Meet Our Team

The core of SEPA’s clean energy operations

Content Strategy And Development

Aaron Smallwood

Vice President, Industry Solutions

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Aaron Smallwood

Aaron has been in Information Technology for 20 years and in the utility industry for the last 15 years. As Director of IT Operations at the Electric Reliability of Council of Texas (ERCOT), Aaron was responsible for the multi-data center IT operations of ERCOT’s real-time grid and market systems, deregulated retail market systems, Enterprise Data Warehouse, systems integration, and market settlement systems. In other roles at ERCOT he led business/technology alignment, IT strategy development, program financial management for the Texas Nodal Market Implementation, IT stakeholder relationship management, and the IT divisional project office.

Prior to ERCOT, Aaron was responsible for managing the relationship between IT and utility business units at Aquila, Inc., working with utility and IT leaders to ensure that IT services were aligned with business objectives and that IT was positioned to support their needs.

Phone: 202.871.7414     Email: asmallwood@sepapower.org

Ben Ealey

Principal, Grid Integration

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Ben Ealey

Ben joined SEPA in 2020 as Principal, Grid Integration. He leads SEPA’s Grid Integration pathway focused on integrating increased penetrations of carbon-free energy with positive impacts to affordability, safety, security, reliability, resiliency and customer satisfaction.

Ben spent the previous 10+ years working at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) conducting research on information and communication technologies for distributed energy resources. He has strong expertise related to the development and implementation of control, monitoring, and communication technologies to support scalable integration of new energy resources like smart solar, storage, and flexible loads. Ben has led and served on several industry committees related to interoperability and DERs.

Ben holds his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and is the author of numerous industry technical publications.

Phone: 202.869.1948     Email: bealey@sepapower.org

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Brenda Chew

Senior Manager, Research

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Brenda Chew

Brenda leads SEPA’s Research team and has focused much of her time at SEPA investigating the proliferation of flexible resources along the grid. Prior to SEPA, Brenda worked as a consultant at ICF, focusing on distributed energy resources, Utility of the Future and grid modernization efforts.

She holds a master’s degree in sustainable development from the University of St. Andrews, and a bachelor’s degree in economics and environmental studies from Emory University.

Phone: 202.753.8955     Email: bchew@sepapower.org

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Chris Schroeder

Vice President, Strategic Solutions

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Chris Schroeder

Chris joined SEPA in 2017. He is responsible for helping SEPA members define a variety of programs, strategies, and solutions for distributed energy resources supporting the advancement of clean energy and modernized grid. Chris has over 20 years of management consulting experience across electric utility and renewable energy industries. Chris has also provided strategic consulting services for state regulatory proceedings, complex stakeholder facilitation services, utility tariff review and energy storage initiatives for utilities throughout North America. Chris has a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics from Willamette University and a Master of Science in Building Systems Engineering from the University of Colorado.

Phone: 202.871.9340     Email: cschroeder@sepapower.org

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Daisy Chung

Manager, Industry Solutions

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Daisy Chung

Daisy Chung joined SEPA in 2014. She focuses on utility deployment at the distribution level, with specialty in asset management and operations & maintenance. She also collaborates with industry stakeholders such as electric service providers and integrators.

Daisy comes with seven years of thin‐films engineering, process implementation, as well as technical knowledge transfer experience from Samsung. Through her global experience, she specialized in system start‐ups, qualification, standardization, and failure and root-cause analysis through Six Sigma data analytics and system monitoring strategies.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, with minors in Business Foundation and Chinese Language from the University of Texas; she is also an honor’s graduate of the Master in International Public Affairs program, specializing in Energy Analysis and Policy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Longhorns and badgers play nicely together in her household.

Phone: 202.559.2027     Email: dchung@sepapower.org

Erika Myers

Principal, Transportation Electrification

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Erika Myers

Erika H. Myers joined SEPA in 2015 and leads SEPA’s transportation electrification research. She has 16 years of experience in the clean energy sector and specializes in the nexus between the grid, electric vehicles, and renewable energy.

Erika currently serves on an electric vehicle (EV) steering committee for the U.S. Department of Energy and is an EV advisor for the National Energy Foundation, a non-profit organization developing curriculum to increase EV literacy in K-12 schools. She was awarded the 2019 Public Utility Fortnightly “Fortnightly Under 40” award for her work on vehicle-grid integration.

Prior to joining SEPA, Erika worked as a consultant with ICF International where she helped electric utilities and local governments develop EV readiness plans. She also served as the Renewable Energy Manager for the South Carolina Energy Office and was a Clean Cities Coordinator for the Palmetto State Clean Fuels Coalition. In these roles, she oversaw the development and execution of key state renewable energy and clean transportation policies, regulations, and grant programs.

Erika has a bachelor’s degree from Clemson University and a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina with a specialization in clean energy and climate science.

In her spare time, Erika volunteers for her city’s Energy Transition Subcommittee where she identified donations for the city’s first bank of public EV chargers. She also volunteers as a regular guest speaker for the Clean Energy Leadership Institute and mentors young professionals interested in a clean transportation career.

Phone: 202.379.1615     Email: emyers@sepapower.org

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Harry Cutler

Senior Analyst, Industry Strategy

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Harry Cutler

Harry manages and executes the delivery of products, programs and services to utility and energy industry clients to facilitate the integration of distributed energy resources and grid modernization.

Since joining SEPA in 2017, Harry has worked on several important organization initiatives developing his project management skills and becoming proficient at utilizing resources across the organization.

Prior to joining SEPA, Harry graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Global Studies.

Phone: 202.871.7533     Email: hcutler@sepapower.org

Janet Gail Besser

Managing Director

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Janet Gail Besser

Janet joined SEPA in 2019, and leads two closely integrated pathways, shaping thought leadership and strategic direction, and creating impact.

Janet brings broad industry experience as a regulator, clean energy business association leader, utility executive, developer, consultant, and consumer advocate. Previously, she was Executive Vice President of the Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC); Vice President, Regulatory Strategy and Policy at National Grid; Chair of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, where she led electric industry restructuring, and an executive and expert consultant at Analysis Group and Lexecon.

In addition, Janet held senior staff roles at the Massachusetts Energy Office and New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, and served as Policy Director for a DC-based national independent power association.

Janet is a nationally recognized expert on a wide range of energy policy issues with deep relationships across the electric power sector.

Janet earned degrees from Williams College and Harvard University including a master’s degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Phone: 202.552.4411     Email: jbesser@sepapower.org

Jared Leader

Manager, Industry Strategy

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Jared Leader

Jared joined SEPA in 2017. In his role, he develops strategic plans for programs, products, and service offerings for utility and industry stakeholder members and clients that facilitate the integration of distributed energy resources, non-wires alternatives and microgrids onto the modern grid. Jared leads SEPA’s Microgrids Working Group and co-led D.C. Public Service Commission’s grid modernization working groups.

Prior to joining SEPA, he spent several years working as an environmental engineer and consultant for utility, municipal and commercial clients in the energy and water sectors.

He has a MS, Energy Policy and Climate from Johns Hopkins University, and a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Virginia.

Outside of business hours, Jared enjoys skiing, hiking and spending time in the great outdoors.

Phone: (202) 609-8938     Email: jleader@sepapower.org

Jenny Senff

Director, Project Management

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Jenny Senff

Jenny is the Senior Project Management Officer directing and overseeing the project management functions of the content team. Jenny originally joined SEPA in November 2015, working on the Programs and Education team managing SEPA’s annual Grid Evolution Summit as well as its elearning platform, FUSED, along with various working groups, webinars, and workshops. Prior to joining SEPA, she spent five years at the Association for Demand Response & Smart Grid (which joined forces with SEPA in the fall of 2015).

Jenny has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Wake Forest University and a Master of Arts in Government from Johns Hopkins University. When not at the office, Jenny wrangles her two rascally kids and husband in northeast Washington, DC.

Phone: 202.753.8782     Email: jsenff@sepapower.org

Kate Strickland

Manager, Research

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Kate Strickland

Kate works as a research manager at SEPA with a focus on utility business models and regulatory innovation. In addition, she is the staff co-lead for SEPA’s Energy Storage Working Group, and a team member of the Renovate Initiative, a collaborative effort focused on state regulatory process innovation. Previously at SEPA, she worked with the 51st State Initiative, shaping the evolution of the utility sector, and supported the engagement facilitating the D.C. Public Service Commission’s grid modernization (MEDSIS) initiative in the District.
Prior to SEPA, Kate completed her master’s degree from John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in International Relations & Economics, with a concentration in Energy, Resources & Environment. In addition, she completed a graduate consultant project for BP Global on the future of the U.S. transportation sector, as well as graduate internships at the Edison Foundation’s Institute for Electric Innovation (IEI), the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and Fresh Energy. Prior to SAIS, she worked in Kyoto-fu, Japan for the JET Programme, and was the development manager for Milkweed Editions, an independent book publisher based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University, with a B.A. in art history and political science. Kate has worked and lived in Japan, Italy, India, and South Africa, and is always planning her next adventure.

Phone: 202.350.4667     Email: kstrickland@sepapower.org

Kevin McGrath

Senior Manager, Development

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Kevin McGrath

Kevin is SEPA’s Senior Manager of Development and focuses on creating value for both SEPA and member organizations. From creating custom business development engagements for members, to forging new partnerships with industry organizations, Kevin helps members and partners see the ROI they expect from engaging with SEPA. Prior to joining SEPA, he served as Senator Mark Udall’s Deputy National Finance Director on his 2014 campaign and as a Finance Assistant to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Kevin earned his Bachelor of Arts from American University. He is a proud native of Buffalo, NY and a devoted Buffalo Bills fan, thus proving his ability to be positive in the face of extreme hardship.

Phone: 202.559.2021     Email: kmcgrath@sepapower.org

Mac Keller

Senior Analyst, Research

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Mac Keller

Mac SEPA in December 2018 after having interned and worked as a research assistant on SEPA’s Utility Market Snapshots. He currently supports SEPA’s annual Utility Data Collection Effort and subsequent Snapshot Series development.

Mac holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics with a minor in sustainability from the University of Maryland, College Park. In his free time, he enjoys cooking up a storm and playing ultimate frisbee.

Phone: 202.559.2030     Email: mkeller@sepapower.org

Natalia Mathura

Principal, Utility Business Models

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Natalia Mathura

Natalia Mathura joined SEPA in 2019 as Principal, Utility Business Models with 19 years of regulated and non-regulated electric utility experience. She currently leads SEPA’s utility models content portfolio and engagement opportunities focused on carbon reduction, customer engagement and innovation strategies for utility deployment.

Prior to this, she spent nearly fourteen years as Manager, Energy Services and Utility of the Future for Pepco Holdings, Inc utilities covering New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia regulatory constructs related to retail choice, smart community, and electric vehicle programs. She also worked as a utility consultant for KPMG Consulting at a number of Fortune 500 US utility firms focused on software implementations, new technology strategies, and mergers and acquisitions. Natalia received her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Mary Washington College and an MBA from Georgetown University.

Phone: 202.869.3836     Email: nmathura@sepapower.org

Richard Farinas

Manager, Research

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Richard Farinas

Richard Farinas joined SEPA in September 2019, and supports the four SEPA Pathways (Regulatory Innovation, Utility Business Models, Grid Integration, and Transportation Electrification) with research, industry perspectives, thought leadership, and data analysis. He also supports the Renovate Initiative, a collaborative effort focused on state regulatory process innovation. His primary research areas of interest include transportation electrification, utility innovation, decarbonization strategies, performance-based regulation, traditional and alternative forms of regulation, rate design, distributed energy resources, and future of energy topics.

Prior to joining SEPA in 2019, Richard worked as a Sr. Rate Analyst at Pepco and a Consultant at Concentric Energy Advisors. While at Pepco, Richard provided electric rate design expertise, contributed to alternative ratemaking initiatives, and supported the company’s development and implementation of transportation electrification programs across the PHI operating companies. As a consultant with Concentric Energy Advisors, Richard worked across the firm’s practice areas in electric and natural gas markets including regulation, financial advisory, litigation, markets and resource planning, and the future of energy.

Richard holds an M.S. in Applied Economics and a B.S. in Political Science, both from The Florida State University.

Phone: 202.595.1147     Email: rfarinas@sepapower.org

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Robert Tucker

Director, Industry Strategy

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Robert Tucker

Robert Tucker is an energy industry professional with 25 years of experience working with utilities across the US. Robert has helped utilities with a wide range of business and technology solutions to solve complex business problems or changing regulatory requirements. Robert has worked with utilities and regulators to address the challenges and opportunities of grid modernization and the growth of DERs. Prior to SEPA Robert worked for both consulting firms and technology/ service providers to the utility industry. Robert earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University and a Masters of Environmental Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

Phone: 202.871.7444     Email: rtucker@sepapower.org

Rusty Haynes

Manager, Research

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Rusty Haynes

Rusty joined SEPA as a research manager in 2020, with a focus on regulatory innovation, utility business models, and transportation electrification. He has worked in the U.S. clean-energy sector since 2001 and is strongly committed to achieving a zero-carbon U.S. energy system. His areas of clean-energy expertise include program and project management, research and analysis, and regulatory and legislative policy.

Prior to joining SEPA, Rusty served as program manager at the Electrification Coalition, policy research manager at EQ Research, and DSIRE project manager at the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.

Rusty received an M.A. from UNC-Chapel Hill and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Georgia. He has traveled to 40 countries, and he enjoys writing fiction and composing music, despite the quality of the results.

Phone: 202.595.1146     Email: rhaynes@sepapower.org

Ted Davidovich

Manager, Industry Strategy

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Ted Davidovich

Ted is Manager of Industry Strategy and is responsible for helping SEPA members develop strategic and operational plans that will help with the integration of distributed resources. Prior to joining SEPA, Ted spent 35 years at Allegheny Energy in various positions, most recently in the Corporate Development and Strategic Planning areas with a focus on renewable energy, rates and regulation and generation planning.

He has an associate’s degree in electrical engineering technology from Penn State and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

Phone: 202.559.2020     Email: ted@sepapower.org

Trevor Gibson

Analyst, Research

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Trevor Gibson

Trevor joined SEPA in August 2019 as a research analyst after having worked as a research assistant on SEPA’s Utility Market Snapshot Series. In his role, Trevor helps support SEPA’s Annual Utility Survey, along with a range of other research projects, including distribution resource planning and utility decarbonization efforts.

Prior to joining SEPA, Trevor attended the University of Maryland, College Park, where he received his B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy in 2017 and his MPP in International Security and Economic Policy in 2018. In his free time, Trevor enjoys spending time outdoors, golfing, and rooting on his favorite sports teams. He is a devote University of Connecticut basketball fan.

Phone: 202.559.2028     Email: tgibson@sepapower.org

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