Our Team

RREAL's team boasts a diverse array of perspectives, backgrounds, and skills. What do we have in common?
A passion for making solar accessible to communities of all income levels. 

MEET THE STAFF

Jennifer Jacquot-DeVries

Fund Development Officer

Jennifer Jacquot-DeVries is RREAL’s Fund Development Officer, working to raise funds to support the organization’s mission and program goals. Jennifer is a writer and fundraiser with more than a decade of nonprofit fundraising experience. Previously, Jennifer was the Development Director for a national voting rights organization. In the Brainerd Lakes Area Jennifer has worked with Tri-County Community Action Partnership and Crow Wing Food Co-op. Jennifer volunteers with the Land Stewardship Project, Crow Wing Food Co-op, and the Brainerd Riverfront Committee—using her skills and passion to build community and statewide support for sustainable land use, clean water, local food, and low-impact recreation. Jennifer resides with her family in the Brainerd area and is excited to bring her passion for sustainability to RREAL and support the work of expanding renewable energy in Minnesota.

Michael Karavolias

Research Assistant 

Based in the Twin Cities, Michael has joined RREAL at the start of the fifth year of his Ph.D in Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota where he is doing work in polymer physics for nanotechnology applications. Inspired by RREAL's community impact and engagement, and in an effort to transfer his science skills to the policy field, he joined RREAL through the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at UMN. As research assistant, he is excited to be working on a solar mapping project to help identify low-income communities with high energy needs in MN. Outside of being a student, Michael enjoys playing volleyball, trying new restaurants and cuisines around the cities, cooking, and hiking through the many beautiful parks in Minnesota.    

George Lemelin

White Earth Solar Educator

George is married 32 years, has five children and 11 grandchildren. He graduated from Knapp Business College in 1989 in computer technology. He has certifications in network, solar, cybersecurity, and training.

Nicole Saccoman

Chief Financial Officer

Nicole Saccoman is RREAL’s Chief Financial Officer, also supporting Real Solar’s efforts. Nicole began her accounting career at RREAL after accepting an internship in 2012 from CLC. From there, Nicole took the lead in the accounting department while attending Bemidji State University to pursue her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. Upon graduation, she moved on from RREAL to pursue an opportunity at a local CPA firm and eventually moved to WA state to become the Controller of UniEnergy Technologies, a manufacturer and installer of Redox Flow energy storage systems. Nicole’s passion for renewable energy and RREAL’s mission to empower low-income families had brought her back to RREAL in August of 2019. Nicole currently resides in Cape Coral, FL with her wife, 3 dogs, 3 cats, and their 2 turtles.

Brook Shire

Accountant

While obtaining her Accounting A.A.S. Degree, Brook was awarded the prestigious “Student of the Year” from our friends at Central Lakes College. Brook has years of experience in accounting, management, and leadership! She enjoys searching out new adventures with her three teenage children, who are more fun now than ever! Her other passions include learning new things, outdoor activities, star gazing, and traveling our beautiful nation. She also is a lover of the arts in all their various forms.

Kyle Tschida

Office Manager

Kyle came to RREAL as a high school volunteer and stayed. He is committed to all general administrative tasks and ensures the trains run on time. He also assists with fundraising and external communications.  Kyle is recently married and lives in Backus.

John Vaughn 

Director

John comes to RREAL after working as an executive director for community and economic development nonprofits in the Twin Cities for 20 years. He is passionate about improving the lives of people in low income communities and sees solar energy as an emergent strategy to serve this mission. If you ask him, he’ll say he is part real estate developer and part community organizer with a little contractor thrown in. If you ask him about the contractor part, he’ll cite the three historic homes in Stillwater he has restored and say there is nothing any good carpenter can’t do in two hours that he can’t do in two years!

MEET THE BOARD

Laurie Chamberlain

Managing Attorney, Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota

Dr. Kaitlyn Bunker

Principal, Islands Energy Program, Rocky Mountain Institute

Sarah Goodspeed

Youth & Policy Manager

Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy

Tessa Haagenson

Power Origination Manager, Clean Power Alliance

Davis Leino-Mills

Retired, Former Executive Director, Community Action Agency

Kitty Mayo

Solar Assistance Recipient

Kay Paulus

Software Team Lead, Gullview Technologies

Marina Lovell

Program Administrator, SBDC Consultant,  Cass County Economic Development Corporation 

Mary Jo Mettler

Board Member Ameritas

Retired Accounting Instructor

Interested in becoming a Board Member?

Contact John. He will get back to you right away.

Rural Renewable Energy Alliance | 3963 8th St. SW Backus, MN 56435 | (218) 947-3779

Contact us at info@rreal.org