The winners of the Women of Wind Energy (WoWE) Awards were announced on Thursday May 8 at the annual luncheon held at AWEA’s WINDPOWER 2014 Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas. The awards put the spotlight on professionals at the pinnacle of the industry as well as on the up-and-coming next generation of leaders. All three winners provide examples of achievement, creativity and courage.
“Highlighting and recognizing the stories of incredible women and men like this year’s WoWE Annual Award winners is critical not only to recognizing and appreciating their successes but also to help other women in the sector see role models and new career pathways,” said Kristen Graf, WoWE Executive Director.
2014 WoWE Award Winners
Rising Star award—Kylah McNabb is currently a program manager and wind development specialist at the Oklahoma State Department of Commerce/State Energy Office. She started her career working for the Oklahoma Wind Power Initiative, and then worked as a project manager for Horizon Wind Energy before achieving her current post. She is a very directed, determined person, building this unique career upon her roots of a Bachelor’s in geography and an MBA—both from the University of Oklahoma. She is a 2011 graduate of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Executive Energy Leadership Program, which she claims among her proudest accomplishments.
McNabb has experience in private wind development, wind industry research and development, oversight, and financial management of over $70 million in federal funding programs, loan program development and management, and policy analysis.
Champion award—Dr. James Walker is vice chairman of the board of EDF Renewable Energy, a leading developer, owner, and operator of wind projects, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles. Walker has more than 30 years of experience in energy in public and private entities, including positions at MCR Geothermal and Edison Mission Energy. He pioneered wind project development in Greece, Turkey and Mexico.
“Jim has provided true vision and leadership not only for the wind industry, but for each individual he comes across. His endless energy for new ideas is contagious, and his drive for constant evolution on how to approach challenges is an inspiration to those around him. He can wear many hats from a mentor to professor to leader to excellent dinner seatmate,” said WoWE Board Member, Liz Salerno. “After meeting Jim, you will quickly find out there is always a great story behind his knowledge and experiences. Despite the amazing accomplishments and stature Jim has earned over the years, he never fails to be incredibly generous with his time and knowledge.”
Woman of the Year award—Trudy Forsyth has been a leader in wind energy and renewable energy for the past two decades. She was the U.S. Department of Energy’s Golden Field Office liaison and coordinator of NREL’s technical support for the Small Wind Turbine Field Verification Project, overseeing testing of small turbines to International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards. She co-authored the IEC technical standards and served as an IEC secretary for the second and third revisions of the IEC small wind design and safety standards. Forsyth led the development of AWEA’s Small Wind Roadmap—published in 2002.
For many years, she was a leading NREL voice on the Wind Powering America initiative (now called Wind Exchange) working to break down barriers to installing wind turbines.
Forsyth has served on the Boards of the Small Wind Certification Council, the American Solar Energy Society, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, and the Distributed Wind Energy Association. She has also been a true champion and mentor for other women and girls in the industry and in science technology and life in general; the range of her activities include being the first “official” Board Chair for Women of Wind Energy for the past four years and working with the Girls Scouts. Forsyth has worked tirelessly throughout many years to foster the engagement of girls and women in engineering, aerospace, and the renewable energy sector.