Our Team

Roar Ramesh Bjonnes

President

Roar Ramesh Bjonnes

President

Roar Ramesh Bjonnes is the co-founder of Systems Change Alliance, a long-time environmental activist and a writer on ecology and alternative economics, which he terms eco-economics. He was the editor of the American Common Future magazine in the mid-90s, a magazine which featured some of the first articles taking a critical look at the so-called sustainable development model and instead presenting the need for a new, post-corporate economy in order to obtain sustainability. He is the co-author of the book Growing a New Economy, which outlines the macro-economic framework for an eco-economy and which world-renowned environmentalist Bill McKibben calls “a hopeful account of the possibilities contained in our current crisis. He is also a writer and practitioner of yoga and meditation and lives and teaches in an eco-village in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

Greg Pace

Treasurer

Greg Pace

Treasurer

Greg’s activism began in 2005, when he did a short study on peak oil theory.  At about the same time, he was learning about concepts of The Commons as a focus on our relationship to our resources.  He was soon involved with raising awareness of oil & gas industry incursions to communities, which led to becoming involved with the community rights movement in Central Ohio where he was a founding member of their group.  He created a PAC and a 501(c )(3) under their name and has held position as treasurer and webmaster.  Greg was also part of a collaborative that built solar installations on members’ homes.  He promoted an effort to use a time bank to build the workforce for the collaborative.

Greg is at EDA because he views that our most successful path into the future will come from rediscovering how economics must be reframed, especially from the standpoint of redirecting our priorities from market-forces-based catering to perceived needs, into forming new and innovative  mechanisms for getting actual needs met.  He sees EDA’s focus on research, education, and advocacy as a balanced approach for manifesting deep-seated changes in our economic behavior.   We need to re-learn that we must have each others’ backs to create a sustainable path forward.

Eva Simenson

Secretary

Eva Simenson

Secretary

Ever since she can remember, Eva has loved how a walk through Nature can calm and uplift. Encroachment on the natural world by humans has troubled her with the result that much of her adult life has been given to figuring out why people so often seem determined to harm Nature and one another. Shouldn't there be laws that help us care for our resources?Friends introduced her to Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), an advocacy group based in Washington D.C. Her acquaintance with FCNL taught her that lawmakers cannot know what is important to their constituents if the constituents do not talk to them. Through reading and study, she also came to see that encroachment on Nature and the harming of persons is very much related to an economic system which views Nature and persons as commodities. Now, she is excited to be part of this group, Economic Democracy Advocates, that works to help Nature and people regenerate.

Terry Blatt

At-Large Trustee

Terry Blatt

At-Large Trustee

Terry Blatt retired from the U.S. State Department where she managed programs designed to foster international cooperation and understanding. She has also worked to improve the abilities of rural and marginalized communities to engage in and manage their economies through practical and entrepreneurial ventures that enhance the community's health, education and well being. She brings a wealth of 40 years experience in financial, managerial, and organizational matters to the Board of Trustees. She joined EDA to help bring economic democracy to everyone, because without economic democracy, political democracy will not work.

Jacelyn Eckman

At-large Trustee

Jacelyn Eckman

At-large Trustee

Jacelyn served in the U.S. Diplomatic Corps on three continents, developing programs on international trade, intellectual property rights, local and global environmental issues, drug trafficking and other matters of bilateral concern in the countries to which she was posted. Since leaving the Foreign Service, she began taking part in political advocacy in Washington D.C. and in her own state. Seeing the power of direct participatory democracy on the Federal level, she began to notice a need for a similar approach closer to home. In 2016 she and four others founded Economic Democracy Advocates, with the intention of focusing on issues of economic justice in people's own communities.Jacelyn spearheads the development of an Advocacy Training Program that will empower concerned citizens to act on issues directly affecting them. Her team will offer advocacy training online and in locations across the country, using EDA's own research on bioregional sustainability as the basis for responding to local problems.

Jacelyn is also an author, a teacher of the Chinese martial arts, and an avid hiker in the beautiful North Carolina mountains she now calls home.

James Kolb

At-Large Trustee

James Kolb

At-Large Trustee

James spent most of his life living and being active on his family’s small farm in rural Pennsylvania. His parents ran this farm while working full-time, and James and his siblings assisted with chores, livestock, and running equipment as soon as they were able. He learned about conservation from his parents when they put the entire farm property into farmland preservation over 20 years ago. Today, James and his siblings co-own that same farm and continue to grow corn and soybean while holding full-time jobs elsewhere. James currently makes his living in the field of electronics and industrial controls.James has also been active with state good government advocacy and social action at the national level, which is where he first connected with the founders of EDA 2.5 years ago. Finding a group of people that want to state, define, and promote solutions to some of the more vexing problems facing us today was a powerful incentive to become a member of EDA, putting his time and energy on the Research Committee. James has continued to expand his knowledge about economics, geography, statistics, advocacy and human thought processes – topics that he never thought would interest him or would be involved with. He quickly realized that the people leading this effort have strong ethics and a real desire to truly help everyone. Wanting to do more, he was elected as an At-Large Trustee in 2018 and is now assisting in steering EDA forward.

James Quilligan

Managing Director

James Quilligan

Managing Director

James comes to EDA from a background in international development. Since 1975, he has been an economic analyst for government agencies in more than fifty countries and many international organizations. He served as policy advisor and writer for several international leaders, including Pierre Trudeau, François Mitterrand, Julius Nyerere, Olof Palme, Willy Brandt, Jimmy Carter, Edward Heath and HRH Prince El Hassan.

In 2000, James began writing about the political economy of bioregionalism and promoting ecological sustainability through participatory democratic management. He is now committed to helping EDA advocate for legislation to ensure that both present and future generations have enough resources to meet their needs. James is also a musician, composer and playwright and enjoys walking in the woods where he lives near Asheville, North Carolina.