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Founded in 1979, Solar Oregon is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit membership organization providing public education and community outreach to encourage Oregonians to choose solar energy.
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A Farewell Letter from Executive Director, Ron McDowell

Farewell my friends, it’s time for me to step off the “solar coaster” for awhile …

You probably already know that Solar Oregon is now in the capable hands of Evan Manvel. This is a pivotal time for our organization and we are very fortunate to have Evan in charge as our executive director. This should be welcome news to all members, partners and sponsors, and anyone else who believes in renewables being a big part of our energy future.

When Claire Carlson left for greener pastures last summer, I stepped in to ensure continuity, keep momentum, and meet our contractual obligations and mission objectives. I think this was accomplished and then some. I’ve always been connected to our cause and mission in a deep and meaningful way, but I couldn’t have accomplished much without the support of people like you.

It has been my honor and pleasure to serve Solar Oregon.  

Along the way I put in a lot of my time, money, and energy into Solar Oregon’s mission, just as previous executive directors and board officers have done. Over the past six years, I’ve been a member and volunteer, workshop presenter, Solar Ambassador, solarize project leader, writer and promoter, cheerleader, sponsor, board member, president of the board, and most recently the executive director.

I admit I thrived on the solar coaster’s adrenaline rush most of this time, as it is constantly changing, very challenging, and so damn tempting in its promise. I believe we’re at the beginning of an energy revolution in this country and I like being a revolutionary in some aspects.

Of course there’s still plenty of work to do. Although studies and polls continue to show massive support by our citizens for solar power, and it is being pushed harder by the Obama administration, solar still lags as part of our nation’s energy mix.  Make no mistake that America’s fossil fueled powers-that-be have declared war on renewable energy and they fight us every step of the way. Their power and influence has been beating a war drum for decades over a reduction in fossil fuels, regardless of the impacts and consequences to our society and the planet.

Yet, we’re winning this war.

Sure, we’ve got a long ways to go to move to the mainstream stage for distributed energy, but the solar movement is approaching high gear and right now (2014) every 4 minutes, a new solar system is installed in the United States. One rooftop at a time. This is how renewables will eventually become a part of our daily fabric as an energy source. It will also be one of the things required to help deal with climate change, reduction of pollution and the protection of the environment. Important stuff.

It is just that my priorities have changed since a bright and beautiful spirit entered my life. My wife, Noriko, and I have an infant daughter – Maya Cassidy – and she needs our full attention for the moment. I simply couldn’t manage the rigors of the job and support my family in the way they require, so this is why I’m leaving the office.  My family comes first and I know everyone will understand.

As for Solar Oregon, I think the organization is fortunate to have good governance during this time of transition with a great staff, executive committee, and a solid board led by President Doug Boleyn. Please continue to support them as you supported me.

You probably haven’t seen the last of me. I am still a Solar Ambassador and a lifetime member of Solar Oregon and so is Noriko.  So, you might find me conducting a new volunteer orientation, presenting a solar basics workshop, or even hanging out at Solar Drinks event. Be sure to say hello.

Solar energy’s brightest days are still ahead, so keep on – keeping on, my friends.  


~ Mac

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