Speakers

Find the top experts from Midwestern utilities and regulators plus groundbreaking solution providers

Kevin Lucas

Senior Director of Utility Regulation & Policy, SEIA

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Kevin Lucas Kevin Lucas is SEIA's Senior Director of Utility Regulation & Policy. In this role, he performs analysis and develops testimony for utility rate cases focused on solar issues such as net metering and export compensation. He also works with other State Affairs team members providing technical support for policy and regulatory issues across the country. Prior to joining SEIA, Kevin worked at the Alliance to Save Energy, a non-profit focused on implementing technology-neutral energy efficiency policies and programs. Before that, Kevin was Director of Policy for the Maryland Energy Administration, focused on efforts including renewable energy, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas reduction.

Audrey Partridge

Regulatory Policy Mgr, Center for Energy and Environment

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Audrey Partridge Audrey Partridge joined CEE in 2017. As Regulatory Policy Manager, Audrey works with CEE’s Policy Team to anticipate, analyze, develop, and advocate for CEE positions in matters before Minnesota’s regulatory agencies and in other public forums. She works closely with experts both within and outside of CEE to assist in setting the strategic direction of CEE policy advocacy, and to develop and effectively communicate CEE’s regulatory positions. Prior to CEE, Audrey worked on energy conservation policy and related regulatory topics at CenterPoint Energy. While at CenterPoint Energy, Audrey also supported municipalities in Minnesota to help them achieve goals related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainability. This included working extensively with the City of Minneapolis through the Clean Energy Partnership. Audrey earned her bachelor’s degree from Macalester College and a master’s degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Margaret Cherne-Hendrick

Lead Director, Energy Transition, Fresh Energy

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Margaret Cherne-Hendrick Margaret Cherne-Hendrick steers Fresh Energy’s work to decarbonize our economy through the transition of end-uses currently served by fossil fuels to efficient, equitable, carbon-free electricity. She leads a team of staff shaping and driving solutions that use beneficial electrification, efficiency, and other carbon-reduction strategies to dramatically reduce emissions from the building and transportation sectors. She also leads Fresh Energy’s work on carbon sequestration and low-carbon fuel standards as well as actively evaluating other opportunities to move Minnesota toward an equitable carbon-neutral economy by 2050. In addition to Minnesota policy work at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, State Legislature, and administrative channels, Margaret leads Fresh Energy’s involvement in multiple key partnerships and is a primary architect of the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition. Margaret joined Fresh Energy in 2018. She previously worked as a senior policy associate at the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Boston University. Margaret’s multidisciplinary background in climate science and energy policy – including work with the Environmental Protection Agency, Conservation Law Foundation, Barr Foundation, and Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) – informs her approach to developing efficient, cost-effective, and inclusive decarbonization strategies. Margaret holds a doctorate in Geography from Boston University, a master’s degree in Organismal Biology and Ecology from the University of Montana, and a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Reed College. Her doctoral research explored the environmental and political impacts of continued investment in and consumption of methane-based fossil fuels. Margaret is a member of the Minneapolis Energy Vision Advisory Committee. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors as well as spending time with her wife and dogs.

Sydnie Lieb

Energy & Environmental Policy Mgr, Xcel Energy

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Sydnie Lieb Sydnie Lieb is an Energy and Environmental Policy Manager at Xcel Energy. In her role at Xcel Energy Sydnie supports federal and state policy, develops internal strategy, and represents the company in key stakeholder groups. Her work covers a broad range of environmental policy matters including carbon accounting, development of clean technology, and climate policy across Xcel Energy’s gas and electric companies. Prior to joining Xcel Energy in 2019, Sydnie worked at the U.S. EPA where she led the verification of emissions data in the federal Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program. Sydnie holds a doctorate and master’s in mechanical engineering with a focus in combustion physics from University of Southern California as well as a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. Her doctoral work explored particulate formation in gaseous fuel combustion. In her spare time, she enjoys running or cross-country skiing on the Minneapolis Chain of lakes with her husband and her indefatigable German Shepherd.

Kelsey Peterson

Manager, EV Strategy & Programs, DTE Energy

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Kelsey Peterson Kelsey Peterson is a manager for DTE Energy, a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services. Currently, Kelsey leads the team responsible for DTE’s light-duty EV strategy, including the Charging Forward program. Prior to joining DTE in August 2016, Kelsey was a quality manager at BMW in Greenville, South Carolina and Munich, Germany. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and Bachelor of Business Administration from University of Michigan (2009) and a Master of Business Administration from Duke University (2015).

Debbie Branson

Manager, Electrification, Madison Gas & Electric

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Debbie Branson Debbie Branson Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) Madison, Wis. As Manager Electrification, Debbie is responsible for MGE’s electrification strategy. In this role, she leads MGE's efforts to advance sustainable transportation by working with customers and community partners to electrify the transportation sector through programs, products and services to enable electric vehicle (EV) charging and by increasing education and awareness around EVs, charging options and electrification as a decarbonization strategy. The electrification of transportation and other end uses is one of MGE’s key strategies for achieving net-zero carbon electricity. Debbie’s responsibilities include researching, developing and implementing programs and services that offer value and convenience for EV drivers. One of her goals is to make vehicle acquisition and charging seamless for customers whether they charge at home, at work or on the go. From single-family households to multifamily developers, fleet owners to large organizations, Debbie works with all customer segments to help address their EV needs. Prior to MGE, Debbie worked at Alliant Energy for nine years. She held roles in corporate communications, operations compliance and energy efficiency. Debbie received her B.A. in Journalism from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Garrett Fitzgerald

Principal, Electrification, Smart Electric Power Alliance

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Garrett Fitzgerald Garrett joined SEPA in 2021 as Principal, Electrification.  He leads SEPAs work focused on the beneficial electrification of transportation and buildings. Garrett collaborates with the other SEPA pathway teams to help utilities and other stakeholders navigate a smooth transition to a highly electrified and low-carbon future. Prior to joining SEPA, Garrett spent 8 years working at Rocky Mountain Institute. While at RMI, he built and led the electricity program in India that works to accelerate the integration of electric vehicles and clean energy portfolios. During his tenure at RMI, Garrett managed the Fleet Electrification program, co-led the EV-Grid initiative, and was deeply engaged in work related to energy storage, distributed solar, and load flexibility. He has extensive expertise in technical and business model aspects of EV charging infrastructure, EV-specific tariff design, energy storage, and demand side flexibility. Garrett holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Santa Clara University and a MS and Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Engineering from Columbia University. Garrett is passionate about the environment and is an enthusiastic snowboarder, mountain biker, and general lover of the outdoors. He resides in the small town of Carbondale, Colorado with his wife Amy and his toddler son Noah.

Erika Myers

Global Senior Manager, Electric Vehicles, WRI

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Erika Myers Erika has worked for nearly two decades on clean energy, alternative transportation fuels, and distributed energy resource topics in government, for-profit, and non-profit roles. Her background gives her a unique perspective on the opportunity to leverage renewable energy and electric vehicle charging to reduce emissions through the widespread deployment of vehicle-grid integration. She ‘walks the talk’ by owning two battery electric vehicles powered by 100% renewable energy, which she manages through a networked Level 2 residential charger. Erika is a frequent guest speaker at energy industry events and has published dozens of reports and white papers on transportation electrification and clean energy issues. She currently serves on an electric vehicle (EV) steering committee for the U.S. Department of Energy and holds a leadership position in the Women of Electric Vehicles, Washington D.C. Chapter. Erika previously served as an EV advisor for the Fuels Institute, the National Energy Foundation, and U.S. DRIVE (Driving Research and Innovation for Vehicle efficiency and Energy sustainability). Erika was awarded the 2019 Public Utility Fortnightly (PUF) “Fortnightly Under 40” award for her work on vehicle-grid integration and a PUF Innovator Award in 2018. Prior to joining WRI, Erika was the Principal of Transportation Electrification for the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), an alternative fuels and clean energy consultant with ICF International, a renewable energy manager for the South Carolina Energy Office, and a Clean Cities Coordinator for the Palmetto State Clean Fuels Coalition. Erika holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Clemson University and a master's degree in earth and environmental resource management, with a concentration in renewable energy and climate change, from the University of South Carolina.

Jennifer Peterson

Manager of Regulatory Strategy and Policy, Minnesota Power

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Jennifer Peterson Jennifer Peterson is the Manager of Regulatory Strategy and Policy at Minnesota Power, an electric utility serving northeast Minnesota and some of the nation’s largest industrial customers. Her responsibilities include representing Minnesota Power at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, developing strategies to achieve positive regulatory outcomes, advising on and helping to shape energy policy, and building and maintaining relationships with stakeholders. Jennifer has led regulatory and policy initiatives related to integrated resource planning, electric rate cases and rate design, new resource and infrastructure projects and innovative customer programs. In addition to working for Minnesota Power, she has served in the military for the past 19 years and is a current member of Minnesota’s Air National Guard. Jennifer is also active in her local community, presently serving as a Commissioner on the Proctor Public Utilities Commission, a municipal utility providing water and electric service in northern Minnesota. Jennifer has previously been named the 148th Fighter Wing‘s Officer of the Year and one of the Duluth News Tribune’s “20 Under 40.” She is a graduate of both the Leadership Duluth and Leadership Minnesota programs.

Brad Klein

Senior Attorney, ELPC

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Brad Klein Brad is a Senior Attorney working to accelerate renewable energy development, protect natural resources, and promote sustainable development through state legislatures, utility regulatory commissions, and state and federal courts across the Midwest. Brad previously served as a federal judicial law clerk for the Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan, a law fellow at the Environmental Law Institute, and an environmental engineer at CH2M Hill, Inc.

Emilie Tullis

VP of Product and General Manager, Demand Management Solutions, Uplight

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Emilie Tullis Emilie Tullis is the GM for Demand Management Solutions at Uplight, including Orchestrated Energy, a platform that reduces residential energy consumption during peak demand. She leads Uplight’s efforts for deep integration with market-leading smart home device brands to deliver superior performance over traditional DR programs. She also works with utility partners to develop cost-effective, performant programs to meet all varieties of load management goals. Emilie is passionate about changing the way we value and consume energy with a balance of advanced technology and pragmatic customer experience and has worked for 10 years in the energy space. Before joining Tendril (now Uplight), Emilie ran lithium-ion and power electronics development for electric vehicles, data centers and the military. She offers a deep understanding of energy storage technology and the capabilities and shortcomings within this landscape.

Jessica Harrison

Director of R&D, MISO

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Jessica Harrison Jessica Harrison is the Senior Director of Research and Development (R&D) in the Market and Grid Strategy division of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). In this role, she coordinates MISO’s R&D policies, objectives and initiatives. Her focus includes pursuing R&D initiatives and partnerships, researching emerging technologies and supporting the integration of future grid resources. Ms. Harrison holds dual Master of Science degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Technology and Policy and in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from the University of Michigan.

Danielle Sass Byrnett

Director, Center for Partnerships and Innovation, NARUC

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Danielle Sass Byrnett Danielle Sass Byrnett is Director of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Center for Partnerships & Innovation (CPI). She leads this grant-funded team focused on identifying emerging challenges and connecting state public utility commissions with expertise and strategies to navigate their complex decision-making. CPI builds relationships, develops resources, and delivers training in areas ranging from energy efficiency and distributed energy resources to natural gas infrastructure to cybersecurity and more. Ms. Sass Byrnett launched and leads the NARUC-NASEO Task Force on Comprehensive Electricity Planning.

Bob Richhart

Chief Technology Officer, Hoosier Energy REC

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Bob Richhart Have worked in the electric cooperative utility industry for more than 43 years. Have held various positions in distribution operations, power system engineering, information technology, and progressed through a number of leadership roles at the generation and transmission cooperative.

Trevor Drake

Senior Program Manager, Electricity and Efficiency, Great Plains Institute

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Trevor Drake Trevor Drake joined the Great Plains Institute in 2013 and is a senior program manager. His work is focused on engaging diverse groups of stakeholders to enable innovation and collaborative problem-solving around utility initiatives and state regulatory proceedings. Trevor has run stakeholder engagement processes to support new time-varying rates, utility investments in electric vehicle infrastructure, distribution system planning, demand response programs, performance-based utility regulation, and decarbonizing end uses served by natural gas.

Rebecca Cameron Valcq

Chairwoman, Wisconsin Public Service Commission

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Rebecca Cameron Valcq Rebecca Cameron Valcq was appointed by Governor Tony Evers as Commissioner at the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for a six-year term beginning on January 7, 2019. Governor Evers also appointed her as Commission Chairperson for a two-year term effective March 2, 2019. Prior to her appointments, Becky was a partner at Quarles & Brady Law Firm in the energy, environment and natural resources practice group. Previous to that position, she was regulatory counsel for Wisconsin Electric Power Company where she advised management on all areas of regulatory law in multiple jurisdictions as well as compliance matters. She is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and serves on the Committee on Water, and the Subcommittee on Supplier and Workforce Diversity. She serves on the board of directors for the Organization of MISO States. Becky earned her undergraduate degree from Drake University and her law degree from Marquette University. She was named a “40 Under 40” by the Milwaukee Business Journal in 2013 and received a Girl Scout Leadership G.I.R.L. award in 2019. She has served on a number of non-profit boards of directors including Centro Legal, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee and the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast. She was a member of the United Way’s Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Committee and Marquette University Law School’s Diversity Committee.

Matt Schuerger

Commissioner, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

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Matt Schuerger Matthew Schuerger was appointed to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission by Governor Mark Dayton, effective February 1, 2016. Commissioner Schuerger serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners (NARUC), he is the Co-Vice Chair of the NARUC Electricity Committee, and he is a member of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Advisory Council and Executive Committee. Schuerger was elected and serves as President of the Organization of MISO States (OMS) Board of Directors. In addition, he has been elected to serve on the Member Representatives Committee of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) where he represents state government interests in maintaining reliability of the electric grid. Commissioner Schuerger has thirty-five years of experience in the energy industry as a senior manager and professional engineer, including work focused on power system planning and reliability, energy markets, distributed energy resources, and grid integration of renewable energy. From 2001 until he was named to the Commission, Schuerger was the President of an engineering and management consulting firm. Prior to that, he was the Executive Vice President of District Energy St. Paul Inc., a privately held provider of district heating, district cooling, and co-generated electricity. Schuerger earned a Master’s of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University.

Dan Scripps

Chairman, Michigan Public Service Commission

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Dan Scripps Dan Scripps was appointed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to the Michigan Public Service Commission on February 21, 2019 and was designated as Chair in July 2020. His term ends July 2, 2023. He also serves on the Upper Peninsula Energy Task Force and Michigan Dam Safety Task Force. Mr. Scripps is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and serves on NARUC's Committee on Critical Infrastructure and its Task Force on Emergency Preparedness, Recovery, and Resiliency. He is also active with NARUC’s Committee on Gas, Committee on International Relations, and Washington Action Program. Mr. Scripps also serves on the executive committee of the Organization of MISO States, and he is a past president and the current secretary of the Mid-America Regulatory Conference (MARC). Mr. Scripps served one term representing Benzie, Leelanau, Manistee, and Mason counties in the Michigan House of Representatives, where he chaired the House Banking and Financial Services committee and served on committees dealing with energy, telecommunications, and environmental protection. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Scripps worked for the Energy Foundation, where he coordinated policy and grantmaking strategies in the Midwest and Plains and led efforts to double regional grantmaking to groups engaged in equity-oriented climate and energy work. He previously served as president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, where he led efforts to expand deployment of advanced energy resources in Michigan, and as a Vice President with Advanced Energy Economy, focusing on energy finance. As an attorney, Mr. Scripps practiced law in the Washington D.C. office of Latham & Watkins LLP, advising regulated utilities, project developers, and financial institutions on cutting-edge domestic and international energy projects. Mr. Scripps is a graduate of Alma College and a 2005 honors graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. He lives with his family in northern Michigan.

Janet Gail Besser

Managing Director, Smart Electric Power Alliance

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Janet Gail Besser Janet Gail Besser oversees the SEPA Pathways – Regulatory and Business Innovation, Grid Integration and Transportation Electrification – and leads Regulatory and Business Innovation. She has broad energy experience as a regulator, clean energy business association leader, utility executive, developer, consultant, and consumer advocate. Previously, she was EVP of the Northeast Clean Energy Council, VP, Regulatory Strategy and Policy at National Grid, Chair and Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, and an executive and expert at Analysis Group and Lexecon. She held senior staff roles at the Massachusetts Energy Office and New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, was policy director for a national IPP association, and worked for a small hydro developer and low-income consumer advocate. She chairs the Power Options Board and sits on the VEIC Board. She has an MPP from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and a B.A., magna cum laude, from Williams College.

Carlos Restrepo

Chief Technical Officer & Managing Director, sonnen Inc.

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Carlos Restrepo Carlos Restrepo, CTO, leads R&D and Engineering for sonnen, Inc. and is responsible for ongoing product innovations and development for the Americas, including energy storage systems, energy automation integration and sonnen's virtual power plant technology for the US. He has over 18 years of experience innovating market-changing technologies in home automation, circuit protection and solar power electronics. He has lead technology-centric organizations minded on bringing solutions in energy management, lighting control, power conversion and safety. He has speared many important development efforts at Siemens, Eaton and SolarMax. As a thought leader and product innovator, Carlos holds several major patents, including a few on for Arc Fault technology from his work at Siemens.

Veronica Gomez

Senior Vice President Regulatory and Energy Policy and General Counsel, ComEd

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Veronica Gomez Verónica Gómez, senior vice president of Regulatory and Energy Policy and General Counsel, serves as the primary legal advisor to ComEd’s senior management and oversees the company’s energy and regulatory policy and strategy, rates and power procurement functions. Prior to assuming her current role, Gómez served as the vice president and deputy general counsel for litigation at Exelon. In that role, Gómez and her team were responsible for handling and supervising litigation cases on behalf of all Exelon companies, including ComEd. This litigation included third-party disputes and litigation in support of multibillion-dollar transactions. Gómez has been practicing commercial litigation since 1994, when she graduated from the University of Chicago Law School. She spent the first 13 years of her career at Schopf & Weiss, a commercial litigation boutique, where she served over the years as hiring partner, chair of the marketing committee, and a member of the firm’s executive committee. Immediately before joining Exelon, Gómez was a litigation partner at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, where she also served on the associate review committee.

Rolf Nordstrom

President and CEO, Great Plains Institute

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Rolf Nordstrom Rolf Nordstrom is president and CEO of the Great Plains Institute, a nonpartisan nonprofit working across the US to transform the energy system to benefit the economy and environment. A nationally-recognized leader, Rolf has more than 30 years of experience in energy and sustainable development policy as well as practice in both governmental and nonprofit settings. He has unique strengths in brokering agreement among disparate interests on difficult public policy issues. Rolf has been featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, Scientific American, Finance and Commerce, Utility Dive, RTO Insider, Minnesota Public Radio, and the Minneapolis StarTribune among other media outlets. In 2016, US Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz appointed Rolf to the department’s Electricity Advisory Committee. He has written or helped craft new laws on high-performance buildings, hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, resource-efficient land use, and sustainable development. He was a contributing author to the third National Climate Assessment, a comprehensive report required by Congress on climate change impacts in the US. Prior to joining GPI, Rolf served for a decade with the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board and Office of Strategic and Long-Range Planning. For seven of those years he served as assistant director of then-Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson’s Sustainable Development Initiative, working to harmonize the state’s economic and environmental policies.

Julia Hamm

President and CEO, Smart Electric Power Alliance

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Julia Hamm Julia has served as SEPA’s President & CEO since 2004, providing leadership and strategic direction for the organization. She is responsible for guiding and overseeing all of SEPA’s research, education, and collaboration activities for its 1,100 member companies and the broader energy industry. Julia is a visionary non-profit leader at the center of the transformation underway in the electric power sector to a clean and modern energy future. For the past 20 years she has been advising and collaborating with utilities, solution providers and government agencies on business models, grid modernization, and clean energy policies, strategies and programs. She has led SEPA through significant expansion in recent years, including rebranding from the Solar Electric Power Association to the Smart Electric Power Alliance, and merging with both the Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid (ADS) and Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP). Prior to joining SEPA, Julia worked for ICF International where she supported EPA’s implementation of the ENERGY STAR program. Julia – a graduate of Cornell University – walks the talk, driving an EV and living in a PV-powered home in Northern Virginia with her husband, two children, and dog.