The Climate Trust
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 Sean Penrith, Executive Director

Sean assumed the role of Executive Director at The Climate Trust in August of 2013. Prior to TCT, Sean assumed leadership of fledgling Earth Advantage, Inc. (EAI) and over the course of 7 years built the organization into a nationally regarded authority on sustainability, energy efficiency, energy disclosure, climate change, carbon markets, ecosystem services, and high performance green building. During his tenure as executive director with EAI, Sean also nurtured CakeSystems, a spin-off company that commercialized an energy efficiency modeling and performance scoring software developed by EAI.

Sean is an active proponent of the development of voluntary carbon and ecosystem service markets. He believes that carbon mitigation solutions and voluntary carbon markets have a pivotal role to play in addressing climate change.

Sean is a recognized Portland Connector, an Edison Awards and Pivotal Leader nominee, an alumni of the EMERGE Leadership for Sustainability program, a member of the Association of Climate Change officers, a UNITAR Climate Change Diplomacy graduate, and an advisor to MIT’s Climate CoLab initiative.

Sean presents frequently on topics that include green building, deep carbon reduction strategies, the future of sustainability, and climate change.

Sean is an avid sailor and can be found on any navigable body of water on his boat with his wife Meredith and son Quinn.

E-mail: Sean Penrith


 Dick Kempka, Vice President of Business Development

A long time specialist in eco-asset projects, Dick has over 20 years of executive experience in innovative land conservation, carbon, wetlands, technology development, and sales.  Dick formerly worked for Equator LLC, an asset management firm, who specializes in the generation and management of high quality carbon credits and environmental assets derived from reforestation projects, forest conservation, sustainable land management and other emission reduction project activities.  Dick‘s primary responsibility at Equator was sales and origination, deal negotiation, and product development.  

Before joining Equator, Dick was the Carbon Program lead for Ducks Unlimited (DU), the world’s largest wetlands conservation organization. While at DU, Dick was responsible for the positioning and marketing of DU’s carbon offset program and coordinated all carbon sequestration and environmental asset activities throughout the organization, including a successful effort to deliver a first-of-its-kind forest carbon conservation easement to a consortium of 25 large utility companies and Edison Electric Institute.   He also spearheaded a large terrestrial carbon sequestration project with the Energy and Environmental Research Center as part of a Carbon Sequestration Science Program covering the entire U.S.  He is an accomplished speaker who has participated on several carbon panels and delivered presentations at numerous Environmental, Carbon, and other industry forums.  Before joining DU, Dick served as Remote Sensing Analyst with Pacific Meridian Resources, a natural resources consulting firm in California including a large technology transfer project with NASA, and as a Remote Sensing Analyst for the Idaho Department of Water Resources and the Defense Mapping Agency.

The author of more than 20 professional publications, Dick received his B.S. in Geography and Remote Sensing from Carroll College and his Master’s in Geography and Remote Sensing from Indiana State University.

E-mail: Dick Kempka


Sheldon Zakreski, Director of Programs

Sheldon Zakreski, Senior Program ManagerSheldon Zakreski has been with The Climate Trust since March 2008. Sheldon has more than 11 years of environmental policy and management experience, with a focus on energy, climate, air, and forestry issues. Sheldon oversees the development and execution of corporate and voluntary carbon programs on behalf of private and public organizations.

Prior to joining The Climate Trust, Sheldon worked for Metafore, a nonprofit that informs corporate buyers of the environmental aspects of their wood and paper purchasing practices. He was responsible for the development of many of Metafore's advisory services, including conducting sustainability seminars and evaluating the environmental performance of pulp and paper mills. He recently wrote two reports on the greenhouse gas emissions of the paper supply chain.

Sheldon also worked as a policy analyst at Trexler and Associates, a climate change consulting company. He developed a carbon offset pricing forecast model and evaluated carbon offset projects in the biomass, forestry, renewable energy, and agricultural sectors.

Sheldon has a M.A. in Economics from the University of Victoria (British Columbia). He earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of Saskatchewan.

E-mail: Sheldon Zakreski


Kathryn Thomsen, Senior Program Manager

Kathryn joined The Climate Trust in February 2014, bringing over 15 years business and project management experience in the areas of conservation program evaluation, climate change mitigation, and environmental product development. Kathryn will oversee the management, implementation, and fulfillment of TCT’s carbon offset programs.

Prior to joining The Climate Trust, Kathryn worked in the commercial division at Cadmus Energy Services evaluating energy efficiency programs, clean energy pilots, and behavior change initiatives. Collaborating with multiple stakeholders, Kathryn managed research efforts for multiple projects aimed at helping businesses improve their program processes from design to delivery.

Prior to Cadmus, Kathryn worked in the voluntary and compliance carbon markets with SGS North America, Ecosecurities, and Trexler Climate + Energy Services. As a senior consultant, Kathryn directed GHG validation and verification teams, developed climate change risk strategies, conducted lifecycle assessments, and originated and sourced carbon offsets. Her most memorable project was developing a climate sustainability demonstration in Southern Oregon, identifying and assessing offset projects with emissions reduction benefits in excess of four million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents in the areas of clean energy, energy efficiency, agriculture, and forestry.

Kathryn was a member of the technical working group supporting development of the World Resources Institute (WRI) GHG Protocol Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard. She has received lead assessor certifications, using protocols and standards from the California Air Resources Board AB32, The Climate Registry, ISO 14064, Voluntary Carbon Standard, Clean Development Mechanism, Canadian Offset System, and WRI. Kathryn has an M.S. in energy and environmental Economics from Portland State University.

E-mail: Kathryn Thomsen

 Karena Gruber, Office & Human Resources Manager

Erica Keeley, Senior Offset Portfolio Manager

Karena Gruber joined The Climate Trust in March 2013 with over ten years of nonprofit management experience; bringing with her a passion for creating and managing efficient systems. Karena facilitates the administrative functions of the office, including contract management and overseeing all human resources systems and policies.

Previously, Karena worked at Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco, where she oversaw the administration of their summer camp for disadvantaged youth. She has a history of working with environmental nonprofits such as energy efficiency solutions leader, PECI, and land and water stewardship organization, Sustainable Conservation. Karena has dedicated her career to putting her organizational skills to good use for worthwhile causes within the nonprofit sector.

Karena enjoys spending time with animals, watching movies, and taking in the Oregon scenery.

E-mail: Karena Gruber

 Leif Halvorson, Staff Accountant

Erica Keeley, Senior Offset Portfolio Manager

Leif Halvorson joined The Climate Trust in October 2013 with over 20 years of full charge bookkeeping experience; bringing with him additional expertise as a controller and general manger. In his current role, Leif manages all accounting and bookkeeping activities for The Trust, including budgeting, payroll, reconciliations and financial reporting.

Before joining The Climate Trust, Leif spent six years as the Accounting Supervisor for AEC, Inc., improving accounting department efficiencies and serving as a training resource to employees. Leif has also worked as the General Manager at Architectural Signing Northwest, Inc. overseeing their accounting and operations. Additionally, he worked for 13 years at the University Club of Portland, setting up custom software and systems and coordinating directly with their Board and Committees.

Leif has Associates degrees in both Accounting and Computer Programming, from Western Business College, with additional training through Toyota Kata.

Leif's pastimes include hiking, yoga and spending time with his wife, Aileen.

E-mail: Leif Halvorson

 Liz Hardee, Project Analyst

Erica Keeley, Senior Offset Portfolio Manager

Liz Hardee joined The Climate Trust team in 2013 as a research intern; later transitioning into a full time Project Analyst position. In her current role, Liz will fill a critical need for technical expertise through consulting activities for The Trust. She has over 10 years client-facing business experience and a background in project management, and research and data, as well as qualitative and quantitative analysis and report writing.

Before joining The Climate Trust, Liz had already completed a prior internship with an emphasis on climate change mitigation. During the tenure of her internship at Climate Counts, Liz was responsible for assigning well-known companies a numerical score on their approach to climate change. More recently her research capabilities have been employed in the renewable energy sector for her MBA capstone consulting project, for which she helped develop a usable consumer metric for solar panels.

Liz holds an M.B.A. from Portland State University, and a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Liz's pastimes include making jewelry, gardening, reading and spending time outdoors.

E-mail: Liz Hardee

 Teresa Koper, Senior Project Analyst

Erica Keeley, Senior Offset Portfolio Manager

Teresa Koper joined The Climate Trust team in April 2013. Teresa is a soil microbiologist with experience implementing sustainable programs and working with diverse stakeholders. Her focus is on agricultural sector carbon initiatives, such as soil carbon sequestration, biogas production and nutrient management.

Teresa has worked for the USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as a Resource Conservation and Development Coordinator and as a Soil Scientist. As a federal employee, she worked on projects involving: carbon sequestration, Brownfields petroleum and hazardous waste cleanup, biodigesters, renewable energy, conservation education, energy efficiency, biomass, composting and biochar. She has also taught biology and sustainability practices.

Teresa holds an M.S. in Biology and an M.S. in Soil Science from Utah State University, as well as a B.S. in Environmental Biology from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Her graduate research focused on microbial nitrification in soils treated with dairy waste and synthetic fertilizers.

Teresa has a great love of the outdoors and enjoys photography, skiing, watercolor painting, and fly-fishing.

E-mail: Teresa Koper


 Kasey Krifka, Marketing & Communications Manager

Erica Keeley, Senior Offset Portfolio Manager

Kasey Krifka joined The Climate Trust in March 2012. In her current role, Kasey manages all public relations and communications activities for The Trust. She has over 8 years of nonprofit experience and a background in marketing, fundraising, and in building communications programs from the bottom up.

Before joining The Climate Trust, Kasey spent three years as Director of Internet Marketing for The Salvation Army’s Divisional Headquarters in Southern California, during which she managed an extensive website redesign that later became the model for all Salvation Army websites nationally. Kasey has also worked with The Los Angeles Conservation Corps on fundraising efforts for youth conservation and service projects, and provided extensive research on a major study for The Atlantic Philanthropies Foundation, “Civically Engaging Immigrant Boomers in Los Angeles County: How Do We Do It?”

Kasey has an M.A. in Public Administration, emphasis on Environmental and Nonprofit Management, from the University of Southern California, and earned a B.F.A. in Graphic Design from Chapman University.

Kasey's pastimes include art, hiking, playing with her rescue bunnies, and exploring Portland’s amazing culinary culture.

E-mail: Kasey Krifka


Peter Weisberg, Program Manager

Peter Weisberg joined The Climate Trust in 2007. He originates, analyzes and invests in new projects for The Climate Trust and its clients.  Peter provides technical expertise for all aspects of The Climate Trust’s work, with a focus on understanding and applying existing and proposed carbon market protocols. He also serves as the lead technical resource for the innovative work on new project sectors, methodologies and offset quality criteria. 

Peter has over four years of experience working in carbon markets. Prior to joining The Climate Trust, Peter did a yearlong internship as a research analyst for EcoSecurities. His senior thesis evaluated the effectiveness of Kyoto's Clean Development Mechanism as a tool for greenhouse gas emission mitigation in countries with rapidly growing economies. This topic was inspired by two international internships with the United States-China Environmental Fund and Periodico INTAG, an environmental newspaper in a rural cloud forest in Ecuador.

Peter holds a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College.

E-mail: Peter Weisberg


Christine Yankel, Senior Project Analyst

Christine Yankel joined The Climate Trust in May 2013. Christine is responsible for managing The Climate Trust’s growing greenhouse gas emission reduction project portfolio and providing technical support on forestry initiatives.

Prior to joining The Climate Trust, Christine worked for four years as a project manager and supported monitoring and training for a project that empowers smallholder farmers in East Africa and India to improve their farms and gain new income from the carbon market by planting trees on their farms. She has also worked on technology commercialization and in biology research and is keenly interested in innovative, sustainable environmental solutions.

Christine holds an M.S. in Botany from the University of Vermont, an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School, and a B.A. in Biology and French from Alfred University. She enjoys spending time outdoors admiring the beautiful trees in and around Portland.

E-mail: Christine Yankel


Matt Baird, Administrative/Program Assistant

Matt Baird joined The Climate Trust in May 2014. Matt will fill the crucial role of managing The Trust’s greenhouse gas mitigation project portfolio registry, in addition to coordinating contracts, providing support to the accounting department and assistance with the day-to-day operations of the office.

Before joining The Trust, Matt had completed internships with Portfolio 21 Investments and JPS Global Investments. During his time at JPS, Matt helped to organize and host a panel discussion, “Impact Investing in Action,” featuring financial experts on investing in the triple bottom line. In his more recent internship, Matt worked to ensure compliance on Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) and researched the corporate social responsibility efforts of companies held in the P21 portfolio.

Matt holds an M.B.A. from Portland State University, and a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Biology from Whitman College.

Matt's pastimes include volunteering with the Audubon Society of Portland, Tai Chi, home brewing and raising urban chickens.

E-mail: Matt Baird

Beverly Peterson, Bookkeeper
E-mail: Beverly Peterson



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