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Autumn Spotlight: Meet our New Domestic Climate and Energy Experts

Abt’s domestic climate and energy team continues to grow at a steady pace in 2022. Meet some of our newest staff—located across the U.S.—who bring a wealth of experience and diverse perspectives to our work helping governments at all levels address their most significant climate and energy challenges.

Niko Dietsch
Environmental Policy and Governance Senior Associate
Niko supports solar, battery storage, and cleantech projects through Abt’s work on USAID’s Power Africa initiative. As a Senior Advisor at EPA, Niko designed and built high-profile clean energy, climate change, and air quality programs for the federal government, including helping to establish first-of-its-kind national carbon limits for the power sector. He also established regulations that allow states and cities to include renewables and energy efficiency in their Clean Air Act (CAA) plans. Prior to joining Abt, he worked in Mexico City, helping a local company finance the purchase of electric taxis, and collaborating with a U.S. national laboratory to improve building energy codes in Mexican cities.

Amy Posner
Environmental Policy and Governance Senior Associate
Amy is an energy and chemical engineer with deep expertise in clean transportation, clean energy, and climate resilience. Prior to joining Abt, worked at the Center for Transportation and the Environment, where she helped guide the effective deployment of both battery and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles in public transit applications. Previously, Amy conducted climate change risk assessments at CSRA, Inc., and completed action plans for 35 utilities, producing measurable results to help them adapt to climate change. Amy also worked at the EPA as an ORISE Fellow for the Climate Ready Water Utilities Initiative, and on the agency’s Water Security Division Emergency Response Team.

Jada Garofalo
Environmental Policy and Governance Associate
Jada is a climate scientist and environmental attorney, bridging the worlds of science, policy, and law to facilitate a thorough understanding of the climate impacts to health, energy, and the environment as we provide climate adaptation and mitigation solutions. She’s also an adjunct lecturer at the University of Wyoming's School of Energy Resources. Prior to joining Abt, Jada analyzed legal frameworks to facilitate the deployment of low-carbon technologies in the electricity generation sector and the acquisition of water resources for energy development projects, among other research projects. She previously worked as a Climate Policy Fellow for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is a past contributor to the National Climate Assessment, addressing the effects of climate change on food safety, nutrition, and disease.

Demi Gary
Environmental Policy and Governance Senior Analyst
Demi is a conservation scientist with interests and experience in large-scale habitat conservation planning, climate change mitigation, and environmental justice. They have worked both domestically and internationally on marine and terrestrial environmental issues with multiple stakeholders including tribal governments, federal, state, and local governments, academia, and non-profits. They also have expertise in assessing the value of injured natural and cultural resources, including helping EPA define environmental justice guidelines. Current work includes helping the Navajo Nation develop pre-assessment screens and identify priority abandoned uranium mine sites on reservation lands to conduct full assessments.

Vesna Petrin
Environmental Policy and Governance Associate
Vesna is an urban planner focused on the intersection of climate change, health, and the built environment. She has a background in active transportation planning, trail and greenway planning, and new mobility. Vesna has supported clients on a wide range of transportation planning efforts, including developing feasibility studies and master plan documents, creating communications materials and public engagement plans, and identifying organizational and funding strategies for implementation. At Abt, she is focused on sustainable transportation and climate resilience planning.

David Richards
Environmental Policy and Governance Associate
David provides technical assistance and communications support to environmentally focused federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He has more than seven years of experience developing, producing, evaluating, and authoring products and engagement strategies for EPA offices with an emphasis on climate change, environmental health, public health, and sustainability. In addition to EPA, David has supported climate change research and communications for the Global Environmental Health program and worker safety and health for the Worker Training Program with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Carolyn Townsend
Science and Research Analyst
Carolyn has worked on Sustainability Action Planning for a number of U.S. cities, including New York City and Carmel and Evansville, Indiana. As an Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Fellow in NYC, Carolyn developed the EJUST Protocol, an accountability and evaluation framework to measure racial equity, social justice, and environmental benefits of the NYC Accelerator Program. She collaborated with a team of sustainability consulting experts to write the first Climate Action Plan (CAP) for Carmel, wrote Evansville's first CAP and set the city’s emissions reductions targets. She also worked in government relations for the Nature Conservancy. At Abt’ she’s helping clients plan for and implement strategies to equitably mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Ali White
Environmental Policy and Governance Senior Analyst
Ali is an engineer accelerating the transition from the use of HFC-emitting appliances to leak-free and natural refrigeration systems, emphasizing social equity, environmental sustainability, and business resilience. After years of working on systems efficiency in the areas of HVACR, lighting, and more, she’s an expert both in related emissions and policies that govern utilities. At Abt, Ali is supporting various EPA initiatives focused on super pollutants, including EPA’s efforts to address HFC emissions and the Global Methane Initiative.

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