2019 Speakers

UT Energy Week 2019 – Speakers and Panelists

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Kristin Abbott
Market Analyst
Texas Public Utility Commission
Energy Storage: Competitive Market and Policy Frameworks that Encourage Flexibility

Kristin Abbott is a Wholesale Market Analyst at the Public Utility Commission of Texas, primarily focusing on the ERCOT market. She holds a B.A. in both Economics and German from Trinity University and a M.S. in Energy and Earth Resources from the University of Texas at Austin.

David Adelman
Harry Reasoner Regents Chair in Law
University of Texas School of Law
Is there a political consensus on carbon pricing?

David E. Adelman teaches and writes in the areas of environmental law, intellectual property law, and climate change policy. Professor Adelman’s research focuses on the many interfaces between law and science. His articles have addressed such topics as the implications of emerging genomic technologies for toxics regulation, the tensions between legal and scientific evidentiary standards in regulatory decision making, and development of effective policies for promoting innovation relevant to addressing climate change. Professor Adelman clerked for the Honorable Samuel Conti of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Before entering academia, he was an associate with the law firm Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., where he litigated patent disputes and provided counsel on environmental regulatory matters, and a Senior Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council also in Washington, D.C. Professor Adelman was an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Arizona Rogers College of Law from 2001 to 2009.

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Richard Amato
GCG Program Manager
IC2 Institute
Funding Renewable Energy Infrastructure in Africa

Bringing together his background and expertise in clean energy and business development, Amato heads up the IC2 Institute’s energy
initiatives, including the World Bank Climate Innovation Center Program and the Energy Incubator at ATI. In addition, Amato also provides support for the programs in India focused on developing the infrastructure necessary to support a robust, entrepreneurial clean-tech environment targeted at solving India’s critical energy issues. Prior to joining IC2, he founded and served as President and CEO of Venti Energy, a renewable development company dedicated to increasing the supply of clean and reliable energy.

Amato holds a MBA in Entrepreneurship and Management from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

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Yoram Bauman
Stand-up Economist
Is there a political consensus on carbon pricing?

Yoram Bauman makes a living as “the world’s first and only stand-up economist”, but he is also a PhD environmental economist who founded Carbon Washington, which in 2016 placed the first-ever carbon tax measure on the ballot in the United States. Yoram is the co-author of the Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change, the two-volume Cartoon Introduction to Economics, and the 1998 book Tax Shift, which helped inspire the revenue-neutral carbon tax in British Columbia. After 20 years in Seattle, Yoram now lives in Salt Lake City, but he takes his comedy act to colleges and corporate events around the country and around the world. He has a BA in mathematics from Reed College and a PhD in economics from the University of Washington. His goals in life are to spread joy to the world through economics comedy; to reform economics education; and to implement carbon pricing.

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Fred Beach
Assistant Director for Energy & Technology Policy
Energy Institute
Panel 3: Power Relations between the US, China, and Russia


Lunch and Keynote Interview: Japan’s Energy Future: A Case Study

Dr. Beach is the Assistant Director for Energy & Technology Policy at the Energy Institute. He is responsible for conducting research and supervising studies related to the development of Energy Policy, Environmental Policy, and Technology Policy. Dr. Beach also teaches Energy Technology Policy and International Energy Policy in the Cockrell School of Engineering and McCombs School of Business.

Prior to joining The University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Beach served for 25 years in the U.S. Navy, where he was a qualified Submariner, Naval Aviator, Surface Warfare Officer, and Acquisition Professional. Since retiring in 2003 he has served as a consultant on defense-related topics for the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group, MITRE, Naval Research Advisory Committee, Naval Research Laboratory, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the Defense Science Board.

Dr. Beach holds a Ph.D. from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin; an M.S. in Physics from the Naval Postgraduate School; and a B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He is also a graduate of the Defense Acquisition University and Certified Level III DoD Acquisition Professional and Program Manager.

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Matthew Bey
Senior Global Analyst
Panel 3: Power Relations between the US, China, and Russia

Matthew Bey is an energy and technology analyst for Stratfor, where he monitors a variety of global issues and trends. In particular, he focuses on energy and political developments in OPEC member states and the consequences of such developments on oil producers and the international oil market. Mr. Bey’s work includes studies on the global impact of rising U.S. energy production, the recent fall in oil prices, Russia’s political influence on Europe through energy, and long-term trends in energy and manufacturing.

Mr. Bey is a native of Houston, Texas. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Lutheran University and a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Texas.

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Suzanne L. Bertin
Executive Director
Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance
Energy Storage: Competitive Market and Policy Frameworks that Encourage Flexibility

As Executive Director, Suzanne Bertin leads TAEBA’s efforts to promote the advanced energy industry in the State of Texas.

Immediately prior to joining TAEBA, Suzanne handled regulatory and government affairs in Texas and the Southeast for EnerNOC, a global leader in demand response and energy intelligence software. Suzanne was also at Reliant (NRG) for more than a decade, where she worked on a wide range of wholesale and retail legislative and regulatory issues, from the inception of the competitive retail market in ERCOT and through its first eleven years of operation. In these roles, Suzanne has had direct business and policy experience relating to numerous advanced energy technologies including energy efficiency, demand response, natural gas, solar, wind, electric vehicles, and smart grid.

Suzanne worked in the Office of Policy Development at the Public Utility Commission of Texas during the late 1990s, when the ERCOT competitive retail market was established by Texas Senate Bill 7. Suzanne co-led the team responsible for implementing the transition to competition, which encompassed more than 40 regulatory proceedings, many of which were highly complex and contentious.

Suzanne also previously held electrical engineering positions at Austin Energy and at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Suzanne holds a Master of Public Affairs degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Suzanne also holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts (Managerial Studies), both from Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Suzanne is a lifelong Texan and resides in Austin.

Brandy Brown
Senior Evaluation Consultant
The Tipping Point for Electric Vehicles

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Robert Bryce
Senior Fellow
Manhattan Institute
Is there a political consensus on carbon pricing?

Robert Bryce has been writing professionally about energy for three decades. He is the author of five books, including most recently, Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong. A senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, he has published articles in dozens of publications including the Wall Street Journal, National Review, New York Times and Sydney Morning Herald. He has also appeared on numerous television and radio programs, ranging from PBS and NPR to Fox News and Al Jazeera. He has also produced a feature-length documentary film: Juice: How Electricity Explains the World, which will be released later this year. @pwrhungry

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Richard Chuchla
Energy & Earth Resources Program, UT Austin
Unconventional Oil and Gas: Opportunities for Future Development and Managing Above-Ground Challenges


Managing Uncertainty in Energy Investment

A geoscientist by training, with an undergraduate degree from Cornell and a Master’s from the Jackson School of Geosciences, Richard started in base and precious metals, moved to coal, and then oil and gas, working in exploration, development and research. As a recently retired executive from industry, he is applying his broad experience to his new position as the Director of the Jackson School’s Energy and Earth Resources (EER) master’s program.

During Richard’s 36-year career with ExxonMobil, assignments took him from Tucson, Arizona,where he accepted his first industry job two days after earning his Master’s, to leadership positions in Europe, Latin America and West Africa. It was then back to the United States, where he spent the better part of his last 10 years launching ExxonMobil’s unconventional resources effort, including two years at the corporate headquarters in Dallas advising the Management Committee and CEO, Rex Tillerson.

At the University of Texas, Richard has served as Chairman of the University of Texas Geology Foundation Advisory Council and Chairman of the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology Visiting Committee. Richard was born in Chile of Polish parents. He is married and has three grown children.

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Connie Corona

Division Director of Competitive Markets
Texas Public Utility Commission
Energy-Only Market Design for Resource Adequacy: Stakeholder Perspectives

Connie Corona is Director of the Competitive Markets Division at the Public Utility Commission of Texas. Prior to returning to the Commission in 2017, Connie served as Director of Regulatory Affairs at NRG. Her previous work at the Commission included development and implementation of state policies on the electric power industry, with a particular focus on the 1999 Texas Electric Choice Act, which introduced competition to the retail electric market.

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Arthur C. D’Andrea
Texas Public Utility Commission
Wednesday Keynote Address

Governor Greg Abbott appointed Arthur D’Andrea to serve as a commissioner on the Public Utility Commission of Texas on November 14, 2017, for a term set that expires on September 1, 2023. Before his appointment, Commissioner D’Andrea served as Assistant General Counsel to Governor Abbott. His career has been primarily focused on the law, including his role as Assistant Solicitor General in the Texas Attorney General’s office where he served as lead appellate counsel in matters including constitutional challenges to state statutes, public-utilities regulation, antitrust, tax disputes, insurance regulation, regulatory takings, and petitions for writ of habeas corpus. There he argued thirteen cases in the Second and Fifth Circuits, the Texas Supreme Court, and in the intermediate state courts of appeals.

Prior to joining the Attorney General’s team, Arthur worked in the Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation Practice Group for a private law firm where he represented clients before the United States Supreme Court and in federal and state courts of appeals nationwide in matters including white-collar criminal prosecutions, international-trade disputes, patent infringement, trademark disputes, bankruptcy, international arbitration, and securities litigation.

After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas, Commissioner D’Andrea worked as a Management Consultant for Price Waterhouse Coopers before earning a Juris Doctor from the University Of Texas School Of Law. He and his wife, Erin, are raising their children in Austin, Texas.

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Dave Darnell
Grid Cybersecurity

Mr. Darnell is an entrepreneur, consulting and software business owner (Systrends), and innovative technical leader with more than 17 years of electricity market and utility systems and software experience. He has proven leadership capabilities with a strong ability to balance stakeholder needs and coordinate the efforts of multiple companies, projects and departments. He has demonstrated board and governance level communication and collaboration skills with the successful completion of multiple software development projects and implementations.

Mr. Darnell balances technical and business issues by using strong technical skills, business knowledge, market knowledge, electric utility market systems knowledge and an understanding of computer systems and infrastructure. He is responsible for developing strategic objectives and designing program and tactical project objectives and system software designs to meet regulatory, security and market requirements and communicate results to stakeholders.

Mr. Darnell is skilled in FERC electronic standards, NERC Cyber Security Compliance programs, and managing multiple implementations of system controls to support compliance. Throughout his career, Mr. Darnell has been responsible for leadership of software development, software quality assurance, software maintenance, data operations, cloud services, data transport security, and enterprise information security. He has completed numerous professional development courses in information technology and cyber-security.

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Rushabh Desai
Head of Finance
Yotta Solar
Funding Renewable Energy Infrastructure in Africa

Rushabh brings over 8 years of experience in solar operations and financial management for projects. He is a UT Alum and graduated from the McCombs School of Business in 2010. Post UT, he worked in cleantech project financing in Houston, and went on to help raise close to $50 Million for an Indian utility-scale solar developer, with whom he worked on over 95MW of projects in 2 years all across India. He moved back to Texas to work in the commercial and residential solar market space, and has now become a true believer in the future of micro-grids & distributed generation policies to power the World.

At Yotta Solar, he is helping build and commercialize the next revolution in energy storage to help bring power to the most remote areas worldwide, independent of a grid.

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John Dumas
Vice President of Market Operations
Lower Colorado River Authority
Energy-Only Market Design for Resource Adequacy: Stakeholder Perspectives

John Dumas is currently the Vice President of Market Operations for LCRA, where he is responsible for QSE operations. Mr. Dumas has more than 30 years of experience in the management of electricity grids and wholesale energy market operations. Prior to LCRA, Mr. Dumas was the Director of Wholesale Market Operations at ERCOT, where he led the transition from the Zonal market to the Nodal Market. He was responsible for all Day-Ahead, Real-Time, and Congestion Revenue Rights market activities at ERCOT. Prior to this position, Mr. Dumas served as the Manager of Operations Planning at ERCOT, where he was responsible for wind integration, advanced network applications, load and wind forecasting. Since joining LCRA, he has served on the Technical Advisory Committee (TAG) and Wholesale Market Subcommittee (WMS). Mr. Dumas earned his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington.

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Thomas Edgar
The George T. and Gladys H. Abell Chair in Engineering
UT Austin
Sustainability and Economic Pressures in the Petrochemical Industry

Thomas F. Edgar is the George T. and Gladys H. Abell Chair in Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Edgar joined UT’s faculty in 1971. He served as Department Chair of Chemical Engineering (1985-93), Associate Dean of Engineering (1993-96), Associate Vice President for Academic Computing (1996-2001), and Director of the UT Energy Institute from 2013-2018. For the past 40 years Edgar has concentrated his academic work in process modeling, control, and optimization and has published over 500 articles and book chapters in the above fields applied to separations, chemical reactors, coal combustion and gasification, and semiconductor manufacturing. He has supervised the thesis research of over 45 M.S. and 80 PhD students. He also co-directs the Texas-Wisconsin Modeling and Control Consortium, which involves 13 industrial partners.

Edgar has co-authored two leading textbooks: Optimization of Chemical Processes (McGraw-Hill, 2001) and Process Dynamics and Control, 4th Ed. (Wiley, 2016) and has received major awards from AIChE and ASEE. Dr. Edgar was the 1997 President of AIChE, is co-founder of the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC; https://smartmanufacturingcoalition.org/), and serves on the executive board of the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (https://www.cesmii.org/). He is a member of the National Academy Engineering. Dr. Edgar’s current energy research covers renewable energy, combined heat and power, energy storage, and improved oil recovery (www.che.utexas.edu/edgar_group). He has supervised the thesis research of over 45 M.S. and 80 Ph.D. students and initiated the popular engineering elective, “Energy Technology and Policy.

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Joshua Eisenman
Assistant Professor of Public Affairs
LBJ School of Public Affairs
Funding Renewable Energy Infrastructure in Africa

Joshua Eisenman’s (马佳士) research focuses on the political economy of China’s development and its foreign relations with the United States and the developing world—particularly Africa. His work has been published in top academic journals including World Development, Development and Change, Journal of Contemporary China and Cold War History, and in popular outlets such as Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal and Foreign Policy. His views have been cited in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist and The New Republic.

Professor Eisenman’s newest book, “Red China’s Green Revolution: Technological Innovation, Institutional Change, and Economic Development Under the Commune” (Columbia University Press, 2018), explains how more capital investment and better farming techniques increased agricultural productivity growth in Maoist China. In “China Steps Out: Beijing’s Major Power Engagement with the Developing World” (Routledge, 2018), he worked with Eric Heginbotham to analyze China’s policies toward the developing world. His second book, “China and Africa: A Century of Engagement” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), co-authored with David Shinn, was named one of the top three books about Africa by Foreign Affairs. Their next volume, under advance contract with the University of Pennsylvania Press, will examine the China-Africa political and security relationship.

Professor Eisenman has been a visiting faculty member at Fudan University (Summer 2017), Peking University (Summer 2016), and NYU–Shanghai (2011–12). He was a policy analyst on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (2003–05) and has been Senior Fellow for China Studies at the American Foreign Policy Council since 2006.

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Seyi Fabode
Funding Renewable Energy Infrastructure in Africa

Seyi has more than 16 years of experience developing, deploying and investing in technology solutions for the utility industry. Prior to founding Varuna, Seyi spent several years consulting with the leading utilities in the US and in emerging markets on their technology strategy and product development. This came after founding, raising venture capital, hiring an amazing team for and eventually selling Power2Switch, the leading retail energy marketplace technology company. Prior to this, he worked in operations and software development for a 1000MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine Power Plant in London serving 500k residents of the city. Seyi has an MBA from the Booth School of Business at University of Chicago, and an MSc in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from Warwick University in the UK.

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Bill Fairhurst
Project Manager
Bureau of Economic Geology
Unconventional Oil and Gas: Opportunities for Future Development and Managing Above-Ground Challenges

Bill is Manager and a researcher developing 3D Geocellular / Reservoir Characterization, geo-statistical, and economic outlook models for the Tight Oil Resource Assessment (TORA) Consortium at the Bureau of Economic Geology. This research is focused on unconventional resource plays in the Delaware and Midland Basins including continued research in the Bakken/Three Forks, Marcellus, Barnett, Haynesville-Bossier, Fayetteville and Eagle Ford / Austin Chalk.

Bill is also President / Founder of Riverford Exploration, LLC a consulting practice and exploration & producing assets in unconventional resource plays in the Delaware, Williston, and Merge Basins/Plays and conventional plays throughout the United States.

Previously, Bill served as President / COO of Discovery Resources & Development, Vice President of Land & Exploration and Chief Geologist for several Independent E&P companies including Petro-Hunt, Eagle Oil & Gas and Hilcorp Energy after fifteen years in technical and managerial roles with Marathon Oil.

Bill has been involved in the majority of U.S. resource plays prior to the resource revolution, is credited with economic discovery of the WolfBone play in the Delaware Basin. Previously, he placed his company in Elm Coulee, Bakken, Field prior to its discovery, the largest onshore U.S. discovery in 56 years. He and his teams have also discovered dozens of new fields in traditional plays in the Williston, Rocky Mountains, Permian, mid-Continent, Gulf Coast Mesozoic basins, offshore U.S. and has worked and led exploration programs on six (6) continents.

Bill graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University majoring in Geology and Economics-Management; the University of Missouri-Columbia with Master in Geology; and from the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston with Master of Business Administration concentrating in Finance. He has provided Expert Legal testimony involving geology, engineering and economic evaluation; provided and managed professional testimony before nine state Industrial Commissions; lectured and taught on several subject areas at universities, published and spoken nationally and internationally in technical, business and policy forums. Bill is a Certified Petroleum Geologist by the American Association of Petroleum Geologist and Licensed Professional Geologist in the state of Texas.

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David Firestein
Executive Director
UT China Public Policy Center
Panel 3: Power Relations between the US, China, and Russia

David J. Firestein is the inaugural executive director of The University of Texas at Austin’s China Public Policy Center (CPPC) and clinical professor at UT’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. As CPPC chief, Firestein leads UT’s institutional engagement with China and oversees innovative interdisciplinary research on China-related domestic and foreign policy topics. Prior to joining UT, Firestein served as senior vice president and Perot Fellow at the EastWest Institute; there, he led the Institute’s work in the areas of U.S.-China relations, East Asian security and U.S.-Russia relations.

A decorated career U.S. diplomat from 1992–2010, Firestein specialized primarily in China and U.S.-China relations. He is the author or co-author of three books on China, including two China-published Chinese-language best-sellers. Firestein speaks Chinese at the near-native level.

Throughout his career, Firestein has played an active role advancing U.S.-China and U.S.-Asia trade. He has also produced path-breaking thought leadership, scholarship and Capitol Hill testimony on a range of topics, including U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, U.S.-China infrastructure investment cooperation, and the role of national exceptionalism as a driver of major international conflict today. Firestein was also a principal architect of the U.S.-China High-Level Political Party Leaders Dialogue.

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Kip Fox
Electric Transmission Texas
Grid Cybersecurity

Kip Fox is the President of Electric Transmission Texas, LLC (ETT), a joint venture between subsidiaries of American Electric Power (AEP) and Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company (BHE). ETT acquires, constructs, owns and operates transmission facilities within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), primarily in and around the AEP Texas service territory. ETT currently has over $3 billion in transmission assets.

Mr. Fox earned a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from Virginia Tech and master’s degree in Business Administration from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a former Chapter President and member of the National Society of Professional Engineers. Mr. Fox is also a member of University of Arizona Scholarship Foundation; the Virginia Tech School of Engineering Student Advisory Counsel and Austin Business Chamber of Commerce.

He and his wife DJ reside in Austin, Texas.

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Pam Giblin
Senior Policy Advisor
Climate Leadership Council
Is there a political consensus on carbon pricing?

Pam Giblin spent 24 years as a Partner at Baker Botts, L.L.P, where she provided strategic counsel on a broad array of environmental issues, particularly in the areas of air quality and climate. With her deep historical knowledge of the Clean Air Act, Ms. Giblin has repeatedly supported multi-stakeholder advocacy efforts to achieve a number of challenging public policy objectives.

Ms. Giblin has served as past president of the American College of Environmental Lawyers, and on the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, a senior- level policy committee established by Congress to advise EPA on issues related to implementing the Clean Air Act. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Environmental Law Institute.

Early in her career, Ms. Giblin served as General Counsel of the Texas Air Control Board. She is a frequent speaker at seminars and conferences on environmental law issues, and she is the first woman to receive the Distinguished Lawyer Award from the Travis County Bar Association. Ms. Giblin received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, and her J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law.

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Tony Go
Chief Engineer
Sustainability and Economic Pressures in the Petrochemical Industry



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Michele Gregg
Executive Director
Texas Competitive Power Advocates (TCPA)
Energy-Only Market Design for Resource Adequacy: Stakeholder Perspectives

Michele Gregg is the Executive Director for the Texas Competitive Power Advocates (TCPA), a non-profit trade association that is dedicated to helping ensure a successful energy future for Texas by investing in and operating clean and diversified energy sources to ensure ample, reliable and affordable electricity for Texas consumers.

Prior to joining TCPA, Ms. Gregg spent nearly eight years as the Director of External Relations for the Office of Public Utility Counsel (OPUC), a state agency that represents the interests of residential and small commercial utility consumers. At OPUC, she concentrated her work on intergovernmental relations, legislative relations, communications, outreach and stakeholder collaboration.

Michele has over 20 years in the legislative arena. Her career includes nearly a decade as the Director of Legislative and Political Affairs for a statewide trade association as well as lobbying for a statewide education association. She specialized in tax and finance legislation and also directed the association’s political action committee, grassroots and election activities. Michele also lobbied on school finance and governance issues for several years. Ms. Gregg began her career in the Texas House of Representatives, serving four years as the Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for a Houston representative.

Ms. Gregg received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She has served on Government Relations Committees for state and national associations. She served from 2015 through 2018 on the Board of Directors for the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative, a national non-profit organization that advances the consumer-driven market for services and technologies enabled by smart grid. Ms. Gregg lives in a competitive retail electric area north of Austin with her family.

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Bob Helton
Director of Government & Regulatory Affairs
ENGIE North America
Energy-Only Market Design for Resource Adequacy: Stakeholder Perspectives

Bob Helton is the Director of Government & Regulatory Affairs for Engie North America and has 30 years of experience in the electric industry. He is responsible for developing regulatory/market design policy in support of Engie retail/wholesale business development and market activities within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). This includes extensive participation and advocacy in the Legislative, ERCOT stakeholder and Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) processes for the development and modification of the ERCOT retail and wholesale market design and protocols.

He is a past member of the ERCOT Board of Directors, member the Board of Directors of the Texas Solar Power Association and the Board of Directors of the Advanced Power Alliance and past President of the Competitive Power Advocates Legislative Lobbying Consortium. He currently serves as the Chair of the ERCOT Technical Advisory Committee.

Mr. Helton is a former elected official serving on the Water District Board as President and Councilman on the Village Council of Point Venture, TX.

Mr. Helton holds a Bachelor of Science degree in nuclear science from the University of Maryland at College Park.

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Mark Houser
Chief Executive Officer
University Lands
Lunch keynote address: Diversifying University Lands’ Energy Portfolio – Spotlight on Renewables

Mark Houser began serving as the Chief Executive Officer of University Lands in March 2015. A part of the University of Texas System, University Lands manages both the surface and mineral rights to 2.1 million acres in the oil-rich Permian Basin of West Texas. Revenue from the development of these lands provides funding for more than twenty education and health institutions across both The University of Texas System and The Texas A&M University System.

Prior to working at University Lands, Mark was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of EnerVest, Ltd., an acquisition focused upstream oil and gas company that operates in 16 states. He was also the President and Chief Executive Officer of EV Energy Partners (EVEP), an upstream master limited partnership of which EnerVest is the general partner. Mark was with EnerVest for nearly 16 years and still serves on the Board of Directors of EVEP.

Mark earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M University and his Master of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University. He serves on several boards, including Chapelwood United Methodist Church, the Houston Methodist Hospital System, the Houston Methodist Research Institute, and the Texas A&M Department of Petroleum Engineering Advisory Board.

A native of Dallas, Mark and his wife, Lou, have four daughters and four granddaughters. They enjoy hunting and fishing at their ranch.

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Svetlana Ikonnikova
Research Scientist
Bureau of Economic Geology
Panel 3: Power Relations between the US, China, and Russia

Dr. Svetlana Ikonnikova is a Research Scientist and Senior Energy Economist in the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin with experience in energy markets and policy analysis, environmental regulation, and industrial and technological change studies.

She holds B.Sc. and M.S. degrees in applied mathematics and physics (Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia), Ph.D. in economics and management science (Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany) and did her Postdoctoral research in energy and environmental regulation (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium).

Over the past fifteen years, she has been conducting research and lecturing on energy markets and energy industry developments, focusing on the electric power industry and renewable energy sustainability, conventional and unconventional natural gas supply chains (in the U.S., EU, and FSU) and international trade, and shale and tight oil economics.

Dr. Ikonnikova is a Principal Investigator and a lead modeler in the interdisciplinary study of the major U.S. shale gas and oil plays, including the Barnett, Fayetteville, Haynesville, Marcellus, Eagle Ford, Bakken and Permian Basin, focusing on resource evaluation and production projections under various economic, technological and regulatory developments.

Dr. Ikonnikova has published her research in various peer-reviewed journals, including Review of Industrial Organization, European Economics Association, Energy Journal, Energy, SPE Economics and Management and presents at numerous conferences, including USAEE, where in 2006 she was awarded “Best Student Paper Award”.

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Mike Jacobs
Senior Energy Analyst
Union of Concerned Scientists
Clean, Green or In-between: Competing visions of a decarbonized economy

Mike Jacobs is the lead on Electricity Markets and Regulatory efforts in the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and is the chairman of the Vineyard Power Co-op, a partner of Vineyard Wind. Prior to coming to UCS, Mr. Jacobs worked as the VP of transmission for First Wind, and in policy roles at TransEnergieUs, Xtreme Power (an energy storage company), and the American Wind Energy Association. In these positions, he developed strategies for wind integration, transmission and battery storage. His regulatory experience includes a detail to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and staff positions with the Massachusetts Siting Board and Department of Public Utilities. He has served on the boards of the Northern Maine Independent System Administrator, Vineyard Power Co-op, Solar Grid Storage, Wind on the Wires, the Wind Coalition, and Interwest Energy Alliance.

Glenn Jacobson
Trilantic North America
Managing Uncertainty in Energy Investment

Schweta Karwa
Process Evaluation Engineer
Sustainability and Economic Pressures in the Petrochemical Industry

Shweta is a chemical engineer from a family of chemical engineers. After finishing her undergraduate engineering degree at the Institute of Chemical Technology-Mumbai in 2011, she completed her PhD in gas separation membranes from Georgia Tech in 2015, and then subsequently joined the Process Evaluations group at Shell in Jan 2016. At the moment, Shwetafocuses on the competitive landscaping for Chemicals Lead Generation, evaluating the technoeconomic potential of new technologies within New Energies Research and Technology, while also searching for additional applications for membrane separation. She is also actively involved with the Management Division of AICHE and Women’s Network at Shell.

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Lin Khoo
Senior VP Strategy
The Tipping Point for Electric Vehicles

With over a decade of transportation and energy industry experience, Lin Khoo has been instrumental in scaling open standards-based technology solutions for EV networks and grid management for Greenlots, overseeing product and market development opportunities. As Senior Vice President, Khoo has brokered multi-million dollar deals across 13 countries, forging new partnerships with top investor-owned utilities, automakers, municipalities and technology partners to deliver end-to-end solutions for Greenlots’ next generation SKY platform. Khoo holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Purdue University and is trilingual, speaking English, Malay and Mandarin.

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Guy Koloko
KNS Solar
Funding Renewable Energy Infrastructure in Africa

Guy is a native of Bonaberi in Cameroon, Central Africa, where he graduated at an early age from technical high school. During his education back then, he learned the basic manufacturing of metal parts for machinery. Coming to U.S in Georgia in 2004, he then worked as a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machinist for six years in Atlanta, GA where he manufactured high precision metal parts for fighter jets, military hardware and machine parts. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechatronics (Automation) Engineering from SPSU/Kennesaw State University in Marietta, Georgia. His diploma is a perfect combination of electrical, mechanical and computer science engineering. He has worked as a PLC /Automation Systems Engineer where he maintained and remotely operated over 250 automated truck washing stations nationwide. After moving to Houston, Guy worked with Anadarko Petroleum as a SCADA project engineer where he set up, controlled and operated remotely countless oil and gas facilities across the U.S. This consisted at developing a software for control room to report real time data from the field. His work in the petroleum industry motivated him to move in a completely opposite direction, the renewable energy industry. He then resigned from his career in the petroleum industry and dedicated his talent to solar energy. As project engineer, he founded KNS Solar with his wife Ornella to begin designing and installing residential and commercial systems for solar companies in Houston and Austin. Guy is a state licensed electrician and meets the qualifications required by all Texas utility companies. Guy is also NABCEP certified PV installer. After installing countless solar systems for other companies, KNS Solar has decided to grab a share of the market by offering both grid tied and off grid renewable system to bring the sun’s free energy to all of Texas.

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Colin Leyden
Senior Manager, State Regalatory & Legislative Affairs
Envirnomental Defense Fund
Unconventional Oil and Gas: Opportunities for Future Development and Managing Above-Ground Challenges

Colin oversees EDF’s efforts to improve environmental performance and oversight of oil and gas production activities in Texas. He manages technical experts and policy advocates, and works with state officials, industry partners and NGOs. He has more than 12 years of political, policy and public advocacy experience in Texas working with legislators, NGO’s and industry.

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Richard Morgan
Senior Energy Code Compliance Program Manager
The Future of Building Energy Efficiency: Smart Building or Building Smart?

Richard Morgan is the Sr. Energy Codes Manager for the South-central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource, the Regional Energy Efficiency Organization serving Texas and Oklahoma. The Energy Code Program is responsible for expanding knowledge of state energy codes and providing outreach and education to code officials, builders and contractors in their efforts to comply with the code. Prior to joining SPEER Richard was the Green Building and Sustainability Manager for Austin Energy, the municipal electric utility for the City of Austin, TX. Richard has participated in many regional and national green building and energy code working groups and committees including acting as Chair of the Energy Working Group of the ICC Sustainable Building Technology Committee for the development of the first version of the International Green Construction Code.

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Sharon Mosher
Jackson School of Geosciences
Conference Welcome

Sharon Mosher is Dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin and has held this position since 2009. She is a professor and holder of the William Stamps Farish Chair and has been a faculty member at the university since 1978. Dr. Mosher’s expertise is in structural geology, structural petrology, and tectonics. Her primary research interests are in deformation along plate boundaries, the evolution of complexly deformed terranes, strain analysis, deformation mechanisms, and the interaction between chemical and physical processes during deformation. She has supervised 19 Ph.D. and 35 M.S. students and was field camp director for 15 years. She was chair of the Department of Geological Sciences from 2007-2009. Mosher received her Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1978 and M.Sc. from Brown University in 1975.

Mosher was President of the American Geoscience Institute (AGI) in 2012-13, President of the Geological Society of America (GSA) in 2000-2001, and 2004 Chair of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents, an organization representing ~1.5 million scientists nationwide. She is a founder and past chair of the board for GeoScienceWorld, an international journal aggregation for geoscientists. She is an active member in many geoscientific societies including GSA, the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG). She is a fellow of the Geological Society of America, from which she received the Distinguished Service Award in 2003, an honorary fellow of the Geological Society of London, and recipient of the Association of Women Geologists Outstanding Educator Award (1990). In 2016 she was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award from her alma mater, the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana.

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Zoltan Nagy
Assistant Professor
Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin
The Future of Building Energy Efficiency: Smart Building or Building Smart?

Dr. Zoltan Nagy is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, directing the Intelligent Environments Laboratory since 2016. A roboticist turned building engineer, his research interests are in smart buildings and cities, renewable energy systems, control systems for zero emission building operation, machine learning and artificial intelligence for the built environment, complex fenestration systems and the influence of building occupants on energy performance. Prior to joining UT, Austin, Dr. Nagy was a senior scientist at the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, in the Department of Architecture. He worked with Prof. Arno Schlueter in the Architecture & Building Systems research group on control systems for sustainable building operation, as well as wireless sensor networks and applications of machine learning in building retrofit. Dr. Nagy has co-founded the award-winning high-tech spin-off Femtotools in 2007, and was member of its board of directors until 2011.Dr. Nagy received a PhD in robotics in 2011 working in the MultiScale Robotics Lab of Prof. Brad Nelson, and an MSc in Mechanical Engineering (2006) with a focus on micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and robotics, both from ETH Zurich, Switzerland. He spent an academic exchange semester at the Danish Technical University in 2005, and was a visiting researcher in the Distributed Robotics Laboratory of Prof. Daniela Rus at MIT in 2009.

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Hisanori Nei
Deputy Director, Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy Program
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)
Lunch and Keynote Interview: Japan’s Energy Future: A Case Study

Prof. Hisanori Nei is the Deputy Director of the Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy Program at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Tokyo. Founded in 1997 as a stand-alone graduate institute, GRIPS is comprised of world-class academics and distinguished practitioners with expertise in public sector policy formulation and management. Prof. Nei specializes in energy policy, nuclear safety policy, and policy for regional industry promotion. In his research, he focuses on post-Fukushima nuclear safety policy, relationships between nuclear development and natural gas markets in Asia, and relationships with industry.

Mr. Nei joined the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) in 1981 after graduating from University of Tokyo with a major in Geology. After working in various deputy director positions, he moved to Houston Texas as Executive Director of JETRO Houston from 1997 to 2000. During his time in Texas, he supported several programs to coordinate energy security policy between Japan and the United States. From 2001 to 2003, he worked as the director of the Middle East and Africa Office and the director of Petroleum Refining and Reserve Division at Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). At that time he concentrated to create the Ministry’s policy after the 911 event. Then he was dispatched to ORHA or CPA at Iraq to support Iraq reconstruction efforts. In 2005, he served as Director of the Technical Cooperation Division at METI to develop assistance programs for developing countries in Asia and Africa. From 2005 to 2008, he worked as the director, Nuclear Power Inspection Div. Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), METI, to support regulation reform of Japanese Nuclear Power Plant inspection. At the same time, he worked as a spokesman of severe issues such as the Chuetsu-Oki earthquake, which damaged the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station. After a year working experience as Director General, Tohoku Regional Bureau of METI, he was promoted to Deputy Director General for Nuclear Fuel Cycle Safety, NISA, METI. At NISA, he served as the chief inspector when the MONJU or FBR resumed after 15 years shut down. When the Tohoku off- Pacific Earthquake hit the Fukushima-Daiichi, TEPCO, he worked more with the U.S. mission and coordinated the Government Official Report to the IAEA. In June 2011, he was assigned as councilor at the cabinet secretary for restoring the Nuclear Accident. April 2012 to March 2014, he worked as Executive Director at the Japan National Oil, Gas and Metals Corporation. He became a Professor at GRIPS in June 2014.

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Vanessa Nuñez López
Research Scientist Associate
Gulf Coast Carbon Center, Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin
Clean, Green or In-between: Competing visions of a decarbonized economy

Vanessa Nuñez López is a Research Scientist Associate at the Gulf Coast Carbon Center of the University of Texas at Austin’s Bureau of Economic Geology. In this position, she serves as Principal Investigator for several applied carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) projects. She holds a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from Universidad Central de Venezuela, an M.S. in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. in Energy and Mineral Resources also from the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining the Bureau of Economic Geology, Vanessa was a Senior Reservoir Engineer at Chevron Energy Technology’s Carbon Storage group, where she served as company representative for several CCUS Joint Industry Projects, such as the renowned Weyburn-Midale IEA project. Back in her native Venezuela, she worked as an Instructor Professor at Universidad Central de Venezuela.

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Sheila Olmstead
LBJ School of Public Affairs
Unconventional Oil and Gas: Opportunities for Future Development and Managing Above-Ground Challenges

Sheila Olmstead is a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin (UT), a visiting fellow at Resources for the Future (RFF) in Washington, DC and a senior fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Montana. From 2016–2017, she served as the Senior Economist for Energy and the Environment at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. Before joining UT in 2013, Olmstead was a senior fellow (2013) and fellow (2010–13) at RFF, as well as associate professor (2007–10) and assistant professor (2002–07) of environmental economics at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Olmstead is currently an editor of the “Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.” She has also served as vice president and a member of the board of directors of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, as associate editor of “Water Resources Research,” co-editor of “Environmental and Resource Economics,” book review editor of “Water Economics and Policy,” and editorial council member for the “Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.” She holds a Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard University (2002), a master’s in public affairs from The University of Texas at Austin (1996) and a B.A. from the University of Virginia (1992).

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David Petti
Director of Nuclear Fuels and Materials Division
Nuclear Science and Technology Division, Idaho National Laboratory
Clean, Green or In-between: Competing visions of a decarbonized economy

Dr. David Petti is a graduate of the MIT Nuclear Engineering Department and has been recognized as a Fellow at both the Idaho National Laboratory and the American Nuclear Society. With over 30 years of experience in nuclear fission and fusion technology, he recently completed a Joint Appointment with MIT as the Executive Director of a study on the Future of Nuclear Power in a Carbon Constrained World. He is currently the Director of the Nuclear Fuels and Materials Division at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). Dave is the author of over 120 peer-reviewed publications and 75 national and international conference proceedings in the areas of TRISO-coated particle fuel behavior, fusion safety, and fission reactor safety.

He has served in a variety of positions during his time at INL including: a former co-National Technical Director of the DOE Advanced Reactor Program, Chief Scientist of the Nuclear Science and Technology Directorate, at the Idaho National Laboratory and Deputy Director and the US lead for Safety and Standards in the DOE Fusion Technology program. In the US Fusion Safety Program he was responsible for and made seminal contributions to safety and risk evaluations of the ITER design, and technical leadership of safety-related R&D for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project.

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William Prather
Director of Natural Resources
Managing Uncertainty in Energy Investment

William Prather is the Senior Director of Natural Resources and Infrastructure Investments, where he leads the endowments’ investment activities globally within natural resources and infrastructure across public and private markets. His focus is on energy, metals and mining, agriculture and infrastructure. Prior to joining UTIMCO, William worked at BlackRock in New York City where he was a portfolio manager/analyst investing across the capital structure in both public and private markets. Before BlackRock, William was an Investment Banking Analyst at Lehman Brothers in New York City and an Analyst at Teton Capital in Austin, Texas. William is a CPA and a CFA charterholder and received an MPA and BBA from The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business.

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Asher Price
Energy Reporter
Austin American-Statesman
Clean, Green or In-between: Competing visions of a decarbonized economy

Asher Price writes about energy, the environment and state politics for the Austin American-Statesman. He’s co-author of The Great Texas Wind Rush and is working on a biography of Earl Campbell. Mr. Price is also a 2019 Journalism Fellow at the UT Energy Institute.

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Elizabeth Rogers
Michael Best and Friedrich LLP
Grid Cybersecurity

A former chief privacy officer in Texas state government, Elizabeth Rogers brings a unique and informed perspective to her privacy and cybersecurity practice at Michael Best. Clients benefit from Elizabeth’s extensive experience with a variety of regulatory, cybersecurity compliance, and technology-specific privacy matters. She focuses on issues including development of global data privacy compliance frameworks, breach response, privacy risk assessments, and enterprise-wide cybersecurity programs, policies and procedures across industries such as retail, health care, financial services, energy and retail electric providers, education, and state and local governments.

Outside of her law practice, Elizabeth teaches cybersecurity and privacy law topics for the University of Texas School of Information’s Master’s Program in Identity Management and Security. She is a thought leader on privacy and cybersecurity matters facing businesses, and frequently speaks and is published on emerging trends in these areas. Elizabeth is an Advisory Board Member of UC-Berkeley’s Global Cyber Security Institute, a council member of the State Bar of Texas’ Computer & Technology Law section, and a member of the Greater Houston Partnership’s Cybersecurity Task Force. She is an active supporter of the arts and currently serves on the boards of directors for the Mexic-Arte Museum, Kids in a New Groove, and Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts.

Nick Schulz
Director of Stakeholder Engagement
Is there a political consensus on carbon pricing?



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Alison Silverstein
Energy Storage: Competitive Market and Policy Frameworks that Encourage Flexibility

Alison Silverstein is a consultant, strategist and writer on electric transmission and reliability, energy efficiency and technology adoption issues. She serves as project manager for the North American Synchrophasor Initiative and advises private and governmental clients on advanced technology, regulatory and other issues. Silverstein organized and wrote DOE’s August 2017 “Staff Report on Electric Markets and Reliability,” and led the independent expert panel whose report led to transformation of Bonneville Power Administration’s transmission planning process. She has contributed to the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative framework and its renewables and reliability integration.

Silverstein served as Senior Energy Policy Advisor to Chairman Pat Wood, III, at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from July 2001 through July 2004, co-chairing the 2003 Electric Systems Investigation for the U.S.-Canada blackout investigation and writing the investigation reports. She has worked at the Public Utility Commission of Texas, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., ICF Inc., the Environmental Law Institute, and the U.S. Department of Interior. Silverstein serves on the Boards of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians.

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David Spence
Baker Botts Chair in Law
University of Texas School of Law
Energy-Only Market Design for Resource Adequacy: Stakeholder Perspectives

David Spence is Baker Botts Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law, and Professor of Business Government & Society at the McCombs School of Business. Professor Spence is co-author of the leading energy law casebook, Energy, Economics and the Environment (Foundation Press), and has published numerous scholarly articles on subjects relating to energy policy, regulation and the regulatory process. Professor Spence’s research focuses on the law and politics of energy regulation, broadly defined. His scholarly writings address the environmental regulation of the oil and gas industry and the electric utility industry, as well as economic regulation (regulation of price and competition) in the public utility industry. He has Ph.D in political science from Duke University and a J.D. from the University of North Carolina.

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Charles Sternbach
Star Creek Energy
Unconventional Oil and Gas: Opportunities for Future Development and Managing Above-Ground Challenges

Charles A. Sternbach has explored for and discovered Energy in the US and around the globe for 38 years. He was Staff Geologist for Shell Oil Company, Exploration Manager for Tom Jordan (Jordan Oil and Gas), President of First Place Energy (International frontier exploration) and is currently President of Star Creek Energy. Charles has a PhD (and MS) in Geology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a BA in geology from Columbia University. He was appointed a University of Houston adjunct professor 2018.

Charles is a proud member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) and he was the 2017/2018 President of this 30,000 member organization. He is a co-editor with Dr. Robert Merrill on the fifth installment of the AAPG memoir series Giant Fields of the Decade 2000-2010 (Memoir 113) and they are working on the 2010-2020 next edition. In April 2017 he served as lead editor of the AAPG/DPA Book: Heritage of the Petroleum Geologist. This book celebrated 101 great men and women geoscientists for AAPG’s 100th Anniversary. He focuses on exploration creativity exemplified by creation and moderation of AAPG popular programs like Discovery Thinking, Playmaker, and Super Basin forums.

Charles resides in Houston, Texas. In addition to his service to AAPG, Charles has also served as past president Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, past president Houston Geological Society, and past president of AAPG’s Division of Professional Affairs. He has been recognized with Honorary Membership by each of these organizations. His wife Linda is a distinguished geophysical advisor.

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Edward Stones
Global Business Director Energy and Climate Change
Dow Chemical
Sustainability and Economic Pressures in the Petrochemical Industry

Edward Stones is Global Business Director Energy and Climate Change for Dow Chemical. Stones is accountable for delivering Energy business profitability, power production at the 14 Company-operated power facilities, as well as steam and utilities and energy service to more than 300 manufacturing facilities globally. He leads Dow’s energy conservation and greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts, providing business guidance for the company’s global advocacy efforts in energy sustainability and climate change.

He joined Union Carbide in 1997 as a manufacturing engineer at the Saint Charles, LA site. After a number of manufacturing, finance and commercial roles in Hydrocarbons, Specialty Chemicals and Plastics, he was named Director, Energy Risk in 2007. He relocated to Horgen, Switzerland and was named Director, Hydrocarbons Business Development and EMEA Plastics Strategic Development in 2010. In 2012, he was appointed Director, Global Business Development and Hydrocarbons Risk Management. In 2014, he relocated to Midland and was appointed Sr. Director for Investor Relations.

Stones served as Chair of the Industrial Efficiency portion of the National Petroleum Council “Hard Truths” report and provided testimony to the US Senate Energy Committee on the role of natural gas in climate change. He served on the European Petrochemical Association Young Executive Think Tank. He led the negotiation of the Sadara feedstocks agreements with Saudi Aramco and of the Vaca Muerta development technical agreements with YPF, and has presented Dow to investors throughout the world.
Stones holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Stanford University, and an MBA from Louisiana State University.

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Michael Sweeney
Associate Principal Existing Buildings Practice Leader
The Future of Building Energy Efficiency: Smart Building or Building Smart?

Michael Sweeney is passionate about bringing energy conscious and financially optimized solutions to reality for our clients. As a Mechanical Engineer with business savvy, Michael brings a depth of experience in energy efficient building design, investigation and planning. Michael’s engineering experience includes an excellent mix of new construction, renovation and energy retrofit work. His focus on energy efficiency and optimization of capital costs has included complex designs such as campus central plants with thermal storage, variable flow primary and variable speed secondary pumping systems, and innovative “cold air” and “cold water” variable volume distribution systems.

Michael has also successfully managed the engineering design, economic analysis and portions of construction for extensive projects such as a $35m energy performance project covering over 6 million square feet of office and hotel space in downtown Houston, Texas.

Michael’s skills in quality assurance, project management, computer simulation modeling, utility tariff modeling and financial analysis supplement an experienced HVAC engineering background. In addition to engineering excellence, he brings proven communication and business skills that result in the ability to fully understand and articulate a client’s needs.

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Judith Talavera
President and COO
AEP Texas
Energy Storage: Competitive Market and Policy Frameworks that Encourage Flexibility

Judith E. Talavera is president and chief operating officer for AEP Texas, responsible for the company’s operations in south and west Texas. She was named to this position in June 2016.

Previously, she was director of Regulatory Services for AEP Texas since November 2008. Talavera began her career with AEP in 2000 as manager of Governmental Affairs for AEP Texas.

Before joining AEP, Talavera worked in a number of legislative positions for former Texas State Sen. Mario Gallegos Jr., including serving as his legislative director.

Talavera has bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and has completed the AEP/Ohio State University Leadership Program and Leadership Texas. Talavera serves as a board member on the Senate Hispanic Research Council, Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation, United Way of the Coastal Bend, and Texas State Aquarium.

Talavera and her husband, Ric, have two sons and live in Corpus Christi, Texas.

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Sarah Talkington
Project Manager
Austin Energy – Commercial Green Building
The Future of Building Energy Efficiency: Smart Building or Building Smart?

Sarah Talkington manages the Commercial Austin Energy Green Building team. In this position, Ms. Talkington coordinates the work with local developers, owners, design teams and other building professionals to find best practice, sustainable design & construction solutions for Austin. She leads the development of the Austin Energy Green Building commercial rating and manages the adoption process for the City of Austin’s Commercial Energy Code.

Ms. Talkington previously worked with Austin Energy’s Engineering Services division. In this capacity she was responsible for designing and piloting new rebate programs for the municipal electric utility; she specialized in Demand Response. The product she is most proud of having developed is the “Power Partner Thermostat Program.” The program utilizes the customer’s enrolled thermostats to coordinate and reduce cooling loads when demand and costs for electricity are highest.

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Scott Tinker
Bureau of Economic Geology
Conference Keynote: Energy Poverty and the Real Energy Transition

Scott Tinker works to bring industry, government, academia, and NGOs together to address major societal challenges. Dr. Tinker is director of the 250-person Bureau of Economic Geology, the State Geologist of Texas, and a professor holding the Allday Endowed Chair at The University of Texas at Austin. He has served as president of the American Geosciences Institute, the Association of American State Geologists, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies. Dr. Tinker is an AAPG Halbouty Medalist, a GCAGS Boyd Medalist, an AGI Campbell Medalist, and a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. In his visits to some 60 countries he has given 750 keynote and invited lectures and serves on many private, public, academic, and government boards and advisory councils. Tinker co-produced and is featured in the award-winning energy documentary film Switch, which has been screened in over 50 countries to more than 15 million viewers and is used on thousands of K–12 and college campuses. Dr. Tinker formed the 501(c)(3) Switch Energy Alliance and is working on two new films addressing global energy poverty and the energy transition.

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Dave Tuttle
Research Fellow | UT Energy Week Coordinator
Energy Institute, The University of Texas at Austin
The Tipping Point for Electric Vehicles

Dr. Tuttle is a Research Fellow in the Energy Institute at University of Texas at Austin. His lifelong passion in the automotive space intersects with his decades of experience in information technology and interest in the diffusion of innovation in the research areas of Plug-In Vehicle adoption and integration with the grid, alternative fuel and advanced powertrain vehicles, the Smartgrid, and renewable energy systems. In the past, Dr. Tuttle advised the UT GM/DOE Challenge-X hybrid development team and was the team manager for the 2007 UT DARPA Urban Challenge Autonomous vehicle team. Today, he is one of the electric vehicle researchers in Austin’s Pecan Street Consortium/UT-Austin Plug-In Vehicle Smartgrid research project.

Dr. Tuttle is a former IBM and Sun Microsystems executive with a Ph.D in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, B.S. & Master of Engineering degrees with highest honors in Electrical Engineering from the University of Louisville and an MBA from UT-Austin. His diverse career has included leading the design of the Data Cache Unit of the high-performance microprocessor in the original IBM POWER-1 RISC/UNIX computer system, leading the team in the Apple/IBM/Motorola alliance that designed the first high-performance microprocessor used to launch the original Power MacIntosh, leading the team that designed the POWER2-SC microprocessor used in the 1997 IBM Deep Blue Supercomputer that beat World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov, and building from scratch Sun Microsystem’s Austin design center for power efficient highly multi-threaded CPUs.

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George Vaughan
Principal Consultant Corporate Investment Appraisal
Managing Uncertainty in Energy Investment

George Vaughan is a Principal Consultant at ConocoPhillips working in the Corporate Investment Evaluations and Approvals group, which has responsibility for decision framing, development engineering, investment analysis and corporate approvals. His work is focused on the economic evaluation of capital investment opportunities, including acquisitions & divestitures. George has worked for ConocoPhillips for over 20 years, which has included roles in treasury, corporate planning, business development, and assignments in Norway and Qatar. George holds a bachelor of science in Biology from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

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Brandon Whittle
Director of Government & Regulatory Affairs
Energy-Only Market Design for Resource Adequacy: Stakeholder Perspectives

Brandon Whittle, Director of Government & Regulatory Affairs at Calpine, is focused on ERCOT market design. Whittle has significant experience in many aspects of market design and policy including congestion management, nodal pricing, and market operations. He has provided trading and marketing support to both utilities and trading shops, advocated for well-operated and efficient power markets, and taken a leading role in new market design and implementation.

Whittle’s career in power markets began just before ERCOT’s switch to single control area operations in 2001 when he worked as a real-time trader and scheduler for the City of Bryan. He continued in the same role with additional responsibilities in PJM, NYSIO and ISO-NE at Tractebel. While at Tractebel, he was instrumental in bringing a new combined cycle facility into commercial operations -the company’s first Texas plant. Whittle then spent four years at the ERCOT ISO as a prominent expert on market design, congestion and marginal pricing. After ERCOT, he spent another four years as Vice President at Deutsche Bank’s Energy trading unit providing regulatory support and trade strategy from within the power trading team. Working with the team on origination, marketing, FTRs, and trading, he consistently added value primarily with advocacy within the ERCOT stakeholder system and his understanding of market design and operations. From 2011 until he joined Calpine in 2018 he helped many developers, resource operators, investors, and commodity traders navigate and interpret the Stakeholder and Regulatory activities affecting ERCOT.

Whittle earned his B.S. Economics degree from Texas A&M University.

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Allison Wilson
Sustainability Director
Ayers Saint Gross Architects
The Future of Building Energy Efficiency: Smart Building or Building Smart?

Allison Wilson, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP is an Architect and the Sustainability Director of Ayers Saint Gross, a nationally recognized leader in high-performance design for colleges, universities, and cultural institutions. In this role she supports high-performance building and planning objectives across the firm, providing analytical support to the design process, integrating sustainability into campus master plans, and helping projects achieve third-party sustainability certifications under systems such as LEED and the Living Building Challenge. Allison is also an alumnus of the University of Maryland and a winner of the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

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Edmond Young
Consultant, Hydrogen Fuel Cell Infrastructure
Toyota Motor North America
The Tipping Point for Electric Vehicles

Edmond Young works for Toyota Motor North America in Plano, Texas, and is involved in the development of hydrogen fueling infrastructure in California, the Northeast, and Texas. Prior to joining Toyota, Mr. Young spent several years in the power utility finance space, and worked on transactions spanning solar and wind power M&A, and energy storage venture capital raises. Mr. Young also worked for ConEdison in New York in their energy management team. Mr. Young has an MBA from the University of Chicago, an MS in Statistics from the University of Central Florida, and a BA in Economics from the American University in Washington, DC.

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