Board of Directors

Harry E. Rodenhizer III, Chairman of the Board

HARRY E. RODENHIZER III is formerly a business owner and construction executive, now farming (in retirement) while incorporating low and no carbon methods and organic growing practices. He is interested in practical applications of renewable energy sources in small scale projects as well as good stewardship practices in land management. He has a BS in Economics with continuing education in managerial accounting and extensive experience in business development. He has board and upper level leadership experience with nonprofits such as civic clubs, homeless shelters, Boy Scouts and his church.

Michael Rychener, Ph.D., Treasurer

MICHAEL RYCHENER, Ph.D., has worked as a freelance consultant since retiring from IBM in 2013. At IBM, he was an IT Specialist in the Business Intelligence Center of Competence in IBM Global Business Services division. This work included web design, web database applications, custom business intelligence and analytics, search engine development for the PC eSupport site and application development for the PC online assistant. Previously, he held a number of consulting contracts at companies in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina and in central New Jersey. He was a Research Engineer/Scientist at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, PA, in the areas of Engineering Design, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. His book Expert Systems in Engineering Design (1988) summarizes his university research. He earned a Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon, an M.S. in computer science from Stanford University and a B.A. with high honors in mathematics from Oberlin College.


Melissa J. Mills, M.B.A., M.T.S., Executive Director

MELISSA J. MILLS, M.B.A., M.T.S., Melissa is a researcher, facilitator, and teacher with thirty years experience in academic administration at Harvard University and Duke University, including such positions as Assistant Provost, Associate Dean for Information Science and Technology, and Special Assistant to the Dean for Long-Range Planning.  Her research brings together knowledge from across the disciplines, blending economics, science, and human values into a narrative that provides common ground and autonomy for individuals and groups. She uses the tools of systems thinking and mindfulness to focus individuals and organizations on practices that promote communities of trust and innovation. She graduated from Connecticut College with a degree in history. She earned an MBA from the Fuqua School at Duke University, and a master of theological studies at the Duke University Divinity School.

She is a member of the Rotary Club of Durham, NC, USA, and served as chair of the District 7710 Ethics Committee from 2012-2015. She is currently Secretary of the Board of the Environmental Sustainability Rotarian Action Group. She is also a member of the Society for Organizational Learning.

Kelly Harris, Director-at-Large

KELLY HARRIS received her B.S. in Biological and Agricultural Engineering and Applied Ecology minor at NC State. She currently designs solar energy projects across the United States with Cypress Creek Renewables.  A visionary at heart, she has always been aware of her responsibility to achieve a higher purpose in life for the benefit of others.  Always in pursuit of new paths for spiritual and personal improvement, she intends on attaining enlightenment in this life so she can reach her full potential in healing Mother Earth and raising the collective consciousness of humankind.

Wafa Kahlil, Ph.D., Director-at-Large

WAFA KAHLIL, Ph.D., is a science educator and solar energy education specialist. She holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Université Claude Bernard, Lyon 1, France. From 1979 to 1988, Dr. Khalil worked as medical researcher at the University of Miami’s School of Medicine. In 1989, she became a science educator at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, where she went on to develop two unique student-centered curricula for sustainable energy education with a focus on solar energy and other renewable sources. For over 24 years, Dr. Khalil has educated thousands of students about energy, energy efficiency, and conservation, with a special focus on solar technology. She has also developed multiple innovative energy education programs, including workshops and teacher training seminars. As a science educator, Dr. Khalil uses a holistic approach, guiding students through an investigation of all facets of energy, with an emphasis on conventional resources and their impacts on the environment related to pollution, climate change, politics, economics, and environmental justice. During her time at Miami-Dade Public Schools, Dr. Khalil’s solar energy courses won national awards, such as the Intel International Excellence in Teaching Award, and generated grant funding for the Miami-Dade Schools.

Dr. Khalil believes in young people and the importance of increasing awareness about environmental problems, especially those related to global energy consumption, in the next generation of citizens and leaders. Since relocating to North Carolina in 2014, Dr. Khalil has become an active member of the education community in the Raleigh-Durham area, where she continues her mission to educate students and the public about energy and the environment.

Robert Karski, Director-at-Large

ROBERT KARSKI, is retired from a career as an engineer and corporate communicator at Cisco Systems. He works with teams and organizations to develop, synthesize, communicate, and implement great practices and innovations with a focus on simplification, alignment, and productivity. He consults with all levels of an organization to identify and align goals and opportunities, eliminate distractions, spark creative approaches, and guide a team and product to beat expectations. His greatest joys are working with groups to jointly uncover solutions to what had seemed as intractable problems. The people he’s worked with know him for his communication skills, collaborative team and project leadership successes, and his speed of overcoming obstacles. His background in nearly all facets of software/system development & test, writing, editing, and liaison enables him to understand and relate to a full spectrum of roles and activities.

Joyce Pardon, Director-at-Large

JOYCE PARDON, M.A.T., has devoted her career to Science Education with an emphasis on mastery learning, experiential and experimental education, and individualized instruction. She holds an M.A.T. in Science Education from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a B.A. in Neurosciences from Cornell University. She began her career in research neuroscience for The DuPont Company, but shifted her focus from theoretical models of learning to hands on facilitation of learning in local schools. She has written state standards and standardized tests for both Math and Science, grades 3-12, worked in curriculum design for textbook publishing, and created a continuing education curriculum for adult learners. She is currently facilitating multigenerational learning at a private school in Durham, NC. Joyce homeschooled her son (now a tenured Princeton professor) as well as offered small innovative classes for gifted students in three private schools. She worked with computerized learning for math and reading literacy at the middle school level in a local charter school. Joyce currently runs a speaker series in childhood development as education consultant for Camelot Academy. She is especially interested in motivating innovation and creativity through school curriculum; and is interested in bringing her experience in schools to promote science literacy which she feels is a critical need in today’s world.

 Bruce Wieland, Director-at-Large

BRUCE WIELAND is retired president and founder of BTI Targetry, LLC (formerly Bruce Technologies), a company conducting R&D, manufacturing, sales and installation of high performance retrofit cyclotron target systems for GE, Siemens, IBA, Cyclopharma, and other PET cyclotron distribution centers and universities in the US and Europe.  BTI Targetry has sold approximately100 systems from 2008 to present with annual sales on the order of $1 million.  Bruce has held faculty appointments at Duke University (Radiology) and North Carolina State University (Nuclear Engineering).   Bruce and his wife Glenda became vegan cooking and eating enthusiasts through experiencing the benefits.  Bruce is eager to support projects that make the same experience available to others in the community.