OUR TEAM

Vivek R. Shinde Patil, Ph.D.

Vivek R. Shinde Patil, Ph.D.

Vivek is the co-founder and Director of AscentVirginia, Inc., a social impact venture focused on promoting clean technology jobs and economic development in Virginia. He is an experienced life science entrepreneur having founded two biotech startups and has consulted with several biopharma companies. He is presently employed at PerkinElmer, Inc. leading global scientific teams to advance their human and environmental health mission. Vivek is a member of BuildingBridgesVA, a group focused on bridging the political, ideological and economic divide in Virginia. He has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Ohio University and a public policy degree from Johns Hopkins University.

Jan Canterbury

Jan Canterbury

Jan Canterbury is an environmental scientist who worked at USEPA for over 25 years... focusing on education, outreach and economic incentives... related to issues such as Resource Conservation and Global Climate Change. Jan has co-facilitated environmental trainings around the US, Russia and Africa... and, has worked with a diverse range of stakeholders from Fortune 500 companies, US Conference of Mayors, NGOs, Trade Associations and Ecology groups. She enjoys hiking in nature with her friends and dogs.

Adam Wells

Adam Wells

Adam works as the Regional Director of Community and Economic Development in Appalachian Voices' Norton, Virginia office. He has been with the organization since 2015 when he was hired to open their office in Norton, Virginia, and launch the New Economy program. Under Adam’s leadership, the program has made a deep impact in Southwest Virginia and across the state by building successful broad-based coalitions and connecting resources to fulfill economic and community development needs. In 2021, under Adam's leadership, Appalachian Voices launched the Solar Finance fund with an inaugural $1.5M investment to deploy catalytic capital in coal impacted communities targeted at commercial and institutional scale solar projects. Additionally, Adam is happy to work closely with Ascent Virginia on the Energy Storage and Electrification Manufacturing Jobs Project, which is helping legacy manufacturers in Southwest Virginia pivot their operations to capture new markets in low-carbon related sectors. Adam lives with his family in Southwest Virginia where his roots go back multiple generations.

Vijetha Huffman

Vijetha Huffman

Vijetha is  an energy and infrastructure professional with 25 years of experience  in the power, oil & gas, transportation, and telecom sectors. She  has held leadership positions at AES, a global energy company, and at  Venture Global LNG, an energy start-up in the DC area. Vijetha has a  keen interest in sustainability as a means of combating climate change and has previously served on Arlington County’s Energy  Committee. She has been an active member of Ascent Virginia’s team since  2019 when she played a leading role in organizing the Clean Energy and  Technology Roundtable which helped outline strategies to achieve our  vision for Virginia.

Kurt Cobb

Kurt Cobb

Kurt Cobb combines two professional identities. He is best known for his work as a writer and speaker on energy and the environment. He also works as an independent marketing communications and publicity strategist and freelance writer for corporate, nonprofit, governmental and political clients.

 

As a writer about energy and the environment, his work has been featured in The Christian Science Monitor, Resilience, Common Dreams, Business Insider, Le Monde Diplomatique, and many other places.

 

As a communications consultant and freelance writer, he has extensive experience in the hospital, pharmaceutical, medical instrument, environmental and energy fields. He has also worked as a consultant to political campaigns and nonprofit advocacy groups.

Serwat Perwaiz

Serwat Perwaiz

Serwat Perwaiz is secretary-treasurer for Ascent Virginia's board of directors. As a capacity development professional, she has extensive experience working with public and private organizations to identify needs, collaborate on the development of change management plans and manage transitions. Serwat holds a masters of international public policy from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University and a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law. She is also a fellow with the Penn Kemble Forum on Democracy at the National Endowment for Democracy.

Jim Burke

Jim Burke

Jim Burke is Vice Chairman of AscentVirginia. He has thirty-five+ years’ experience in long-range planning, foresight, early warning analysis, organizational development, change management, innovation, operational requirements, and identifying implications of advanced technologies. His active military career included operational assignments, program offices and acquisition, and the Joint Staff. He is a former President of the Metropolitan Chapter of the World Futures Society, a member of the Association of Professional Futurists, and former Chair and President of several non-profits, including Virginia Interfaith Power & Light. He has an undergraduate degree in history, and graduate degrees in Public Administration and Science and Technology Studies.