Clean Energy
Is Part of Iowa and
America's Energy Future
Who We Are
Chair:
Ray Gaesser, Corning
Ray Gaesser has 51 years of farming experience and resides in Corning, Iowa. Ray has advocated locally, nationally and globally for Iowa and US Agriculture as the former President of the American Soybean Association and the Iowa Soybean Association. In 2018, Ray was a candidate for Iowa secretary of agriculture. Ray and his wife, Elaine, farm 5,400 acres in partnership with their son, Chris. Gaesser Farms continues to test and implement the latest technology, equipment, seeds, innovations and practices to grow more while preserving and enhancing our resources.
Leadership Council Members:
Chad Airhart, Waukee
Chad Airhart is serving his third term as the Dallas County Recorder. At the conclusion of his first two terms, it is apparent Chad had brought change to Dallas County government. Chad made cuts in the fiscal budget inherited from his predecessor, and made more spending cuts in the budgets that followed. Those cuts resulted in a surplus exceeding $2,000,000 in his first two terms, returning those dollars lessening the burden on the county’s taxpayers.

Chad has utilized technology, and Dallas County now has records available electronically dating back to 1850, being the first county in Iowa to provide indexing and images that far back. Having these records available electronically will save Dallas County substantial revenue for years to come while providing a back-up of the county records to preserve the continuity of commerce.

Chad is a seventh-generation Iowan. He serves (or has served) as a Board Member for West Bank’s Central Iowa Community Board, the United Way of Central Iowa’s Education Cabinet, the Waukee Leadership Institute and the Waukee Area Chamber of Commerce. Chad serves on the Iowa County Recorder’s Association Executive Board and is their Republican Legislative Liaison.

Chad has served two terms as Chairman of the Iowa Republican County Officials Association. Chad served on President Bush’s re-election team in Iowa as part of the Victory ’04 staff, served as a district representative for U.S. Congressman Steve King, served on Governor Mitt Romney’s Iowa senior staff through 2007 and has served in leadership capacities on countless campaigns across Iowa.

Chad married his high school sweetheart, Jodi, and they live in Waukee. He owns Iowa Cigar Company in West Des Moines. He enjoys playing golf, shooting guns at the range, making sure his shoes are shined and driving his Jeep.
Debora Blume, West Des Moines
Debora Blume is a communications professional and lives in West Des Moines. She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 1994 with a BA in broadcast journalism. In 2016, she was recognized by UNI with the President’s Philanthropy Award/Emerging Philanthropist.
Bob Brownell, Clive
Robert Brownell was re-elected Polk County Supervisor in 2016 and is currently serving his fifth term. Supervisor Brownell serves the citizens of Clive, Johnston, Urbandale, Windsor Heights, Grimes, Polk City, Alleman, Elkhart and a portion of Sheldahl that is part of Polk County. Brownell’s experience in government began as a City Councilmember in Clive, elected in 1985. He was elected as Mayor in 1993 where he served until his election to the Polk County Board of Supervisors in 2000.

Brownell was raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He attended Missouri Military Academy in Mexico, Missouri, and graduated from Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids. He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Iowa cum laude in English and Education. He has attended Drake University for post graduate work. Brownell served as Branch Manager for Yellow Transportation in Des Moines for 15 years. Prior to Yellow Transportation, he held several management positions with Roadway Express across the midwest. Bob is also a published author. He is currently working with Carve Literary Services. Brownell is married to Jenna Jurgensen and has a son, daughter-in-law and one granddaughter, Carmen and one grandson, Oscar.

Trudy Caviness, Ottumwa
Trudy Caviness has served as the Chair of Wapello County Republicans for over 20 years and serves as Co-Chair of Republican Second District Executive Committee. Previously, Trudy has served on the Republican State Central Committee and worked on numerous campaigns.

Trudy has been a small business owner for 44 years. Trudy and Keith have been married for 57 years, a mother of three grown daughters and grandmother of 8, great grandmother of one.
Sandy Greiner, Keota
Sandy Greiner, a life-long resident of Washington Co, is a 20 year veteran of the Iowa General Assembly, serving in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. While serving in the House she chaired the Environmental Protection Committee and the Ag and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee. It was under her guidance the Iowa Watershed Protection program was created.

Sandy sits on the Board of the Iowa 4-H Foundation and is on the District 8A Judicial Nominating Commission.
Darrell Hanson, Altoona
Darrell Hanson served eight terms in the Iowa legislature as a Republican state representative from Delaware County, 1979-94. He also served as a member of the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission from 2000 to 2007, including three terms as commission Chair and one term as Vice Chair. Hanson was a member of the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) from 2007 to 2013 and was elected President of the Mid-America Regulatory Conference (MARC), a 15-state association of state utility commissioners and energy regulatory officials. After leaving the IUB he worked as a utility policy consultant from 2014 to 2016. He is retired and currently resides in Altoona, IA.
Erik Helland, Johnston
Erik Helland served in the Iowa legislature as a Republican state representative.
Pete Jeffries, Clive
Pete Jeffries is an award-winning public affairs executive with a proven track record of delivering strategic results and improving the bottom line for organizations in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. His communications, government relations, and organizational leadership helps shape public opinion to achieve business objectives. Pete was tapped recently by AARP’s national leadership to develop and manage a comprehensive business line start-up focused on developing programs and products to better serve and meet the unique needs of America’s 20 million Veterans and their families with caregiving, fighting fraud, re-careering, and retirement savings.

As a former radio and television broadcaster, Pete has been recognized as “media savvy and proactive” by the Des Moines Register and owns the unique distinction as the longest-serving Communications Director for a U.S. House Speaker in Washington, DC.

Pete owns a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Iowa’s Tippie School of Management and a Bachelor’s of Science (BS) from the UI Journalism-Mass Communication (JMC) School. He’s former National Chair of the UI Alumni Association’s Board of Directors and a current member of the JMC School Professional Advisory Board. He and his wife Kristin, also a UI graduate, have two children – a soon-to-be Iowa Hawkeye Freshman and a middle schooler in the Waukee School District – where they’re both active volunteers in the central Iowa community.
Sara Kurovski, Pleasant Hill
Sara Kurovski broke the glass ceiling in 2013 when she was elected the youngest and first female mayor in the history of Pleasant Hill, Iowa. Sara gained national attention when the story of her path to mayor was included in Sheryl Sandberg’s book: Lean in for Graduates. In 2015, her impact in Central Iowa was recognized as she joined the 40 under 40 list and was named the Emerging Women of Influence by the Business Record.

Currently, Sara is the Tocqueville Society Director at United Way of Central Iowa. In this career, she builds and strengthens relationships with business leaders in Central Iowa. Previously, she held positions at Metro Waste Authority as Operations Program Manager and Kum & Go as Manager of Sustainability.

Her passion for community betterment is seen through her involvement on the Eastern Polk Regional Development Board, Bravo Greater Des Moines Board, Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Management Committee, Des Moines Area Regional Transit Board of Commissioners, Wastewater Reclamation Authority Management Committee, and Iowa Municipalities Worker’s Compensation Association Board. Sara is an advocate and supporter of 50-50 in 2020, an organization devoted to the importance of women involvement in politics.

Sara holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Truman State University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Drake University. She has a supportive husband, Todd, and they have two loving boys who keep them on their toes. Sara continues to prove with drive and dedication glass ceilings will continue to be broken.
Shannon Latham, Sheffield
Shannon Latham is vice president of Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, an independent, family-owned seed company headquartered in North Central Iowa. The company was founded in 1947 by Willard Latham. Today, two of Willard’s grandsons also own and manage the business.

As co-owner of Latham Seeds, Shannon directs the company’s overall marketing initiatives, including social media, paid advertising and public relations. Prior to joining Latham Seeds full time in 2009, Shannon operated her own communications/public relations business. She also has worked in an advertising agency and served as a state lobbyist for agribusiness.

Shannon is passionate about agriculture literacy and encouraging young people to pursue careers in agriculture. She puts her passions into practice at her Enchanted Acres pumpkin patch in Sheffield where she plans weekly fall events and blogs all year long. For her efforts, Shannon was named to the FarmHer Hall of Fame in 2016.

Shannon received a Bachelor’s of Science from Iowa State with a double major in Ag Journalism and Public Service & Administration in Agriculture. I received my MBA with an emphasis in marketing from the University of Iowa.
Aaron McKay, Pleasant Hill
Aaron McKay is a former Iowa director for Sen. Charles Grassley and Rep. David Young
David Oman, Des Moines
For four decades, David has held leadership roles in business and government. David is heavily involved in national politics and public policy deliberations. He currently is Senior Advisor for the Concord Coalition in Washington, D.C.

David was a media executive with Heritage Communications of Des Moines, Iowa, which was acquired by Tele-Communications, Inc. then AT&T. David’s duties with the three firms included new business development, government affairs, advertising sales, and public affairs programming.

David personally worked in 25 states and served on boards of the Philadelphia and San Francisco Cable Interconnects, the C-SPAN network, and Cable Advertising Bureau.

During the 90s, David also held an equity position in Des Moines metro radio station KBBM-FM with Iowa’s first all-news format. Early in his career, David was a television news anchor and reporter with KWWL-TV in Waterloo, IA.

During a decade in state government, David became the only Iowan to serve as Chief of Staff for two governors, Robert Ray and Terry Branstad, presently the United States Ambassador to China.

David has been active in politics with a reputation for reaching across the aisle and building bipartisan alliances. David was elected four times as Iowa Republican Party Co-Chair. He was runner-up in the 1998 Republican primary for Governor. New Governor Tom Vilsack, a Democrat, appointed David to Chair a 37-member Strategic Planning Council, which produced the respected Iowa 2010 report.

In 2011-12, David was Co-Chair of Mitt Romney’s Iowa Presidential campaign. In 2014, David was Finance Chair of U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst’s winning campaign. During 2015 and early ’16, David was Senior Advisor to the Jeb Bush Presidential campaign. As an Iowa Alternate Delegate, he attended his fourth National Convention in July, 2016.

David is past chair of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and a founding board member of the Iowa Environmental Council. He is a trustee of the University of Northern Iowa Foundation and served 14 years on the board of Iowa Health System (now Unity Point) with 17 hospitals in five states. In 1989, David led a delegation of Iowans to the then Soviet Union. He has traveled broadly on five continents.

Kathleen Parris, Audubon 
Conservative Activist
Kathy Pearson, Cedar Rapids
Kathy is the owner of a professional employment search and recruitment solutions firm providing services nationwide. Her volunteer service to others includes serving on various business, educational, non-profit and political organizations at the local, state and national level.
Bob Rafferty, West Des Moines
Bob Rafferty served as chief of staff for Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and as a state legislator from Scott County. He has been active in numerous Republican campaigns, including serving as a member of the Republican State Central Committee. Currently, Bob represents a number of organizations before the Iowa state legislature and assists with the development of multifamily housing throughout the state. Bob obtained his JD and Finance degrees from the University of Iowa.
Ruth Randleman, Carlisle
Ruth Randleman served in local government the past 17 years as council person and mayor of her community. In that role she served with numerous organizations locally, regionally and state wide. She assumed leadership roles with many of those organizations and was named one of the Business Records “Women of Influence” for 2016.

The Iowa League of Cities inducted Ruth into their Hall of Fame in 2018 in recognition of her service to that organization and her advocacy for cities. Ruth was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Iowa Finance Authority by Governor Terry Branstad in 2011 and continues in her second term. She also continues to represent her community with regional organizations and serves in a volunteer role with other regional entities. Her areas of work include transportation, economic development, trails and conservation, and arts and culture.

Ms. Randleman has worked professionally as a Registered Nurse in the field of Coronary Care and has instructed a Health Occupations program at the Jr. High and Sr. High level. She is married to Dr. Mark Randleman and has 4 children and 7 grandchildren.
Bryan Sievers, Stockton
Bryan, and his wife Lisa, are the current generation of owners and operators of the Sievers’ farm. Bryan is an enthusiastic environmental steward of the land and takes pride in using all available resources, including the air, land, water, and sun for their highest and best use. The Sievers’ 2,300 acre farming operation, 2,400 head beef cattle feedlot, and renewable energy facility is located in western Scott County, Iowa near Stockton.

In 2013, this philosophy became reality when they commissioned the combined heat and power (CHP) anaerobic digester project. The Sievers were looking to dramatically expand the farm’s beef cattle feedlot but had concerns about any of the expansion’s effects on their carbon footprint, water quality, soil health, and the environment. The solution was a 1 MW CHP system fueled by themethane produced from two 970,000-gallon anaerobic digesters utilizing beef cattle manure, agricultural processing waste streams, cover crops, and other co-feeds. Today, the digesters process over 55,000 gallons per day of cattle manure and other off-site co-feeds in the complete-mix system. The electricity that’s generated, 24 hours per day 7 days per week, is sold to their local service provider, Interstate Power and Light (Alliant Energy). In 2014, they received the Agricultural Biogas Project of the Year Award from the American Biogas Council and received the 2014 Iowa Environmental Excellence Award for their anaerobic digester project.

Bryan is 1982 graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in Agricultural Business. Bryan’s past experiences include leadership roles in the Iowa Farm Bureau, serving two terms in the Iowa Legislature (one term in the Iowa House and one term in the Iowa Senate), and recently served as Chair of the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Biomass Conversion committee. In August of 2018, Bryan was elected to serve as a member of the American Biogas Council Board of Directors. The ABC is the biogas industry’s leading organization in the United States with a mission to create jobs, environmental sustainability, and energy independence. He intends to bring his experience, passion, and tenacity to developing the anaerobic digestion industry while telling the tremendous story AD brings to solving so many unique agricultural, waste management, and energy challenges. Bryan’s focus will be to improve our natural resources, including the air we breathe, the land we farm, and the water we drink while providing meaningful solutions to distributed renewable energy generation, production, and distribution.
Rob Taylor, West Des Moines
A lifelong Iowan who lives in West Des Moines, Rob Taylor served as a member of the Iowa House of Representatives from 2012-2018, successfully completing three terms. During his service to the state, Rob served as the Chairman of the Ethics Committee for the Iowa House of Representatives. He also served on the Appropriations, Economic Growth, Commerce, Transportation, Health and Human Services (HHS) and served as Vice-Chair of Health & Human Services Budget Committee, Education and Environmental Protection committees.

Rob is a small business owner, consultant & trainer in the automotive, agricultural & trucking industries where he specialized in fixed operations profitability, efficiency & selling. He has over 28 years of management, sales and customer service experience. Rob last worked as Sales Director for BG Products, Iowa franchise (a synthetic lubrication and petroleum chemical company) and drove the franchise to become one of the top 10 Performance & Growth franchises in the United States. Rob was also consistently one of the top 10 performers in BG Corp. world-wide. He is an ASE Certified Diesel technician as well as a diesel and bio-fuel specialist with experience in agricultural equipment and municipal transportation. He spent many years as an automotive technician, Service Director & Consultant specializing in sales and customer service within fixed operations for automotive dealerships. Most recently Rob still serves as an adjunct professor for William Penn University and Des Moines Area Community College where he lectures on a variety of subject matter ranging from servant leadership, business ethics & corporate leadership to automotive technical & sales training.

Rob received his Associates Degree from Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) in Ankeny, his Bachelor of Science from Upper Iowa University and his Master of Business Leadership from William Penn University.

Rob is an active member of his community. He is on the Board of the DMACC Alumni Foundation as well as the DMACC Automotive Advisory Council. He has served as a member of the IDPH e-Health Advisory Committee and Kaplan University’s Health Science Advisory Committee. He has served as a member the Board of Directors for Wildwood Hills Ranch. Before being elected to the House of Representatives, Rob served on the West Des Moines Board of Adjustment, Dallas County Compensation Board and volunteered for various local charities including the Iowa Clinic Healthcare Foundation, and other children’s and cancer philanthropies. As a supporter and connoisseur of the culinary arts, Rob is a member of the Iowa Culinary Institute Gold Toque Society and belongs to the international food and wine group, the Chaine de Rotisseurs.

Rob and his wife Christi share a passion for traveling, good food, wine, and spirits. For the past decade, they have been traveling to the Kentucky Bourbon trail building relationships with industry experts, Master Distillers as well as visiting both large corporate and small craft distilleries around the world. Rob has recently completed training at Moonshine University distillery school in Kentucky and is now proficient in distilling methods and distillery operations.
Craig Williams, Carroll
Craig Williams serves as the Carroll County GOP Central Committee chair and is an Iowa GOP State Central Committee member.
Eric Woolson, West Des Moines
Eric Woolson is the owner of The Concept Works, a West Des Moines public relations firm that he founded in 2002.

He began his career as a reporter at the Boone News-Republican at the age of 17 and capped 20 years in journalism as the editorial page editor at the Waterloo Courier. During his nine years as a Statehouse and political reporter, he was a panelist on the Iowa Public Television program, Iowa Press, for seven seasons and a commentator for KUNI Public Radio in Cedar Falls for five years.

He was a communications director and press secretary for Gov. Terry Branstad and a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley's 2010 re-election campaign. He has provided guidance to numerous political campaigns at the local, county and state levels.

Woolson also has served as the Iowa communications director for six presidential candidates – including George W. Bush's 2000 victory – and was the Iowa campaign manager for two of those candidates. He is best known for managing Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign to a surprising victory in the 2008 Iowa caucuses.

He has been named one of Iowa’s Top Ten Political Operatives by the National Journal, one of the Top Ten Iowa Political Strategists by Campaigns & Elections magazine, one of the Top Fifty Influential Iowa Republicans by the Des Moines Register and one of the Top Iowa Political Influencers by Politico.com.

He also served two years as the executive director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Des Moines Council from 2013 to 2015 while maintaining his existing client load at The Concept Works.

Woolson is currently pursuing an associate degree in agribusiness at Des Moines Area Community College. He and his family also grows organic catnip on their farm in Wayne County.
Grant Young, Des Moines
Described by the Des Moines Register as “the dean of field organizers,” Grant Young is a veteran political and public affairs operative whose career spans three Congressional, three U.S. Senate and four Presidential campaigns, as well as two Presidential Inaugural Committees. Grant’s deep connections with grassroots activists and political power brokers, combined with his social media savvy, led the Washington Post to name him one of the “Top State Political Follows on Twitter.” Media outlets as varied as the Wall Street Journal, Politico and the Associated Press have sought his commentary and insights.

The Hamilton County native studied at the University of Iowa, North Iowa Area Community College and is the founder on Stanhope State University. He and his wife Meggie currently reside in the Beaverdale Des Moines neighborhood with their dog Bear.
Executive Director:
Jake Ketzner, West Des Moines
Jake Ketzner served as chief of staff for Governor Kim Reynolds and Lt. Governor Adam Gregg from 2017 – 2018. Upon Governor Branstad’s resignation to serve as U.S. Ambassador to China, Governor Reynolds tasked Jake to lead her transition team and serve as chief of staff. In this role, Jake oversaw a team of more than 20 policy and communications professionals while managing relations with more than 40 state department and agency heads.

Jake was instrumental in guiding Governor Reynolds’ policies during her historic first legislative session, including the largest tax cut in Iowa history, record education spending, advancing one of the nation’s most aggressive workforce initiatives, balancing the state’s $7.3 billion budget, and working to expand healthcare options for farmers and small business owners .
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About ICEF: The Iowa Conservative Energy Forum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (applied for) that advocates for common-sense, market-based energy solutions that increase access to clean, affordable and reliable energy statewide. ICEF was established in 2019 as a platform for Iowa conservatives to promote the benefits of an “all of the above” energy strategy that values clean energy and seeks to level the playing field among energy sources. ICEF is a member of a growing network of conservative state-level organizations that promote clean energy and energy waste reduction to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, protect and responsibly use our natural resources, while improving energy reliability and enhancing national and grid security.