The Green Neighbor Team

The Green Neighbor team spent its first four years as an all-volunteer crew, and now includes full-time, part-time, and volunteer members. We are currently seeking funding to expand our team’s capacity as we accelerate our work of empowering residents to accelerate a green energy transition.

Andrew Butts, Founder and Executive Director

Andrew Butts is the founder and executive director of the Green Neighbor Challenge. Quick to point out his green energy costs less than his inhaler co-pay, he believes the solution to our health, economic, and environmental crises lies in empowered neighbors building an energy democracy from the bottom, up. Part systems thinker, part creative misfit, his combined experiences in analytics, communications, community organizing and energy policy inform the development of the project. He’s incredibly grateful to lead and serve such a caring, curious, and committed team and board who all helped bring the Green Neighbor Challenge to life.


Colin Bares, Full Stack Developer

Colin Bares is assisting Green Neighbor Challenge by using his understanding of modern techniques in web development to make the Green Neighbor Challenge website easy to navigate. He got his Full Stack Web Development Certificate from the University of Minnesota, and he’s been recently working in physical inventory. Colin also has been a musician over the past 15 years and has an interest in home recording and music. 

Mattie Kujawski, Research Coordinator

Mattie Kujawski is a graduate from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and was one of the earliest team members of the Green Neighbor Challenge. Now she’s back at it, helping out with green pricing research, bringing her eye for detail and open mindedness to the project once again. Over the past few years, she’s worked on many renewable energy projects and other sustainability initiatives and she hopes to continue in work that contributes to combating these environmental issues. In her free time she loves playing the guitar, studying consciousness, and rollerblading.


Adwaid Nambiar, Research Analyst

Adwaid Nambiar is going into his fourth year at the University of Minnesota, majoring in economics and minoring in sustainability studies. He is bringing his background in economics, research-based skills and insight into the energy market to the Green Neighbor Challenge. He is excited for the opportunity to research energy economics and help Green Neighbor pave a more sustainable future for the Twin Cities. Adwaid is from Kerala, India.

Sophia Fisher, Communications Lead

Sophia Fisher is bringing her experience in business, organization, sustainability, and leadership to the Green Neighbor Challenge. She has worked and led many clubs and ad campaigns to spread awareness about sustainability and equity. The Green Neighbor Challenge excites her because she believes the idea is very achievable and has the potential to not only make a huge impact in the energy market, but in other aspects of society as well. She is graduating with a degree in Marketing and a minor in Environmental Science and Policy Management from the University of Minnesota this fall. In her free time, she enjoys reading, crocheting, and hiking in the mountains.


Lavender Schleder, Communications Assistant

Lavender Schleder is a senior at Stillwater Area High School, who brings a hard work ethic and young person’s perspective to the Green Neighbor Challenge. She hopes to pursue business and marketing after she graduates high school. In her free time, Lavender enjoys singing, performing, writing, tubing, and hanging out with friends and family. She believes in getting everything done in a timely manner and making sure there is a strong effort put behind everything she does. By growing with the Green Neighbor Challenge, she feels she can contribute to mitigating the climate crisis.

Noah Wong, Data Manager

Noah Wong has a background in software engineering, math and data science. He is excited about working with the Green Neighbor challenge to contribute to a safe and healthy future. He graduated from both the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and Duluth where he studied math and machine learning. Noah is currently volunteering as a math tutor, and hopes to bring his math and data background skills to Green Neighbor.

Lauren Cary, Software Engineer

Lauren Cary is a software engineer who values trust, growth, and integrity within the workplace. She originally studied saxophone performance at Lawrence University and then went to App Academy, a hybrid full stack web development bootcamp in San Francisco after finding out she loved software engineering. The Green Neighbor Challenge excites her because it offers a tool with options to help at an individual level. She enjoys ultimate frisbee and hiking in her spare time.

Ali Renk, Fundraising Lead

Ali Renk is a program and policy analyst for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. She supports grant-writing and foundation relationships for Green Neighbor Challenge. Her professional interests include health policy and environmental justice. She holds a Master of Public Policy and a Bachelor of Science in Community and Nonprofit Leadership. Ali loves spending time outside hiking, swimming, gardening, and biking. The mountains inspire her environmental commitment.


Lilly Richard, Donor Management & Team Advisor

Lilly Richard is the Green Neighbor donor database manager and team advisor, and previously served as research, communications, and UX design lead. She holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a bachelor’s in Women’s Studies from Vassar College. She is most interested in issues at the intersection of social and environmental justice. Lilly is excited to help build a practical and impactful tool, while advocating for radical systemic change and a reimagining of what our world could look like. Lilly enjoys the outdoors in all its forms, and currently lives in Minneapolis with her cat Cowboy and several dying houseplants.


Thomas Sandell, Software Engineer

Thomas Sandell leads the Green Neighbor Challenge coding team. Hailing from Prior Lake, MN, Thomas enjoys gaming, computer science, and spending time in the peaceful quiet of the forest. His work at the Green Neighbor Challenge allows him to combine his dual interests in computer science and the environment. He received a Master of Computer Science from the University of Minnesota in 2022, building on a bachelor’s degree in the same subject with a minor in mathematics, also from UMN.

Becky Rupel, Graphic Art

Becky Rupel is a Professional Landscape Architect with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Landscape Architecture. She uses her comprehensive skills in graphic design to create logos, graphics, and diagrams for the Green Neighbor Challenge. She highlights the importance of sustainable design, community engagement, and universal design.

Talitha Anderson, Research Intern

Bio coming soon

Meet our Advisory Board here.

Interested in becoming part of the team? Check out our opportunities page.

Former Interns, Volunteers, and Team Members

We are grateful for everyone who has been a part of bringing this project to life!

David Mercer-Taylor

Jared Miller
Ankur Karmacharya
Ankur Karmacharya

Jessica Lynn

Jessy Countney

Sophie Blumenstock

Njoya Chomilo

Akira Vang

Caroline Arkesteyn

Chandra Her

Maggie Keller

Sylvia Doerr

Graham Ambrose

Steve Simonson

Alec Porter

Ankita Arora

Lamees Al-Ruzaiqi

Nicholas Juusola

Kanyanee Her

Shelby Bader

Noah Stafford

Mariah Huber

Patrick Mazurek

Emily Mehr

Luke Pena

Ben Stretar

Korey Peterson

Riley Webster

Jenni Schubert

Paul Buysse

Ulises Linares

Ulises Linares

Kathrin May

Kerry Wang

Stefan Davis

Austin Cary

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