Executive Director:

Fara Courtney

Program Associate:

Christopher Hardy

Board Members:


The Board is actively engaging other key players, including state and federal regulatory agencies, to inform our planning and our actions. This approach highlights USOWC’s commitment to be broad-based and to address environmental concerns with integrity and a collaborative spirit.

Fara Courtney, Executive Director

Fara is USOWC’s founding Executive Director, launching the organization in 2010. She has extensive public and private sector experience in coastal and ocean policy and planning, and has been an active player in promoting the US offshore wind industry since 2004.  She co-authored A Framework for Offshore Wind Development in the United States (2005), and US Offshore Wind Offshore Wind Energy: A Path Forward (2009). Fara was a regional manager for the Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management Program for 10 years, and Principal of Good Harbor Consulting/Gloucester – focusing on projects at the intersection of environmental and economic opportunity – for 13 years prior to founding USOWC. Fara holds a Masters in Science Communications from Boston University and a Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University.

Christopher Hardy, Program Associate

Christopher joined USOWC in November 2011. He has a diverse background in energy and natural resources conservation, government relations/public affairs, venture philanthropy, university research and administration, and news and publishing. For ten years he worked at the Massachusetts Audubon Society, where he started as a naturalist/outdoor guide and rose to become legislative director. Christopher also worked as a research assistant at the Brown University Technology Ventures Office, and as a business development and strategy intern at Jubilant Energy, an Indian oil and gas exploration and production subsidiary of the Jubilant Bhartia Group.  He has a BA from Brown University and studied at the University of Oxford.  In his spare time, he is the foredeck crew member on a ocean racing yacht out of Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Barbara Hill, Interim Chair 

From 2006 through 2011, Barbara served as the Executive Director of Clean Power Now, the leading grassroots non-profit that organized in support of the Cape Wind project, America’s first federally permitted offshore wind farm. Over the course of the past 30 years she has held a variety of management positions focused on renewable energy, land preservation and affordable housing. From 2001 – 2005 she served as the Project Coordinator for Offshore Wind with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. Barbara is a founding initiator of the CLEAN campaign – a collaborative of grassroots led organizations working for a new national energy policy advocating CLEAN’s Call to Action – and a 2008 Senior Fellow with the Breakthrough Institute. She earned her undergraduate degree in English Literature from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia.

Bancroft Poor, Treasurer

Banks is the Vice President for Operations and Chief Financial Officer for the Massachusetts Audubon Society, New England’s largest conservation organization. He oversees the financial operations, human resources, information technology, capital and renewable energy project, and climate change program functions for Mass Audubon. He joined Mass Audubon in 1984 as Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer, after serving as Chief Financial Officer for the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group. He holds a B.A. in History from Harvard University and a Masters in Private and Public Management from the Yale School of Management.

John Rogers, Clerk

John is a senior analyst in the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and co-manager of the organization’s Energy and Water in a Warming World Initiative. John formerly managed UCS’s Northeast Clean Energy Project, working to implement a range of clean energy and climate policies, including renewable electricity standards and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. In addition to his USOWC role, he serves on the boards of directors or advisory boards of several organizations that promote renewable energy in New England, throughout the United States, and globally. John joined UCS in 2006 after working for 15 years on private and public clean energy initiatives, including as a co-founder of the for-profit Soluz, Inc. and as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras. He earned a B.A. at Princeton University and a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan.

Jennifer Simon Lento (Of Counsel)

Jennifer is an Associate at Nixon Peabody. She concentrates her practice on complex environmental and land use matters. She assists clients in complying with environmental laws and regulations and handles environmental aspects of business transactions and energy projects with an emphasis on state and federal permitting and project strategy. Jennifer also advocates on behalf of companies who are developing cutting edge ocean-based alternative energy generation such as offshore wind and hydrokinetic energy projects and submerged transmission projects. Her experience includes advising clients on project development strategy and permitting, advocating for clients in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies, and providing insight to state and federal legislators and regulators regarding new laws and regulations. Jennifer is the author of Ocean & Offshore Energy Projects and Policy– A LexisNexis Top 50 Blog, 2010–2011.

Jennifer is admitted to practice in the State of New Jersey, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Jen received her JD from Rutgers University School of law, and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College.

Jennifer Banks

Jen is the Wind Energy Project Coordinator at the North Carolina Solar Center. Jen heads up the Solar Center’s efforts to educate North Carolina’s citizens and government officials on the potential for wind energy, both land based and offshore, to become a beneficial addition to the state’s energy mix.  Currently, Jen is also the Director of Operations at the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition – a regional nonprofit being formed to advance the wind energy industry in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

Before joining the Solar Center in January 2011, Jen worked at the American Wind Energy Association where she was the staff lead for offshore wind. She focused on offshore wind education and policy at the federal level, as well as various wind siting issues – such as sound, health, and stakeholder involvement. Previous experience includes wind energy and recycling education along the North Carolina coast as well as preparing the regulatory portion of an offshore wind feasibility study for Santee Cooper.  Jen holds a B.S. in Environmental Technology from North Carolina State University and a Master of City and Regional Planning degree, with an environmental planning focus, from Clemson University.

Stephen Connors

Steve is the Director of the Analysis Group for Regional Energy Alternatives – Laboratory for Energy and the Environment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Since graduating from the Renewable Energy Group at UMass-Amherst in 1986, Steve has been leading research at MIT focused on long- term transformation of regional energy infrastructures. Ongoing research activities focus on the dynamics of renewable generation, energy consumption, and conventional generation dispatch and how these dynamics impact the cost- and emissions-effectiveness of solar, wind and efficiency. Recent projects include an assessment of the avoided emissions potential of Northeast offshore wind resources, and the potential emissions reduction benefits of a potential offshore facility for the Town of Hull, MA.

In addition to AGREA, Steve also coordinates the energy initiatives for the Alliance for Global Sustainability and the Sustainable Energy Systems Focus Area of the MIT-Portugal Program. Steve holds two degrees from the UMass-Amherst (Mechanical Engineering and Applied Anthropology), as well as a Masters from MIT in Technology and Policy.

Paul DeCotis

Paul is Vice President of Power Markets at Long Island Power Authority.  He has worked in the energy field for over 30 years with increasing levels of responsibility and management oversight, in the areas of economic, financial, and energy analysis; policy and strategy planning; and performance management and evaluation. He has been a graduate and undergraduate adjunct faculty member at several colleges and universities for the past 26 years in the fields of finance, strategy and policy, ethics, management studies, and communications. In addition to his full-time employment, Paul worked as a management consultant for 15 years, specializing in executive and professional development; Board and management training; coaching; and mediation. He has and continues to serve on national, professional, and community Board’s and committee’s and has extensive experience in local community affairs, including having held elected office.  Paul is also a member of Montclair Publishing LLC’s “Who’s Who in North America.”

Dr. Christopher Hart

Chris graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a degree in Naval Architecture, Ocean, and Marine Engineering and immediately accepted a commission as a Special Operations Officer in the US Navy.  After ten years of naval service, during which he saw combat deployments in Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, Chris began his graduate school studies at the University of Michigan.  In the ensuing 44 months, Chris earned a PhD and MSE in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, along with an MBA.  He served as the Offshore Wind Manager at the United States Department of Energy (DOE) from June, 2010 to June, 2012.  During his tenure at DOE Chris worked to create an offshore wind energy industry in the United States by building a team of innovative, committed civil servants and contractors and leading that team as it co-authored the National Offshore Wind Strategy and allocated nearly $500M of program funds as a first step in executing that Strategy.  As the founder of OPTIMUM Offshore Wind Energy Systems, LLC, Chris leverages his unique skill set and experiences in order to strengthen the position of offshore wind in the global energy mix.

Mary Hallisey Hunt

Mary is Director of Special Projects for the Strategic Energy Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her current work includes investigating energy policy applications as they apply to technology development and deployment. Her research activities include feasibility studies for offshore wind development focused on stakeholder issues, policy development & implementation and coastal & marine spatial planning applications. She is an active member of the American Wind Energy Association Offshore Wind Working Group and a founding member of the Georgia Wind Working Group. Her research and outreach activities include engagement with multiple state and federal agencies, NGOs and other stakeholder groups.

Mary was an invited participant at the 2008 Department of Energy 20% Wind by 2030 Roadmap Meeting, the 2010 DOE Wind Peer Review Program and the BOEMRE roundtable workshop for the Certified Verification Agent (CVA) planning process. Selected publications related to offshore wind energy on which she was co-author include: Georgia’s Offshore Renewable Energy Potential: Spatial Mapping and Planning- Report and GIS Tool (2010); Southern Winds, A Study of Wind Power Generation Potential Off the Georgia Coast (2007); Innovative Partnerships for Offshore Wind Development, American Wind Energy Association, Windpower 2006 (June, 2006); and, Feasibility of Offshore Wind Power in the South Atlantic Bight, (OTC 18351-PP), Offshore Technology Conference (May, 2006).

Walter Musial

Walt is a senior engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) where he has worked for almost 20 years. Walt leads the Ocean Renewable activities at NREL including wind, wave, and water current energy technologies. He serves on the International Energy Agency’s Ocean Energy Systems Executive Committee, and is the Technical Administrator for the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to the International Electro-technical Commission’s standards committee on marine renewable energy.

Previously, he led the testing team at NREL’s National Wind Technology Center and was responsible for building and operating NREL’s full-scale component facilities for testing wind turbine blades and drivetrains. Earlier, Walt was employed for 5 years in the commercial wind industry in California. His career interests were solidified when he began studying renewable energy engineering at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering.

Kris Ohleth

Kris is the Director of Permitting for the Atlantic Wind Connection backbone transmission project. Her past positions include Policy Manager for Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning issues for Ocean Conservancy and the Director of Environmental Affairs for both Deepwater Wind and Bluewater Wind. Kris worked as a research technician and editor for the National Marine Fisheries Service in Woods Hole, MA and as a communication coordinator for The Nature Conservancy. She earned an undergraduate degree from Rutgers University and a master’s degree from the University of Rhode Island in Coastal and Ocean Policy. She is also on the Board of the New Jersey Environmental Lobby, and is the Chair of the New York/New Jersey Chapter of the Women of Wind Energy.

Greg Watson

Greg is a founding board member of USOWC. From 2007 to 2012 he was Senior Advisor for Clean Energy Technology within the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, where he served as the administration’s point of contact for the clean energy entrepreneurial community. He was on loan from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MCEC) Renewable Energy Trust. Greg was the first director of the Trust. He also directed the Cape & Islands Offshore Wind Public Outreach Initiative and the Renewable Energy Trust’s Offshore Wind Energy Collaborative (OWC). He served on President Obama’s energy transition team.  On April 2, 2012, Greg was sworn in as the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ 19th commissioner.

Joel Whitman

Joel was appointed CEO of Global Marine Energy, Inc. in 2011. Global Marine Energy Inc., is an American-owned company recently founded to address the growing demand for offshore power cable installation in North America.

Joel recently served as the Director Corporate Strategy, Marketing and Communications for Global Marine Systems Limited, the world’s largest independent provider of submarine cable installation and related engineering services, and a pioneer in the field of subsea cabling since the mid-1800’s. Joel joined Global Marine in 2005 and in his years with Global Marine, he has worked alongside his colleagues to solidify the company position in its core markets, such as Telecommunications, and to diversify the 160 year old Global Marine business into new and emerging markets.

Prior to joining Global Marine, Joel worked with a wide range of organizations ranging from large blue chip high-tech and retail clients to start-ups. His areas of experience include extensive business strategy and planning, corporate repositioning and turnarounds.