Interim Leader Will Help Usher the Nonprofit Through Its Next Growth Phase
Denver, Colo., June 3, 2010 – Veterans Green Jobs, a Denver-based national nonprofit that helps prepare military veterans to lead the green jobs economy, announced today that its founding CEO, Brett KenCairn, will return to the private sector, having led the organization through its successful start-up phase. The Veterans Green Jobs board of directors has appointed Don “Rocky” Basler to serve as interim CEO while it conducts a national search for a new organizational leader. A Vietnam-era veteran, Basler is also a Veterans Green Jobs board member and a former Xcel Energy executive. Basler has taken a leave of absence from his board position to fulfill this role.
KenCairn, who co-founded Veterans Green Jobs in 2007, will return from his two-year sabbatical with Veterans Green Jobs to Community Energy Systems, a renewable energy company he helped to found in 2005. Community Energy Systems specializes in developing ecologically sustainable biomass energy systems throughout the western U.S. He will continue to work with Veterans Green Jobs as a special consultant.
“It has been a remarkable and deeply gratifying experience to witness Veterans Green Jobs become what is now a national organization capable of serving our veterans and our communities around the country,” says KenCairn. “I am especially grateful to the board, staff, our incredible partners and our veteran participants who have committed so much to making this happen.”
KenCairn leaves behind a legacy of vision and passion for the success of veterans as leaders in the new clean-energy economy. During his tenure at Veterans Green Jobs, he helped create a unique initiative that combines green jobs education, transition support, and career and enterprise development opportunities for military veterans. KenCairn has led Veterans Green Jobs through a series of several remarkable achievements for a startup nonprofit. Since 2007, major milestones have included:
• Securing grants totaling $1.25 million from the Walmart Foundation to pursue the Veterans Green Jobs mission
• Securing contracts totaling over $11.8 million with the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office to provide weatherization services to low-income families
• Establishing a joint initiative with the Sierra Club to train and employ veterans in weatherizing homes for military families
• Partnering with the City of Denver to launch “Veterans City Canopy,” an initiative to assist formerly homeless vets to find new opportunities in urban forestry and landscaping
• The launch of Veterans Green Corps, a partnership with leading conservation organizations like the Southwest Conservation Corps to train vets in public lands protection and preservation work
• Building partnerships with educational institutions in four states to provide training and education services in energy efficiency and weatherization
Dr. Mit Parsons, Veterans Green Jobs’ chairman of the board, will help shepherd the organization through this important transition. Parsons, a Vietnam combat veteran who served as a captain with the 101st Airborne Division, is a retired wildlife and fisheries ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service.
According to Parsons, Veterans Green Jobs exists because of KenCairn’s vision to create an organization that empowers veterans to repurpose their military experience into leadership in the emerging green jobs economy.
“Brett’s commitment to the success and well-being of military veterans is a rare quality found in non-veterans,” Parsons says. “Through the creation of Veterans Green Jobs, Brett has been able to articulate a new approach to supporting military service veterans in their return to civilian life. This approach combines a comprehensive and sustained engagement and support network with the development of new education, training, employment and service opportunities in high social and environmental fields and professions.”
Parsons adds, “By stepping down from his role as founder of this organization, Brett is supporting Veterans Green Jobs to experience its natural progression as an organization. He has laid an important foundation in terms of his vision and inspiration, and now he is making room for the organization to grow and expand upon this vision.”
As the interim CEO, Basler joined the Veterans Green Jobs board of directors in January 2010. He has more than 39 years of extensive experience directing all aspects of operations of the gas delivery business and the energy industry on a state, regional and national level. He spent the majority of his career in executive management and supervisory positions at Xcel Energy in Denver. Basler is a former U.S. Air Force captain and served during the Vietnam era.
Prior to joining Xcel, Basler was a principal and project manager for RMH Consulting Engineers. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering at the University of New Mexico and completed graduate-level executive management, leadership, education, and energy environment design programs at the University of Colorado and University of Denver.
About Veterans Green Jobs
Veterans Green Jobs is a national nonprofit organization based in Denver, Colo., that provides green jobs education, transition support, and career and enterprise development opportunities for military veterans, empowering and supporting them to lead America’s transition to energy independence, ecological restoration, community renewal, and economic prosperity. Veterans Green Jobs was founded in 2008 and operates programs in a variety of green jobs fields including home energy efficiency, renewable energy, land conservation, and urban forestry. For more information, visit www.veteransgreenjobs.org.
Linda Lidov / (303) 358-6279 / linda (at) veteransgreenjobs.org