Our Staff

VCE Staff

VCE’s day-to-day operations are overseen by an efficient, capable crew:

Mitch Sears

Interim General Manager

Mitch is currently on loan to Valley Clean Energy from the City of Davis where he has worked for over 23 years. Since 2007, Mitch has served as the City’s Sustainability Manager. In this role he has led efforts to address climate change and community sustainability. City of Davis projects Mitch has managed in the past include:

  • The PVUSA expansion from 75kW to 10+MW
  • The City energy efficiency project (ESCo)
  • The PACE program (CaliforniaFirst, Ygrene, HERO)
  • The community electric vehicle charging system
  • The City’s involvement with Cool Davis, the Cool California Challenge, and the Cool Cities Challenge±—elements of the City’s community engagement planning program to shift behavior and reduce local energy use and GHG emissions.

Prior to 2007, Mitch spent 16 years managing Davis’ Agricultural Land Conservation Program, and 5 years as an urban planner.

Gordon Samuel

Assistant General Manager & Director of Power Resources

Gordon joined VCE in 2020 as the Assistant General Manager & Director of Power Resources responsible for acquiring a diverse supply of clean renewable resources. With 25+ years’ experience leading resource planning and acquisition, marketing and trading, and regulatory compliance, Gordon brings a wealth of experience to the VCE team. Prior to joining VCE, Gordon was with Marin Clean Energy and also spent 2 years with a start-up battery storage integrator company (Doosan GridTech) developing key relationships with investor-owned and public utilities, independent power producers (IPP), and electric cooperatives. The bulk of Gordon’s career was with Arizona Public Service Company (APS) where he had several roles including the procurement of numerous large-scale wind, PV and solar thermal projects.

George Vaughn

Director of Finance & Internal Operations

George works with VCE as part of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) contract to provide business operations support. He brings over 25 years of extensive accounting, finance and budgeting experience to Valley Clean Energy. For the past 6 years, he has worked at SMUD in a variety of financial roles, with the lengthiest stint managing the budget and reporting process for the Customer Services business unit.  George also worked in the private sector in various financial roles, specializing in the energy industry at companies such as PG&E and Duke Energy where he led accounting, budgeting and project teams.

Jim Parks

Director of Customer Care & Marketing

Jim has spent over 28 years in the utility industry, first as a consultant, then with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), with progressively responsible positions covering energy efficiency, demand response, low-income programs, grid modernization and smart grid. His experience includes developing dozens of customer programs with associated marketing plans and working with customers either directly or by managing customer-facing staff. He recently managed a $308 million smart grid project that was completed on time and on budget. The Project included multiple initiatives: cooperative projects with local agencies and school districts; customer programs; dynamic utility rates; energy efficiency; and grid upgrades.

Chris Cole

Manager, Key Accounts

Chris has spent 10 years in the Public Power sector with Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), managing business relationships with large industrial, commercial and government customers, as well as 11 years working with investor owned gas and electric utilities. Chris has experience in energy efficiency, power and gas marketing, special contracts and demand response.

Alisa Lembke

Board Clerk / Administrative Analyst

Alisa brings over 30 years of customer service, budgeting and administrative skills to Valley Clean Energy. For the past 15 years, she worked for Inyo County in a variety of departments, including Probation, Public Works, County Administrator’s Office, and the Yucca Mountain Repository office within the Planning Department. Alisa worked in the private sector for The Ritz Carlton Hotel, as a Property Manager, and as an Executive Assistant/Administrative Manager for a small insurance company. She comes to Yolo County by way of Bishop, CA and was hired as Valley Clean Energy’s first full-time employee.

Tessa Tobar

Senior Intern, Project Management

Tessa is a recent graduate of Humboldt State University, earning her degree in Environmental Studies and Appropriate Technology. Her engagement with Community Choice Energy started at the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA), where she managed efforts to accelerate the adoption of ZEVs through community awareness and outreach. At RCEA, Tessa also led the ZEV Enthusiast Group, and helped shape EV program designs. Tessa brings her passion and experience in community electricity and decarbonization to Valley Clean Energy. Her current projects include development of Electrify Yolo, a $2.9 million dollar initiative to deploy EV chargers and increase ZEV adoption throughout the service territory.