NCAT Hires Key Leadership Team

The National Center for Appropriate Technology has added key executive staff to its leadership team, building on NCAT’s 46-year reputation as a trusted, practical connector for sustainable agriculture and energy solutions.

“NCAT has a long history of helping people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance, and protect natural resources,” said Executive Director Steve Thompson. “We’ve now added to our top-notch team of energy and agriculture experts to include an operational leader, communications expert, and top nonprofit fundraiser which will allow NCAT to serve even more people.”

Virginia Kashdan is NCAT’s Chief Operating Officer. 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.


Emilie Ritter Saunders is NCAT’s Communications Director. 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 and Montana Office of Public Instruction. She spent a decade as a journalist with NPR member stations.



Michael Barth is NCAT’s Development Director. Michael 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.

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 knowledge base, by providing individualized technical assistance, facilitating practical solutions, and connecting people with each other to support sustainable agriculture and clean energy systems. 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.

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