Chris Nichols, Senior Program Director, has driven innovation in clean energy programs and policies for more than 30 years, in Federal, non-profit and for-profit organizations.
She brings strong management and energy strategy skills to Groundswell, with vision, passion and a deep network of similarly devoted clean energy professionals to accelerate collaborative work for expanded clean energy services.
Chris formerly managed national communications for both EPA and DOE in building the Energy Star® program. At the US Department of Labor and Department of Energy, she updated ‘green’ training for YouthBuild and created clean energy workforce credentials for weatherization and solar workers. She created SunEdison’s “City Tour for Solar” to advocate municipal-scale community solar investments in 2008. She joined DOE’s SunShot Initiative in 2011, where she managed DOE’s national Solar Instructors Training Network and created the “Solar Ready Vets” training program. She served as the Department of Energy’s Workforce Advisor within Sec. Moniz’ Jobs Strategy Council, and has also supported NRECA in developing cybersecurity tools for rural cooperative utilities, increasing grid security and resilience.
Chris believes in building community. For more than 30 years, she has volunteered in feeding programs across DC; she has coached youth soccer and baseball, led Girl Scout troops, and Sunday school programs. Currently, she serves on the Boards of the Potomac RiverKeeper Network, which fights for clean drinking water, and the Prince Georges Running Club, where she is a certified running coach. She holds a black belt in tae kwon do, and enjoys participating in marathons and triathlons, gardening, beekeeping, brewing beer, and aggravating local policymakers to improve jobs, equity and access for working families. She loves her spouse and their two daughters, who fondly remind her not to praise her own cooking too much. She holds a BA from Duke University in English, History and Psychology, and an MBA from the R.H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland.