Plenary Speakers

Day 1 – Plenary Session
Planning the Grid of the Future – Technology, Regulatory, and Market Trends, Challenges and Solutions

Julio Romero Agüero

Julio Romero Agüero
Plenary Chair
Vice President, Strategy & 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.


Joseph Svachula

Joseph Svachula
Vice President, Smart Grid and Technology, ComEd

Joseph E. Svachula, Vice President, Engineering and Smart Grid, is responsible for the company’s engineering planning and reliability programs as well as developing and implementing operation plans for the installation of ComEd’s Smart Grid projects and other related technologies.

As Vice President of Engineering and Smart Grid and Technology, Svachula has a key strategic role directing the personnel and activities of the Distribution Planning, Reliability Programs, Equipment and Standards, and Reliability Analysis departments including the preparation of area capacity reinforcement plans and customer capacity planning. He also provides direction for Smart Grid technologies, not only at ComEd, but in collaboration across Exelon Utilities so that customers fully experience the benefits that this technology promises.

Prior to his current role Svachula served as Vice President of Distribution System Operations and Vice President of Customer Field Operations. He began his professional career at ComEd in 1988 in a variety of field engineering positions and has more than 27 years of utility industry experience, including key leadership positions in Transmission & Substations, Work Management, Distribution Operations, Operational Strategy & Business Intelligence, and Customer Operations Strategies & Support.


Karen Lefkowitz

Karen Lefkowitz
Vice President, Utility of the Future, Pepco Holdings Inc.

Karen Lefkowitz is responsible for developing Utility of the Future strategies, priorities and plans for Pepco Holdings. This includes grid automation, delivering services to customers and understanding the interests of our local communities.

Most recently, Lefkowitz led the enterprise-wide strategic vision for Pepco Holdings to implement business processes and technologies designed to help customers better manage their energy use and costs, improve reliability and customer service and support environmentally friendly programs. She was responsible for the mass deployment of advanced metering infrastructure Smart Meters and enabling the Smart Grid throughout the Pepco Holdings, Inc. (PHI) service territory. Lefkowitz also led the Security Steering Committee, PHI’s primary vehicle for achieving internal alignment, setting policy and conducting planning in the security arena. She was charged with maintaining and implementing a corporate-wide risk management program that identified, evaluated and reported on information technology security risks and met acceptable levels of risk for the enterprise.

Karen Lefkowitz is on the board of directors of the Strathmore Hall Foundation. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from George Washington University and a master’s degree in business administration from Marymount University.


Vibhu Kaushik

Vibhu Kaushik
Director of Grid Technology and Modernization at Southern California Edison

As the Director of Grid Technology and Modernization at SCE, Vibhu leads SCE’s strategic roadmap for grid modernization, and serves as SCE’s leader in applied research and grid modernization, leading industry groups and external stakeholders on industry initiatives, research activities, standards and cooperative projects. He also leads SCE’s technical efforts in deployment of emerging technologies including key integrated pilot demonstration projects.

Previously, Vibhu held several roles within SCE including Principal Manager of Asset Management and Generation Strategy group where he was responsible for driving the major maintenance and capital investment decisions and maximize the returns for company’s hydroelectric, natural gas, energy storage, and solar power plants; Vibhu originated and led SCE’s award-winning Hybrid Enhance Gas Turbines projects with General Electric and Wellhead Power Solutions. Also, as Principal Manager for Resource Planning & Optimization where he managed supply and demand bidding strategies, overall utilization of SCE’s contracted and utility owned generation portfolio (20,000 MW+) in California ISO markets.

Prior to joining SCE in 2011, Vibhu was section head for generation operations planning group at Manitoba Hydro’s system control center in Canada, where he lead the team responsible for generation reliability, generation modeling and optimal utilization, and outage management functions.

Vibhu earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India, and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from University of Manitoba, Canada. He is also a registered professional engineer. He is currently pursuing an executive MBA from UCLA Anderson.


Damir Novosel

Damir Novosel
Past President, IEEE Power and Energy Society

Damir Novosel is president of Quanta Technology, a subsidiary of Quanta Services, a Fortune 500 company. Previously, he was vice president of ABB Automation Products and president of KEMA T&D US. He has led development and implementation of pioneering concepts, methods, and products that improved reliability and efficiency of electrical power grids.

Damir was elected to National Academy of Engineers in 2014. Dr. Novosel, an IEEE Fellow, serves as IEEE Power and Energy Society Past President and was chair of the PES Technical Council and Vice President of Technology. He is also member of the CIGRE US National Committee. Damir holds 16 US and international patents and published over 100 articles in Transactions, Journals and Proceedings, receiving IEEE PES 2011 and 2013 Prize Paper Awards. He has led or participated in numerous IEEE standards, publications and other initiatives and has contributed to four books.

Damir is also an adjunct professor of electrical engineering at North Carolina State University. He holds PhD, MSc, and B.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University, where he was a Fulbright scholar, the University of Zagreb, Croatia, and the University of Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, respectively.


Kevin Curtis

Kevin Curtis
Vice President, Technical Solutions, Dominion Energy

Kevin Curtis is vice president-Technical Solutions at Dominion Energy.

He is responsible for the technical and engineering aspects of the Electric Distribution business unit. These duties include design, planning, reliability, strategic underground, metering technologies, end-use technologies, renewable energy interconnections, and Federal Energy Solutions.

Curtis joined Dominion Energy in 1986 as an associate engineer. He held manager positions in Electric Distribution in System Reliability and System Planning and became project manager-Electric Transmission on July 1, 2006. He was promoted to director-Electric Transmission Planning & Marketing on April 1, 2007, and became director-Electric Transmission SOC & Planning on April 1, 2010. Curtis was named director-Electric Transmission Planning & Strategic Initiatives on Jan. 1, 2013, and assumed his current post Sept. 1, 2015.

He serves on the board of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and is a registered professional engineer in Virginia and North Carolina. Curtis received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University and a master of business administration degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.


Day 2 – Plenary Session
Grid Operation Evolution and Technology Requirements

Ebrahim Vaahedi

Ebrahim Vaahedi
Plenary Chair
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.


Emanuel Bernabeu

Emanuel Bernabeu
PJM

Emanuel Bernabeureceived his B.S. in Electronics from Universidad Catolica de Córdoba, Argentina, and his M.S. in Applied Economics, M.S. in Power Systems, and Ph.D. in Power Systems from Virginia Tech. He currently is the Manager of Applied Solutions at PJM.


Carl Monroe

Carl Monroe
CCO, SPP

Carl has been with Southwest Power Pool since September 1997 and is currently responsible for Operations, Engineering, IT, Interregional Coordination, and Market Design as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining SPP, Carl served with Entergy of New Orleans, LA and Ameren of St. Louis, MO in various management and engineering positions including forecasting; EMS advanced applications; and in EMS development. Carl received a Bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University in 1978 and completed the Advanced Management Program with Harvard University in 2006. He is a member of the IEEE and NSPE technical and professional societies. Carl is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Missouri.

Carl is an Eagle Scout and serves on Boards of the Association of Power Exchanges, his church, and The Repertory Theater of Arkansas. Carl is a member of the Industry Advisory Board for Electrical Engineering at Auburn University.

Founded in 1941, SPP is a group of 76 members in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas that serve more than 15 million customers. Membership is comprised of investor-owned utilities, municipal systems, generation and transmission cooperatives, state authorities, wholesale generators, power marketers, and independent transmission companies. SPP’s footprint includes 48,930 miles of transmission lines and 370,000 square miles of service territory. As a Regional Transmission Organization, SPP ensures reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure, and competitive wholesale electricity prices. The SPP Regional Entity oversees compliance enforcement and reliability standards development.


Ali Ipakchi

Ali Ipakchi
Vice President Smart Grid & Green Power, Open Access Technology International

Dr. Ipakchi has over 35 years of experience in the application of information technologies to power systems and electric utility operations. As the Senior VP of Smart Grid and Green Power at OATI, he is responsible for product development and market strategy for distribution operations and smart grid areas. Prior to OATI, he was Vice President of Integration Services at a leading consulting firm, assisting utilities with technology roadmap, business and implementation strategies.. Prior to that, Dr. Ipakchi held various senior management positions at ABB and Alstom leading teams for power application and market systems development, and system solutions delivery. He has been actively involved in various initiatives under DOE, NIST, SGIP, IEEE and various ISOs. He holds a PhD from University of California at Berkeley, and is co-holder of three US patents on power systems applications and instrument diagnostics.


Massoud Amin

Massoud Amin
Technological Leadership Institute

Dr. Massoud Amin is the director of the Technological Leadership Institute, professor of electrical and computer engineering, a Fellow of IEEE and ASME, and is the chairman of IEEE Smart Grid.

Dr. Amin founded the area of smart grid in January 1998, has led R&D and deployments globally, and developed 24 technologies that transferred to industry. Previously, he directed all security R&D for U.S. utilities, and made transformative contributions in the areas of defense, critical infrastructures, technology, policy, and business. His passion is developing leaders and powering progress.


Bob Morris

Bob Morris
Chief Engineering Services Officer, SEL

Bob Morris joined Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. (SEL) in 1991 and is currently the chief engineering services officer, where he leads and directs the Engineering Services global organization. He has extensive experience designing, testing, and commissioning electric power system protection and control devices and systems. Mr. Morris received his BS in geophysical engineering and MS in engineering science from Montana Tech and is named on eight U.S. patents. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and serves on the advisory boards for the University of Idaho College of Engineering and Montana Tech Electrical Engineering.


Shay Bahramirad

Shay Bahramirad
Strategic Business Leader, Commonwealth Edison

Dr. Shay Bahramirad, IEEE Senior Member, the Director of Distribution System Planning, Smart Grid & Innovation, serves as a strategic business leader in Commonwealth Edison, the electric Utility in Illinois, working on the 21st century power grid transformation and the new energy economy. Her major responsibilities include leading Smart Grid organization across ComEd to develop the vision, business models, and investment strategy of the grid of the future initiatives such as emerging technologies, microgrids, and smart city deployments. She is also in charge of Distribution Planning and Generation Interconnections, each working to provide technical leadership and expertise that impact the long term safety, reliability, and affordability of the electric grid. She is an Adjunct Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology, teaching Microgrids, Elements of Sustainable Energy, and Smart Grid and serves as an executive board member of IEEE/PES on New Initiatives and Outreach working with industry executives, policy makers and legislators globally on new energy economy.

Dr. Bahramirad holds multiple advanced degrees, including a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. She is an Editorial Board Member of Electricity Journal, and Editor in Chief of P1854 Smart Distribution Application Guide.


Day 3 – Plenary Session
Creating a Roadmap to Cybersecurity Compatible with Distributed Resources

Bill Hederman

Bill Hederman
Plenary Chair
Independent Senior Adviser, Deloitte and Touche, LLP

William F. Hederman most recently served as senior advisor to U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, providing leadership on USDOE missions to Ukraine, the Baltics, and Germany. In this position, he was also the chief architect for the analytic framework developed for DOE’s groundbreaking Quadrennial Energy Review.

Bill began his professional career as a systems integration engineer at Bell Labs in the directorate that later developed the cell phone system. He served on the RAND Corporation’s research team, worked as the Congressional Budget Office’s first energy and science budget analyst, and led the establishment of: the policy analysis department at INGAA (pipeline association), the International Energy Agency’s gas technology center, and the Washington office for RJ Rudden Associates (now Black & Veatch). Additionally, he was vice president for Business Development and Strategic Initiatives at Columbia Transmission Companies on the management team that brought Columbia out of bankruptcy. During the Enron and California crises, Bill joined FERC and formed the Office of Market Oversight and Investigations, which has been credited with playing a major role in the restoration of confidence in electricity and natural gas regulatory oversight.

Bill holds engineering degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Notre Dame, and a professional degree (M.P.P.) from the University of California at Berkeley.