Our Team

Andrea Axel, Executive Director

ph: 206.267.2212 | email: andrea at sparknorthwest.org

Andrea is passionate about bringing clean energy to the Pacific Northwest and partnering with communities experiencing inequity to develop solutions. Prior to joining Spark Northwest Andrea directed a statewide social justice grant program at the Legal Foundation of Washington. She is an attorney who has represented multinational corporations and also low-income families seeking affordable housing. Andrea is experienced advocating for systemic change, building public-private partnerships and bringing communities together to align strategy around common goals. She received her J.D. from the University of Michigan and her B.A. from Stanford University. She is also a graduate of the Equal Justice Leadership Academy, which hones advocacy skills to address racism and poverty. A native of Oregon and long-time Seattle resident, Andrea loves exploring the region. On weekends you might find her hiking in the Cascades, walking her dog on Alki Beach or sampling a fresh hops brew in Eastern Washington.

Amy Bettle, Project Manager

email: Amy at sparknorthwest.org

Amy manages Spark Northwest’s Solarize and Energize programs, leading group purchase programs for solar and energy efficiency. She also conducts community education on renewable energy and advocates for policies supporting a just transition to clean energy. Most recently, Amy worked at the World Food Prize Foundation to coordinate an international conference on global food security formulated to drive food systems discourse and transformation. She collaborated with stakeholders across sectors and geographies to convene diverse thought leaders and mobilize policy action. Prior, she served Peace Corps Zambia as an Agriculture and Forestry Extension Agent until the global Covid-19 evacuation. As a Gilman Scholar, Amy conducted a research project for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy. The project evaluated the sustainability of commercializing in vitro meat, and Amy focused on the environmental impacts of this nascent technology. Amy graduated from Iowa State University with a double degree in Environmental Science, B.S. and Event Management, B.S. Outside of work, Amy enjoys building community through cooking, outdoor exploring, coordinating mutual aid, and organizing for racial and climate justice.

Mia Devine, Project Manager

ph: 206.267.2213 | email: mia at sparknorthwest.org

Mia manages multiple clean energy projects including our Rural Renewables Program. Mia has over 16 years of experience working in the renewable energy industry conducting technical feasibility studies of utility-scale wind farms, due diligence reviews of wind turbine supply and maintenance contracts, project management of proposals and budgets, and hands-on installation of residential solar and wind power equipment. Most recently, Mia worked with wind project developers, government agencies, multinational corporations, investors, tribal communities, and utilities at the global consulting firm Det Norske Veritas. Mia also co-founded a national group encouraging the participation and advancement of women in the wind energy industry and completed volunteer work in Central and South America where she helped to install and maintain solar electric lighting systems in rural communities. Mia holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Grinnell College and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. When not at work, you can find Mia tending either her urban farm in Seattle, or her rural farm in Bellingham.

Lou Finazzo, Project Manager

Ph: 206.328.2441; email: lou at sparknorthwest.org

Lou has worked on social and environmental justice issues as a research analyst in Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program and as a campaign organizer in Michigan. He is excited to contribute to the empowerment of marginalized communities in his role evaluating utility grant applications for community renewables projects. Lou is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy & Governance with concentrations in analysis & evaluation, public financial management, and environmental policy. Outside of work, you can find him exploring the outdoors, playing music with friends, and frequenting local coffee shops and diners.

Mikhaila Gonzales, Project Manager

Ph: 206.267.2213; email: Mikhaila at sparknorthwest.org

Mikhaila has led the Access Solar program at Spark Northwest since January 2017. While mastering the business side of solar energy development, she has developed partnerships with Seattle City Light, Kitsap Bank, Washington State Housing Finance Commission, and has cultivated mutually accountable relationships with Emerald Cities, Byrd Barr Place and ECOSS. She also supports Solar Plus State Energy Strategy work across Oregon and Washington, and is driven to find energy solutions that work for local communities hit first and worst by climate impacts. She serves on the Emerald Cities’ Executive Committee, Seattle City Light Review Panel (Position 2) and Seattle Office of Sustainability’s 100% Renewable Energy Workgroup. Mikhaila holds a B.A. In International Development & Social Change, M.A. in Environmental Science & Policy, Sustainable Building Advisor Certification, and has participated in a Social Justice Fund Giving Project, People’s Institute Undoing Racism workshop, Equity Matters, Environmental Leadership Program, Asian Pacific Islander Community Leaders Program and Fulbright Fellowship.

Gwen Heisterkamp, Finance and Operations Manager

ph: 206.328.2441 | email: gwen at sparknorthwest.org

Gwen manages the internal functions for our team, including finance, operations and human resources. Her 15-year career in the environmental sector spans a variety of roles within non-profit organizations and public agencies. Most recently, Gwen spent nine years at the NW Energy Coalition, where she managed the organization’s finances, operations and grants. She has also worked as an environmental educator, a salmon-recovery planner, a volunteer coordinator, a native plant nursery manager and an outreach coordinator. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies/Environmental Education from Huxley College at Western Washington University. In her spare time, Gwen can be found practicing and teaching yoga, gardening in her community p-patch, and exploring the great outdoors.

Katherine Leggett, Communications & Development Director

email: katherine at sparknorthwest.org

Katherine is passionate about social and environmental justice issues. Prior to joining Spark Northwest, she co-led a statewide grassroots campaign that mobilizes people to advocate for climate and racial justice bills during the WA State legislature. She has produced and directed advocacy videos for community organizations and has directed award-winning, social justice documentaries. She has worked in the corporate sector managing digital marketing strategies. She has a MA in Communications from Stanford University and is a ’22 cohort member of Leadership Tomorrow. She and her partner are raising two energetic girls and a pandemic puppy.

Reuben Martinez, Tribal Liaison

email: reuben at sparknorthwest.org

Reuben Martinez is a member of the Makah Nation, a recent graduate of Western Washington University, and alumnus of Peninsula College, who spent his final year at WWU focusing primarily on renewable energy. At Spark Northwest, Reuben supports Tribes throughout the Northwest in figuring out what renewable energy can do for them and helping with applications for programs such as ETIPP. Reuben is also preparing to begin a Masters at the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at University of Washington, where he plans to focus on the ocean and renewable energy.

John Seng, Policy Manager

email: john at sparknorthwest.org

John Seng joins Spark Northwest as Policy Manager. He has worked on climate justice issues in Oregon and Washington, organized with Minnesota 350, and conducted research for a food justice organization in Minneapolis. John is eager to help Spark Northwest advocate for a just clean energy transition that transfers power and wealth to low-income and BIPOC communities. Outside of work he is a runner, climber and visual artist who loves exploring the incredible old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest.

Working With You

Attend an Event

Spark Northwest provides educational events to community members to support renewable energy project development.

Have an Idea?

Got a project idea ready? We may be able to assist with your community project. Click below to see what services we offer!

Find More Resources

Spark Northwest provides publications, guidebooks and web tools that help communities pursue clean energy projects.