published on July 26, 2019 - 10:01 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Market Executive | Wells Fargo Commercial Banking Central Valley

AGE: 47 | Family: Husband Patrick Rafferty, daughter Katie Wynkoop and son Jacob Wynkoop | Education: B.A., social ecology, University of California, Irvine; J.D, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

What we do:

Since 1979, RHA has been a leading provider of energy efficiency services in California. We are a program design and management firm that develops and administers small- and large-scale programs that serve millions of customers for the public utilities and other clients. RHA also has extensive experience delivering mass-market programs, influencing hard-to-reach populations and seamlessly integrating turnkey solutions across many industries. RHA is very knowledgeable of California’s low- to moderate-income markets and understands their geographic, cultural and linguistic diversity. As such, RHA has managed some of the most expansive grassroots social campaigns in California and works in partnership with clients to serve the communities they desire to reach. 

How did you come to work at Richard Heath & Associates?

I applied for a director role at RHA through a posting on The job interested me and seemed as though it was tailored for my skills and experience. Interestingly, the role RHA hired me for ultimately was not the job I applied for, but rather a different director role. I accepted and was grateful for the opportunity to lead the RHA team in supporting Covered California in standing up the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace. After serving in that role for 18 months, I was offered the CEO role and have served in that capacity for more than six years. I am honored and humbled to work with a wonderful team of intelligent, diverse, committed and fun colleagues.

RHA has been doing energy consultations since 1979. How has that changed over four decades?

Like most industries, energy efficiency is ever evolving. We see this evolution primarily through the type and number of energy saving measures available in the program. Increasingly we are seeing smart technology, such as smart thermostats and communicating appliances, play a role. Some measures that exist as program offerings currently were not contemplated when we started in this industry — the ideas for them didn’t exist yet, not to mention the technology to support them. 

How have concerns regarding affordable housing and climate change affected your industry?

Affordable housing has been a driver for RHA to continue providing services to low-income and hard-to-reach customers. Energy efficiency is an often-overlooked strategy to help families pay their bills. The energy efficiency savings — sometimes as much as 20 to 30 percent bill reduction per home — helps to maintain and preserve affordable housing for low-income homeowners and renters in California.

An additional positive benefit of making homes more energy efficient is the reduction in emissions and the carbon footprint to fight against climate change.

Describe your new initiative to help seniors stay in their homes:

Through our Remodeling for Healthy Aging program we work to enable seniors to remain in their homes, or “age in place,” as long as possible.  Following an initial assessment, we install appropriate fixtures and equipment to foster independence, safety and mobility.  Examples of program offerings include measures designed to facilitate physical well being such as grab bars, bathroom fixtures and door hardware that are easier to use, and improved and safer lighting. In addition, we offer smart technology designed to monitor a senior’s activities in the home and provide electronic notifications to adult children supporting their parents’ independence when their normal routine is off. We offer these services both to seniors with existing needs and those planning for the future.

What was the best advice you ever received?

I’m fortunate to have received wonderful mentoring over the years, with some of my favorites being “ugly, but it still counts (a tennis reference),” “don’t jump over dollars to pick up dimes,” and “always leave people with their dignity.” The best advice I ever received, however, was from my mom who reinforced “Do Whatever It Takes” to take care of both the people depending on me and the responsibilities I have accepted.  Although we have adopted this as our RHA motto, very few of my teammates know that my mom is the one behind it.  Thanks Mom!

What was your first job and what did you learn from it:

Like most of us, I held part-time jobs during summer breaks and periods during college and law school, but my first professional job was serving as a naval officer in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps (think Demi Moore in “A Few Good Men”). In that role, I served on active duty for more than five years during which I learned much about responsibility, commitment and leadership. I also learned how to perform consistently with the Navy’s creed to Improvise, Adapt and Overcome. Life rarely goes as planned and it is critical to have the skills to pivot quickly in order to stay on track and achieve success. This has proven invaluable throughout my career.

What are your roots in the Central Valley?

My dad was raised in Fresno, and my family has deep roots in the construction industry dating back to my grandfather’s company, Bruno Electric. My parents are both graduates of Fresno State, where they met.  Following my dad’s resignation from Marine Corps active duty, we relocated to Fresno just before my first birthday. I attended K – 12 in Fresno, at Slater Elementary (K-2), Fort Washington (3rd – 6th), Kastner and finally Clovis West. I left Fresno in 1989 to obtain my BA at UC Irvine and Juris Doctorate from the UCLA School of Law.  Subsequently, I joined the Navy and spent 8 years on the East Coast, first in the Navy then as a civilian working in national defense. I returned to Fresno in 2004, with an appreciation for the proximity to family, sense of community, minimal commute and affordable housing. I’m thankful for the ability to work and raise my children in Fresno surrounded by my supportive village. 

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time I like to hang out with my husband and my children.  I am a dedicated fitness enthusiast, avid reader and have yet to meet an adventure I didn’t like.

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