Our Team

Center Leadership and Staff

  • J Russell

    Jamie Russell

    1123 Peacock Hall
    (828) 262-8264

    Dr. Jamie Russell serves as Director of the Appalachian Energy Center and is an associate professor of Building Science at Appalachian State University. He holds a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Clemson University and received his doctor of philosophy degree in mechanical engineering from the University of South Carolina in 2004. Dr. Russell carried out his post-doctoral research as a Faraday Research Fellow at Ulster University in Belfast focusing on renewable energy in buildings.
    Russell joined the faculty at Appalachian State University in 2008. During his tenure as Appalachian, he served for two years (2014-2016) as a visiting professor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.
    Dr. Russell has managed three Solar Decathlon Competition projects including the Solar Homestead (US Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon 2011), Solar Decathlon Europe 2014, and US DOE Solar Decathlon 2017. His current research focuses on energy in buildings, energy efficiency and harmonizing building energy consumption and renewable energy sources with the local utility grid.

  • Kim

    Hei-young Kim

    Research Assistant
    1122 Peacock Hall
    (828) 262-7289

    Hei-young Kim is a research assistant at the Appalachian energy Center. Her focus area is “waste to energy” and currently works for the Nexus project: Biomass energy to heat a greenhouse. Cooperating with local farmers, she takes efforts to adopt the developed biomass heating system to the community. She earned her Master of Science in Renewable Energy Engineering from Appalachian State University in 2014. She conducted a feasibility study of food waste diversion system in the region for her graduate thesis and seeks funding opportunities for the pilot project of locally derived food waste to energy system.

  • Grace Plummer

    Grace Marasco-Plummer

    Program and Research Development
    1119 Peacock Hall
    (828) 262-7514

    Grace handles a variety of program and research development activities including funding opportunity identification, research team building, concept and program development and related workshops and events. She also supports the directors of the Appalachian Energy Center and the RIEEE to develop and cultivate partnerships and external collaborations. Her general interests lie at the food/energy nexus and include sustainability education and the role of human agency in environmental exploitation. She holds an undergraduate degree in International Business and Asian Studies from the College of Charleston and a Master of Arts in Human Geography from Appalachian State.

  • Rodrigo Mercado Fernandez

    Postdoctoral Research Scholar

    Rodrigo Mercado Fernandez is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the Appalachian Energy Center. His research interests are in the field of energy planning and modeling, energy policy, sustainability and equity. Rodrigo is from Guadalajara, Mexico where he studied Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at the University of Guadalajara. After which he worked for 3 years in the aerospace industry at GE Aviation in Queretaro, Mexico. In 2014 Rodrigo was awarded the Fulbright scholarship for his Ph.D. studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he obtained his doctoral degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. His doctoral research focused on how Mexico’s national climate change goals affect the development of the electricity grid, complementing high level top down studies with a bottom up approach using a detailed model of the grid and incorporating multi criteria decision analysis (MCDA) to evaluate the sustainability of various development options.

  • J Miller

    Janet Miller

    Outreach Manager
    1126 Peacock Hall
    (828) 262-8913

    Janet coordinates the annual clean energy workshop series that provides renewable energy and building science related professional development workshops for continuing education credits. Miller plans events geared to students including the sustainable energy speaker series and the poster contest at the Appalachian Energy Summit, and enjoys providing communication support for the center. She earned her master of science in Building Science from Appalachian State University in 2012. Her research project and area of interest focused on energy efficiency outreach and promoting behavior change towards energy conservation in the home.

  • Caitlin Manely

    Program Specialist
    1115 Peacock Hall
    (828) 262-8631

    As Program Specialist for the Appalachian Energy Center and the Research Institute for Environment, Energy and Economics (RIEEE), Caitlin is primarily responsible for providing financial management on post-award grant activities and administrative management of funded projects. Caitlin earned her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from Appalachian State in 2016, and has most recently worked at UNC Asheville.

Project Faculty and Staff

Assistant Professor and Sustainable Technology Program Director
Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment
Katherine Harper Hall 177A
(828) 262-8818

Areas of interest: NEXUS Team Member

Associate Professor
Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment
Katherine Harper Hall 16
(828) 262-3123

Areas of interest: Biofuels, Farm-based renewable energy, Agricultural waste management

Research Faculty
1120 Peacock Hall
(828) 262-6161

Dr. Gregg Marland joined the Geology Department in 2011 as an Adjunct Research Professor, and has a dual appointment with the Research Institute for Environment, Energy and Economics. Dr. Marland joins the RIEEE from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory where he served for over 35 years and since 2000 as Distinguished Research and Development...

Assistant Professor
Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment
Katherine Harper Hall 135
(828) 262-2617

Areas of interest: PV reliability, Building integrated PV, PV system performance

Research Assistant
Energy Center
(828) 262-8331

Chuck Perry was the Program Director for the North Carolina Energy Efficiency Alliance (NCEEA) from 2010 to 2018. He currently teaches construction at Appalachian in the Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment Dept., builds energy efficient homes with his company PerryBuilt, and works as a research assistant for the Appalachian Energy...

Professor and Chair
Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment
Katherine Harper Hall 20
(828) 262-3110

Areas of interest: Grid interactive renewable energy systems, Photovoltaic self-consumption, Remote monitoring, Diverse applications of instrumentation

Advanced Lecturer
Physics and Astronomy
Garwood Hall 211
(828) 262-2998

Areas of interest: Energy efficient cooking


Assistant Professor
Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences
Garwood Hall 449
(828) 262-7107

Areas of interest: Biodiesel

Research Assistant

Jeff was the Principal Investigator on the grant from the State Energy Office that orinially funded the North Carolina Energy Efficiency Alliance. Jeff was Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment from 1995 through 2015, chaired the department for five years during that time, and continues to...

Associate Professor and Assistant Chair
Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment
Katherine Harper Hall 23
(828) 262-2527

Areas of interest: NEXUS Team Member