Rolf is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Great Plains Institute. He has more than 30 years of experience in energy and sustainable development policy and practice in both governmental and non-profit settings and has held positions with: the United States Congress, Minnesota Environmental Quality Board (EQB), the Minnesota Office of Strategic and Long-Range Planning, World Wildlife Fund International (Brussels, Belgium), National Wildlife Federation’s Corporate Conservation Council (Washington, DC), and the Global Environment Program at NYU’s Stern School of Business in New York.
For much of his career Rolf has worked to broker agreement among disparate interests on difficult public policy issues. In 2016, Rolf was appointed by U.S. Department of Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz, to serve on the agency’s 24-member Electricity Advisory Committee.
Prior to coming to the Institute in 2003, Rolf served for a decade with the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board and Office of Strategic and Long-Range Planning. For seven of those years he served as Assistant Director of then Governor Arne Carlson’s Sustainable Development Initiative, working to harmonize the state’s economic and environmental policies.
Rolf has written or helped craft new laws on high performance buildings, hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, resource efficient land use, and sustainable development. He was a contributing author to the third National Climate Assessment, a comprehensive report required by Congress on climate change impacts in the US. Rolf has authored and edited many publications on energy, transportation and sustainable development and speaks to a wide range of audiences both nationally and abroad.
Rolf holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from Carleton College and a Master’s Degree in International Environmental Policy from Tufts University. He has served on numerous advisory boards, including the University of Minnesota’s NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise and the Midwest CleanTech Open. Rolf currently serves on the Steering Committee for the MN Sustainable Growth Coalition, a group of more than 30 leading companies dedicated to ushering in a “circular economy.” He is an alumnus of the Wilder Foundation’s James P. Shannon Leadership Institute and has served as president of the Izaak Walton League of America (Minnesota Division), and Union Park Community Council in St. Paul where he lives with his wife of 23 years Kathy (their two sons are in college).