Leadership Team


The CRES Team

Heather Reams, Executive Director

Heather Reams is the Executive Director of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES), a right-of center non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. that engages policymakers and the public about responsible, conservative solutions to address our nation’s energy, economic, and environmental security while increasing America’s competitive edge. She has led the CRES team since 2016 and oversees the core activities of the organization, ensuring the successful expansion of conservative clean energy policies across the nation.

Heather has been Chair of National Clean Energy Week since 2017. She is a Western Caucus Foundation advisory board member and serves on the board of directors for the American Conservative Coalition. She is a frequent commentator on the politics and policy of clean energy and the environment having been featured on MSNBC, NPR, and Newsmax TV, and in The Washington Post, Washington Examiner, Politico, Newsweek, Time, Roll Call, The Hill, Morning Consult, and The Atlantic, among others. She is a regular contributor to Real Clear Energy.

Heather has nearly three decades of experience in public affairs and advocacy and has held a number of senior nonprofit positions. Prior to her non-profit work, she spent a decade at several top D.C.-based public affairs firms. She started her career as a staffer in the offices of Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) and Congressman Gerald Weller (R-IL11), and earlier as an intern for Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA) while pursuing her degree. A graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in Political Science, Heather is active in Republican local and state affairs in her home state of Virginia, where she resides with her husband, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, and their two school-aged children.

Charles Hernick, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy

Charles Hernick is the Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) in Washington DC. Charles leads CRES Forum’s policy work and executes strategies to advance clean energy solutions and innovative approaches to reducing carbon emissions.

Charles is an energy expert who understands emerging clean technologies, market barriers, and policies and regulations. For over a decade he has worked at the crossroads of economic development, energy, and natural resource management across the U.S. and on the ground in over a dozen countries in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Before joining CRES, he advised executive-level decision-makers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Agency for International Development on energy and environmental issues, and identified project-level opportunities for clean energy expansion.

He is also a climate change expert who has integrated climate change considerations into U.S. government programs and policies and has authored climate mitigation and adaptation best practice guidelines for over a dozen development sectors.

Charles was the Republican candidate for U.S. House of Representatives in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District in the November 2016 election. He routinely advises candidates seeking public office on energy and economic growth.

He is a frequent guest on radio shows and webcasts, in university classrooms, and at international workshops to discuss clean energy and associated economic, national security, and environmental issues. He conducts interviews in English or Spanish.

Charles as an M.A. in International Relations and Environmental Policy from Boston University and a B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of Minnesota.

Shawn Affolter, Vice President of Government Relations

Shawn Affolter is Vice President of Government Relations at CRES. From 2018 to 2021, he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Senate Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy. In that role, he was the agency’s principal liaison to the U.S. Senate and provided strategic advice to Departmental leadership on Congressional matters, including the Energy Act of 2020 and National Defense Authorization Act.

Since 2011, Shawn worked for U.S. Senator John Hoeven (R-ND). In this capacity, Shawn helped advance key energy priorities including infrastructure policies, public-private research partnerships, advanced energy technology initiatives, and federal permitting reform. His work primary focused on the Senate Energy and Appropriations Committees, where he helped manage oversight and budget hearings, legislative mark-ups, agency nominations, and funding requests.

Mr. Affolter is a native of North Dakota and graduate of North Dakota State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and political science.

Ross Gillfillan, Vice President of Communications

For more than twenty years Ross has helped transformative science and technology organizations communicate more powerfully, personally, and meaningfully. The majority of his career has been in the private sector, leading messaging, branding, strategy development, and public relations programs for some of the world’s most innovative Fortune 500 companies, startups, nonprofits, R&D institutions, and regulatory agencies.

Most recently he served at the White House as the Director of Strategic Communications for the Office of Science and Technology Policy, then as Senior Tech Policy Advisor to the Director of the Domestic Policy Council, and as a Senior Advisor for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget.

A native of Illinois, before moving to Washington DC Ross lived in San Francisco for over a decade, managing consultant teams as a Vice President for OgilvyPR, a top ten global public relations agency. After Ogilvy, he cofounded Torch Communications, a boutique public relations firm serving technology, advanced energy, and life science clients. At Torch he led the startup portfolio, advising tech founders and venture investors on PR initiatives and crisis communications strategy.

Evan Dixon, Communications Director

Evan is the Communications Director of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES). With experience in strategic thinking and creative communication, he is focused on promoting the organization and helping expand awareness of conservative clean energy policies across the nation.

He previously served as a press secretary and digital director for U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who was the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee along with the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. As the press secretary, Evan helped develop a press strategy and organized messaging, videos, graphics, and digital campaigns for major legislative accomplishments including the Opioid Crisis Response Act, Music Modernization Act, the FUTURE Act, and the Great American Outdoors Act.

While in the U.S. Senate, Evan was elected by his peers to serve as president and an executive officer of the U.S. Senate Press Secretaries Association (SPSA).

Before his time in the U.S. Senate, Evan worked as a booking producer for Chuck Todd, moderator of Meet the Press, MTP Daily and NBC News’ political director. In that role he arranged a wide variety of interviews with lawmakers, journalists and newsmakers. Evan also worked in NBC News’ Washington Bureau as the weekend White House producer and the White House travel pool producer—traveling with President Obama to report for all major television news networks.

In 2012, Evan served as Deputy Communications Director for then U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson’s (R-N.M.) campaign for U.S. Senate in New Mexico. He grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and graduated from Texas Tech University, where he studied journalism and business administration.

Matthew Del Carlo, Chief of Staff

As the first chief of staff for CRES, Matthew Del Carlo supports the strategic vision and organization of CRES and its leadership team. Most recently, Del Carlo was the principal of the Del Carlo Group, providing management consulting and advisory services to political advocacy organizations and campaigns.

Prior to his work in the private sector, Matthew Del Carlo served as Chief of Staff for Assemblyman Guy Houston (California AD-15) and as his Campaign Manager for Houston’s successful campaign for re-election to the California Assembly in 2006 – considered to be one of the most competitive legislative seats in California.

In 2006, the East Bay Business Times recognized Matthew for his accomplishments by selecting him as one of its “40 Under 40,” an award that recognizes forty individuals under the age of forty for their leadership in the community.

Matthew has been involved in variety of community service projects since the time he joined the Boy Scouts, where he earned his Eagle Scout Award. Matthew holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Davis, and was selected for the University of California’s Washington, D.C., Honors Program. Matthew is a third generation San Franciscan.

Lori Pickford, Senior Policy Advisor

Lori serves as Senior Policy Advisor for CRES, where she spearheads CRES’ outreach on key energy and climate initiatives on Capitol Hill and with the Administration.

Lori comes from The Ferguson Group (TFG), based in D.C., where she was head of their energy practice, drawing on her 25 years of government relations experience in federal energy, environment and tax policy, including clean energy policy impacting electric utilities. She has a record of success in achieving goals on behalf of a nationwide client base through bipartisan advocacy before Congress, the White House, executive branch departments, and various government agencies.

Before joining TFG, Lori worked for 16 years on energy and tax policy issues impacting the electric utility sector at Morgan Meguire, LLC, advocating on behalf of public power systems and rural electric cooperatives.

Prior to working at Morgan Meguire, Lori worked for eight years, specializing in energy, electricity markets, new energy technologies, nuclear power, and federal tax policy at the American Public Power Association where she acquired a comprehensive understanding of the public power industry and its mission.

Lori began her career with the Washington office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (1984-1992), a nationally recognized law firm, where she worked with senior energy and tax partners to represent clients before Congress and the Executive Branch.

Lori earned a Master’s degree in Legislative Affairs from George Washington University and a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Old Dominion University.

Colin Finnegan, Senior Coalitions Manager

Colin joins CRES, previously serving as Associate Communications and Outreach Manager at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute where he supported the Institute’s external communications as well as the development and implementation of public affairs strategies. He began his career in the strategic communications industry at DCI Group in Washington D.C., where he began specializing in energy policy. Colin graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in International Studies and is originally from Massachusetts.

Rebecca Lorenzen, Policy Manager

Prior to joining CRES, Rebecca worked for the Mexican federal government for nine years, in the national security sector. She has served as an intern at the Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) of the Wilson Center, where she conducted research on environmental security and the links between environmental change, migration, conflict, and health. She holds a Master in Public Policy from Georgetown University, where she specialized in environmental policy, and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in Mexico City, Mexico.

Andrew Shaeffer, Government Relations Associate

Before joining the CRES Government Relations team, Andrew worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture where he worked on issues related to agricultural conservation, emissions and nutrient loss reduction, and risk management. Andrew has a Bachelor’s degree in Government from the University of Virginia and is originally from Maryland.

CRES Forum Policy Fellow

George David Banks, CRES Forum Policy Fellow

Dave Banks is an economist, political analyst, and policy advocate, focusing on climate change, energy, and trade.  He is a senior fellow at Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, serving as an adviser on Republican climate policy and politics.  Banks has published peer-reviewed articles, reports, and opinion editorials on a variety of issues, including climate change, civil nuclear power, and energy markets and trade.

As the inaugural CRES Forum Policy Fellow, Banks advises the organization on federal policy, communications, and external stakeholder relationships.  The CRES Forum Policy Fellowship was created to feature individuals who have demonstrated expertise in public policy, climate science, and strategic communications for conservative issues.

A native southeast Missourian, Banks was most recently Chief Strategist for the Republican side of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.  Previously, he was Executive Vice President at the DC-based American Council on Capital Formation.  He was also President Donald Trump’s Special Assistant for International Energy and Environment at the National Economic and National Security Councils, Republican deputy staff director of the U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, Senior Advisor on International Affairs and Climate Change for President George W. Bush, a State Department foreign service officer, and CIA economic analyst.

During his government tenure, Banks received multiple meritorious awards, including the EPA Climate Protection Award for Diplomacy, a Department of State Superior Honor Award for promoting U.S. diplomatic objectives for the environment, and a Commendable Service Award from the Central Intelligence Agency.  He holds a JD from George Mason University and a MA in economics and baccalaureate degrees in history, economics, and political science from the University of Missouri at St. Louis.

Senior Advisor

Former Senator Kelly Ayotte, Senior Advisor

Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 and served until 2017, where she was ranked as one of the most bipartisan senators working across party lines to find solutions to our nation’s biggest challenges. During her tenure in the Senate, Ayotte served on the Senate Budget, Commerce, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Armed Services, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Aging Committees. She chaired the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and the Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operations. Previously, she served as New Hampshire’s first female Attorney General, first appointed by a Republican governor and twice reappointed by a Democratic governor. She also served as deputy attorney general, chief of the homicide prosecution unit, and as legal counsel to Governor Craig Benson. She currently is a Senior Advisor to Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions and serves on the boards of The Blackstone Group, Caterpillar, News Corp, BAE Systems, Boston Properties, Blink Health and Bloom Energy. She also serves on the advisory boards of Microsoft, Chubb Insurance and Cirtronics, as well as a number of non-profit boards.

The CRES Board

James Dozier, President of the Board

James brings a wealth of Republican grassroots organizing, advocacy, and political experience to Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES). James has led CRES since 2013 and in that time, he has focused on growing conservative support for clean energy solutions to enhance our nation’s economic, energy, and environmental security. This work has included building out robust political and advocacy operations that have supported Republican clean energy champions in the House and Senate.

Louie Kerbici, CRES Board

Louie is a founding CRES board member. He has previously worked as a financial service project manager at Fidelity, Allmerica Financial, and John Hancock for 15 years.

Micah Yousefi, CRES Board

Micah Yousefi currently serves as the Political and Policy Director for Winning for Women. She is an experienced political operative, is passionate about policy that embraces conservative ideals, ensures freedom and liberty for all Americans, and invites women into vital leadership roles.

Jason Kauppi, CRES Board

Jason Kauppi is a communications strategist specializing in public policy, news media relations and crisis management. Jason is a former spokesman for Republican Governors Paul Cellucci and Jane Swift of Massachusetts.

Liz Feld, CRES Board Treasurer

Liz Feld is the former president of Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. She previously served as the Republican mayor of the Village of Larchmont in New York’s Hudson Valley from 2006-2012. Liz also served as a public affairs specialist in the White House Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan from 1984 – 1986 and as assistant to the press secretary for Vice President George H.W. Bush from 1986 – 1987.

Ashlee Rich Stephenson, CRES Board

Ashlee Rich Stephenson currently serves as the Vice President and National Political Director of Political Affairs and Federation Relations at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She leads the Chamber’s voter education program, which includes directing the endorsement process on behalf of pro-business candidates for federal office and guiding the Chamber’s independent expenditure effort. Stephenson is a nationally respected and highly experienced political strategist and pollster, with expertise working on high-level candidate campaigns, with independent expenditures, and on behalf of public affairs and corporate interests.

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