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Greentown Labs Appoints Four New Board Directors
[January 18, 2022]

Greentown Labs Appoints Four New Board Directors

SOMERVILLE, Mass., Jan. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Greentown Labs, the largest climatetech startup incubator in North America, today announced the addition of four new members to its board of directors, Gilda A. Barabino, President of Olin College of Engineering and Professor of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering; Nidhi Thakar, Senior Director of Resource and Regulatory Strategy and External Engagement for Portland General Electric; Leah Ellis, Co-Founder and CEO of Sublime Systems (community board member); and Nisha Desai, Founder and CEO of Intention (community board member).

As community board members, Leah Ellis and Nisha Desai both represent current Greentown Labs startups and will act as a liaison between the board and the Greentown Labs entrepreneur community. Together, these four leaders enhance the collective expertise of Greentown's Board of Directors as the incubator works to expand its reach and climate impact.

"It is important for a startup incubator to have leadership and insight from stakeholders including the public and private sector, academic and university communities," said Greentown Labs CEO Dr. Emily Reichert. "These leaders bring a wealth of knowledge relevant to not only climatetech but to our continued growth as an organization. Their voices will be important to have at the table as Greentown charts its course for the next decade of climate action."

Dr. Gilda A. Barabino is President of Olin College of Engineering, and Professor of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering. She previously served as Daniel and Frances Berg Professor and Dean at The City College of New York's (CCNY) Grove School of Engineering. Dr. Barabino is president-elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest interdisciplinary scientific society. She is also an active member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine and chairs the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine's Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine. Dr. Barabino also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub. She consults nationally and internationally on STEM education and research, diversity in higher education, policy, faculty development, and workforce development.

"Greentown Labs' mission to design a more sustainable world closely aligns with Olin's mission to graduate engineers who have the skills and desire to make the world a better place," said President Barabino. "Over the years, our students have benefitted from their experience as interns at Greentown Labs, and now I am looking forward to a closer relationship with this vital startup incubator."

Nidhi Thakar is the Senior Director of Resource and Regulatory Strategy and External Engagement for Portland General Electric, where she leads cross-functional efforts to advance the company's priorities related to rapid decarbonization and electrification, resiliency and reliability, business model innovation, and customer products. In this role, she manages the Regulatory Strategy and Integrated Resource Planning teams, and supports the company's work at the federal level. Prior to her role at Portland General, Ms. Thakar served in the administration of Governor Brown as Chief of Strategy and External Affairs to President Michael Picker of the California Public Utilities Commission. Ms. Thakar also served in the Obama administration as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office, where she was part of the executive team responsible for managing a $32 billion portfolio of loans and loan guarantees and for financing innovative, clean energy and advanced vehicle technologies. Ms. Thakar holds a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School, where she was a member of the Law Review, and a B.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a citation for the Scholars Program, and also sits on the boards of Clean Energy for America, Gridworks, and E4TheFuture. 

"We are at a pivotal moment in our fight against climate change where we need to ideate, innovate, and move faster than we ever anticipated. Entrepreneurs will be critical to developing the next wave of technologies to mitigate the climate crisis, and Greentown Labs is uniquely situated to accelerate this clean energy transition," said Ms. Thakar. "In my time at the U.S. Department of Energy and California Public Utilities Commission, I have seen firsthand the need to support technologies at all levels of the government to achieve proof of concept and eventual commercialization. And my work at Portland General has highlighted how these technologies can provide equitable and cost-effective solutions for customers. Greentown Labs is a recognized leader in bringing new solutions to market, and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to bring my private and public sector experience to its board as Greentown drives the next big leaps for our energy evolution."

Dr. Leah Ellis is Co-Founder and CEO of Sublime Systems, a company that has developed a breakthrough process to produce carbon-neutral cement. The technology replaces the industry's legacy fossil-fuel intensive thermal calciner with an electrochemical process that produces carbon-neutral lime at ambient temperatures with renewable electricity. Sublime's technology was co-invented by Dr. Ellis and Sublime's co-founder, Professor Yet-Ming Chiang, at MIT's Department of Materials Science and Engineering during Dr. Ellis' tenure as NSERC/Banting Postdoctoral Fellow. Prior to working on cement at MIT, Dr. Ellis earned her PhD in chemistry with Professor Jeff Dahn at Dalhousie University, Canada, where she worked on optimizing lithium-ion cell lifetime in partnerships with 3M and Tesla. Dr. Ellis is an Activate Boston Entrepreneurial Fellow and was recently named among MIT Technology Review's 35 Innovators under 35.

"Greentown fosters a vibrant community of inventors and innovators. The atmosphere of continual change and improvement encourages every member to change the world by changing themselves: we inspire each other to adapt and grow, personally and professionally, to combat the climate crisis. While scaling my own startup, I can think of no better way to contribute to the climate movement than by supporting the Greentown Labs community," said Dr. Leah Ellis.

Nisha Desai is the Founder and CEO of Intention, a startup company creating a climate impact platform for retail investors. As an entrepreneur and executive, she has a long track record of innovation and change in the energy industry. She has previously worked at six energy-related startups including Ridge Energy Storage, Tessera Solar, and ActualSun, where she was co-founder and CEO. Ms. Desai's previous corporate roles include serving as the Vice President, Distributed Generation for NRG Energy and several years as a management consultant with the energy practice of Booz Allen Hamilton (now Strategy&, a PWC company). She is a former board member of the Puerto Rico Public Power Authority (PREPA) and the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Alliance. She currently serves on the boards of Pythias Inc. and BikeHouston, and on the Advisory Council of HARC.

"I'm honored to join the board of Greentown Labs as a representative of the startup community," said Ms. Desai. "This is a pivotal time for climate and energy transition. I look forward to working with the rest of the board to expand the collective impact of the Greentown Labs ecosystem."

Dr. Barbarino, Ms. Thakar, Dr. Ellis, and Ms. Desai join seven existing board members:

  • Alicia Barton, CEO of FirstLight Power (Board Chair)
  • Katherine Hamilton, Chair of 38 North Solutions
  • Dawn James, Director of US Sustainability Strategy and Environmental Science at Microsoft
  • Matthew Nordan, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Prime Impact Fund and General Partner at Azolla Ventures
  • Kathleen Theoharides, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Mitch Tyson, Principal at Tyson Associates and Co-Founder of the Northeast Clean Energy Council
  • Dr. Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs

About Greentown Labs
Greentown Labs is a community of climate action pioneers working to design a more sustainable world. As the largest climatetech startup incubator in North America, Greentown Labs brings together startups, corporates, investors, policymakers, and many others with a focus on scaling climate solutions. Driven by the mission of providing startups the resources, knowledge, connections, and equipment they need to thrive, Greentown Labs offers lab space, shared office space, a machine shop, an electronics lab, software and business resources, and a large network of corporate customers, investors, and more. With its headquarters in Somerville, Mass. and a recently opened incubator in Houston, TX, Greentown Labs is home to more than 180 startups and has supported more than 400 startups since the incubator's founding in 2011. These startups have collectively created more than 8,400 jobs and have raised more than $2.2 billion in funding. For more information, please visit or Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Greentown Labs Media Contact:
Julia Travaglini
[email protected]

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