The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced Christopher Davis, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, will serve as Chief of Staff and named five new Biden-Harris Administration appointees.
“Christopher has been advising me since Day One of this Administration, and I have seen up close how smart, kind, and passionate he is about solving the climate crisis,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Christopher has been and will be an excellent leader and teammate for the Department. Together with these new appointees, they will work to build on the incredible foundation we’ve laid with Tarak in the last 14 months.”
The Department also announced five new Biden-Harris Administration appointees who will work to achieve President Biden’s ambitious goals of establishing a clean energy economy that works for all Americans and combats climate change.
“These talented new colleagues bring a breadth of experience and knowledge to DOE and add to what is already an incredibly dedicated and historically diverse group,” said Chief of Staff Tarak Shah, who will be succeeded by Davis on April 4. “Together with Christopher, they will continue to advance the President’s mission to lead the world in combatting climate change and deliver an equitable clean energy future for all Americans.”
With the new hires, DOE appointees continue to make up a historically diverse team, 59% of which are women, 56% people of color, and 21% identifying as LGBTQ+.
In addition to Davis, two other appointees will take on new roles. Bridget Bartol, the Deputy Director of the Office of Public Affairs, will now serve as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary, and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary Jeremiah Baumann will serve as Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary for Infrastructure.
New appointees and their roles are listed below:
Michael Harris, Legislative Affairs Advisor (House), Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs
Michael Harris most recently served in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Congressional and Legislative Affairs at the Department of the Interior. Prior to that, Harris served as Senior Policy Advisor and Appropriations Associate in the office of Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, where he advised the congresswoman on energy and environment policy and directed her work on the House Appropriations Committee. He also worked on public lands and conservation issues at Defenders of Wildlife, and he began his policy career in the office of Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. A proud Latino American and member of the LGBTQ+ community, Harris grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada. He received his B.A. in Public Policy Studies from Duke University and his M.P.P. from George Washington University.
Isha Korde, Special Assistant, White House Liaison Office
Isha Korde has built much of their career in the fields of public health and environmental science, most recently working as Medical Assistant for the University of Washington testing patients for COVID-19 during the ongoing pandemic. Prior to that, they collaborated with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Florida Keys supporting conservation and restoration efforts on Ballast Key, a recently federally acquired island that is now part of the National Wildlife Refuge. During this time, they conducted data collection of avian species and propagated nicker bean species to encourage migration of the endangered Miami Blue butterfly. Korde attended the University of Oregon until June 2021, during which they began their career in public health while working at the University’s COVID-19 testing site as well Lane County Public Health in Eugene, Ore. As a case management liaison at Lane County Public Health, they provided community members in rural areas of Oregon with groceries and other resources with funds allocated by the American Rescue Plan Act.
Sonrisa Lucero, Special Advisor for Stakeholder Engagement, Office of Economic Impact and Diversity
Sonrisa Lucero was most recently the Equitable Buildings Decarbonization Manager at RMI, where she led the efforts to integrate equity into carbon free buildings policy and advocacy. Previously she worked to advance equitable sustainability and climate policy at the City and County of Denver in the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency. A lifelong activist for social justice, Lucero is skilled at building coalitions and guiding diverse stakeholders to equitably advance sustainability and combat climate change. Lucero was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, and graduated from Stanford University with an Individually Designed Major, Environmental Systems Engineering.
Fred Pfaeffle, Senior Counsel, Office of General Counsel
Fred Pfaeffle is a senior environmental and civil rights attorney. Most recently, he was in private practice, where he conducted environmental litigation and assisted Federal agencies with diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. From 2010 to 2017, he served the Obama-Biden Administration as Principal Deputy General Counsel and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). His work included representing USDA in relation to the Deepwater-Horizon BP Oil Spill and in multibillion-dollar settlements to resolve civil rights litigation. Prior to joining the Obama-Biden Administration, Pfaeffle served as Principal Deputy County Counsel with the County of Los Angeles, where he managed environmental matters, water rights litigation and solid-waste regulation. Pfaeffle received his J.D. from the University of Southern California and his business degree from Florida International University. He was born and raised in Latin America and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.
Ron Pierce, Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
Ron Pierce most recently served at the DNC as a Senior Advisor to the chairman and senior leadership team on veteran and small business engagement. As an independent consultant, Pierce has led efforts for several small businesses and military veteran lawmakers on environmental and climate change issues. He was recently PBS Senior Director, Veterans Initiative, on the Station Services team and led national planning, coordination and implementation, working closely with member stations, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, NPR, and other public media partners across the country. During President Obama’s re-election campaign and the Biden-Harris campaign, Pierce was national director of small business and veterans and military family outreach programs at the DNC. A combat veteran, Pierce spent 11 years as a U.S. Army officer. He earned his B.S. in Human Services from U.S. Military Academy at West Point and holds a Master of International Affairs from Naval Postgraduate School.
Appointees taking on new roles are listed below:
Bridget Bartol, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary
Bridget Bartol is Deputy Director of Public Affairs at DOE. Prior to that, Bartol was a Vice President of Public Affairs at SKDK, specializing in strategic communications, stakeholder engagement, and media relations for a range of corporate, nonprofit, advocacy, and crisis clients. Previously, she led media and messaging strategy for Securing America’s Future Energy and served as Deputy Press Secretary at DOE during the Obama Administration. Prior to that appointment, she was a Senior Associate at Dewey Square Group in Boston and worked at The Smith-Free Group in Washington, D.C. A South Florida native, Bartol graduated from the University of Florida.
Jeremiah Baumann, Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary for Infrastructure
Jeremiah Baumann is Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary at DOE. Prior to that, Baumann served as Director of Federal Policy at Energy Innovation, where he worked to build an equitable and just clean energy economy. He previously led efforts focused on state clean energy policies at Bloomberg Philanthropies and served as Legislative Director for Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), where he supported the Senator on the creation of the Rural Energy Savings Program and worked with Oregon and California tribes, farmers, and ranchers on water and energy management in the Klamath River Basin. Originally from Montana and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Baumann holds a B.A. from Yale University.
Christopher Davis, Chief of Staff
Christopher Davis is Senior Advisor to the Secretary at DOE. Davis served all eight years of the Obama Administration — first in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs and then in several senior roles at DOE. Prior to that, he worked for the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform and the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce.