Past Speakers

     Keynote Speakers

Dr. Cheryl Martin – Head of Center for Global Industries; Member of Managing Board – World Economic Forum

Dr. Cherycheryl_martin_croppedl Martin is a member of the Managing Board at the World Economic Forum where she is responsible for the industry agenda. She joined the Forum in March 2016 from the consulting firm, Harwich Partners, which she launched to work with public and private sector entities to identify critical drivers that would accelerate adoption of new technologies into markets.  Previously Dr. Martin served as the Acting Director of the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E).  In addition, she was the Deputy Director for Commercialization at the agency where she developed the Technology-to-Market program, which helps breakthrough energy technologies succeed in the marketplace.  

Prior to joining ARPA-E, Dr. Martin was an Executive in Residence with the VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, and interim CEO of Renmatix, a start-up company focused on renewable materials.  She also spent 20 years with Rohm and Haas Company in roles ranging from technology to business and where, most recently, she had been the General Manager for the Paint and Coatings business in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Dr. Martin earned a B.A. in chemistry from Holy Cross and went on to earn a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from MIT.  She is a non-resident Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University.  Dr. Martin serves on the board of Enbala, an early stage company focused on making the electric grid more sustainable by harnessing the power of distributed energy.

Dr. Kenneth Medlock – James A. Baker, III, and Susan G. Baker Fellow in Energy and Resource Economics; Senior Director, Center for Energy Studies – Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy

ken-medlockKenneth B. Medlock III, Ph.D., is the James A. Baker, III, and Susan G. Baker Fellow in Energy and Resource Economics at the Baker Institute and the senior director of the Center for Energy Studies. He is also the director of the Masters of Energy Economics program, holds adjunct professor appointments in the Department of Economics and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and is the chair of the faculty advisory board at the Energy and Environment Initiative at Rice University. He teaches advanced courses in energy economics and supervises Ph.D. students in the energy economics field. Medlock is a principal in the development of the Rice World Natural Gas Trade Model, which is aimed at assessing the future of international natural gas trade. He has published numerous scholarly articles in his primary areas of interest: natural gas markets, energy commodity price relationships, gasoline markets, transportation, national oil company behavior, economic development and energy demand, and energy use and the environment. He has testified multiple times on Capitol Hill on U.S. oil and natural gas exports, has spoken at OPEC, and is frequently asked to speak about global and domestic energy issues.

Medlock is currently the vice president for conferences for the United States Association for Energy Economics (USAEE), and previously served as vice president for academic affairs. In 2001, he won (joint with Ron Soligo) the International Association for Energy Economics Award for Best Paper of the Year in the Energy Journal. In 2011, he was given the USAEE’s Senior Fellow Award, and in 2013 he accepted on behalf of the Center for Energy Studies the USAEE’s Adelman-Frankel Award. In 2012, Medlock received the prestigious Haydn Williams Fellowship at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. He is also an active member of the American Economic Association and is an academic    member of the National Petroleum Council. Medlock has served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy  Commission in their respective energy modeling efforts.


braneonPicture1Dr. Christian V. Braneon recently joined the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) as Assistant Director of the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain (CSLS). He earned BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Civil Engineering from Georgia Tech. Christian also earned a BS in Applied Physics from Morehouse College. Prior to joining Georgia Tech, Christian worked in EPA Region 4’s Office of Environmental Justice and Sustainability. His work builds on a long commitment to engaging diverse communities as they address environmental challenges. Recently, he served as Co-Director of EPA’s inaugural Environmental Justice Academy for community leaders and also led regional community engagement efforts associated with the Clean Power Plan in four states. As Assistant Director of CSLS, Christian develops and oversees the process of incorporating service learning and community engagement into courses and co-curricular programs across campus, and establishes systems for partnering with nonprofit, industry, and government organizations in ways that are mutually beneficial for partners and the Georgia Tech community.

Rafaela Moura, Senior Energy and Climate Change Advisor – EPA Region IV – (Moderator)

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Rafaela Moura is the Energy and Climate Change Coordinator for EPA, Region 4. With over 15 years of sustainable community development, Rafaela joined the EPA after working as an Environmental Impact Assessment consultant in the Southeast, Latin America and Africa leading several environmental studies and working extensively on policy developments and implementation. She has extensive experience in pollution and mitigation control projects ranging from renewable energy, liquefied natural gas, refineries, power plants, pipelines and equitable consultations focused on addressing community needs and strengthening community participation. Rafaela earned a Bachelor of Science from Northeastern University, Boston and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Duke University, North Carolina. She’s an award recipient from Duke’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies for her innovative research with the United Nations International Policy Center for Inclusive Growth focused on conditional social policies aimed at accelerating the transition to a sustainable and equitable future. Rafaela speaks on a variety of environmental topics related to climate change and leads the adaptation, clean energy and climate change committees for Region IV.

Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, Chief Resilience Officer – City of Atlanta

SSB Headshot (002)Stephanie Stuckey Benfield received both her undergraduate and law degree from the University of Georgia.  She graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1992.  After law school, she served as a public defender and then went into private practice before being elected to the Georgia General Assembly in 1999.  Stephanie served as a State Representative from the Decatur area for 14 years, during which time she was a member of the Judiciary and Natural Resources Committees.  She then went on to serve as Executive Director of GreenLaw, an Atlanta-based public interest law firm dedicated to giving Georgia’s environment its day in court.  In May 2015, she was appointed by Mayor Kasim Reed to be Director of Sustainability for the City of Atlanta. In November 2016, Stephanie was named the Chief Resilience Officer for Atlanta, working in conjunction with the Rockefeller Foundation’s “100 Resilient Cities.”

Stephanie’s legal expertise was recognized in 2011 when she was given the Outstanding Lawyer in Public Service Award by the Atlanta Bar Association.  Stephanie serves on the Boards for the Green Chamber of the South, EarthShare of Georgia, and the Olmsted Linear Parks Association.  She is a member of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership Class of 2013.

Paul Rugambwa, Visiting Scholar at Georgia Tech and formerly with the Rwanda Ministry of Infrastructure



Paul Rugambwa earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Rwanda and has three Master’s Degrees, being a graduate alumni of Cornell, Harvard, and Tufts University. His educational areas of focus were in public policies and planning majoring in International Agriculture, policy and planning, environmental management, and Religion and Public Affairs. Paul has worked as researcher and consultant with capabilities to analyze policies    and project to meet the organizational goals and objectives.



      MaKara Rumley, Principal – Hummingbird Firm


MaKara Rumley J.D. is more than an experienced community engagement strategist: she is a champion that has been an important thought leader related to the environment, education, the green economy, and public health.  She has a knack for identifying what makes each stakeholder successful and leading the charge for how everyone can win.  It takes the private and public sector as well as community viewpoints to reach a project’s full benefit potential.

She has produced identifiable results during her work at the Environmental Protection Agency as the Senior Advisor on Community Engagement with the Regional Administrator, as an Environmental Attorney with GreenLaw, and as a consistent lecturer and presenter on cultural competency and community engagement.  She is a graduate of George Washington University Law School and received her undergraduate degree from Spelman College. Mrs. Rumley has a track record of achievement and has a results oriented drive to meeting milestones.  She is committed to the use of qualitative as well as quantitative measurements to truly evaluate connectivity to target constituents.

       Assessing Biofuels for Sustainable Development


David Malkin, Director of Communications and Policy – Drax Biomass


David Malkin is Director of Communications and Policy for Drax Biomass Inc.  His responsibilities include U.S. government relations, public affairs and internal and external communications. David joined Drax Biomass from General Electric, where he led the company’s engagement in state electricity regulatory proceedings, crafted government relations strategies to support the company’s energy technology portfolio and advised leadership on crisis and reputation management as the Director of Global Government Affairs and Policy for the Energy Management business unit.

 David brings 14 years of public and energy sector experience to the role. Prior to joining General Electric in 2007, he worked at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, U.S. Department of Energy and also served as a Military Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Army.  He has a deep background in policy development and public affairs, and maintains strong working relationships with major industry associations, trade publications, think tanks and non-governmental organizations. David received a Master in Public Affairs degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a Bachelor of Science degree in Comparative Politics from the United States Military Academy at West Point.


Matthew J Realff, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering – Georgia Institute of Technology – (Moderator)


Dr. Matthew J Realff is a Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech and David Wang Senior Faculty Fellow.  He has been at Georgia Tech since 1993, after completing his Bachelor’s degree at Imperial College London, a Ph.D. in chemical engineering at MIT in 1992.  He was an National Science Foundation (NSF) program director from 2005-2007 in the division of Civil Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation where he ran programs in environmentally benign design and service enterprise systems.  He has a current appointment as an NSF external expert helping develop their programs in resilient infrastructure systems. He was the co-chair of the 2013 American Chemistry Society Green Chemistry Conference. In December 2013 he was appointed as the Associate Director of the Georgia Tech Strategic Energy Institute with responsibility for advanced materials and separations applications for energy systems and in 2014 appointed as an Associate Director of the Renewable Bioproducts Institute to help develop programs in chemicals and fuels


Carsten Sievers, Associate Professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering – Georgia Institute of Technology

sieversDr. Carsten Sievers obtained his Diplom and Dr. rer nat. degrees in Technical Chemistry at the Technical University of Munich, Germany. Under the guidance of Prof. Johannes A. Lercher, he worked on heterogeneous catalysts for various processes in petroleum refining including hydrogenation of aromatics in Diesel fuel, alkylation, alkane activation, and catalytic cracking. Additional research projects included novel catalytic system, such as supported ionic liquids. In 2007, he moved to the Georgia Institute of Technology to work with Profs. Christopher W. Jones and Pradeep K. Agrawal as a postdoctoral fellow. His primary focus was the development of catalytic processes for biomass depolymerization and synthesis of biofuels. He joined the faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2009. His research group is developing catalytic processes for the sustainable production of fuels and chemicals. Specific foci are on the stability and reactivity of solid catalysts in aqueous phase, surface chemistry of oxygenates in water, production of specific chemicals from biomass, applied spectroscopy, synthesis of well-defined catalysts, methane conversion, mechanocatalysis, CO2 capture, pyrolysis, and gasification. He is Director of the Southeastern Catalysis Society, Director of the ACS Division of Catalysis Science & Technology and the AIChE Division of Catalysis and Reaction Engineering, and Editor of Applied Catalysis A: General.

Curt Studebaker, Global Operations Technical Advisor – LanzaTech


Curt Studebaker is a Global Operations Technical Advisor for LanzaTech, a Chicago-based startup company that develops fuels and chemicals from waste gases. He completed his B.S. in chemical engineering at Purdue University in 2011. (*Boiler Up!*) Since joining LanzaTech in 2014, he has traveled around the world starting up units that demonstrate the company’s gas-to-ethanol (GTE) and alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) technologies. Curt is now the technical lead engineer on a project to install a pair of pilot-scale fermenters at LanzaTech’s Freedom Pines Biorefinery in Soperton, GA. These fermenters will be LanzaTech’s largest self-operated unit and will address R&D and training needs both internally and externally. Prior to working at LanzaTech, Curt performed a similar role for Honeywell-UOP, leading pre-commissioning and commissioning activities at petrochemical refineries all over Asia.


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Mike Whitlatch, Vice President of Global Energy and Procurement Group – UPS

Mike Whitlatch is the Vice President of UPS’s Global Energy and Procurement Group.  Mike has worked at UPS for over 29 years and held assignments in aircraft engineering, material logistics, finance, procurement and energy.  Mike has extensive experience in the U.S. energy supply chain and is part of the UPS leadership team that develops alternative fuel technologies and strategy at UPS.

Mike currently oversees the global procurement of UPS’s ground transportation equipment, support material and energy resources. UPS operates one of the largest alternative fuel and advanced technology fleets in the U.S.   The UPS fleet includes more than 8,100 EV’s, hybrids,  natural gas, propane, bio-methane and light-weight fuel-saving composite body vehicles.  Since 2000, the UPS alternative and advanced technology fleet has travelled over 1 Billion miles which is equivalent to 2,000 round trips to the moon.

Mike holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration. He recently chaired the Airlines for America (A4A) Energy Council and serves on the boards of several fueling entities that provide jet fuel storage and distribution infrastructure at most U.S. airports.

       Where Are We Headed: Technology, Economics, and Policy

        (Friday, February 10th at 11:15am):


Jamie Barber, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Manger – Georgia Public Service Commission



Ms. Barber graduated from the University of West Georgia in August 1991 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting and in 2009 with a Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance.  She began her career at the Georgia Public Service Commission in November 1993 in the Fiscal Office. She has worked in the Electric Section and the Natural Gas Unit prior to her current role since January 2010 as the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Manger within the Internal Consultants Unit. She is responsible for making policy recommendations on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency issues that come before the Commission.

Kate Pride Brown, Assistant Professor of Sociology – Georgia Institute of Technology



Dr. Kate Pride Brown is a sociologist whose research examines environmental politics and policy in Russia and the United States. She has published on energy efficiency and renewable energy legislation in U.S. state governments, and her current work examines risk and finance in the energy sector. Her work has appeared in Energy Research and Social Science, Environmental Politics, Environmental Sociology, Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy and other peer-reviewed journals. Her forthcoming book with Oxford University Press, Saving the Sacred Sea, examines local efforts to protect and preserve Lake Baikal in Siberia, the deepest, oldest and largest body of freshwater on Earth.


Adam Justin Rondinone, Senior Staff Scientist – Oak Ridge National Laboratory


Dr. Adam Rondinone received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2001, and immediately joined the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a prestigious Wigner Fellow. He conducts his research at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, and he is an expert on materials chemistry at the nanoscale. His research is focused on developing novel means to create functional nanomaterials for energy applications. Recent work has explored nanostructured electrochemical catalysts for the conversion of waste to useful products. He has served on various committees in service to ORNL, including two years as a Legislative Fellow in the office of Senator Lamar Alexander working on energy and technology issues. He is also the outreach coordinator for the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences.

Rich Simmons, Senior Research Engineer – Georgia Tech Strategic Energy Institute (SEI) – (Moderator)


Richard A. Simmons is currently a Senior Research Engineer at Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute (SEI) where he oversees large cross-cutting federal energy projects. Richard has recently been appointed to lead “EPICenter,” a new SEI-directed center which will perform studies on energy policy and innovation with a distinctively regional perspective. He is also a part time instructor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. Richard received his BS from Georgia Tech, and MS and PhD from Purdue, all in Mechanical Engineering. Richard is a licensed professional engineer (PE) who has more than 20 years of RD&D experience in automotive, advanced materials, and alternative energy and fuels. Rich has served as a technical advisor on the board of two companies and holds multiple patents. From 2009 to 2012, he served a prestigious AAAS science and technology (S&T) policy fellowship at the U.S. Department of State, providing technical analysis on international policy issues related to renewable energy.  He has recently authored numerous publications including an open-access eBook entitled “Understanding the Global Energy Crisis,” several book chapters and journal articles related to transportation energy technology, alternative vehicles and future energy policy strategies. He is married and has one daughter.

Adam Stulberg, Associate Chair/Research Professor; Co-Director at the Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy (CISTP) – Georgia Institute of Technology

pic-for-websiteDr. Stulberg is Professor and Neal Family Chair; Associate Chair/Research; and Co-Director, Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy (CISTP) in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on international security, Russia/Eurasian politics and security affairs, nuclear (non)proliferation, and energy and international security, as well as inter-disciplinary courses on science, technology, and international security policy. His current research focuses on the geopolitics of oil and gas networks, energy security dilemmas and statecraft in Eurasia, Russia and “gray zone” conflicts, new approaches to strategic stability and denuclearization of military arsenals, internationalization of the nuclear fuel cycle, and implications of emerging technologies for strategic stability and international security.

Dr. Stulberg earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as well as holds an M.A. in International Affairs from Columbia University, an M.A. in Political Science from UCLA, and a B.A. in History from the University of Michigan.  He is a two-time recipient of the INTA Graduate Student Association’s “Professor of the Year,” and has received the same honor from Sigma Iota Rho, the international affairs undergraduate honor society.  Currently, he is an Associate Director and on the Faculty Advisory Board of the Strategic Energy Institute (a GT Institute-wide Center).


      Integrating Renewables with Energy Storage Technologies

       (Friday, February 10th at 2:30pm)


Sue Babinec, Senior Commercialization Advisor – ARPA-E – (Moderator)

babinec-photoSue Babinec is a Senior Commercialization Advisor at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). She helps lead ARPA-E’s Technology-to-Market effort, with a strong focus on commercializing breakthrough energy storage technologies. 

Babinec has spent her career focused on research and commercial programs in materials, electro-active materials, displays, sensors, and electrochemistry, with extensive experience in Li-Ion batteries. Prior to ARPA-E, she served as Technical Director for A123 Systems, Inc., where she led research groups innovating in Li-Ion materials and cell technologies and also developed an analytical organization in support of the company’s global business. Babinec spent the first 20+ years of her career at The Dow Chemical Corporation, where she was awarded the Inventor of the Year and was the company’s first woman Corporate Fellow. Her role additionally included Scientist Partner to the Dow Venture Capital Organization-Physical Sciences, leading technical analysis of investment opportunities and hands-on partnering in start-up investments. Babinec holds 45+ patents and has authored or co-authored dozens of journal articles and book chapters in her areas of expertise. She is a member of The Materials Research Society and The Electrochemical Society.


John Carberry, CEO – Mossey Creek Technologies

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJohn Carberry has served in senior executive and technical positions at Kyocera, Ceradyne, Ceramatec, Minco, Silbond, Neptec Optical Solutions, DiamondView Armor Products, Sustainable Aquatics, Sustainable Nutrition, and Mossey Creek Technologies, often as founder, normally as CEO, CTO, and Director. John has several dozen patents in technologies including, ceramics, engineered materials, optical switching, orthodontics, solar, telecom, armor, materials processing, among others. Most recently John invented new technologies for thermoelectrics, lithium ion batteries, extracting essential oils such as astaxanthin. As well as founder of DiamondView Armor Products, he invented and commercialized an armor based on nanotechnologies, which was sold to SCHOTT US, and which shipped more than 200 million USD in armor, supplying all the transparent armor on the MATV production. John is currently dedicating his energies to building technology leadership in energy and improvements to agriculture, with a vision for the benefit of the local as well as the broader community in terms of ecology. As co founder of Sustainable Aquatics with Matthew Carberry, the leading breeder producer of marine ornamentals in the world has grow up to success in Jefferson City, and looks to extend its breakthrough technology to many marine and other horizons. Mosey Creek Technologies is focused on materials solutions to challenges in energy.


Jimmy Glotfelty, Executive Vice President – Clean Line Energy

jimmy-glotfelty_clean-line-energyJimmy Glotfelty is a founder of Clean Line Energy and serves as Executive Vice President, focusing on commercial activities and regulatory and public affairs. Jimmy brings to Clean Line more than twenty five years of electric sector and transmission knowledge, in both the public and private sectors.  He is a well-known expert in electric transmission, generation, energy policy, and energy security fields and speaks frequently at industry conferences.  Prior to Clean Line, Jimmy was Vice President, Energy Markets, for ICF International and developed their NERC Compliance practice. Jimmy worked for George W. Bush, for almost eight years, at both the gubernatorial and presidential levels. He led the Bush Administration’s efforts on electricity issues with Congress and the electric utility industry.  In this capacity, he founded Office of Electric Delivery and Energy Reliability at the Department of Energy (DOE) and served as its first Director. This program is responsible for applied transmission and distribution (T&D) research and led to the creation of the nationally recognized GridWise Alliance. While at DOE Jimmy led the U.S. efforts to investigate the blackout of August 2003 which called for the adoption of many technologies that have greatly improved the reliability of U.S. transmission system today.  Jimmy serves on the board of the Southeast Coastal Wind Coalition and the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council and recently rolled off of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Board of Directors.


George Jones, President – Pathion

george-jones-picGeorge Jones serves as president of Pathion Inc., a fast-growing energy storage systems company headquartered in Silicon Valley.  In this capacity, he has responsibility for all aspects of Pathion, including operations, finance, engineering, sales, and marketing across three locations. Pathion’s products include advanced battery-based stationary energy storage systems for commercial and industrial applications, site controllers for micro-grids, and hybrid marine propulsion systems. In addition, the company has foundation technology in the form of energetic materials for high performance batteries. Mr. Jones has served as deal lead on multiple acquisitions and IP/product licenses while at Pathion.

Prior to Pathion, Mr. Jones was VP/GM of AppliedMicro’s Connectivity Products [NASDAQ:AMCC]. Previously, as RMI Corporation’s first VP of Sales, Mr. Jones built a high performance sales team from the ground up to win significant engagements with Tier 1 networking, security, telecommunications systems, consumer, and media customers, leading to $80M of revenue. The company was acquired by NetLogic, which was later acquired by Broadcom. Mr. Jones co-founded Sand Hill Angels, a leading angel investment group in Silicon Valley. He was also a co-founder and chief executive officer of Phase II Technical Sales, a leader among technical sales representatives.

Mr. Jones earned an MBA at the Wharton School, and a holds a bachelor of electrical engineering degree from Georgia Tech.


Joseph Lane, Director of Engineering – FastCAP Systems



Mr. Lane is currently the Director of Engineering for FastCap Systems in Boston, MA where he oversees technology development and production. There, his primary research has been on hybrid systems incorporating multiple forms of energy storage such as chemical batteries, ultracapacitors, flywheels, generators, and fuel cells. Areas of interest are optimization of storage design for applications in energy exploration, automotive, aerospace, and grid storage and distribution. Joe holds multiple patents on power conversion, signal processing, energy generation, ultracapacitors, and hybrid system design. He joined FastCap after completing a B.S. and M.S. at MIT in electrical engineering, completing his research in control systems for free space optical communication at MIT Lincoln Laboratory.