Keynote Speaker

Virgil George Hobbs III

Administrator & Chief Executive at US Department of Energy, Southeastern Power Administration


Virgil Hobbs is the Administrator and Chief Executive for the Southeastern Power Administration (Southeastern). He is honored to have held the position since August 2, 2020.

Mr. Hobbs was born and raised in Fallston, Maryland.  He was cultured at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina and received a Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering.

Mr. Hobbs served four years as a commissioned officer in the United States Navy aboard USS Trippe, FF-1075.  He managed various engineering divisions responsible for the operations and maintenance of the fossil fueled main propulsion and power generation plant.

Mr. Hobbs held managerial and technical positions for nearly 20 years with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  His final assignment was the Hartwell Project Operations Manager with Savannah District.  His primary responsibility was prioritizing and balancing resources for competing authorized purposes of hydropower, navigation, flood risk management, environmental stewardship, water supply and recreation.

Prior to his selection as Administrator, Mr. Hobbs served nine years as Southeastern’s Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Administrator for Finance & Marketing.  He was responsible for overseeing federal hydropower investment repayment studies and power rate formulation, customer liaison, budget execution/development, public affairs program, power/transmission contract management and customer funding of capital infrastructure.

Mr. Hobbs has been married to Mary Ann for 34 years, she and two daughters, Ali and Abigail, are graduates of Clemson University.  The Hobbs family call Anderson, South Carolina home and attend Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.  He is a thespian in local community theater.

Southeastern is one of four U.S. Department of Energy Power Marketing Administrations and is headquartered in Elberton, Georgia.  Southeastern markets 3,392 megawatts of capacity and nine billion kilowatt-hours of energy generated annually from 22 federal hydroelectric facilities.  Power revenues average $300 million each year collected from 191 electric cooperatives and       280 municipalities in ten southern states between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi River.

Confirmed Panels

Energy Equity


Dr. Dylan Brewer

Assistant Professor, School of Economics @ Georgia Institute of Technology


Dylan Brewer is an energy and environmental economist in the School of Economics at Georgia Tech.  Dylan's research uses the tools of applied econometrics and machine learning to answer questions in energy and environmental economics.  He has published research on household energy consumption, the economics of thermostat settings, recycling, electricity demand, machine learning methodology, and air quality among other topics.  He teaches courses on environmental economics at the graduate and undergraduate level, and his Principles of Microeconomics course has won awards at Georgia Tech.

Maggie Kelly-Riggins

Senior Program Manager, Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance


Maggie Kelley Riggins is SEEA’s Senior Program Manager where she manages the energy efficient buildings portfolio, which includes building codes, building performance standards, and building-oriented pilot project models for enhancing energy efficiency in the Southeast. Maggie is laying the landscape for equity in energy efficiency, believing that we need to understand the “why” behind building efficiency in order to see better outcomes for all building occupants and the building energy efficiency workforce. Maggie has extensive experience in stakeholder engagement and coalition facilitation, and she strives to put people at the center of all her work.


Kaiya Murphy

Energy Associate, Partnership for Southern Equity


Kaiya Murphy, a Baltimore native, has lived in Atlanta for over 7 years working in various community driven spaces. Her interests are in agriculture, public health, sustainable energy and mixing those aspects together to create an equitable impact. Her undergraduate education is from Spelman College, where she obtained a B.A. in International Studies focusing on International Development and graduate education is from the Georgia Institute of Technology where she gained a Master degree in Sustainable Energy and Environmental Management (M.S.E.E.M). Currently, Kaiya works at Partnership for Southern Equity in their Just Energy Portfolio focusing on regional community engagement, resiliency hub creation, and educating community on the public service commission and other energy related topics.

Dr. Valerie Thomas

Professor, H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and
School of Public Policy @ Georgia Institute of Technology


Valerie Thomas is the Anderson Interface Chair at the Georgia Institute of Technology, with appointments in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and in the School of Public Policy.

Thomas’ research interests include energy, environmental impacts, technology development and technology policy.

Thomas has a PhD in high energy physics from Cornell University and a BA in physics from Swarthmore College. Her Ph.D. thesis work was on the catalysis of proton decay in grand unified theories, and her post-doctoral research was on the verification of nuclear arms control treaties. She has more than 80 technical publications spanning energy, environment, optimization, physics, and nuclear arms control.

At Georgia Tech, Thomas teaches graduate courses in Energy Technology and Policy, Life Cycle Assessment, and undergraduate courses in Energy Efficiency and Sustainability, Engineering Economics, and Senior Design.

Nuclear Energy


Mike Goff

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy


Dr. Michael Goff is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. Prior to joining the office as the PDAS, Dr. Goff was on assignment from Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to the Office of Nuclear Energy, where he was serving his third term as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary. Dr. Goff also served a multi-year assignment as the Assistant Director for Nuclear Energy/Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President. He has held several management and research positions over more than 30 years at INL and Argonne National Laboratory. Dr. Goff has more than 70 publications related to the nuclear fuel cycle including separations technology, high-level waste development, and safeguards. Dr. Goff has a Bachelor of Nuclear Engineering (1986), a MSNE (1988), and a PhD in Nuclear Engineering (1991), all from Georgia Tech.

Maria Korsnick

Chief Executive Officer, Nuclear Energy Institute


Maria Korsnick is NEI’s president and chief executive officer.

Drawing on her engineering background, hands-on experience in reactor operations and a deep knowledge of energy policy and regulatory issues, Korsnick aims to increase understanding of nuclear energy’s economic and environmental benefits among policymakers and the public.

Before joining NEI, she was senior vice president of Northeast Operations for Exelon Corp., responsible for overseeing operation of the Calvert Cliffs 1 and 2, R.E. Ginna, and Nine Mile Point 1 and 2 nuclear power plants.

Before Exelon, Korsnick served as chief nuclear officer (CNO) and acting chief executive officer at Constellation Energy Nuclear Group. She began her career at Constellation in 1986 and held positions of increasing responsibility, including engineer, operator, manager, site vice president, corporate vice president and CNO.

Korsnick holds a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Maryland and has held a senior reactor operator license.


John Williams

Vice President of Business Operations, Southern Nuclear Plants Vogtle 3&4


John B. Williams is the Vice President of Business Operations for Southern Nuclear's Vogtle 3&4, managing project controls, budgeting, risk management, and commercial analysis. With a career starting in 2005, he brings over 20 years of engineering and nuclear fuel experience, including a role at the Tennessee Valley Authority. He's held several leadership positions within Southern Nuclear and has contributed to the Department of Energy Advisory Boards and the Nuclear Energy Institute's initiatives on advanced fuels and simulation. Notably, under his leadership, the first Accident Tolerant Fuel was introduced into commercial reactors. His work has earned four Top Innovative Practice awards from the Nuclear Energy Institute. Williams is a Georgia Institute of Technology graduate in nuclear and radiological engineering.

Sam Woolsey

Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology Class of 2027​​

Grid Capacity


Jaxon Tolbert

Program Associate, Southeastern Wind Coalition


Jaxon Tolbert, a Program Associate at the Southeastern Wind Coalition, leads the charge in advocating for land-based wind energy in the Southeast. His role involves research, building relationships, and strategy planning in the region’s interior states. As one of the few voices for land-based wind energy in the region, he's focused on highlighting the sector's potential through technological advances like taller wind turbines.Jaxon earned a BA in Political Science and Earth Ecosystems from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2023. He's an Alabama native, has lived across four Southeastern states, and now resides in Huntsville. Outside of work, Jaxon helps to lead the Huntsville Environmental Coalition and enjoys podcasting, hiking, sci-fi, road trips, reading, and exploring the local coffee scene.

Cleve Fann

 Vice President of Strategy and Support, Georgia Power


Cleve Fann, Vice President of Strategy and Support at Georgia Power, leads strategic development and oversees capital programs, best practices, grid investment, stakeholder engagement, and customer operations, among other responsibilities. Beginning his career in 2000 as a co-op student, Fann has progressed through various roles, including Distribution Engineer, Operations Manager, and labor relations general manager, coordinating with the IBEW Local 84. He holds a mechanical engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from Georgia State University, and is a registered professional engineer in Georgia. Fann has contributed to the community through roles on the boards of the Wilson Family YMCA, the Columbia County Chamber Foundation, and the Early Learning Coalition of Okaloosa and Walton Counties. Recognized as a Top 10 Young Professional by Augusta Magazine in 2016, he has also participated in Leadership Columbus and Leadership Augusta. A native of Woodstock, Georgia, he and his wife, Ashley, have three children.

Mark Lauby

Senior Vice President and Chief Engineer, North American Electric Reliability Corporation


Mark G. Lauby is senior vice president and chief engineer at NERC. Mr. Lauby joined NERC in January 2007 and has held a number of positions, including vice president and director of Standards and vice president and director of Reliability Assessments and Performance Analysis.

In 2012, Mr. Lauby was elected to the North American Energy Standards Board and was appointed to the Department of Energy’s Electric Advisory Committee by the Secretary of Energy in 2014. Mr. Lauby has served as chair and is a life member of the International Electricity Research Exchange and served as chair of a number of IEEE working groups. From 1999 to 2007, Mr. Lauby was an appointed member of the Board of Excellent Energy International Co., LTD, an energy service company based in Thailand. He has been recognized for his technical achievements in many technical associations, including the 1992 IEEE Walter Fee Young Engineer of the Year Award. He was named a Fellow by IEEE in November 2011 for “leadership in the development and application of techniques for bulk power system reliability.” In 2014, Mr. Lauby was awarded the IEEE Power and Energy Society’s Roy Billinton Power System Reliability Award. In 2020, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) elected Mr. Lauby as a member, citing his development and application of techniques for electric grid reliability analysis. He is also a member of the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) Executive Advisory Committee, focused on providing strategic support to the PES Board of Directors.

Prior to joining NERC, Mr. Lauby worked for the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) for 20 years, holding a number of senior positions, including: director, Power Delivery and Markets; managing director, Asia, EPRI International; and manager, Power System Engineering in the Power System Planning and Operations Program. Mr. Lauby began his electric industry career in 1979 at the Mid-Continent Area Power Pool in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His responsibilities included transmission planning, power system reliability assessment, and probabilistic evaluation.

Mr. Lauby is the author of more than 100 technical papers on the subjects of power system reliability, expert systems, transmission system planning, and power system numerical analysis techniques. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. In addition, Mr. Lauby attended the London Business School Accelerated Development Program as well as the Executive Leadership Program at Harvard Business School.

Pooja Shah

Business Transformation Lead, Georgia Power Company


Pooja is a motivated leader and electrical engineer with a unique blend of experience in the power industry including regulated and unregulated business as well as regulatory experience. She is known for the ability to develop and maintain broad strategic vision; identifying and deploying improvements founded in data to drive results.

Pooja is a Chief of Staff to Mike Robinson, Vice President of Grid Transformation in Power Delivery. In her current role she supports strategic level projects related to Transmission and Distribution Planning. Pooja is the Vice-president of APA and will be president in 2024.

Pooja joined Georgia Power in 2016 as a leader in the Power Delivery Operations team. Since then, she has worked in GPC AFT, SPC AFT and now back to GPC Power Delivery.

Prior to Southern company, Pooja worked in Resource Planning organization at NERC and produced industry-changing work that shaped federal and local policies.

Prior to NERC she started her career at Eversource Energy in NH working on T & D Planning, Operations and Field.

Her combined 20+ years of professional experience in the utility industry makes her an asset to Southern Company.

Pooja holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from University of New Hampshire, and Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Pooja serves on the board of Startup Runway, a non-profit providing funding to minorities and women in GA. She holds a leadership role in the Asian Pacific American ERG at GPC.

In her spare time, Pooja likes to travel, walk on the beltline with her podcasts, watch live, and broadcast sports, socialize with family and friends, read, and volunteer. After completing high school in India, she moved to the United States with her family in 1999. Her parents live in NH, younger sister in D.C., and younger brother in WI. She likes to visit her extended family and close friends in India every 2 years.