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
Sam Ruark 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. In 2009, 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. In November 2015, he began his service as the executive director of Green Built Alliance. During his time here, the organization has grown substantially in staff, scope and impact.

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 lives at Earthaven Ecovillage where he strives to incorporate the principles of sustainability and stewardship into daily life.
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.
Amber Gilot
Born and raised in the mountains of Western North Carolina, these mountains, valleys and rivers are part of Amber's blood.

Her passion and drive for doing work that matters began while at Warren Wilson College, a service-oriented work-college nestled in the rolling hills of Swannanoa, NC. This passion stayed with her as she began her professional career in Asheville. She now has more than 12 years of experience using organizational management, bookkeeping and writing for businesses who are focused on a triple bottom line and local community and environmental matters. Amber is passionate about working with organizations, businesses and people who care about more than just the bottom line. Social, environmental and economic justice and issues of the soul and heart are at the core of who she works with.

When Amber isn't doing the books for Green Built Alliance, she enjoys reading, astrology, writing and all things psychology. She spends her days homeschooling her kiddo Elise, throwing the ball to her lab Biscuit, and taking walks around her sweet little downtown Marshall neighborhood with her partner Bastien.
Josh LittleJohn
Josh joined Green Built Alliance in the spring of 2021. Raised with an instilled ethic of service, he comes to his work from a professional career focused on social and environmental sustainability. He spent most of the past decade supporting utility energy-efficiency incentive adoption and as a sustainability educator in higher education. Prior to that, he acted as a project and program manager in the nonprofit sector in Western North Carolina. He has worked in different types of construction on and off from the age of 15.

Josh received a bachelor's in Building Science and Construction Management and a master's in Appropriate Technology; both from Appalachian State University. He is a LEED GA, BPI Building Analyst, and a BPI ALCI. Being a North Carolina native and having lived in Western North Carolina since 1994, Josh carries a deep sense of duty and care for our region.

Outside of his professional life, Josh enjoys parenthood with his wife Meredith, two daughters and three sons. They love to hike, run, cycle, and paddle around Asheville and are active with the Asheville Hockey League.
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.
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.
Steffi Rausch
Steffi Rausch joined the Energy Savers Network staff in 2021. She brings 23 years of experience as a self-employed web designer and seven years of climate advocacy volunteer work as a chapter leader for Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL). While she still advocates for a bipartisan federal climate policy with CCL in her spare time as a volunteer, she is excited to transition her full-time work to serving her local community in ways that help sustain a livable planet by reducing our carbon emissions. She finds the two opportunities with her career and volunteer work, to serve and protect the most vulnerable of society while protecting the planet, to be extremely rewarding and a way to grow her compassion towards others.

In her spare time, she loves to experience different cultures by traveling the world, taking beautiful hikes to the mountaintops, playing in the garden, remodeling her home, and building wood furniture by her creek. Steffi is very happy to live in Asheville, where she doesn’t have to deal with extreme fire and drought events like what she experienced in Montana where she lived for four years prior to moving here. She hails from Columbia, Maryland originally.
Daniel Suber
Daniel Suber is a creative facilitator as well as an advocate for community, youth, and the environment here in Asheville. He graduated from University of North Carolina Asheville with a degree in sociology, which intends to use to serve in community. He enjoys the fresh cool air rolling off of a stream in the spring and the warm beautiful starry nights during the summer. In addition to working with Energy Savers Network, Daniel is connected to organizations such as Asheville Greenworks, Asheville NVC, and others that are dedicated to helping people, youth and the environment. In his free time, he may be found taking a deep breath while smiling and looking into the sky.
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.

Board of Directors

Robin Cape (Chair)
Rob Johnson (Vice Chair)
Leesa Sluder (Treasurer)
Jamie Shelton (Secretary)
Stephens Farrell
Susannah Horton
Landscape Architect
Raymond Thompson
Deborah Wright