Organizing Committee Biographies

Michael Pesin

Michael Pesin
ISGT 2019 Conference Chair
Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy

Michael Pesin is Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Advanced Grid Engineering Research and Development Division at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. Mr. Pesin has over 30 years of experience in the electric utility industry directing development and execution of advanced technology programs.

Prior to joining the DOE Mr. Pesin spent most of his career leading technology organizations at electric utilities where he led technology strategy development, managed research and development programs, and directed strategic programs and demonstration projects. These included substation and distribution automation, advanced metering infrastructure, communication networks and cybersecurity, energy storage, distributed generation, microgrids, electric vehicles, transactive energy, energy management and distribution management systems.

Mr. Pesin also founded and led a management consulting company working in the US and internationally with electric utilities, technology companies and investors. He was a board member at a number of technology organizations, is actively involved with many electric power industry groups, and is a frequent speaker at industry events.


Steve Steffel

Steve Steffel
ISGT 2019 Conference Vice-Chair
Manager Distributed Energy Resource, Pepco Holdings

Steve Steffel is Manager, Distributed Energy Resource Planning and Analytics at Pepco Holdings, Inc. He has over 30 years of electric utility experience and provides oversight of the team doing the technical analysis for integrating DERs into the distribution grid. Over 700 MWs have gone into the PHI distribution grid and over 300 MWs into the transmission grid. In addition, his team has worked on the deployment and development of advanced power flow tools, interactive hosting capacity and heat maps, integrating smart inverter based systems, battery storage, fuel cells, wind, CHP and other DERs into the grid. Steve is a Senior Member of IEEE, the Section chair of the Delaware Bay Section, has served on standards committees, published in IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, published in the Power and Energy magazine and is a PE in NJ and MD.


Julio Romero Agüero

Julio Romero Agüero
ISGT 2019 Conference Publications Chair
Vice President, Strategy and Business Innovation, Quanta Technology

Dr. Julio Romero Agüero is Vice President, Strategy and Business Innovation at Quanta Technology. He has 22 years of industry experience and provides leadership to Quanta Technology in the areas of technology and business strategy, grid modernization, distribution systems analysis, planning and engineering, and integration of distributed energy resources and emerging technologies. He has developed solutions in these areas for electric utilities and regulatory boards in the USA, Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and Chair of the IEEE Distribution Subcommittee. He has served as Chair of the IEEE Working Group on Distributed Resources Integration, Editor of IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, and Editor of IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid. He is Adjunct Professor at University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Lecturer on Smart Grid Systems at University of Houston. He is a former Commissioner of the National Energy Commission of Honduras.


Robert W. Cummings

Robert W. Cummings
ISGT 2019 Conference NERC Representative
NERC Senior Director of Engineering and Reliability Initiatives

Mr. Cummings joined NERC in 1996 and has extensive experience in the industry in system planning, operations engineering, and wide area planning. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Power System Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and is an IEEE Senior Member. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of CURENT (Center for Ultra-wide Area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks), a National Science Foundation and Department of Energy Engineering Research Center. His geographically diverse experience includes Central Vermont Public Service Corporation in System Planning (generation and transmission), Public Service Company of New Mexico, and the East Central Area Reliability Coordination Agreement (ECAR) regional office of NERC.

Mr. Cummings was the “father” of power interchange transaction “tagging” and the Interchange Distribution Calculator for the Eastern Interconnection. Mr. Cummings was instrumental in the founding of the NERC System Protection and Controls Task Force, now the System Protection and Control Subcommittee, acting as the staff coordinator from 2004 through 2009.

He was a principal investigator of the 2003 Northeast Blackout and the more recent September 8, 2011 Arizona-Southern California Outage, leading multiple event analysis teams in the sequence of events development, modeling and studies (powerflow and dynamics analysis), and transmission/generation performance areas. He directed the NERC Event Analysis program for five years, leading or working on 12 major disturbance analyses.

Mr. Cummings is the senior staff technical advisor for the NERC System Analysis and Modeling and the System Protection and Controls Subcommittees, and is the technical advisor to the North American Synchro-Phasor Initiative. He is also the technical director of the NERC System Protection Improvement Initiative, the Modeling Improvements Initiative, and the Frequency Response Initiative.


Arnie de Castro

Arnie de Castro
Product Manager, SAS

Arnie de Castro is a Principal Product Manager in the IoT Division at SAS in Cary, North Carolina. He is responsible for the SAS Energy Forecasting solution. He has over 35 years of experience in building commercial software and in teaching, research and consulting in the electric utility industry. Prior to working with SAS, Arnie managed the development of software applications for electric power system optimization, electricity price forecasting and energy transaction risk analysis. He developed and maintained long-term capacity planning, mid-term resource optimization and short-term unit commitment and economic dispatch software that are still in use in the industry today. Arnie has a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech, and is an adjunct faculty member at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte and at North Carolina State University.


Jerry FitzPatrick

Jerry FitzPatrick
ISGT 2019 Conference Technical Chair
NIST

Gerald “Jerry” FitzPatrick is the leader of the Applied Electrical Metrology (AEM) Group and the Wide Area Monitoring and Control and Smart Meters (WAMCSM) Project at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The WAMCSM project conducts research and development in measurements to support performance characterization and promote the interoperability of smart grid devices and systems such as Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs), Merging Units (MUs), smart sensors, and smart meters. The project develops improved measurement systems, tests, and calibrations for intelligent grid equipment to ensure the measurement accuracy as well as interoperability necessary to enable and accelerate the smart grid. The project also has played a major role in the development and harmonization of smart grid standards in both IEEE and IEC. These advancements are achieved through hardware-in-the-loop simulations of real-world applications and R&D performed in the NIST Smart Grid Testbed laboratories. The AEM Group maintains and improves the U.S. national standards for voltage, current, power, and energy that are the foundation of part of the U.S. measurement system. The measurements of these basic standards, which are based on quantum effects and fundamental constants for the highest accuracy and stability, are disseminated through a chain of measurements of transfer standards to end-user equipment such as handheld multimeters and residential smart meters.

Jerry began his career at NIST as a researcher in high voltage insulation and measurements in 1988 after receiving his PhD. in Electrical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He received his M.S.E.E. from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1984, and his B.S. in Physics from Rutgers University in 1979. Prior to joining NIST, Jerry had been a researcher in high voltage insulation testing and development at Exxon Research and Engineering Company in Annandale, N.J., where he worked on projects to determine the mechanisms of insulation behavior and failure.


Ron Melton

Dr. Ron Melton
ISGT 2019 Conference Secretary
Senior Power Systems Researcher and Project Manager, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Dr. Melton a Senior Power Systems Researcher and Project Manager in the Electricity Infrastructure Group at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). He is the administrator of the GridWise® Architecture Council and the Principal Investigator for the DOE Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium project for an ADMS Open Source Platform. He was Project Director of the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration that concluded in June 2015. He has 10 years of experience in cyber security for critical infrastructure systems and over 30 years of experience applying computer technology to a variety of engineering and scientific problems. Dr. Melton is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a Senior Member of the Association for Computing Machinery. Dr. Melton received his BSEE from University of Washington and his MS and PhD in Engineering Science from the California Institute of Technology.


Masood Parvania

Masood Parvania
Assistant Professor, University of Utah

Dr. Masood Parvania is currently an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering with the University of Utah. His research interests are on the applications of mathematical optimization methods, calculus of variations, and scientific computing to the operation and planning of interdependent critical infrastructure, cyber-physical power and energy systems, and modeling and integration of distributed renewable energy resources.

Dr. Parvania is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid. He is the Chair of the IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES) Utah Chapter, Chair of the IEEE PES Task Force on Reliability Impacts of Demand Response Integration, and the Secretary of the IEEE PES Reliability, Risk and Probability Application (RRPA) Subcommittee. He is a member of the IEEE and INFORMS.


Thomas J. Pierpoint

Thomas J. Pierpoint
ISGT 2019 Conference Plenary Chair
Director of Business Applications, Pepco

Thomas J. Pierpoint is Director of Business Applications at PHI, an Exelon company. Exelon is a FORTUNE 100 company that works in every stage of the energy business: power generation, competitive energy sales, transmission and delivery. As the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, Exelon does business in 48 states, D.C., and Canada and had 2016 revenues of over $31 billion. Exelon directly employs nearly 35,000 people nationwide.

Mr. Pierpoint and his team are responsible for the enterprise software applications that support the PHI electric and gas utilities: Pepco, Delmarva Power & Light and Atlantic City Electric. These enterprise software applications support key functions such as Customer Care, Asset Management, Engineering, Operations and Emergency Management. This group also manages mobile applications that support outage restorations and provide the public and government agencies with access to outage information. In addition, Mr. Pierpoint is one of the leads for the Pepco Incident Management Team that responds to emergency events impacting the Washington, DC metro area. This team consists of nearly 1,400 employees with second roles.

Mr. Pierpoint holds an MIT Sloan Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation. Mr. Pierpoint also holds a Master’s in Business Administration, a Master’s in Project Management, graduate work in Software Engineering and a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering Technology.

Mr. Pierpoint currently serves as a member of the IEEE PES Policy Support Team as well as the IEEE Energy Policy Committee


Farrokh Rahimi

Farrokh Rahimi
Senior Vice President, OATI

Farrokh Rahimi holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), along with over 40 years of experience in the electric power industry. In his current role as Senior Vice President, Market Design and Consulting at Open Access Technology International, Inc. (OATI), Dr. Rahimi oversees development of market design and consulting activities, and is also a key contributor to OATI’s Smart Grid and Grid Modernization activities.

Dr. Rahimi is Life Member of IEEE and a member of a number of Smart Grid and Grid Modernization task forces and committees collaborating with IEEE, NERC, NIST, NAESB, WECC, IRC, and GWAC among others.


Matthew Stryjewski

Matthew Stryjewski
ISGT 2019 Conference Treasurer
Director – Global Engineering Standards, American Sugar Refining, Inc.

Matthew Stryjewski is Director of Global Engineering Standards for American Sugar Refining, Inc., which is the world’s largest cane sugar refining and marketing company. Matt has also worked for Baltimore Gas & Electric (an Exelon Company) and AT&T Mobility throughout his career. He has actively participated within numerous engineering research and development organizations over the years including EPRI, PSERC and NEETRAC.

Mr. Stryjewski holds a BSEE from the University of Maryland, College Park, is an active member of the Baltimore IEEE Section and Baltimore PES Chapter, is the Vice Chair for the IEEE PES General Meeting Steering Committee and is a member of the IEEE-USA R&D Policy Committee.


Rui Sun
ISGT 2019 Industry Chair
Dominion Energy

Rui Sun received his B.S. degree from Southeast University, Nanjing, China, M.S. degree from Clemson University and Ph.D. degree from Virginia Tech. He’s now a consulting engineer in the Electrical Transmission Planning Department with Dominion Energy Virginia Power. Rui is technically leading a dedicated team on Dominion’s GMD mitigation plan/research. The team evaluates field operations concerns and performs research associated with GIC and GMD issues. Rui has done a handful study in wide area system dynamics and stability. He has published several IEEE transaction and conference papers on wide area system islanding contingency analysis. He currently works in Dominion’s black-start and restoration project which technically reviews and validates Dominion’s blackstart restoration plan and apply dynamic study using adapted Dominion transmission network model. Rui works closely in Dominion’s synchrophasor projects. He leads the architecture design team for Dominion’s future synchrophasor data historian. He participates in Next Generation Gird Architecture Work Group lead by PJM and several researching collaborations with academia such as VT and UTK.

Rui is IEEE member, IEEE Power & Energy Society member, CIGRE member, reviewer of IEEE transactions on Power Systems, Power Delivery and Smart Grids, IEEE general meeting conference. Rui currently serves in the NERC TPL-007-2 “Transmission System Planned Performance for Geomagnetic Disturbance Events” standard drafting team; NERC Geomagnetic Disturbance (GMD) Task Force; IEEE Transmission Planning subcommittee; IEEE WG 17 and IEEE PES Working Group on Understanding, Prediction, Mitigation and Restoration of Cascading Failures (CFWG).


Yonael Teklu

Yonael Teklu
ISGT 2019 Conference Volunteer Chair
Energy Systems and Information Technology Officer, Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute

Yonael Teklu received his B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, and his M.Sc. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Virginia Tech, USA. He is currently the Energy Systems and Information Technology Officer at Virginia Tech’s Advanced Research Institute. His research interests include energy systems planning, smart grids, renewable energy and distributed generation systems. He has served as chair of the IEEE PES Chapter for Northern Virginia and Washington DC as well as volunteer chair at ISGT2017 conference.


Ebrahim Vaahedi

Ebrahim Vaahedi
Associate Vice President, Open Access Technology International

Dr. Ebrahim Vaahedi is an Associate Vice President at OATI where he leads Smart Grid solution development. He has over 30 years of experience in different segments of Energy Industry specializing in the development and execution of technology strategies for utility industry. Dr. Vaahedi joined OATI following his prior position with a major Canadian utility as Chief Technology Officer where he was accountable for developing and executing a consolidated technology plan. Dr. Vaahedi is a Fellow of IEEE, has authored many publications including a recent book in modern power system operation entitled “Practical Power System Operation”. Presently he chairs IEEE Bulk Power System Operations Committee and IEEE Smart Grid Publications Committee.


Duotong Yang

Duotong Yang
ET Operations Engineering group, Dominion Energy

Duotong Yang received his M.S degree from University of Florida in 2013 and Ph.D degree from Virginia Tech in 2017. He is now working in ET Operations Engineering group for Dominion Energy. His main research interests are synchrophasor applications, voltage security assessment, and FACTS devices performance evaluation.