2017
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.

September 20, 2017

It's Not Over: An Update on the DOI's National Monuments Recommendations

It’s not over yet. On Sunday, a leaked copy of the Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Zinke’s recommendations on national monuments was obtained by The Washington Post, and revealed his plan to vastly reduce at least four monuments. The recommendations came after Zinke received more than 2.8 million public comments, with over 99% of Americans urging for maintained protection. Zinke’s recommendations could boost drilling, mining and timber harvesting in some of our nation’s most ecologically and historically important lands.

More
Diana Madson
Government Affairs 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.

September 14, 2017

SB 100: Climate Action's California Dream

It’s been almost like a dream: I’ve been running around the halls of the Capitol all this week urging legislators to vote yes for SB 100. If passed, this bill would not only accelerate California’s current 50% Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirement from 2030 to 2026, but also raise the Renewable Portfolio Standard to 60% by 2030, and require the state to fulfill all of its energy needs with zero carbon resources by 2045. This would be a huge deal for California and in fact a dream come true for climate action - it would show the world that the eighth largest economy is walking the walk when it comes to climate change, encouraging others to do the same.

More
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.

September 01, 2017

California Does it Again: Go Green Financing and The Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program

California has always been a pioneer in energy efficiency programs and policies to achieve ambitious energy savings goals. Through a private-public partnership between state agencies and the Investor-Owned Utilities in California, the State created the California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing (CHEEF) to develop attractive financing options for homes and businesses so that more projects with deeper energy savings can be completed.

More
Kristin York
Vice President of Business Innovation

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.

August 18, 2017

Love Where You Live: Honoring a Truckee Community Leader

Lately, I have a robust Instagram thread running through my head. I see something, pause and say to myself “love where you live”. When you live in a place as spectacularly beautiful, consciously aware and gritty as Truckee, you could spend a whole lot of time adding to the over 720,000 posts tagged #lovewhereyoulive.

Really though, it’s the people that make the Sierra really special. The people who choose to endure a harsh winter climate, the influx of visitors that contribute to our economy, but test the limits of capacity and a job and housing market that is challenging on a good day.

More
Steve Frisch
President

Steve Frisch

President

Steve is President of Sierra Business Council and one of its founding members. Over the last 20 years Sierra Business Council has leveraged more than $100 million of investment in the Sierra Nevada and its communities through community and public-private partnerships.  Sierra Business Council also manages the Sierra Small Business Development Center focusing on advancing sustainable business practices and linking new and expanding businesses to climate mitigation and adaptation funding. Steve manages SBC’s staff and programmatic development.

Prior to joining the Sierra Business Council, Steve owned and operated a small business in Truckee. Steve serves on the board of the California Stewardship Network, the Large Landscape Practitioners Network, the National Geographic Geo-tourism Council, Capital Public Radio, and Leadership For Jobs and a New Economy.  Steve is also a former Fulbright Exchange Program Fellow, sharing information and knowledge gained in the Sierra Nevada in China and Mongolia.  Steve is a graduate of San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Political Science.

 

Personal Highlights:

Steve lives in Truckee with his wife Lisa. He is an avid reader of history, politics, community planning and Sierra issues. Steve enjoys traveling the back roads, connecting to local history, camping and cooking.

 

August 10, 2017

It's Not Too Late to Save Giant Sequoia National Monument

Nearly 20 years ago President Bill Clinton designated the 328,000-acre Giant Sequoia National Monument within the boundaries of Sequoia National Forest.

The decision was not made lightly, but after careful consideration and a strong science based approach to assess the boundaries necessary to protect the numerous groves of Giant Sequoia within the Monument.

More