Pull up to Ric’s house in rural Antrim County and you immediately know something important about him: he lives the small-footprint energy ethic that he espouses through his work as Clean Energy Policy Specialist at Groundwork. A passive solar system warms his family’s home. A separate solar system warms their water. A 5,000 watt solar panel provides the electricity.
Though Ric just hired on with Groundwork in early 2018, he feels he has been preparing for his position here since his days studying natural resources at Michigan State University in the early 1990s. “The sustainability and resilience of our food, energy, and waste systems have been underlining most of my work and personal life since my college years,” Ric says.
He started his own energy efficiency and renewable energy consulting firm in 2008 and quickly realized the importance of education in the success of his business. “I realized that I had to help connect the dots for people between their energy use habits and the larger impacts on pollution and climate change if I was going to help move the dial,” he says.
For many years, Ric enjoyed that one-on-one education piece, working with individual clients on their energy systems, and now with Groundwork he’s excited to deploy those skills on a broader scale. “Working at that level feels like it can have a much wider and deeper impact on the region I love so much,” he says.
Bachelor’s of Science from College of Natural Resources, Michigan State University. Certified Building Science Instructor from the Residential Energy Services Network and from the Building Performance Institute. Director Gold Credential from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
Ric loves to play disc golf and is considered one of the founding fathers of disc golf in northern Michigan, having helped design several of the original courses here. He also loves music and has been a drummer since sixth grade.
Mt. McSauba disc golf in Charlevoix—a course I designed back in 2001, but it is one of the most amazing little gems in northern Michigan—huge elevation for such a little spot, and amazing water views in almost every direction.
“My Djembe (West African hand drum) … Playing drums forces me to be completely in the moment, listening and feeling what’s going on around me and tying into that, and whomever I am playing with.”