Past Speakers

Energy Expo 2021

Keynote Speaker | Angel Cabrera

Ángel Cabrera is the 12th and current President of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Previously, he served as the President of George Mason University and of Thunderbird School of Global Management, and the former dean of IE Business School.

As a business educator, Cabrera has played a key role in advancing professional ethics, internationalization, and corporate social responsibility. In 2007, while serving as a senior advisor to the United Nations Global Compact, he was the lead author of the “Principles for Responsible Management Education” (PRME). A United Nations–supported initiative that advances sustainable development through management education, PRME has now adopted by more than 800 schools around the world. He is also a co-founder of the University Global Coalition, a global network of universities working in partnership with the United Nations in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.

He’s been named a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum, a “Star of Europe” by Businessweek, a “Henry Crown Fellow” by the Aspen Institute, and a “Great Immigrant” by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. He has received honorary degrees from Miami Dade College and Universidad Politécnica of Madrid. 

Keynote Speaker | Kim Greene

Kim Greene is the chairman, president and chief executive officer of Southern Company Gas, the leading natural gas company in the industry. She ensures the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas to more than 4.2 million utility customers in Georgia, Illinois, Tennessee and Virginia. In addition, she oversees non–utility businesses that deliver value through energy-related retail products and services, wholesale gas services and gas midstream operations, including storage facilities and gas pipeline investments. 

Greene is a strong voice in the energy sector, especially on issues related to safety, emerging technologies, innovation and STEM-related education. She is a respected thought leader and advocate for the future of energy – from national energy policy to the overall customer experience.  

Greene serves as an Oil & Natural Gas Liaison Co-Lead for the Electric Subsector Coordinating Council, which is the principal liaison between federal government and the energy sector on security issues.  Additionally, she serves on the boards of directors of Valero Energy Corporation, American Gas Association, Gas Technology Institute and Morehouse School of Medicine. Previously, she served on the board of directors of the Electric Power Research Institute for eight years, including one year as Chair.   

TEDx-style Speaker | Wiebe Boer

Dr. Boer is the Chief Executive Officer of All On and joined the team from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where he was one of the founders of the strategy firm’s Lagos office. Prior to BCG, Dr. Boer spent five years with the Heirs Holdings Group in Lagos, playing roles including Chief of Staff to the Chairman, Director of Strategy, and CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. Dr. Boer has also worked in the Rockefeller Foundation’s Africa Regional Office in Nairobi, McKinsey & Company, and with World Vision Mauritania where he managed a USAID funded development project. While conducting his doctoral research in Nigeria for his Yale PhD thesis, Wiebe co-founded AfriOne, the first ISP in North Central Nigeria. He has served on a variety of corporate and public sector boards across Africa, and is also a widely published author and speaker. His most recent book, A story of Heroes + Epics: The History of Football in Nigeria, published by Bookcraft in 2018. Dr. Boer earned a PhD and two Masters degrees from Yale University and a Bachelor’s degree from Calvin College, all in history. He spent one year studying political science at the University of Jos, and completed his primary and secondary education at Hillcrest School, also in Jos, Nigeria where he was born and raised.

TEDx-style Speaker |  Dr. Devon Gardner

Devon Gardner has been the Program Manager for Energy and Head of the Energy Unit at the Caribbean Community Secretariat, since September 2014. In this role, Devon has oversight of the Energy Program, which is tasked with the identification of common policies and strategies for transforming the energy sector within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) . This transformation requires a shift in a majority of the energy systems within the region from their current states of inefficiency and over-dependence on imported fossil sources, which exposes them to the uncertain uncertainties and volatilities of mostly expensive global oil prices, to a state of greater efficiency and high penetration of indigenous renewable sources. In particular, the Energy Program promotes a transition to energy systems that favor sustainable and clean energy production, as well as efficient delivery and use, which simultaneously provides legal certainty for investors and improved predictability in price and supply for users.

TEDx-style Speaker |  James Ellsmoor

James Ellsmoor is a serial entrepreneur and writer, bringing to life his passion for sustainability and renewable energy. At the age of just 26, he is Co-Founder and Director of Solar Head of State, an international nonprofit working with governments in the Caribbean and Pacific islands to raise awareness of renewable energy through high-profile solar installations on iconic government buildings. He was recognized on Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 List in 2017.

Energy Burden Workshop | Michael Oxman

Michael joined Scheller College in 2016 as the Managing Director of the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business where he teaches business sustainability courses and oversees industry outreach, partnerships, and educational initiatives. From 2016-2018, he and Beril Totkay led the Understanding Energy Burden and its Potential Solutions for Atlanta study.

Prior to joining Scheller, Michael spent over twenty five years working at the intersection of international business, sustainability, and risk management including serving in leadership roles at Acorn International LLC and Business for Social Responsibility (BSR).  In these roles, he advised a broad range of international energy and mining companies on local content, social impact, risk management, community engagement, reporting, CSR and human rights initiatives.  Michael also has extensive commercial experience through his work at Chevron, Price Waterhouse, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in political risk, fiscal analysis, and strategic planning functions. Michael’s career spans assignments in the US and a broad range of international locations including two overseas residential assignments in Central Asia. 

Energy Burden Workshop | Dr. Marilyn Brown

Marilyn Brown is a Regents’ and Brook Byers Professor of Sustainable Systemsin the School of Public Policy. She joined Georgia Tech in 2006 after a distinguished career at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where she led several national climate change mitigation studies and became a leader in the analysis and interpretation of energy futures in the United States. 

Marilyn Brown is a Regents’ and Brook Byers Professor of Sustainable Systemsin the School of Public Policy. She joined Georgia Tech in 2006 after a distinguished career at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where she led several national climate change mitigation studies and became a leader in the analysis and interpretation of energy futures in the United States. 




Energy Burden Workshop | Alicia Scott

Since the fall of 2020, Alicia has been leveraging her diverse background in finance, public sector, and consulting to serve as an advocate for our nations most disenfranchised communities in her role as a Program Manager for the Just Energy Project at the Partnership for Southern Equity. In addition to other projects, Alicia manages the Just Energy Academy (JEA) to help educate the next generation of equity leaders who aspire to be energy equity and climate justice leaders in their communities.





Daniel  Molzahn | Opening Speaker & Club Advisor

Professor Molzahn is an Electrical Engineering professor at Georgia Tech and advisor to the Georgia Tech Energy Club. Prior to this position, Dr. Molzahn was a computational engineer at Argonne National Laboratory in the Center for Energy, Environmental, and Economic Systems Analysis (CEEESA), where he currently holds an affiliate position. His research involves developing optimization and control algorithms to improve the environmental sustainability, economic efficiency, and reliability of electric power systems.






The Road to SDG 7: Policy-Focused Panel

Moderator | Becca Ward

Becca Ward is the Managing Director of the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI), a non-profit focused on creating a new kind of energy leadership. Becca oversees CELI’s 5-month Fellowship Program, educational programming, and leadership development, and is based in Chicago, IL. Previously, Becca worked in the U.S. Senate for 7 years, serving as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) covering energy and climate policy. Becca uses she/her/hers pronouns.



Panelist | Tim Echols

Shortly after graduating from the University of Georgia, Tim and his wife Windy founded TeenPact, a training experience for conservative high school students.  The program began at the Georgia Capitol and now operates in 42 states having training 50,000 students. After building TeenPact, Echols ran for and was elected to statewide office in 2010 serving as Public Service Commissioner. His primary job is energy regulation. When he took office, Georgia was 34th in solar power.  Now, 11 years later, the state is 9th in the nation in approved solar.

Echols created the Clean Energy Roadshow that has traveled the state every summer for the last nine years. This educational event travels to cities around the state helping commuters, businesses and municipal governments evaluate alternative fuel for their transportation and residential use.

Panelist | Andrea Crooms

Andrea Crooms is a Senior Advisor in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Their previous roles include EERE Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, and Deputy Assistant Secretaries for Operations and Transportation. In addition, they were a supervisor in both the Advanced Manufacturing and Weatherization Offices.

Andrea has served the Department for over 10 years in a variety of roles bringing legal, environmental, economic, and equity expertise to numerous projects and programs. Their work focuses on innovation in the structures, systems, and policies the Department utilizes to develop technological solutions to the world’s most challenging problems. Andrea has also worked in Washington, DC, Lexington, KY, and Rabat, Morocco for the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and the Environmental Protection Agency.


Panelist | Chandra Farley

handra Farley is the Director of the Partnership of Southern Equity’s Just Energy group. In this position, she crafts people-first strategies to advance equity-centered energy, utility, and climate policy and programs.  Her team works with communities across the southeast through coalition building, leadership development, community organizing, and leveraging data and research. She has also led the Grants for Green initiative, an energy efficiency project involving over 250 nonprofits which has resulted in a $1 million annual savings in utility costs.






GT 10 Under 10 – Energy

Dr. Micaela Taborga Claure

Researcher at ExxonMobil 

Dr. Kara Evanoff

Director of Customer Programs at Sila Nano

Andrew deRussy

President and COO at Enpower Solutions

Chhavi Maggu

Business Strategy Manager (Energy Transition) at Accenture

Dr. Roderick Jackson

Lab Program Manager for Buildings Research at NREL

Anish Prasai

Director of Hardware at Varentec, Inc.

Bryson Allison

Environmental Engineer at Duke Energy

Brian Tyson

Manager of Clean Energy Planning & Implementation at Pudget Sound Energy

Dr. Brent Nelson

Power System Resource planner at Ascend Analytics

Mary Shoemaker

Senior Research Analyst at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)


The Road to SDG 7:
Data-Focused Panel

Moderator | Professor Cale Reeves

Cale is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Public Policy. He explores the individual-level decision-making processes that drive emergent policy outcomes, focusing mainly on understanding the green technology adoption/diffusion system. As a computational social scientist, he enjoys applying cutting-edge methods such as agent-based modeling and natural language processing to problems that require broad systems-aware approaches, thus contributing to the search for solutions for so-called “wicked problems” like climate change. He hopes to understand how the exchange of information within social networks can be explicitly leveraged in intervention designs to achieve more effective programs and more efficient policy.




Panelist | Professor Le Xie

Dr. Le Xie is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University. His research interests include power systems modeling and control, integration of renewable variable energy, design and optimization of competitive power systems, and theory and application of cyber-physical energy systems.






Michael Chanin, CEO of Cherry Street Energy

Michael Chanin is the founder and CEO of Cherry Street Energy, the largest non-utility renewable energy provider in Georgia. Michael founded the business informed by his background in structured financial products and growth oriented businesses. He started his career in Goldman Sachs’ Special Situations Group, ran finance and operations for a San Francisco-based technology company, and has invested in renewable energy markets since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, where he received a MPhil in development studies, and Northwestern University, where he received a BA in American studies and history.





Energy Expo 2020

Keynote Speaker | Andrew Ingram

Andrew Ingram is a Senior Research Engineer in the Research & Development (R&D) group of Southern Company. His research focus is on the integration of new technologies and systems onto the power grid. Examples of this research include, but are not limited to, energy storage, renewable generation and power electronic devices.

Andrew joined Southern Company in 2011 in the Strategic Studies group of Southern’s Transmission Planning department. His responsibilities included running analysis on Southern’s entire transmission system and maintaining critical software systems used by all of Transmission Planning and several other groups.

Andrew joined the Power Delivery R&D group in early 2015 where he managed the Distribution research portfolio which included many projects related to distributed generation and new grid technologies. Andrew created the Integration research area to address projects related to these technologies, such as improving grid operations through revolutionary power electronics devices and maintaining, and even improving, grid reliability in the presence of an ever-increasing amount of distributed generation.

Andrew holds B.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Psychology from the University of Alabama. He became a licensed Professional Engineer in the area of Electrical Engineering in the state of Alabama in 2017.

Originally from the Oak Mountain area just south of Birmingham, Andrew currently resides in Helena, AL. Andrew enjoys spending time with friends, playing board games, and reading.

Keynote Speaker | Dr. Kim Cobb

Dr. Kim Cobb is a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Georgia Power Faculty Scholar. She is particularly interested in oceanography, geochemistry and paleoclimate modeling.  She is the Director of the Global Change Program.






Panel – Decarbonization of Transportation
Moderator | Dr. Richard Simmons

Richard Simmons is currently a Senior Research Engineer and Fellow at Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute (SEI) where he directs cross-cutting energy projects with an emphasis on clean electric power, vehicle efficiency and alternative fuels. Simmons is also director of the Energy Policy and Innovation Center (EPICenter).




Panel – Decarbonization of Transportation
Panelist | Dr. Gleb Yushin

Gleb Yushin is a Professor at the School of Materials and Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, a co-Founder of Sila Nanotechnologies, Inc. (an engineered materials company focused on dramatically improving energy storage) and a co-Editor-in-Chief of Materials Today.






Panel – The Implementation and Policy of Renewable Technologies
Moderator | Mandy Mahoney

Mandy Mahoney has served as president of the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance since March 2013. Prior to that, she served as the organization’s Vice President of Policy and Operations.
Prior to joining SEEA in 2011, Mandy served as Director of Sustainability for the City of Atlanta under Mayors Reed and Franklin. She holds a master’s degree in environmental management from Duke University and earned a law degree and a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental studies from Emory University.




Panel – The Implementation and Policy of Renewable Technologies
Panelist | Dr. Marilyn Brown

Dr. Marilyn A. Brown is a Regents’ and Brook Byers Professor of Sustainable Systems in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she created and leads the Climate and Energy Policy Lab. Her research focuses on the design and modeling of energy markets and carbon reduction policies and programs, with an emphasis on opportunities on the customer side of the electric meter. She currently teaches courses on energy technologies, markets, and policies, and she leads the Georgia Drawdown project in partnership with colleagues across Georgia Tech, Emory University, and the University of Georgia.




Panel – The Implementation and Policy of Renewable Technologies
Panelist | Kate Tabor

Kate Taber is the Energy Programs Associate for the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Resilience, working primarily on energy efficiency and renewable energy policies and projects as part of the city’s 100% Clean Energy Plan. Kate currently works on the implementation of the City’s Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Ordinance, working to improve the energy efficiency of Atlanta’s buildings, the expansion of the City’s solar portfolio, the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge, the City’s Sustainable Buildings Ordinance, LEED for Cities, and the City’s energy savings performance contract.




Panel – The Implementation and Policy of Renewable Technologies
Panelist | Michael Chanin

Michael Chanin is the founder and CEO of Cherry Street Energy, the largest non-utility renewable energy provider in Georgia. Michael founded the business informed by his background in structured financial products and growth oriented businesses. He started his career in Goldman Sachs’ Special Situations Group, ran finance and operations for a San Francisco-based technology company, and has invested in renewable energy markets since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, where he received a MPhil in development studies, and Northwestern University, where he received a BA in American studies and history.




Panel – Is there a Role for Nuclear?
Moderator | Dr. Usha Nair-Reichert

Dr. Usha Nair-Reichert is an Associate Professor in the School of Economics at Georgia Institute of Technology. Her current research interests include, but are not limited to, innovation ecosystems, globalization of R&D, sustainability, environmental regulations and their impact on firm strategy, innovation, trade and foreign direct investment. Dr. Nair-Reichert has published in many peer reviewed journals including the Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics and Review of International Economics. She is a member of the American Economic Association, International Economics and Finance Society, the European Economics and Finance Society, and the Association of Indian Economic and Financial Studies. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the European Economics and Finance Society.


Panel – Is there a Role for Nuclear?
Panelist | Juan F. Villarreal

Mr. Juan F. Villarreal is Co-chair of the American Nuclear Society, Georgia Chapter. Currently, Mr. Villarreal works as a Senior Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton and Managing Director at Villareal Energy, LLC, a consulting company with a focus on improving power plant operations. Additionally, he is an advisory committee member of the University of South Florida on Cybersecurity Strategies & Leadership. During his career, Mr. Villarreal held several managing positions at General Electric, Babcox & Wilcox, and The PIC/Marubeni Group, such as Director of Power Generation Segment at GE Power. Mr. Villarreal holds an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering from Kansas State University.



Panel – Is there a Role for Nuclear?
Panelist | Dr. Valarie Thomas

Dr Valerie Thomas is the Anderson Interface Professor 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. Her current research is on the environmental impacts and costs of energy systems, the environmental impacts of products and services, and the effects of policies and technologies on the development of energy systems.Dr Thomas holds a PhD in high energy physics from Cornell University and a BA in physics from Swarthmore College. She is one of the founders of the International Summer Symposium on Science and World Affairs, now in its 31st year. Her technical publications spanning energy, environment, optimization, physics, and nuclear arms control.




Panel – Is there a Role for Nuclear?
Panelist | Thomas Saunders, PE.

Thomas Saunders is director of site oversight for Georgia Power’s AP1000 new nuclear construction project at Vogtle 3&4. He
leads the organization responsible for the owner’s oversight of engineering, procurement, construction, subcontracts, and project
controls execution.

Saunders joined the Southern Company in 2002 and has held multiple positions of increasing responsibility within four different business units. His career has focused on capital project implementation (supply chain, contracts, construction, regulatory compliance, startup, and oversight) and generating plant engineering, maintenance, and operations.

Saunders was assigned to the Vogtle 3&4 construction project in 2010. Prior to assuming his current role with Georgia Power, Saunders served as Southern Nuclear director of supply chain for Vogtle 3&4 since 2017, where he led the organization responsible for procurement, contracts, facilities, and construction equipment for the project execution team.

During the Westinghouse bankruptcy, a critical phase of the history of the Vogtle 3&4 project, Saunders’ primary focus was ensuring continuity of the supply chain and subcontractor support to ensure continued construction momentum and progress. In addition to playing several key leadership roles in the transition from WEC to SNC as general contractor, he was a member of the core team responsible for negotiating and implementing the Bechtel construction completion agreement, as well as the Westinghouse engineering and procurement services agreement.

An Alexander City, Alabama native, Saunders earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Alabama, as well as an MBA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Alabama and was named Young Engineer of the Year by the Engineering Council of Birmingham in 2008. Saunders is a 2013 alumnus of the Leadership Augusta program.

Saunders and his wife Ashley, a pharmacist, reside in Evans, Georgia with their three children (Alexander – 9, Emerson – 8, and Handley – 5) and hyper-active brittany spaniel (Magnolia). They are members of the Church of the Holy Comforter in Martinez, Georgia, where he serves as the Senior Warden of the Vestry.

Workshop – Startups & Greenhouse Accelerator
Speaker | Bernie Burgener
Topic: How Can We Grow More Cleantech Startups in Atlanta?

Bernie Burgener is the executive director of the Greenhouse Accelerator, where he helps to create local green jobs by advising and financially supporting startup entrepreneurs in green technology business ventures.



Energy Expo 2019

Keynote Speaker: Axel Schlumberger

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Senior Vice President Power Systems & Solutions, Southwire Company

Axel Schlumberger is responsible for Southwire’s Utility wire, cable and services business. He also provides technical leadership for the Power Systems & Solutions Group of the company.


Panel: Global Electrification

James Marlow

James Marlow is co-founder and former CEO of Radiance Solar. He has worked at Yahoo! as a Regional Director of Sales for the Southeast. He was Founder and Chief Southerner of, a regional online portal for the American South. He enjoys being a guest lecturer speaking on Solar Energy, Sustainability, Innovation, Startups and the history of Personal computing.


Dr. Richard Simmons

Dr. Richard Simmons is a Senior Research Engineer at Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute (SEI). He has been Executive Director for Research- AirTIES Center, Energy Officer for AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow for the U.S.  Department of State, and VP of Engineering at Eleison Composites.


Sarah Neville

Sarah Neville is the Campus Sustainability Coordinator at Georgia Tech. Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, she has a Bachelor and Master of Science in Environmental Policy from the University of Michigan, and is currently pursuing an MBA from the Georgia Institute of Technology.


Dr. Emily Grubert

Dr. Emily Grubert is an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech. She studies how community and societal priorities can be better incorporated into multicriteria policy and project decisions, mainly related to energy, water, and infrastructure systems.


Emily Morris

Emily Morris is the co-founder and CEO of Emrgy. She managed $10+ million in R&D contracts to build new technologies for energy, military and transportation over 6 years. She is on the Board of Directors of Blue Skies Ministries and was named Top 30 Under 30 by Atlanta Business Chronicle in 2016.



Panel: Energy Security and Smart Grids

Dr. Marylin Brown

Dr. Marylin Brown is a professor of Sustainable Systems in the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy. She joined Georgia Tech in 2006 after a distinguished career at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where she led several national climate change mitigation studies and became a leader in the analysis and interpretation of energy futures in the United States.

Dr. Murat Yildirim

Dr. Murat Yildirim is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Wayne State University. Prior to joining Wayne State, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology (2016-2018). Dr. Yildirim’s research interest lies in advancing the integration of mathematical programming and data analytics in various application domains, with a special emphasis on energy and mobility applications.



Dr. Adam Stulberg

Dr. Adam 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. 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, internationalization of the nuclear fuel cycle, and implications of emerging technologies for strategic stability and international security.


Anthony Coker

Anthony Coker is Vice President of Sales at Hannah Solar. He is responsible for utilities, national accounts & new markets. As a frequent industry speaker and author, Anthony is a thought leader in the Solar PV, CleanTech and Smart Energy industries. He is a published author in the areas of Solar Cost Modeling, Competitive Industry Strategies and Business Process Management.



Energy Expo 2017

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.

Energy Expo 2018

Keynote Speaker: Mr. Nathaniel Smith

Nathaniel Smith serves as Founder and Chief Equity Officer (CEqO)/CEO of the Partnership for Southern Equity. Empowered by the unified vision and voices realized through its regional engagement efforts, PSE pushes for policies and actions that promote balanced growth and inclusive prosperity in metropolitan Atlanta and beyond. Before taking on the founding role of PSE’s Chief Equity Officer/CEO Mr. Smith served as Director of Partnerships and Research for Equitable Development at Emory University’s Center for Community Partnerships (CFCP). In this capacity Nathaniel facilitated engaged scholarship opportunities with external and community organizations to achieve balanced, sustainable and inclusive growth throughout the metropolitan Atlanta region.

Atlanta Initiatives in Sustainability Panel

Matt Cox
Chief Executive Officer and founder of the Greenlink Group

Dr. Matt Cox is the co-founder and CEO of The Greenlink Group, a clean energy technology and consulting firm based in Atlanta. In this role, Matt oversees the design of energy and resource analysis software tools to inform planning and policy decisions across the United States aimed at increasing the precision of estimates and projections and capitalizing on opportunities to improve business and social outcomes, including Greenlink’s award-winning ATHENIA model. His consulting work focuses on energy efficiency strategies, renewable energy deployment and integration. He specializes in energy analysis, distributed resource valuation and the electric power sector.

Matt is an energy and climate policy expert with Master’s and Doctoral degrees in public policy. He has authored over 50 publications in energy policy, renewable energy, energy efficiency, economic development and job creation, the social and environmental impacts of energy use, and water policy. His research has helped to craft and inform evidence-based energy policy and design at the local, state, national, and international levels, with policy recommendations adopted by several cities and states, the U.S. government, and 12 other nations. While achieving his doctorate, Matt was awarded a National Science Foundation IGERT fellowship in the Nanomaterials for Energy Storage and Conversion program. He was also a founding member of the Georgia Tech Climate and Energy Policy Laboratory. Prior to the Greenlink Group, Matt was the Building Energy Efficiency Program Manager for the City of Atlanta, where he led the development of energy efficiency policies, both internal to City operations and for the City of Atlanta at large.

Liz Coyle
Executive Director of Georgia Watch

Liz Coyle joined the team at Georgia Watch in February 2012. She provides leadership for the organization and fosters an entrepreneurial environment in which the team works collaboratively to achieve its mission. As Executive Director, Liz manages the organization’s operations and staff and oversees all Georgia Watch programs in the areas of Health Access, Consumer Energy, Civil Justice and Financial Protection. She serves as primary liaison to the board of directors and engages the board, staff and stakeholders in implementing the organization’s strategic plan. She brings to her position more than 25 years of experience as a non-profit manager, communications professional and grassroots advocate.

George Buchanan
Energy Services Professional at 2KB Energy Services, LLC

George Buchanan has been working in the energy and environmental solutions industry for 18 years. Over the course of his career, he has successfully served clients as a measurement and verification engineer, energy engineer, project developer, and energy program manager. George is a member of the Association of Energy Engineers; the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, the Energy Services Coalition; and the Georgia Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. He is a Certified Energy Manager and holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration.

Tim Echols
Vice Chairman, Georgia Public Service Commission

Shortly after graduating from UGA, Tim and his wife Windy founded TeenPact, a training experience for conservative high school students.  The program began at the Georgia Capitol and now operates in 42 states having training 50,000 students. After building TeenPact, Echols ran for and was elected to statewide office in 2010 serving as Public Service Commissioner. His primary job is energy regulation. When he took office, Georgia was 34th in solar power.  Now, 6 years later the state is 6th in the nation in approved solar. Some of that is in Camden County.

Echols created the Clean Energy Roadshow that has traveled the state every summer for the last seven years. This educational event travels to cities around the state helping commuters, businesses and municipal governments evaluate alternative fuel for their transportation and residential use.

Tim has tried to lead by example. He added solar hot water heating to his Athens home just before being sworn-in. He bought a natural gas car, a propane van and now owns an electric car. Tim also led the effort to provide the Salvation Army and two other agencies with $5 million to help low income seniors in Atlanta with heating assistance.  That program continues today. Tim created a pilot program to provide specially equipped IPADS to the hearing impaired to help them function more productively. That programs continues today as well.  Most recently, Tim led the PSC to increase the number of pediatric hearing aids in a program the PSC oversees.

Tim wants to keep rates low and he works hard with his colleagues to make sure Georgia has the energy it needs from diverse sources, including nuclear power. Tim supports recycling the nuclear waste and using the remaining energy resident in those fuel rods as the most sustainable course of action for the state and nation.  He has represented the United States at the World Nuclear Exhibition for the last four years.

Energy Policy Workshop

Daniel Matisoff Ph.D.
Associate Professor School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech

Daniel Matisoff teaches and conducts research in the areas of public policy, energy policy, and corporate sustainability. His research focuses on the effectiveness and efficiency of comparative approaches to addressing environmental problems and the adoption and diffusion of energy technologies and policies. He currently is a fellow with the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainability, and is affiliated with the Strategic Energy Institute and Center for Urban Innovation. He has participated in over $4 million of sponsored research through the National Science Foundation, the European Union Center for Excellence, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Georgia Department of Transportation, and the National Electric Energy Testing Research and Applications Center. His recent research has resulted in publications in the Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Environmental and Resource Economics, Energy Economics, Environmental Science and Technology, Energy Policy, and Business Strategy and the Environment, among other outlets. His current research interests include: evaluating the effectiveness of voluntary eco-labeling programs; the effectiveness of incentives for solar electricity; the adoption of smart grid technologies and policies; and the impact of large scale solar adoption on consumer rates and bills.

Sustainable Technologies for Food  Production

Mario Cambardella
Urban Agriculture Director at City of Atlanta


Ryan Cox
Founder and CEO of HATponics

Ryan Cox is the Founder and CEO of HATponics, company that has developed the world’s first portable farm and is engaged in sustainable agriculture projects on 4 different continents.

Steven Van Ginkel
Environmental Engineering Research Associate, Georgia Tech

Dr. Van Ginkel is currently leading the ATP3 algae biodiesel project ( and an urban farming initiative at Georgia Tech.

Valerie Thomas
Anderson Interface Professor of Natural Systems at Georgia Tech

Valerie Thomas is the Anderson Interface Professor of Natural Systems in the School of Industrial & Systems Engineering, with a joint appointment in the School of Public Policy.

Dr. Thomas’s research interests are energy and materials efficiency, sustainability, industrial ecology, technology assessment, international security, and science and technology policy. Current research projects include the environmental impacts of biofuels, and electricity system development. Dr. Thomas serves on the DOE/USDA Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee. From 2004 to 2005, she was the American Physical Society Congressional Science Fellow. Dr. Thomas was a Member of the U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board from 2003 to 2009. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and of the American Physical Society.

From 1986 to 1989, she was a post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. From 1989 to 2004, she was a Research Scientist at Princeton University, in the Princeton Environmental Institute and in the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, and was a Lecturer in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Dr. Thomas received a B. A. in physics from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Cornell University.

Power in Emerging Markets

Szilard Liptak
Research Engineer, Energy Access Specialist

Szilard Liptak is a research engineer at the Center for Distributed Energy at Georgia Tech. He comes with a unique three years of work experience in seven countries on three continents, including working for NGO’s in Malawi and Haiti, and an off-grid solar start-up in Kenya. He is an energy access specialist with very good understanding of both mechanical, and electrical aspects of product design. His primary research interests are off-grid solar systems, their interoperability and control, distributed smart sensor networks, and other technology solutions for developing markets. He is a graduate of Georgia Tech with a M.S. in electrical and computer engineering.

Deepak Divan
Director of Center for Distributed Energy, Georgia Tech

Dr. Deepak Divan is Professor, John E Pippin Chair, GRA Eminent Scholar and Director of the Center for Distributed Energy at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA. His field of research is in the areas of power electronics, power systems, smart grids and distributed control of power systems. He works closely with utilities, industry and is actively involved in research, teaching, entrepreneurship and starting new ventures.

Dr. Divan also serves as Founder and Chief Scientist at Varentec, in Santa Clara, CA, and was President and CTO from 2011-14, leading the company as it developed its suite of innovative distributed real-time grid control technologies. Varentec is funded by leading green-tech Venture Capital firm Khosla Ventures and renowned investor Bill Gates.

Dr. Divan is an elected Member of the US National Academy of Engineering, member of the National Academies Board on Energy and Environmental Systems, a Fellow of the IEEE, past President of the IEEE Power Electronics Society, and is a recipient of the IEEE William E Newell Field Medal. He has 40 years of academic and industrial experience, 65 issued and pending patents, and over 400 refereed publications. He has founded or seeded several new ventures including Soft Switching Technologies, Innovolt, Varentec and Smart Wires, which together have raised >$160M in venture funding. He received his B. Tech from IIT Kanpur, and his MS and PhD degrees from the University of Calgary, Canada.

Joe Ogrinc
Marketing Operations   Executive, GE Power

Joe Ogrinc leads market intelligence for GE’s Power  business unit.  In this headquarters role, Joe is responsible for delivering   a  broad range  of market insights to drive business strategy,  including forecasting and market analytics, competitive strategy, and knowledge management.   GE Power  is a world leading provider of traditional and renewable power generation technology, as well as digital, grid and storage technologies.

Joe has been with GE for 17 years, with roles in both GE Power  and GE Industrial businesses.  He has specific emphasis in marketing where he has had several leadership  roles covering equipment and services in the energy sector.  Previously, Joe worked in both general management and industrial marketing for GE,  focused on energy intensive industries.

Prior to GE, Joe  held a variety of leadership positions in engineering, operations, and general management. Joe has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University, and a MBA from Duke University.  Joe lives with his wife and daughter in Atlanta,  GA.

Matt Jordan
Co-Founder & Principal at Propel Clean Energy Partners

Matt Jordan is Principal at Propel Clean Energy Partners, a boutique consulting firm that works with government, philanthropic and investment partners on clean energy and sustainability strategies, policies, program development and financing. Prior to Propel, Matt was CLASP’s first Director of Market Development, and conceived, built and led the organization’s pioneering Clean Energy Access program. He’s a leading expert on energy access and sustainable development, in particular the role of energy efficiency in cost-effective, low-carbon solutions to global poverty.