Conservative Energy Network Announces Promotions and Hirings


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New Positions Include Vice President, Policy Manager, Midwest Regional Deputy Director, and Senior Campaigns Manager

CEN Contact: Joanna Lewis –

October 18, 2023 – LANSING, Mich. – The Conservative Energy Network (CEN), a coalition of 24 state-based conservative clean energy organizations, today announced the hiring of Connor Marley and the promotions of Larry Ward, Sarah Spence, and Morgan Stanchak. Marley will serve as Policy Manager, Ward takes the title Vice President, Spence will serve as Deputy Director of the Midwest Region, and Stanchak as Senior Campaigns Manager on CEN’s national team. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Connor Marley to our national team and celebrate the well-deserved promotions of Larry Ward, Sarah Spence, and Morgan Stanchak, along with several other state-based promotions and new hires,” said John Szoka, CEN CEO. “The addition of a policy manager reflects our commitment to advancing conservative clean energy policy nationwide. These strategic staffing updates enhance our organization’s capacity, positioning us for success as we continue our mission to drive the nation’s clean energy transition through market-based policy solutions at state and local levels.”

Marley brings a wealth of experience to his new role, having previously served as the External Engagement Associate at the Mercatus Center. In this capacity, he tracked federal and state legislation while forging relationships with stakeholders, embassies, and members of Congress and their staff. As the CEN Policy Manager, Marley will play a vital role in advancing conservative market-based clean energy solutions nationwide. Acting as the Network’s resident policy expert, he will develop advocacy strategies, serve as a public-facing thought leader within the conservative clean energy community, and actively seek innovative policy opportunities at federal, state, and local levels. 

As Vice President, Larry Ward will assume leadership of the Land & Liberty Coalition, a grassroots siting project of the Conservative Energy Network. He will also dedicate a significant portion of his time to CEN’s sister (c)(4) organization, Conservatives for a Clean Energy Future. Ward remains CEN’s Midwest Regional Director until December 15, 2023, at which time Sarah Spence will step into that position.

In preparation for her role as Midwest Regional Director, Sarah Spence will immediately take the position of Midwest Regional Deputy Director. In this capacity, she will assist Ward in his regional duties as she fully transitions into the Director role. Spence formerly served as Executive Director of the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum.

In Stanchak’s new role as Senior Campaigns Manager, she will lead the execution of major policy education projects, initiatives, and campaigns. Stanchak will continue to manage organizational events, like CEN’s annual Conservative Conclave.

Additional state-level promotions and hires in 2023 include:

  1. Tony Zartman, Director of Programs & Operations for Ohio Conservative Energy Forum
  2. Nick Bundren, Field Representative for Ohio Land & Liberty Coalition
  3. Tyler Adams, State Director for Conservatives for Clean Energy Georgia