About KiloWatts for Humanity
To improve people’s lives by providing access to electricity and fostering the development of sustainable businesses. Our volunteers offer mentorship and
resources to empower less economically developed communities for lasting change.
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KiloWatts for Humanity has been involved in rural electrification projects in
developing countries since 2009, and was formally incorporated as a
nonprofit organization in Washington state in January 2015.
We are an entirely volunteer-run organization which draws from our members’ varied backgrounds to address our common desire to end energy poverty. We partner with local and international nonprofit groups to provide renewable energy solutions in locations that have previously lacked access to development-enabling electricity.
Board of Directors:
Dr. Henry Louie is the President and Co-founder of KiloWatts for Humanity. He’s been involved in electricity access projects since 2008. He holds degrees in electrical engineering from Kettering University (B.S.E.E.), the University of Illinois (M.S.) and the University of Washington (PhD). Dr. Louie is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Seattle University. Dr. Louie was a Fulbright Scholar at Copperbelt University in Kitwe, Zambia, and is recognized as an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer for his expertise on energy poverty. He is an Associate Editor for the journal Energy for Sustainable Development.
Kayla Patten is the vice president for KWH, and one of the leads of the Training Team. In 2014, she traveled to Kenya for implementation of the Muhuru Bay project. Kayla is an environmental engineer with degrees from Washington State University (B.S.) and the University of California at Berkeley (M.S.). She currently works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the field of environmental cleanup.
Jenna Isakson is the Treasurer and Co-founder of KiloWatts for Humanity. She became involved in the development of the Muhuru Bay Community Microgrid Project in 2013 and has been energized to provide other communities with access to electricity ever since. She holds a B.S. in Organizational Communication from the University of Portland and a Masters in Public Administration from Seattle University. Jenna currently works as Director of the Office of Sponsored Projects at Seattle University.
Mike Buffo is the secretary of the KWH Board of Directors. He is an assistant division manager at the Washington Department of Natural Resources. He manages the forest informatics work group. Mike served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia. He holds a degree in environmental studies from Bates College and a degree in forest science from the University of British Columbia.
Kristin Pederson has worked in the non-profit sector for 6 years, with 4 years of programs and operations management experience. She has also volunteered with a Washington State based non-profit that works to empower the community of Axim, Ghana. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Microbiology from the University of Washington and a USCG Merchant Mariner Captain’s license.
Sierra Gawlowski is a member of the KWH Board of Directors. She is a licensed civil engineer, who currently works for the City of Shoreline. Prior to joining KWH's Board, she volunteered with Engineers Without Borders, serving as President of the Puget Sound Professional Chapter in 2019.
Rafael Castro has been a volunteer with KWH since 2015 and is currently a member of the Board of Directors. Rafael is Vice President of Analytics at Newton Energy Group, having previously served as Senior Director with GE Grid Solutions. He holds a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Porto, in Portugal, and a PhD in Power Systems Engineering from the University of Manchester, in the UK.
Steve Szablya is a Co-founder, past President of KWH, and Board Member Emeritus. He received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Washington State University, an MBA degree from Washington State University, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Washington. Steve has installed several off-grid systems in Africa and Central America, finding appropriate energy solutions for impoverished communities off the power grid. He was adjunct professor at Seattle University for the Electrical and Computer Engineering department advising senior design projects, including humanitarian projects for which he co-authored several papers with Dr. Henry Louie. He currently works for Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman, Washington.
Kimberly Shields served as the KWH Secretary and has participated in web development, social media marketing, business plan development, and fundraising. She was also part of the implementation team for the solar energy kiosk in Filibaba, Zambia in 2015. Kimberly holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder, as well as a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Washington. She currently works as a Project Manager at Energy Outreach Colorado.
Our volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds, unified by the
common desire to end energy poverty around the world.