TREIA Board of Directors

 

Melissa Miller President
EDF Renewable Energy

Melissa Miller, Project Development Manager at EDF Renewable Energy, has experience developing Texas renewables since 2002. At EDF, Melissa’s primary focus is in the development of large scale wind and solar in Texas.

As former President of Miller Wind + Renewables and Vice President of Texas Development for Cielo Wind Power, Ms. Miller has diverse experience in large-scale commercial wind project development, including the operational 161MW Brazos Wind Project, 78MW Golden Spread Panhandle Wind Ranch, 161MW Spinning Spur Wind Ranch, and the 161MW Spinning Spur Two Wind Ranch and the development of the 200MW Unity Wind Project.

Through Miller Wind + Renewables, Ms. Miller consulted in the areas of tax abatement and real estate negotiation for a number of renewable energy developers and developed large-scale wind and solar projects for landowners in Texas. As a longtime advocate for Texas economic and energy initiatives, Melissa currently serves as a TREIA's board President. She is also the former Executive Director for the Austin Independent Business Alliance.

Letter from the President


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Annemarie Diaz Vice-President
Austin Energy

Annemarie plays a leadership role in the development and implementation of Austin Energy’s Strategic Plan, including risk assessment, engagement and development of cross-functional teams, and fostering alignment in the organization. For the past six years her work has focused on market and industry analysis, supporting executive teams with strategic planning, and leadership of cross-functional initiatives. She also has experience in utility DSM program delivery, energy policy, and regulatory compliance for industrial clients. Annemarie has a BS in Chemical Engineering and an MS in Environmental Health, Policy. She is a licensed Professional Engineer and received a miniMBA certificate from the University of St. Thomas Executive Education program. 


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Vijay Betanabhatla Treasurer
Navigant

Vijay has served the Texas energy industry for over 13 years through grid operations, electricity markets, renewable energy, distributed energy resources and energy finance. During his time in control room operations at Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Vijay conducted engineering studies, developed situational awareness applications, represented ERCOT in NERC/Texas RE audits and played a lead role in many prestigious projects, including the Texas Nodal Implementation. After leaving ERCOT, Vijay worked for Baker Tilly, a leading Accounting & Advisory firm, as a Senior Consultant in the Energy and Utilities team, specializing in strategic, resource optimization and capital procurement for renewable energy clients and led Baker Tilly's business development efforts for Texas. In his current role, Vijay works as an Associate Director in the Energy System Transformation group at Navigant Consulting Inc. and supports Navigant's grid modernization projects across United States.

Vijay serves as TREIA's Treasurer, and Education and Events Committee Chair that hosts educational events around the state.  He was also a member of the 2017 GridNEXT Conference Committee, later serving as a distinguished speaker during the event. He is an active member of the Austin Technology IncubatorCleanTX, and Gulf Coast Power Association.

Vijay holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE) from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin. He is married with two children and lives in Austin. His wife Prasanthi has also dedicated her career to the Texas energy industry, including more than ten years at ERCOT; she is currently employed with Texas Reliability Entity (Texas RE).


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Jeff Risley Secretary
Saxum

With 25 years of experience in marketing, business development, strategy, consulting, sales, organizational growth, project management, and relationship building, Jeff’s presence at Saxum helps convert instincts into intentions and data into decisions. With an MBA from Benedictine College and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas, Jeff is a Kansan at heart, but has built his reputation in leadership at marketing, engineering and energy firms in Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Kansas City, like Barkley, Brightergy, Bartlett & West, CM Services and others. Now, Jeff leads  teams in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Houston as the company aims to strategically grow their business across the United States, and make smart and efficient investments in new technologies and diverse talent. When Jeff talks, people listen, primarily because he does so little of it – he’d rather hear your story, ask you questions and learn how he can create value for you first.

Jeff is a father of three beautiful, internationally-adopted children, an avid fly-fisherman and a technology addict. If you walk by his office when it’s very quiet, you can hear heavy metal music seeping from his headphones. To us, Jeff seems full of surprises, but to him, it’s all part of the plan.


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Ken Donohoo
Electric Power Engineers, Inc.

Ken is retired from Oncor Electric Delivery in May 2017 as Director System Planning. His team was responsible for distribution and transmission planning analysis, NERC/ERCOT support/reporting, regulatory support, planning reports and collection/development of power system planning data. Ken's extensive background includes engineering budget analysis, transmission planning, transient analysis, insulation coordination, surge arrester application, switching analysis, wheeling impact, loss analysis, project management and engineering management. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Texas and a senior member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Ken received a Bachelor of Science Electrical Engineering (BSEE) degree from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1982. He is married with one son and lives in Mansfield, Texas. His wife Judith retired from teaching elementary school and Sean is a student working part time with computers. He enjoys landscaping & gardening, traveling and test tasting various Bourbon, scotch & whiskey.


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Kathy Garcia
CPS Energy

Kathy Garcia is responsible for Federal, State, and Local Relations at CPS Energy. She executes strategic government and regulatory relations, public policy and business development initiatives to protect and advance the interests of CPS Energy.

Garcia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government & Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin and is a graduate of the Executive Education, Accelerated Development Program at Rice University.


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Andrew Johnston
Navigant

Andrew serves as a Director of Navigant's Global Energy Practice and is Chair of TREIA's Membership and Sponsorship Committee.  In the decade he has lived in Texas, he's worked with utilities across the state, regulators, industry leaders, grid operators, and energy policy experts at the intersection of strategy, technology, and business models. Andrew’s passion is around championing Texas’ leadership role in shaping the transformation of renewable energy, grid modernization, and emerging technology on the global stage.  Since arriving in Texas, Andrew’s accomplishments have included:

  • In 2010, stewarding the City of Austin and Austin Energy’s role in securing federal and city funding for the Pecan Street Inc.
  • From 2010 to 2013, leading work as the technical program manager for Landis+Gyr in deploying the world’s first research-based meter network in the Mueller neighborhood of Austin
  • From 2013 to 2015, facilitating the expansion of electric vehicle adoption across a 10-county region surrounding San Antonio and Austin
  • In 2014, receiving the Austin Under 40 Award in the Energy & Technology category

Prior to moving to Texas, Johnston was based in Washington, DC and the EU as chief of staff to economist and social theorist Jeremy Rifkin. During this time,  he supported energy and technology work for clients such as the president of the European Commission, the German Chancellor, and major global industrial and energy stakeholders. Prior to his role with Navigant, Andrew was president of ETS at Zpryme Research and Publication. Andrew received his BA from The Ohio State University in 2002 and his MS in urban planning and public policy from The University of Texas in 2010.


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Mike Myers
CloudForest Software

Mr. Myers is a nationally known speaker and leader in energy efficiency, renewables and sustainability. Mike is Vice President of CloudForest Software, a start-up focused on building performance analysis. Mike also serves as a sustainability consultant for Allegheny Science & Technology to provide technical support to the U.S. Department of Energy. Mike has an extensive career and is known for his ability to create innovative programs and manage multi-million dollar projects for the U.S Department of Energy, Lockheed Martin Corporation, the cities of New York, San Antonio, and Austin. Mike has served as the Board Chair for the Central TX-Balcones USGBC Chapter, served as a Governor Appointee on the Weatherization Policy Advisory Council and is a member of TXSES. 


Eric Padilla
Vistra Energy

In his role at Vistra Energy (formerly Energy Future Holdings), Mr. Padilla is responsible for all aspects of the company’s state and federal policy efforts. He has participated in five Texas Legislative Sessions, where he has helped develop the company’s position on legislation, including support for: rooftop solar, wind power development, and energy efficiency, among others. Mr. Padilla also supported Energy Future Holding’s Sustainable Energy Advisory Board. 

Mr. Padilla holds a B.A. in European History from DePauw University and is a graduate of St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas. He lives in Arlington with his wife and daughter.


Chris Reeder
Husch Blackwell LLP

Chris Reeder has practiced for 20+ years in the energy field, focusing on a wide range of regulatory and commercial matters affecting all types of ERCOT market participants. In addition, he advises clients on power plant development and financing issues, and have led attorney teams that supported numerous Texas wind and solar project developments. Chris also worked for the PUCT as a Staff attorney. He received his degree from the University of Texas School of Law.

Mr. Reeder has expanded his practice since 2001 to helping clients develop and market renewable energy in ERCOT. Working with the PUCT and ERCOT to enact favorable regulations and helping clients bring projects to financing or completion has provided insights on the many factors challenging renewable energy development. He works with numerous renewable energy companies whose interests align with TREIA’s, and have spoken often on development issues. Our firm has strongly supported TREIA through sponsoring GridNext, and partnering on the successful 2016/2017 solar webinar series. 


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Ingmar Sterzing
Skaia Energy

Ingmar Sterzing is a Partner at Skaia Energy engaging with clients to create and grow profitable projects and businesses.  Ingmar thrives on bringing clarity and direction to the dynamic and complex landscape of the energy business by crafting industry-leading strategies and risk-adjusted execution plans.  With over 20 years of experience he has cultivated multi-functional expertise and an established track record of driving value added results in services, operations, and asset management at PEC, LS Power, Westinghouse, LCRA, and GE.  Ingmar specializes in business and project development, capital planning and execution, asset management, operational excellence, commercial strategies, due diligence, and risk management.  Ingmar actively serves as a member of industry and professional boards and holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from UT Austin and a Masters in Nuclear Engineering from NC State.


Dean Tuel
Younicos Inc.

Tuel is currently responsible for providing energy storage solutions throughout the Americas and the Caribbean regions. I have over 25 years of experience in developing renewable projects a background in the power and gas industries within Europe and North America. My primary focus is on commercial business transactions for companies in transitioning energy markets.

While at Younicos I lead a commercial team that has closed over 70 MWs of energy storage projects since 2014. Previously, I was Vice President of Business Development at Xtreme Power I held a similar role and was the lead negotiator of the 36-Megawatt Storage System for Duke Energy. At the time this was the largest storage transaction in the world. Prior to joining Xtreme Power, I was the Vice President and a senior advisory board member with E.ON Climate and Renewables, a wind and solar developer. In this role I served as the lead officer overseeing the negotiation of over $2 billion of transactions for 2,000 MWs of wind generation throughout North America. My prior background I held senior roles at Westar Energy, Cargill Power Markets, Aquila Merchant Services and Enron Europe Ltd. Within these companies I was responsible for leading the execution of structured transactions and trading organizations within the power and gas industries in Western Europe and North America.

 
 

ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS

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Jeff Clark
Wind Coalition

Jeff Clark has worked within the public affairs arena for nearly 30 years in both public and private capacities. With experiences extending from the nation’s statehouses, to Washington, DC; he has developed a unique expertise, revitalizing and rebuilding governmental affairs teams to efficiently and aggressively deliver results for their clients.

In his current role, he is Executive Director of The Wind Coalition, the leading organization advocating for renewable energy within the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Jeff manages a team of technical and policy experts working to educate the public and lawmakers on renewable energy and to support state policies that will facilitate wind and solar energy’s continued development and integration.

Raised in the suburbs of Washington, DC, Jeff is a 6th generation Texan and returned to West Texas as a college student. He attended Abilene Christian University where he studied Political Science. He is currently pursuing a masters degree in energy policy at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. He and his wife, Judge Elisabeth Earle, reside in Austin and have two teenage daughters.


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Chris Foster
City of Georgetown

Currently the Manager of Resource Planning and Integration for the City of Georgetown, and has served in the capacity since 2008, with a primary role of managing the City’s Municipally Owned Utility power supply. Previous work includes managing payroll for the Health and human Services Commission, fixing computer equipment for CVS and Walgreens, and running his own tech repair company. Chris is a graduate of Georgetown High School, holding a bachelor’s in Economics/Finance from the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor, and a Master’s in Public Administration from Texas State. Chris is also a Certified Government Finance Officer through the Government Finance Officers Association. Chris is best known for orchestrating the successful transition of Georgetown’s power supply from a single provider that was over 90% fossil fuel based, to being 100% wind and solar powered by 2017. Outside of energy Chris acts as the City’s economist and lead contract negotiator including water rights, garbage contracts, technological systems, development agreements, etc. Chris is married with three kids. His dissertation titled “Does Proximity Matter? Measuring the effect green space has on residential water consumption”, and can be found in the Texas State MPA ARP archives.


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Luke Metzger
Environment Texas

Luke Metzger is the founding Director of Environment Texas, a statewide, citizen-funded advocate for clean air, clean water and open spaces. The San Antonio Current has called Mr. Metzger "long one of the most energetic and dedicated defenders of environmental issues in the state." He has played a key role in dozens of successful environmental campaigns, including winning permanent protection for the Christmas Mountains of Big Bend, getting Shell and ChevronPhillips to cut air pollution at two Texas refineries and chemical plants, and getting the Legislature to dramatically boost funding for water conservation and state parks. 


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Dr. Annette Sobel
Texas Tech University

Dr. Annette Sobel is a former Major General in the Arizona Air National Guard, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Education, and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock.

Currently, she is the Director of Global Laboratory for Energy Asset Management and Manufacturing (GLEAMM), at Texas Tech University. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Executive for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Health Security Initiatives, at TTU. She is residency trained in Family and Community Medicine and Aerospace Medicine and is a Hyperbaric Medicine Specialist, certified by the U.S. Navy. As a physician-human factors engineer, she worked at Sandia National Laboratories as a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff and was a guest scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She was a senior advisor to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Dr. Sobel also served as Senior Advisor for Biosecurity Engagement in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense/Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Program. Presently, she is Chair of the Permanent Monitoring Panel for mitigation of acts of terrorism of the World Federation of Scientists, and is a Commissioner on the Governor Greg Abbott's Texas Military Preparedness Commission.

Dr. Sobel’s research focuses on integration of human factors principles into a wide range of systems engineering platforms to include synthetic aperture radar systems for advanced tactical fighters, virtual reality and robotic training platforms, unmanned aircraft systems, decision-assisting algorithms for emerging infectious disease response and medical diagnostics for pre-hospital care.