2018
Justine Quealy
Justine Quealy
Climate Planning Technician
February 23, 2018

Climate Change, the Olympics and Solastalgia

I’ve always enjoyed watching the Olympics, but there’s something a little off about the experience this time around. The athletes this year are as impressive as ever, but seeing all the wintery weather of Pyeongchang on my TV has me wishing for more snow here in the Sierra Nevada.

While a few inches of snow have accumulated this week and hopes for a “Miracle March” are strong, it’s not nearly enough to create a solid and stable snowpack, which measured at only 27% of normal on February 1st.

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Ben Maritato
Ben Maritato
Climate Planning Technician
February 15, 2018

Anticipating the Effect of Trump Administration's Solar Tariff

On January 22nd, President Trump approved a tariff on imported solar cells to safeguard US producers from cheaper international prices. The tariff will begin at 30% the first year and decrease annually by 5% over the next four years. Additionally, the first 2.5 gigawatts of cells imported each year will be exempt from the tariff. While this tariff is significant, it is not as steep as many in the solar industry feared it would be. The question remains though, what will its impact be on solar energy production in the U.S?

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Brittany Benesi
Communications Director

Brittany Benesi

Communications Director

Brittany Benesi is the Communications Director for Sierra Business Council, promoting programmatic work that catalyzes community, economic, and environmental vitality throughout the Sierra Nevada. Originally from Seattle, Brittany has lived and worked in the Truckee/Tahoe area for the past four years. While finishing her degree, Brittany worked as a Youth Mentor with Seattle Tilth’s Youth Garden Works Program, helping homeless and disadvantaged adolescents develop job skills through urban agriculture. Once in Tahoe, Brittany started her work with Sierra Business Council as a Communications Intern and quickly made her mark with her focus on positivity, team building, and a commitment to the triple bottom line. Brittany is a graduate of Seattle University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies, a specialization in Education and Communications and a minor in Psychology. 

Personal Highlights:

As a child of the Pacific Northwest, Brittany grew up with a full appreciation for the natural world and the amazing recreating opportunities found therein. As a Sierra Nevada resident, Brittany especially enjoys running, hiking, snowboarding, stand up paddle boarding, and any time she gets to be outside with her husband, Steven, and canine companion, Shasta.

February 09, 2018

Needs, Stories and Impact: Using Data to Drive Change

I love data. Data can explain what’s going on around us, tell a story, offer straightforward facts in a time when they seem hard to come by. It can make or break arguments, impact decision-making, establish a need. It can also be skewed, manipulated, or improperly attributed. Data’s a fickle beast, but when utilized thoughtfully it can change the course of our whole world.

Thoughtfully utilizing data, that fickle beast, is how SBC tackles our own brute of aspirations to foster more resilient communities, a healthier environment, and a prospering economy throughout the Sierra Nevada.

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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.

January 26, 2018

Welcoming Chris Mertens, SBC's New Government Affairs Director

Encouraging a commitment to the larger community and fostering a sense of individual purpose are two of SBC's core values. We support these values not only with our partners in the region, but also with our own staff.  

It is in this spirit that I celebrate the recent changes in SBC’s Government Affairs program. Former Government Affairs Director Diana Madson has left SBC to expand her policy work with the Western Conservation Foundation, where she will direct the foundation’s Energy Program

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Nikki Caravelli
Climate Technician & Sierra CAMP Project 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.

January 04, 2018

Celebrating a Year of Defiant Climate Action 

In spite of ongoing setbacks at the federal level, 2017 was an exciting year for climate action for SBC and the Sierra Nevada. Personally as a Civicspark Fellow in 2016-2017 supporting SBC’s climate change programs, it was a year of highs and lows – most recently concluding with the exciting prospect of working full time as a Climate Technician and Sierra CAMP Project Manager with SBC. 

Nonetheless, 2017 was also a year full of challenges.

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