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.
When I grow up, I want to be: Superman.
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.
When I grow up, I want to be: the Green Arrow.
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 mailers sent to half a million people every six weeks, as well as survey programs. She managed the database marketing program and promoted their volunteerism opportunities and not-for-profit initiatives. She also developed and helped individual representatives implement marketing plans for their own practices.
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, Automotive Support, VP of 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 61 countries.
When I grow up, I want to be: Wonder Woman.
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.
When I grow up, I want to be: Batman.
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.
When I grow up, I want to be: Captain Planet.
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.
When I grow up, I want to be: Groot.
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.
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.
When I grow up, I want to be: The Hulk.
Jim Finnerty, Project Manager
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’s responsibilities begin when a customer signs up. He compiles and submits permits and rebate applications and coordinates with area inspectors.
Official title: Project Manager
Job description in 6 words or less: Caretaker of permitters
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
You’d never know it, but I: Know every word to “Monty Python & the Holy Grail”.
When I grow up, I want to be: Space Ghost.