About The National Center for Appropriate Technology

The National Center for Appropriate Technology or NCAT has been helping people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance, and protect natural resources since 1976. NCAT is a trusted, practical connector for individuals and businesses who are working to leave our world better than we found it. 

We do this work through a trusted knowledgebase, providing individualized technical assistance, facilitating practical solutions, and connecting people with each other to support sustainable agriculture and clean energy systems. 

Headquartered in Butte, Montana, NCAT has field offices in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Texas. 

History

NCAT was created in response to the energy crisis of the 1970s to develop appropriate, low-cost, energy-saving strategies for underserved communities. In 1987, NCAT expanded its mission to include sustainable agriculture. 

The “appropriate technology” movement started in the 1960s following a period of heavily-funded “high technology” after WWII. With roots in the United States and Great Britain, the term “appropriate technology” featured five key elements, all of which remain core to NCAT’s mission:

Small-scale

Simple to use and operate

Low-cost and labor intensive

Local or decentralized

Environmentally sound

Commitment to Racial Equity

NCAT’s work brings together diverse partnerships and communities to help reduce poverty and protect our natural resources. We strive to be a multicultural organization that embraces the rich dimensions of diversity, and we partner with vulnerable communities of color engaged in food systems and energy solutions. NCAT works in partnership with low-income and historically underserved communities of color to build resilient communities.

NCAT Executive Team

Executive Director

Steve Thompson

Chief Operating Officer

Virginia Kashdan

Chief Financial Officer

Jeff Amerman

Communications Director

Emilie Ritter Saunders

Development Director

Michael Barth

Acting Sustainable Agriculture Program Director

Margo Hale

Energy Program Director

Stacie Peterson

Human Resources Director

Kriss Sullivan

IT Director

John English

Administrative Support Services Director

Jody Krzan

Executive Director

Steve Thompson

Steve has over 30 years of experience in natural resource conservation, community-based climate change mitigation, journalism, and project management. A resident of Montana since 1991, he served as executive director of the Montana-based Cinnabar Foundation and was a senior program manager at the National Parks Conservation Association. He has a B.S. degree in rural sociology from Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Steve is an avid elk hunter, shallot farmer, and wild ice skater. He and his wife live in uptown Butte.

Chief Operating Officer

Virginia Kashdan

Virginia Kashdan is NCAT’s Chief Operating Officer. She joined NCAT in January 2022. Virginia is responsible for planning, organizing, and directing organization operations and facilities. Before joining NCAT, Virginia was awarded the Science & Technology Policy Fellowship through the American Association for the Advancement of Science focusing on water quality at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Office of Water in Washington D.C. After moving back to Montana, she became the director of the Lincoln County Asbestos Resource Program, supporting Operations & Maintenance activities on the Libby Asbestos Superfund Site. While in Libby, she volunteered on the Board of Directors for the Troy Farmers Market and became Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Libby Community Garden.

Chief Financial Officer

Jeff Amerman

Jeff has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Montana Tech of the University of Montana. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and has more than 30 years of professional experience with a number of diverse business entities. These include non-profit organizations, for-profit utilities, limited liability corporations, public accounting, and governmental units. Prior to joining NCAT as its CFO, Jeff was most recently Finance and Budget Director for the City & County of Butte Silver Bow in Montana.

Communications Director

Emilie Ritter Saunders

Emilie Ritter Saunders joined NCAT in April 2021. Emilie is an organizational leader with executive-level experience as a communicator, public policy advisor and strategic planner. Her approach is driven by strategy, multimedia storytelling, data, and effective project management to amplify and elevate people, initiatives, and organizations. Previously, Emilie led communications and public affairs for the Montana Department of Commerce. Emilie also led communications for the Montana Office of Public Instruction. She spent a decade as a public radio journalist. Her work has been featured on NPR, the BBC, CBC, Reuters, National Native News, and more. Emilie is a Montanan and graduate of the University of Montana School of Journalism. Emilie and her family live in Helena.

Development Director

Michael Barth

Michael Barth joined NCAT in 2022, attracted by its programming and the education and training offered in agriculture, energy, and sustainability. He believes it is critically important to provide opportunities for all individuals to access the transformative power of education. Prior to joining NCAT, he spent 17 years in development and nonprofit management with the Montana Technological University Foundation. He is experienced in prospect research, project and event management, planned giving, and fundraising systems and software. Michael is a Certified Fund Raising Executive and completed the Nonprofit Executive Leadership Program at the Lilly School of Philanthropy. Growing up in Southern California left him with a deep appreciation for all that Montana offers. He serves on the board of the Butte Center for the Performing Arts and lives in Butte with his wife Susan. Their daughter Sophie is a student at the University of Chicago.

Acting Sustainable Agriculture Program Director

Margo Hale

Margo Hale serves as NCAT’s Southeast Regional Office Director, overseeing outreach and projects in the region. Hale has worked extensively on risk management and beginning farmer training, training for military veterans, small ruminant production and education, and livestock production education. Margo joined NCAT in December 2003 as an Animal Science Intern, working mainly with small ruminants. Hale comes from a dairy farming background and has degrees in Animal Science and Agricultural and Extension Education from the University of Arkansas. Margo, her husband Josh, and two daughters live on a small farm in Northwest Arkansas.

Energy Program Director

Stacie Peterson

Stacie Peterson joined the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) in 2008. She oversees NCAT’s Sustainable Energy Program, which includes the Agri-Solar Clearinghouse, Energy Efficiency Program, Energy Services, Business Partners, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP) Clearinghouse, National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) Program, Residential Energy, and Energy Codes. She holds an undergraduate and graduate degree in environmental engineering and an interdisciplinary doctorate. Her doctoral program integrated environmental science, environmental history, public health, technical communications, literature, and anthropology. She enjoys developing interdisciplinary projects with diverse teams, such as her work connecting the NCAT’s Sustainable Energy and Agriculture programs in the Agri-Solar Clearinghouse. In her energy conservation work, she’s helped save enough energy to go to the moon and back 2,586 times.

Human Resources Director

Kriss Sullivan

Kriss has been working in the human resources field since 2004, with most of her experience coming from the non-profit sector. As NCAT’s HR director, her duties include planning, developing, organizing, and evaluating human resource functions and performance. She administers robust benefits and compensation policies and develops staffing strategies, recruitment, and new-hire initiation. Kriss received her professional HR certification, SHRM-CP, in 2018 from the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM). She is president of the local SHRM chapter and has also served on its board for more than 10 years. She is a graduate of Montana Tech and holds a bachelor’s degree in business and information technology.

IT Director

John English

John J. English joined NCAT in 2003. He graduated from the University of Montana – School of Business, and has 8 years experience in the field of Internet and Computer administration. His expertise includes website design and development, systems administration, as well as user support. He enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, fly-fishing, geocaching and of course, surfing the Internet. In fact, it’s a good bet that when he is not at a computer, he will be doing something outdoors with his loved ones.

Administrative Support Services Director

Jody Krzan

Jody Krzan joined NCAT in 1987. Ms. Krzan has extensive experience in the area of office support services. Her responsibilities include providing organizational, administrative and clerical support to the Executive Director and other senior management staff. She coordinates all NCAT Board of Directors’ meetings, travel and logistics and file records. Ms. Krzan provides support in proposal, report and contract preparation. She is also skilled in personal and business communications, supervision and departmental planning processes. Ms. Krzan is skilled in the use of several software packages, including Microsoft Office Suite and WordPerfect.

Board of Directors

Randall Chapman, Chairman

Randall Chapman, Chairman

Austin, Texas
Jacqueline Hutchinson, Vice Chair

Jacqueline Hutchinson, Vice Chair

St. Louis, Missouri
Brian Castelli, Treasurer

Brian Castelli, Treasurer

Falls Church, Virginia
Maricela Gallegos, Secretary

Maricela Gallegos, Secretary

Galt, California
John Colgan

John Colgan

Springfield, Illinois
Will Crossley, Jr.

Will Crossley, Jr.

Piney Woods, Mississippi
Jerry DeWitt

Jerry DeWitt

Holly Springs, North Carolina
Margaret Krome

Margaret Krome

Madison, Wisconsin
Art Noonan

Art Noonan

Butte, Montana
Phal Mantha

Phal Mantha

Okemas, Michigan
Carol Werner

Carol Werner

Washington, DC
Duke Williams

Duke Williams

New Orleans, Louisana
Alex Racelis

Alex Racelis

McAllen, Texas