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Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency

Degree & certificate programs and non-credit classes in green building at GCC

Instructor bios


Brian Adams

Environmental Science/Natural Resources

B.S., Cornell University
M.S., Antioch University

S410 775-1454 adamsb@gcc.mass.edu

Brian Adams teaches Introduction to Environmental Science, Natural History and Freshwater Ecology.  He is also the Program Coordinator for the Environmental Studies/Natural Resources option.  He has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Human Ecology from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and a Master’s in Environmental Biology from Antioch in Keene, New Hampshire. Brian is the author of Love in the Time of Climate Change and is currently working on additional novels.


Lynn Benander

775-1472 benanderl@gcc.mass.edu

I teach Community Energy Solutions.  It’s a course I really enjoy because we take an interdisciplinary approach – looking at how we use energy in our world from a scientific, social, environmental, and economic perspective – and using everything you already know about how you use energy in your own life and work.  I manage a sustainable energy cooperative and work with lots of employers in the region, so I’m good at helping people figure out where they might fit in as workers in this growing local economy.  I have a Masters in Education and strive to create an environment where people can learn valuable skills and make meaning in their lives.


Thomas Benjamin

Thomas Benjamin is a registered Landscape Architect and LEED Accredited Professional (AP) practicing design and sustainability consulting in Massachusetts. He works concurrently as a Landscape Architect for the Regenerative Design Group and as a Sustainability Consultant for the Energy Services Division of Environmental Compliance Services (ECS). He has more than 20 years experience in environmental design work often focused on ecological restoration and green design, including energy and food systems. His restoration experience includes assessment, design, and construction of upland, wetland, riparian and coastal sites/properties using low tech bioengineering solutions. In addition, Prof. Benjamin’s site planning work emphasizes low maintenance native plantings for public facilities, commercial, institutional, residential developments and private residences. His work has often encompassed creation and enhancement of natural stormwater filtration systems in both developed and natural contexts. He also has natural resource planning and land use regulatory experience. His skills support projects from conceptual planning through design, construction and monitoring phases. Prof. Benjamin has lectured at Harvard, MIT and many professional conferences. He continues to teach sustainable landscape design at the University of Massachusetts and Greenfield Community College. His courses tie the built environment to natural systems to advance less resource intensive landscape design approaches. Topics include energy efficient landscapes, composting and solid waste reduction, and integration of productive, permaculture based food systems. In addition to being an avid ecological gardener, he enjoys weeding the woods.


Christine Copeland

Renewable Energy Program Assistant

A.A., American College in Paris
B.F.A., Cornell University
M.Ed., Antioch New England Graduate School

S207 775-1472 copelandc@gcc.mass.edu

Christine Copeland is the program assistant for the Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency Certificate and Liberal Arts Option. She has a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Cornell University and a Masters in Elementary Education from Antioch New England. Her major responsibilities involve assisting Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency students and faculty in whatever their needs may be, including responding to student inquiries, providing instructors institutional support, helping with registration and scheduling, advising, getting together book orders, and a thousand other things that make the program run. Outside of work she may be found knitting, rug hooking and chauffeuring her two sons from one activity to another.

William Gran

775-1120 granw@gcc.mass.edu

Earth is warming, human activities are the cause, and only we can act to reduce the potentially catastrophic impacts.  I am teaching Introduction to Global Warming because I think students need to understand the basics of climate science and the challenges we face transforming to a sustainable, zero-carbon civilization.  I have a BS in Mechanical Engineering, an MS in Urban and Regional Planning, and a lifetime career in planning and community development.

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Ted Johnson


B.S., Northeastern University
M.Ed., Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

S419D 775-1429 johnsont@gcc.mass.edu

Ted Johnson teaches Physics, Astronomy, and Meteorology as well as coordinates the Engineering program. He has a BS in Electrical Engineering, an MS in Science Education, 12 years of engineering experience, and several decades of teaching experience. He brings experience in solar building design, amateur radio work, computer applications, artificial intelligence and vision work, and engineering experience in meteorological weather balloons, piezoelectric transducer design and fabrication, resinate deposition based ceramic microcircuits, commercial radio transmitters and repeaters, antenna design, as well as business experience as an industrial process consultant and troubleshooter. He has taught courses in electronic circuit design, both analog and digital, most programming languages, robotics – motion and vision, several levels of physics – classical and modern, electrical wiring, astronomy, meteorology, and industrial electronic control systems. His work experience includes Raytheon, Sprague Electric, US Sonics Corp, General Electric, Mount Anthony Vocational Center, Vermont Department of Labor and Industry, Berkshire Community College, Westfield State College, Community College of Vermont and Greenfield Community College.


Teresa Jones

Plant Biology/Renewable Energy

B.A., Yale University
M.A., University of Massachusetts

S419B 775-1462 jones@gcc.mass.edu

Teresa Jones graduated from Yale University in New Haven, CT, with a double degree in Environmental Studies and History. She received her master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in Plant Biology. She has worked as a science reporter and co-authored a book on asthma. She began teaching at the high school level before coming to GCC in 1999. She currently teaches Botany and Sustainable Energy courses, and was awarded a 2013 Green Giant Award by the Western Mass Green Building Group for her work in the green energy and building field.


Mike Kocsmiersky

Adjunt Instructor

B.S., University of Rochester

S419B 775-1462 kocsmierskym@gcc.mass.edu

Mike Kocsmiersky teaches a wide variety of Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency classes including Fundamentals of Electricity, Photovoltaics, Solar Thermal Systems and Residential Energy Efficiency and Energy Auditing. He has a Bachelors of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rochester. As the owner of Spirit Solar, the father of four children, the keeper of chickens, dogs, cats and fish, his precious few free moments are spent reading stories to his kids, tinkering with mechanical projects and playing board games.


Beth Paulson

Instructor, Residential Energy Efficiency and Energy Auditing

S407 775-1120 paulsonb@gcc.mass.edu

Beth Paulson is both a building analyst and an ecological landscape designer who has worked with clients, workshop attendees, students and co-workers to conceptualize, analyze, design, craft, and commission hundreds of buildings and landscapes throughout metro Boston, the Pioneer Valley and the Berkshires. She runs a consulting & design/build firm, is a member of the teaching faculty at GCC, HCC, and the Sustainable Design Institute, and works as an instructor with the Green Jobs program run by Co-op Power, where she also serves on the Board of Directors. A lifelong passion for sculpting, and puzzles, and walks in the woods, studies in ecology, environmental design, and landscape architecture, a heartfelt devotion to those who have chosen to navigate a healing journey after trauma, and the delight of growing and preparing vibrant food and medicine all influence the way Beth works with people to create healthful, safe, comfortable, beautiful buildings and landscapes in which they can thrive.Beth is a systems thinker who keeps adding to her understanding about the relationships among structures and the environment around them, rather than differentiating between the systems as two separate entities. Beth currently teaches Sustainable Landscape Design for the Boston Architectural College, Residential Energy Efficiency and Energy Auditing for Greenfield Community College, and is helping people understand and remediate ice dam problems. Her family is in the process of a deep-energy-meets-deep-ecology retrofit of their home in Greenfield.


Anthony Reiber

Greenhouse Technician

B.S., Southern Illinois University
M.S., University of Massachusetts

S411 775-1366 reibera@gcc.mass.edu

Anthony Reiber is the Greenhouse/Lab Technician managing the greenhouse facility at GCC as well as the soil science instructor.  He received an M.S.in Wetland Conservation from the University of Massachusetts and a B.S. in Plant and Soil Science from Southern Illinois University.  His experience in greenhouse and nursery production with the New England Wildflower Society and New England Wetland Plants concentrated on producing native plant species specifically for habitat restoration and natural landscaping. In addition he started his own growing operation to provide plant material for the largest wetland restoration project in New England.


Alex Risley Schroeder

N416 775-1120 risleyschroedera@gcc.mass.edu

The "green" or "sustainable" economy that we’re building together has the potential to engage all of us. I teach the Green Careers Exploration course to think and learn with folks interested in figuring out the ways their work can help build this economy out. As a statewide and regional policy and training consultant on green job creation and preparation, and the former Green Careers Coach at the Franklin Hampshire Career Center, I bring a range of green career perspectives and job seeking strategies to the class. I have a Masters in Education from UMass Amherst. My current work looks simultaneously at preparing adult learners for work in the sustainable economy and growing these jobs.


Jeremy Toal

775-1120 toalj@gcc.mass.edu

Jeremy Toal teaches SCI 127: Introduction to Sustainable Design and Green Building. He is passionate about helping others see the benefits of and opportunities in sustainable design and renewable energy. In his class, students explore the integrated design process and tackle design problems. They apply innovative design and ideas about beauty to real projects—most recently they worked on possible designs for a typical Habitat for Humanity home. One RE/EE student pursued an internship with Habitat the next semester where the ideas and the hands-on work "all came together." Jeremy is currently developing an advanced design studio course to follow the introductory class. Jeremy is a registered Architect, licensed in MA and NY, and a LEED Accredited Professional, specialized in Building Design and Construction. He has been actively involved with the Western MA Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (WMAIA), serving on the board for many years and as President from 2012-2013, and is a member of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA). He is currently working at Juster Pope Frazier Architects in Northampton. Jeremy has been practicing sustainable design for over 20 years, specializing in highly energy-efficient construction methods, passive solar design, natural renewable materials, and renewable energy alternatives, with the goal of creating inspiring buildings which have a positive impact on their surroundings and occupants.

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