Team Bios

Project Team

Tony G. Reames – Project Director

Tony G. Reames is an assistant professor in the School for Environment and Sustainability and director of the Urban Energy Justice Lab at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and a JPB Environmental Health Fellow at Harvard University. He has a PhD in public administration from The University of Kansas, a Masters in engineering management from Kansas State University, and a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from North Carolina A&T State University. Dr. Reames’ research investigates the fair and equitable access to affordable, reliable, clean energy, and explores the production and persistence of energy disparities across race, class, and place. He is a licensed professional engineer (PE) and has worked in both the public and private sectors. Reames is also an US Army veteran, reaching the rank of Captain. In 2019, Dr. Reames was named to the Grist 50 Fixers list, Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40, and Oakland County, Michigan Elite 40 under 40. He was appointed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to the Michigan Advisory Council on Environmental Justice.

Justin Schott – Project Manager

Justin Schott serves as Project Manager of the Energy Equity Project. Prior to coming to EEP, Schott was Executive Director of EcoWorks, a Detroit non-profit, from 2015-2020. He is an avid social entrepreneur and a recognized sustainability leader in Detroit. Prior to becoming Executive Director, Schott designed and managed the launch and operations of numerous community programs, including the Youth Energy Squad (founder), which grew from a summer pilot employing four students in 2009 to a city‐wide partnership with Detroit Public Schools Community District. Schott has also worked closely on the creation of utility programs, including the Home Energy Consultation Program, which provided in‐home energy efficient installations and education to 10,500 households in its first 7 months. Schott has chaired the Coalition to Keep Michigan Warm and is a member of steering committees of the Detroit Environmental Agenda; Housing, Health and Heatwaves project; and Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition. Most recently, he is project manager of the Detroit Climate Strategy and architect of Net Zero For All, Starting Today (F.A.S.T.), an initiative to eliminate climate pollution in SE MI while keeping equity and justice front and center.  

Kyle Whyte – Principle Investigator

Kyle Whyte is George Willis Pack Professor of Environment and
Sustainability at the University of Michigan, teaching in the
environmental justice specialization. His research addresses
environmental justice, focusing on moral and political issues
concerning climate policy and Indigenous peoples, the ethics of
cooperative relationships between Indigenous peoples and science
organizations, and problems of Indigenous justice in public and
academic discussions of food sovereignty, environmental justice, and
the anthropocene. He is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
Kyle currently serves on the White House Environmental Justice
Advisory Council, the Management Committee of the Michigan
Environmental Justice Coalition, and the Board of Directors of the
Pesticide Action Network North America. He has served as an author for the U.S. Global Change Research Program, including on the National Climate Assessment, and for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group II. He is a former member of the Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science in the U.S. Department of Interior and of two environmental justice work groups convened by past state governors of Michigan.

Natalie Britton – Research Assistant

Natalie Britton is a 1st year master’s student at the University of Michigan School of Environment and Sustainability studying Environmental Justice. She recently received her B.S. in Economics from the University of Pittsburgh, where she also gained experience in geospatial analysis and environmental science. As service chair for the university’s chapter of Circle K International, she fostered long-term relationships with local organizations and grew passionate about empowering communities to make decisions for themselves regarding environmental issues. Beyond localizing energy systems, Natalie hopes her future work will help advance community-led environmental planning, place-based sustainability, and land rights. For her master’s project outside of the EEP, Natalie is excited to be working with her team to support the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in their landback efforts with the U.S. Forest Service.

Rahul Agrawal Bejarano – Research Assistant

Rahul Agrawal Bejarano is a 2nd year master’s student at the University of Michigan, School of Environment and Sustainability, following the Sustainable Systems track. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Computer Science and Engineering. His past research experience includes co-authoring papers in computer science education focused on understanding how to reduce students’ barrier to entry and the learning costs associated with programming. This experience has given him insight into the viewpoint of someone trying to understand complex data and problems and how to more effectively communicate this information, via data visualizations, applications, and reports. Currently he is focusing his computer science knowledge to solve equity and sustainability problems. Some work in this space includes: co-authoring a paper assessing the effects of COVID-19 on seafood supply chains, to help advise policy efforts in response to the pandemic and creating a data analytics platform for undergraduate students to test their hypotheses on real ecological datasets. He believes data has never been more accessible or in more high demand, and that if we do not leverage it, we will be working on an incomplete understanding of the challenges to development, equity, and the environment. His goal is to empower and provide everyone with the resources to monitor, evaluate and inform future policy decisions through data.

Jessica Berger – Communications Lead

Jessica is a second-year master’s student studying Environmental Justice at the School of Sustainability and the Environment (Class of 2023). She is interested in local environmental policy, energy justice, Indigenous rights, and grassroots advocacy. She received her B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst before switching paths and working in micro-mobility and community solar for several years. Jessica has done communications work for the Forestry and Fire Recruitment Program and the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition. For her master’s project outside of the EEP, Jessica is excited to be working with her team to support the Anishinaabek Caucus in their efforts against Line 5.

Advisory Team

Carlos Martín – Urban Institute

Carlos Martín is a senior fellow in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where he leads research on the physical quality of housing and communities. Martín, a trained architect and construction engineer, connects the bricks and mortar of housing to its social outcomes. His areas of expertise include green housing, disaster mitigation, substandard housing, and the construction workforce. He has experience with independent research and formal evaluations for public, nonprofit, and philanthropic clients. Publications include Housing Recovery on the Gulf Coast, Phase IIRebuild by Design Evaluation; and The State of the Residential Construction Industry. Martín is leading research on housing strategies for climate adaptation for the National Academies’ Gulf Research Program, strategies for promoting technological innovation in homebuilding for the US Department of Housing afnd Urban Development (HUD), and the rate of housing recovery under HUD’s Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery. He also leads the multiyear global evaluation of the Rockefeller Foundation–pioneered 100 Resilient Cities. Before joining Urban, Martín was assistant staff vice president at the National Association of Home Builders for Construction Codes and Standards, SRP professor for energy and the environment at Arizona State University’s Del E. Webb School of Construction and School of Architecture, and coordinator for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing. Martín received his BSAD in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his MEng and PhD in civil and environmental engineering from Stanford University.

Emily Levin – VEIC

Emily Levin is a Principal Consultant at VEIC and oversees the development of the organization’s building energy programs. She works with utilities, program administrators, and energy offices to optimize existing programs and bring new, impactful approaches to the market. Emily has a deep knowledge of energy efficiency and building decarbonization policies and programs and serves as a trusted advisor to states looking to achieve their clean energy goals. Emily is an expert in designing and implementing clean-energy programs that serve low-income communities. Emily serves on the board of the Building Performance Association and is an adjunct faculty member at Vermont Law School.

Michael Colgrove – Energy Trust of Oregon

Michael Colgrove is the Executive Director of Energy Trust of Oregon, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Oregonians save energy and generate renewable power. Michael joined Energy Trust after 15 years with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) where he was both the director of the New York City office and director of Multifamily Programs. He has extensive experience in designing, developing and implementing energy-efficiency programs that help to accelerate broad market adoption of clean energy solutions. Prior to his work with NYSERDA, Michael spent nearly six years working with low-income multifamily programs throughout New York, including implementing a program to encourage the installation of electricity reduction measures, developing environmental education programs for inner-city youth and providing building energy assessments with the Weatherization Assistance Program. He is a graduate of the New York Institute of Technology’s Energy Management master’s program and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Marti Frank – Efficiency for Everyone

Marti Frank is a Principal Consultant with Efficiency for Everyone, a woman-owned clean energy consultancy, and Director of the Shift Consortium, a collaboration of seven electric utilities dedicated to increasing equity in the appliance market. Marti has been working in clean energy for 18 years and focuses on energy equity research, policy, and program design. 

Jamal Lewis – Green and Healthy Homes Initiative

Jamal Lewis is the Director, Climate, Energy and Health at GHHI, where he supports the organization’s efforts to advance its work connecting climate, energy and health. Jamal works with states and localities around the country to help incorporate best practices into their energy efficiency, lead poisoning prevention, and other healthy housing programs and policies. In addition, Jamal represents GHHI on the Energy Efficiency and Housing Advisory Panel as a part of the NYS Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act effort to achieve the state’s climate goals.  He is also an active participant of both the Network for Energy, Water, and Health in Affordable Buildings (NEWHAB) and the Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) coalitions in New York, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, where the goal is to increase the accessibility of clean and efficient energy resources at the state level for households with limited-incomes.

Elizabeth Palchak – University of Vermont

As the Director of Sustainability, Elizabeth works on climate action strategy and research, and builds cross-campus connections between climate change and social justice. Prior to this, she was a Senior Consultant at VEIC where she worked to bring the human perspective to the clean energy industry. As a behavioral scientist, she leveraged behavioral insights and social science to inform program design, particularly for underserved customers. She also worked closely with colleges and universities in Vermont and Washington D.C. on decarbonization strategies. She has done this work in Vermont, Washington D.C., Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Tennessee.