Planning Committee

The Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference planning committee is composed of individuals representing a diverse set of stakeholders. The committee works together to present accurate and objective information related to the development of wind and solar energy in the Great State of Nebraska.

Hansen, John Headshot.jpg

John Hansen, Committee Chairman
President, Nebraska Farmers Union

John Hansen has served as the elected President of the Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) with 3,500 members since 1990. In his 15th two-year elected term, Hansen serves as Secretary for the NeFU Foundation and NeFU PAC, NEBFARMPAC. Hansen currently serves on USDA's Nebraska State Technical Committee of USDA, the Board of Directors of the Nebraska Farm Crisis Council, the Coalition for a Prosperous America, and the Organization for Competitive Markets.

Hansen has served as chair of the planning committee since 2008.

Bracht, David Headshot.jpg

David L. Bracht
Director, Nebraska Energy Office

David Bracht was appointed director of the Nebraska Energy Office by Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts in January 2015. Bracht serves as principal advisor on energy development and policy on the Governor's Cabinet. 

Prior to his appointment, Bracht co-founded and co-led the renewable energy and biofuels practice groups at two Midwestern-based law firms, advising clients involved in renewable energy development as well as agribusinesses and businesses involved in production and processing of agriculture products. 

Dolson, Gretchen Headshot.jpg

Gretchen Dolson
Renewables practice lead, hdr

 Gretchen Dolson is HDR's non-hydro renewables practice lead and a professional civil engineer experienced in the design of renewable energy and industrial land development projects. Her alliances in the renewables world have led her to the development of more than 3,500 megawatts of renewable energy and solid waste facilities globally. She currently leads business development and technology thought leadership efforts in the areas of solar, wind, biofuels, biomass, and energy storage development at HDR.

Lombardi, Rich Headshot.JPG

Rich lombardi
nebraska registered lobbyist, the wind coalition

Rich Lombardi and his company American Communications Group, Inc. represent the interests of The Wind Coalition and its industries before the nation's only non-partisan unicameral legislature. American Communications Group, Inc. has served as a national consultant on public policy to the American Wind Energy Association and the Renewable America Campaign.

O'Connor, John Headshot.jpg

John o'connor
director - energy markets, olsson associates

John O'Connor is the Director of Energy Markets for Olsson Associates – a 1,100 employee engineering firm headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska.  He was hired to support Olsson’s growth initiatives and balances his time working with both external clients and internal leadership.  John’s client responsibilities include nurturing relationships with national electric utility and renewable energy clients.  John leads internal teams in pursuit of project opportunities.  He creates, sets, and implements sales strategies. Since John joined Olsson, actual revenues have easily outpaced budgeted revenues in this market sector. Prior to his recent history at Olsson, John brought more than 18 years of experience from the electric power utility industry leading several renewable development initiatives for Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD). 

Rich, David Headshot.jpg

David d. rich
sustainable energy manager, nebraska public power district

Mr. Rich has been employed with Nebraska Public Power District for the past 39 years, currently serving as NPPD’s Sustainable Energy Manager. In this position, Dave is responsible for the development and implementation of NPPD's sustainable energy (renewable energy sources and energy efficiency) strategies. These strategies support NPPD's vision and mission by providing safe, cost-effective, and efficient sustainable energy in a manner that provides renewable energy to NPPD’s resource mix and promotes economic development in an environmentally sound manner.  

Shonka, Michael Headshot.jpg

Michael shonka
president, solar heat & electric, inc.

Michael Shonka with Solar Heat and Electric has 30 years of experience with solar energy projects, including many applications of solar air, water, and electric systems. Solar electric in Nebraska is growing due to increased utility rates and favorable consumer attitudes toward sustainability. The company has a number of firsts in the state: the first net metering installation, community solar project, center pivot system, and solar-heated greenhouse. Shonka is a solar instructor at community colleges in Nebraska and Iowa.

Stradley, Kurt Headshot.jpg

Kurt stradley
engineer, lincoln electric system

 Kurt Stradley is an engineer in the resource and transmission planning area at Lincoln Electric System. His responsibilities include monitoring the renewable energy arena. He has been a member of the Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference planning committee for the past 5 years. Stradley received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1979 and a Master of Business Administration in 1984, both from the University of Nebraska.