2018 Speakers Included

Melisa Johns
Melisa Johns
Vice President Business & Product Development, Duke Energy

Melisa Johns is vice president of Business and Product Development for Duke Energy’s Distributed Technology team.  She is responsible for leading the development, origination, execution and implementation of investment opportunities and customer offers related to distributed assets for the regulated companies which includes solar, wind, energy storage, CHP and micro grids.

Previously, Melisa was responsible for developing strategy for the Emerging Technology team and directing Duke Energy’s technology demonstration projects which provide lessons learned regarding the technology application, operational implications, and technology transfer within the business.

During her tenure with Duke Energy,  she also served as director of wholesale origination and was responsible for leading the wholesale origination team in the execution of long-term sales contracts from the regulated generation portfolios of Duke Energy Carolinas and Indiana and for the procurement of supply side resources for the company. In addition, she has operational experience in system, planning and operating, and power delivery, as well as experience in regulatory affairs and business planning.

Melisa earned her Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree, in Electrical Engineering, from Clemson University. She has also completed the Strategic Leadership Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Margarett Jolly
Margarett Jolly
Director, Demonstration Projects, Customer Energy Solutions, Con Edison

Margarett Jolly collaborates with technology leaders to develop new solutions that open the grid for customers and grid participant.  Her professional and personal background provides her the technical and policy tools, partnerships and passion that are making the grid a better place.

She is recent Director of R&D at Con Edison and currently Director Demonstration Projects in the Customer Energy Solutions organization where her team solicits, develops, demonstrates, and scales alternative ways of doing business with the utility.  Demonstrations include new business models for storage, solar, rate design, low and middle-income customers, and web portals to connect residential and commercial customers with innovative energy management tools.

She has been with Con Edison since 1997.  Margarett’s early career included power plant control systems and boiler operations, followed by regulatory and energy markets policy, electric distribution engineering, and as the Company’s DG Ombudsperson.

She graduated from New York City Technical College in 1993 and from the Cooper Union in 1997 with a BE in Mechanical Engineering.  A licensed Professional Engineer in New York State since 2004, Margarett serves on the Boards of Green City Force and Grid Alternative Tri-State, and NY-Best.

Margarett speaks regularly about the evolving role of the electric grid.

Jackie Sargent
Jackie Sargent
General Manager, Austin Energy

Jackie Sargent rejoined the Austin Energy team as General Manager in August 2016. She brings almost 30 years of utility experience, as well as the focus and passion to continue the utility’s cutting edge reputation while providing tremendous community benefits.
From 2010 to 2012, Sargent served as Senior Vice President of Power Supply and Market Operations at Austin Energy before joining Platte River Power Authority in Fort Collins, Colorado, as General Manager and CEO. Sargent also served as Vice President of Power Supply and Renewables Integration for Black Hills Corporation in South Dakota.

Throughout her career, Sargent has demonstrated leadership by working with teams to accomplish goals and plan for the future. Some notable accomplishments include managing major construction projects, developing resource plans, supporting acquisitions and mergers, leading utility rate cases, negotiating power purchase and sale agreements, developing and growing energy marketing departments, integrating renewable resources, and creating collaborative energy efficiency programs.

Sargent believes Austin Energy can be a great value to its customers by focusing on these five core values: safety, financial integrity, operational excellence and reliability, exceptional customer service, and engaged employees. A strong financial base along with operational excellence allows a publicly owned utility to be competitive while creating value for the community. By continuing Austin Energy’s standard of exceptional reliability and advancements in grid technology, the utility will be able to offer new levels of communication and collaboration with its customers. But these achievements can only happen with engaged employees in a safe environment that extends to the customers the utility serves.

Sargent is a licensed professional engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Science in Technology Management from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

Boris Schubert
Boris Schubert
General Manager, Solar and Storage Projects, Shell New Energies

Mr. Boris Schubert is General Manager, solar and storage, at Shell New Energies and a Director at Silicon Ranch Corporation. With more than 15 years of experience in cleantech, electric utilities, technology and consulting, Borish has held executive roles at Q-Cells International USA Corporation, ET Solar Industry Limited, ET Capital Solar Partners, Inc., and Hanwha Q CELLS USA. He has deep expertise in solar project financing, development, EPC and O&M management. He started his career as a management consultant at Accenture, where his client work included developing market entry strategies for Distributed Energy Resource players, B2B CRM process optimization and data warehousing, and analytics reporting for utilities. Boris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering and a Master of Business Administration degree, both from the University of Augsburg, Germany.

Kate McGinnis
Kate McGinnis
Managing Director for North America, Fluence

Kate McGinnis is Managing Director for North America at Fluence, a joint venture between Siemens and AES Corporation and a leading global provider of energy storage systems and services. In this role, she leads sales to utilities, IPPs, and developers in the region. Prior to joining Fluence, she spent three years working with AES Energy Storage, resulting in nearly 200MW of contracted projects in the western US. Her start in storage was with Chevron Technology Ventures, where she led development of stationary storage projects co-located with oil & gas infrastructure globally. She has nearly two decades of experience in the energy space, and has worked in areas including energy efficiency, carbon markets, and a variety of renewables. Kate is a board member and past chair of the California Energy Storage Alliance. She holds a BS in Environmental Science from George Washington University and an MBA from Cornell.

Tilak Gopalarathnam
Tilak Gopalarathnam
Director of Energy Technology Partnerships, LG Corp

Tilak Gopalarathnam is currently the Director of Energy Technology Partnerships at LG Corp., the parent company of LG Electronics and LG Chem. In this role, he is responsible for open innovation, partnerships and new business development in solar photovoltaics, energy storage and grid edge technologies.

This corporate role enables Tilak to work across business units and develop the technology strategy for new solutions in partnership with startups as well as established companies. One of his focus areas has been the development of corporate strategy and solar + storage solutions for the residential, commercial and utility markets.

Tilak has been working on various aspects of renewable energy and energy efficiency for the past 20 years, including solar module manufacturing innovations, solar power conversion and automotive hybrid system power electronics. He has an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering with a power electronics focus.

Kevin Vannoy
Kevin Vannoy
Director of Market Design, MISO

Kevin Vannoy is MISO’s Director of Market Design.  He has over twenty three years of Management and Consulting experience in the electric utility industry, including Regional Transmission Organizations, and regulated and deregulated markets.  He has been with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) since 2005. 

He was MISO’s Director of Forward Operations Planning from June 2015 to September 2017, his responsibilities included; Transmission and Generation Outage Coordination, Tariff Administration and Scheduling, Forecast Engineering and Seams Administration.

He was MISO’s Director of Market Administration from 2010 to June 2015, responsible for administering Auction Revenue Rights (“ARRs”), the Financial Transmission Rights (“FTR”) Markets, the Day-Ahead Energy and Operating Reserves Markets, Resource Adequacy Administration, Forecast Engineering, the Forward Reliability Assessment Commitment and Real-Time Ex-post Locational Marginal Pricing functions. 

Kevin managed Market Services starting in 2005 following the launch of the Midwest Energy Markets.  He led Market Quality and Dispute Resolution, Market Settlements, Tariff Pricing and Transmission Settlements until 2010. 

Kevin has been involved with numerous Market development and improvement initiatives at MISO, including the Ancillary Services Markets implementation, Revenue Sufficiency Guarantee Allocation Redesign, Financial Transmission Rights Funding efforts, Transmission Multi-Value Project Auction Revenue Rights Allocation, Annual Resource Adequacy Auctions, and Extended Locational Marginal Pricing.

Kevin holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida.  Prior to joining MISO, he held management roles with both the Structure Consulting Group LLC in their Regional Transmission Organization Consulting Practice, and Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) in their Utilities Industry Practice.  Prior to joining Andersen Consulting in 1995, he served as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Navy.

Kari Smith
Kari Smith
Grid Planning & Reliability - Senior Utility Regulatory Analyst, California Public Utilities Commission

Kari Smith manages energy storage policy and procurement at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Prior to the CPUC, she served as the Director of Policy and Market Development for SunPower Corporation, one the world’s leading solar manufacturers.  Kari led renewable and energy efficiency policy advocacy for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and served on the board of directors of numerous clean energy trade associations, including the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA).  Kari co-founded the Solar Alliance and Texas Solar Power Association.  She is a graduate of the University of California and has a Master’s Degree from the University of Colorado.

Lara Pierpoint
Lara Pierpoint
Director, Technology Strategy, Exelon

Lara Pierpoint joined Exelon in October 2016, focusing on energy technology innovation. She leads the Corporate Strategy technical team from her post in Danville, California, advising the company on energy technology trends and running Exelon’s partnership R&D program. Prior to joining Exelon, she directed the Office of Energy Supply Security in the U.S. DOE Office of Policy and Systems Analysis, where she was responsible for policy and analysis related to coal, gas, and nuclear power and energy cyber and physical security. Before her work at DOE she served as an AAAS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, focusing on nuclear power and waste issues, energy finance, and electricity storage. She received her PhD in 2011 from MIT in Engineering Systems, studying deployment of advanced technologies for nuclear waste recycling, and she holds dual masters degrees from MIT in nuclear engineering and technology policy. She is a native Californian, and completed her B.S. in physics at UCLA in 2004.

Shounok Sinha
Shounok Sinha
Principal - Products & Structuring, Constellation

Shounok currently leads the Products & Structuring function for Constellation Energy’s Distributed Energy business. He is based in Baltimore and focuses on the renewable and distributed energy sector. At Constellation, Shounok has led the new product development, financial structuring and asset acquisition efforts for competitive bidding and internal underwriting helping deploy over $1B of capital on Distributed Energy development; opportunities span multiple asset classes including Solar PV, Storage, Fuel Cells & Biomass. In addition, Shounok has extensive experience in Project Financing and was involved in non-recourse debt offerings on utility scale renewable and gas generation assets totaling over $1.5B. Shounok holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Instrumentation Engineering from BMS College of Engineering, India and has a MBA from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Brandon Middaugh
Brandon Middaugh
Senior Manager, Distributed Energy, Microsoft

Brandon currently leads Distributed Energy innovation & integration for Microsoft's Energy Strategy & Research team. Her background combines renewable energy asset management and project finance experience with political risk consulting and environmental policy. Prior to joining Microsoft, she has held senior positions at SunEdison, Bloom Energy and Albright Stonebridge Group. Brandon holds a BA, Environmental Studies and a MESc Environmental Science from Yale University; and an MBA from Stanford University.

Seth Baruch
Seth Baruch
National Director Energy & Utilities, Kaiser Permanente

Seth Baruch is National Director for Energy and Utilities at Kaiser Permanente and is responsible for managing sustainable energy programs across the organization, including solar projects at a hundred different hospitals, data centers and medical office buildings. Part of this program includes the development of microgrids and rapid installation of electric vehicle charging stations at selected sites in California. Seth is also helping lead the effort for Kaiser Permanente to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020.