Learn more about the amazing group of people that make up the 14 member IAE 80° South Team.
Robert Swan - “30 years ago when we made ‘In the Footsteps of Scott’ there were more people who had stood on the Moon than walked to the Poles. Times have changed now. People are going to the Poles on cars, bikes and what not. Though there still are some serious expeditions going on. The real adventure today is to survive on Earth. The IAE80 and the SPEC will inspire and give people an opportunity to explore, work with and improve upon renewable energy. It will be a new era of exploration
A billion people making small little changes can make a big difference. This is why we are launching the CLIMATE FORCE Movement. Climate is a very forceful element that can take us down if not respected. CLIMATE FORCE is an umbrella that will bring people together and present an opportunity to join something meaningful.
The IAE 80 Test expedition is a huge step to making our expedition to the South Pole in November 2017 the first expedition to the South Pole, surviving only on renewable energy.”
Ameera Mohamed Al Marzoqi, 24, is presently studying IT Security at the Higher Colleges of Technology, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. Her dream to visit the Poles and a chance newspaper article led her to become a part of the IAE 2015- a remarkable experience that opened up her mind to many possiblities. With her love for the outdoors and the environment she is inspiring the youth back home to be more sustainable and protect the Earth.
One of the first Arabs to go to the heart of the White Continent, she will be a part of the Expo 2020 Dubai to engage with a global audience, sharing her experiences in solar technology and sustainable development. Her new house back home will be powered by solar energy.
The expedition to the Union Glacier will also be a time for reflection – to learn more about the self and also learn more about her country. An eternal optimist and a learner, she hopes to set up the first E-Base in UAE.
Saeed Mohamed Al Nuaimi, 23, Abu Dhabi, UAE, is an Electrical Engineer with Adnoc, Gasco. He has previously worked on sun tracking solar panels as a part of senior project in College. Also witness to the flights of Solar Impulse that went round the world from Abu Dhabi, Saeed is excited about his first visit to Antarctica. He wants to learn and understand about renewable energy technology that will be tested as part of the expedition. With ample sunlight he sees great potential for the UAE and has been learning more about renewable energy initiatives in cities like Dubai and Masdar. He will be part of the future project in Gasco to light up the field using solar energy.
Saeed hopes to inspire the youth back home to encourage sustainable and environment friendly habits. One of the first Arabs going to the Union Glacier, he will be a part of Expo 2020 Dubai to share his experiences from Antarctica.
Charulata Somal, 28, New Delhi, India, is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Officer of the Government of India, presently working as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Zilla Panchayat of Kodagu District, Karnataka - rendering her services in the rural development sector implementing central , state and district sector schemes, including the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Programme, Swachch Bharat Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, National Rural Livelihood Mission among others. Besides, she is also working on the environment and tribal education challenges in Kodagu.
Having recently completed a basic mountaineering course in the Himalayas, Charulata is an also an avid trekker and wildlife enthusiast.
Previously a member of IAE 2016, what she fondly called the Ark of Noah, Charulata is a part of IAE 80 South to represent the best efforts of the Government and non-government sector in the field of environment and sustainability, including the works of the ministries of New and Renewable Energy; Coal; Environment, Forests and Climate Change; the International Solar Alliance; Swachch Bharat Mission; Indian Institute of Science, E-Base Kodagu and SAI Sanctuary, Kodagu.
“My three favourite words are: Become Your Dream” – Charulata Somal
Barney Swan, 22, Far North Australia, was born in the United Kingdom, raised in the tropical Far North Australia, and now lives and works in California. With degrees in Business and Multimedia, Barney co-directs 2041’s expeditions and ventures. Over the last 5 years, he has applied and trained skills in alpine mountaineering, risk management, technical sailing, and team coordination.
Barney will walk with his father, Robert Swan, to the South Pole starting November 2017, as part of the South Pole Energy Challenge - a journey of over 600 nautical miles in extreme weather conditions. Creator of the ClimateForce Movement, he hopes to build on the legacy of his father and inspire the younger generation to take action and follow sustainable lifestyles and practices.
IAE80 and SPEC will be a platform for Barney to engage and work with partners and sponsors, empower and inspire audiences with actionable solutions and dialogues on sustainable development. He is determined to have solutions that are not only relevant- but exciting, attractive and profitable.
“Dad and I will be working side by side, generation by generation to help find actionable solutions to the challenges our times are facing” – Barney Swan
Peter Tonkes, 44, Daintree- Cape Kimberly, Far North Queensland, an inquisitive, adventurous and footloose Civil Engineer, he has travelled to the most isolated and fantastic places on work, being inspired by landscapes and people alike.
With his philosophy of environment friendly practices and sustainable living, back home, Peter stays off grid, generating his own clean solar energy on his self sufficient, minimal waste farm, with a small hydro plant in the making.
With a fascination and desire to get to Antarctica, Peter is looking to develop practical and robust solutions and building inter-connectedness between the various technologies that will be tested at Union Glacier.
“As an Engineer concerned about what we are doing to this planet I was ecstatic to be invited to IAE 80 South. The opportunity to contribute to the emerging technologies of alternative energy proposed for the SPEC trip is too important to overlook. Having worked in many developing countries, I have seen firsthand the challenges faced by everyday people and the effect innovative energy solutions can have on daily life and the environment to reduce our carbon footprint.” – Peter Tonkes
Ciara Doyle, 39, Irish, Newport, Wales, UK – Ciara is a mechanical and electrical engineer with Siemens. ‘The chance to win a trip of a lifetime’ email from the CEO of Calon Energy, owner of the power station she works at, was the tipping point of her involvement with IAE 2016 and 2041. Taking a page out of Robert Swan’s book, Ciara sustained the inspiration by being a member of the Global Himalayan Expedition, Ladakh, India, lighting up a village with solar energy in June 2016.
With a passion for clean and green energy, Ciara represents both Siemens and Calon Energy, bringing a wind turbine from local sustainable energy company, Leading Edge Power, for testing and charging batteries at the camp in Union Glacier. She hopes this expedition will inspire and encourage young people, especially women, into engineering, besides galvanise the team at work to embed sustainable practices in plant performance and resource usage at the workplace.
After IAE 80 Ciara wants to engage in greater ingenuity, interaction and cross functional collaboration at work across levels. She has also tied up with local groups such as Soroptomist and is a STEM Ambassador.
“I am passionate about working in the Energy Industry. I have signed up to IAE80 South as I believe it showcases the message of sustainability, ingenuity, leadership, partnership and collaboration between individuals and corporations to find solutions to seemingly impossible challenges that will shape the future of this industry.” – Ciara Doyle
Carolina Sandretto, 35, New York City, Photographer, an Italian who loves to travel, having lived in Switzerland, Egypt and France; passionate about social issues, she fell in love with Antarctica on her first visit. Her first meeting with Robert and his inspirational TED Talk saw her board the Ocean Endeavour as part of IAE 2016. Previously pursuing photography as an interest, doing fundraisers for not for profits, Carolina decided to follow her passion and become a full time photographer. She will soon be releasing two photo books on Cuba.
Carolina is the official photographer in IAE80. This is not the end of her affair with the Antarctic. After IAE80 she will return next year for more photography to the Western Peninsula, with a travel to the Arctic before that. She hopes to spend more time down south, hereafter, pursuing her profession and interests.
Wendy Gediman, Primary Teacher, runs The Wildlife- Roots and Shoots Club at School, from Los Angeles, living in England- Part of IAE 2008 and 2013, an educator, conservationist, wildlife enthusiast, bookaholic, change leader and blogger, Wendy has learnt about Antarctica from the pioneering generation. She inspires her children to become change makers, incorporating Antarctic stories in the study of history, science and literature. As an educator, she reaches out to schools on her travels abroad to Africa, America and other places.
Wendy has worked with Dr Jane Goodall and attended leadership seminars focusing on the environment, wildlife and humans, besides being involved with Design for Change, Earth Hour- Earth Day, local wildlife organizations among others. She is carrying flags made by children in school and from Peru.
“I am excited about venturing into the interior of Antarctica, and being part of Rob’s team testing equipment and technology for the South Pole Energy Challenge. I also plan on sharing the trip on my website, running a blog, and reaching out to children worldwide. The incredible people in the 2041 family always inspire me, and there is no better way to learn about our world than in exploring the last natural habitat on earth, and working to protect it!” – Wendy Gediman
Vivek Mahesh Makhija, 38, Shell, Amsterdam, with the philosophy of Help a Person a Day, Vivek considers himself to be a lucky person, having gotten a good education back home in India. He presently handles the Clean Energy Business for Shell, having previously worked with Cadbury and the Boston Consulting Group. He is working towards the concept of being energized by energy transition- believing in the concept of fair, equitable, accessible and affordable energy for all.
With an MBA from London Business School, Vivek is a loving husband and a doting father, he is excited about his first travel to Antarctica, and equally apprehensive about the cold. He will soon tick all 7 continents off his travel list - testing for biofuel at the Union Glacier, which is touted to achieve a 70% reduction in carbon.
“I am passionate about and in the space of Clean Energy for good now” – Vivek Makhija
Keith Sauls, CFA, 49, Charleston, USA, a philanthropist, investor, educator and adventure sport racer, Keith is the managing partner at Exeter Venture Group and Apple Gold Partners, he is committed to channeling investments in the Environment Sustainability and Governance (ESG) sector- a field he wants to focus on for the next 25 years. His ideas hold appeal across 3 generations up to the millennials. Keith’s first visit to Antarctica was in March 2016.
Inspired by his 19 year old environmentally conscious son, Keith has been a part of multiple Young Life Africa Expeditions to Mt Kilimanjaro, witnessing the changes and glacial melt on the mountain. With a love for gadgets he will focus on his role as an organizer and leader, familiarizing himself with the gear for polar exploration in preparation for his walk to the South Pole – The Last Degree as a part of SPEC – next year.
Back home, when not running on the beach pulling heavy sleds preparing for the last mile, Keith wants to engage more families to direct their investments to the field of ESG.
Mark Leisher, 52, Washington DC, Filmmaker- The reticent and shy film maker talks best through his lens. A father to his 21 year old daughter and passionate about his craft, Mark wants to leave a legacy and promote visual story telling about environmental issues. Working hard behind the camera he wants to focus on solution oriented films rather than the gloom and doom variety.
Mark has 15 years of video and film production experience including numerous credits in network commercials, feature films, music productions, reality TV programming, and corporate videos for Fortune 500 companies. Mark has freelanced with all the major networks both as an independent cinematographer and as a producer for television series and documentary films. A pioneer in HDTV, starting back in 2003, he has helped evolve key solutions and strategies to aid his clients in communicating their message through the ever-evolving worlds of electronic media.
Skilled in mountaineering, rapelling, kayaking, mountain & road biking, snowmobiling, snowboarding and skiing, Mark has an organic vineyard in Colorado – a safe haven to get away from the maddening city life and has plans to harness more renewable energy on the farm.
His new company Media 4 Green focuses on stories of social growth. In IAE80 he will be starting from where he left in IAE2016, documenting stories in Antarctica. He will also be testing for new film and camera equipment.
Edward Balaban, 42, NASA Ames Research Centre, Moffett Field, CA - A trained pilot, Edward is a man of few words with a wicked sense of humour. His love for the outdoors led him to explore a variety of landscapes – mountains and deserts alike.
When not at play, Edward is a scientist at NASA working on robotics and artificial intelligence. He has worked in the Arctic previously, at Devon Island, on the development and testing of an autonomous subterranean planetary drill. His interest in renewable energy, sustainable solutions, and developing new opportunities for testing of NASA technologies in environments relevant to space exploration led him to participate in IAE 2016, successfully testing experimental solar panels and a passive water recycling system in a harsh conditions.
Describing his return to Antarctica as a serendipitous opportunity, Edward will be testing NASA technology, during IAE80, which would in the future make it easier to explore other worlds and also contribute to having a better life on this planet. He hopes to formalize and strengthen the mutually beneficial relationship between NASA and 2041.
Declan Flanagan, 42, CEO, Lincoln Clean Energy (Wind and Solar Power), Chicago: a committed family man, Declan has grown up being fascinated by Tom Crean, a member of Shackleton’s Endurance expedition. Life has come full circle 10 years after first dreaming of going to Antarctica, when in Ushuaia. Having worked in the business of clean energy, Robert Swan´s mission resonated strongly with him. He will rekindle his activist roots from the time he was in school in the 1990s in an attempt to reconcile it with the commercial world.
A product of Kellogg’s Business School, Declan is an execution focused pragmatist, who takes calculated risks. With mixed feelings of excitement and trepidation, as preparation for the expedition, he researched the safety records of the Ilyushin among other things.
He was a participant in the Gross National Happiness Conference in Bhutan in 2015. A traveler who is equally at ease in cities and desolate places, Declan does a lot of cycling and Pilates.
“The economics is favourable towards the renewable energy business” – Declan Flanagan