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.
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, System Design and Installation
Ike Estby is a system designer at Solar Connection and also assists with installation and customer service. Ike has a background in construction and has completed the MREA Solar Academy. Ike analyzes customer needs and solar suitability. He determines if a site is ideal for solar and works with the customer to design a system that best suits their needs.
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. Ike resides in Byron.
Official title: System Design
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.
Chris Olofson, Solar Energy Expert
Chris grew up right here in NE Rochester. A graduate of Century High School, he went on to receive a bachelors degree in Accounting & Finance from St Cloud State University. He spent a few years in corporate America, working in finance for two Fortune 500 companies. Knowing that the 9 – 5 office grind was not the right path for him, he spent a summer with the Conservation Corps of Minnesota working on various environmental conservation projects. It was during this time that he was first exposed to the developing solar industry here in Minnesota, and the rest is history.
He brings a wealth of construction experience in Residential, Commercial, and Utility scale solar with over 10 Mega Watts of installations on his resume. Chris also has a great deal of experience in solar sales and system design. Chris primarily conducts site evaluations to show home and business owners how solar can reduce/eliminate their electric bills while helping them meet their sustainability goals.
Official title: Solar Energy Expert
Solar matters because: The sun is the most abundant source of energy on our planet; and harnessing it to sustainably power our modern day lives just makes sense. It is also a great financial investment!
Stomping grounds: NE Rochester, North Shore, BWCA
You’d never know it, but I: I love my job so much, I would do it for free (if I didn’t have to pay rent…)
Garret Sorensen, Energy Consultant
Garret holds a Bachelor Degree in Social Work from Winona State University and is also a Practitioner of Eastern Healing Arts, having attended Windemere School of Eastern Healing Arts. Garret is the Owner of Mandala Tea, which imports and sells Chinese and Taiwanese teas and tea accessories in Rochester.
Garret is no stranger to solar—his passion for solar began in 1990 where he built his own solar PV system and lived off the grid for seven years on a boat! You’ll enjoy Garret’s enthusiasm for solar (and tea!).
Adam Andreasen, Energy Specialist
Adam grew up in Northfield Minnesota and moved out West for 6 years residing in the hot Mojave and Phoenix deserts. Relocating back to Minnesota he continued his technical experience in construction machinery, equipment and facility maintenance/repair. After almost two decades in technical repair, multiple years of sales/customer service and a Bachelors Degree in Business Management, it was time to utilize those years of experience and find a field that supported renewable resources and would have a direct environmental impact.
The answer is Solar power.
After meeting with multiple companies in the renewable industry, he met with Solar Connection and found a great independent, locally owned company that believed in a high-quality product and a focus on doing what is best for their clients.
Official Title: Energy Specialist
Solar Matters Because: We all use electricity in great amounts. Many Minnesotans do not even pay attention to how much energy they use and send their utility a check without a second thought. Most customers do not know that there is a better option. Solar power ownership has immediate financial, environmental and investment benefits…too many to list. Solar is an under-utilized technology that takes money already spent on poor producing sources and adds instant value to the owner’s life.
You’d never know it but I: Feel I can pretty much fix/repair anything.
Brian Knoll, Elecrician
Brian is an Electrician at Solar Connection, specializing in PV installation. He has over 20 years of electrical experience in a broad range of industries and over five years working with solar arrays. A native of Cedar Rapids, IA, Brian resides in Rochester with his family.
Cole Swanson, Solar Installation
Cole is a Rochester native, having graduated from John Marshall High School. He also attended University of North Dakota. Cole is a Solar Installer and brings an extensive construction background to the Solar Connection team—framing, concrete, demolition, roofing and remodeling to name a few.
Todd Renard, Marketing & 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.
At Solar Connection, Todd is responsible for Marketing, Outreach and Canvassing efforts.
Todd’s passions outside of Solar Connection include rock climbing, camping, hiking…anything outdoors and he’s fluent in Korean. Todd resides in Rochester.
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
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 64 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.
Jerry Cleveland, Solar Outreach
Jerry Cleveland is a native of SE Minnesota and is a big proponent of sustainable solutions to modern problems. Jerry provides targeted outreach and community education on solar energy throughout the region. Jerry has a passion for renewables and also the energy efficiently of dome structures. He was a key influencer for the Grand Meadow School District dome structures. Prior to Solar Connection, Jerry was an employee with the US Postal Service for over 25 years! Jerry resides in Spring Valley with his family.