The vulnerability of global oil supply lines and infrastructure has saddled the United States with the burden of securing the world’s oil supply – threatening our economic and national security. Similarly, American diplomacy is distorted by the need to minimize disruptions to the flow of oil. Too often, oil dependence requires us to accommodate hostile governments that share neither our interests nor our values, putting both the United States and its allies at risk. In addition, our dependence creates substantial economic risks. Every American recession over the past four decades has been preceded by—or occurred concurrently with—an oil price spike.
Our staff is comprised of experts in transportation planning, the electric vehicle technology sectors, communications, policy, advocacy campaigns, consumer engagement, private sector engagement, and other strategies, all giving the EC the ability to support the mission of ending our oil dependency by electrifying the U.S. transportation sector.
Robbie Diamond is the Founder, President and CEO of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE). In 2006, he came together with Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, and General P.X. Kelley, USMC (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the Marine Corps, to form SAFE’s Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of prominent business leaders and retired senior military officers dedicated to combating the nation’s dangerous dependence on oil. Since then, SAFE and the ESLC have been at the forefront of the energy policy debate, successfully helping to shape legislation in 2007 and shepherd a new, comprehensive energy bill through the Senate Energy Committee in 2009.
Diamond is also the President and CEO of the Electrification Coalition, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit group working to accelerate the adoption of plugin electric vehicles to improve our national and economic security. The Coalition was launched in November 2009, and as its first official act, released the Electrification Roadmap, a sweeping report outlining a vision for the deployment of a fully integrated electric drive network.
Prior to his roles with SAFE and the Electrification Coalition, Diamond served as Deputy Director of Community Outreach on Senator Joe Lieberman’s 2004 presidential campaign. Before that, Diamond was a Director at the Washington firm Fontheim International LLC, working in all practice areas of the firm. Prior to coming to Washington, he worked with senior executives at Seagram Spirits and Wine Group on special projects.
Diamond earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in Peace and Conflict Studies and Political Science, as well as a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School.
Ben joined the EC as the Director of Strategic Initiatives, developing all EC programs outside of the beltway. Since 2013 Ben has continued to lead these efforts, now as the organization’s Vice President. Ben has spent more than a decade working on environmental, human rights, and voter engagements efforts. His experience includes leadership roles as the Campaign Director for the Save Darfur Coalition, the Legislative Director for the Colorado Environmental Coalition, the Colorado State Director for the New Voters Project, and numerous public interest campaign efforts as the Western States Field Organizer for U.S.PIRG.
Prior to his experience at SAFE and the Electrification Coalition, Ben served in the role of Vice President at FieldWorks, a national political consulting firm. While at FieldWorks he led projects for a diverse group of corporate, non-profit, academic, and political clients. This included programs with SolarCity, the Environmental Defense Action Fund, and a recent joint pilot with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of California at Berkeley – Haas School of Business – to test encouragement models for federally funded low income weatherization.
Before joining FieldWorks, Ben served as the lobbyist for the Colorado Environmental Coalition (CEC) a statewide group representing more than 100 environmental, public health, and religious organizations. As lobbyist Ben was responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of the conservation community agenda at the legislature. During Ben’s two years with CEC, the conservation community passed over 100 “pro-conservation” bills including several first-in-the-nation efforts.
Ben also directed successful field and fundraising programs for national campaigns on behalf of The Save Darfur Coalition, The Genocide Prevention Project, the Human Rights Campaign, Dream for Darfur and many other national organizations. Ben also led numerous large scale rallies, grassroots advocacy campaigns, volunteer activities, and visibility events involving as many as 100,000 people.
Ms. Swalnick has a decade of experience and knowledge in public policy issues related to transportation and energy. She manages the planning and execution of projects that support the accelerated adoption of plug in electric vehicles (EVs) and smart mobility for the Electrification Coalition. This work includes EV accelerator communities in northern Colorado, Orlando and Rochester as well as supporting the Smart Columbus program in Ohio. Natalia has expertise in consumer adoption tactics and workplace charging in the EV market, and manages national fleet electrification efforts.
She has worked as a private sector consultant to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), spent 6 years as a DOE Clean Cities Coordinator, and served on the policy team in the office of former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. Under Natalia’s leadership with Clean Cities, the coalition displaced more than 22 million gallons of petroleum. Furthermore, Natalia has been appointed to several State of Colorado steering committees, such as the Regional Air Quality Council and the Colorado Technical Advisory Committee for DC Fast Charging, to share her expertise of the EV market.
Natalia is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute. She is also a professionally trained facilitator. She earned her Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Colorado at Denver. Natalia is a past recipient of the “Clear Skies Award” by the American Lung Association in Colorado for recognition of excellence in promoting air quality and environmental health, and was honored with the 2012 Award for Outstanding Community Leadership and Achievement for a Cleaner Environment from the Colorado Renewable Energy Society.
Sue Gander serves as Managing Director of Electric Vehicle Policy for the Electrification Coalition. She leads the planning and execution of policy work, accelerating the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles on a mass scale across local, state and federal levels. Prior to joining EC, Sue directed the Energy, Infrastructure and Environment Division at the National Governors Association for over a decade, spearheading policy support for the transformation of the energy and transportation sectors. Sue also served at the U.S. EPA, first as Outreach Director for the State and Local Climate Change Program and then as a Program Manager for the Clean Energy and Environment Partnership Program, and at the Center for Clean Air Policy, as Manager of Government Relations and Public Affairs and as a Senior Policy Analyst, where she led initiatives on ozone and climate change.
Meredith brings legislative and regulatory expertise in policy development, advocacy, and litigation support for a myriad of issues including energy use, production, and storage as well as automobiles, autonomous vehicles, EV charging policies, and more. Her background includes renewable energy system design and support, energy policy research, clean energy advocacy, administrative law, and civil litigation. Meredith lives in Colorado with her family where they charge their cars from their rooftop solar system.
Sarah Reed is an outreach and engagement organizer at the Electrification Coalition. She is responsible for guiding public and private fleets through the transition to electric vehicles and specifically supports the EC’s Climate Mayors Electric Vehicle Purchasing Collaborative. Sarah was previously a program coordinator for the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), where she managed NARC’s largest federal grant, Fleets for the Future. Sarah coordinated the project which made alternative fuel vehicle procurement more affordable and streamlined for public fleets. She also tracked legislative issues that matter to NARC’s members, including transportation and economic development.
Prior to NARC, Sarah completed an environmental planning internship with a consulting firm working on large public infrastructure projects. Ms. Reed also worked at the National Center for Sustainable Transportation organizing research releases and information sharing between researchers and policy makers. She has a B.S. in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning from the University of California, Davis.
Matt has worked in transportation, energy, and alternative fuels since 2012 at the local, state, and federal level. Matt works as Electric Vehicle Specialist for the Smart Columbus program, and coordinates various electric vehicle fleet deployments and charging initiatives, while also providing insight to consumer adoption. Collectively, these efforts help Columbus achieve a Smart City status that has reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector through electrification and decarbonization.
Prior to joining the Electrification Coalition, Matt served as Project Manager at Clean Fuels Ohio, the nation’s largest U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Cities Coalition. In this role, Matt helped hundreds of fleets across Ohio cut their dependency on petroleum through deployment of alternative fuel and fuel efficient technologies, helping secure over $25 million in state and federal grant funding through the process. Matt was also a lead grant writer for the City of Columbus’ Smart City Challenge Grant Application. Matt holds a Masters in Public Administration from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University with a focus in Energy Policy, and a B.A. in Communication with Public Relations Certification from the University of Cincinnati.
Matt currently serves as Vice Chair for the Energy and Air Quality Working Group at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, Founding Chair of the Young Professionals in Energy Columbus Chapter, and was recognized as “Person to Know in Energy” by Columbus Business First in 2017.
Aaron Viles is a program manager for the Electrification Coalition, focused on helping accelerate community efforts to increase adoption of EVs. He is based in Lexington, KY. With over 20 years of experience in advocacy, Aaron comes to the EC from a stint in electoral politics, recently working with the Kentucky Democratic Party. Aaron brings experience with environmental, energy, and online advocacy to the EC team. He is currently the volunteer chair of the board of directors of Healthy Gulf, a New Orleans-based regional environmental group.
Travis is an Electric Vehicle Technical Advisor for the Electrification Coalition. His current work is focused on advising specific American Cities Climate Challenge (ACCC) cities on vehicle electrification strategies. Travis’s previously held a fellowship with the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Resilience, where he worked as Electric Vehicle Technical Advisor to expand the city’s EV fleet, EV charging infrastructure, and support initiatives that accelerated regional EV market growth. Before that, Travis was an intern on the Rochester Electric Vehicle Accelerator Program in Rochester, NY. His duties there included EV consumer education through presentations and Ride and Drive events, cultivating an extensive volunteer group for event staffing, and designing programmatic marketing materials and website content. Travis is based in Atlanta, GA and holds a BS in Environmental Studies from SUNY Binghamton.
Cher Griffith Taylor
Cher Griffith Taylor joins the EC with over 7 years of experience in the energy sector, particularly on enhancing access, affordability, and the transition to a sustainable energy economy. She previously led grid modernization advocacy in Maryland for a national nonprofit, leveraging the collective power of the state’s public-interest, community-based, and environmental action organizations to influence regulators on grid investments that support distributed energy solutions — including transportation electrification. Her advocacy has increasingly focused on ensuring equitable access to the benefits of investments in emissions-free transportation.
Prior to that, Cher spent several years living in Jamaica, where she co-founded a consulting firm to support international development projects in the island’s energy sector. Her work in the Caribbean similarly focused on the transition to clean energy, reducing illegal resource abstraction, and enhancing energy access and affordability. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Middlebury College in Vermont.
Jared Walker is the Technical Lead of Fleet Electrification at the EC where he is responsible for providing technical fleet management and operational support to the team. With 10+ years in fleet management at LeasePlan, a global leader in mobility, he is well equipped to support the effort to electrify private and public fleets. Having held multiple positions at LeasePlan, Jared’s experience is varied and diverse. From providing lease services to large industrial corporations to single vehicle leases for small businesses, he provides creative solutions that fit the needs of the customer. Jared is based in Atlanta, GA and has a BA in Corporate Communications from Duquesne University.
Alyssa Siddiqui is Managing Director of Corporate Relations at Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE). She is responsible for identifying and implementing innovative strategies to enhance SAFE’s profile, expand its donor base, and develop new opportunities for engagement and growth.
Alyssa joined SAFE after over a decade at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, most recently as the Senior Director of Corporate Relations, where she led the strategy and execution of an integrated fundraising plan to achieve an annual revenue goal of over $9 million. She managed high-level corporate recruitment of new members, expanded relationships with existing clients and key stakeholders and launched the Let’s Rebuild America infrastructure initiative. Alyssa also oversaw the U.S. Chamber’s largest signature event, The Aviation Summit, held annually in Washington, DC which attracted over 900 attendees and participants, including top CEOs and industry leaders.
Alyssa began her career at the National Park Foundation working on the capital campaign for the Flight 93 National Memorial Fund. She graduated from Colby College with a Bachelors of Science in Government. She is a member of the Advisory Council, German American Aviation Heritage Foundation.
As the Director of Operations and Finance, Jackie works closely with the CEO and Vice President of Development to oversee the day-to-day business operations and financial health of SAFE.
Prior to joining SAFE, Ms. Burman spent more than 4 years in Cape Town, South Africa where she assisted a wide range of non-profit organizations in reaching their funding goals. During her time abroad, she also helped create a fundraising academy to provide young adults with the skills necessary to begin careers in development. She worked in both marketing and fundraising in DC before this.
Ms. Burman holds a Bachelor of Art’s Degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and Masters’ degrees in business administration and Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University.
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