ISGT 2024 Organizing Committee

Conference Chair

Dr. Farrokh Rahimi
Executive VP, OATI

Farrokh Rahimi

Dr. Farrokh Rahimi has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), along with over 50 years of experience in the electric power industry. In his current role as Executive Vice President, Market Design and Consulting at Open Access Technology International, Inc. (OATI), he oversees OATI’s market design initiatives and related consulting services, and is also a key contributor to OATI’s Smart Grid and Grid Modernization solutions.
Before joining OATI in 2006, he collaborated with California ISO, Folsom, CA for eight years, where he was engaged in market monitoring and design, and was CAISO’s expert witness in front of the FERC for CAISO’s nodal market design, MRTU. His prior experience includes eight years with Macro Corporation (subsequently KEMA Consulting), five years with Systems-Europe, Brussels, Belgium; ten years, as a university professor, researcher, and consultant in power and industrial control systems, and two years with Systems Control, Inc. (now Hitachi Energy, Santa Clara, CA), where he started his professional career.
Dr. Rahimi has been a member of ISGT NA Organizing Committee in various positions since 2015. He is actively engaged as a member of a number of Smart Grid and Grid Modernization task forces and committees collaborating with different ISOs/RTOs, the IEEE, NERC, NIST, NAESB, WECC, IRC, and GWAC among others.

Conference Vice Chair

Dr. Seemita Pal
Senior Research Engineer
Pacific Northwest National Lab

Seemita Pal

Dr. Seemita Pal is the Team Leader for the Architecture Team in the Distributed Systems Group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). She completed her Ph.D. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2016 and 2013 respectively. Some of her research interests include grid cybersecurity, grid architecture, verification and validation, and synchrophasor technologies. She has authored several peer-reviewed publications and technical reports.

Dr. Pal is currently the Secretary of the IEEE ISGT NA conference, and a program committee member of IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) International Leadership Conference (ILC). She was one of the committee members of WIE ILC 2020 and ISGT NA 2020, and chaired the 2019 IEEE WIE International Leadership Summit which was hosted in Richland, WA. She has held the positions of Secretary and Vice Chair of the IEEE WIE Richland Section between 2017 – 2019. She was recognized with the IEEE Member and Geographic Activities (MGA) Achievement Award in 2019. As one of PNNL’s STEM Ambassador Fellows she frequently communicates her work to students and general audiences, and in 2019 she was recognized as PNNL Shining Star. Her profile has been featured in the DOE Women @ Energy : STEM Rising series ( ).

Technical Chair

Dr Masood Parvania
Associate Professor
University of Utah

Masood Parvania

Dr. Masood Parvania is the Director of Utah Energy and Power Innovation Center, and Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, at the University of Utah. His research interests include the operation, economics and resilience of power and energy systems, and modeling and operation of interdependent critical infrastructures.

Technical Co-Chair

Aditya Ashok
Director, Energy Systems

Aditya Ashok

Dr. Aditya Ashok is the Director of Energy Systems at OPAL-RT Corporation and is responsible for managing their R&D projects in the US as well as for collaborating with various energy sector stakeholders including national labs, universities, vendors, and utilities to pursue new research funding opportunities. Prior to joining OPAL-RT Corporation, he was a Senior Research Engineer and a Team leader in the Electricity Infrastructure and Buildings division at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, WA (Feb. 2016 – Feb. 2023). Aditya received his doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University in May 2017. His research interests include leveraging high-fidelity, real-time simulation with hardware in the loop to develop, refine, and validate resilient controls and protection algorithms for power electronics-based distributed energy resources in the grid, development of cyber-physical testbeds for smart grid studies, smart grid cybersecurity, and cyber-physical situational awareness to name a few. He is a senior member of IEEE, an active member of IEEE Power System Communications and Cybersecurity Committee (PSCCC) and a reviewer for several top-tier IEEE journals such as the IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid.

Publications Chair

Ray Byrne
Manager, Advanced Grid Modeling
Sandia National Labs

Ray Bryne

Ray Byrne is manager of the Electric Power Systems Research Department at Sandia National Laboratories where he has been employed since 1989. Prior serving as manager, he was a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff. He completed a B.S. in electrical engineering at the University of Virginia, an M.S. in electrical engineering at the University of Colorado, and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering at the University of New Mexico. He also completed an M.S. in financial mathematics (financial engineering) at the University of Chicago. He currently serves as team lead of the Equitable Regulatory Environment thrust area of the Sandia energy storage program. Awards include Time Magazine invention of the year in robotics in 2001, as well as the Prize paper award at the 2016 IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting for a paper on maximizing revenue from energy storage in grid applications. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, and Sigma Xi. He was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 2017 for contributions to miniature robotics and grid integration of energy storage.

Publications Co-Chair

Arturo Bretas
Sr. Power Systems Research  Engineer

Arturo Bretas

Arturo (Art) Bretas is a Senior Power Systems Research Engineer with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and a Courtesy Full Professor with ECE UF. Prior to joining PNNL, Dr. Bretas has held several research and academic positions all over the world, including the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). Dr. Bretas supports a variety of projects related to the development of Models and Algorithms for Energy Decarbonization through Grid Control and Energy Storage. Towards achieving these goals, Dr. Bretas current research lies on the general theme of Distributed Wide-Area Measurement Systems Applications in Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). Since 2002 Dr. Bretas has worked as a PI/Co-PI on many R&D projects with the Power Industry. These projects concern, for example, CPS Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Distributed Optimization and Control, Power System Stability and Real-Time Monitoring, Distribution Systems Reliability Optimization and Expansion Planning under Uncertain Operation Scenarios. Dr. Bretas has published many papers on peer-reviewed conferences and journals, as well as a textbook on Cyber-Physical Power Systems State Estimation.

Plenary Chair

Ebrahim Vaahedi
Senior VP, OATI

Ebrahim Vaahedi

Ebrahim Vaahedi is a Senior 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.

Plenary Co-Chair

Charley Hanley
Senior Manager
Sandia National Labs

Charles Hanley

Charles Hanley is Senior Manager of the Grid Modernization and Energy Storage Group at Sandia National Laboratories. His group conducts research on enhancing the resilience of our critical energy infrastructures, including grid-scale optimization, controls, and microgrids; energy storage technologies; renewable energy integration; power electronics; cyber security; and advanced analytics for complex systems. He joined Sandia in 1988 and has been working in Sandia’s renewable energy and electric grid programs since 1994. From 2005 through 2014, Charlie managed Sandia’s Photovoltaics and Distributed Systems Integration Program. Prior to that, he managed Sandia’s international renewable energy programs, through which he oversaw the implementation of more than 400 photovoltaic and wind energy systems in Latin America. He received his B.S. in Engineering Science from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, New York.

IEEE Smart Grid Liaison

Ziang “John” Zhang
Associate Professor
Binghamton University, NY

Ziang “John” Zhang

Ziang “John” Zhang is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Binghamton University – SUNY, Binghamton, NY. Zhang received his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, in 2013. Before joining Binghamton University, Zhang worked at the ABB US Corporate Research Center in Raleigh, NC. He serves as an R&D advisor for the National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium, a member of the IEEE P2800-2 Test and Verification of BPS-connected Inverter-Based Resources working group, and a member of the IEEE PES Task Force on Decision Support Tools for Energy Storage Investment and Operations. His current research interests include power system stability, battery system operations, and renewable energy integration.


Utility Engagement Chair

Neil Bhagat
Director, Distributed Generation Engineering
Duke Energy

Neil Bhagat

Neil Bhagat is currently the Director of the Distributed Generation Engineering team; in this role he leads the organization responsible for conducting system impact studies for solar and microgrid projects that seek to connect to Duke Energy’s distribution grid. Neil holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Clemson University, a Master’s in Engineering and MBA from North Carolina State University. Neil has been in the energy sector for 18 years holding various leadership roles in; manufacturing, engineering, marketing, and business development. Additionally, he is the Utility Chair for the IEEE Smart Grid Technology conference held annually in Washington DC.


Nader Farah
ESTA International

Nader Farah

Mr. Nader Farah is the President and Founder of ESTA International, LLC.   He has served the electric utility industry for over 35 years.  His experience encompasses personal interactions with electric utilities on six continents on a broad spectrum of policy, strategy, and technology issues. Prior to establishing ESTA International, he worked for KEMA (now DNV GL), OSI, ABB, and GE. He is actively engaged, both as Project Manager and Technical Contributor, on several ESTA projects including Smart Grid and Automation/Grid Control projects in the US, Canada, Mexico, Turkey, UAE, India, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Kenya, and Mauritius. He is a member of the United States Energy Association (USEA), IEEE, CIGRE, International Utilities Revenue Protection Association (IURPA), Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), and the Project Management Institute (PMI). He has been the Financial Chair and coordinator for the International Panel Sessions at the IEEE Power and Energy Society’s Smart Grid Innovative Technologies (ISGT) Conferences in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017 held in Washington D.C.  He has served as presenter and panelist on Smart Grid at several venues around the globe.

Sponsorship, Utility Engagement and Marketing Chair

Robert Wolf, PE, PMP
Aclara/Hubbell Utililty Solutions

Rob Wolf, PE PMP

Rob Wolf is the Grid Automation Solution Architect for Aclara Technologies, a subsidiary of Hubbell. During Rob’s tenure at Aclara, he has focused on working as a Utility Partner to bring advanced Grid Modernization applications to their electric and water distribution systems. As part of Aclara’s Enhanced Utilities Services group, his role is to work with Utilities to develop strategies around grid modernization applications and deployments, assist in building business cases, help Utilities navigate the Regulatory hurdles and available Funding opportunities, and to assist Utilities seeking to develop a more in-depth understanding of advanced grid modernization Use Cases. Prior to joining Aclara in early 2022, Rob spent 11 years in both Electric Transmission and Distribution roles for Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities.

Rob is a licensed Professional Engineer, a Senior IEEE Member, a certified Project Management Professional and is active with the Louisville, KY IEEE Executive Committee and PES.


and Publicity

Junbo Zhao
Assistant Professor
ECE Dept., University of Connecticut

Junbo Zhao

Junbo Zhao is an Associate Director of the Eversource Energy Center for Grid Modernization and Strategic Partnerships and an assistant professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Connecticut. He is also the Research Scientist at National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. degree from the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech, in 2018. He did the summer internship at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory from May to August 2017. He is currently the officer of multiple IEEE PES Committees and Subcommittees as well as Working Group and Task Forces, such as Renewable Systems Integration Coordinating Committee, Distribution System Analysis Subcommittee, etc. He has published three book chapters and more than 160 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers, where more than 100 appear in IEEE Transactions. His research interests are cyber-physical power system modeling, estimation, security, dynamics and stability, uncertainty quantification, renewable energy integration and control, robust statistical signal processing and machine learning. He serves as the associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Power SystemsIEEE Transactions on Smart Grid and IEEE Power and Engineering Letters, etc. He is the receipt of the best paper awards of 2020, 2021 and 2022 IEEE PES General Meeting (5 papers), the 2021 Best Paper Award of IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, the 2021 IEEE PES Outstanding Volunteer Award, the 2022 IEEE PES Technical Committee Working Group Recognition Award for Outstanding Technical Report, and 2022 IEEE PES Outstanding Young Engineer Award (Society Level).


Oluwaseun “Olu” Shonubi
Group Manager
Sunnova Energy Corporation

Olu Shonubi

Oluwaseun (Olu) Shonubi is the Group Manager, Systems Engineering in the Products organization at Sunnova Energy Corporation and is responsible for leading the system integration, solution development and validation efforts for C&I and Microgrid business lines. Prior to joining Sunnova, Olu had 12+ years of experience in the power and energy space with progressive experience in multiple verticals including manufacturing (S&C Electric), utilities (Exelon/Baltimore Gas & Electric), and most recently clean energy development and Independent Power Producers, IPPs (Nexamp and Apex Clean Energy). Olu received his B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology specializing in the power systems and controls option.
Olu is passionate about solving for: techno-economic, human-capital driven solutions to our evolving electric power systems. He is excited about innovations in engineering, policy, people, and technology that will allow for a shift to clean(er) energy around the world in the next 15 years. Watch out for (and consider following) Olu’s recent hashtag on LinkedIn, #oluenergytech for more details on his journey and passions, and interests in the power and energy space.
His LinkedIn is at

Member at Large

Helia Zandi
Researcher at ORNL

Helia Zandi

Helia Zandi is an R&D Staff in the Computational Systems Engineering & Cybernetics group, in the Computational Science & Engineering Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). She has worked on developing optimization and control for complex systems including buildings, grid, and cooling systems for data centers, large-scale simulation testbed development, large-scale building-to-grid integration, and applying advanced data analytics and machine learning algorithms to complex engineering systems. Before she joined ORNL, she was an Imaging and Positioning Researcher at ProNova Solutions where she worked on robot calibration, positioning, and image registration algorithm development for proton therapy. She has authored and co-authored more than 40 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers. In 2022, she received the “Highly Cited Research Paper” award from the Applied Energy journal. She is an active member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) General, IEEE Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT), and Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Member at Large

Ritesh Kumar Singh
Director, Utility Management
Tetra Tech

Ritesh Kumar Singh

Kumar Singh is Utility Management Director at Tetra Tech with more than 20 years of experience leading teams and managing projects, working with clients such as USAID, ADB, MCC, USTDA, the World Bank, and the private sector. He specializes in energy sector reform and restructuring, utility commercialization, regulatory and policy advocacy, due diligence and transactions, renewable project development and smart grid initiatives. He has worked in more than fifteen countries across North America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. He is a certified Smart Grid Maturity Model navigator and often speaks at conferences and seminars.

Volunteer Chair
Local PES Org. Chair
Website and Outreach

Yonael Teklu
Research Associate
Virginia Tech

Yonael Teklu

Yonael Teklu is a research assistant at the Advanced Research Institute of Virginia Tech, Arlington Virginia.His research interests include energy efficiency and building energy management and renewable energy.  He is chair of the local PES chapter at Northern Virginia/Washington as well as PES chapter representative for IEEE Region 2. 


Mariana Resener
Assistant Professor
Simon Fraser University

Mariana Resener

Dr. Mariana Resener is an Assistant Professor at the School of Sustainable Energy Engineering, Simon Fraser University, Surrey, BC, Canada. Her research interests include protection design and control for DER-rich distribution systems, renewable energy integration, and optimization models applied to power systems. Dr. Resener has been an IEEE member since 2007 and a Senior Member since 2020.

Graphic Designer

Michelle Hrycauk Nassif
Principal Business Program Manager
Luma Energy

Michelle Hrycauk Nassif

Michelle Hrycauk Nassif is a Community Design and Impact Specialist who applies Instructional Design to strategic development, community engagement, and partner relations. Michelle believes “community” is a VERB, and when one aligns purpose with performance they cultivate and build community in all aspects of life. Since Michelle was 8 years old, community building has been an instrumental part of life where her first community program engaged fellow youth group members in shoveling snow for seniors, then leading youth retreats, and fundraising for charity. Today, as Principal Business Program Manager at LUMA Energy, Michelle designs, develops, and implements community programs and experiences for youth-focused communities driven to advance local workforce development. Michelle is also an active mentor, ambassador, and facilitator for numerous female-focused organizations and causes including the Scotiabank Women Initiative in Canada, Global

Senior Event Planner

Taylor Lineberger

Taylor Lineberger

Taylor Lineberger is a Senior Event Planner at IEEE, under the Meetings, Conferences, and Events department (MCE). Taylor is a graduate of the University of Florida, and will be planning and managing the IEEE ISGT conference event.