KEN DONOHOO, Chair Ken joined Electric Power Engineers, Inc (EPE) in October 2017. EPE is a lead engineering consulting and management service firm for electric utilities, municipalities, cooperatives as well as energy resource developers.
Ken is leading teams focused on meeting customer needs related to transmission & distribution system analysis, substation and electric system design, energy market analysis, grid integration of energy resources, renewable energy, generation development, and design of wind, solar, biomass, as well as energy storage.
Ken is on the Board of Directors for the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Alliance. He received a Bachelor of Science Electrical Engineering (BSEE) degree from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1982. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Texas and a senior member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
He is married with one son and lives in Pflugerville, Texas. His wife Judith retired from teaching elementary school and Sean is working in Information Technology in Uptown Dallas.
He enjoys developing his smart home, growing orchids, landscaping & gardening and traveling.
Hala N. Ballouz, Emeritus Chair, became CEO & President of Electric Power Engineers, Inc. in 2007. She has been a lead consultant in the electric power industry since 1991 with 20 years’ experience in renewable energy development and integration both on Transmission and Distribution levels, 30 years’ experience power systems engineer in energy and T&D as well as managing utility demand/resource plans. Additionally, she has 10 years’ experience working with utilities and stakeholders in developing countries including coordinating workshops and training. She is the author of GridNEXT (initiative furthering development of renewables through grid modernization). Hala is also the first woman to serve as president of the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association, Board member of the Association of Women in Energy, and mentor in gender diversification in the energy sector.
Ms. Ballouz is the chair of GridNext, board member of the Texas Renewables Energy Association (TREIA), the Wind Coalition, and Association of Women in Energy. She has particularly contributed to the development of the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) in the state of Texas, and the identification of the first major transmission re-enforcement needed to integrate the first 3,500 MW of Renewables into the grid.
An accomplished industry author and presenter, Ms. Ballouz backs her work with certifications in substation engineering and design as well as wind energy resources. Additionally, Ms. Ballouz served as expert witness on resource adequacy and transmission grid reliability in California and provides the same expertise in Texas. She is a registered Professional Engineer in several states as well as other countries.
JEFF RISLEY, Communications Chair 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.
Chris Foster 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.
Melissa Miller, President and Membership & Sponsors Chair Regional Manager of Central US Development for Avangrid Renewables, has been developing renewables since 2002. At Avangrid, Melissa’s primary focus is in the development of large scale wind and solar in the Central US.
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.
Annemarie Diaz, Vice-President, 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.
Vijay Betanabhatla, Treasurer and Education & Events Committee Chair, 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 Incubator, CleanTX, 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).
Michael Myers is a nationally known consultant and speaker on energy efficiency, green building and sustainability.
Mr. Myers currently provides support to the U.S. Department of Energy via Allegheny Science and Technology (AST) to assist all Federal Agencies comply with the Federal Guiding Principles for High Performance and Sustainable Buildings. He has worked for Lockheed Martin, U.S. Department of Energy, the cities of Austin, San Antonio and New York. At DOE, he was the Residential Technologies Team Lead and the Program Manager for the Existing Buildings Energy Efficiency Research and Affordable Housing Programs and led national efforts to promote green building policies. At Lockheed Martin, he was the Senior Sustainability Manager assisting local governments reduce their energy consumption. He also led corporate efforts that established a green building policy for all new construction and existing facilities. Mr. Myers is also the co-founder and Vice President of CloudForest Software, a new company focused on providing faster and smarter building performance modeling.
As Energy Manager for the City of Austin, Mr. Myers managed the award-winning electric and gas demand-side management programs for all customer sectors. He led the team that created many of the first energy efficiency and solar programs, including the City of Austin's acclaimed Green Building Program, which received international honors at the U.N Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
Mr. Myers is currently on the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Alliance Board, the Vision Zero-ATX Board and is the co-founder of Central Texas Families for Safer Streets where he has been an advocate for driving safety and livable communities. He previously served as a Governor Appointee on the TX Weatherization Policy Advisory Council and was the Board Chair for Central TX-Balcones USGBC Chapter.
Eric Padilla, 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.
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.
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.
Peter Kelly-Detwiler Consultant & Energy Writer & TREIA Storyteller in Residence
With over 25 years of experience in the area of electric energy, retail power, and distributed energy assets. Mr. Kelly-Detwiler offers expertise in the areas of new technologies and the integration and interaction of on-site distributed assets with electricity markets. He is professionally active on a national level with energy companies, demand response providers, software developers, datacenter owners, and various energy start-ups. Mr. Kelly-Detwiler has written comprehensive research papers for clients on diverse topics such as the evolution of the solar industry and the relationship between data centers and global power markets. He is a frequent moderator and speaker at industry events, and offers professional workshops on the topic ranging from 3-12 hours. He also contributes regularly to Forbes.com and other publications focusing on topics related to disruptive innovation and the impact on the electricity industry.
Raina Hornaday Raina is currently a partner and the general manager of Caprcok Renewables, LLC a large scale solar development firm in Texas. Raina served as VP of TREIA on the board and helps manage the various supporting organizations that have a relationship with TREIA through its GridNEXT initiative.
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