Our Team & Board of DirectorsMalerie Holte2021-09-17T20:17:17+00:00
Sam SpofforthChief Executive Officer
Sam Spofforth, Chief Executive Officer
Sam has served as Chief Executive Officer of Columbus-based Clean Fuels Ohio since the organization’s founding in 2002. He plays a leadership role within the Clean Cities network as well as in the advanced vehicle and fuels industry.
Sam was named the U.S. Department of Energy’s national Clean Cities Coordinator of the Year in 2007 and Midwest Clean Cities Coordinator of the Year in 2004. He was an original inductee to the Clean Cities Hall of Fame in 2011. For 12 years, he served as President of Transportation Energy Partners, a national non-profit that serves as an umbrella organization for many of the nation’s non-profit based Clean Cities coalitions and presents the annual Energy Independence Days in Washington, DC.
Sam previously ran the Eastern Pennsylvania chapter of Clean Water Action and led a grassroots fundraising campaign for the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation. He earned an MPA from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and a BA from Hiram College in Ohio.
Megan SteinChief Operating Officer
Megan Stein, Chief Operating Officer
Megan joined Clean Fuels Ohio in 2010 to administer the $11 million American and Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant program. During her tenure, she has led the administration of more than $40 million in federal, state and local grants. In her current role, she is responsible for oversight of administration and business operations.
Prior to joining Clean Fuels Ohio, Megan worked at Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) and the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) specializing in grant writing and grant administration.
Megan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Otterbein University.
Andrew ConleyChief Program Officer
Andrew Conley, Chief Program Officer
Andrew joined Clean Fuels Ohio in 2008 and is responsible for oversight of the organization’s services and programs that serve fleet stakeholders. This includes consulting services for fleet analysis and planning, securing incentive funding, infrastructure development, training, and education. He also directs Ohio Green Fleets which is a program that evaluates, assists and certifies fleets based on sustainability metrics. During his tenure, he has secured tens of millions in dollars of funding for the organization’s partners and has certified nearly 100 Ohio Green Fleets. Prior to joining Clean Fuels Ohio, Andrew coordinated Corps Development for City Year Columbus and administered programs for 38 diverse AmeriCorps members. He holds dual bachelor’s degrees in History and Comparative Religious Studies from Wright State University.
Brendan KelleyDirector, Drive Electric Ohio
Brendan Kelley, Director, Drive Electric Ohio
Brendan leads Clean Fuels Ohio’s Drive Electric Ohio initiative, our comprehensive approach to accelerating electric vehicle adoption. This includes local, state, and federal policy and regulatory work; building and supporting vehicle education and advocacy groups; and working with diverse partners to promote transportation electrification.
Prior to joining Clean Fuels Ohio, he spent 15 years in local and state government and electoral politics. He has served as a legislative advisor for Columbus City Council and as a legislative aide in the Ohio House of Representatives, as well as data director for the Ohio Democratic Party and campaign manager for several political campaigns.
Brendan graduated from Oberlin College in 2007 with bachelor’s degrees in Politics and Applied Mathematics.
Rachel EllenbergerDirector of Business Development & Communications
Rachel Ellenberger, Director of Business Development & Communications
Rachel serves as the Director of Business Development and Communications where she is responsible for managing the organization’s membership program and the planning and execution of the organization’s fundraising efforts. She is also responsible for overseeing the organization’s communications strategy and the planning and execution of the annual Midwest Green Transportation Forum & Expo. Additionally, Rachel manages member relationships and the execution of membership benefits.
Prior to joining Clean Fuels Ohio, Rachel served as the Administrative Coordinator for New Visions Group, a lobbying firm based in Columbus, Ohio. There, she coordinated the company’s internship program, client research, administrative tasks, and event planning.
Rachel graduated from The Ohio State University in May of 2018 with her B.A. in Political Science specializing in International Relations. She has minors in International Studies focusing on Security and Intelligence as well as Business. While in school, Rachel served as the Risk Management Chair on the Executive Committee of National Honor Fraternity, Phi Sigma Pi. She also served as a peer mentor and volunteer board member for Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS) for a year and a half.
Hallie NeuhausPolicy & Government Affairs Manager
Hallie Neuhaus, Policy & Government Affairs Manager
Hallie joined Clean Fuels Ohio in March 2019 as the Fleet Services Program Assistant. She is now the Policy & Government Affairs Manager where she develops and executes Clean Fuels Ohio’s policy initiatives and programs.
She was previously a Program Coordinator that worked on the implementation of Department of Energy grant projects and supported the organization’s consulting and fleet analysis work.
Prior to joining Clean Fuels Ohio, Hallie worked on political campaigns and as a field organizer for a nonprofit organization. In 2016 Hallie graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Politics, and she completed a Master of Public Administration degree from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at the Ohio State University in 2020.
Brandon JonesConsulting Services Manager
Brandon Jones, Consulting Services Manager
Brandon joined Clean Fuels Ohio in 2021 and serves as the Consulting Services Manager, where he is responsible for administering and delivering consulting services for fleet analysis and planning. This includes overseeing and executing outreach, education, and relationship building activities with key partners and stakeholders.
Prior to joining Clean Fuels Ohio, Brandon served in nonprofit development and renewable energy sales roles. He also worked for eight years in higher education as an environmental humanities teacher and researcher, where he studied the relationship between environmental storytelling and activism. He holds a doctorate degree in English from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and bachelor’s degrees in English and Physics from Dickinson College.
Timothy ChoProject Manager
Timothy Cho, Program Manager
Tim joined Clean Fuels Ohio as an Electric Vehicle Student Ambassador in 2017 and is currently responsible for assisting with fleet services consulting projects, Ohio Green Fleets, and other clean transportation initiatives.
Prior to joining Clean Fuels Ohio, Tim interned for the Atlanta Regional Commission and City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Sustainability in 2016.
Tim graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.S. in Environment, Economy, Development, Sustainability (EEDS) and a minor in City and Regional Planning.
Vashitta JohnsonOutreach & Organizing Manager, Drive Electric Ohio
Vashitta Johnson, Outreach & Organizing Manager, Drive Electric Ohio
Vashitta has 20 years’ experience working in politics, on campaigns, and in policy.
She is currently a doctoral student with aspirations of becoming an economist working to shape and change policies that will fix systemic racism and close the gap that exists between the wealthy and the poor.
As a community organizer, Vashitta’s volunteer experience includes being the President of the WeRise Board, Vice – President for the Westerville Library Foundation Board, and Co-Chair of the Westerville Black Parent Association. Vashitta was also a volunteer at Children Services crisis center for a few years.
Vashitta holds a master’s degree in International Business and a bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration as well an associate degree in Business Management Technology.
Being involved in the community is a passion for Vashitta where she advocates for children, voting rights, lgbtq+ rights, racial equity, abortion rights, and low-income communities. Vashitta has been a resident of Westerville for 11 years and is a mother to two beautiful children ages 7 and 10 who attend Westerville City Schools.
Kate Von BargenFinance & Administration Manager
Kate Von Bargen, Finance & Administration Manager
Kate joined Clean Fuels Ohio in the fall of 2019 and is responsible for overseeing the organization’s financial affairs through the management of multiple revenue channels. Kate is also responsible for organizational administration duties including planning, organizing, and implementing administrative systems.
Prior to joining the Clean Fuels Ohio team, Kate completed a Global Consulting Program during her tenure at Ohio University where she traveled to Thessaloniki, Greece and completed a consulting project with the Hyatt Regency. She also completed an internship with Prestress Services with a focus on finances associated with the oversized and overhauling industry.
Kate graduated from Ohio University in 2019 with a dual B.B.A. in Accounting and Business Pre-Law and a minor in Finance.
Malerie joined Clean Fuels Ohio in January 2020 as the Events and Communications Coordinator. In this role she plans and hosts in person and virtual events, manages social media, coordinates the monthly newsletter, assists in directing CFO’s annual conference, and redesigns and updates the website.
Prior to joining the Clean Fuels Ohio team, Malerie worked as a Production Copywriter for Zulily, keeping the dynamic, flash sale e-store fresh and exciting every day. In addition, she is pursuing a Master of Library & Information Science from Kent State University.
Malerie graduated with honors from the Ohio State University in 2018 with her B.A. in English Creative Writing, specializing in Poetry.
Jenna EllingsonProject Coordinator
Jenna Ellingson, Project Coordinator
Jenna Ellingson serves as a Projects Coordinator for Clean Fuels Ohio, where she supports the administrative and financial components of our grant-funded projects. Additionally, Jenna works with the Business Development and Communications team to expand our membership program, simplify and streamline internal processes, and develop internal and external communication materials.
Jenna graduated from The Ohio State University in May 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She plans to attend grad school in the coming years to study international relations and cooperation, with a focus on climate policy and equity.
Rachel BakerBusiness Development & Communications Program Assistant
Rachel Baker, Program Assistant
Rachel graduated with a B.S. in natural resource management from The Ohio State University in 2019 and will graduate with a Master of Environment and Natural Resources in Fall 2021. Prior to joining Clean Fuels Ohio, Rachel was an AmeriCorps doing environmental education work for a state park on Orcas Island, Washington. During her time in undergrad Rachel also worked for the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, The Ohio Wildlife Center, and Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens. Rachel is excited about a position where she can combine her passion for the environment with an organization that advocates for sustainability and equity in Ohio’s energy sector.
Dee HenryProgram Assistant, Drive Electric Ohio
Dee Henry, Program Assistant, Drive Electric Ohio
Dee works on the Drive Electric Ohio team, supporting projects and managing DEO’s social media presence and activity.
Currently a senior at The Ohio State University, Dee is pursuing a B.A. with majors in Political Science and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies respectively, as well as a minor in Peace Studies. Prior to joining Clean Fuels Ohio, Dee worked as a fellow for the Campus Election Engagement Project dedicated to increasing college student access to civic engagement and election participation. Dee’s taking that same passion and applying it toward equitable access to electric vehicles and alternative fuel technologies.
Nikolas MertenProgram Assistant
Nikolas Merten, Program Assistant
Nikolas Merten joined Clean Fuels Ohio in March 2021 as a program assistant. He is also a University Fellow and Master of Public Administration student at the Ohio State University through the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.
Prior to joining Clean Fuels Ohio, he worked on several research projects with the Miller Research Group on Conservation and Development Politics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Nikolas was a James Scholar, finishing with magna cum laude honors and earning a B.S. in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability and a B.A. in Political Science. He specializes in sustainable development, approaches to program evaluation, and the politics of environmental policy and regulation.
Caleb KnappProgram Assistant
Caleb Knapp, Program Assistant
CalebKnapp joined Clean Fuels Ohio as a Program Assistant in May 2021, where he works in the Drive Electric Ohio Department supporting various research projects. He is a recent graduate of Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, where he graduated with Honors in History and Politics, and completed an honors thesis that looked at government repression, queer representation, and youth activism in Egypt from the 1990’s to the present.
Prior to joining Clean Fuels Ohio, Caleb served on the Oberlin College Student Senate for three years, working as an advocate for a variety of different student issues including environmental sustainability and community-building. He also worked on different political campaigns at the state House, state Senate, and Congressional level in Ohio and elsewhere, and interned for Connecticut Legal Services and the law offices of Lansner & Kubitschek.
Abigail SpracklenProgram Assistant
Abigail Spracklen, Program Assistant
Abigail joined Clean Fuels Ohio in September of 2021 and is working with the Consulting Services Department as a Program Assistant. She is responsible for analyzing fleet data to better understand what types of EV replacements could be considered for Clean Fuels partners in the EV market of today and in the evolving market of the near future.
Abigail graduated from The Ohio State University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in EEDS (Environment, Economy, Development, and Sustainability). During her time at Ohio State, she studied abroad in New Zealand learning about Sustainable Tourism and Human Impacts on the Environment, worked with Ashland Chemical to help them develop their Sustainable Development Goals, and lead a team to draft a Sustainable Tourism plan for an abandoned quarry site in Greenfield, Ohio.
After graduation and prior to joining the Clean Fuels Ohio team, Abigail worked as an intern for She Grows It: Sustainability Consulting where she learned about the global development of western African nations and how they can emerge successful in a rapidly expanding global economy.
Thea EwingBoard President
Thea Ewing, Board President
Ms. Ewing is a 17-year public servant focused on transportation, economic development, energy, and community planning. As the Director of Transportation & Infrastructure Development at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, her team has helped advance Smart Columbus, the Hyperloop Midwest Connect proposal, and a Downtown Columbus Employee Bus “C-pass” program. She is a Columbus Business First 40 Under 40 honoree, a Central Ohio Women’s Transportation Seminar Woman of the Year, and has previously served as treasurer for Clean Fuels Ohio.
Ms. Ewing earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration and Urban and Regional Planning from Miami University and a Master of Public Administration from Wright State University.
Mark Shanahan, Ph.D., Treasurer & Policy Committee Chair
Dr. Shanahan provides strategic guidance on clean energy technology policy and deployment. Appointed by the U.S. District Court, he serves on the Class Benefit Fund Board of Trustees managing disbursement of claims benefits from a class action suit involving Duke Energy. He also serves on the boards of the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund and the Emerald Cities Collaborative for Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. As Governor Ted Strickland’s energy advisor, he played a key role in designing, negotiating and implementing SB 221, which created Ohio’s first advanced energy and efficiency portfolio standards. During his tenure serving five Governors as executive director, the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority issued $5.8 billion in bonds, supporting investments in air pollution control and prevention, energy efficiency and clean energy technologies.
Dr. Shanahan received an undergraduate degree from Boston College, a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University
Dale Arnold, Secretary
Mr. Arnold started with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation as an organization director in 1985 and became Director of Energy, Utility and Local Government Policy in 1995. His work encompasses economic, environmental, and social issues related to energy production and infrastructure development. He has worked with regulators, government leaders, and community stakeholders on utility aggregation, interconnection, fueling facilities, biofuels and biomass, wind and solar generation, transmission lines and pipelines, as well as oil and gas exploration.
Mr. Arnold has participated in several Public Utilities Commission of Ohio working groups concerning electric infrastructure and gas pipelines. He is dedicated to helping families and communities explore the benefits of new fuel sources and issues for additional planning adoption and use.
Cynthia MavesMarketing Committee Chair
Cynthia Maves, Marketing Committee Chair
Prior to joining Lordstown Motors Corporation, Ms. Maves was a lawyer for the State Medical Board of Ohio and was Director of Grant Administration for Clean Fuels Ohio. At Clean Fuels Ohio, she managed more than $25 million in federal and state grants and served as the staff lawyer, drafting and negotiating all grant award and consulting contracts. She was also responsible for implementing and managing Clean Fuels Ohio’s Drive Electric Ohio initiative.
Ms. Maves earned a bachelor of arts degree from DePauw University and a JD from Indiana University at Bloomington. She currently serves as a director of First Federal Savings Bank in Indiana.
Michael Smucker is a mission driven business professional currently holding the position of Midwest Regional Sales Manager for Greenlots, an EV Charging Solutions provider. His success in business is based on two fundamental principles: building strong relationships and always looking for the win-win. Michael is unique in the clean energy space in that he had a previous 21 year career in apparel and accessories before turning to solar and now EV charging infrastructure.
Ms. Thorson co-founded Benchmark Biodiesel, Inc. in 2007 with her husband, Wade Thorson, to meet the need for biodiesel blending and infrastructure in Ohio. Since that time, Benchmark Biodiesel has grown from a start-up to a thriving business that provides reliable biodiesel blends to fleets all over the state. She is responsible for managing relationships with public and private customers, developing strategies to advance the business, and promoting the use of biodiesel around the state.
Ms. Thorson has a bachelor’s degree in political science from The Ohio State University. She has been involved with the advocacy work of Clean Fuels Ohio for several years and serves on the policy and marketing committees.
Mr. Kauffman is the third-generation leader of Yellow Cab of Columbus, a family-owned business that was established by his grandfather in 1928 using proceeds from his produce sales at the North Market in the city. Mr. Kauffman is committed to serving the Central Ohio community and received $30,000 in 2018 in Smart Columbus rebates to replace 10 vehicles in the company’s fleet with new electric taxis. Prior to joining Yellow Cab, he managed the logistics of his family’s CPS Delivery System business.
Mr. Kauffman attended the University of Arizona. He is an active member of the North Market Development Authority Board and has served on the boards of The Wexner Center, and Ohio Art League, and supports the Columbus Museum of Art.
Tom Bullock is a veteran legislative and elections professional with more than twenty-five years’ experience in public policy and community leadership. Bullock has practical experience from work with top government leaders in Ohio and Washington, D.C., including work on Capitol Hill as a congressional aide. He has served for twelve years as a city councilman in his hometown of Lakewood, where he is a leader in implementing clean transportation, clean energy, and resiliency projects throughout the community. His interest in clean fuels and vehicles arises from Lakewood’s character as Ohio’s most walkable city and from using Clean Fuels Ohio reports and analyses. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from American University and an M.A. in Classics from the University of London.
Ms. McCarron has worked for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for 15 years. She currently manages public involvement and facilitates public hearings. She has been involved with Clean Fuels Ohio since 2002 and is dedicated to promoting the wide-spread use of alternative fuels.
Ms. McCarron graduated with a bachelor of science degree from the Ohio State University’s School of Natural Resources.
Mark oversees AEP Ohio’s efforts to provide new products and services to customers, including renewable energy, electric transportation options, and various other customized offerings. His team is also working with customers to provide electrification options in order to optimize their total energy usage. Previously, Mark managed many of AEP’s M&A opportunities as well as strategic planning for the company across its business segments.
Prior to joining AEP in 2007, Mark served in the U.S. Navy, with tours on two ships as well as graduating from the Navy’s Nuclear Power School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in business administration from The Ohio State University.
Frank has been in the propane industry for 19 years. He has held Regional level positions in operations, sales, and marketing for the industry’s largest companies. His experience includes acquisition integration, start up locations, and data analyzation for expense reducing operations. He has worked throughout the Midwest and Southeast regions.
Frank began his career as a Cylinder driver and worked his way into a Regional Position within two years. He then became a General Manager for the largest location within the MLP. Frank moved into a leadership position, traveling to underperforming locations where he would implement ideas to make them profitable. He was instrumental with implementation of Logistical systems for several areas of a MLP. He organized sales teams and implemented growth in specific and directed areas. He is now the managing partner for Linden’s Propane.
Carla Walker has spearheaded large-scale civic engagement and public service initiatives at the local, state, national and international levels for the last two decades. Having worked with three Cincinnati Mayors, her fingerprints are on many of the major projects that define the city’s renaissance including the Cincinnati’s notable environmental and climate change initiatives. A veteran political strategist, she has held several state leadership posts including the Finance Director for the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus, leadership positions in three U.S. Presidential campaigns and led or advised more than 100 different advocacy or candidate campaigns.
In 2010, she launched think BIG strategies, a strategic communications and planning consultancy to support and drive game changing initiatives. Her project portfolio focus is on green initiatives including leading equity and inclusion for a 150-member coalition of water advocates across the Great Lakes, exploring the connection between equity and green infrastructure, and serving as the Climate Advisor for the City of Cincinnati as an American Cities Climate Challenge participant.
She currently serves on the board for Green Umbrella, Cincinnati Opera, Ohio Citizen Action, the Lloyd Library and was appointed by the Mayor to serve on the Cincinnati Environmental Advisory Council. As the volunteer President of the Cincinnati-Nancy Sister City Association she leads the organization in its role to manage the municipal relationship between Cincinnati and its French Sister City creating initiatives to connect citizens across cultures.
She holds a B.S. from the University of Cincinnati, an M.S. from the University of Florida and an M.P. A from the Kennedy School at Harvard. She enjoys running, hot yoga, exploring cities, and practicing her French language skills.
Matthew B. Allison
Matthew B. Allison
Mr. Allison has 30 years of transit experience at COTA, including the successful negotiation of union contracts, leading the complete overhaul of bus routes in 2017, the introduction of a text message-based emergency notification system, and robust staff development initiatives. Mr. Allison currently oversees COTA’s largest division – an estimated 800 employees engaged in all aspects of the organization’s central operations – including bus operators, vehicle maintenance technicians, and Mobility Services, the group responsible for service to people with disabilities. He has been also been a leader in the Midwest Transit Leadership Exchange and spearheaded efforts to engage COTA’s operations team with the Ohio Public Transportation Association.
Mr. Allison holds a Bachelor in Business Administration and an MBA from Ohio Christian University. During his tenure at the helm of COTA operations, the authority was named Outstanding Public Transportation System for 2018 by the American Public Transportation Association.