Organizing Committee Biographies

Julio Romero Agüero

Julio Romero Agüero
ISGT 2021 Conference Chair
Vice President, Strategy and Business Innovation, Quanta Technology

Dr. Julio Romero Agüero is Vice President, Strategy and Business Innovation at Quanta Technology. He provides leadership to Quanta Technology in the areas of technology and business strategy, innovation, 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 has served as Chair of the IEEE Distribution Subcommittee, 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.

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.

Ahad Esmaeilian

Ahad Esmaeilian
ISGT 2021 Conference Marketing Chair
Director of Business Development, Avangrid

Dr. Ahad Esmaeilian is Director of Business Development at Avangrid. He leads Avangrid’s business development team across Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) region. In this role, he works across the industry sector with technology providers, developers, local and regional regulatory agencies to advance Clean Energy through interconnection of offshore/onshore Wind, Solar and other utility-scale renewable energy resources.

Ahad joined Avangrid in 2019, as the Manager of Smart Grid Innovation. Before Avangrid, Ahad was leading New York Power Authorities Smart Grid projects for 2 years. Prior to that, he was a lead scientist at Smart Grid Center at Texas A&M Engineering Lab for 5 years and has an additional 5 years of experiences in various roles including Transmission Planning, Substation & Transmission EPC and Project Management during the time working in his home country, Iran.

Ahad holds B.Sc. & M.Sc. degrees in Electrical Engineering from University of Tehran, Iran. He earned his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University, in 2017, and recently graduated with an MBA degree from Clackson University, NY. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE.

Jerry FitzPatrick

Jerry FitzPatrick

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.

Charles Hanely

Charles Hanley
Sr. Manager, Grid Modernization and Resilient Infrastructures, Sandia National Laboratories

Mr. Hanley is Senior Manager of the Grid Modernization and Resilient Infrastructures 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.

Donald Hall, P.E.

Donald Hall, P.E.
ISGT 2021 Vice Chair
Quanta Technology

Donald Hall is an Executive Advisor for the Distribution & Asset Operations team at Quanta Technology. He has over 37 years of experience working in the Engineering, Operations, and Regulatory areas of the Distribution & Transmission segments of the electric utility industry. Recent focus includes business and technical integration of Distributed Energy Resources and Non Wires Alternatives, Distribution System Load Forecasting, Distribution System Planning, and Distribution System Reliability and Resiliency. He is also experienced in power system software product development and marketing. Don has extensive background in state and federal regulatory proceedings including serving as an expert witness.

Mr. Hall holds an MSEE from Kansas State University and Professional Engineer Licenses in DC, DE, and MD, is active in industry standards development (IEEE/PES), serves on the IEEE Industry Technical Support Leadership Committee, and is an adjunct engineering instructor at Delaware Technical Community College.

Ron Melton

Dr. Ron Melton
ISGT 2021 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.

Seemita Pal

Seemita Pal
2021 ISGT NA Conference Secretary
Senior Research Engineer, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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 ( ).

Masood Parvania

Masood Parvania
ISGT 2021 Publications Chair
Assistant Professor, University of Utah

Dr. Masood Parvania is the Director of Utah Smart Energy Laboratory, and Associate Professor and Associate Chair for Research and Advancement of the Department 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. Dr. Parvania serves as an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, the IEEE Power Engineering Letters, and the IET Renewable Power Generation. He is the Chair of IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES) Utah Chapter, the Chair of IEEE PES Bulk Power Systems Operation Subcommittee, and the Vice-Chair of IEEE PES Risk, Reliability, and Probability Applications Subcommittee.

Dale Player
ISGT 2021 Technical Program Vice Chair

Dale has been working within the electric utility industry at Commonwealth Edison in Chicago for the past 14 years and currently leads the Distribution Automation team. Within this role, Dale has responsibility for developing innovative solutions to create a smarter and more resilient next-generation distribution system. Dale also has engineering experience within Asset Management, Material Condition, Protection & Control Engineering, and Substation Relay Commissioning.

Within his time in the electric utility, Dale has led initiatives to develop multi-billion dollar investment portfolios to create a more reliable and resilient grid, prepare the grid for the impact of renewables, and creation of a communications infrastructure to support grid equipment and give it greater capabilities. Dale holds a BSEE and a MSEE from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and is also a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Illinois.

Veronika A. Rabl

Veronika A. Rabl
ISGT 2021 Conference Plenary Chair
Principal, Vision & Results Consulting

Veronika Rabl is a consultant in the Washington, DC, area, specializing in energy technology and policy. She has advised electric energy companies and governments around the world and has been an invited speaker at many events in the U.S. and abroad. She is an author, coauthor, and editor of numerous publications.

Until 2001 Dr. Rabl served as General Manager and Director at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). She established EPRI’s demand response research program and technology portfolio, including energy storage, energy management, and distributed load control systems.
Veronika’s work includes policy papers on energy efficiency, electric transportation, clean power supply, and electric grid modernization, as well as energy and environmental life cycle assessments. Most recently she has been a team lead and coauthor of the IEEE PES (Power and Energy Society) Energy Storage Primer. She helped launch the Engineering Founder Societies’ Technology for Carbon Management Grand Challenge Initiative; assessed EPA Clean Power Plan implementation options; reviewed ISO/RTO market rules and processes; served as co-chair of IEEE Joint Task Force on the DOE Quadrennial Energy Review (QER); co-chaired development of report on demand management alternatives for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Dr. Rabl is a Senior Member of IEEE, past Chair of IEEE-USA Energy Policy Committee, and member of the IEEE PES Industry Technical Support Leadership Committee. Veronika is a recipient of the IEEE-USA Professional Achievement Award for Individuals.

Veronika holds a Ph.D. from the Ohio State University and an M.S. from the Weizmann Institute, Israel.

Farrokh Rahimi

Farrokh Rahimi
ISGT 2021 Technical Program Chair
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.

Ebrahim Vaahedi

Ebrahim Vaahedi
Associate Vice President, Smart Grid Development, 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.

Cat Wong

Cat Wong
ISGT 2021 Conference Treasurer
Manager – Customer Product Engineering, Entergy

Cat Wong is the manager of customer product engineering at Entergy, where she is leading the planning, design, and implementation activities of distributed energy resources, including photovoltaics, battery storage, and microgrids. She has 18 years of industry experience in the area of inte¬gration of distributed energy resources, PMU deployment, transmission and distribution planning, protection analysis and standard development, and hardware-in-the-loop simulations. Prior to joining Entergy, Wong worked with the real-time simu¬lation development team at the Hydro Qu鬬bec Research Institute, Montréal, Ca-nada. She received her B.S. degree in engineering with first-class honors and a master’s degree of philosophy in electrical engineering from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China, and she completed her Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering at Tulane University. She is pursuing her E.M.B.A. degree at Tulane University, which she is expected to complete in 2019. She is a registered Professional Engineer in Louisiana and a project management professional.

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.