CEN Announces New Chief Executive Officer


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Former North Carolina State Legislator Assumes Leadership of National Clean Energy Advocacy Organization


CEN CONTACT: Joanna Lewis – jlewis@conservativeenergynetwork.org

May 16, 2023 – LANSING, Mich. – The Conservative Energy Network (CEN), a coalition of 24 state-based conservative clean energy organizations, today named John Szoka as its new CEO. The position has been vacant since founder and former CEO Mark Pischea passed away in July 2022. After an extensive nationwide search, CEN is excited to move forward under Szoka’s leadership. He assumes his new role beginning today.

Szoka became an advocate for clean energy during his ten years of service in the North Carolina Legislature where he served as Chairman of the House Energy and Public Utilities Committee. During his legislative career he sponsored major pieces of legislation that modernized North Carolina’s energy policy to take full advantage of the benefits of low cost clean energy solutions that protect ratepayers. In 2017 he sponsored HB589 which saved ratepayers over $350M in energy costs by 2021. He was widely recognized as the leading advocate for free market solutions to a clean energy future.

“We considered many incredibly accomplished candidates in our search for a new CEO,” said Michael Hartley, chairman of the CEO Selection Committee and CEN board member. “John Szoka impressed us as a leader who is not only well-versed in clean energy policy, but is an individual whose strength of character reflects our organization’s culture and values. We are proud of everything we have built at CEN and trust that John’s experience and visionary leadership will guide us to further growth and success.” 

“I am proud of the work I did to advance clean energy in North Carolina during my time as a State Representative and I am thrilled to be able to continue advocating for conservative energy solutions as CEO of CEN,” said John Szoka. “Thanks to incredible advances in technology, alternative energy sources are more affordable and effective than ever, driving economic growth and reducing costs while also reducing emissions. National, state, and local policies need to keep up with marketplace innovation. A market-led approach ensures that ratepayers are getting reliable and cost effective solutions to energy generation.” 

Szoka’s professional background also includes 20 years of military service in the United States Army. An Infantry officer, he retired from active duty in 1996 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and went on to own several successful small businesses. With engineering degrees from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the University of Texas at Austin, Szoka appreciates a data-driven approach to clean energy policy.