ISGT 2024 NA - Keynote and Plenary Speakers

Gene Rodrigues Assistant Secretary, USDOE

Gene Rodrigues is the Assistant Secretary for Electricity for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity (OE). Mr. Rodrigues is a nationally recognized expert in clean energy policy and programs with over 30 years of professional experience in the field. Prior to joining OE, Mr. Rodrigues was Vice President in the Energy, Environment, and Infrastructure practice at ICF, a global advisory and digital services provider. He has also garnered 23 years of industry experience at Southern California Edison (SCE), one of the nation’s largest electric utilities. During his tenure at SCE, he represented the company in regulatory proceedings and held leadership positions over the company’s portfolio of demand-side management programs and policies, which helped to ensure the provision of affordable, reliable, and resilient electric service for over 15 million people in Southern California. Over his professional career, Mr. Rodrigues held leadership positions in industry nonprofit organizations, including most recently as a member of the board of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, as the chair of the board for the California Efficiency & Demand Management Council, and as chair of the outreach committee for the bipartisan Alliance to Save Energy’s Active Efficiency initiative. Previously, he served as the chair of the Consortium for Energy Efficiency and on the boards of the China-U.S. Energy Efficiency Alliance and California’s Low-Income Oversight Board.

Patricia Hoffman Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of Electricity

Serving as the Principal Deputy Director for the Grid Deployment Office at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Patricia A. Hoffman is supporting the execution of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the development of the Grid Deployment Office.  From January 2017 until November 2017, she served as DOE’s Acting Under Secretary for Science and Energy and was also a Senate-confirmed Assistant Secretary for the Office of Electricity from June 2010 to January 2017, after serving as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary since November 2007. The focus of her responsibility was to provide leadership on a national level to modernize the electric grid and enhance the security and reliability of the energy infrastructure. Patricia holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Ceramic Science and Engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

Carolyn Snyder  Deputy Assistant Secretary for Buildings and Industry

Dr. Carolyn Snyder is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Buildings and Industry at the U.S. Department of Energy. In this role, she leads over $800 million annually for cutting-edge research that advances energy efficiency and reduces emissions from our nation’s buildings and industry while supporting U.S. energy security and manufacturing competitiveness. She previously served as the Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Protection Partnerships Division, a consultant at McKinsey & Company, a White House Fellow in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and Director of Delaware’s Division of Energy & Climate.  She earned a Ph.D. in Environment and Resources from Stanford University, Masters Degrees as a Marshall Scholar from Oxford and Cambridge, and a B.A. from Amherst College.  Her scientific research has been published in Nature, Paleoceanography, and Climatic Change.

Gilbert Bindewald III, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Electricity

Gilbert Bindewald III currently serves as the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Electricity (OE). He leads activities to help transform the system that powers our homes and businesses, and increasingly, even fuels our cars. His responsibilities include oversight of the Department’s long-term strategic and foundational R&D efforts related to the resilience and reliability of our Nation’s electricity delivery system. He is co-chair of the Grid Modernization Initiative, and has been involved in several broader Departmental efforts, including the Quadrennial Technology Review and the “Grid Tech Team,” working to improve coordination and communication on the grid topic across DOE’s programs. Mr. Bindewald previously served as the Director for Grid Communications in the Advanced Grid Research and Development group. He is a registered Professional Engineer (New York); he received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Union College (Schenectady, NY), and an M.P.A. in International Development (Economics) from Harvard University.

Richard Glick
Past FERC Commissioner,
Principal – GQ New Energy Strategies

Richard Glick is a Principal with GQ New Energy Strategies – a consulting firm he co-founded with Pamela Quinlan. He recently completed a five-year term as a Commissioner with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) where he chaired the Commission between January 21, 2021 and January 3, 2023. As Chairman, Rich initiated a number of key initiatives, including proposals to reform the planning and cost allocation process for electric transmission; expedite and enhance the generator interconnection process; improve the operation of organized electric capacity markets; and protect the reliability of the electric grid against weather-related, cybersecurity, and physical attack threats. Prior to serving at FERC, Rich was the General Counsel for the Democrats on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, serving as a senior policy advisor on numerous issues, including electricity and renewable energy. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Government Affairs for Iberdrola’s renewable energy, natural gas storage, and electric and gas utility businesses in the United States. He ran the Company’s Washington, D.C. office and was responsible for developing and implementing the U.S. businesses’ federal legislative and regulatory policy advocacy strategies. Rich previously served as a Director of Government Affairs for PPM Energy and prior to that he held the same position with PacifiCorp. He also served as a Senior Policy Advisor to U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, and before that was the Legislative Director and Chief Counsel to U.S. Senator Dale Bumpers, of Arkansas. From 1988-1992 Rich was an Associate with the law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand. He is a graduate of George Washington University and Georgetown Law. He and his wife Erin live in Alexandria, Virginia with their son.

Ebrahim Vaahedi Senior Vice President OATI

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.

Shay Bahramirad
Senior VP of Engineering and Asset Management
LUMA Energy

Shay Bahramirad is the Senior Vice President of Engineering and Asset Management at LUMA Energy, the power company responsible for electric service in Puerto Rico. In this role, she is responsible for the oversight, planning, and execution of plans to modernize the power infrastructure. This includes a foundation of developing local engineering talent, teams and processes, and the prudent application of new technology. Her primary goals are the safe, reliable, sustainable, and cost-effective delivery of electricity to the people of Puerto Rico. Shay has held several positions in the sector including Vice President of Climate and Resilience at Quanta Technology, where she was responsible for assisting cities and utilities with climate change risk assessments for their assets, operations, and services and for developing investment strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Prior to that, she was Vice President of Engineering and Smart Grid at ComEd, the electric utility serving Chicago and Northern Illinois, where she had led efforts to demonstrate and deploy technologies to ensure that the distribution system meets strategic goals related to reliability, resiliency and sustainability, while developing and implementing a broader community of the future vision including a focus on industry-informed STEM education for underrepresented communities in the industry including girls. She has been an expert witness testifying on several state and federal regulatory proceedings around microgrids, energy storage, investment strategies, and the interconnection of distributed energy resources. Dr. Bahramirad is a leading figure in the industry. She is the 2024 President of IEEE Power and Energy Society.  She is also member of the editorial board of the Electricity Journal, US CIGRE Executive member, adjunct professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and a founder of IEEE Women in Power. She is a contributor to the United Nations SG7, Affordable and Clean Energy. Shay completed her PhD in electrical engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and has published more than many academic articles, as well as being the recipient of multiple US patents.

Kaveh Aflaki
CEO, IEMS Solution

Kaveh Aflaki is a highly accomplished engineer with expertise in energy, technology, and business strategy. He holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and an MBA from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). He has over 20 years of experience in the energy sector, including leadership roles in the power utility sector and technology vendors. He is currently the CEO of IEMS Solution, a company that provides innovative solutions for AI-based Transactive Energy ready energy management system. Kaveh is a recognized as thought leader in the industry and has been invited to speak at numerous conferences and events. He is a senior member

Allie Kelly
Executive Director
The Ray

Allie Kelly is Executive Director at The Ray, which has developed an 18-mile stretch of interstate in Georgia, where they’re using renewable materials; building clean energy for clean transport; testing road connectivity, improved lighting, and signage; and collecting traffic, weather, and collision data to make the roads of the future. Working with Georgia DOT and FHWA, Allie has guided more than a dozen projects from concept to construction on The Ray Highway. The nonprofit organization is now working with more than 51 agencies in 29 states, scaling innovations from the I-85 testbed across the country. Following in the legacy of Ray Anderson, The Ray believes that the technologies exist today to achieve net-zero in transportation and energy: Zero Deaths, Zero Carbon and Zero Waste. Previously, Allie held senior roles at the Georgia Conservancy, and as Founder and Executive Director at Georgia Watch. Allie serves as past chair of the ASPIRE Center Executive Advisory Board, and as a board member for HUB404.

Rachael Nealer
Joint Office of Energy and Transportation

Rachael Nealer is currently the Deputy Director for the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation a new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law office that was established to create a future where everyone can ride and drive electric and build a national charging network that is convenient, reliable, and equitable. Dr. Nealer is also the chair of the Transportation Research Board Alternative Fuels and Technologies Committee. Throughout her career, she has focused on researching transportation as a system of systems and developing strategies around how to decarbonize transportation through technology development in concert with supporting policies. Rachael has previously held various roles including Deputy Director Transportation Technology and Policy at the White House Council on Environmental Quality as well as various roles at the Department of Energy, as Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff to the three transportation offices: Bioenergy, Hydrogen and Fuel Cell, and Vehicle Technologies Offices. She has also worked in the non-profit sector the Union of Concerned Scientists researching the environmental impacts of electric vehicles compared to gasoline vehicles over their life. Prior to UCS she worked at the Environmental Protection Agency in the Renewable Fuels Standard office and she received her joint PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University where she specialized in lifecycle environmental impacts of transportation.

Andrew C. Rogers
EpicWorks Advisors

Andrew Rogers works at the intersection of law, policy, and technology. A prolific communicator with the ability to explain complex topics to diverse audiences, Andrew has a proven track record of using advocacy and consensus building to enact some of the most impactful legislation and policy in practice today. Spanning two decades on Capitol Hill, in the Administration, and working across multiple sectors, Andrew has written legislation, designed federal policy, and awarded historic grants made possible by the programs he created. He was a principal architect of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) – also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – and was directly responsible for designing and implementing signature programs that invest in transportation safety, electrification, and modernization.

James Campbell
Dir. of Innovation and Sustainability Policy
Rocky Mountain Power

James Campbell is the Director of Innovation and Sustainability Policy at Rocky Mountain Power. James joined PacifiCorp in 2007 where he worked on crafting corporate environmental policy and strategy and designed and implemented the company’s GHG Cap and Trade program in California. He has successfully led major pieces of legislation enabling innovative technologies including most recently the creation of a $50 million EV infrastructure program in Utah, He has led projects on EVs and grid technologies that have been awarded over $20 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior to joining Rocky Mountain Power, James was the staff lead for Utah Governor Jon Huntsman’s Renewable Energy Initiative and Blue Ribbon Advisory Council for Climate Change. James earned a Bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering, a Masters in Environmental Engineering, and a Masters in Business Administration all from the University of Utah.

Dr. Regan Zane

Dr. Regan Zane is Director of the Center for Advancing Sustainability through Powered Infrastructure for Roadway Electrification (ASPIRE), an NSF sponsored engineering research center with more than 60 industry and innovation partners and more than 400 faculty, students, and staff across 10 universities. He is the David G. and Diann L. Sant Endowed Professor at Utah State University and has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and 30 issued patents. His research programs cover key aspects of electrified transportation charging systems and infrastructure, from battery, vehicle, and charging systems to grid integration, smart charge management, demand response and distributed energy resources. His programs maintain a strong emphasis on collaboration with academic, government and industry partners to bring innovative into the marketplace.

Mark Paterson
Principal and Lead Systems Architect
Energy Catalyst

Mark Paterson is the Principal and Lead Systems Architect of Energy Catalyst, a specialist consulting practice focused on the targeted structural shifts required for legacy power systems to be capable of supporting a secure and cost-efficient Net Zero Emissions future. With over two decades in the energy sector, Mark’s theoretically robust but pragmatic approach is grounded in his applied technology origins and Engineering, Business and Master of Enterprise qualifications. Working at the intersection of strategic vision and real-world application, he has led several national energy system transformation projects in Australia, including as Chair of the CSIRO Future Grid Forum and Program Director of the CSIRO/ENA Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap. At Horizon Power and Energex, two energy utilities serving remote, regional and metropolitan customers, he led the innovative development and scale deployment of several utility technology innovation firsts.  Over almost a decade, Mark has been privileged to develop expertise in Power Systems Architecture disciplines now increasingly recognised as critical to enable the deep decarbonisation of legacy electric systems. Internationally, Mark is a Fellow of the Pacific Energy Institute and an invited Associate of the US Department of Energy’s GridWise Architecture Council (GWAC). He is also a contributing author for the IEEE Power & Energy and an invited expert contributor to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grid resilience activities.

Martin Huang
Hydro One

Martin Huang is an electric power industry executive with 30 years of experience in grid operations, engineering and planning. His career started in the third largest utility in Canada progressed from System Planning Engineer, front-line Real-time Operations Supervisor, Manager of System Control Center, General Manager of Real Time Operations for the provincial grid and finally to the role of Vice President of Grid Operations from 2005 to 2015. He is currently the Vice President of System Operations at Hydro One, responsible for the safe and reliable operations of the transmission and distribution systems, and the AMI network for Hydro One Network Inc, Canada’s largest pure-play electric transmission and distribution utility.

S. Lee Ragsdale Jr. PE Senior Vice President North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives

Lee Ragsdale serves as the Senior Vice President, Energy Delivery in the Power Supply Division for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives headquartered in Raleigh, NC. Lee is a leader in discovering and delivering innovative energy solutions that simultaneously make our grid more flexible and efficient while providing co-op consumer-members new and unprecedented ways to manage their home energy use. Most recently, he has spearheaded North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives’ Distribution Operator initiative, integrating edge-of-grid resources including, microgrid and distributed energy resources, providing enhanced visibility and coordinated efforts across all 26 NC electric cooperatives for reliability on the grid. He joined NCEMC in January 2007 and over the course of the last 15 years has led teams in Resource Planning, Portfolio Management, and Asset Management, and has been actively involved in cybersecurity, grid modernization and company-wide strategic planning. Lee holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration in Economics from Georgia State University. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of North Carolina.  Lee resides in Raleigh, NC with his wife and two children. He is an active member of Hayes Barton United Methodist Church. He enjoys running, biking, and tries to keep up with his active teenagers.

Adrienne Lotto
Senior Vice President
American Public Power Association

As a member of the executive leadership team, Adrienne Lotto leads the American Public Power Association’s Technical & Operations Services department, which focuses on issues pertaining to electric utility operations, reliability, resilience, safety, grid security, and disaster response and mutual aid. A seasoned risk management professional, her experience has focused on addressing cross-sectional issues associated with cybersecurity, public policy, risk management, law, and the environment. Before joining APPA, Adrienne was vice president, chief risk and resilience officer at the New York Power Authority, and as acting principal deputy assistant secretary for the Department of Energy’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response. Adrienne received her Juris Doctor from Pace University School of Law and a Bachelor of Science from the State University of New York at Albany.

Paul Zummo
American Public Power Association

Paul Zummo is the Director, Research and Development for the American Public Power Association. He manages APPA’s DEED R&D program and is also responsible for overseeing the Association’s general R&D efforts and work related to the energy transition. Paul has written extensively on emerging technologies, including distributed energy resources, rate design, and electrification. He has a Ph.D in Politics from the Catholic University of America.

Dr. Seemita Pal    Team Leader, Distributed Systems Group, PNNL

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 ( ).

Amy Halloran
Sandia National Labs

Amy Halloran provides leadership and management direction for Sandia’s research and development (R&D) programs as Director of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Grid Modernization Center at Sandia National Laboratories. She also serves as Program Area Director for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Grid Modernization Program within Sandia’s Energy & Homeland Security Portfolio. Previously, as Senior Manager of Renewable Energy Technologies, Amy led Sandia’s $50M R&D program in wind energy, solar energy, water power, geothermal energy, and water/energy nexus to improve the reliability, reduce the cost, and decrease the regulatory burden of renewable energy and water supplies. Amy’s Sandia career started in 2011 as Manager of the Geophysics and Atmospheric Science Department, a team developing leading-edge technical solutions for the Department of Energy (DOE); the Department of Defense (DOD); and industrial customers in nuclear threat detection, climate measurement, and oil and gas extraction. She also oversaw Sandia’s work on the North Slope of Alaska for DOE’s Climate Program. Prior to joining Sandia, Amy was a Vice President at CH2M Hill, managing business development for environmental work for federal customers across the United States. Hired as a CH2M Hill environmental engineer in 1989, Amy delivered multimillion-dollar projects in contaminated soil and groundwater investigation and remediation, industrial waste treatment, compliance audits, and energy efficiency. Her customers included DOD, DOE, the Environmental Protection Agency, and private industry.  Amy has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion and received the New Mexico Technology Amy has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion and received the New Mexico Technology Council’s annual Women in Technology Award in 2019. She is Sandia’s Campus Executive for the University of Illinois; a Past President of both the New Mexico Engineering Foundation and the Society of American Military Engineers, Albuquerque Post; and a former Community Panel Chair for the United Way of Central New Mexico. Amy has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has been licensed as a Professional Engineer since 1994.

Thushara Gunda Principal Member, Sandia National Labs

Thushara Gunda is a Principal Member of Technical Staff at Sandia National Labs. Her research portfolio focuses on data-driven decision making in diverse areas, including water resources, energy, and security domains. Leveraging insights from interdisciplinary perspective is a key distinguishing feature in her work; her research methods integrate techniques from data sciences, complex systems, modeling, and domain-specific practices. Gunda holds a MS/PhD in Environmental Engineering from Vanderbilt University and BS/BA in Environmental Sciences and Environmental Policy from the University of Virginia.

Andrea Staid
Senior Technical Leader, EPRI

Andrea Staid is a Senior Technical Leader in the Energy Systems and Climate Analysis Group at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Her research focuses on risk and resilience analysis for energy infrastructure planning and operational decision-making. Through this, Andrea works to integrate multisource data into system models to best represent real-world complexities and impacts from extreme events. Andrea received her MS and PhD degrees in Environmental Systems Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and her BS in Aerospace Engineering from MIT.

Meredydd Evans
Senior Scientist

Meredydd Evans is an energy policy and finance expert with over 25 years of international experience. She is a team lead and senior staff scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where she is managing a program on decision-relevant science for sustainable energy. Her work covers both energy transitions and resilience, including in the power sector. She has led multiple international working groups, collaborations, and projects across the globe, including efforts though out Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Africa, as well as global initiatives. She began working at PNNL in 1994, and she was seconded to the International Energy Agency in Paris from 2002-2007. Ms. Evans has a B.A. from Columbia University’s Barnard College and an M.A. from Harvard University. She is fluent in five languages and has published numerous books and articles.

Justin Sharp
Sharply Focused

Justin Sharp is the principal and owner of Sharply Focused, a consultancy dedicated to being a bridge between atmospheric sciences and the electric utility sector, especially with regards to applying meteorological knowledge to optimize planning and operation of the increasing weather driven system resulting from the energy transition.  Dr. Sharp obtained his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington in 2005, with a focus on using high-resolution Numerical Weather Prediction to diagnose and forecast local and regional scale winds. He has worked in the electric power sector since 2004 building one of the world’s first 24×7 operational renewable energy forecasting and analysis teams for Iberdrola Renewables. Justin founded Sharply Focused in 2012, and since then has been helping clients, across a range of government agencies and labs, non-profits, utilities, RTOs, and weather vendors, to utilize weather and climate intelligence with a view to enabling and optimizing the energy transition.

Charles Hanley
Senior Manager
Sandia National Labs

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.

Wayne Bishop
VP, Industry Outreach and Strategy Quanta Technology

Wayne Bishop Jr. is Vice President of Industry Outreach and Strategy at Quanta Technology, a subsidiary of Quanta Services, and Fortune 500 company. He has worked in the electric power industry for over 30 years.
Wayne is also IEEE PES Vice President of Meetings and Conferences, a member of the IEEE Power and Energy Society Governing Board and a member of the IEEEPES Executive Committee. He helped write and implement the Long-Range Strategic Plan for IEEE PES and is a Senior Member of IEEE. In addition, Wayne currently serves as a Senior Advisor to LUMA Energy, the electric utility in Puerto Rico.
Previously, Wayne worked at OMICRON electronics for 13 years where he was the Head of Marketing for North America. Prior to that, Wayne was employed at Doble Engineering Company for nearly 20 years in several senior management positions. In 2007, he was appointed by Doble’s Board of Directors to serve on the
Executive Committee to broker the sale of Doble Engineering to ESCO Technologies. Wayne is a graduate of Merrimack College, Harvard University, and the Executive MBA Program at Suffolk University in Boston, graduating with honors. He speaks regularly at industry conferences and has published several articles and papers in industry publications including IEEE Power and Energy Magazine and T&D World Magazine. Wayne is also a member of the Board of Advisors for the College of Science and Engineering at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts. Wayne and his family live in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts.

Vandan Divatia, VP
Transmission Policy, Interconnections and Compliance
Eversource Energy

Vandan Divatia is the Vice President Transmission Policy, Interconnections & Compliance. Over the past 20 years he has held various positions in Operations, Economic Planning, Business Development, Strategy and Compliance. Vandan has lead evaluation of numerous renewable energy projects from a reliability, economic and environmental perspective resulting in selection of over 15 TWh of clean energy projects including large hydro, wind, solar and fuel cells. In his current role, Vandan oversees Transmission Interconnections including negotiation of commercial agreements and cost recovery, Stakeholder relations for Transmission, and Compliance. Vandan’s current focus also includes shaping policy, strategy and solution development that enables the Grid of the Future to meet carbon emission reduction targets via electrification driven load growth and clean energy integration.
Vandan graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a Masters in Power systems during which time his work included applying artificial neural networks for power system applications. His academic experiences also included a Utility Management Program from the University of Connecticut focusing on how to optimize financial and operational performance. Recently, in 2018 he graduated from MIT on program in Strategy and Innovation including a focus on Sustainability. Vandan serves on the Executive Committee of the Board for the Northeast Energy and Commerce Association with focus on creating a forum for industry wide conversation on the future of energy in New England.

Howard Gugel
Vice President, Compliance Assurance and Registration

Howard Gugel is the vice president of Compliance Assurance and Registration at NERC. In this role he is responsible directing programs and processes to monitor, review, and evaluate program effectiveness of Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) Enterprise implementation of risk-based compliance monitoring and adherence to the NERC Rules of Procedure, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program, and approved delegation agreements. He is also responsible for overseeing the ERO’s organization registration and certification process. In 2022, Mr. Gugel was appointed to the Department of Energy’s Electric Advisory Committee by the Secretary of Energy. He also serves on the North American Energy Standards Board. Mr. Gugel has more than 34 years of experience in the electric utility industry, including management experience in transmission planning, operations and energy marketing. He has worked for two investor-owned utilities, a rural electric cooperative, and an energy marketing firm. Mr. Gugel earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Missouri – Rolla. He is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Missouri, and a senior member of IEEE.

Hisham Othman
Senior VP
Transmission and Regulatory Compliance
Quanta Technology

Hisham Othman leads the transmission and regulatory compliance consulting practice at Quanta Technology LLC providing technical and economic advisory services supporting regulated utilities, energy developers, and RTOs to address their evolving and challenging business needs. His recent work has focused on renewable integration, energy storage, non-wire solutions, and integrated resource planning in support of Net Zero futures.
Prior to joining Quanta Technology, Hisham held leadership roles with global technology providers, ABB and GE, in the US and Internationally, delivering pioneering Network Management and Infrastructure solutions. He also worked in the Renewable Energy industry with SunEdison, and as CTO to Petra Solar, on innovative approaches to grid integration, hybrid solutions, energy storage, and smart grids. Hisham holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Joseph E. Svachula
Senior VP, Transmission & Compliance

Joseph E. Svachula is responsible for formulating and executing Exelon’s transmission strategy and supporting policies. He leads the company’s participation in PJM and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and serves as the company’s Chief NERC Compliance Officer. He is also responsible for the planning and safe and reliable operation of Exelon’s bulk power transmission system in Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO and Pepco. Together, they form the nation’s largest utility company by customer count, serving approximately 10 million electric and gas customers in New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. Svachula was named to his current role in August 2021. Prior to this role, he served as vice president, Exelon Utility Strategy & Technology.  Before joining Exelon Utilities, Svachula spent more than thirty years at ComEd and most recently served as Vice President of Engineering and Smart Grid, where he played a key strategic role directing the personnel and activities of the Distribution Planning, Reliability Programs, Equipment and Standards, Reliability Analysis and Smart Grid teams. He has also held Vice President positions in Distribution System Operations and Customer Field Operations. He began his professional career at ComEd in 1988 in a variety of field engineering positions and later assumed key leadership positions in Transmission & Substations, Work Management, Distribution Operations, Operational Strategy & Business Intelligence, and Customer Operations Strategies & Support.  Svachula serves on the Board of Directors for Chicago Special Olympics and Special Children’s Charities. He is an IEEE Senior member and is the 2017 IEEE Leadership in Power awardee Herecently chaired the 2017 PES General Meetings and currently serves as the IEEE T&D Director planning the 2024 conference in Anaheim. Svachula is an active and regular volunteer for various special recreation activities in his community.  Svachula holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois Chicago and a Master of Engineering Management from Northwestern University.