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GAOI Board of Directors


Dan Couillard is a licensed Professional Engineer and a Certified Geothermal Designer (CGD) who has been in the geothermal industry since 2008. He is the co-founder of Element Energy Consulting, a building MEP design firm that specializes in renewable energy technologies including geothermal heat pump systems. Dan serves as the President on the GAOI board of directors. His support of geothermal technology has been influenced by a range of experience including building energy modeling, interior and exterior design of geothermal heat pump mechanical systems, construction project management, estimation, business development, financial analysis, project finance modeling and operational management. Dan has designed and built geothermal systems ranging from single family homes to massive district systems for multi-million square foot developments and net zero buildings. Dan also works on legislative efforts and with municipalities in the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago regarding the promotion and installation of geothermal heat pump technologies. Dan Couillard,  Element Energy Consulting, Park Ridge, IL



DAVID BUSS, Vice-President and Lead GAOI Trainer

Dave Buss joined the GAOI board in March, 2012. He is a geothermal product manager for Connor Co., a founding member of the GAOI. Dave has worked in the geothermal industry since the 1980s and holds many geothermal heat pump credentials, including the Certified Geothermal Designer (CGD) designation. Dave’s experience with geothermal technology goes back to the late 1970s when he installed an early geo system in his own home. In addition to his board service with GAOI, Dave is a lead trainer for GAOI, helping to provide training for staff members of GAOI member organizations seeking accredited company status. He is also the instructor for GAOI’s design professionals class. Dave is an experienced and sought-after speaker and geothermal trainer. Dave Buss, Connor Co./ClimateMaster, Golden, IL





WILLIAM “Bill” SPRAGUE, Secretary-Treasurer and Annual Conference Committee

Bill has been with Area Mechanical in Rockford since 1996 and has been General Manager since 2006. Area Mechanical’s main focus is on commercial and industrial projects, with a light mix of residential work. The company specializes in design/build projects, working closely with customers from concept to completion. He is a member of the American Society for Healthcare Engineering and has been an IGSHPA accredited installer since 2008. Bill is an Illinois EPA Cross Connection Inspector and an Illinois journeyman plumber for more than 25 years. Area Mechanical has been a GAOI member since 2009. Bill also instructs new technicians in geothermal installation basics. William Sprague,  Area Mechanical Rockford, IL





CHAD MAYES, Director and Past President

Chad Mayes is a founding board member of the GAOI and has served on the board for several terms. He currently serves as Immediate Past President of the board and on the GAOI Nominations Committee. Chad is the President and Owner of Pro Air Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Geothermal, Inc., in Bloomington. Pro Air is an HVAC/Geothermal company specializing in installation and service of both geothermal and conventional systems. He has been installing geothermal systems in both residential and commercial applications for more than 10 years. Chad has also served on the Bloomington HVAC board for the past three years and he has been serving the Central Illinois community for more than 15 years. Chad Mayes, Pro Air Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Geothermal, Inc., Bloomington, IL


DAN CROWE, Director, Past President and Audit Committee Chair

Dan Crowe is a founding member of GAOI and an incorporating director of the board, since 2008. He is past president of the board and is co-founder of The Hole Deal, Inc. The Hole Deal is a geothermal loop installation company specializing in residential and small commercial geothermal systems in the central and north-central Illinois region. Dan has overseen the installation of thousands of tons of geothermal loops throughout Illinois. He is a certified IGSHPA Installer. Dan Crowe, The Hole Deal, Inc. Goodfield, IL




DOMINIQUE DURBIN,  Director and Past President

Dom Durbin is a founding member of GAOI and has served on the board since 2009, including two years as president.  Durbin Geothermal is a full service looping contractor serving Illinois and five other Midwestern states. The firm has installed 10,000-plus tons of geothermal loops. Dom is an IGSHPA accredited installer and driller and a certified IGSHPA trainer. He also holds an IGSHPA certified geo designer in training and a number of fusion certificates and other trainings. Durbin is licensed to drill and install geothermal loops in Iowa, Indiana and Missouri; no license is required in other states in which they work. Dominique Durbin, Durbin Geothermal, Beecher City, IL



BRIAN HOUCHIN, Director and Past President

Brian Houchin is general manager of Bratcher Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc., an HVAC company headquartered in Bloomington-Normal, and with offices in Champaign-Urbana.  Bratcher has been in business since 1983 and Brian joined the company as an installer in 1988. He has also worked as service technician, service manager and sales manager before becoming general manager. Bratcher has been promoting geothermal heating and cooling since 1998 and has installed thousands of geothermal systems in central Illinois. Bratcher is a  GAOI founding member. Brian served as GAOI’s second president from 2010-2012. Brian Houchin,  Bratcher Heating and A/C, Inc. Normal, IL





Gary Hurley is a founding member of GAOI and has been a member of the GAOI board of directors since 2008. He heads the Energy Services Office with City Water, Light & Power in Springfield, where he has been employed since 2002. Gary is responsible for overall energy efficiency programs for the City of Springfield and City Water Light & Power He holds several certifications in HVACR from RSES, NATE and SEDAC. Gary Hurley, City, Water, Light and Power, Energy Services Office Springfield, IL






MATT SLAGER, Director and Annual Conference Committee

Matt Slager joined the GAOI board in March, 2012. He is a mechanical engineer with Hanson Professional Services, a Springfield engineering and architecture consulting firm. Matt is a PE licensed in multiple states and holds the LEED AP credential. He has designed numerous innovative geothermal commercial projects for educational, government and U.S. Department of Defense clients. Much of his professional experience has focused on design and energy modeling of high performance buildings including LEED projects as well as buildings with Net Zero Energy use. Matt Slager, PE, LEED AP , Hanson Professional Services Springfield, IL






Paul Habighorst  is the territory manager for WaterFurnace International, covering much of downstate Illinois.  WaterFurnace is a manufacturer of Geothermal equipment headquartered in Fort Wayne, IN.  Paul has worked in the HVAC and geothermal heat pump industry for many years, focusing on the residential and light commercial side of the industry. Paul Habighorst, WaterFurnace International, St. Charles, MO.


KYLE SMITH, Director

Kyle Smith has been a board member since 2014. He is the Inside Sales Manager for  Enertech Geothermal in Greenville. He has been involved at Enertech since 1999, and worked communications. marketing and sales since 2010.  He is a graduate of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, with a bachelor’s degree in organizational communications. Kyle Smith, Enertech Geothermal, Greenville, IL


KELLY GUNN, Director

Kelly Gunn joined the board in December 2017.  She works for ComEd as a Senior Energy Efficiency Program Manager, focused on heating & cooling systems including geothermal heat pumps.  She joined ComEd in April 2017after four years of emerging technology research management at the Gas Technology Institute.  She holds a BS in Architectural Engineering with an Environmental specialty from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and a Masters of Energy Engineering from the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC).  She is a registered Professional Engineer in Illinois and serves as the Research & Promotion chair on the ASHRAE Illinois chapter board. Kelly Gunn, ComEd, Oakbrook Terrace.



MIKE WILSON, Director and Communications Committee

Mike Wilson joined the GAOI board of directors in the fall of 2017. He is the Vice President of Member and Community Relations for Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, based in Paxton. Eastern Illini is a founding member of the GAOI. With over 20-years of utility experience, Mike focuses on creating and maintaining positive interactions and relationships with his cooperative’s 12,000 members. Eastern Illini has long been a champion of promoting geothermal heating and cooling technology, and the cooperative has over 1,200 geothermal units operating within their service territory. Mike has degree in Public Relations from Greenville University, located in southern Illinois. Mike Wilson, Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, Paxton.




Brent Braker is a founding member of the AOI and has served on the board since its inception in 2008. He is the owner anGd president of Garber Heating and Air Conditionng in Morton. He is a mechanical engineer, with a degree from Bradley University. He joined Garber in 1997 as a service technician and installer and later moved to project management and sales. He has been the president of the company since 2004. Brent Braker, Garber Heating and Air Conditioning, Morton.



JUSTIN STUVA,  DirectorJustin_GAOI

Justin Stuva is a founding member of GAOI and has been a member of the GAOI board of directors since 2014. He currently serves as board vice president. He is Marketing and Member Services Director at Corn Belt Energy Corporation in Bloomington, where he has worked since April, 2009. His primary responsibilities within the Member Services Department is coordinating an active member services/marketing portfolio and staff of customer/member communications professionals. Justin helped initiate and carry out GeoCents, Corn Belt’s award-winning geothermal heat pump incentive/loop ownership program, He holds numerous professional certifications and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Illinois. Justin Stuva, Marketing and Member Services Director, Corn Belt Energy Corp., Bloomington, IL.


JOHN FREITAG, GAOI Executive Director

John Freitag is a founding member of the GAOI board and serves as executive director of the organization. He was a director for the first two years of the organization’s existence, serving as secretary-treasurer. He worked for the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives, Springfield, the statewide trade association for the Illinois electric cooperatives, for 32 years, retiring in February of 2017. He has been a strong supporter of geothermal heating and cooling technology for many years and has written numerous grants for geothermal funding from government agencies and private foundations. He is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and graduate of the University of Wisconsin.  John Freitag, GAOI,  Springfield, IL