An Interdisciplinary Team of Experts
The ERC is home to a wide variety of experts who comprise a team of technical specialists with backgrounds in a variety of relevant disciplines including: engineering, economics, architecture, computer science, database development, and public policy analysis.
Cliff Haefke has over 15 years of experience in the energy industry and currently serves as the Director of the Energy Resources Center (ERC), located at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). The ERC is an interdisciplinary public service, research, and special projects organization that works to improve energy efficiency and the environment, providing expertise in the areas of energy efficiency, distributed generation, utilities billing management, and biofuels and bioenergy. Cliff joined the ERC in 2000, in 2011 he joined the Center’s executive management team, and since March 2015 serves as the Center’s Director. As Director, Cliff oversees the Center’s business and research efforts and is responsible for the Center’s strategic direction. Cliff also serves as the Director of the U.S. Department of Energy sponsored Midwest CHP Technical Assistance Partnership, a technical outreach program that promotes combined heat and power (CHP), waste heat-to-power (WHP), and district energy CHP technologies in the industrial, commercial, and institutional market sectors in the 12 State Midwest Region.
Cliff holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA both from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Cliff is a member of the International District Energy Association (IDEA), the U.S. Combined Heat and Power Association, and the Association of State Energy Research and Technology Transfer Institutions (ASERTTI), an affiliate member of the National Association of State Energy Offices (NASEO), serves on the Board of the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA), and is President of the Midwest Cogeneration Association (MCA).
Steffen Mueller, PhD.
Dr. Steffen Mueller is the Principal Economist directing research in the areas of biofuel and bioenergy at the ERC. The work of this research cluster focuses on resource assessments for biofuel and bioenergy production processes, as well as life cycle analyses of emissions related to different biofuel and bioenergy production pathways.
Along with his colleague, Ken Copenhaver, Dr. Mueller has recently been developing the UIC LandViewrer tool, a geospatial platform to help assess land use change at a field level scale. The LandViewer tool is used by seed companies to assess biofuels feedstocks, by grain buyers to manage risk, and by agricultural certification agencies to explore geospatial land use applications.
Dr. Mueller holds a PhD in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Master of Business Administration from Kelly Graduate School of Management, a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Berufsakademie Karlsruhe, Germany, and a Certificate in Financial Markets and Trading, Energy Specialization from Illinois Institute of Technology.
Assistant Director of Research Services
Jennifer Klemundt is the Energy Resources Center’s Business Manager. Jennifer is also the Project Coordinator for the Energy Resources Centers’ Utility Billing Management and Auditing Program and the State Utility Database Management System Program. Ms. Klemundt has ten years of experience in utility management and auditing.
Senior Energy Engineer
Stefano Galiasso joined the ERC in June 2009 as a Visiting Research Engineer. Stefano is working on the Illinois Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard both in the implementation (DCEO Boiler Tune-Up program and DCEO Green Nozzle Direct Install) and policy support. Stefano is an active member of the Illinois Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) and the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). He also participated in the development of the Illinois Statewide Technical Reference Manual (TRM) and in its annual updates.
Stefano holds a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Laurea Specialistica in Ingegneria Meccanica from the Politecnico di Torino, where he graduated with Summa cum Laude honors. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Automotive Engineering from the Politecnico di Torino in Italy.
Senior Research Specialist
David Baker is a Senior Research Specialist with the Energy Resources Center. He provides his skills and support for two ERC teams – the Energy Efficiency Team and Distributed Generation Team. David has more than 30 years’ experience managing energy and environmental programs, policy, and research related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, integrated resource planning, low income energy programs, climate change, acid rain, and clean coal technologies. Before joining ERC, he worked for the Illinois State Energy Office at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, where he managed the staff responsible for administering programs to implement the State’s Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard and to promote renewable energy and biofuels development in Illinois. David staffed climate change work groups under three different Illinois governors and has served on several national advisory groups on climate change policy. David Baker received a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois – Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Loyola University of Chicago.
Nathan Bohne joined the ERC in May 2013 as an Research Engineer. He is currently working on energy assessments for the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) program. Nathan also conducts Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EPPS) site visits for the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and provides other support at the ERC in a variety of ways.
Nathan holds a Master Degree in Energy Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His interest in reducing fossil fuel consumption has led him to investigate innovative energy solutions to ensure for a more sustainable future.
Iris Caldwell, PE
Iris Caldwell joined the ERC in November 2014 as a Research Engineer. She works primarily in the biofuel and bioenergy research cluster at the ERC. Most recently, Iris has modeled mobile combustion emissions associated with ethanol fuel blends and engaged the agricultural, transportation, and utilities sectors in pollinator conservation and habitat development. Prior to joining the ERC, Iris worked for more than eight years in industry, both as a manufacturing facility environmental engineer and as an environmental consultant. She has a strong background in environmental regulatory compliance as well as greenhouse gas accounting, carbon offset verification, renewable fuel production under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard, and other environmental and sustainability reporting.
Iris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil – Environmental Engineering from Iowa State University. She is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Illinois.
Patrick Brown joined the ERC in 2014 as a research engineer and primarily performs energy assessments of businesses and public entities throughout the northern portion of Illinois for the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC).
Patrick graduated in 2007 from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering. After discovering a passion for energy and the impacts it has on the world, he began a career in performing energy assessments and studying green technologies. In 2012, he completed a Master’s Degree in Atmospheric Science in 2012 to better understand the relationship weather and climate can have on regional energy performance.
Salvatore (Sam) Rinaldi
Sam Rinaldi is a Project Coordinator for the ERC. In this role Sam is responsible for a variety of functions such as: locating funding opportunities, analyzing energy costs, energy billing and collection, preparing public relations materials, and organizing professional workshops. Currently Sam is developing and implementing the Trade Ally Program for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the State Energy Office’s Illinois Energy Now Program for the Energy Efficiency Portfolio.
Prior to joining the ERC Mr. Rinaldi worked on creating, developing, and promoting a variety of companies in Venezuela. He also previously worked as an accountant for several multinational companies including Magnacraft, Maremont, and John Crane.
Mr. Rinaldi holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Eric C. Friedl
IT Technical Associate
Eric Friedl joined ERC in 2015. An experienced software engineer, Eric specializes in database and user-interface design. A 1992 graduate of UIC with a major in psychology and a minor in philosophy, Eric holds masters degrees in Computer and Information Sciences (Knowledge Systems Institute, Skokie, IL) and Elementary Education (National Louis University, Chicago, IL).
Maurita F. Howard Lark
Customer Services Specialist
Maurita F. Howard is the Customer Service Specialist in the College of Engineering, Energy Resources Center (ERC). She assists with the administrative functions of the department as well as co-organizing various sponsored ERC events. Maurita’s organizational, creativity and customer service skills positively reflects the ERC, College of Engineering, and the University. She majored in Marketing and Psychology at UIC, and more recently studied Human Resources Management at Grantham University. Maurita retired from the military where she performed the duties of Senior Human Resources Specialist for the battalion headquarters personnel section.
Research Energy Policy Associate
Graeme Miller is an Energy Policy Analyst with the Energy Resources Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). At the ERC Mr. Miller works as on energy policy issues for the US DOE Midwest Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership. In his current research Mr. Miller focuses on identifying, quantifying, and addressing barriers to clean distributed generation technologies such as combined heat and power (CHP), waste heat to power (WHP), district energy (DE), and energy efficiency (EE) installations. Mr. Miller specializes in utility rate policy, focusing on how utility rates affect combined heat and power deployment. Mr. Miller has written research papers on CHP, energy efficiency, energy security and utility rate policy for the US DOE Midwest CHP TAP, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the Iowa Office of Consumer Advocates, the Iowa Environmental Council, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Environmental Law and Policy Center. Mr. Miller has submitted testimony in utility rate cases and efficiency filings before the the Iowa Utility Board, the Missouri Public Service Commission, the Minnesota Public Utility Commission, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Mr. Miller has also presented on CHP topics before the Indiana State Senate.
Mr. Miller is a member of the International District Energy Association (IDEA), the U.S. Combined Heat and Power Association, the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, and he currently serves on the policy committee of the Midwest Cogeneration Association. Mr. Miller holds a Master’s of Urban Planning and Policy from UIC and a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Grinnell College.
Computer Support Specialist
Dragan Nikolovski specializes in Database Design, Development and Management. Dragan joined ERC in 2004 and since has been working as Computer Support Specialist, contributing to various research projects. Dragan has designed and developed a number of databases and supporting applications for the State of Illinois Central Management Services Bulk Energy Procurement Program. Besides performing regular maintenance on existing applications and databases, Dragan generates and provides a variety of data reports and analyses to ERC staff as well as CMS Energy Manager.
Dragan received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Belgrade Serbia, and his Master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Computer Support Specialist
Yuriy joined ERC in 2001 and since has been working as Computer Support Specialist.
Yuriy provides systems and network administration.
He holds a Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
LEED Green Associate, Visiting Research Engineer
Shraddha joined ERC in 2012 and currently manages the Green Nozzle Direct Install Program for DCEO. She has also been a key member of the analytics team, providing analysis and modeling support in Energy Efficiency portfolio planning. Prior to joining ERC, Shraddha worked as a Building Energy Specialist at the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center in Champaign, Illinois where she performed energy assessments of both public and private sector buildings and provided recommendations to reduce the cost of clients' energy bills.
Shraddha graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a joint Master’s Degree in Architecture and Civil Engineering and a concentration in construction management. She also holds a Bachelor's in Architecture from Goa University in India. Before moving to the U.S., she worked as an architect in Mumbai for two years. Her experience in both building design and construction provides her with a unique perspective on building energy efficiency.
Oscar Mora-Diaz joined the ERC in October 2013 as an Energy Engineering intern. Upon the completing of his undergraduate degree in December 2014, Oscar relocated to a position as a Research Engineer. He currently works on energy assessments for the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) program, and assists the ERC in a variety of ways as needed.
Oscar is currently working towards his Master’s in Energy Engineering for the University of Illinois at Chicago. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Ben Campbell joined the Energy Resources Center in July 2014 as a graduate research assistant. He primarily performs energy audits in the Chicago area for the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC). Ben started working at ERC while he was completing his Master's Degree in Energy Engineering from the University of Illinois, Chicago. He is also a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Ben graduated from the University of Illinois, Chicago in December 2014 and began working with ERC as a research engineer.
Prior to working at ERC, he has had experience working in manufacturing, technical support, management, and customer service. Ben graduated in 2010 from Illinois State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Renewable Energy Technologies. At Illinois State he participated in the Renewable Energy Society and Illinois State Solar Car Team.
Marcello Pibiri joined the ERC in June 2016 as an Energy Engineering intern and relocated to a position as a Research Engineer in January 2017. He is the Program Manager for the Public Sector Boiler System Efficiency Program, works on energy assessments for the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) program, and assists the ERC in a variety of ways as needed. Marcello holds a Master’s in Energy Engineering for the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Universita’ di L’Aquila in Italy.
John has worked in the energy field for over 30 years in several capacities: he was the Manager of the Consumer Products Research Program within the U.S. Department of Energy’s Buildings Research Program, Vice President for the End Use Research Program at the Gas Research Institute, and most recently Director of the ERC, located at the University of Illinois at Chicago. While at DOE, John was responsible for the development efforts of such consumer products as the first solid state ballast and single ended fluorescent light bulb (forerunner to today’s CFLs) as well as advanced energy efficient products in the commercial cooking and space conditioning markets. At the Gas Research Institute, John was responsible for the natural gas End Use Research Program including the development and commercialization of products in the space conditioning, on-site power generation, industrial manufacturing, and natural gas vehicle markets.
As the Director of the ERC, John oversaw the Center’s business and research efforts and was responsible for the Center’s strategic direction. John also served as the Co-Director of the U.S. Department of Energy sponsored Midwest CHP Technical Assistance Partnership, a technical outreach program that promotes combined heat and power (CHP), waste heat-to-power (WHP), and district energy CHP technologies in the industrial, commercial, and institutional market sectors.
John Cuttica holds a Master of Engineering Administration from the George Washington University and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Catholic University of America, both located in Washington DC.
After graduating from State University of New York, Gian Gabriel entered the advertising field advancing branding projects for high-profile companies in sectors such as food, energy and pharmaceuticals. His work in 'the digital space' garnered consecutive Hermes Awards in 2009 and 2010. Shortly thereafter, he assisted in running the marketing department of a New York-based automation firm specializing in industrial, medical and military applications around the world. Having seen the inner workings of several industries he aims to weave his marketing insights into a passion for energy. He currently pursues an M.B.A. at University of Illinois (Chicago) with a focus on International Business.
Kyle Lechnir joined the ERC in 2017 and works on marketing and communication strategy and execution, image enhancement efforts and platform management. Before joining, Mr. Lechnir’s experience in the industry was built on managing energy efficiency programs and an energy technology accelerator, consulting in branding and business intelligence, and launching initiatives.
Mr. Lechnir obtained a BA in Environmental Science at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. He is an accredited Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate, along with certifications in Environmental Management and Business and Web Design.