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.


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John Cuttica

Director

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 oversees the Center’s business and research efforts and is responsible for the Center’s strategic direction. John also serves 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.  


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Henry Kurth

Associate Director

Henry C. Kurth has over 35 years of experience in the field of energy efficiency and renewable resource and sustainable development.  Since 2003 he has served as Associate Director of the Energy Resources Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. At ERC Mr. Kurth manages several major programs including the USDOE sponsored State Energy Program. He is also an affiliate member of the National Association of State Energy Officials, and works closely with the State of Illinois Public Sector Energy Efficiency Trade Ally Program.

Prior to joining the Energy Resources Center, Mr. Kurth was Director of the Illinois State Energy Office where he managed a wide variety of State and Federal programs and a program staff of 26 energy professionals.  Henry is a founding member of the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA), and is a Certified Energy Manager.

Henry is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.


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Cliff Haefke

Principal Research Engineer, Energy Resource Center

Cliff Haefke joined the Energy Resource Center in 2003 and is currently a part of the Distributed Generation team. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA both from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Mr Haefke  is a member of the International District Energy Association (IDEA), the U.S. Combined Heat and Power Association, and he currently serves as the President for the Midwest Cogeneration Association. 

In his current research with the ERC Mr. Haefke focuses on clean energy technologies including combined heat and power (CHP), waste heat recovery (WHR),  and district energy (DE) for the regional U.S. Department of Energy Midwest CHP Technical Assistance Partnership (TAP).  As a part of the Midwest TAP Mr. Haefke provides technical and economic evaluations of potential clean energy candidate sites, development of regional marketing material, support for the Midwest state energy offices, and management of daily operations as well as communication with the U.S. DOE in Washington D.C.


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Steffen Mueller, PhD.

Principal Economist

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. 


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Stefano Galiasso

Research 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.


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Salvatore (Sam) Rinaldi

Project Coordinator

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.


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Maurita F. Howard Lark

Customer Services Specialist

Maurita F. Howard Lark  joined the ERC in December 2007 as the Customer Services Specialist. Maurita's responsibilities include creating and managing databases, processing employee transactions, and co-organizing and co-hosting various departmental conferences. Prior to joining the ERC, Maurita was mobilized to active duty at the rank of Master Sergeant for five years (January 2003-December 2007) at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. She worked as the Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge (NCOIC) of the Personnel Section during Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF). During this time she supervised over 20 Soldiers and was responsible for the in/out-processing of more than 20,000 troops. Maurita has proudly served the United States Army for over 31 years.

Maurita attended UIC as a student majoring in Marketing, and later Psychology with a minor in Theatre and has been an employee with the University for over 28 years.


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Graeme Miller

Energy Policy Analyst, Energy Resource Center

After working with Integrys Energy in 2007, Graeme Miller first began his work with the ERC as a graduate research assistant. Upon completion of his Masters in Urban Planning and Policy at UIC, Mr. Miller became a part of the Distributed Generation team at the ERC as a full-time policy analyst researching the financial impact of utility rates for customers using combined heat and power (CHP) systems. Mr. Miller has written research briefs for the Department of Energy, the Iowa Office of Consumer Advocates, the Iowa Environmental Council, the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Environmental Law and Policy Center. Mr.Miller has submitted testimony in utility rate cases and efficiency filings before the Iowa Utility Board, as well as publishing three papers through the US DOE Midwest Clean Energy Application Center. Additionally, Mr. Miller holds a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Grinnell College and is a member of the Midwest Cogeneration Association (MCA) serving on the policy committee. 


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Shraddha Raikar

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. 


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Steve Wallon

Research Engineer

In early 2013 Steve joined the ERC producing energy assessments in collaboration with the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC). Prior to joining the ERC Steve worked directly for SEDAC's team of experienced architects and engineers where he provided technical advice to public and private sector clients on topics of environmental sustainability, energy efficiency, and renewables. 

Steve has a B.S. in Architectural Studies and a Master of Architecture, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His graduate thesis won the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2nd place Chicago Prize, and first place in the Ecological Design Consortium's (EDC) Green Rescheme competition. Steve successfully passed the Certified Energy Manager® (CEM) professional exam sponsored by the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), and is accredited as a U.S. Green Building Council LEED Green Associate.