Panel Discussion: “Industry and Universities Working Together”



Mark Harral



Mark Harral’s introduction to renewable energy was negotiating a wind lease with BP to deploy thirty-four 2.5MW wind turbines in Pecos County, Texas. Subsequently, Texas Tech University employed Mr. Harral to develop an organizational structure for a testing and certification site at a former Air Force base – the Reese Technology Center in Lubbock, Texas.

The organizational structure was implemented by Texas Tech to create The National Institute for Renewable Energy with a for-profit wholly owned subsidiary known as Group NIRE. This structure enabled Alstom Power Inc. to deploy a 1.67MW Eco 86 wind turbine at the Reese Technology Center. The testing and certification site has continued to expand to include a 1MW/hr Utility-Scale Battery, Gamesa’s G114 2MW Prototype, as well as the DOE-SNL Scaled Wind Farm Technology Facility initiative. Mr. Harral oversaw project development, construction and management activities for the majority of the site. Mr. Harral has developed a commercial 80MW wind farm and negotiated the sale of the asset to a leading owner/operator of wind farms in the United States.

Since May 2013, Mr. Harral has served as the CEO of Group NIRE. He also serves as an expert witness in wind energy litigation cases. To date, Mr. Harral has testified in arbitration cases concerning warranty disputes between manufacturers and owners with over $90M in disputes. Mr. Harral graduated from Texas Tech School of Law with a Doctorate of Jurisprudence after receiving a B.B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.




Russell Thomasson

Texas Tech University
Director of Strategic Partnerships


Thomasson serves as Director of Strategic Partnerships in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research (OSVPR). In his university role, Russell works with faculty, industry and governmental decision makers in pursuit of major research and development opportunities in collaboration with GLEAMM, Group NIRE, National Labs, federally funded facilities and regional economic development corporations.

In addition to his role at the university, Thomasson serves as President and Board Chairman of GLEAMM, a Texas nonprofit corporation and controlling shareholder in Group NIRE, a for-profit energy field testing and commercial development company. GLEAMM is focused on advancing technologies and services for modernizing the electricity grid infrastructure and business model. GLEAMM is supported by the largest public-private research and development award in the history of Texas Tech University.

Prior to joining the OSVPR, Thomasson served as Associate Vice President of Research Commercialization. Thomasson also served as Chief of Staff to Kent Hance, former Chancellor of the Texas Tech University System, where he oversaw, among other responsibilities, the research and development strategy for the entire university system.

Thomasson graduated from Texas Tech University in 1998, receiving a BBA in Accounting and serving as the student body president. He received his law degree from the University Of Texas School Of Law in 2001 and was selected to the National Order of Barristers for his success in courtroom advocacy.

Thomasson has been recognized by the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce and the Young Professionals of Greater Lubbock as a 20 Under 40 award recipient. He served on the board of directors for the Greater West Texas Regional Center for Innovation and Commercialization (RCIC), the Texas Young Lawyers Association and is a founding member of the Texas Tech Club board.



Dr. Milton Holloway

Center for the Commercialization of Electric Technologies
President & Chief Operating Officer


Dr. Milton L. Holloway is the President & COO of the Center for the Commercialization of Electric Technologies (CCET) in Austin. His primary function at CCET is to direct the organization, including the development and oversight of electric technology projects.

During the last eight years Dr. Holloway has led CCET in the development of CCET’s technical advisory groups, forty-plus meetings of the Board of Directors, development of alliances with ERCOT, EPRI, DOE and other organizations and in the planning and execution of several technology and demonstration projects. The projects have included a distribution-level monitoring device design (Distribution Remote Terminal Unit), a demand response program in ERCOT that leveraged the deployment of Advanced Metering Systems at Oncor and CenterPoint, promotion of the CIMs protocol for distribution systems applications and in the planning and deployment of a major DOE Smart Grid Regional Demonstration grant (SGRD). The SGRD five-year project has seven technology and consumer response components that span the Texas geography from north to south and the electric systems from wind generation and transmission to consumer direct load control and pricing experiments, all focused on wind resource integration in the ERCOT grid.

Dr. Holloway was appointed by Governor’s Briscoe and Clements to direct the Texas energy policy office during the energy crises of the 1970s and early 80s where he was responsible to a 22-member Board of Directors Co-chaired by the Governor and Lt. Governor with the Speaker as Vice-Chair. Board members included Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission and Public Utility Commission, the Attorney General, Commissioners of the General Land Office and Agriculture, Comptroller, Chairman of the Water Development Board and Air Control Board, Chairs of the energy committees of the House and Senate and four private sector representatives. He served at the pleasure of the Governor for eight years. He has taught in the Executive MBA programs at UT Austin, Baylor University and St. Edward’s University and carried out an active consulting practice for over 30 years. Dr. Holloway holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from Texas Tech University and a Ph.D. in Economics from Oregon State University.




Peter Kelly-Detwiler

Forbes Contributor


Peter Kelly-Detwiler has 25 years of experience in the electric energy industry, with 15 years as an executive in competitive retail markets.

Prior to founding NorthBridge, as Sr. Vice President of Constellation Energy’s Demand Response group, he oversaw this unit’s growth to become an $80 mn business, capable of dispatching 1700 MW of customer load. Under his leadership, the team developed Virtuwatt, an industry-leading platform that served to integrate consumer’s load into electric power markets and automate the demand response function.

Before that, Peter established and ran the Operations department for the New England office of Constellation New Energy, the nation’s largest retail power provider, ultimately processing nearly $1 bn in annual revenue.

Mr. Kelly-Detwiler lectures frequently on energy markets and innovation, runs workshops, and moderates panels at numerous conferences. He is also a frequent contributor on energy-related issues to, Natural Gas & Electricity, and other publications.



TIME:  10:30 AM – 11:15 AM


Summary Coming Soon.