2015 Energy Resource Management Conference Speakers

Overton Hotel and Conference Center

September 29-30th, 2015

Bob Timpany

Robert Timpany

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team

Chief of Operations


Robert Timpany is the Idaho Chief of Operations for the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT), an operational division of the department’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) and the DHS Office of Cybersecurity and Communications (CS&C).

ICS-CERT works to reduce industrial control system risks within and across all critical infrastructure and key resource sectors by coordinating efforts among federal, state, local and tribal governments, as well as industrial control systems owners, operators and vendors. In collaboration with the other NCCIC components the ICS-CERT responds to and analyzes control systems related incidents, conducts vulnerability and malware analysis, and shares and coordinates vulnerability information and threat analysis through products and alerts.

Mr. Timpany has over 20 years of Cybersecurity experience and brings a strong industrial control system experience to DHS. Before coming to the ICS-CERT, Mr. Timpany, was the ICS Cybersecurity Subject Matter expert for the control systems at Idaho National Laboratory. Prior to that work at the laboratory, Mr. Timpany held a wide variety of roles in department management, program management, and individual contributor to a wide variety of control systems and wireless testing.

He retired from the US Army after twenty years of service with assignments in the Infantry, Special Forces, and Cyber. In his Army Cyber assignments, Mr. Timpany conducted Blue Team and Red Team assessments of Army networks as large as 65,000 network nodes. In addition, he was responsible for maintaining operational status of all the cyber systems in the Army’s Operation Center during wartime operations in a 24x7x365 environment.

Mr. Timpany is a Certified Information Systems Security Management Professional, a Certified Information Systems Security Architecture Professional and a Certified Information Systems Security Professional.


Kathleen O’Brien

GE Global Research

‎R&D Portfolio Leader – GE Energy Management


Kathleen has been at GE Global Research since 2005. She now manages project portfolios for several GE Energy Management and works with this business on technology strategy. Previously, she was the manager of the Electric Power Systems Lab and led several large projects in the area of solar grid integration. Specialties: grid technologies, grid integration of renewables, sustainable energy technologies for the power grid, the interaction of power electronics and the power grid

Jeff Wehner

Jeffrey Wehner

Duke Energy Corporation

Vice President of Operations, Renewables


Jeffrey Wehner is the Vice President, Operations for Duke Energy Renewables. In this role, he manages Duke Energy’s wind, solar, and energy storage project operations, the Renewable Energy Monitoring Center and Duke Energy Renewables Services.  Mr. Wehner assumed his current position in July, 2013. Previously, Wehner served as a regional manager for Duke Energy Generation Services, coordinating merchant business operations throughout the Midwest.  Prior to this role, Wehner was area manager for Cinergy’s Narrows, Va., operations. At Narrows, Mr. Wehner led plant operations across multiple states, providing leadership to plant managers and positioning Cinergy for continued growth. Wehner also served as a senior engineer at Cincinnati Gas & Electric where he supervised the implementation of multiple federal programs and acted as an environmental liaison between the company and regulatory bodies.

Wehner earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Cincinnati, a Juris doctor degree from the Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Morehead State University.


Usha Viswanathan

Starnik Systems

Founder & President


Usha Viswanathan is Co-Founder and President of Starnik, a software company that has disrupted both the utility billing and energy management industries with a single cloud based solution. With a small but passionate team, Starnik uses lean startup principles to build, distribute, and support a powerful product that has optimized billing operations, cut down onboarding time, and significantly reduced costs to customers. Through Starnik’s software, over $740 million in utility bills are delivered annually across the US and in Australia and Europe. With Starnik, Viswanathan’s mission is to continue to innovate in this industry using the power of technology to ultimately help conserve precious resources such as water and electricity.

Prior to founding Starnik, Viswanathan was a CPA at Ernst & Young in San Diego and later at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chicago. Viswanathan was one of the top 100 scorers in the CPA exam in the United States and holds an MS in Management Information Systems from Texas Tech University.



Victor M. Abelairas

Wind River

Senior Director, Business Development


Victor Abelairas is currently Senior Director, Business Development for Wind River, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel. In this role, Victor is focused on championing the vertical strategy for Industrial Markets, including IoT. He helps to define the products and services that enable his customers to extract the business value hidden behind machine data.

Prior to joining Wind River, Victor was the Director of Commercial Excellence for GE Intelligent Platforms, where he had global responsibility for leading sales and commercial operations across the organization. He managed five Commercial CoE’s including Inside Sales, Training, Commercial Process, Variable Incentive Compensation and Channel Operations.

Victor started his career with General Electric in 2002, where he held consecutive sales roles in various Energy business units. In 2009, he transitioned to Operations as the P&L leader for Technical Services within GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy. In this role, he had the unique responsibility of leading the nuclear Emergency Command Center Technical Operations in support of the relief efforts for the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami events.

Victor holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Florida and a Master’s of Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He is an avid traveler and enjoys outdoor activities, including cycling and snowboarding. Victor and his wife, Anna, are located in Atlanta, GA.


Dr. Davion Hill

Group Leader and Principal Engineer for Energy & Materials at DNV GL

President of NAATBatt International


Dr. Davion Hill is 2015 President of NAATBatt International and is an experienced energy R&D consultant. Dr. Hill has worked with notable organizations such as ARPA-e, NYSERDA, and the California Energy Commission, leading technical R&D programs related to battery energy storage performance and safety. Dr. Hill has also spearheaded efforts to qualify and test battery systems for maritime hybrid vessels and offshore battery applications, including subsea equipment, and has tested and qualified cutting edge energy technologies. Dr. Hill has led, chaired, or participated in multiple panel discussions on the topics of battery safety. He is an accomplished author with over 25 peer reviewed publications and articles. In his free time, Dr. Hill spends time with his wife and two children and – if he can find a minute – woodworking or restoring a 1961 Impala.


Amir Husain


Founder & CEO


Amir Husain is a serial entrepreneur and inventor based in Austin, Texas. He serves as an advisor to IBM for its Watson cognitive computing platform and is the Founder & CEO of SparkCognition, Inc. an award-winning Machine Learning/AI driven Cognitive Analytics Company. SparkCognition was launched with backing from Michael Dell’s MSD Capital, L.P., TEF CA, and other leading investors. In June, 2014, SparkCognition won the global IBM InnovateApp 2014 competition for the most innovative ecosystem application of 2014.

Amir is a prolific inventor with 13 awarded and over 40 pending US patent applications to his credit. He has founded and/or led several technology startups, including Kurion, infraManage, ClearCube and VDIworks. In 2013, a low cost computing platform Amir invented was inducted into the collection of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, the world’s largest such institution. His work has also been published in IEEE conferences and in leading tech journals including Network World, Computer World and others. His companies have won numerous awards, such as the InnovateApp 2014 competition, the VMWORLD Gold award, Network World’s Hottest Products, CRN’s Innovation award and PC World’s best product award. Amir currently serves as President & CEO of SparkCognition and as advisor and board member to ClearCube, VDIworks, AM Networks and others.

Suzi McClellan headshot

Suzi McClellan

State Affairs Director

Good Company Associates


Suzi McClellan brings over a decade of Texas regulatory and legislative experience to Good Company Associates.

Ms. McClellan was first appointed by then-Governor Bush and reappointed by Governor Perry to be Public Counsel of the Office of Public Utility Counsel where she served for over 12 years.  Ms. McClellan directed the agency during the transition to competition of both the electric and telecommunications industries.  As Public Counsel, Ms. McClellan represented residential and small commercial customers in a wide variety of rulemakings and contested cases, including those required to implement retail competition.  As Public Counsel, Ms. McClellan was responsible for all policy positions of the agency as well as the litigation strategy on multi-million dollar cases.

Ms. McClellan has worked extensively with the legislature on a variety of electric and telecommunications issues, including the electric restructuring legislation, where Ms. McClellan worked successfully to pass key provisions for the benefit of residential and small business customers.  Ms. McClellan served on the Board of Directors of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas from 1999-2007.  During this time, ERCOT transitioned into the Independent System Operator that is responsible for operating the electric grid as well as managing the competitive wholesale and retail markets.

Ms. McClellan, an attorney, received her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas School of Law and her Bachelor of Science in Communication from the University of Texas.


Alex Pratt

AutoGrid Systems

Director of Strategic Accounts


Alex is the director of strategic accounts at AutoGrid Systems, where he heads utility engagement for many of the data analytics solutions offered by AutoGrid. He works closely with AutoGrid’s largest domestic utility customers and his role includes assembling a cross-disciplinary team to define, implement, and manage early stage applications for Autogrid’s Energy Data Platform. In this capacity he has been central to the development of new solutions around peak demand management, customer segmentation, and distribution grid maintenance, among others. Alex has a background in leading high-performance teams as well as bringing a broad spectrum of resources to bear in order to solve complex problems in dynamic environments. Before joining AutoGrid, Alex served as an officer in the US Navy SEAL teams and subsequently earned an MBA and MS from Stanford University. He also holds a BSE in Civil Engineering from Duke University.


Victor Babbitt

RES Americas

Vice President of Energy Storage


Mr. Babbitt is a passionate visionary who has been on the forefront of the energy storage industry since the 1980s. A technical expert in energy storage, Mr. Babbitt has analyzed over 140 energy storage technologies currently available or under development. Today Mr. Babbitt directs RES efforts in grid scale energy storage development, engineering, construction and operations in North and South America. To date this includes 7 utility scale energy storage projects either in operation or construction for completion in 2015, for a total of 75MW, not including supporting the world’s first non-fuel Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) plant.

Mr. Babbitt previously founded Battery Power Systems of Seattle Washington, and worked at Microsoft Advanced Technologies. He is the inventor of four issued U.S. Patents, and five current U.S. and International patent applications.


Bob Leigh




Bob Leigh is CEO and founder of LocalGrid Technologies, developing transformative software solutions with intelligent infrastructure. LocalGrid Fog Computing Platform is a data-centric, secure, embedded software architecture for the Industrial Internet of Things, putting Intelligence at the edge and simplifying Fog Computing. Bob has been working with embedded control and data systems for 15 years, starting in manufacturing and working across many industrial sectors, including utilities and oil & gas. LocalGrid is the third startup Bob has worked with, and the second he has founded, all of which have focused on embedded software solutions that generate value through access to real-time and insightful data. Through LocalGrid, Bob is using his experience to build new industry focused solutions that will accelerate the adoption of Fog Computing and help drive efficiency of capital though better access to data and transforming data into action.

Craig Picture

Craig Wilkins

ViZn Energy Systems

Chairman of the Board/Founder


Craig has 25 years of proven sales and executive management experience with a variety of start-ups in the financial and technology sectors. Mr. Wilkins is currently the Chairman of the Board of ViZn Energy, a privately held storage technology company. Previously, Craig was the founder and President/CEO of Acceptance Capital Mortgage Corporation (ACMC), a nationwide mortgage broker with 100 offices in 30 states. In 1996, Craig was a founder and principal owner in NetWireless, the largest distributor for Nextel Communications, which grew to $40M in revenue in less than 3 years before being sold.  When NetWireless sold to Bearcom, Craig managed the combined corporate account teams for the company. Prior to his work at NetWireless, Craig was the Director of Sales for CSI Financial, the second largest purchaser of hospital receivables in the United States. Craig has a BA in Finance from University of Montana and completed his graduate studies in Economics.


Dr. W. Mack Grady

Baylor University

Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering


Dr. W. Mack Grady, Ph.D., P.E., is a professor and the Associate Chairman of the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the Jack S. Josey Centennial Professor in Energy Resources at the Cockrell School of Engineering.

Dr. Grady received his bachelor’s in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington and his master’s and doctorate degrees from Purdue University. He is a registered professional engineer in Texas.

In 2000, Dr. Grady was elected as a Fellow of IEEE. He holds a security clearance and works on power grid and power distribution issues for the Scientific Applications and Research Associates (SARA) team on the Department of Defense (DOD) Defense Threat Reduction Agency projects.


Peter Kelly-Detwiler

NorthBridge Energy Partner



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 Forbes.com, Natural Gas & Electricity, and other publications.


Bill Blevins


Manager of Operations Planning


Mr. Blevins is a native Texan from Port Lavaca Texas. He is a Graduate of the US Navy Nuclear Power Engineering School and also has an AS degree from St. Leo University. He has 27 years of power systems experience with 21 years in civilian commercial power systems and 6 years Nuclear Power Systems experience. He started his civilian career with Houston Lighting and Power and worked at South Texas Nuclear Power station in Bay City Texas before moving into grid operations.

 Prior to coming to ERCOT, he held positions at North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), first as Manager of Interchange and second as Manager Business Practices. Before working at NERC he worked for Duke Energy as Manager Generation Control where he was responsible for control area operations in the Eastern and Western Power Grid.

 His current position is Manager Operations Planning at ERCOT. While at ERCOT he also served as Manager of Operations Support and was responsible for grid operations preparedness as ERCOT transitioned to the new Nodal Market in 2011.


Dr. Cesar A. Silva-Monroy

Sandia National Laboratories

Senior Member of Technical Staff


Dr. Cesar A. Silva-Monroy is a member of the Electric Power System Research group at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM. He has over 10 years of experience in the areas of power system operations and planning, and renewable energy integration. His research focuses on applying novel computational techniques to increase the efficiency, reliability and resilience of the electric grid. He currently leads projects at Sandia for DHS, DOE/EERE and DOE/OE on increasing the resilience of power systems to geomagnetic disturbances, performing stochastic production cost modeling simulations under high penetration of renewables, and optimizing energy storage deployments in deregulated markets, respectively. Cesar received his PhD from University of Washington in 2011.


Damian Beauchamp

KAir Energy Systems

Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer


Before becoming CEO and Co-Founder of KAir Battery, Damian Beauchamp graduated from Kent State University (KSU) magna cum laude with a BS in chemistry. While at KSU Damian was an NSF STEM fellow, received the National Smart Grant, Choose Ohio First Scholarship, and the Chemistry Undergraduate Excellence Award. He then joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at The Ohio State University in 2012 under the direction of Dr. Yiying Wu as a PhD student (now in his 3rd year). His focus and passion are based on the discovery, development, and commercialization of sustainable/renewable energy production and storages solutions. In 2013 Damian received honorable mention from the NSF Graduate Fellowship committee and co-founded Kair Battery LLC in 2013. Kair was developed to provide highly energy efficient and dense, cost-effective, and non-toxic energy storage systems to the electric vehicle and grid storage markets. Damian led Kair to success taking 1st at both the Ohio State University ($15,000) and Ivey ($20,000) Business Plan Competitions, winning the DOE Clean Energy Prize ($100,000) and taking second in both the elevator pitch competition and the semi-finals at the Rice Business Plan Competition, and competed in Washington D.C. at the DOE Clean Energy Business Plan Competition. Recently, Damian was lead writer of a funded 2014 Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation Start-up Fund (TVSF) grant ($100,000). Most recently, Damian was awarded the Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award from VentureNEXT, was featured in Forbes Magazine’s 2015 30 Under 30 edition, and delivered a TED talk at TEDxOhioState.

Roger Kay headshot grab

Roger Kay

Endpoint Technologies Associates, Inc.



Roger L. Kay is President of Endpoint Technologies Associates, Inc., an independent technology market analysis company.  Previously, he was Vice President of Client Computing at IDC, covering client PCs (desktop and mobile computers).  Before that, he ran his own research and analysis firm, directed operations for a developer of multilingual text processing software, ran a technology analysis and publishing practice for a consulting company, managed international accounts for a data communications equipment manufacturer, and did new product development for a computerized trading network.  He has published in a variety of forums and been quoted in a number of publications and other media outlets.  Mr. Kay received a B.F.A. from Bennington College and an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.  He is multilingual, world-traveled, and has bicycled over the Alps.  He now lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two children.


Natasha Henderson

Golden Spread Electric Cooperative

Manager of Strategic Planning

Bill Muston

Bill Muston

Oncor Electric Delivery

R&D Manager


John W. Gajda

Duke Energy

Manager, Operations Support, Distributed Energy Resources


John Gajda is currently Manager, Operations Support, in the Distributed Energy Resources Department at Duke Energy. John received his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Arkansas in 1990 and his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from NC State University in 1994. John has worked in various roles in the energy industry, and has been at Progress Energy/Duke Energy since 2001. John’s technical background is primarily in protective relaying and generator interconnections, and in his current role, he is leading an Operations Support team at Duke Energy specific to Distributed Energy Resources. John and his team are busy analyzing and quantifying the impact of high penetration of distributed resources to generation, transmission, and distribution; they are also actively developing many of the technical solutions to mitigate and integrate increasing levels of DER on the power system. Since 2010 John has also been a part-time lecturer at NC State University in their Master’s of Science in Electric Power Systems program.


Brian Hayes

EDP Renewables

Executive Vice President


Brian Hayes is Executive Vice President of EDP Renewables North America LLC. Brian leads the Asset Management, Performance Management, Operations and Quality Departments, overseeing the commercial obligations, activities and performance of EDPR NA’s operating wind farms.

Brian joined EDPR NA, then Horizon Wind Energy, in 2006, leading the Performance Analysis and Asset Management Teams, as the company’s operating fleet grew from 500 to over 3,000 megawatts (MW). Brian led many commercial resolutions with turbine suppliers for specific technical issues, the development of the sophisticated performance analysis tools and the implementation of many new processes to manage day-to-day operations, tax equity investors, offtaker obligations, settlements and budgeting/P&L management.

Prior to joining EDPR NA, Brian was a management consultant at Booz & Co. for six years, focusing on various projects in the energy industry. Brian worked on both strategic and process improvement projects such as merger integration, refining strategic portfolio review, fuel pricing strategy, headquarter reorganization and redesign of utilities procurement organization and processes. Brian holds a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering and a Master of Business Administration from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

Paul Sweat

Paul Sweat

National Instruments

Senior Program Manager


Paul Sweat is the Clean Energy & Government Programs Senior Program Manager for the Energy Segment at National Instruments.  In his role, Paul collaborates with industry, universities, the DOE and DOD on clean energy technology projects and funding opportunities.  He works closely with R&D to align NI’s product strategy with industry trends and develops vertical partners to drive the adoption of new technologies.  He also acts as an NI representative in key energy consortiums and is an Advisory Board Member for the EcoTech Institute.  Paul joined NI’s Engineering Leadership Program over 15 years ago.  Since then, he has worked in various roles within NI including Field Applications Engineer, District Sales Manager, Embedded Systems Business Development Manager and Western U.S. Energy Segment Business Development Manager.  Paul graduated summa cum laude from Kansas State University with a B.S. in Computer Engineering.


Nathan Mancha

EDF Energy Services

Director of Demand Response


Nathan Mancha is the Director of Demand Response for EDF Energy Services, where he manages all of the demand response assets in the EDF portfolio.  In this role, he works primarily with commercial and industrial load clients as well as cities and cooperatives to help optimize energy positions and advises them on the electricity market, demand response, and compliance rulings.  He has over 9 years of power experience with the grid operators in NYISO, ISO-NE, PJM, and ERCOT.  Before joining the energy industry, he worked at Merrill Lynch in the Wealth Management Department.  Nathan has a BS in marketing and management from Trinity University.


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.


Jay Caspary

Southwest Power Pool

Director of Research, Development & Special Studies


Jay Caspary is SPP’s Director – Research, Development & Special Studies with almost 35 years of industry experience.

Jay joined SPP in 2001 after almost a 20 year career at Illinois Power/Dynegy.  At SPP, Jay has been responsible for Engineering in support of regional planning and transmission development. In early 2013, Jay completed a one-year assignment at the DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability in DC as a Senior Policy Advisor to help with grid modernization efforts and research priorities.  In this current position, Jay facilitates efforts to help SPP staff, members and stakeholders create and manage R&D projects, develop staff skills and resources, evaluate new tools, improve processes and perform special studies.

Jay graduated from the University of Illinois – Urbana with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis in Power Systems in 1981.  Jay is in the process of completing his requirements to obtain a Masters of Engineering degree from Iowa State.  Jay serves on several industry committees, including the Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative (EIPC), Eastern Renewable Generation Integration Study (ERGIS), and EPRI’s Grid Operations, Planning and Renewable Integration program leadership team.  Jay serves on the Board of Directors for the Utility Variable-generation Integration Group (UVIG) and the Industry Advisory Boards for the GRid-connected Advanced Power Electronics Systems (GRAPES), as well as the Power Systems Engineering Research Center (PSERC).

John Osborne

John Osborne

Lubbock Economic Development Alliance

Chief Executive Officer


John Osborne is the President and CEO of the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance and Market Lubbock, two private, non-profit organizations with the common goal of increasing the economic opportunities in Lubbock. John is responsible for all operations including business retention, business recruitment, workforce development, and foreign-trade zone activities as well as the activities of Lubbock’s convention & visitor’s bureau, Visit Lubbock, and Lubbock Sports.

John has held economic development positions in communities of various sizes in three states, including most recently San Antonio. Over the past ten years, John has worked with more than 100 companies to add more than $986 million in capital improvements and create more than 15,400 new jobs. The past four years, the organization has hosted an estimated 1.5 million visitors for more than 1,600 conventions or events, representing 510,000 total room nights. He currently serves on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Texas Economic Development Council, on the Board of Directors for the Texas Travel Industry Association, the High Ground of Texas, and Workforce Solutions South Plains, and on the Steering Committee of Imagine Lubbock Together, a community-wide strategic planning effort.

A native of Dallas, Texas, John received a B.S. in Agriculture Business and an M.B.A. from West Texas A&M University and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the WTAMU Alumni Association. He is a Certified Main Street Director from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has conducted numerous state and local workshops on business development and downtown revitalization, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute in 2004.

John and his family have called Lubbock their home since mid-2010.


Darren Hammell

Princeton Power Systems

Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer


Darren took home top honors in the Princeton University business plan contest and co-founded Princeton Power Systems in 2001. He served as President and CEO until March 2009, when he took on the responsibility of Executive Vice President of Business Development and later Chief Strategy Officer.

Darren was named one of Red Herring Magazine’s “Young Moguls” in 2005 and New Jersey-BIZ’s “Forty Under 40” business leaders in the state the same year. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the non-profit New Jersey Technology Council and the Einstein’s Alley Technology Collaborative.

Darren graduated with honors from Princeton University with a B.S.E. in Computer Science


Dr. Erfan Ibrahim

National Renewable Energy Lab

Center Director for Cyber-Physical Systems Security & Resilience R&D


Dr. Erfan Ibrahim is the Center Director for Cyber-Physical Systems Security & Resilience R&D at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden Colorado. Dr. Ibrahim works with the public and private sector to identify security requirements, evaluate cybersecurity standards, test cybersecurity controls and determine residual risk in smart networks in the electric sector, water and oil & gas. He serves as the chief liaison from NREL to the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) at the Department of Energy. He is also serving on the cybersecurity and resilience team within the Grid Modernization Lab Consortium for the DoE.

Dr. Ibrahim has had a 28 year career working in a variety of fields including plasma physics, nuclear fusion engineering, telecom, IT, network management, communications, smart grid and cybersecurity. He has worked for Lawrence Livermore National Lab, UCLA, Pacific Bell, Newbridge Networks, Jyra Research, Electric Power Research Institute, Scitor and Penn State University. He served as a consultant through his company, The Bit Bazaar LLC for over 10 years in the high tech, financial services, government and energy sectors. Dr. Ibrahim led the industry consensus building exercise in the NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Roadmap project during 2009 and also led the National Electric Sector Cybersecurity Organization Resources (NESCOR) project from DoE during 2010-2011 while serving as a Technical Executive in the Intelligrid Program at EPRI. Dr. Ibrahim has a BS Honors in Physics from Syracuse University, an MS in Mechanical Engineering from University of Texas Austin and a PhD in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California Berkeley.


Vahan Gevorgian

National Renewable Energy Lab

Senior Engineer


Vahan joined NREL in 1994. He as an electrical engineer with NREL’s Transmission and Grid Integration Group. His current interests include modeling of various power systems with variable renewable generation and also testing and demonstrating grid integration aspects of various renewable energy technologies.


Joseph Heinzmann

GE Power & Water

Senior Product Manager


Joe Heinzmann is the Senior Product Manager for General Electric’s Energy Storage Business.  In this role, Joe is responsible for developing cost effective commercial and technical solutions for GE’s customers around the world in a manner that maximizes the sustainability, economics, and efficiency of the power grid.

Joe has led directly to the placement of Battery systems around the world to support customer value and grid stability in energy management and renewable integration applications.  Joe holds a Mechanical Engineering Degree from the California Maritime Academy.


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.


Sean Mitchem

Southwest Research Institute

Smart Energy Technologies

Principal Analyst


Sean is an experienced system engineer, computer scientist, energy scientist, and project manager who has a diverse background in software development within many operational domains, including strategic command and control, air traffic control, healthcare systems, nuclear waste management, and smart grid energy systems. His two primary focus areas at this time are energy storage systems integration for grid-level energy storage and control, and cyber security of the smart grid. Sean’s work in the energy sector includes development of Vanadium Redox Flow Battery technology, economic analysis of dynamic line rating technology for high-power transmission lines, and integration of electric vehicles as energy storage devices within a microgrid. Sean served as Lead EVSE Investigator for EV integration on the SPIDERS Phase II program at Fort Carson, Colorado, and developed the aggregation system that integrates the EV fleet into Fort Carson’s SPIDERS microgrid.


Peter Blume

Bloomy Controls


Peter Blume is President and founder of Bloomy, a leading provider of automated test equipment for battery energy storage systems and components using National Instruments hardware and software. Peter is the author of The LabVIEW Style Book (Prentice Hall, © 2007), the industry standard for LabVIEW development style, and has published technical articles in publications including EE – Evaluation Engineering, EDN, Electronic Design, Desktop Engineering, and Test & Measurement World.

Peter’s two-part series titled Power Grid Energy Storage Testing, appeared in EE – Evaluation Engineering’s November 2012 and January 2013 editions. At the Battery Show 2014, Peter was a panelist for the open technology forum’s discussion on The Future of Large-Scale BMS Design. Earlier this year, Peter presented on battery energy storage performance testing at The International Stationary Battery Conference (Battcon 2015) and NIWeek, and Peter presented on Battery Management System testing at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC 2015) and The Battery Show 2015. Peter has a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Connecticut, and in 2015 was inducted into UCONN’s Academy of Distinguished Engineers.


Dr. M. Duane Nellis

Texas Tech University


Dr. M. Duane Nellis was named the 16th president of Texas Tech University on March 22, 2013, and began serving as president in June 2013. As an internationally recognized scholar and national higher education leader, President Nellis has been committed to enhancing Texas Tech University’s presence as a top tier national public research university through efforts that promote even greater levels of student success, academic quality and reputation, research and creative activities, and outreach dimensions. Nellis has defined Texas Tech 21st century pillars of excellence around such themes as being more entrepreneurial, more engaged, with a commitment to inter-disciplinary activities and global connections, while enhancing diversity. Nellis serves as chief executive officer of a university with more than 35,000 students, 1,400 faculty and 4,000 staff, and a budget of over $800 million. As the flagship university of the Texas Tech University System, Texas Tech was the first university in the state of Texas to qualify for National Research University funding (NRUF) and is a Carnegie high research activity national research university.