Ken Smith, President and CEO
Kenneth W. Smith was named President and CEO of District Energy St. Paul in August 2010. He also serves as the president and CEO of affiliate Ever-Green Energy. Prior to joining District Energy in 2006, Ken worked for over 20 years consulting, designing, and implementing energy projects globally for a variety of industries. He is a regular contributor to conferences, studies, legislative initiatives and task forces and a frequent speaker nationally and internationally on energy trends, renewable energy, energy conservation and integrated energy systems. Ken serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the International District Energy Association. Ken has a MBA from the University of St. Thomas and a BS in Electrical Engineering from North Dakota State University. He is a registered Professional Engineer in several states and a member of several professional organizations.
Andrew Kasid, Executive Vice President, CFO
Andrew Kasid is the Executive Vice President, CFO at Ever-Green Energy. He has been with District Energy St. Paul and its affiliate companies since 1990. He is responsible for financial management, project finance, financial strategic planning, financial analysis of business opportunities, forecasting and budgeting, financial risk management, energy rate setting and analysis, energy futures contracts, analysis of energy purchases, and investment analysis and management. He has a MBA in Finance from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, a BA in Financial Economics from Gustavus Adolphus College, and he has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
Michael Burns, Senior Vice President – Operations
Mike Burns has worked for District Energy and its affiliated companies since 1998. He is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the energy generation facilities and distribution systems for District Energy. Burns has been instrumental in the implementation of a 33 MW, biomass-fired combined heat and power facility, development of the renewable fuel market for the CHP plant, and integration of this facility into the local energy delivery system. Under his leadership, District Energy operations has achieved best-in-class reliability while experiencing rapid rates of growth. He has more than 18 years of engineering and managerial experience in all aspects of energy facility operations and project implementation, from large electric utility generating units to renewable energy and CHP installations. Burns has a MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame.
Cathy Hart, Chief Administrative Officer
Cathy Hart joined the team in August 2012. Hart’s expertise in strategic and operational effectiveness will be crucial in leading the company’s steady growth in energy project development and engineering, as well as utility operations and management. Hart is an accomplished leader and business partner with a diverse background in human resources, marketing, operations, information technology, business development, and natural resources. Hart’s experience includes a broad range of fields from health care to commercial real estate to federal agencies, and her organizational versatility is a perfect complement to the public-private partnerships at the foundation of Ever-Green Energy’s success. Hart has a BA in Political Science and Environmental Studies from Iowa State University and holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources certification.
Nina Axelson, Vice President – Public Relations
Nina Axelson oversees public affairs for Ever-Green Energy and its affiliates. Axelson’s role includes community energy planning and authoring studies, including reports for the Department of Energy and International Energy Agency. This work also features education programming, including the development of a local education and sustainability platform. She also leads major initiatives for the organization, including project development and oversight of the nation’s largest solar thermal installation. Prior to joining Ever-Green, Axelson worked in community and business development with a focus on energy and the environment. Axelson holds a BS in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies from the University of Minnesota.
Pam Sarne, Vice President – Accounting
An accomplished CPA with strong controllership, finance and accounting experience in both large and small companies focused in manufacturing and communication, including Hubbard Broadcasting, Sarne is recognized for her hands-on management style. Sarne’s strengths in the development and implementation of accounting policies, processes and controls are an asset to our growing organization. Experience with financial forecasting, budgeting and planning, software implementation, auditing and human resources experience allow Sarne to bring great depth and breadth to the company’s financial team. She has effectively collaborated with all levels of management in preparation of annual budgets and identification of cost savings opportunities. Sarne fills an essential role by overseeing all accounting activities related to Ever-Green’s ventures. She earned both BA and MBA degrees from the Carlson School at the University of Minnesota.
Michael Auger, Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Michael Auger is Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary for Ever-Green Energy and its affiliate companies. Michael has a broad range of legal experience in the energy sector, working with public and private entities on commodity, contract, and regulatory matters. Prior to joining Ever-Green in 2015, Michael served as legal counsel for energy service companies dealing with issues related to the sale, use and transportation of natural gas, electricity, and liquid fuels. Michael also spent time in private practice focusing on corporate, transactional, and bankruptcy law. Michael earned his JD from Rutgers School of Law and his undergraduate degree from the University of South Dakota receiving a BS in Political Science.