John Parry, Owner, FSL (Fearless Solar Leader) and CEO, has been working for much of his life on behalf of a sustainable world. A graduate of the University of California, Irvine, with a B.S. in Physics, John built Solar Works from a one-person solar hot water business to the vibrant community-based company it is today. For nearly 40 years, John has honed his expertise with individual, community, business and institutional energy systems, and is a passionate advocate for local, healthy, self-reliant communities. He is active in CalSEIA, the statewide California Solar Energy Industry Association, and has served on the board of directors and founded a local North Bay CalSEIA chapter. John was appointed to the inaugural Sonoma Clean Power Ratepayers Advisory Committee, and is on the PV Certificate Program Advisory Committee at Santa Rosa Junior College. John has been a consultant to the California State Contractors License Board solar exam review committee, college faculty member, guest lecturer and community educator in renewable energy, site director of an appropriate technology research, demonstration and education center, and operator of a university steam plant. He is a long-time proponent of non-fossil fueled energy generation, a passion he has had since high school. John is also a peace, justice and climate activist and concerned scientist, bird-watcher, wildlife observer and habitat protector, star-and-cosmos-gazer, weather-tracker, wilderness explorer, home improvement maestro, crossword puzzle solver, music aficionado, rare vinyl collector, electric bass player and KOWS.FM radio host. A traveler to un-touristed and out-of-the-way places, John is most happy being home in the coastal hills of idyllic west Sonoma County where he lives in a passive solar home with his wife-and-partner-in-paradise.
Laura Goldman, Human and Community Relations Maven, has been an integral part of Solar Works since the start, providing staff support and serving as a link to customers, community and the world at large. With a B.A. from the University of Maryland and an M.A. in Medical Anthropology from Goddard College, Laura has been a long-time educator and community activist. She was a founding instructor in the Community Health Worker (CHW) Program at Santa Rosa Junior College, and is on the program’s advisory committee, and also an Emerita board member of West County Health Centers. Previous career incarnations include health counselor and World Study Program core faculty at World College West, interpreter and translator, community health educator and trainer, consultant to U.S. and international academic institutions, foundations and community-based organizations, Spanish teacher, and Peace Corps volunteer in highland Ecuador. As a 2015 Fellow of the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy, Laura envisioned, co-produced and hosted Being the Change Radio, a series of interviews with local leaders who are transforming our economy. Passionate about the power of community radio, she hosts Laura’s Living Room, a weekly show on KOWS radio (92.5 fm, streaming on KOWSFM.com) based in Sonoma County, CA. Laura is a proponent of all things local and an irrepressible volunteer for community good works. She enjoys hiking, gardening, relaxing in her solar-heated hot tub, practicing tai chi, connecting with friends, family, and neighbors, being home with her husband-and-partner in paradise, and exploring cultures and natural treasures.
Colan Baldyga, Solar Sales Consultant, provides expertise and attentive listening as he works with clients to develop customized, high-quality and cost-effective solutions for clean electricity, as well as battery storage systems. A committed and experienced solar professional, Colan receives praise from clients for his competence, knowledge, honesty, excellent service and patience. Colan was born and raised in Michigan, and earned a BA in biology from Denison University in Ohio. He is trained in multiple solar roles and has been an installer, designer, project manager, equipment procurer, and technical support troubleshooter. Colan appreciates working in a career where he can use head, heart and body to help people with renewable energy. Passionate about a healthy planet, community resilience and sustainable farming, Colan was an AmeriCorps Service Volunteer, living and working in a therapeutic community for disabled adults in Pennsylvania. He also was a ranch hand at Marin County’s Slide Ranch, a non-profit organization with a mission to connect kids to nature via environmental education. When not working, Colan practices yoga and meditation, reads and writes poetry, and loves to hike and be immersed in nature. He is married to an Armenian woman from Lebanon, and they look forward to traveling again to visit her family.
Emily Collet, Draftsperson and Project Coordinator, produces CAD drawings, acquires permits, coordinates with PG&E to connect installations to the grid, orders materials, and designs graphics for outreach materials. Emily grew up in Sebastopol and is an Analy High School graduate. She received a Bachelor of Science degree, with an emphasis in Ecology and Sustainable Agriculture, from Evergreen State College before returning home to be a Facilities Intern at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center. With experience in construction and natural building fueled by her passion for a healthy planet, Emily is energized by her role in expanding solar power throughout Sonoma County. When not at work, Emily creates pottery and other art projects, and spends much of her free time with her four generations of family in Sebastopol. She greatly enjoys her time at home with her partner, his daughter, their cat, Baloo, and fish, Hot Dog.
Asha Dean, Solar Technician, started as a Solar Works installer in 2012, and has years of solar and wind power installation experience. Asha’s specialty is troubleshooting and solving power production issues, and making sure each Solar Works system operates at optimal levels. In addition, Asha brings creativity and IT knowledge to our design, website and computer projects. He grew up in Michigan where he attended Kellogg Community College after being home schooled. As a youngster, Asha was fascinated by anything mechanical, and would take apart (and often put back together) old stereos, watches, and eventually computers. He is also a woodworker and journeyman carpenter, self-taught artist, and all-around fix-it guy. Asha lives in rural west Sonoma County, and when not working, enjoys skimboarding, skateboarding and moonlighting as a DJ. He loves being able to harvest the sun’s energy for a sustainable future, has a passion for learning, and enjoys working with our collaborative team to provide customers with clean power and great service.
Abraham Duran de Gante, Solar Installer, has a calm and can-do spirit and a desire to continue learning in his role as a Solar Works installation crew member. A love for the outdoors fueled Abraham’s passion to pursue a career in renewable energy. With roots in Oaxaca, Mexico, Abraham moved to California when he was eleven years old, graduated from Archbishop Hanna High School in Sonoma, then studied criminal justice and firefighter training at Santa Rosa Junior College. He returned to Mexico to attend the Universidad Mesoamericana in the state of Puebla, where he majored in forensic sciences. Abraham has also studied and practiced Taekwondo, kick boxing and mixed martial arts. Before joining Solar Works, he worked in retail and vineyard management. In his free time Abraham enjoys reading, hiking, watching anime, and spending quality time with family, friends, and his two cats. In everything he does, Abraham strives to become a better version of himself for loved ones, his community, and the environment.
Jesús (Chucho) España, Installation Manager, has been a Solar Works staff member since 1999. He is skilled in both solar electric and thermal applications, and in addition to being a top-notch installer is an expert troubleshooter and warranty technician. Chucho's attention to detail, innate artistry, careful approach to his work and collaborative spirit make him a great asset and colleague. He has a broad range of experience in construction, plumbing, auto mechanics, paint mixing and sales, customer service, artisan stone carving, farming, gardening and landscaping. A life-long student, Chucho has earned certification in many solar training courses and computer studies, and currently is taking courses at Santa Rosa Junior College. He believes in thinking positively, and considers his work “not just a job” – rather a passion to do something that contributes to a healthy world now and for future generations. A family man, Chucho spends as much time as possible with his wife, two daughters, son – and baby grandson. He and his family like to relax with chess (Chucho sometimes wins, but with stiff competition!), read together, play soccer, visit the coast and explore the beauty of Sonoma County.
Fernando Garcia, Senior Solar Installer, has been a Solar Works staff member since 2009. Skilled and detail-oriented, Fernando is collaborative, calm, hard working, and a great colleague. With a background in construction, painting, landscaping and farming, Fernando likes to solve the mysteries of how things work, and with years of training and experience, he has built impressive solar-related expertise. Fernando is motivated to do his best work on behalf of our customers, community and planet, and is especially happy seeing satisfied customers. A dedicated family man, Fernando spends his non-working time with his wife and two sons – his first priority. He loves to hike, explore nature, play basketball and soccer with his sons, read with them and help with school projects. Fernando enjoys reading, especially books about leadership and personal development. On Fernando’s wish list are motor home trips with the family to explore our beautiful country!
John Matheny, Installation Manager, oversees solar installations and supervises the Solar Works crew. John is integral to the process from the start, and continues with post-installation customer support. A busy guy who always takes time to answer questions, John dedicates part of almost every day to talking with customers – when he’s not involved in the more technical aspects of his work. John began his solar career as a Solar Works installer in 2009, and as a life-long student, continues to sharpen his considerable solar and other wide-ranging knowledge and expertise. John is a Sebastopol native and Analy High School graduate with strong ties to the community. An ornamental fabricator and certified structural steel welder, John is the 4th generation of the family’s welding business that his great-grandfather founded. He’s a natural tinkerer of all things mechanical, with experience in construction, car repair, woodworking, and a variety of projects that demand diligence and creativity. In his non-working time, John loves long board surfing, bicycling, backpacking, canyoneering, rock climbing, working on his overland truck, and enjoying outdoor adventures with his wife.
Matt Smith, Sales and Customer Support Associate, is a welcoming and knowledgeable colleague who works closely with our administrative, sales and installation staff, and is central to seamless customer outreach, office management and marketing projects. Matt has a service-oriented background and brings that intention to supporting customers, fellow staff, and the Solar Works community. He is of Puerto Rican heritage and fluent in both English and Spanish. With a BA in Geology and Biology and an MA in language teaching, Matt has taught natural sciences and Spanish, most recently at Credo High School, an award-winning Sonoma County school. Matt also served as Program Director at Ceres Community Project, a local nonprofit committed to developing youth and providing organic meals to people dealing with serious illness. Before returning to California, he worked as a Partnership Director for United Way of Salt Lake and directed the academic facet of high school therapeutic programs in Utah. His interest in renewable energy stems from a love of nature and a deep desire to help build a legacy of environmental stewardship. Matt enjoys relaxing at home, hiking Sonoma County trails, and surfing with his family.
Vicki Vaughn, Financial and Administrative Manager, has been the Solar Works staff member for commercial projects and general business administration since early 2012. A graduate of Boston College with a degree in philosophy, Vicki brings a “financial bent” and years of varied and valuable experience to Solar Works, including project management at Stanford University and AmeriCorps service with Habitat for Humanity. Vicki is a LEED Accredited Professional and certified CALGreen Inspector. Committed to a healthy local community, Vicki is a 2016 Fellow of the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy, a former Farm to Pantry board member, and bike-to-work commuter. Vicki is happy to report her home solar installation has provided an economic benefit as well as clean electricity in its first year with a $250 refund from Sonoma Clean Power!
Organizations • Slow Food Russian River established the only free community apple press in the county in 2014. Residents can bring backyard apples and make fresh juice. See slowfoodrussianriver.org for more details.