Grid Catalyst was founded in 2021 by Nina Axelson, an industry leader with nearly 20 years of experience in energy and sustainability. She led her previous organizations with innovative programming and a focus on integrating environmental and financial results.
She will leverage her background in business development, corporate social responsibility, and renewable energy deployment to lead the Grid Catalyst cohort.
Prior to developing Grid Catalyst, Nina was the VP of Sustainability for Ever-Green Energy. She previously served on the board of the International District Energy Association, where she led the development of the industry’s association for the advancement and empowerment of women in this field.
Advisory Council Members
Bree Halverson is the Midwest Field Director for the BlueGreen Alliance.
Bree started her career at the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation where she worked for 10 years. As the Political Director at the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation, Bree advocated for people at work by working on political and community policy campaigns.
Right before joining BlueGreen Alliance, Bree was the State Director for Working America in Minnesota for four years. At Working America she focused on policy that helped raise workplace standards, like raising Minnesota’s minimum wage to $9.50 and pushing for fair scheduling standards for retail and service workers.
Bree has a Political Science BA and a Master in Advocacy and Political Leadership from the University of Minnesota.
John Morrow works for 3M as the Insights Lead/Corporate Entrepreneur for the Business Building arm of 3M Ventures. He has worked at 3M for over 15 years in multiple areas across the company. In his current role, his team works with start-ups to identify unmet needs and collaboration opportunities across multiple sectors including Energy Reduction/CO2 Reduction and Healthcare.
John received a BS in Economics from South Dakota State University and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.
He lives in Minneapolis with his wife Megan and 8yr old son Flynn.
Dan O’Neill has had a forty-year career in Midwestern investment banking and municipal finance, serving both private and public entities. His finance background includes structuring water, wastewater, solid waste, public power, transportation, and sports/event facilities. Dan has worked with the University of Minnesota in the development of bio-based fuels and related technologies. He has also served as a city councilman and in various roles on regional and local planning boards and committees.
Dan is a veteran having served in the U.S. military, including several years on NATO’s General Staff in its Naval Intelligence Cell in Brussels, Belgium. A Saint Louis native, Dan graduated from Saint Benedictine’s College in 1969 and holds a B.A. in History and Government. Dan has four daughters and lives in Stillwater, Minnesota with his wife, Nan Etzwiler.
Dan serves on the board of Clean Energy Economy Minnesota and serves as their representative to the Grid Catalyst Advisory Council.
Irina Palchuk is a Senior Vice President and Workout Specialist at UMB Bank, focusing on workouts in the public finance and corporate sectors.
Previously, she worked for BNY Mellon, Healthy Planet Partners, and US Bank, in a variety of roles, including trustee representation, project finance, and as general counsel at a fund focused on developing, constructing and operating solar projects.
Over the course of her career, Irina has worked on a number of sustainability initiatives, ranging from solar projects throughout the U.S. to renewable generation in Latin America.
Irina holds a BSB in International Business from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and a JD from University of MInnesota Law School. She lives in New York with her husband and daughter.
Aditya Ranade is Founder and Managing Partner at Two Degrees Adapt – a climate resilience technology advisory firm.
His prior experiences include leading the energy resources division for the Minnesota Department of Commerce, global smart grid R&D at 3M, green building and agriculture practices at Lux Research and solar panel materials development for Saint-Gobain. He has authored reports on topics such as building integrated photovoltaics, building energy efficiency policy in G-20 countries, and climate adaptation technologies which have been cited by publications such as Financial Times, Reuters, and Asian Power.
Aditya holds a B.E. (Polymer Engineering) from University of Pune, a Ph.D. (Macromolecular Science) from Case Western Reserve University, MBA from Babson College and a Certificate in “Triplomacy: Energy, Environment and Security” from Tufts University Fletcher School.
Laurence Reszetar is the Director of International Business Strategy in the Minnesota Trade Office, a division of the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). In his role, he creates and executes the strategy to bring Minnesota to the world and the world to Minnesota.
Laurence has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Government from Georgetown University and a Jurous Doctor degree from the University of Minnesota Law School.
Stephanie Zawistowski is the Director of Grassroots Engagement and Political Organizing for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
She works with companies and partner organizations to increase their capacity to act as advocates for policy priorities and other efforts to accelerate the clean energy transition and support the growth of the solar industry. She brings extensive experience with fostering coalitions and grassroots advocacy focused on clean energy at the local, state, and federal levels.
Prior to joining SEIA, Stephanie served as a policy advisor on energy, climate, and environment to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. Additionally, she led a statewide initiative for the Energy Foundation, managed environmental sustainability and compliance for Best Buy, and helped launch the BlueGreen Alliance, a national coalition of labor unions and environmental organizations.
Stephanie is originally from northwestern Minnesota and has a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago, and an MBA from the University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management. She resides in Minneapolis with her husband and two children.