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.