Chris Nichols, Senior Program Manager, has driven innovation in clean energy programs

and policies for more than 30 years, in Federal, non-profit and for-profit organizations.

She brings strong management and energy strategy skills to Groundswell, with vision,

passion and a deep network of similarly devoted clean energy professionals to

accelerate collaborative work for expanded clean energy services.


Chris formerly managed national communications for both EPA and DOE in building the

Energy Star® program. At the US Department of Labor and Department of Energy, she

updated ‘green’ training for YouthBuild and created clean energy workforce credentials

for weatherization and solar workers. She created SunEdison’s “City Tour for Solar” to

advocate municipal-scale community solar investments in 2008. She joined DOE’s

SunShot Initiative in 2011, where she managed DOE’s national Solar Instructors Training

Network and created the “Solar Ready Vets” training program. She served as the

Department of Energy’s Workforce Advisor within Sec. Moniz’ Jobs Strategy Council, and has

also supported NRECA in developing cybersecurity tools for rural cooperative utilities,

increasing grid security and resilience. 


Chris believes in building community. For more than 30 years, she has volunteered in

feeding programs across DC; she has coached youth soccer and baseball, led Girl Scout

troops, and Sunday school programs. Currently she serves on the Boards of the

Potomac RiverKeeper Network, which fights for clean drinking water, and the Prince

Georges Running Club, where she is a certified running coach. She holds a black belt in

tae kwon do, and enjoys participating in marathons and triathlons, gardening,

beekeeping, brewing beer, and aggravating local policymakers to improve jobs, equity

and access for working families. She loves her spouse and their two daughters, who

fondly remind her not to praise her own cooking too much. She holds a BA from Duke

University in English, History and Psychology, and an MBA from the R.H. Smith School

of Business, University of Maryland.