WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced new Biden-Harris Administration appointees that have recently joined the team to help combat climate change and build a more prosperous and equitable clean energy future. With these new hires, DOE appointees make up a historically diverse team with 58% women, 58% BIPOC, and 21% of staff identifying as LGBTQ+.
“The Department of Energy is building a team of talented and dedicated public servants who are well-positioned to deliver on President Biden’s climate goals and deploy historic levels of clean energy infrastructure across the country,” said Chief of Staff Tarak Shah. “These appointees bring a diverse range of experience and expertise that will expand our capacity to tackle the climate crisis and forge a clean energy future with good-paying jobs, resilient climate solutions, and hope for future generations. ”
New appointees and their roles are listed below:
Matt Baca, Director of Scheduling and Advance, Office of Management
Matt Baca is a project manager and event producer with nearly a decade of experience in advocacy and political campaigns. He previously worked as Director of Advance for Pete Buttigieg’s presidential primary campaign, and before that was a Press Advance Lead in the Obama White House. Baca has a B.A. with Honors from DePaul University.
Christian Bato, Regional Intergovernmental and External Affairs Specialist for the Southwest, Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs
Christian Bato most recently worked for U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto in her Las Vegas office. Previously, he was the Nevada Coalitions Director for the Biden-Harris campaign. He began his career working for SEIU’s iAmerica, which advocated for immigrant justice in the AAPI and Latino communities. Bato is originally from Rancho Cucamonga, CA and holds a B.A. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is the proud son of Filipino immigrants.
Julie Cerqueira, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of International Affairs
Julie Cerqueria most recently served as the Executive Director of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors working together to advance the most ambitious state climate agenda in our nation’s history. Previously, she served as a Senior Advisor to the Special Envoy for Climate Change at the U.S. Department of State where she led U.S. engagement in strategic partnerships. Prior to her work in the federal government, Cerqueira worked with developing countries to design and implement climate policies and financial instruments at the climate think tank Center for Clean Air Policy, advised U.S. companies at the American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia to expand U.S. investments overseas, and served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines working with teachers and farmers to promote economic development and environmental stewardship. She has a M.A. in International Political Economy and Development from Fordham University, and a B.S. in Biotechnology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Torend Collins, Regional Intergovernmental and External Affairs Specialist for Appalachia, Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs
Torend L. Collins most recently served as a Program Coordinator in the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Florida office, synthesizing issue research and performing policy analysis to advance EDF’s clean energy agenda and strategic communications across the state. Previously, she worked as an Environmental Coordinator with the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District implementing programs and initiatives focused on improving air quality in Louisville. Collins earned a B.A. in Political Science from Spelman College and a Juris Doctor and Masters of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School.
Arjun Krishnaswami, Special Advisor to the CFO, Office of the Chief Financial Officer
Arjun Krishnaswami was most recently the Climate Policy Lead for Innovation at the Natural Resources Defense Council, where he worked to advance strong federal policy to build a just and equitable economy, promote clean energy innovation, and address the climate crisis. Krishnaswami previously served on the policy team for the Biden-Harris transition team. He holds an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a B.S. in Environmental Systems Engineering from Stanford University.
Ramzey Smith, Deputy Press Secretary
Ramzey Smith was most recently a Director of Public Affairs with SKDKnickerbocker after serving as a Spokesperson for the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition and African American Media Director with the Biden-Harris campaign. He previously worked at Howard University as a Senior Communications Specialist and Feldman Strategies as a Communications Associate. Smith began his career working as a television news producer in Fort Myers, Orlando, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. He is a proud graduate of Florida A&M University, having earned a B.S. in Journalism.
Rose Stephens-Booker, Regional Intergovernmental and External Affairs Specialist for the West, Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs
Rose Stephens-Booker was most recently a Senior Associate at BlocPower, where she developed and managed their partnership strategy to bring clean energy technology solutions to the most vulnerable and underserved communities across America. She previously led efforts focused on energy efficiency and market transformation through public-private partnerships as a Program Manager for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program. Stephens-Booker began her career working as an environmental consultant at the nexus of climate, energy and the business community on issue-based awareness campaigns for a variety of stakeholders. A Virginia native, she received her B.A. in Environmental Policy from Roanoke College and a M.B.A. from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.
Spencer Thibodeau, Regional Intergovernmental and External Affairs Specialist for the Northeast, Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs
Spencer Thibodeau is an attorney and public servant, practicing law in the real estate practice group of the Portland, Maine based law firm of Verrill Dana, LLP for eight years. Thibodeau served as a Portland, Maine City Councilor for nearly six years, where he chaired the Housing And Economic Development Committee and Sustainability and Transportation Committee. Thibodeau previously served the Maine Senior Advisor to the Biden-Harris Presidential campaign. He has served on a number of boards and committees, including the United Way of Greater Portland and the Equity Subcommittee of the Maine Climate Council, and served as a member of Maine Governor Janet T. Mills’ transition team in 2019. Thibodeau is a proud graduate of Fairfield University and Northeastern University School of Law.
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