Speaker Bios



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Alan Claus Anderson

is a Shareholder and Vice Chair of Polsinelli's national Energy Practice Group. He has extensive experience representing and serving as lead counsel and outside general counsel to public and private domestic and international companies in the energy industry. Mr. Anderson represents renewable energy developers in projects throughout the country, representing clients in more than 3,500 NW in operating wind and solar projects. Mr. Anderson is also actively involved in numerous economic development organizations and trade groups supporting the industry and has been an active speaker and law school instructor.

He has served as the Chair of the Kansas City Area Development Council's Advanced Energy and Manufacturing Advisory Council, Chair of the Government Team for the United States Department of Energy Electrify the Heartland Project, and the solar Finance Lead for the Department of Energy's Solar Ready KC Sunshot initiative. aanderson@polsinelli.com
 Barnett Photo Dorothy Barnett is leading the effort to address the Heartland's energy future. Grounded in an approach based common ground solutions, Barnett has been successful in convening diverse voices in a conservative region of the country. Barnett has coordinated winning campaigns to protect the Kansas Renewable Portfolio Standard from special interest groups attacks during four legislative sessions, allowing the wind industry to grow to 30% of the state’s power generation in just a decade.

Mrs. Barnett has been recognized with national media attention, including MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and is frequently invited to speak on a range of clean energy topics including a presentation at Yale for a public forum of "The 'C' Words: Addressing Climate Change Without Talking About Climate Change - a Regional Perspective." Barnett provides expert testimony at regulatory proceedings, and has been published in the Electricity Journal. In 2014 Barnett received the Advocacy Leadership Award from the U.S. Clean Energy, Education and Empowerment (C3E) program, run by the U.S. Department of Energy and the MIT Energy Initiative.   barnett@climateandenergy.com

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Richard W. Caperton

 is the Director of National Policy and Regulatory Affairs in Oracle's Utilities Global Business Unit. Caperton leads the company's state regulatory work across eastern North American, as well as any engagements with the federal government, including Congress, administrative agencies, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He also guides the company's global regulatory strategy on demand response and electricity market design.

Prior to joining Oracle, Caperton was the Managing Director for Energy at the Center for American Progress, where he worked on energy tax and finance policy and electric utility issues. He has also worked in government relations at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and served as a policy fellow at the Alliance for Climate Protection. 
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David Carter

, B.S. in biology, M.S. toxicology, is a Certified Energy Manager, ISO 14001 (environmental management systems) and 50001 (energy management systems certified auditor. David currently provides energy efficiency education and assistance to small businesses in the state of Kansas through a partnership with the Kansas Corporation Commission. Carter also provides education and assistance to small businesses in the areas of pollution prevention, air quality permits, wastewater, storm water, hazardous and solid waste regulations, environmental permits, and environmental (ISO 14001) and energy (ISO 50001) management systems.
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Jay Caspary

is Director of Research, Development & Tariff Services at Southwest Power Pool (SPP) with over 35 years of industry experience. Jay joined SPP in 2001 after almost a 20-year career at Illinois Power/Dynergy. At SPP, Jay has been responsible for Engineering in support of regional planning and transmission development. In early 2013, Jay completed a one-year assignment at the DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability in DC as a Senior Policy Advisor to help with grid modernization efforts and research priorities.

In this current position, Jay facilitates efforts to help SPP staff, members and stakeholders create and manage R&D projects, develop staff skills and resources, evaluate new tools, improve processes and provides oversight of all customer-initiated serve requests realated to generation interconnections, physical and financial transmission services, as well as delivery point additions.
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Rick Counihan

is Head of Energy Regulator and governmental Affairs for Nest Labs, the maker of the Nest Learning Thermostat. Rick has over 25 years of experience in the energy and utility fields, with employment stints in state, local and federal government, as well as the private sector. Prior to Nest, Rich was Vice-President of Government Affairs for EnerNOC, a leader in demand response and energy management services for the commercial and industrial sectors for 8 years.

Before EnerNOC, Rick was Vice-President at the Electricity Innovation Institute (E2I), a nonprofit research institute affiliated with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to build public/private partnerships to improve the nation's electricity systems and an early research center on the Smart Grid. Rick also worked in regulatory affairs for five years with Southern California Edison.
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Bob Dixson 
is a native Kansan and has been a resident of Greensburg since 1985. Dixson took office as mayor of Greensburg in May 2008 and he is leading the way in rebuilding Greensburg following the May 4, 2007, EF5 tornado that destroyed 95 percent of the community. Sustainable building, renewable energy and “green” technologies are the cornerstones of the recovery of Greensburg. Community involvement and public/private partnerships have been essential in the recovery efforts. Mayor Dixson has presented to groups around the world on post-disaster recovery and sustainability. mayor@greensburgks.com


John Fernandes

has spend the last four years in the commercial development, construction, and IPP sectors where he has assessed and shaped market and non-market structures for investment in fossil, renewable, transmission, and energy storage platforms. Prior to these engagements, John was on staff at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and was a regulatory manager for an investor-owned utility.
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David Fuller

started his career as a Petroleum Geologist after receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Geology from the University of Kansas. He went on to earn an MBA from the University of Denver and joined the unregulated energy trading and marketing group at Public Service Company of Colorado (now Excel). He subsequently joined Enron North America as a Director of Business Development, structuring and marketing power and gas transactions for customers in the Western U.S. He later held similar positions in the trading and power development divisions f EAP, Constellation and Barclays Capital. For the last seven years, he has worked in the Origination Group at EDF-RE as the Director of Business Development where he works with utility and corporate customers on renewable energy transactions.
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David Gardiner

is president of his own environmental consulting firm, David Gardiner & Associates, which focuses on climate change and clean energy issues and advises non-profit and for-profit organizations. The firm specializes in eliminating policy barriers that prevent consumers from buying renewable energy. Prior to founding his firm, he served in the Clinton Administration as Executive Director of the White House Climate Change Task Force and as Assistant Administrator for Policy at the Environmental Protection Agency. Prior to joining EPA, Mr. Gardiner was the Sierra Club's Legislative Director in Washington, DC.
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Eric Gargiulo 
is a Product Marketing Manager at FirstFuel Software, the global leader in business customer engagement solutions for utilities and retail energy providers. FirstFuel's SaaS software is used by over 30 clients to personalize the business customer experience across all channels, driving increased satisfaction, lower service costs, and greater adoption of products and services. As a leader on FirstFuel’s Product Marketing team, Eric works cross-functionally to align FirstFuel's solutions with the evolving needs of its clients. Eric joined FirstFuel in 2014. Prior to FirstFuel, he worked at Cadmus, a multidisciplinary energy and environmental consulting firm. egargiulo@firstfuel.com
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Britton Gibson

is a Shareholder attorney in Posinelli's national Energy Practice Group. He has significant experience in mergers and acquisitions and financing transactions across a variety of industries. He brings this valuable transactional experience to his energy industry practice, where he has been responsible for more than $8 billion in energy-related transactions. Britton frequently serves as counsel to both U.S. and foreign developers and lenders in the development, financing, construction and acquisition of energy projects covering a broad spectrum of energy technologies. In renewable energy projects, Britton has represented developers, lenders, investors and suppliers in dozens of wind and solar energy projects throughout the country.

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Kelly Gilbert

is the Executive Director of Kansas City-based Metropolitan Energy Center, where she has served as Kansas City Regional Clean Cities coordinator since 2008. Under Gilbert's leadership, KC Clean Cities became the region's go-to resource for cleaner fuels, vehicles, and energy-saving transportation technologies. Based on its capacity, strength and assertive approach to petroleum reduction and transportation sustainability, it is a national leader and a model among the 87 U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities coalitions.
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Greg Greenwood

serves as Westar Energy's Senior Vice President of Strategy. Greg began his career at Westar Energy in the Tax Department in 1993 and became an officer of the company in 2003 when the board of directors named him Treasurer. He was promoted to Senior Vice President of Strategy in 2011 where he has overseen the areas of major construction, environmental affairs, regulatory affairs, customer care, and new customer programs and services. Greg has served on numerous boards of charitable organizations throughout northeast Kansas, and currently contributes his time to American Red Cross, Washburn University Foundation, Kansas Council on Economic Development, and Easter Seals Capper Foundation.
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John Hipchen

is Manager of Sustainable Technology for Telefonix, Inc. and manages their PowerPost EVSE® line of electric vehicle chargers. His work at Telefonix has included assistance with engineering development and technical documentation, assistance with UL certification, business planning and marketing communications. John's career spans more than 35 years and has focused heavily on the automotive industry. Several years ago, John began tracking the electric vehicle (EV) and hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) markets for the Copper Development Association. Impressed with the technology he saw in new battery electric vehicles, in January 2012 John became one of the first owners of a Nissan Leaf in the Chicago area. Since that time, John has worked extensively with new technology and developments related to plug-in electric vehicles.
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Deirdre "DK" Hirner

is the Midwest Policy Director for the American Wind Energy Association. She covers the Midwestern and Plains States of Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma. In that role, she works with state and regional partner associations to promote legislation, regulation and political support for the adoption and implementation of policies that facilitate growth for the wind industry and for the development of transmission.

She previously has served as the Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Regulatory Group, representing the interests of Illinois' largest industries in environmental negotiations with the Illinois EPA; and as the Executive Director of the Conversations Federation of Missouri. Hirner has been a senior staff member in the Offices of Governors Mel Carnahan and Bob Holden of Missouri, and Lt. Governor Sheila Simon of Illinois.
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Eileen Horn

is the Sustainability Coordinator for Douglas C0unty and the City of Lawrence, Kansas. In that role, she coordinates the city and county initiatives in energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste reduction/recycling, and local food. In addition, she serves as chief public contact for these initiatives, and coordinates citizen outreach programs to communicate the city and county sustainability goals and projects. Previously, Eileen worked as the Education/Outreach Coordinator for the Climate and Energy Project, where she co-created an award-winning energy efficiency contest between six Kansas municipalities, and founded the Kansas chapter of Interfaith Power and Light, assisting congregations as they put their faith into action to address climate change.
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Kay Johnson

is an experienced environmental professional having worked for over 30 years in both private industry and local government including KG&E (now Westar), Bombardier Learjet and the City of Wichita. She is currently the Sustainability and Environment Manager at Prosoco, a national manufacturer of building and construction products located in Lawrence, Kansas.
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Olga Khakova

is Program Director and lead the conception and development of the Clean Energy Business Council (CEBC). CEBC is a network of businesses who are seeking to capitalize on abundant clean energy resources in Kansas and the greater Kansas City area through policies conducive to growing renewable energy and energy efficiency. Olga previously worked on: A Clean Power Plan Blueprint development—an initiative identifying pragmatic solutions to cut carbon emissions in Kansas through stakeholder engagement; education and outreach on rate design and the utility of the future; dockets at the Kansas Corporation Commission. For over four years, Olga coordinated events and developed communications strategies in Brazil, Canada, China, and the U.S. for a human factors safety program within Bombardier Aerospace named Safety Standdown. khakova@climateandenergy.org
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Larry Kinder

is CEO and Founder of LilyPad EV. He is committed to the use of electricity as a transportation fuel. EV charging infrastructure can have a significant effect on the economic development of a region and community. It contributes to environmental sustainability and leads to economic development opportunities, besides just being very cool. Larry has a background in both entrepreneurial ventures and the corporate world along with degrees in business, physics, and a master's degree in computer science. Larry founded LilyPad EV in 2009 which has since grown into a leading provider of EV charging stations at workplaces, governmental facilities, retail locations, educational institutions, multi-family units and electric utility companies. LilyPad EV is currently helping an electric utility company with a large project deploying 1000 charging stations.
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Lenka Kollar

is the Director of Business Strategy at NuScale Power where she is working to bring NuScale's small modular reactor to market through business development and clean energy outreach. She has been invited to speak on energy innovation and the potential of small modular reactors to provide electricity and clean water in a variety of different forums, such as the CleanTech Forum in San Francisco and COP22 in Morocco. Previously, Ms. Kollar was an Associate Communication Officer at the International Atomic Energy Agency where she handled external and internal communication for the Department of Nuclear Energy.

Prior to that, she consulted with public and private sector organizations on nuclear energy policy, public communications, and marketing strategy, along with writing an informational blog called Nuclear Undone. Ms. Kollar also served as a technical associate in non-proliferation policy at the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration and at Argonne National Laboratory.
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Matt Langley

is the Vice President of Origination and Finance for Infinity Renewables. In that role, he is responsible for Infinity's commercial activities, including power marketing, financing and government affairs. Mr. Langley joined the company in early 2012 and has been involved in the wind industry for ten years. Prior to Infinity, Mr. Langley was in a similar role at juwi Wind, LLC, where he completed several acquisitions and developed juwi's market entry strategy for the Canadian market. Prior to juwi, Mr. Langley worked for Clipper Windpower Development, focusing on project sales and power marketing. In that position, he negotiated power purchase agreements and asset sales, including the sale to Constellation of its first wind project.
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Matt Larson

is a partner at Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP and counsels utilities on state and federal aspects of regulation and administrative law. Mr. Larson has worked on matters before public utilities commissions relating to integrated resource planning, rates, transmission and renewable energy infrastructure, and both fossil-fired and renewable energy facilities. In addition, Mr. Larson counsels clients regarding compliance with applicable environmental laws and the intersection of public utility law and environmental law. Earlier in his career, Mr. Larson practiced with a Colorado-based law firm in its Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources practice group. He previously served as a law clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver, Colorado and the Honorable John L. Kane of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. mlarson@wbklaw.com
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Mark Lawlor

, Director of Development – Clean Line Energy Partners, is responsible for the strategy and planning necessary for the development of the Grain Belt Express Clean Line, the direct current transmission line that will connect the rich wind resources of Kansas to Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and markets farther east.

Mr. Lawlor applies his extensive experience in project development, transmission policy, wind farm development and legislative affairs to his role as Director. In his previous role as Project Manager for Horizon Wind Energy, he was responsible for developing wind farms in the Kansas market and managing legislative and regulatory affairs. Before Horizon, Mr. Lawler was a founding partner in a law firm specializing in renewable energy law. In 2008 he was appointed by the Governor of Kansas to the Kansas Wind Working Group. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Wind Coalition and The Climate & Energy Project.   Mlawlor@cleanlineenergy.com

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Earnie Lehman

is President and General Manager of Midwest Energy Inc., a consumer-owned electric and natural gas utility based in Hays serving 41 counties in central and western Kansas. He was Vice Chair and Chair of the Kansas Electric Transmission Authority from 2005-2016. Before taking charge of Midwest Energy in 2003 he ran a subsidiary of the El Paso Electric Company providing energy services in west Texas, southern New Mexico and the adjacent Mexican border region. This followed an 18-year career at what is now Westar Energy, where he held leadership positions in regulatory, corporate development and marketing functions. He began his career as an economist, first with the Civil Aeronautics Board and then the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
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Rob Leonard

is the Vice President of Production/Field Technical Support for Build SMART LLC located in Lawrence, Kansas. Rob has more than 35 years in the construction industry including owning his own business with a focus on building science and high performing buildings. Rob is dedicated to sharing with others his knowledge and expertise in better buildings and the building science field.

His certifications and accreditations include: State of Virginia DPOR Class "A" builder qualified, HERS Rater, Energy Star Rater, PHIUS+ (Passive House Rater), PHIUS+ Large Building Verifier, BPI Building Analyst Professional, NAHB Certified Green Professional, Certified Lead Renovation, Repair & Painting, Registered Land Distributor - State of Virginia, OSHA 10 Hour Course, AED, CPR & First Aid Certified, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach and ACE Certified Senior Fitness Coach.
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Warrant Martin

serves as Executive Director of Kansas Strong (Kansas Oil and Gas Resources Fund) which is dedicated to promoting the quality of life created by the Kansas oil & gas industry. Warren previously served as Executive Director of the Kansas Oil Museum and the General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum and was the primary presenter of all Inspired Leadership Experiences. He has been conducting leadership workshops, presenting keynote presentations and consulting with Fortune 500 corporation and non-profit organizations for 22 years.
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Michelle Milburn

serves as Stanion's Clean Energy Product Manager and leads Stanion's Clean Energy Team. Her multifaceted role incorporates the vetting of manufacturers and products, training and marketing for new technology, technical advisor and industry consultant. As a trusted advisor, Michelle helps Stanion's clients develop energy savings and independence through projects best suited for their individual energy profile, capital availability, tax appetite and sustainability goals. For 65 years, Stanion Wholesale Electric Co. devoutly served Kansas companies, communities, and industries - Michelle helps them understand the calculated risk and benefits of energy technologies while delivering superior material and resources. Prior to her position at Stanion, Michelle was the Wind Energy Technical Specialist for Milbank PowerGen. Her experience with renewable energy began during the utility scale wind boom of the early 2000's as a member of Aggreko LLC's Wind Energy Team managing the load testing equipment for the commissioning of utility scale wind turbines in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.
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Alan Myers

is Director, Regional Planning, ITC Holdings Corporation. He is responsible for technical and planning activities for ITC to include the ITC Great Plains operating company as well as the company's grid development activities nationwide. Possessing more than 28 years of utility industry experience, Mr. Myers has played an integral role in the development and growth of ITC Great Plains - a new greenfield utility formed in 2006 - as well as the planning, routing and siting approval processes for over 300 miles of 345 kV transmission line projects undertaken by ITC Great Plains since 2009.

Mr. Myers is a tenured participant in the Southwest Power Pool process and currently active on several technical committees within SPP to include the Economic Studies Working Group of which he serves as chairman. Before joining ITC in 2006, Mr. Myers served as manager of transmission services at Aquila, Inc., where he was responsible for managing short and long-term transmission planning, transmission interconnection agreements, transmission customer issues, and administration of Aquila's open-access transmission tariffs.

John O' Connor

is the Director of Energy Markets for Olsson Associates - a 1,100 employee engineering firm headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska. He was hired three years ago as a "seller-doer" to support Olsson's growth initiatives and balances his time working with both external clients and internal leadership. John's client responsibilities include nurturing relationships with national electric utility and renewable energy clients. John leads internal teams in pursuit of project opportunities. He creates, sets, and implements sales strategies. Since John joined Olsson, actual revenues have easily outpaced budgeted revenues in this market sector. Prior to his recent history at Olsson, John brought more than 18 years of experience from the electric power utility industry leading several renewable development initiatives for Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD).

In his early years at NPPD, John served as an economic development consultant where he plays a major role in the recruitment of dozens of new businesses and industries to rural Nebraska. John developed his business development skills while working for the Governor's Department of Economic Development (NDED). Before his work with NDED, he served as the Marketing Officer of Council Bluffs Saving Bank in Iowa.
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Rorik F. Peterson

is the Associate Director of Development, Central Region for EDP Renewables North America, and is based in Overland Park, Kansas. Rorik leads a team of developers and project managers with a variety of wind and solar energy development projects across the central and southeast U.S. In his nine years with EDPR NA, Rorik has worked on renewable energy projects across the U.S. and Canada. He also has managed and supported policy and legislative affairs efforts in several states.

Ryan Prescott

, Director of Market Analysis & Structuring, leads the market analytics and structuring team for Tradewind Energy. He is responsible for Tradewind’s long-term energy economic forecasts, energy price risk assessment, and presentation of strategic plans for Tradewind’s board. rprescott@tradewindenergy.com
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Lynn Retz

joined the Kansas Corporation Commission's Energy Division in December 2016. She was named Energy Director in May 2017. Prior to that, Lynn worked in Legislative Post Audit for more than eight years. Lynn worked as an attorney in private practice for several years and also worked for the Kansas Performance Review Board.
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Joe Rinzel

With more than 15 years’ experience in government affairs, trade association management, and issue management campaigns, Joe Rinzel is an expert in state government relations and has a wide ranging network of contacts across the country.

Prior to joining Align Public Strategies, Rinzel was Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the Retail Industry Leaders Association which represents America’s largest and fastest growing retailers. Rinzel led the association lobbying efforts on priority issues at the federal, state and local levels in addition to managing multi-million dollar issue campaigns in all 50 states on behalf of the industry. Prior to that, Rinzel was Senior Director of Public Affairs and lead spokesperson for the American Legislative Exchange Council organization of state legislators. joe.rinzel@alignpublicstrategies.com


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Leah Scull

is a Policy Associate at Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, responsible for analyzing and advancing state energy efficiency policies and working with key energy efficiency industry stakeholders to inform and improve policy design. She develops advocacy materials and coordinates educational and outreach activities throughout the Midwest in addition to tracking industrial efficiency programs for the region. Prior to joining MEEA, Leah was an Energy Analyst with Oceana.
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Chris Sewell

is the energy manager for the City of Wichita, and is a Wichita area native with more than 16 years' experience in the commercial construction and energy management industry. He has expanded this role from utility and efficiency project management to include facility standard development and holistic lifestyle asset management. Certified in energy management, building commissioning and infrared thermography along with a business administration degree from Wichita State, he has a wide and deep knowledge base from which to serve the citizens.

Prior to joining the City over a year ago, his work history included installation and service of HVAC controls, mechanical design, HVAC estimating, project management, simulations, benchmarking and energy analysis. Tow year ago, he started a brand-independent energy services company serving commercial properties with past work including consulting for the WSU Innovation Campus and the new Cargill office in downtown Wichita.
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David Smart

, Vice President – Sales, has years of experience developing energy efficiency projects with a focus in LED lighting including negotiating purchasing agreements, sales and development, project management and utility consulting. Recently, David’s focus on combining all of the verticals of BioStar Renewables offers customers all possible options under one roof-Solar, LED, HVAC, Energy Storage, Waste to Energy and more. This has resulted in “Reducing Kilowatts and Producing Kilowatts”.
After college, David moved to Washington DC where he began a career in politics. Working in outreach on Capitol Hill, David began selling LED projects on the side. He eventually followed the industry home to Kansas City where he began working at BioStar Renewables, his family’s company. dsmart@biostarrenewables.com

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Becky Stanfield

serves as Vote Solar's Senior Director for the western States, managing the organization's work from the Midwest to the West Coast. Based in Chicago, she has been engaged in utility regulatory advocacy for twenty-three years. Becky came to Vote Solar after working as Vice President for the Policy and Energy Markets at SolarCity. Previously, she directed MRDC's Midwest energy program as Deputy Director for the Midwest Program, and worked as a clean energy advocate for Environment America in Illinois, Washington, DC and New Jersey.
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Rob Threlkeld

is global manager of renewable energy for General Motors, leading the company's commitment to meet the electricity needs of its global operations with 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Threlkeld manages GM's growing renewable energy portfolio and develops future projects to support GM's sustainability strategy. Threlkeld is responsible for negotiating long-term power purchase agreements for GM facilities across the globe, including opportunities associated with battery storage, behind-the-meter applications and EV integration. As part of GM's sustainability team, Threlkeld shares best practices for renewable energy procurement with internal and external audiences, offering solutions for large and small businesses alike to benefit from the use of renewables. 

Threlkeld began his career at General Motors in 2000 as manager of the powerhouse and wastewater treatment plant operations at GM's Lordstown, Ohio Assembly Complex. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering from Purdue University. He is a registered Certified Hazardous Material Manager, Certified Energy Manager and business Energy Profession.
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JR Tolbert

is Vice-President, State Policy for Advanced Energy Economy. In this role, J.R. oversees AEE's policy development and campaigns at the state-level and coordinates policy with 14 of AEE's state partner groups. J.R. has worked on energy policy for more than a decade 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 BA in Political Science in 2001, and is a 2008 graduate of Green Corps - the field school for environmental organizing. 
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Kathleen Waters

is employed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment in the Bureau of Air as an Environmental Program Administrator. Waters is a Topeka native and graduate of Washburn University.

Work Shop Speakers


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Trevor Atkinson

, Technical Sales Support Manager & R. Applications Engineer - Northern Power Systems, has over 25 years of experience with multiple renewable and fossil fueled energy technologies. During Mr. Atkinson's tenure with Northern Power Systems, he has direct experience with many different "on" and "off grid" system configurations, supporting all aspects of system integration. Mr. Atkinson has traveled to six of the seven continents while performing a multitude of technical and non-technical services in support of hundreds of successful high reliability renewable energy systems/projects.
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Bill Dorsett

has participated in the evolution of solar energy from the primitive daytime solar space heaters in the 1970's, through domestic water heating in the Carter era, and passive solar underground of the Reagan Dark Ages, and into photovoltaic solar renaissance. Every age has its lessons to learn and we'd be mistaken to overlook them. By 2010, most of us had dismissed storage after we developed direct grid-tied inverters. On retirement, Bill helped cofound the Flint Hills Renewable Energy & Efficiency Cooperative, and together we've installed about 50 microinverter systems in and around Manhattan. Today with utilities justifiably concerned about net-metering in a "sufficient and reliable" electric supply, we Kansans need to relearn lessons from the 1970's.
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Jennifer Jenkins

is the Executive Director of the Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA). Ms. Jenkins has over ten years of experience in the wind industry including her tenure at Southwest Windpower in their Government Affairs department. In this role, she was an integral part of the team that successfully sought passage of the Federal 30% tax credit for small wind systems. In her current role as executive Director of DWEA, Ms. Jenkins works directly with members, stakeholders, and policy makers to find opportunities to grow the distributed wind market.

Jason Kaplan

is General Counsel and Head of Policy at United Wind, where he leads all legal matters related to United Wind's business including corporate governance and finance, project finance and development, residential and customer lease agreements, and turbine supply and vendor agreements. In his role as Head of Policy, Jason develops policy strategy and engages stakeholders at the federal, state, municipal, and electric cooperative levels. Jason joined United Wind in 2014 and is incredibly proud of the company's growth since. jkaplan@unitedwind.com

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Sam Massey

is a Project Director of wind development at NextEra Energy Resources where he oversees NextEra's wind development pipeline in Kansas and Wyoming. In 2016, he assisted in the development and construction of the 200 megawatt Ninnescah Wind Energy Project and 200 megawatt Kingman Wind Energy Project in Kansas. Prior to joining NextEra, Sam spent ten years in the US Navy as a nuclear submarine officer and a bomb disposal officer, including one combat deployment to Afghanistan. He is barely surviving the challenges of raising three kids under six years old.

Mike Morley, Director – Corporate Communications & Government Affairs, joined Midwest Energy in June 2012.  Though primarily a communicator, his interest in renewable energy drew him to co-manage the development, marketing and operation of the company’s first Community Solar project.  Previously, Mike served 23 years in the U.S. Navy as a Public Affairs Officer, with postings in Singapore, Spain, Japan, and several deployments to Africa and the Middle East.  mmorley@mwenergy.com


Boyd Orr

has spent most of his adult life in production Agriculture . He and his wife Sandie live near Fowler Kansas, and own and operate the farm and ranch that his grandparents, in part, homesteaded. They raise wheat, milo, and corn along with their cattle operation. They are also involved in a Commercial cattle feeding operation that has grown over the years to its present capacity of 20,000 head. Boyd has served on many boards over the past years including the Board of Trustees of Sterling College, his alma mater, The Board of County Commissioners in Meade County, The Board of Directors of Stockgrowers State Bank of Ashland Kansas, and on the Board of Directors of Fowler Feeders a Commercial cattle feeding operation in which Boyd was instrumental in founding. Boyd also currently serves in Topeka as the Kansas State Representative for the 115th district. boso@fairpoint.net

Patrick Rush

works as a Sales Manager for Ethos. Patrick has worked in a variety of sales, account management, and operations manager roles since 2007. He helped grow a local roofing company into a national organization with 12 locations while managing a sales staff of over 200 employees. Patrick helps Ethos to integrate business acquisitions, as well as newly hired employees. He also has extensive field experience performing preventative and corrective maintenance on our fleet of renewable energy sites. prush@ethossolutions.com
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Jeff Scharping

is the Director of Government Affairs at ICM and heads the Urban Air Initiative. Within ICM, he has held roles in Product Development and Sales, including Fiber Separation and Cellulosic Ethanol. ICM has designed and built 102 Ethanol Plants, and continues to increase ethanol production efficiencies. His current focus is delivering the message of the octane and air quality value of ethanol as a clean blending component of gasoline and to help remove regulatory barriers to allow ethanol access to the free market. Jeff also sits on the Renew Kansas Board, the various Kansas commissions and committees.

Michael Schumann

has interest in renewable energy that began a decade ago as a capital campaign consultant for a non-profit organization interested in building LEED certified facilities. In 2008, his family built a passive solar home near Lawrence, Kansas, using Insulated Concrete Forms, and Structural Insulated Panel technologies. They later added solar photovoltaic technology, with a goal of getting to net zero. Seven years ago, he started working with Kevin Good, who founded Good Energy Solutions in 2007. It aims to educate and help others not only generate energy with solar and other renewable energy systems, but also to reduce energy consumption, and to ensure Good Energy Solutions' reputation of integrity remains the best in the industry. schu@goodenergysolutions.com

Bob Solger

of Solar Design Studio belongs to the following professional organizations: MOSEIA – Missouri Solar Energy Industries; Association Founding and Current Board Member; SEIA – Solar Energy; Industries Association; Metropolitan Energy Center- Former Board Member; USGBC Local Chapter; Green Business Network Kansas City. bob@solardesignstudio.com

Ian Spomer

has been the Senior Project Developer for Cromwell Solar for the last seven years. Spending the eight years prior to that as an entrepreneur. He was a member of the Sustainability Advisory Board for the city of Lawrence for more than five years. He attended the University of Kansas for degree’s in Environmental Studies, Geography, and Climatology. Ian has a lifelong curiosity and love of nature, believing that we must protect and preserve our environment for future generations. ispomer@cromwellenv.com

Scott White

, Research and Project Analyst, has worked in and around alternative energy since the mid 1990's. He earned a Ph.D. in Land Resources at the University of Wisconsin where he researched the embodied energy and life-cycle of energy systems such as wind power, coal, nuclear fission and nuclear fusion. He moved to Lawrence in 1999 and spent 8 years at the KU Energy Research Center working on various energy-related projects, including the mapping of potential geological sinks for CO2 and the development of the Kansas Energy Information Network (KEIN), a website that organized Kansas-relevant energy information by topic. In the past 10 years, he's worked in the private sector for a wind farm developer and now works for local solar installer, Cromwell Solar as a research analyst. swhite@cromwellsolar.com
Wentz Photo 

Bill Wentz

is a Distinguished Engineering Professor Emeritus and Executive Director Emeritus, National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University. He continues to teach part-time at WSU, and is a frequent guest lecturer on energy and environmental issues at Friends University and for engineering, civic and church-related audiences. he is also a Principal Investigator for NASA and DOE wind turbine projects including analysis, wind tunnel and full-scale testing. This research included the first application of vortex generators on wind-turbine blades, which are now commonly used to enhance performance.