Board of Directors

Sarah Boggess: Chairperson

Sarah Boggess is director of communications and governmental affairs for ReEnergy Holdings, a company that owns and operates facilities that use forest-derived woody biomass and other residual fuels produce renewable energy. Ms. Boggess worked as a newspaper reporter for nine years, as a press officer for the New York State Senate, as the Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, NY, and as a vice president at the Glens Falls, NY-based public affairs firm of Behan Communications, Inc. She has a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Union Graduate College.

Gerry Ruestow: Secretary

Gerry Ruestow is the principle of Fermata Consulting in Unadilla, NY. He holds a BS from Hartwick College, a permanent certificate to teach in NY, and a permanent certificate as a Vocational Instructor. Mr. Ruestow has been involved in agriculture and mechanics for over 40 years: operating a farm, owning a truck stop/auto service business, and teaching auto mechanics. Since 2006, he has consulted with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County as a technology specialist for the Delaware County Precision Dairy Feed Management Program and coordinator of the Catskill Grass Bio-Energy Project, a production to consumption research and demonstration project to determine the feasibility of using Ag Biomass as a residential and small industrial heat source. In addition to being a director on the NY Bioenergy Association, he is also an organizer of the Northeast Biomass Heating Expo - Agricultural Biomass Heating Seminar.

James K. Waters Treasurer

James K. Waters is the recently retired Executive Director of the Catskill Forest Association, a not-for-profit organization representing private landowners throughout the 6 counties of the Catskills. Mr. Waters has 35 years of experience in forest management including, serving as Regional Manager of Forestry & Leasing at St. Regis Paper Co./Champion International, where he was responsible for all land management activities on more than 500,000 acres and as Division Manager of Lassiter Properties, Inc., in which he started up and managed the largest individual private ownership of timberland in NY. Mr. Waters earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Forest Management from the University of Vermont and did post graduate work at the University of Maine, the University of Tennessee and Clarkson University.

Charlie Niebling

Charlie Niebling is a partner with the consulting firm Innovative Natural Resource Solutions LLC.  He represents New England Wood Pellet LLC on the NYBA board.  From 2006 to 2013, he was general manager for sales and procurement with New England Wood Pellet with wood pellet manufacturing facilities in NH, NY (Schuyler and Deposit) and PA. He previously worked for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and was the Executive Director for a trade association. Mr. Niebling is a thermal wood energy expert and has worked on related policy endeavors at the state and federal level. He was a founder and Board Chair of the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, a national 

Dr. Timothy Volk,

 Dr. Timothy Volk has over 25 years of experience in the fields of forestry, agroforestry, short-rotation woody crops, bioenergy and phytoremediation in the Northeastern United States and Africa. He is currently a senior research associate at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. He is responsible for a series of research projects focused on the production and harvesting of shrub willow biomass cropping systems as a feedstock for bioproducts and bioenergy, assessment of sustainability of both forest and willow biomass, and the use of willow as an alternative cover for industrial waste sites. Dr. Volk is currently teaching courses on Biomass Energy and senior capstone projects for Sustainable Energy Management students.

  Dr. Amanda Lavigne

For the past 15 year, Dr. Amanda Lavigne has been conducting research and supporting project implementation in the biomass energy field, first while pursuing a PhD in Environmental Science & Engineering at Clarkson University, then as a professor and private consultant. Dr. Lavigne’s research focus has grown from systems-level lifecycle cost/benefit assessment of biomass energy supply systems to a scope that encompasses the interplay of social, economic, and environmental issues for all clean energy technologies. She currently works with the Adirondack North Country Association in Saranac Lake, NY as Coordinator of the Clean Energy Economy Conference and the One Stop Shop for Community Sustainability Energy Circuit Rider program. 

Joe Short

Joe Short is Vice President with the Northern Forest Center in Concord, NH. Founded in 1997, the Center works to create economic opportunity and community vitality from healthy working forests in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. Joe directs public policy, modern wood heat, and regional strategy initiatives at the Center and also oversees core operations.  Joe first came to the Center in 2003 as a Doris Duke Conservation Fellow, and joined the staff full-time in 2004. Earlier in his career he worked for The Nature Conservancy, first in Nebraska and then in northern California. Joe has an M.S. in Resource Ecology and Management from the University of Michigan and a BA in Biology from Carleton College. He lives in Concord, NH with his wife and two daughters, and sings bass in the Suncook Valley Chorale.


 Mark Odel

 Mark Odell is the Vice President of Alternative Fuel Boilers LLC, (a division of Dunkirk Metal Products, Inc.), the Manufacturer of the Econoburn Series of advanced biomass heating boilers focusing on the residential and light commercial markets. He is responsible for operations at their 2 manufacturing facilities in Dunkirk and Brocton, NY, Sales and Marketing, as well as product approvals and advanced development in conjunction with NYSERDA. As a degreed Economist and Physicist from SUNY Fredonia he worked for over a decade in the heating equipment manufacturing sector for ECR International, based in Utica, NY, as the Corporate Sales Engineer to which he attributes his achievement in successfully launching an advanced biomass boiler line in New York.


 Nathan L. Rudgers

 Nathan L. Rudgers is Director of Business Development and was named Senior Vice President for Farm Credit of Western New York (Now Farm Credit East) in December, 2005. In his capacity as Director of Business Development, Mr. Rudgers is responsible for bringing resources to Farm Credit’s clients who are planning or undergoing major business changes. He is a frequent speaker in state, national and international forums on such topics as renewable energy, food safety, international trade, agriculture policy and economic development. He also currently serves on the steering committee for 25 X 25, a group of industry leaders dedicated to fostering Agriculture and Forestry’s role in US energy independence, and chairs their Carbon Work Group.