Renew Missouri’s Wilson stepping down, Owen to take over

  

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Renew Missouri is losing its executive director, but also gaining a new one. The organization on Tuesday announced that PJ Wilson, the co-founder and Executive Director of Renew Missouri, is stepping down at the end of June.

PJ Wilson
PJ Wilson

During Wilson’s time with Renew Missouri, the organization has taken large strides in their mission of promoting renewable and clean energy in the Show-Me State.

“Renew Missouri has become the go-to group for clean energy advocacy in Missouri,” Wilson said. “The whole movement would never have gotten started without co-founder Erin Noble (now with St. Louis’ StraightUp Solar) and Henry Robertson (with Great Rivers Environmental Law Center) during those crucial, early years as well as the support from so many others along the way.”

Renew Missouri first began as part of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, but thanks to Wilson’s leadership, the organization is now an independent entity.

The organization can trace its successes back nearly a decade when in 2007, the organization promoted the passage of a law allowing all Missourians access to solar and small wind. They also played a role in the passage of Prop C in 2008, which required utilities operating in the state to increase their usage of renewable energy. It also paved the way in rebates for utility customers using rooftop solar.

In 2010, Renew Missouri advocated for the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) law enabling municipalities to pay 100 percent of the upfront costs for renewable energy and energy efficiency building upgrades, and in 2014, the organization championed extending tax deductions for home energy audits.

“We’ll miss PJ’s dedication and leadership,” Renew Missouri Board President Dan Chiles said.

“People are often surprised at how small the organization actually is,” Board Member Josh Jones said. “But you can have a big impact with a strong team, smart strategy, and effectively cultivated coalitions. The staff at Renew Missouri is truly remarkable and Wilson deserves so much credit for making that happen.”
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> Wilson says he is looking forward to watching the organization continue to have many wins after his departure. “The staff is the finest anywhere and I have been lucky to work with such a smart and fun crew.”

James Owen
James Owen

Wilson will be replaced by James Owen, formerly of the Missouri Public Counsel.

“We’re very excited to welcome aboard James Owen who we hope will grow the organization to become even more impactful over the coming months and years,” Chiles said.

“These are big shoes to fill,” Owen said. “But I am committed to working with business and government throughout the state, to make Missouri into a Top 20 state for renewable energy and efficiency, while transforming our economy and giving consumers more choice.”

Owen assumes the role of Executive Director as of May 30, with Wilson continuing on as Executive Director Emeritus through the end of June.

Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email benjamin@themissouritimes.com or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.