Curt Shellum, Owner
Curt has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Colorado. Most of his career has been in the field of analytical instrumentation at Mayo Clinic and other institutions.
Curt has completed certification programs and courses from Solar Energy International, Midwest Renewable Energy Association, Minnesota Renewable Energy Society, St. Paul College, North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, and various industry sponsored programs.
He is active in Rochester Area Builders, Rochester Chamber of Commerce, and the Minnesota Student Energy Project where he is a current board member. Curt is also a member of the American Solar Energy Association and the Minnesota Solar Energy Industry Association.
Official title: Owner
Job description in 6 words or less: Shepherd of the flock
Solar matters because: It makes sense to use the sun for energy.
Stomping grounds: Rochester, Boulder, Austria
You’d never know it, but I: Play a mean trumpet.
Micah Johnson, Operations Manager
Micah has a Bachelor of Science from North Dakota State and was a teacher before joining Solar Connection in 2011 to lead installations and assist with business operations. He also works with area businesses and government leaders on solar policy issues.
Micah teaches the Community Education classes on solar energy as well as speaking and guest lecturing engagements at area schools, fairs and businesses. He is a member of the southeast MN CERTs steering committee (Clean Energy Resource Teams) and is active in the MN Renewable Energy Society, Rochester Chamber of Commerce, and the Rochester Area Builders. Micah lives in Rochester where he is also active in the community in various volunteer roles and as a musician.
Official title: Operations Manager
Job description in 6 words or less: In Charge of Lots of Stuff
Solar matters because: …where do I start? It’s the only way most people get to claim their energy freedom.
Stomping grounds: Rochester, St. Cloud, Twin Cities, Iron Range, Fargo, Southwest Minnesota
You’d never know it, but I: Once performed for 26,000 people.
Kris Shumway, Project Manager
Kris is a California native and a graduate of Colorado State University. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Design and Contracting. Kris brings extensive experience to the Solar Connection team, beginning his solar career in 2009. He has worked in the solar industry as an Engineering Technician, Senior PV System Designer and Construction Supervisor in Denver and has a wealth of experience in site audits, permitting, AutoCAD design and installation.
At Solar Connection, Kris is responsible for system design & details, permitting, utility interconnection and technical support. Kris resides in Rochester with his wife and young children.
Marty Netzel, Energy Consultant
Marty holds a Bachelor’s Degree from University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse and has over 20 years of experience in sales & management in fast-paced markets, including in management at Eric’s Bike Shop, and Rochester icon. Marty is an avid outdoorsman and loves to bike, hike and kayak. He is known for looking at the weather forecast the first week of February and wondering if he can squeeze in some time on his fat tire. His passion for the outdoors naturally lead to a passion for renewables. Marty resides in Rochester.
Official title: Energy Consultant
Job description in 6 words or less: Making friends all day
Solar matters because: It’s environmentally friendly AND cost effective AND a good investment.
Stomping grounds: Rochester, Neenah, Oshkosh, Madison.
You’d never know it, but I: was an international biathalon competitor.
Jim Finnerty, Systems Design and Sales
Jim has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Manhattan University. He worked with United Technologies in product engineering making engine controls for passenger jets and F-16s. He then moved into computer-integrated manufacturing.
After getting married, Jim moved from New York to the Boston area and transitioned to a sales career in the component industry, designing his company’s computer chips into manufacturers’ end products. He continued in sales in the networking industry, and then selling different types of management software.
At Solar Connection, Jim analyzes customer needs and solar suitability. He works with our staff to design a system that meets their energy needs.
Official title: Systems Design and Sales
Solar matters because: “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo
Stomping grounds: Rochester, the Bronx; Stony Point, NY; Marlboro, MA; Windsor Locks, CT; Hudson, NH
Taylor Iverson, Construction Manager
Originally hailing from Stewartville, Taylor started as an installer at Solar Connection while studying law enforcement. Unfortunately for our state’s police force, it turned out that Taylor enjoyed working in the solar industry more. He worked his way up to team lead, then foreman, and eventually construction manager.
Taylor is responsible for ensuring that all equipment and people are at the right place at the right time. He works directly with suppliers, customers and the installation crew. He coordinates inspections and is responsible for OSHA compliance across the company.
Taylor is an avid outdoorsman. His specialty is bow hunting white tail deer. He currently resides in Rochester.
Official title: Construction Manager
Job description in 6 words or less: Cat herder
Solar matters because: It’s important for the environment, it makes sense from a financial standpoint and the economy is moving that way anyway.
Stomping grounds: Stewartville, Rochester, Kasson.
You’d never know it, but I: Ate a bear.
Ike Estby, Team Lead
Ike Estby is a crew lead at Solar Connection and assists with a variety of projects including installation, site visits and customer service. Ike has a background in construction and has completed the MREA Solar Academy. He ensures that construction plans are correctly implemented and chooses the appropriate tools and techniques to carry out the job at hand. Ike grew up on his family’s small farm outside of Stewartville. In his free time, he soaks in Rochester’s music and dining scene. There are few things he loves more than ice fishing.
Official title: Team Lead
Job description in 6 words or less: If something’s wrong, blame him.
Solar matters because: It makes sense to use the sun for energy.
Stomping grounds: Rochester, Stewartville
You’d never know it, but I: Like dogs.
Richard Skic, Solar Installer
Richard brings a wide-range of construction experience to Solar Connection. He has owned, managed and maintained his own rental properties, and served on installation crews in a variety of construction projects. He also has experience in construction training and sales.
At Solar Connection, Richard is a contributing member of the installation crew, working closely with the crew lead to safely and successfully complete residential and commercial solar installations. He is responsible for preparation, installation, maintenance and repair or modifications when requested.
Richard is an avid outdoorsman and resides in Rochester.
Official title: Solar Installer
Job description in 6 words or less: Done right the first time.
Solar matters because: It’s a clean, renewable resource.
Stomping grounds: Rochester, Stewartville.
You’d never know it, but I: Hunted zebra, impala, steenbok and gemsbok on a South African safari.
Josh Anderson, Solar Installer
Josh attended the Electrician/Alternative Energy program at Riverland Community College. He also holds a Certificate in Photovoltaic Installation from Colorado Mountain College. Josh brings solar and construction experience to Solar Connection, making him a perfect fit on our crew as a Solar Installer. His solar experience includes his role as a Crew Lead with a solar installer in Colorado. In that role he worked with electricians, project managers and building inspectors to install safe and reliable solar arrays. His construction background includes roofing, remodeling, framing, sheetrock and drywall.
Josh has a green thumb—-he’s an avid gardener! Josh resides in Austin with his family.
Rachael Howe, Office Manager
Rachael has a B.A. in Marketing and Economics from Augsburg College. She has over 20 years of marketing, customer management, and leadership experience – most with Fortune 500 companies including TCF Bank and Thrivent Financial. As Assistant Vice President of direct marketing, Rachael was responsible for direct marketing efforts for deposit products. At Thrivent Financial, she managed the marketing and fraternal programs and team for California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada and New Mexico. Her background also includes experience in employee management, database marketing, and market research.
At Solar Connection, she is responsible for marketing and company visibility, office operations, IT functions and Human Resource functions. Rachael resides in Rochester with her family.
Official title: Office manager, Head of IT, HR, Resource Management Specialist
Job description in 6 words or less: Without her, we would die.
Solar matters because: It’s the future. There are too many reasons to go solar; it will only keep growing.
Stomping grounds: Rochester, Morristown, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Phoenix.
You’d never know it, but I: Have been to 63 countries.
Eric Theuer, Accounting & Finance
Eric holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Northern Texas. He has six years’ experience as a full charge bookkeeper and two years as a Financial Analyst at IBM.
At Solar Connection, Eric is responsible for all financial aspects for the organization. He is originally from Kasson, MN and resides in Rochester with his wife and young daughters.
Todd Renard, Scheduling
Todd holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Management from University of Oshkosh and a Bachelor’s degree in Persuasion & Public Communications from the University of LaCrosse. Todd’s diverse background brings fantastic experience and energy to Solar Connection. He’s worked in the food service industry training and managing employees, and also taught in the public school system with the Korean Ministry of Education in South Korea. His experience in renewables includes a Sustainability Intern where he worked to develop, implement and communicate the sustainability efforts to stakeholders as well as a Green Energy Marketing Intern to fund the development of an active branch of PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) in New Jersey.
Todd’s passions outside of Solar Connection include rock climbing, camping, hiking…anything outdoors and he’s fluent in Korean. Todd resides in Rochester.
Blake Steffen, Solar Outreach
Blake is a native of Alexandria, MN and graduated from Alexandria Technical & Community College. He’s worked in the service and marketing industry since 2014 and has experience in brand awareness, trends, product knowledge, event planning and communication. Blake is organized, focused, willing and dedicated. He has a strong interest in solar and renewables. At Solar Connection, Blake is responsible for Solar Outreach in the community.
When not working, you’ll find Blake hunting, hiking and working out. He resides in St. Charles.