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Making Energy Work 2016
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  Thank you to our 2016 Making Energy Work Speakers!!

Ronak Bhatt
Ronak Bhatt founded the management consulting firm, RIN Advisors, to advise companies on a range of strategic issues for value creation with a focus on growth: new business development, product commercialization, innovation, sales & marketing, and partnerships/M&A. He works with companies from $50M to $10B in a variety of industries including manufacturing, energy, private equity, chemicals, and packaging. Prior to RIN Advisors, Ronak spent 6 years at McKinsey & Company, where he led consulting and client teams at Fortune 500 companies deal with their most pressing strategic challenges. In his spare time, Ronak teaches courses in business and energy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he is a part-time Associate Professor in the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC). Ronak is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of E4 Carolinas, a regional energy cluster organization, and recently led the North Carolina Electric Utility of the Future Steering Team to develop a vision for North Carolina. Ronak earned his doctorate in physics from MIT, and his B.S. in physics at Caltech.

  Stewart Bible 
Stewart Bible leads the Harvest Wave Energy team’s efforts. He is a proven business leader whose professional interests include renewable energy, fluid dynamics, process modeling, uncertainty analysis, simulation driven design, business finance and project development. Previously, Stewart founded and managed an engineering consulting firm serving the power industry and negotiated its acquisition by a global power equipment manufacturer in 2008, where he then served as Sr. Engineering Manager for 7 years.  

Andrea Braswell
Andrea Braswell is the Executive Assistant and Inclusion Program Manager for the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA). As Program Manager, Andrea guides NCSEA’s Inclusiveness Initiative, which aims to increase outreach and presence in historically excluded communities, increase awareness within the clean energy sector, and educate sector participants on the importance of inclusiveness in the clean energy economy. Andrea earned a B.A. in Environmental Sustainability from Meredith College, with minors in both Economics and Spanish. 


Diane Cherry

Diane Cherry is the Strategic Director at the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA). In this role, she works with NCSEA and its stakeholders to ensure North Carolina’s energy path becomes incrementally more sustainable, consistent with the organization’s mission and strategic objectives.  Prior to her current role, she worked for 10 years as the Environments Policy Manager at the Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State University, as an environmental policy analyst at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and as the senior policy advisor to the state’s Environmental Director at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Diane holds a graduate degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Virginia. Diane is a graduate of Leadership North Carolina.  

Rob Creighton
Rob Creighton had the idea for Windlift in 2004 while working in a biotechnology laboratory at UW-Madison. An inveterate tinker, Rob believed that recent advances in computer and materials technology would enable a new class of tethered aircraft to harness wind energy. Since receiving his MBA from UW-Madison in 2007, Rob has been awarded over $2.5M in state and federal grants to develop airborne wind energy. He is now leading Windlift's efforts to raise funding for a full-scale pilot demonstration project off the coast of North Carolina.


Stephen D'Esposito
Stephen D’Esposito is the President and CEO of RESOLVE, a solutions focused NGO that works with community, business, government, foundation and NGO leaders to get results on natural resource, health and sustainability issues.  Through its Solutions Network, RESOLVE has pioneered the innovative use of public-private partnerships to catalyze sustainable development, including projects that attract investors and program related investments. 
Prior to RESOLVE, Stephen was President and CEO of EARTHWORKS. He served as Deputy Director of Greenpeace USA and the led the Greenpeace International Executive Committee, based in Amsterdam. Stephen began his policy career with the New York Public Interest Research Group in the mid-80s. He chairs the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Mining and Metals, is former chair and serves on the board of Resource Media, and is a board member of the Diamond Development Initiative among others. In his community, Stephen designed and led a volunteer recycling program that spread across Washington, D.C. and eventually led to passage of the city’s first recycling legislation.


Nelson Dollar
Nelson Dollar is a Representative in the NC General Assembly serving a sixth term representing the citizens of Wake County. He is a media and public relations professional with over 20 years of experience in the industry. Representative Dollar is the Senior Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. During the 2015-2016 Session, Representative Dollar also served as Vice-Chairman of both the Finance Committee and the Committee on Health, as well as serve on the Committee on Commerce and Job Development, the Insurance Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the Public Utilities Committee, the Regulatory Reform Committee, and the Transportation Committee. He holds a M.A. in Social Sciences and B.S. in Social Sciences from Appalachian State University.
  Scott Dorney

Scott Dorney is the Executive Director of the NC Military Business Center (NCMBC). Scott also served nearly 22 years on active duty as a commissioned officer in the United States Army.  A field artillery and Foreign Area Officer, his numerous assignments included two tours in Greece, three years as an attaché at the US Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus, and as an artillery officer in the Persian Gulf War.  His final assignment was at Fort Bragg, where he served as the Civil Military Operations staff officer for XVIII Airborne Corps and as Deputy Garrison Commander. Scott currently serves as a member of the Boards of Directors of the North Carolina Defense Business Association and the NC Sustainable Energy Association. Scott graduated from The Citadel in Charleston, SC and received a Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University.

Joel D.M. Ford
Joel Ford is a Senator in the NC General Assembly representing District 38. Senator Ford was first elected in 2012, and is currently a business operations executive for Stone Laurel in Charlotte. He has owned and operated several small businesses in his 22-year professional career. Senator Ford serves on several committees including Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources, the Appropriations-Base Budget, Appropriations-Transportation, Finance, Insurance and Transportation. Senator Ford received his B.A. in Business Administration from NC Agricultural & Technical State University (NCA&T).


Rachael Estes

Rachael Estes is a Policy Analyst at the NC Conservation Network where she lobbies the NC General Assembly on clean energy, climate change, and toxics policies. She also coordinates and leads a clean energy, wind energy, and clean power plan policy group comprised of policy experts from other environmental organizations. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as a Legislative Aide for U.S. Representative Kathy Castor (FL-14), where she managed the Member’s legislative portfolio on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, focusing on energy and environmental legislation. During her time on the Hill, she served as the lead staffer for the Gulf Coast Caucus and focused on the RESTORE Act, the legislative response to the 2010 BP oil disaster. Rachael holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Duke University (2015) and a B.A. in Journalism from UNC-Greensboro (2008).


Etan Gumerman
Etan Gumerman is a senior policy associate at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. At the Nicholas Institute, he has led several energy and climate policy research projects. His recent work includes assessing cost-effective energy efficiency potential in the South. Previously, Etan led the Nicholas Institute's emissions and reduction analysis for the state of Utah, based on Utah's Blue Ribbon Advisory Council on Climate Change (BRAC) recommendations to the Governor. Etan has a M.S. in Engineering and Policy from Washington University and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. 



Kenneth Jennings

Ken Jennings is the Renewable Strategy & Policy Director of Duke Energy Carolinas and works out of the Raleigh Office. Ken is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University, where he studied Manufacturing Engineering.  He later finished his Master’s degree in Business Administration after starting his career at Cinergy Corporation, which was ultimately acquired by Duke Energy in 2006. Ken started his career working in the environmental engineering field on Federal Superfund Sites in North America and also managed thermal systems which recovered residual wastes at industrial sites. When he joined Cinergy Corporation, he worked as an engineer for his first three years and moved into business roles and ultimately landed in the regulatory policy field. Throughout his career, he has developed new generating facilities, managed business analytics teams, testified in numerous rate proceedings in multiple states and in his most recent role before moving to Raleigh, he managed market policy relating to the PJM markets and FERC for the Duke Midwest Commercial Business. He joined the Raleigh Team in October of 2014.  


Stephen Kalland
Stephen Kalland is the Executive Director of NC Clean Energy Technology Center, and has over 22 years of experience in the renewable energy and energy efficiency fields. Steve directs the strategic vision of the Center and its programs on everything from technical assistance to economic development, public policy, and workforce development.  Steven also serves on the Board of Directors for the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA).  Previously, Steve served as project manager with McNeil Technologies and as the director for Government Relations and Grid-Tied Markets at Xantrex Technology (formerly Trace Engineering, now part of Schneider Electric).  Steve graduated from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, and received a M.S. in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Rochester in New York.

Maria Kingery
Maria Kingery co-founded Southern Energy Management (SEM) with her husband Bob in 2001. Since then, she has helped pioneer the residential energy-efficiency and solar industries in North Carolina and elsewhere. In 2016, Maria’s desire to help other impact entrepreneurs succeed led her to train as a Professional Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®) Implementer. With her new company, Kingery & Co., Maria draws on her decades of experience as an entrepreneur to help other leaders excel and expand their impact quickly and efficiently.  Maria received her B.A. in English from NC State University. Maria is the recipient of the 2016 C3E Women in Clean Energy Entrepreneurial Leadership Award from the US Department of Energy, MIT Energy Initiative, and Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy. She has donated the prize money to NCSEA to establish a NC Women in Clean Energy working group to help support diversity and inclusiveness in NC's clean energy economy. 

Bob Koger 
Bob Koger is President and CEO Advanced Energy Corporation located in Raleigh on NC State University’s Centennial Campus. Advanced Energy’s success is based on Bob's vision of an organization in which utilities can share the costs and the benefits of investigating and implementing new technologies for load management, conservation, and energy efficiency. Bob served for many years on the NC Utilities Commission prior to his current role at Advanced Energy. He received his Ph.D. in Economics and Engineering from NC State University and an undergraduate degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Bob’s awards are numerous but most recently he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Advancing Clean Technology by the NC Sustainable Energy Association. 

Mark Laabs
Mark Laabs is a Director of Wylan Energy and helps the company to develop and manage commercial and strategic partnerships. Mark has been in the energy sector for nine years, and also serves as Chairman of Iwana Energy, an emerging market solar company, and of the Rare Cancer Research Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to accelerating development of rare cancer treatments. Previously, Mark was Chief Operating Officer at Soligent, the largest solar distributor in the American and, before that, at Climate Bridge, the leading carbon trading company in China.  Mark was a Business Analyst at McKinsey & Co. and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Robertson Scholar. 

  Randy Lucas
Randy Lucas is the Founder and Principal Consultant for Lucas Tax + Energy Consulting headquartered in Charlotte, NC.  Randy’s company is an integrated tax, accounting, financial advisory, and management consulting firm specializing in tax incentives and energy grants for energy efficiency construction and for renewable  energy technologies. Randy has over 22 years of tax consulting experience and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant. Randy has presented and facilitated several technical trainings and co-authored a variety of publications on fixed asset depreciation and energy tax incentives. Randy is currently the Treasurer and immediate past Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the NC Sustainable Energy Association, as well as a Founding Board Member of the NC Clean Energy Business Alliance.
Angie Maier

Angie Whitener Maier heads up the government affairs efforts and is the lead lobbyist for the North Carolina Pork Council (NCPC), an association that represents the nearly 46,000 North Carolinians that depend both directly and indirectly on pork production for their livelihoods. In addition to representing the interests of NC’s pork industry at the NC General Assembly, Angie coordinates the Council’s grassroots lobbying efforts and manages the NCPC Political Action Committee, serving as the PAC’s chief fundraiser. For the last eighteen years, Angie has worked in and around NC politics. Prior to joining NCPC in 2007, she served as a policy analyst in the Office of the NC Speaker of the House of Representatives, worked as a legislative assistant to two state senators and managed campaigns for state legislative races. She holds both a bachelors and Master's degree in political science from North Carolina State University.


Betsy McCorkle
Betsy McCorkle joined Southern Strategy Group after directing the government affairs work for the NC Sustainable Energy Association, where she gained extensive experience in leading diverse coalitions of businesses and other non-profits toward legislative goals. Betsy also has experience in workforce development, economic development, agricultural policy, and has been responsible for policy analysis and communications for political campaigns across the southeastern United States. She received a M.A. in Environmental Management from Duke University, and she holds a B.A. in Environmental Economics from the University of Georgia.
  Debra Michie
Debra Michie is the Executive Director of the Association for Corporate Growth in Raleigh, NC. ACG Raleigh Durham is the local presence of a global organization of over 15,000 professionals involved in strategic and organic middle market business growth. Simply put, the Association for Corporate Growth connects mid-market companies with the capital and other resources they will need to meet their plans for growth, recapitalization or exits. Debra has worked with ACG for 15 years and leads the annual Capital Conference which brings over $50B in private equity funds under management to NC each spring. Debra is a native of Canada and holds an Economics degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.

Jacqueline Patterson Browning
Jacqueline Patterson Browning is Principal and Founder of Sheercom, LLC, an energy and technology services company committed to the development and implementation of Clean Energy Solutions, Energy Entrepreneurship and STEM Education. An inaugural class graduate of the Harvard Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership Program, she was featured in the 2015 Pride Magazine's Women in STEM edition. In 2013 Jacqueline was a participant in an Energy Economic and Workforce Development Assessment in Mombasa, Kenya. Jacqueline serves on several high profile executive boards, taskforces and industry panels including the 2012 the Harvard Business School US Competitiveness Paths Forward Forum and the Huffington Post Democratic National Convention Women in Leadership Panel. Under Jacqueline’s headship, Sheercom LLC was nominated for the N.C. Governor’s “Outstanding Innovative Partnership” for Excellence Award. In 2011, White House Administration selected Jacqueline as one of twelve contributors to the small business innovators summit. She also served as Board Chair of the Project Lead The Way Program where North Meck H.S. achieved its Engineering Education Accreditation. 

José L. Pérez
José L. Pérez is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Hispanics In Energy, a national non-profit organization which facilitates Hispanic inclusion in America’s energy industry. José is also the founder and publisher of the Latino Journal, a non-partisan publication which provides an independent analysis of public policy and government from a Latino perspective. José served as president of the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and as vice president for the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. He has a B.A. in Government from California State University, Sacramento and a certificate on corporate governance from Harvard Business School.
  Karl R. Rábago
Karl R. Rábago is the Executive Director of the Pace Energy and Climate Center at the Pace Law School in White Plains, New York. Karl has over two decades’ experience in energy and climate policy markets. He also serves as Chair of the Board of the Center for Resource Solutions, a San Francisco-based non-governmental organization that works to advance voluntary clean energy markets. A graduate of Texas A&M University with a B.A. in Business Administration, Karl is an attorney (University of Texas Law School) with post-doctorate degrees in environmental (Pace University School of Law) and military law (US Army Judge Advocate General’s School).
Marilynn Marsh-Robinson
Marilynn Marsh-Robinson is the Partnerships and Alliances Manager of the U.S. Climate and Energy program at the Environmental Defense Fund. In this role, she works with partners to develop holistic energy and sustainable solutions that incorporate socioeconomic factors. Currently, she is working with electric cooperatives, rural communities and faith based partners. Previously, she worked on energy efficiency projects with local governments, non-profits and academic institutions, with a strong focus on minority serving colleges and universities.  She serves on the North Carolina Conservation Network board and the planning board of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network.  Marilynn has a B.A. in Political Studies from Meredith College.
  Owen Smith
Owen Smith is the Director of Energy Strategy at Ingersoll Rand.  In this role, Owen works with Ingersoll Rand’s businesses to develop market-leading strategies that reflect significant energy trends. He works to expand and accelerate market opportunities for energy efficiency solutions and also works to ensure the company’s strategic brands are well positioned. Owen holds an M.B.A. from Wake Forest University and a B.A. in Industrial & Organizational Psychology from East Carolina University. Owen currently also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA).
Bob Steinburg
Bob Steinburg is a Representative in the NC General Assembly representing District 1 and the counties of Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Pasquotank, Perquimans and Tyrrell. Representative Steinburg received a B.A. in Business Administration from Upper Iowa University and following his education, he worked in sales and marketing, primarily for national companies. Representative Steinburg also served four terms as president of Edenton Emergency Aid, a not-for-profit-agency assisting individuals in Chowan County, and co-chaired the 2010 Edenton Historical Commission’s Taste of Edenton, which raised funds for the town’s historic preservation initiatives.

Steven Thomsen 

Steven Thomsen is the President and Co-founder of United Solar Initiative, an international non-profit organization focused on empowering community leaders through solar energy solutions. He has a diverse background including starting a painting business while in college, working for Habitat for Humanity, and training beekeepers in Kenya. After working as a Project Manager for Trinity Design/Build, he took a 2-year sabbatical to serve as a Project Manager at Strata Solar, overseeing the installation of large-scale solar farms in NC.  During this time, he co-founded USI with Strata colleagues as a way to blend his passion for serving people in developing countries with his passion for renewable energy.  In February of 2016, he returned to Trinity Design/Build where he manages the restoration of historic homes by day and runs USI by night. Steven resides in Durham, NC and is passionate about photography, traveling, and all types of outdoor activities. 

  J.R. Tolbert

J.R. Tolbert is the Senior Director, State Policy of Advanced Energy Economy. In this role, J.R. oversees AEE’s state-level energy efficiency work and coordinates policy with nine of AEE’s state partner groups. J.R. has worked on energy policy for ten years for a variety of non-profit organizations. Prior to joining AEE, J.R. served as the Executive Director of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, a nonpartisan organization of state legislators who are committed to finding solutions to climate and energy issues. J.R. graduated from Auburn University with a B.A. in Political Science in 2001, and is a 2008 graduate of Green Corps – the field school for environmental organizing. He is currently on the Advisory Boards of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators and the State Innovation Exchange. 

Ivan Urlaub
Ivan Urlaub is the Executive Director of the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA). Under his leadership, NCSEA advances a clean energy path that results in net savings for all North Carolina ratepayers, works to maintain a financially stable and reliable utility, and strives to ensure a globally and regionally competitive energy industry and economy that benefits all of North Carolina. Ivan serves on numerous advisory and working groups, including as the Technical Principal Investigator on a U.S. Department of Energy grant to craft actionable economic development roadmaps for clean energy product and service R&D, manufacturing and demonstration in North Carolina and the Southeast. Ivan is the founder of the NC Clean Energy Business Alliance, and has been recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal as a 2015 Energy Leader for North Carolina. He holds both a M.P.P. and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management from Duke University.

  Chris Wedding
Chris Wedding is the CEO of IronOak Energy. He is an entrepreneur and advisor focused on investment, innovation, and strategy in clean energy, green real estate, and corporate sustainability.  He has nearly 20 years of experience in private equity, startup incubation, green building innovation, solar power finance, business development and research.  He is also a Senior Advisor at Cherokee Investment Partners, a private equity firm that has raised over $2 billion in private equity funds and separately founded or invested in 80 startups and venture funds.  Chris received his B.S. in Environmental Science from Western Kentucky University and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that combined studies in business, environmental management and city planning.

Chris William
Chris William launched Carolina Business Review in 1990 as a way to initiate a public dialogue around community challenges. He serves as the television program’s Moderator and Executive Producer and has hosted more than 1,000 episodes airing in 22 media markets throughout North & South Carolina. Chris is a Managing Director for a major financial institution and leads a team of financial professionals to comprehensively manage families’ wealth and strategic financial direction. In addition, he annually participates and authors forums and conferences on the most acute Public Policy and Business issues.

Patrick Woodie
Patrick Woodie serves as the president of the NC Rural Economic Development Center. From 2006 to 2013, Patrick served as the center’s VP of Rural Programs overseeing the standing programs of the center relating to Physical Infrastructure, Business Development, Civic & Social Infrastructure and Workforce Development. Prior to his work at the Rural Center, Patrick was executive director of New River Community Partners and the Blue Ridge Business Development Center in Sparta, both nonprofits engaged in community and economic development. He helped found New River Community Partners when the New River was designated one of 14 American Heritage Rivers in 1998. He served one term as Alleghany County commissioner and is a former executive director of the Alleghany County Chamber of Commerce. Patrick was a founding member of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area; and in 2005, received the Rural Center’s annual award for Outstanding Rural Leadership. He is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the Wake Forest University School of Law.


Larry Yon
Larry Yon is Chief Strategy Officer of B&C International, the oldest minority owned global business management consulting firm in the U.S. His role is to identify and capture new growth in mature markets. In this role, Larry guides internal and external strategy execution and communication.  He has consulted institutions that span various industries such as manufacturing, banking, retail, consumer products, energy, municipalities and non-profits on matters of operational and corporate strategy.  Larry earned his B.A. in Business Administration from NC Central University. He currently serves on the Board of Commissioners for Durham Housing Authority, the Board of Visitors for the School of Business at NC Central University and the Board of Directors of UDI Community Development Corporation, one of the oldest CDC’s in the country.