My name is Bill Schnell. I grew up on the plains of southwestern Minnesota, but fell in love with the north woods as a teenager. That led to a 35-year career as a forester. I’ve been a resident of Itasca County since 1981, and a resident of Grand Rapids since 2013. My wife Mary and I raised our two daughters here, and we are grateful to call this community our home. After I retired, I began looking for ways to give something back to this place that I love.
I got involved with the Itasca Clean Energy Team because I had studied the scientific evidence about our changing climate and I wanted to be part of taking action locally to promote renewable energy sources. (If you are interested in the science behind the climate change discussion, I recommend “Storms of My Grandchildren”, by Dr. James Hansen, former director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.) We are all stewards of this beautiful planet, and one measure our performance in that role is whether or not our actions are sustainable. I want to do my part to ensure that my children and grandchildren can enjoy the stable climate that I have taken for granted my entire life.
I am excited about positioning our community as a leader in the jobs and technology of the future. A cost-effective community solar-plus-battery-storage program in Grand Rapids would be an example that other cities could emulate around the region, the state, and beyond. I look forward to exploring opportunities for curriculum development for students in I.S.D. 318 and ICC!