43rd PLMA Conference

43rd PLMA Conference Speaker Biographies

Learn more about our speakers who are listed below according to their presentation sessions: 

Keynote Address

Kelly Speakes-Backman
Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
U.S. Department of Energy
Kelly Speakes-Backman is the Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable nergy (EERE) at the U.S. Department of Energy. In her role, A/AS Speakes-Backman leads and directs the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, focused on creating and sustaining American leadership in the transition to a global clean energy economy.  She oversees the planning and execution of the organization’s $2.8B portfolio of research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable transportation.
A/AS Speakes-Backman most recently served as the first CEO of the Energy Storage Association, the national trade organization for the energy storage industry. She has spent more than 20 years working in energy and environmental issues in the public, NGO, and private sectors. In 2019, A/AS Speakes-Backman was honored by The Cleanie Awards as Woman of the Year.

General Session 1

CA IOU Demand Response Emerging Technologies

Mark Martinez
Senior Portfolio Manager, Emerging Markets and Technology
Southern California Edison
Mark is a senior portfolio manager for Southern California Edison, with over 30 years’ experience in the research, development, and execution of innovative customer demand side management programs. He has conducted pilots and programs for demand response enabling technologies since 2001 and currently manages the five-year demand response Emerging Markets and Technology research program at SCE. This program assesses and demonstrates new emerging technologies to enhance customer flexibility for electric dynamic pricing programs and coordinates its research with the California Energy Commission, Department of Energy, national laboratories, as well as other California utilities and demand response stakeholders. Mark is also the co-chair of the PLMA Education Committee and lives in La Canada Flintridge, CA where he grows wine grapes for the local wildlife to enjoy.

Albert Chiu
Product Manager, Integrated Grid Planning and Innovation
Pacific Gas and Electric
Albert Chiu is an Expert Product Manager in the Integrated Grid Planning and Innovation Department at Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). In his 20+ years working in Load Management (LM) and IDSM, he has developed Energy Efficiency (EE), Demand Response (DR) and Vehicle Grid Integration (VGI) policies and programs for utility customers. He is the lead of the DR Emerging Technology and IDSM Programs at PG&E. He provides support to DER technology-related studies, policies development and strategies.

Jeff Barnes
Project Manager, Emerging Technologies - Demand Response
San Diego Gas & Electric
Jeff Barnes is a Project Manager for San Diego Gas & Electric, with over 17 years of experience managing utility customer programs. He managed core energy efficiency programs at SDG&E for nearly eight years before transitioning to Emerging Technologies in May 2020.  Jeff previously managed water efficiency programs for eight years at Helix Water District, a retail water agency in San Diego County. Prior to working in the utility industry, Jeff was a Producer for NBC News.

Jeff’s current role at SDG&E is focused on assessing new technologies for demand response programs; enhancing the market integration of distributed energy resources such as storage and EVs; and facilitating the technology transfer of demand response research.

The Power of Highly Personalized Experiences for TOU Customers

Lynn Fiery
Manager, Rate Administration
Baltimore Gas & Electric
Lynn Fiery is responsible for the design and administration of BGE’s electric and gas retail rates and tariffs.  She has over 7 years of utility experience within regulatory and accounting and prior experience as an auditor at PwC.  Lynn’s current responsibilities include her role as program manager for BGE’s two-year time-of-use pilot.  She has a BS in Accounting from Bucknell University and is a CPA.

Moiz Kapadia
Principal Product Manager Oracle Utilities
Principal Product Manager on the Opower team. He works closely with a passionate team of engineers, UX designers, and sales teams to build Opower’s Proactive Alerts, Behavioral Load Shaping and Billing/Rates Customer Web Experiences.

Moiz has a broad range of sustainability experience – from architectural engineering, serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama, and a Product Manager at Autodesk. Moiz sits on the Board of a climate justice and workforce development organization called Rising Sun Center for Opportunity in Oakland, CA. He has an MS in Civil Engineering, focused on renewable energy systems, from Stanford University.

Ahmad Faruqui
Ph.D. Principal
The Brattle Group
Ahmad Faruqui’s consulting practice encompasses rate design, demand response, grid modernization, advanced metering, distributed energy resources, demand forecasting, decarbonization, electrification, energy efficiency and load flexibility. He has advised 150 clients in 12 countries and testified 57 times before regulatory bodies, governments, and legislative councils in 27 states, territories, and provinces. He has authored or coauthored more than 150 papers in peer-reviewed and trade journals and co-edited 4 books on industrial structural change, customer choice, and electricity pricing.

General Session 2

Accelerating National Grid’s BYOD Program with Behavioral Communications

Stephan Wollenburg
Lead Product Owner
National Grid
Stephan is a Lead Product Owner for National Grid’s Massachusetts Residential Energy Efficiency and Demand Response programs, focusing on behavior, demand response, and weatherization programs.  He’s responsible for directing the strategy of these programs, while working with other MA utilities, stakeholders, and regulators.

In prior roles, Stephan has worked in retail electricity products, municipal energy efficiency, renewable energy markets, and other facets of the clean energy industry.  He has an MBA from UMass Amherst and an A.B. in Economics and Environmental Studies from Brown University.

Paul McDonald
Senior Director, Industry Strategy
Oracle Utilities
Paul is the Senior Director of Opower Product Strategy at Oracle Utilities. He helps energy providers decarbonize and grow their businesses by influencing consumer action. He’s responsible for building a high-performing Opower organization and working with Opower clients and R&D team to define what comes next.

Paul joined Oracle along with Opower. At Opower, he previously served in leadership roles in client success, operations, product management and solution architecture. Before joining Opower, Paul consulted cabinet-level federal agencies on their international financial operations. Paul is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where he received a B.S. in computer engineering.

Michael Haber
Senior Program Marketing Manager
As Senior Program Marketing Manager at EnergyHub, Michael drives the customer enrollment strategy, from identifying target audiences and testing new channels to optimizing creative and improving the user experience.

Prior to joining EnergyHub, Michael managed conversion rate optimization for an education technology company, where he worked with top universities to drive student recruitment for online education programs. He holds a BS in Marketing and Information Systems from the University of Maryland.

When Less Really is More - Curtailing Solar for Bigger Results

Kathryn Granheim
DSO Product Owner, Innovation
Western Power
An executive in business strategy, capability and new market development, Kathryn is passionate about business transformation and helping organisations build and evolve their business models to challenge industry norms and grow enterprise value.

Kathryn has an extensive network built over 20 years in the energy, renewables, utilities, mining, oil and gas and transport sectors, and a proven ability to drive revenue growth in these markets.

Kathryn is currently leading Western Power’s transformation into a Distribution System Operator, where it’s operational model will better support and drive a decentralised, decarbonised, digitised energy future. Prior to her role at Western Power, Kathryn was leading the development of a Centre of Excellence in Advanced Microgrids at Horizon Power. As part of this role, Kathryn was responsible for the creation of the International Microgrid Association.

Jenny Roehm
Senior Manager
Schneider Electric
Jenny Roehm is part of Schneider Electric’s Digital Grid team delivering digital energy management solutions. Their goal is to enable businesses and homeowners to truly manage their energy consumption, and work on the principle that local utilities are, and should remain, trusted advisors for their customers. Jenny works with her team to develop solutions centered around strengthening the relationship between utility and consumer to save energy and deliver resources for grid management. Her current work leverages her nearly 30 years of experience to focus on the integration of demand side management resources; working with utilities and customers to integrate demand response, storage, on-site generation and energy efficiency into a single approach. Jenny Roehm has managed load control programs, worked with utilities as they implement programs and has experience conducting measurement and verification studies on energy efficiency and demand response projects.

Track A

Characterizing Preferences of U.S. Homeowners Favorable to Demand Response Programs

Abe Tidwell
Senior Associate Social Strategist
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Abe Tidwell is an energy social scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington. Abe focuses on understanding how users understand the role of energy in their home or business and how changes in the technologies they use, behaviors, or perceptions of energy use impact consumption. Abe leads a new project supported by the Department of Energy to examine energy equity barriers for small commercial building owners and operators and several other projects related to energy consumption in the home.

Serving the Underserved: Lessons learned from Behavioral Demand Response Implementation

Sebastien Csapo
Program Manager
Pacific Gas & Electric
Sebastien Csapo supports Demand Response programs and operations at PG&E.  His primary focus is on regulatory and policy matters.  He has worked in a number of areas at PG&E including Account Management, Regulatory Affairs, Accounting and Audit.  Sebastien holds bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and Economics along with an MBA.  

Vasudha Lathey
Vice President, DER Community Programs
Olivine, Inc.
Vasudha Lathey (Ph.D.) is a Director of DER Community Programs at Olivine with over 20 years of experience in the CleanTech industry. She is currently focused on driving organization growth through rapid deployment of Olivine’s CommunityTM Programs and grid connected DER technologies designed to lower costs, decarbonize and provide equitable clean energy access for utilities and end-use customers.

Over a diverse career, Ms. Lathey has spearheaded clean energy and sustainability solutions for high-profile clients including Fortune 500 companies, major utilities, federal, state, and local governments, international funding agencies, and clean energy startups. With a deep commitment to client success and comprehensive energy industry domain expertise she has become a trusted partner, forged lasting connections, and secured/expanded multi-million-dollar engagements. Her educational credentials include Ph.D. in Urban-Evnironmental Planning, M.S. Building Design and a Bachelors in Environmentally Conscious Architecture.

Track B

Bridging the Gap between DSM, the Markets, and Trading Desks

Eamonn Urey
Program Manager
Salt River Project
Eamonn Urey is Product Development Manager at Salt River Project. Eamonn’s background includes seven years in electric utility program and product management at SRP.  He currently manages Demand Response programs for residential smart thermostats, a business Demand Response program, and is expanding SRP’s EV managed charging programs. Previously, he worked for Apple for managing interconnection programs. Eamonn is currently enrolled in the Harvard Extension School’s Sustainability Master’s degree program. Eamonn also has 19-years of service in the United States Army Reserve in Counterintelligence operations with various combat deployments.

Tayla Simmons
Resource Operations
Arizona Public Service
Tayla supervises a team that manages and optimizes APS’ portfolio for clean, reliable, and affordable delivery of power to customers throughout Arizona. She develops and reevaluates wholesale market and EIM trading and execution strategies for her group to ensure results serve customers and ensure system reliability. Within the scope of demand side management, Tayla provides the operations viewpoint during implementation to make sure the programs are executable and capture the most value these resources can bring to the grid.

Tom Hines
Tierra Resource Consultants

Tom Hines is a residential energy efficiency expert with more than 20 years of experience in program design, implementation and evaluation. From 1997 through 2014, Mr. Hines has worked with Arizona Public Service Company (APS) in designing, developing and managing the company’s portfolio of residential energy efficiency programs, including: new homes, existing homes HVAC, home performance, consumer products lighting, pools, multi-family, behavioral conservation, and energy efficiency financing programs. Mr. Hines has designed, developed and managed multiple award winning energy efficiency programs, including the APS ENERGY STAR Homes program and the APS Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. Throughout this time, Mr. Hines has worked closely with industry stakeholders to drive market transformation including builders, contractors, Realtors, lenders, raters and other trade allies. In the new homes industry, Mr. Hines has been a key proponent of using applied building science principles and home performance testing tools to improve building efficiency and performance.

Tyler Rogers
Senior Director
Tyler has been working in the utility, energy, and sustainability industries for 15 years. At EnergyHub, Tyler is responsible for creating new business opportunities and partnerships with electric and gas utilities. Prior to joining EnergyHub, Tyler worked at Opower for 3 years where he held various sales and client delivery roles. Tyler supported clients in the United States, Canada, and China. He has also previously held positions with Booz Allen Hamilton and the Department of Energy. Tyler holds a BA in Political Economics from Georgetown University.

Evergy Missouri TOU Rate Study – Interim Results

Farhad Daruwala
Managing Consultant
Farhad Daruwala is a Managing Consultant in Guidehouse’s Advanced Solution group based in Toronto. Prior to joining Guidehouse, he worked at Hydro One Networks Inc., in the Economics and Load Forecasting division where he focused on econometric and statistical analysis to analyze and predict various load impacts and prepare analyses for regulatory filings

At Guidehouse, he has worked Time-of-Use studies or various utilities; a comprehensive financial valuation of an electric utility as part of a merger; long term load forecasts for utilities that incorporate the impacts of structural changes such as electrification and distributed generation, evaluated demand response and thermostat programs.

Elena Johnston
Senior Product Manager Digital Products
Elena Johnston is a Senior Product Manager at Evergy responsible for Digital Products and Services which include web, outbound, rate plans and technical integrations. Largely, Elena leads the enterprise wide roll-out of Evergy’s new Demand Side Rates and is responsible for managing existing and bringing in new products and services to support customers taking service on those plans. Elena has also managed Evergy’s Residential and Small-Medium Business Demand Response and Behavioral Energy Efficiency programs. Before onboarding as a Product Manager in Energy Solutions, Elena served as an intern at KCP&L where she worked on various regulated and non-regulated renewable energy initiatives. Elena also worked as a Graduate Assistant at the University of Saint Mary School of Business, where she earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Business Administration.

Randy Spale
Senior DSM Evaluation Manager

Randy Spale is responsible for managing the Company’s evaluation, measurement, and verification (EM&V) efforts in meeting energy and demand savings goals as approved by the regulatory commissions, which includes overseeing overall relationship and deliverables as related to the measurement and verification of programs performed by third party EM&V consultant(s). [email protected]

Track C

EVs are Coming; Is Your Grid Ready?

Katie Parkinson
Senior Associate
Rolling Energy Resources
Katie Parkinson works as a senior associate for Apex Analytics and Rolling Energy Resources. At Apex, Katie manages evaluations and helps utilities navigate the DSM landscape through implementation support, evaluation management, staff training, and policy application. At RER, Katie focuses on behavioral programs aimed to encourage EV drivers to shift their charging load. She has a masters in behavioral science from the London School of Economics and undergraduate degrees in economics and environmental studies.

Adam Wirtshafter
Senior Analyst
National Grid
Adam Wirtshafter is a Senior Analyst on the Energy, Measurement, and Verification team at National Grid. Adam manages various New England Residential, Transportation, and cross-cutting studies for the company, and leads the Massachusetts EV evaluations for National Grid. 

Phased Program Design For Electric Vehicle Managed Charging

Varun Thakkar
Senior Analyst Electric Vehicles
Varun was born and raised in Mumbai, India and immigrated to Phoenix, Arizona at the age of fifteen. Upon arrival to the US, he enrolled in a magnet program for inner city schools. His exposure to poverty and community development issues in different cultural settings inspired him to pursue a career in sustainable development and social entrepreneurship. As a Senior Analyst - Electric Vehicles at CLEAResult, Varun has been directly involved in product development and management for the company's first generation of EV programs.

Jessica Berry
Senior Program Manager
Tucson Electric Power
Jessica Berry is a Supervisor of Energy Programs with over 18 years of experience in the utility sector.  She is responsible for the UNS Energy Corp portfolio, demand side management energy efficiency, demand response, and EV programs. This includes optimizing processes, redesigning programs and leveraging emerging technologies to provide innovative customer solutions and experiences.
Her industrial expertise covers a wide range of functions including strategic cost savings and supply chain optimization, ERP integration, financial accounting and customer relationship management.

Ray Martinez
Principal Merging Technologies
Tucson Electric Power
Bio unavailable.

Winter Load Shifting Field Study of Residential Multi-Split Heat Pumps

Samuel Rosenberg
Data Scientist
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Sam Rosenberg is a Data Research Scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the Energy Policy and Economics Group. His research focus is on residential energy efficiency technologies, indoor air quality, rule-making and assessment, and field study deployment. Sam is currently a graduate student at UC Berkeley.

Walter Hunt
Senior Engineer
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Walt Hunt is a Senior Research Engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. His research focus is laboratory and field characterizations of space conditioning and water heating technologies. He is a registered professional engineer (PE).

Track D

Innovative Thermostat Demand Response Pilot for Seminole (Florida) Electric Cooperative Members

Cindy A. Walker
Energy Services Specialist - EEWG
Seminole Electric Cooperative
Bio unavailable

Joseph S. Lopes
Senior Principal Consultant
Joseph S. Lopes, Senior Principal Consultant, DNV, has over 40 years of electric and gas utility industry experience in energy program design, implementation and evaluation for residential and business programs, interval load analytics, and demand response (DR), specializing in smart thermostat programs.  He has assisted many utility clients in developing strategic business plans for addressing disruptive grid technologies (Solar, EV, Thermostats). Before joining DNV in 2011, he was a founding partner of Applied Energy Group, Inc.  He holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Manhattan College and an M.S. in Energy Management from New York Institute of Technology (NYIT). 

Natural Gas Generators: Relevant and Critical to Utility Load Management Programs

Jamie Smith
VP Global Business Development
Generac Power Systems
Jamie Smith joined Generac in December of 2018 and is currently Global Vice President of Business Development for Generac’s Commercial and Industrial business unit. In this capacity Jamie has built and scaled a global commercial organization to focus on the rapidly growing distributed generation market opportunity. This includes new product commercialization and transforming a legacy business model to meet the demands of new market dynamics being created by microgrid and other distributed generation solutions. Jamie started his career in power generation at General Electric after serving 10 years as an officer in the United States Coast Guard.  
Jamie received his Bachelor of Science in Operations Research from the United States Coast Guard Academy, a Master’s of Science in Engineering from Stanford and his MBA from Emory University.

Lyndon Dupont
Director, Business Operations - Power Through
With over 31 years of experience in the electric utility industry, including tenures at Entergy, Duke Energy and Walt Disney World, Lyndon has held a variety of leadership positions in engineering, project management, grid automation, distribution operations and power plant operations.   

In 2020, he joined Entergy’s KeyString Labs Innovation Department, where he is currently Director of Business Operations for the Power Through business unit.  In this capacity, Lyndon is responsible for growing and continuously innovating the Power Through business from its first year of operation onward.  Entergy Power Through is a new, innovative, resiliency-as-a-service customer offering access for commercial and industrial customers.  Participating customers gain access to worry free standby power, helping to keep their business operating.  All customers benefit by dispatching backup generators when needed for reliability or peak power prices.

Lyndon holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from The Florida State University. He has also completed executive and leadership programs at Duke University – Fuqua School of Business and The University of North Carolina - Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Dan Smies
Managing Director Business Development and Strategy
AEP OnSite Partners
Dan Smies joined AEP OnSite Partners in March of 2016 and is currently Managing Director Business Development and Strategy.  Dan is responsible for leading the AEP OnSite Partners business development team and helping the company grow its portfolio of customer-centric energy assets by helping customers manage their energy costs through the implementation of asset-based products and services.  With nearly 20 years of experience in the energy industry, Dan brings an extensive breadth of knowledge and experience in various leadership roles in several regulated and non-regulated electric utility companies. Dan started his career in corporate treasury and has held various positions with increasing responsibility in regulated renewable development, wholesale power marketing, competitive energy asset development, and generation dispatch strategy and analytics.
Dan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse.

How Storage Fits in an Integrated, High-Renewables Local Grid 

Luis Reyes
Kit Carson Rural Electric Cooperative
Luis Reyes has been CEO and General Manager at Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Inc. (KCEC) since 1993. He began work as the Electrical System Engineer in 1984. He has led KCEC in developing diverse, competitive services, including broadband Internet, renewable energy and low-cost propane. His dedication to the co-op's mission is to deliver exceptional customer service with efficiency, reliability, professionalism, accountability and develop sustainable economic opportunities benefiting its member communities. See https://kitcarson.com/

Jill Cliburn
Solar-Plus for Electric Co-ops (SPECs) Project
Cliburn and Associates, LLC
From her consultancy in Santa Fe, NM, Jill Cliburn provides program-design, market development, evaluation and process leadership for solar and solar-plus projects, integrated energy strategies. She is widely known as an innovator in community solar and solar-plus storage and DR. She is co-leader of the Community Solar Value Project, with Extensible Energy.  See www.solarvalueproject.com. [email protected]