Wanda Davies spent ten years with the National Audubon Society at the Schlitz Audubon Center in Bayside WI. She was an environmental educator, coordinator of the Scout Program, and liaison to the Wisconsin DNR and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. Concurrently she served as an elected County Board member in Ozaukee County, WI and on the Planning Commission in Mequon, WI. As a member of the Finance Committee for Ozaukee County she made the tough spending decisions necessary and understands firsthand the difficulties local governments face in balancing the need for low taxes with the desire for services. The experience on the Planning Commission showed plainly the need for developers of controversial projects to grow local support before asking the city for approvals.
During this time she observed the difficulties wind projects in Wisconsin were facing as they sought necessary permits. Upon moving to St. Paul in 2005 she decided to utilize her environmental and local government experience to become a developer in the wind industry. She worked for Gamesa Energy as a Project Developer, Regional Director, and Head of Development Services and participated in all aspects of development from site identification, transmission interconnection, land acquisition, permitting, all the way through project sale. Nevertheless permitting and working with local communities remained her passion.
The experiences in local government and with an environmental nonprofit give Wanda a unique perspective and understanding of the challenges facing wind project developers as they navigate the permitting process. Establishing strong, credible local proponents for these projects is imperative regardless of whether permitting decisions are made at a local, state, or federal level. Local support cannot be taken for granted, but must be cultivated and guided. Collaboration with environmental and other relevant nonprofits is equally important.
Wanda has also been active in industry groups as a founding member of the Illinois Wind Energy Association, an active participant in Wind on the Wires, and a participant in a Minnesota lobbying coalition.
Wanda has an MBA from the Carlson School at the University of Minnesota and a BA in Political Science from Carleton College in Northfield, MN. She lives in St. Paul, MN.