Florida and Oregon State Energy Office Representatives Named Co-Chairs of NASEO Rural Energy Working Group

Source: NASEO

NASEO is pleased to announce the appointment of Brooks Rumenik, Energy Office Director for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Tom Elliott, Energy Analyst from the Oregon Department of Energy, as co-chairs of the NASEO Rural Energy Working Group.

Brooks Rumenik serves as the Director of Energy for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (FDACS). Florida’s Office of Energy (OOE) is legislatively designated to oversee state energy policy and program development, evaluating energy-related studies, analysis, and stakeholder input providing recommendations to the Governor and Legislature, energy policies and programs that will move Florida toward a more diverse, stable, and reliable energy portfolio. Prior to joining FDACS’ OOE, Brooks was engaged for over 20 years in state government, serving as Deputy Director for the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Safe Schools, where she made policy recommendations, provided statewide training, and oversaw compliance with legislative requirements and best practices for safety and security in K-12 schools. She has a Bachelors of Science in Education from Florida State University and holds various credentials including being recognized as a Florida Certified Contract Manager and designated as a Master Trainer through the Department of Homeland Security’s National Threat Evaluation Reporting Program.

Tom Elliott is an Energy Analyst at the Oregon Department of Energy and has served as a co-lead for the agency’s Rural & Agricultural Energy Assistance Program since August 2021. The program supports agricultural producers and rural small businesses in understanding their energy use, identifying options to reduce it and save money, and navigating the various utility, state, federal, and NGO grants and incentives available to help fund projects. Tom also provides technical support and program management related to industrial and large commercial buildings as well as K-12 schools energy efficiency. Prior to his current role at ODOE, Tom conducted economic and technical feasibility analyses for small renewable energy projects through ODOE’s Small-Scale Energy Loan Program. He has an MBA from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and two decades of private industry experience in finance, marketing, and program management.

“I feel rather privileged to serve as co-chair for the NASEO Rural Energy Working Group and believe this is a great fit for Florida,” said Brooks. “While our rural communities face unique challenges when it comes to energy needs, there is also great potential for innovation. I am excited about engaging in this work to identify how best to support Florida’s rural and agricultural areas, with a lens on the sustainability and vitality of our natural resources, along with learning from colleagues about their rural energy challenges and endeavors.”

“I’m honored to serve as co-chair for the NASEO Rural Energy Working Group,” said Tom. “Agricultural producers and rural small businesses are vital to Oregon’s environment and economy, and I appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with fellow states to ensure they have access to energy programs and resources.”

Rural communities often face distinct challenges such as limited access to traditional energy infrastructure, higher energy costs, and economic barriers to adopting clean energy technologies. By prioritizing rural communities, including those situated in remote areas and on agricultural lands, the nationwide transition to clean and resilient energy systems can be an inclusive process that presents opportunities to improve energy efficiency, reliability, resilience, and economic prosperity for all. The NASEO Rural Energy Working Group serves as a platform for State Energy Officials, partnering agricultural and rural-oriented state agencies, advocacy groups, and other entities to exchange ideas, share best practices, and learn about emerging technology innovations that support energy efficiency and rural energy development. With the leadership, input, and expertise of State Energy Office co-chairs, the Working Group is poised to support State Energy Offices in driving progress towards a more sustainable and equitable energy landscape for their rural constituents.