Board of Directors

Michael Rychener, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board

MICHAEL RYCHENER, Ph.D., has worked as a freelance consultant since retiring from IBM in 2013. At IBM, he was an IT Specialist in the Business Intelligence Center of Competence in IBM Global Business Services division. This work included web design, web database applications, custom business intelligence and analytics, search engine development for the PC eSupport site and application development for the PC online assistant. Previously, he held a number of consulting contracts at companies in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina and in central New Jersey. He was a Research Engineer/Scientist at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, PA, in the areas of Engineering Design, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. His book Expert Systems in Engineering Design (1988) summarizes his university research. He earned a Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon, an M.S. in computer science from Stanford University and a B.A. with high honors in mathematics from Oberlin College.


Virginia Lee, Secretary

VIRGINIA S. LEE, Ph.D. is principal and senior consultant of Virginia S. Lee & Associates, a consulting firm based in Durham, North Carolina, specializing in teaching, learning and assessment in higher education. Over the past twelve years she has worked with approximately 70 colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, China, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. She is a Former President (2007-2010) of the POD Network in Higher Education, the largest professional organization for faculty and educational developers in higher education in North America. Previously, Lee served as Associate Director, Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, North Carolina State University, and Director, Graduate Student Teaching Programs, and Consultant, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. At NC State she led a nationally-recognized inquiry-guided learning initiative, documented in Teaching and Learning through Inquiry: A Guidebook for Institutions and Instructors (2004) that she edited. She earned a Ph.D. (Educational Psychology), University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill; M.B.A., Stern School, New York University; and B.A. cum laude (English Literature), Smith College.


Harry E. Rodenhizer III, Treasurer

HARRY E. RODENHIZER III is formerly a business owner and construction executive, now farming (in retirement) while incorporating low and no carbon methods and organic growing practices. He is interested in practical applications of renewable energy sources in small scale projects as well as good stewardship practices in land management. He has a BS in Economics with continuing education in managerial accounting and extensive experience in business development. He has board and upper level leadership experience with nonprofits such as civic clubs, homeless shelters, Boy Scouts and his church.


Melissa J. Mills, M.B.A., M.T.S., Executive Director

MELISSA J. MILLS, M.B.A., M.T.S., Melissa is a researcher, facilitator, and teacher with thirty years experience in academic administration at Harvard University and Duke University, including such positions as Assistant Provost, Associate Dean for Information Science and Technology, and Special Assistant to the Dean for Long-Range Planning.  Her research brings together knowledge from across the disciplines, blending economics, science, and human values into a narrative that provides common ground and autonomy for individuals and groups. She uses the tools of systems thinking and mindfulness to focus individuals and organizations on practices that promote communities of trust and innovation. She graduated from Connecticut College with a degree in history. She earned an MBA from the Fuqua School at Duke University, and a master of theological studies at the Duke University Divinity School.

She is a member of the Rotary Club of Durham, NC, USA, and served as chair of the District 7710 Ethics Committee from 2012-2015. She is currently Secretary of the Board of the Environmental Sustainability Rotarian Action Group. She is also a member of the Society for Organizational Learning.


Wafa Kahlil, Ph.D., Director-at-Large

WAFA KAHLIL, Ph.D., is a science educator and solar energy education specialist. She holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Université Claude Bernard, Lyon 1, France. From 1979 to 1988, Dr. Khalil worked as medical researcher at the University of Miami’s School of Medicine. In 1989, she became a science educator at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, where she went on to develop two unique student-centered curricula for sustainable energy education with a focus on solar energy and other renewable sources. For over 24 years, Dr. Khalil has educated thousands of students about energy, energy efficiency, and conservation, with a special focus on solar technology. She has also developed multiple innovative energy education programs, including workshops and teacher training seminars. As a science educator, Dr. Khalil uses a holistic approach, guiding students through an investigation of all facets of energy, with an emphasis on conventional resources and their impacts on the environment related to pollution, climate change, politics, economics, and environmental justice. During her time at Miami-Dade Public Schools, Dr. Khalil’s solar energy courses won national awards, such as the Intel International Excellence in Teaching Award, and generated grant funding for the Miami-Dade Schools.

Dr. Khalil believes in young people and the importance of increasing awareness about environmental problems, especially those related to global energy consumption, in the next generation of citizens and leaders. Since relocating to North Carolina in 2014, Dr. Khalil has become an active member of the education community in the Raleigh-Durham area, where she continues her mission to educate students and the public about energy and the environment.


Edwin B. Cox, Director-at-Large

EDWIN B. COX transitioned from a gratifying career in medical oncology to invest his remaining time and effort addressing the existential threats posed by humans to the Earth’s ecosystems, as manifest in global warming and declining biodiversity. In his recent graduate studies, he conducted research exploring practical options for renewable energy systems to replace most of conventional fossil energy sources and demonstrating the potential for stabilizing atmospheric CO2.