Dec 10, 2020 No Comments by

Fresno, CA, December 10, 2020 – The California Energy Commission (CEC) will honor Dr. James O’Bannon, the co-founder and board chairman of Richard Heath & Associates, Inc. (RHA), with its Lifetime Achievement Award. The honor, presented virtually today at the Clean Energy Hall of Fame Awards, recognizes O’Bannon for his work in advancing clean energy and the significant positive impact it has had on the State of California.

In 1979 O’Bannon and his friend, Richard Heath, started the Fresno-based company that pioneered some of California’s first low-income energy efficiency programs. Since then, RHA has developed and administered more than 50 innovative programs for utility customers, schools and businesses.

For more than 40 years, the certified minority-owned business has helped millions of California families and businesses save money, has protected the environment and made communities a better place to live. Through the combined efforts of the company’s employees, contractors, community partners and clients, RHA has provided 2.3 million low-income households and 19,149 small businesses with energy and water efficiency upgrades.

O’Bannon continues to play a critical role in RHA’s development of energy efficiency technology and programs throughout the state. The company also provides services to raise awareness and enroll low-income households in programs beneficial to them including Healthy Families, Covered California, LifeLine and California Low-cost Auto Insurance.

“It is an honor to be recognized for something I have such a great passion for: helping our most vulnerable communities become healthier and more secure,” said O’Bannon. “But really it’s the team at RHA who should get the credit. They work tirelessly to provide solutions, whether it’s helping people lower their utility bills so they can put food on the table or making sure they have affordable health and auto insurance. It’s our team’s dedication and hard work that make it all happen.”

O’Bannon earned an M.E. degree in Industrial Education from Mississippi State University, an Ed.S. in Industrial Education from Northern Iowa University and his Ph.D. in Industrial Education and Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri at Columbia. He has authored nearly 40 published technical manuals, articles and research reports on topics related to energy efficiency and is recognized nationally as an authority in energy efficiency issues. He is an award-winning engineering professor at California State University, Chico, known for not only instilling knowledge in his students, but also an awareness of the importance of giving back to others.

About the Clean Energy Hall of Fame Awards 

Launched as part of the California Energy Commission’s 45th Anniversary celebration, the Clean Energy Hall of Fame Awards is an annual event designed to honor the leadership and outstanding achievements of Californians who help advance the state’s clean energy goals. The awards aim to motivate and inspire all stakeholders to continue to lead California to a 100 percent clean energy future by 2045.

About the California Energy Commission

As the state’s primary energy policy and planning agency, the California Energy Commission plays a critical role in creating the energy system of the future—one that is clean, modern, and ensures the fifth largest economy in the world continues to thrive. Combating climate change is fundamental to maintaining California’s future. The Energy Commission plays a key role in implementing and crafting policies and programs to create a low-carbon economy.


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