The CRES Team
Heather Reams, Executive Director
Heather leads the talented CRES team and oversees core activities of the organization, ensuring the successful expansion of conservative clean energy policies. She joined CRES in 2016 as Managing Director where she was instrumental in increasing the organization’s impact through team growth and new initiatives such as National Clean Energy Week, which she serves as its chair. Heather is a 25-year veteran in strategic communications, public affairs, and advocacy and has held a number of senior non-profit positions including vice president of communications and marketing at a national advocacy organization, chief communications officer for a $700 million private foundation, and associate director at a national trade association. Prior to her non-profit work, she spent a decade working for DC-based public affairs firms and started her career as a staffer working for Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) and Congressman Gerald Weller (R-IL11). A graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in Political Science, Heather is active in Republican local and state affairs in her home state of Virginia.
Brandon Audap, Vice President of Government Relations
Brandon comes to the CRES team with 15 years of experience working on both sides of the aisle to advance renewable energy and energy efficiency policy, most recently serving as Director of Federal Affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). He has also directed political research projects in support of preserving the American Dream while promoting lower taxes for all Americans, advocated on behalf of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) and the family business community, and served on the tax and energy policy teams in the government affairs practice at an international law firm. Earlier, he started on Capitol Hill working on the majority tax staff at the House Committee on Ways and Means for then-Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA). He holds an M.P.A. from The George Washington University and a B.A. in Public Administration from California State University, Bakersfield.
Charles Hernick, Director of Policy and Advocacy
Charles Hernick is the Director of Policy and Advocacy at Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) in Washington DC. Charles leads CRES Forum’s policy work and executes strategies to advance clean energy solutions and innovative approaches to reducing carbon emissions.
Charles is an energy expert who understands emerging clean technologies, market barriers, and policies and regulations. For over a decade he has worked at the crossroads of economic development, energy, and natural resource management across the U.S. and on the ground in over a dozen countries in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Before joining CRES, he advised executive-level decision-makers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Agency for International Development on energy and environmental issues, and identified project-level opportunities for clean energy expansion.
He is also a climate change expert who has integrated climate change considerations into U.S. government programs and policies and has authored climate mitigation and adaptation best practice guidelines for over a dozen development sectors.
Charles was the Republican candidate for U.S. House of Representatives in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District in the November 2016 election. He routinely advises candidates seeking public office on energy and economic growth.
In 2019, Charles was appointed to the Maryland Clean Energy Council’s 2019 Advisory Council. He is a frequent guest on radio shows and webcasts, in university classrooms, and at international workshops to discuss clean energy and associated economic, national security, and environmental issues. He conducts interviews in English or Spanish.
Charles as an M.A. in International Relations and Environmental Policy from Boston University and a B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of Minnesota.
Larissa Fair, Director of Communications
Larissa is a seasoned communications and marketing strategist with over fifteen years of experience in digital media, corporate communications, and public relations. She has worked with technology companies, NGOs, and consulting agencies to launch integrated marketing campaigns and programs. She is a respected leader with a robust range of marketing expertise, diverse industry experience, and proven success in startup and rapid growth companies.
At CRES, Larissa is focused on communications and outreach strategies to support CRES and CRES Forum’s overall message and mission. Prior to joining CRES, Larissa led marketing efforts in the medical device industry, cybersecurity and IT industry, and launched digital programs to drive message and action for the International Republican Institute (IRI), focused on spreading democracy worldwide. She has generated awareness and messaging for company brands and established activities to engage varied stakeholder groups into action. Larissa began her career working for government consulting and media relations firm Westin Rinehart Group, which was later acquired by BGR Group in 2008.
Previously, Larissa has held senior marketing positions leading public relations, social media, events, and corporate branding and messaging efforts. Larissa earned her degree from Radford University in Communications and Public Relations with a minor in Political Science. She served as President of the Washington, D.C. chapter of Social Media Club (SMC-DC) from 2007-2011 where she led a team of over 20 volunteers to educate businesses, nonprofits, and government leaders in best practices for social media. She currently lives in Maryland with her husband and young daughter.
Kelsey Callahan, Senior Program Associate
Kelsey Callahan currently serves as Program Associate at Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES). Prior to joining CRES, she was Development Director at Student Veterans of America, Deputy Finance Director for the Pennsylvania Republican Party, Regional Field Director of Southeast Missouri for the RNC Victory Campaign, and as Finance Director on congressional campaigns in Kansas City, MO, and Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Colin Finnegan, Coalitions Manager
Colin joins CRES, previously serving as Associate Communications and Outreach Manager at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute where he supported the Institute’s external communications as well as the development and implementation of public affairs strategies. He began his career in the strategic communications industry at DCI Group in Washington D.C., where he began specializing in energy policy. Colin graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in International Studies and is originally from Massachusetts.
Former Senator Kelly Ayotte, Senior Advisor
Kelly Ayotte was elected to the Senate in 2010, where she was ranked as one of the most bipartisan senators working across party lines to find solutions to our nation’s biggest challenges. During her tenure in the Senate (2011–2017), Ayotte chaired the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and the Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operations. She also served on the Senate Armed Services, Budget, Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Aging Committees.
The CRES Board
James Dozier, President of the Board
James brings a wealth of Republican grassroots organizing, advocacy, and political experience to Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES). James has led CRES since 2013 and in that time, he has focused on growing conservative support for clean energy solutions to enhance our nation’s economic, energy, and environmental security. This work has included building out robust political and advocacy operations that have supported Republican clean energy champions in the House and Senate.
Liz Feld, CRES Board
Liz Feld is the former president of Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. She previously served as the Republican mayor of the Village of Larchmont in New York’s Hudson Valley from 2006-2012. Liz also served as a public affairs specialist in the White House Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan from 1984 – 1986 and as assistant to the press secretary for Vice President George H.W. Bush from 1986 – 1987.
Jason Kauppi, CRES Board
Jason Kauppi is a communications strategist specializing in public policy, news media relations and crisis management. Jason is a former spokesman for Republican Governors Paul Cellucci and Jane Swift of Massachusetts.
Louie Kerbici, CRES board
Louie is a founding CRES board member and currently serves as treasurer. He has previously worked as a financial service project manager at Fidelity, Allmerica Financial, and John Hancock for 15 years.
The CRES Government Relations Team
Gina Mahony, Legislative Director
Gina Mahony brings 20 years of experience working with members of Congress, federal agencies, and the White House to advance the interests of her clients. Most recently, Gina has focused her work on education reform issues, with particular expertise in charter schools, and the intersection of politics and education policy.
Gina worked for 11 years on Capitol Hill and specialized in education, telecommunications, financial services and trade policy and legislation. She played a prominent role in the consideration of the Charter School Expansion Act of 1998, the reauthorization of the Head Start program, No Child Left Behind, and the Higher Education Act.
Brian Sailer, State Engagement
Brian co-founded and serves as Partner of Flywheel Government Solutions. Brian provides clients with broad industry domain expertise, and strong relationships at the federal, state and local levels. Brian works with Federal officials & Congress, Governors, State Agency officials, State CIOs, Homeland Security Advisors & Emergency Mangers, among others. Brian’s comprehensive understanding of the state and federal intergovernmental affairs and policy and funding processes, appropriations and grants, as well as federal and state procurement and acquisition processes is significant. Brian helps clients successfully understand and align operational and functional requirements with private sector solutions, achieving common goals. Brian has successfully helped clients at the federal and state level secure contracts, develop operational demonstrations and pilots, and bring innovative and transformational technology and platforms to the market to support government customers.
Susie Wiles, Administration Engagement
With a distinguished professional history in government relations, politics and public affairs, Susie Wiles has more than two decades of political insight. As a public affairs/media relations professional, Susie brings this expertise to Ballard Partners’ client portfolio in Florida and now in the nation’s Capitol. Her record of success has been recognized nationally, receiving numerous awards in the fields of political leadership and communications.
Most recently, Susie was Florida’s Senior Strategist for the Donald J. Trump campaign. Florida, the largest of the swing states in the 2016 cycle, was a winning state for Trump/Pence. She also was appointed Florida State Co-Chairman in October, 2015. Susie was Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman’s first national campaign manager and worked to recruit the team and develop early-stage processes before a departure after six months and in 2010, Susie served as campaign manager for Florida Governor Rick Scott’s successful election. She subsequently held a senior role in Governor Scott’s transition. Her national political experience includes service for President Ronald Reagan, former Congressmen Jack F. Kemp and Tillie Fowler and she held a senior role at the Department of Labor. Susie also previously served as co-chairman of the McCain-Palin 2008 campaign in Duval County and as a Transition Team member for former Florida Governor Charlie Crist.
The CRES Pollster
Ashlee Rich Stephenson, CRES Pollster
Ashlee is a pollster and general consultant who has guided major election victories for her clients – including serving as the General Consultant for Congressman Jason Lewis (MN-02) which the Washington Post called “one of the biggest upsets” of the 2016 election cycle and as a General Consultant for Senator Joni Ernst’s (R-IA) historic win in 2014. Stephenson has worked for and consulted on behalf of several presidential campaigns, including serving as the Polling Director for Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s Presidential Campaign and moderating focus group research among independent women in swing states on behalf of Romney for President. The recipient of the Campaigns and Elections “Rising Star” award (2014) and a member of the American Association of Political Consultant’s 40 under 40 inaugural class (2015), Ashlee has worked at all levels of the survey research and political consulting industry.