Fresh Energy’s deep bench of staff members is driving bold, equitable solutions to the climate crisis to achieve a clean energy future that works for all who call Minnesota home. And we’re thrilled to be welcoming two new team members to our “roster!” Join us in welcoming Julia and Caitlin and get to know a bit about them.
Introducing Julia Olmstead
As Senior Lead, Philanthropy, Julia oversees Fresh Energy’s programmatic philanthropic work across the organization, collaborating with lead directors to inspire and secure foundation support for our priority programs. Before coming to Fresh Energy, Julia spent the bulk of her career focused on the intersection of agriculture and the environment. Most recently, she was a program officer for McKnight Foundation’s now defunct Mississippi River program. Julia also has experience in policy advocacy and spent four years working with farmers in Wisconsin as an extension agent.
Julia jokes that she must have really loved school, as she holds two master’s degrees from two different programs, one in journalism from the University of California – Berkeley, and one in plant breeding and sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University. Before grad school, Julia spent a lot of time living and working in Latin America, mostly in Cuba and Colombia. These days, she’s traded the tropics to spend most of her free time with her three wonderful children. She also co-owns a small retail shop in Minneapolis with two other women called J. Atelier where she sells antique rugs. In Julia’s words, “Buying and selling old rugs makes me very, very happy!”
Introducing Caitlin Eichten
Caitlin is part of Fresh Energy’s new Buildings department, where she works as Senior Policy Associate. Hailing from Plymouth, Minnesota, Caitlin holds a Bachelor of Arts in math and statistics from Carleton College. Before joining the Fresh Energy team, Caitlin was conducting health economics research while based in Boston, western Maine, and, most recently, Brooklyn, New York. She recently completed a certificate program on Climate Change and Health through Yale University’s School of Public Health, and she’s excited to operationalize her expertise in service of getting Minnesota’s buildings off fossil gas.
Previously, Caitlin spent time researching the effects of climate change on tourism at state parks in northern Minnesota, as well as conducting field-based conservation research in Chilean Patagonia. She enjoys birding, long city and nature walks, skiing, reading novels, and playing tennis.
Fresh Energy knows that our staff are the most important asset when it comes to achieving our ambitious decarbonization goals. We’re expanding our organizational capacity so that we can meet this crucial moment and continue building an equitable and just clean energy and climate movement in Minnesota and across the Midwest. Stay tuned for updates from Julia and Caitlin!