Board + Staff

The work of Green Built Alliance in the community is led by our passionate and engaged staff and Board of Directors.

Sam Ruark-Eastes
Sam Ruark-Eastes has been working in the field of sustainability for local governments, nonprofits, and small businesses since 1998. Sam’s first foray into the nonprofit world was working with the Harmony Project and the Sustainability Institute in Charleston, SC. There, he ran a building materials reuse center for affordable housing and a green building trade show. In 2000, he heard the call to “go west young man” and moved to the Bay area without a job or place to live. Within a year, he had a job working as a Sustainability Planner for Marin County, CA, where he developed and implemented their green building program, helped write the Energy and Green Building Element to the County’s master plan, and initiated two sustainability policies that dramatically reduce energy use and construction waste. In 2005, he returned to North Carolina and served as Educational Programming Director for Seven-Star Events where he worked with a team to organize and manage the Green Festivals and GreenCities. When the economy dove into a recession, he returned to California to work as an Energy and Sustainability Coordinator for Sonoma County, CA, where he managed a commercial and municipal energy efficiency program in partnership with the utility. He also developed renewable energy projects including a 700 kW PV system, managed the post-installation commissioning of a 1.4 MW hydrogen fuel cell and developed a clean commute program for county employees.

In 2014, he returned to the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. After brief stints with Ashevillage, Organic Growers School and Accelerating Appalachia, Sam landed his North Carolina dream job in November 2015 as the executive director of Green Built Alliance. He has served on the Boards of Directors for three successful nonprofits and is excited to bring those experiences to this organization.

Sam has a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Communications from the College of Charleston, is a LEED AP, NARI Certified Green Building professional and Certified Permaculture designer. He and his wife Lena tend a 1.5-acre homestead in Candler, NC, where they strive to incorporate the principles of sustainability and stewardship into daily life.
Maggie Leslie
Maggie Leslie has been working for Green Built Alliance since 2003, and became full-time staff in July of 2006 after serving as Treasurer. Currently, she is keeping busy as Program Director of the Green Built Homes Program and LEED-Homes Providership.

Maggie received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies, concentrating in Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Policy, from Warren Wilson College. Since completing her Bachelor of Science, Maggie received a certificate in Sustainable Building Advisory from the City of Seattle, WA. After relocating back to the southeast, she worked with the Southface Energy Institute in Atlanta, Ga. While at Southface, Maggie trained as a HERS rater and developed her understanding of building science and sustainable design.

Maggie enjoys spending time gardening and cooking with her husband Micah and her daughters Opal, Sophia and Isabel.
Cari Barcas
Cari Barcas brings more than a decade of experience in communications and nonprofit management to her work at Green Built Alliance, with the intention of helping both members and the broader community more effectively connect with the organization's mission and access ways each person can make an impact.

Majoring in journalism and minoring in political science, Cari graduated from DePaul University in Chicago with an interest in the way people engage in the story of their own community as well as in the systemic policies and practices which either support that connection or foster civic disengagement. Before moving to Asheville in 2014 to work in nonprofit management, Cari worked as a journalist in Chicago, including time covering green building as a reporter focused on residential and commercial real estate. She's a big believer in the idea that the way you do anything is the way you do everything, and that the process of creating a sustainable experience in the outer world directly relates to the practice of cultivating balance in our inner world.

When she's not supporting the work of Green Built Alliance, Cari can be found teaching yoga classes in the community, enjoying the vibrant Asheville food and music scene, or exploring these majestic mountains with her family.
Hannah Egan
Hannah Egan joined Green Built Alliance in early 2018 as an intern and transitioned to work on staff later that year. She has since been learning about the nonprofit sector, green building, and energy efficiency. Hannah graduated from Appalachian State University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sustainable Development concentrated in Community, Regional, and Global Development.

Originally from just outside Baltimore, Hannah moved after college to New Zealand and then back home to Maryland before returning to the Blue Ridge Mountains. She is excited to lend her skills and education to an organization that is dedicated to creating a better built environment for the entire community.

When Hannah is not connecting with people in the community through Green Built Alliance, the Blue Horizons Project, or Energy Savers Network, she enjoys yoga, outdoor activities, supporting community agriculture, traveling, live music, cooking, and enjoying life with her cat Peaches.
Sophie Mullinax
Sophie Mullinax joined Green Built Alliance in February 2018. She brings nine years of nonprofit experience to the project, and is elated to be in a position that puts her skills and passions to work for a community she loves.

Sophie has lived in Asheville off and on since 2001, spending much of her childhood before then in New York City. Before moving back to Asheville in 2018 for this role, she lived and worked in Washington, DC for the DC Sustainable Energy Utility doing program management and implementation.

Sophie received her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Wake Forest University and is a LEED Green Associate. When not coordinating the Blue Horizons Project, Sophie can be found biking around Asheville or enjoying the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains hiking with her partner, Jerick.
Beatrice Nathan
Beatrice Nathan joined the Green Built Alliance team as part of the Blue Horizons Project in November 2020. She is deeply committed to grassroots environmental advocacy, and has spent the better part of the last five years working to bring renewable energy and environmental justice to the Asheville community through relational community organizing.

Beatrice grew up in Michigan, but has since lived in many parts of the United States. As a young adult, she worked as a ceramic artist for many years. While living in Colorado, she had a transformative experience during a record wildfire year. Since that time, her focus has been fighting climate breakdown in order to secure a brighter future for all children.

Beatrice earned an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota, and is currently working towards a Masters of Sustainability Studies from Lenoir Rhyne University. When she's not working, Beatrice can be found in the garden learning to grow food. She loves hanging out with kids playing silly games and enjoys relaxing with a science-fiction novel or movie when the day is done.
Yulia Shaffer
Yulia Shaffer joined the Energy Savers Network team in January 2017 as a volunteer. While pursuing her graduate degree in Sustainability Studies from Lenoir-Rhyne University in Asheville, she chose to focus her master’s project on helping Energy Savers Network develop a strong volunteer program. This decision led Yulia to become an instrumental part of bringing to life the ideas and vision of ESN co-founders Brad Rouse and Alice Wyndham.

Originally from Baku, Azerbaijan, Yulia moved to the United States in 2008 at the age of 21 to start completely from ground zero. Her background includes three years of architecture school in Baku, Azerbaijan, a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Arkansas, and master's degree in sustainability studies from Lenoir-Rhyne University. In her work as ESN's operations coordinator, she focuses on building relationships with volunteers, clients, community partners, and is always looking for collaborative, innovative ways to expand and strengthen the program and increase the positive impact on our community.

Yulia is inspired to work on climate, social justice and inequality issues. She understands that all of these issues go hand in hand, and that every one of us has to play a part in creating a flourishing world where all creatures live in harmony with equal opportunities to thrive.

When not at work, Yulia likes to draw or paint with oils, take walks with her 14-year-old spaniel, enjoy a good book in a hammock, go on a bike ride in beautiful Western North Carolina, or make magic in the kitchen.
Kelvin Bonilla
Kelvin Bonilla, a native of Honduras, brings more than a decade of experience in the building-performance industry to the Energy Savers Network team.

He started his career with Green Opportunities, gaining vast experience in the field as a crew leader, mentor, and instructor in the classroom. He went on to work with Conservation Pros, a small locally owned building performance company. Kelvin has multiple professional certifications including BPI, HERS, Lead Safe Renovator, Class III Asbestos Worker, CPR instructor, and OSHA-30.

In his work with the Energy Savers Network, Kelvin wants to continue his passion working to reduce the energy consumption of homes in marginalized communities, which are often the most affected by climate change. He is truly passionate about building performance and applying triple-bottom-line principles to help affect positive change for the people in our local community who need it the most.

When he’s not trying to peek in the attic at a friend’s cookout, Kelvin enjoys giving back to the community and serves as the Board Co-Chair for ALAS (Asheville Latin Americans Achieving Success), a local Latinx nonprofit that strives to create Latinx leadership in Western North Carolina. He also loves exploring the outdoors with his daughters Sofia and Elizabeth, by hiking, camping, or jumping into freezing mountain water.

Board of Directors

Robin Cape (Chair)
Rob Johnson (Vice Chair)
Leesa Sluder (Treasurer)
Jamie Shelton (Secretary)
Paul Capua
Leigha Dickens
Stephens Smith Farrell
Susannah Horton
Landscape Architect
Josh LittleJohn
Eric Schilling
Raymond Thompson
Deborah Wright