Conservation Minnesota

A letter from Sheldon Strom: Retiring from CEE

Posted by Sheldon Strom

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

I have been proud to serve as president of the Center for Energy and Environment since founding the organization over 35 years ago. CEE has grown from a small nonprofit with a handful of staff to a clean energy employer of more than 80 talented, committed individuals. We have served over 80,000 homes and businesses with energy-efficiency programs, completed over 125 research projects, and provided over $200 million in energy financing. Our organization’s work also helped lay the foundation for Minnesota’s nation-leading clean energy policies — improving the environment, increasing economic productivity, and empowering families to take control of their energy bills.

We have achieved our goals with the help of nonprofit partners, utility companies, local governments, state agencies, environmentalists, and citizens throughout the state. And throughout all our efforts and my years at CEE, I have had the privilege to work directly with many great people like you.

With CEE now on a strong programmatic, operational, and financial trajectory to pursue our ongoing nonprofit mission, I feel the time is right for me to step down and turn over the reins to our terrific staff and board of directors. I look forward to spending more time with my grandchildren, doing some traveling, and considering some new endeavors. I signaled my intention to CEE’s board last year and together we have set the timeline and process for this important transition.

This summer, the board begins a thorough national search to identify CEE’s next president. In coming months, board members will collaborate closely with KeyStone Search to plan and implement the search, while CEE’s exceptional staff leaders continue to manage daily operations that advance our mission impact and strengthen financial stability. By early 2016, the board will choose a new president to build on CEE’s current strengths. Because we know our partners and clients depend on our smooth operations, we intend to keep things clicking along, business as usual, with minimal disruptions between now and the new hire.

Although I will be sad to leave a workplace I’ve come to think of as home, I see this as an exciting time, both for me and for this organization that I love. We have established a culture and relationships that are built to endure, transcending any one person. From our pragmatic research to our deep technical expertise, innovative programs, policy work, and financing, CEE remains a powerful force for clean energy and Minnesota’s leading voice on energy efficiency. Staff leadership worked last year with the board and full staff to create a strategic plan that will provide guidance during and beyond this transition. With all these pieces now in place, this well-grounded, forward-thinking, and effective organization is ready to welcome a new leader.

Going forward, CEE’s next president will guide ongoing efforts to discover and deploy the most effective solutions for a highly efficient, low-carbon economy. You can count on the board and staff to keep strengthening our programs, research, and policies, driving our region’s pathways toward a better energy future. And CEE will continue collaborating with all of you to promote energy policies that keep energy costs low while advancing the positive transformation of our energy system.

Later this summer we’ll reach out again to spread the word after the position opening is posted. In the meantime, please stay in touch and stay involved. I am grateful for my many years of progress with great colleagues, friends, collaborators, and supporters like you, and I thank you in advance for your continued partnership.

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