within and outside the Sierra, and served as account executive and creative director for a community and government relations firm in San Francisco.  Kerri holds a B.A. in English Literature from San Francisco State University and a certificate in Land Use and Natural Resources planning through UC Davis Extension.  Kerri has also authored a number of publications addressing land and water conservation and community sustainability issues in the Sierra Nevada. 

Personal Highlights

Kerri and her husband John live in the foothills of the western Sierra Nevada, where they enjoy hiking, biking, boating, camping and hosting backyard barbeques for friends and family.

March 20, 2018

Sierra SBDC celebrates #SBDCDAY March 21st

Tomorrow, March 21st, Small Business Development Centers all over the country will come together to celebrate #SBDCDAY, a “national proclamation of the impact of America’s SBDCs on the success of our nation’s dreamers, innovators and doers - America’s small businesses.” 

This is a day when SBDCs will be sharing their client’s successes, economic impacts, and results nationwide. To celebrate our own Sierra SBDC version of #SBDCDay, we wanted to share the national impacts of America’s SBDCs, as well as highlight some of our results from our 2017 impact report.

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Paul Ahrns
Program Director

Paul Ahrns

Program Director

Paul grew up in Nevada City, spending his summers exploring the mountains and valleys around Truckee. His summers in the Sierra fostered his passion for protecting and sustaining the natural wealth and beauty of the Sierra Nevada region. Paul returned home to the region in 2010 to join the Climate Planning team and work on the first phase of the Green Communities Program. Paul has served as a Planning Technician and Project Manager for the Climate Planning team providing technical expertise and project management support to assist over 30 local governments, special districts and private developers with climate planning assistance. Paul brings his experience in sustainability, planning, community engagement and project management to his new role as the Climate Planning Program Director for the Sierra Business Council.

Personal Highlights:

Paul earned his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science & Policy from California State University, Long Beach where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and was selected as the Department’s Outstanding Graduate for 2009. Paul combines his passion for the environment and desire to explore the world. He has had the pleasure of exploring 5 different continents and more countries than he can keep track off. The highlights of which have been working with communities in Kenya to drill water wells without using electricity or fuel and exploring the incredible history and culture of China.

March 16, 2018

Unaccounted for Water and the Value of Leak Detection

While water is always a hot topic in both California and Nevada, most of us aren’t typically thinking about where our water comes from, let alone how it reaches our taps. When we are thirsty, we just walk to the sink or refrigerator and fill up a glass. We expect there to be water available when we turn on the faucet.

The truth is, however, that there is quite a bit of unseen work required to make sure that the water is available when we turn that faucet handle.

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Clarke Stevenson
CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellow

Paul Ahrns

Program Director

Paul grew up in Nevada City, spending his summers exploring the mountains and valleys around Truckee. His summers in the Sierra fostered his passion for protecting and sustaining the natural wealth and beauty of the Sierra Nevada region. Paul returned home to the region in 2010 to join the Climate Planning team and work on the first phase of the Green Communities Program. Paul has served as a Planning Technician and Project Manager for the Climate Planning team providing technical expertise and project management support to assist over 30 local governments, special districts and private developers with climate planning assistance. Paul brings his experience in sustainability, planning, community engagement and project management to his new role as the Climate Planning Program Director for the Sierra Business Council.

Personal Highlights:

Paul earned his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science & Policy from California State University, Long Beach where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and was selected as the Department’s Outstanding Graduate for 2009. Paul combines his passion for the environment and desire to explore the world. He has had the pleasure of exploring 5 different continents and more countries than he can keep track off. The highlights of which have been working with communities in Kenya to drill water wells without using electricity or fuel and exploring the incredible history and culture of China.

March 09, 2018

Workforce Development: Finding Balance in Expectations

In the last month alone, I have heard the topic of workforce development discussed everywhere from closed rooms with office chairs to  the chairlifts of mountain resorts. The question of how to fuel an industry with qualified candidates, coupled with the demand to get the job done is constantly in conflict. As a recent graduate, I have been personally navigating this gap.

I remember the feeling of entrapment after college. The smell of fryers and the grease-covered burns on my arms followed me home from my kitchen shift at the pub.

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