Board of Directors

The guiding force behind GPI

From business leaders to distinguished academics, GPI’s board of directors is a dedicated group of seasoned professionals with a wide range of interests and backgrounds who are responsible for helping guide GPI’s mission and strategy, and securing the relationships and resources necessary to achieve both.
Jessica Hellmann

Jessica Hellmann

  • Read Full Bio

    Jessica Hellmann is the director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, an internationally recognized organization working to solve grand environmental challenges, while promoting interdisciplinary research, teaching, and leadership across the university and engaging external partners and stakeholders.

    Hellmann’s research focuses on global change ecology and climate adaptation. She regularly counsels state and national governments on habitat management, restoration and endangered species conservation. In addition, building upon her seminal findings in ecology, Hellmann has extended her work on climate change adaptation to human systems, including health, infrastructure, food and water. She works with governments and corporations to build investment in climate change adaptation and co-authored several climate assessment and adaptation planning efforts.

Douglas Jaeger

Douglas Jaeger, Secretary

  • Read Full Bio

    Douglas Jaeger is president and CEO of Ulteig Engineers which provides engineering and technical services to the power, renewable energy, oil and gas, transportation, and water sectors. Prior to this role, Jaeger served as principal of AMP Advisors, CEO of Adolfson & Peterson Inc. (A&P), and held leadership positions in marketing, sales, operations, and business development with Xcel Energy, Exelon Corporation, and Honeywell, Inc.

    Jaeger serves on the board of advisors for Computype, Inc. in St. Paul and the board of directors for CE Power Solutions in Cincinnati. He is also serving or has served on numerous non-profit boards including Minnesota Independent Schools Forum, Prodeo Academy, Minneapolis Children’s Theatre Company, and the Northern Star Council of Boy Scouts of America. In 2010, Twin Cities Business Magazine selected Doug as one of the “200 Minnesotans You Should Know” Honorees. In 2006, he was chosen as one of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” honorees for his achievements and dedication to the community.

Satish Jayaram

Satish Jayaram

  • Read Full Bio

    Satish Jayaram leads Cummins Energy Ventures, a group which he formed in 2014 with a mandate to invest in distributed generation businesses and technologies. In this role, Jayaram and his team are responsible for sourcing, negotiating, incubating and managing investments and alliances in support of the power generation business strategy. He spends a great deal of time thinking and working with a broad set of industry stakeholders about market trends, policies, innovation in the energy markets and the resulting implications for the industry and Cummins.

    Joining Cummins in 2004 in a technology leadership role, he has also held general management positions for Cummins Generator Technologies; led the Pan-Africa power generation business unit and; managed several business transformation initiatives globally for the company. Prior to joining Cummins, Satish tried his hand at entrepreneurship and formed a boutique consulting firm.

Will Kaul, Chair

  • Read Full Bio

    Will Kaul is an energy consultant to Fresh Energy and serves on the boards of the Energy Systems Integration Group (ESIG) and the Great Plains Institute (GPI), where he serves as chair. He retired from Great River Energy in 2017 after 39 years as its vice president and chief transmission officer.

    Kaul was a founder of the CapX2020 grid expansion initiative and served as the chair of its governance body. CapX2020 is a collaboration of 11 utilities that jointly planned and built a $2.1 billion, 800-mile expansion of the high voltage electric grid serving a large region in the Upper Midwest. From 2014 until 2017, Kaul spearheaded Great River Energy’s grid modernization program and was a well-recognized thought leader on the topic. At the heart of these initiatives were his innate spirit of leadership through collaboration, and a vision of a transformed energy system that is cleaner, more resilient, reliable, and affordable.

Rolf Nordstrom

  • Read Full Bio

    Rolf Nordstrom is president and CEO of the Great Plains Institute. He has nearly 30 years of experience in energy and sustainable development policy and practice in both governmental and nonprofit settings, including the U.S. Congress, the executive branch in Minnesota, and nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and abroad. Among his other duties, he currently leads GPI’s “e21 Initiative” to better align how utilities earn revenue with evolving customer demands and public policy goals. For much of his career Nordstrom has worked to broker agreement among disparate interests on difficult public policy issues. He has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Carleton College and a master’s degree in international environmental policy from Tufts University.

Dan O'Neill

Dan O’Neill, Treasurer

  • Read Full Bio

    Dan O’Neill has a 40-year career in Midwestern investment banking (RBC-Dain, Allison-Williams, Northland Securities,) and municipal finance (Springsted, Public Finance Systems, Evenson-Dodge), to private and public entities. O’Neill’s finance expertise includes structuring of water, wastewater, solid waste, public power, transportation, and sports/event facilities. He has served as a city councilman (Afton, MN), and in various roles on regional and local planning boards and committees. He’s testified before Midwest legislatures on issues related to water, solid waste and transportation. He’s served on several Minnesota Pollution Control Agency solid waste advisory boards, as well as the Vermillion River Watershed Management District.

    O’Neill worked with the University of Minnesota in the development of biomass energy concept projects that utilize combustion and gasification technologies. He also supported clients in developing food and agricultural waste anaerobic digestion projects for transport fuel and power generation.

Priti Patel

Priti Patel

  • Read Full Bio

    Priti Patel has more than 20 years of electric utility industry experience and is Great River Energy’s vice president and chief transmission officer.

    Before coming to Great River Energy, Patel served as regional executive to the north region and executive director for transmission system planning and competitive transmission for the Midcontinent Independent System Operator. Prior to that role, Patel served roles in general counsel, transmission development and corporate strategy and planning at Xcel Energy. She served as the organization’s lead counsel and co-executive director for the CapX2020 transmission expansion initiative. Patel also has frequently represented companies at state and federal legislative, regulatory and industry forums. She began her career as an attorney at the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and in a private law practice.

Winthrop Rockwell

Winthrop A. Rockwell

  • Read Full Bio

    Win Rockwell is the founding executive director of Green Minneapolis, a multi-project parks and greening conservancy launched in 2015 to advance the greening of downtown Minneapolis. Before Green Minneapolis, Rockwell was a partner in the Minneapolis office of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP where he concentrated on strategy development for clients and FaegreBD itself. Among his client work, he led a team that advised Los Alamos National Laboratory on its innovation assets strategy that included a significant focus on energy.

    Rockwell served as associate general counsel of President Carter’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island. Following the conclusion of his work on the Commission, he was retained privately by the owner of Three Mile Island to conduct independent investigations of allegations of wrong-doing against the company.

    Rockwell currently serves on the advisory board of Climate Generation, a Will Steger Legacy; the advisory board of the Joint Degree Program in Law, Science & Technology at the University of Minnesota; and; and the Greening and Public Realm Implementation Committee for the 2025 Plan of the Minneapolis Downtown Council. He previously served on the Minnesota advisory board of The Trust for Public Land and the Minneapolis downtown Gateway Committee.

Amy Skoczlas Cole

Amy Skoczlas Cole, Vice Chair

  • Read Full Bio

    Amy Skoczlas Cole is the managing director of the Water Main, a new national initiative from American Public Media Group (APMG) to engage Americans to see and experience the value of water and the vital role it plays in all aspects of our lives.

    Cole has worked at the intersection of the global environment and society for more than two decades in Fortune 500 companies, foundations, and leading non-profits. Before joining APMG, she was the founder of a strategic advisory firm focused on re-imagining the systems that deliver clean water, sustainable food, and renewable energy to society. As part of this work, Cole serves as the founding co-chair of the MN Sustainable Growth Coalition, a group of more than 30 global businesses and organizations collaborating to drive a circular economy, regenerative and sustainable by design.

    Previously, Cole served Pentair’s first-ever vice president of corporate social responsibility, was eBay Inc.’s most senior sustainability leader, and was a founding vice president of Conservation International’s Center for Environmental Leadership in Business. Over the course of 13 years, she was a leader in Conservation International’s efforts to design and build best environmental and social practices across key industrial sectors, including global agriculture, forestry, energy, mining, and the built environment.

Executive Advisory Council

GPI’s Executive Advisory Council is a diverse and distinguished group of individuals who are accomplished in their own fields of practice and share a passion for GPI’s mission.

Learn more about GPI’s executive advisory council →


Staff & Consultants

GPI’s staff have deep knowledge across a wide range of energy technologies, policies and best practices, including on energy efficiency, renewable energy and fuels, energy storage, the electric grid, carbon management, effective policies and practices at the community level, and harnessing “best in class” ideas through international collaboration.

Learn more about our staff and consultants →

Bubble Image