Keynote Speakers

Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson - Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., U.S. Secretary of Energy, Governor of New Mexico

For more than 30 years, Bill Richardson has led a distinguished public-service career as a U.S. Congressman (1982-1996), U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1997-1998), and Secretary of Energy under President Bill Clinton (1998-2000).

In 2008, he sought the Democratic nomination for President, dropping out after Iowa and New Hampshire.  As a diplomat and Special Envoy, Richardson has received four Nobel Peace Prize nominations, and has successfully won the release of hostages and American servicemen in North Korea, Cuba, Iraq and the Sudan. 

Since entering life as a private citizen in 2011, he has authored three books including “How to Sweet-Talk a Shark: Strategies and Stories from a Master Negotiator,” which was published in fall 2013. He is active on the national and international speech circuit and appears frequently on numerous television news programs, ranging from CNN to FOX, Univision, Meet the Press, and This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Richardson has also served as a Special Envoy to the Organization of American States (OAS) and as a Special Fellow on Latin America at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. Richardson also sits on several nonprofit boards, including the World Resources Institute (WRI), Refugees International, and the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE). In addition, he serves on numerous for-profit boards, primarily in the renewable energy space, such as Abengoa International. 

Richardson has also started two foundations: The Richardson Center for Global Engagement, focusing on conflict resolution and prisoner release, and the Foundation to Preserve New Mexico Wildlife with actor and conservationist Robert Redford, which has led the charge to protect wild horses and provide alternatives to horse slaughter.  Recently, the Richardson Center for Global Engagement played an instrumental role in the successful release of Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi from prison in Tijuana, Mexico. 

Before being elected Governor of New Mexico, Richardson was Chairman of Freedom House, a private nonpartisan organization that promotes democracy and human rights worldwide, and served on the boards of the National Resource Defense Council and United Way International. He has been an adjunct professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and has received several honorary degrees from institutions of higher learning that include Tufts University and the University of New Mexico. As Governor, he taught courses at the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University. Last fall, he was given the National Hispanic Hero Award by the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute. 

As Governor of New Mexico, Richardson’s bold governing style moved New Mexico forward in several important areas, including clean energy, education, transportation, healthcare, immigration, environmental protection and $1 billion in tax cuts to New Mexicans. He vastly improved the state’s job numbers and improved economic development by bringing the movie industry to New Mexico, which resulted in more than 140 major film and TV productions. He also built a light-rail system from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, and partnered with Virgin Galactic to build a commercial spaceport.

During his administration, more than $1 billion was invested in public schools, including professional salaries to recruit and retain quality teachers. He also shifted education money away from the administration and into the classroom, and increased access to early childhood education. In 2010, he was named the “best education Governor” by the National Education Administration.

Few can match Bill Richardson’s wide-ranging experience and dedication to protecting and improving human rights, and improving the quality of life for the people of New Mexico, the United States and the world.

Richardson has been married to his high-school sweetheart, Barbara, for 43 years. He received a BA from Tufts in 1970 and an MA from Tuft’s Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy in 1971.


Ram Krishnan

Ram R. Krishnan - Vice President, Profit Planning & Perfect Execution, Emerson Corporate
Ram Krishnan was appointed as the Vice President of Profit Planning and Perfect Execution in March of 2015. In this role, Ram manages the Profit Planning process, a cornerstone of the Emerson management process that drives a systematic expansion in operating profits for the Emerson businesses.  His responsibilities also include supervising Perfect Execution, a continuous improvement program, and Emerson’s Corporate Supply Chain Operations, with a focus on delivering products and solutions to exceed customers’ expectations.

 Krishnan joined Emerson in 1994 as a New Product Development Engineer with Xomox and then rose through aseries of senior marketing, business development and technology positions within the Valve Automation business ofEmerson Process Management. Krishnan was named Vice President and General Manager of the GasChromatographs business in 2004. In 2005, Krishnan was promoted to President of the Rosemount AnalyticalLiquid business where he accelerated growth with a focus on emerging markets and key new products.

From 2007 through 2011, Krishnan was President of Emerson Climate Technologies’ Refrigeration business.  During that time, he led the company’s expansion into the transport business and played a key role in the development of CoreSense™ technology for Copeland® compressors. Krishnan also guided the organization through the successful acquisition of Vilter in the industrial refrigeration space and strengthened customer relationships through strategic support and engagement initiatives.

From 2011 through 2015, Krishnan served as President of Emerson Climate Technologies – Asia and Middle East based out of Hong Kong. In this position, he was responsible for all Emerson Climate Technologies activities in the region, including sales, marketing, engineering, manufacturing, quality and finance.

Krishnan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, a Master of Science degree in Materials Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Xavier University in Ohio. He and his wife have two children and reside in St. Louis.

Kristina Johnson - CEO, Enduring Hydro
Kristina most recently served as Under Secretary of Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. As Under Secretary, she was responsible for unifying and managing a broad $10.5 billion Energy and Environment portfolio, including an additional $37 billion in energy and environment investments from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Under her leadership, the Department developed an integrated Strategic Technologies Energy Plan for reducing our dependence on imported oil by 75%, achieving greenhouse gas reductions of 83% by 2050, and achieving 80% low-carbon electricity by 2035. Kristina has received numerous recognitions for contributions to her field, including the John Fritz Medal, considered the highest award given in the engineering profession.



Panel: how do you get technology out of laboratory?

Dr. Jeffrey Glass - Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Duke University
Jeffrey T. Glass is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and is the Faculty Director of the Pratt School's Master of Engineering Management Program at Duke University. He also holds the Hogg Family endowed chair in Engineering Management and Entrepreneurship. Formerly, he was the Co-Director of The Institute for the Integration of Management and Engineering at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and held the Joseph F. Toot, Jr. endowed chair in the Case School of Engineering.
His current appointment involves research in electronic materials as well as the development of joint educational, research and technology transfer activities related to the intersection of business and technology. He consults and holds advisory board appointments with various companies in materials-related areas and has served as an expert witness in patent litigation. Prior to his appointment at CWRU, he was the Vice President of R&D for Kobe Steel USA Inc. with a focus on electronic materials. Prior to joining Kobe Steel, he was a tenured faculty member in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at North Carolina State University.
Jeff received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Virginia.

Dr. Wayne Simmons - President and Chief Executive Officer, Board Director, Sundrop Fuels
Dr. Wayne Simmons has served as Sundrop Fuels' President & CEO, and Director since 2009. Dr. Simmons is responsible for Sundrop Fuels’ strategic direction and drives our company’s financing, partnership formation and commercialization activities. He brings to Sundrop Fuels more than 30 years of experience in the energy, chemical and environmental industries. Prior to joining the company, Dr. Simmons was founder and CEO of Velocys, Inc., a microchannel chemical process technology company that merged with a publicly traded UK company in 2008. He previously served as VP of Technology at Battelle Memorial Institute where he was responsible for technology and process licensing in the chemical industry. Dr. Simmons spent much of his early career in various management and engineering positions at ExxonMobil. 

Dr. Simmons currently serves as the Chairman of the Board for the Advanced Biofuels Association, the leading industry advocacy group for advanced biofuels development.

Dr. Simmons received his Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Texas A&M University, an MS in Engineering from the California Institute of Technology and a PhD. in Engineering from the University of Wisconsin. He also completed the Executive Management Program at the University of Michigan Business School.


Michael D. Smith - Vice President, Head of Constellation Technology Ventures, Exelon Corporation
Mike leads Constellation Technology Ventures (CTV), the venture capital investing arm of Exelon Corp. In this role, Mike oversees the CTV investing strategy, the management of the CTV portfolio and the deployment of new energy technologies across the Exelon commercial platform.

Prior to leading CTV, Mike was responsible for overseeing the strategy, development and implementation of Constellation’s renewable and sustainable retail product offerings, including onsite generation, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction strategies. In this capacity, Mike led Constellation’s retail solar power and energy efficiency origination efforts and a dedicated commercial sales team focused on the deployment of solar installations and energy conservation measures for customers across the United States.

Mike earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Miami and a JD from the Duke University School of Law.


David Henshall - Deputy Director, Commercialization, Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy
David Henshall is the Deputy Director for Commercialization of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), responsible for oversight of all Technology-to-Market issues related to ARPA-E programs. 

Mr. Henshall previously served as an ARPA-E Technology-to-Market Advisor responsible for helping projects in ARPA-E’s SWITCHES program transition from lab to market. Henshall is a successful entrepreneur with 20 years of experience building high-performing teams and increasing sales and profitability for multiple wide-bandgap semiconductor companies. Prior to joining ARPA-E, Henshall created and managed the Triangle Ceramics business unit and served as Director of Wafer Operations at North Carolina-based Hexatech, Inc. He previously led various corporate operations and engineering teams at Memscap, Inc. and Cree, Inc. 

Henshall received his M.S. and B.S. in Ceramic Engineering from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. He has authored or co-authored over 20 published papers.


Panel: What will be the model for utilities of the future?

Dan Vermeer - Director, Center for Energy. Development and the Global Environment (EDGE)
Dr. Daniel Vermeer is founder and director of Duke University’s Center for Energy, Development, and the Global Environment (EDGE), an initiative that harnesses the power of business to meet the global demand for energy, resources, and improved quality of life.

Dr. Vermeer teaches graduate classes at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and Nicholas School of the Environment, directs research projects, and consults with leading companies and organizations including Bank of America, ABB, GE, Wal-Mart, Dupont, The Nature Conservancy, UN Global Compact, Claremont Creek Ventures, and other private and public organizations. His areas of expertise include water management, sustainable agriculture, value chains, resource productivity, efficiency, product certification, and low-carbon development. Dr. Vermeer plays a leading public role in advocating for business sustainability through speaking, research, and institution-building. He is the founder and chief architect of the Global Water Challenge, a multi-partner organization for innovative water and sanitation initiatives, co-author of the CEO Water Mandate (signed by more than 50 Fortune 500 companies), and lead contributor to several policy documents issued through the World Economic Forum, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the United Nations Foundation.

He holds a Masters degree from the University of Virginia and Ph.D. from Northwestern University.

Rebecca J. Kujawa - Vice President, Business Management, NextEra Energy Resources
Rebecca Kujawa is vice president, business management for NextEra Energy Resources, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), one of the nation's leading electricity‐related services companies and the largest renewable energy generator in North America.  In this role, Ms. Kujawa has profit and loss responsibility for all of NextEra Energy Resources' approximately 19,777 megawatts of generating capacity across 25 states, Canada, and Spain.  Prior to being named to this position in February 2015, she served as vice president of business management for the Midwest and International region for NextEra Energy Resources and, prior to that, served as director of investor relations for NextEra Energy. Ms. Kujawa started her career in NextEra Energy Resources’ power marketing division focused on structured transactions. 

Before joining NextEra Energy, Ms. Kujawa was senior vice president of equity research at Stanford Group Company, and she began her career as an equity derivatives analyst at Goldman Sachs. Ms. Kujawa holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and previously was a member of the New York Stock Exchange and National Association of Securities Dealers’ joint committee on the research analyst qualification exams.   

Ms. Kujawa holds a bachelor of arts degree in public policy studies from Duke University


Chris Vlahoplus - rtner and Clean Tech & Sustainability Practice Lead
Chris Vlahoplus has been a management consultant to the energy and utility industry for 25 years. He leads ScottMadden’s clean tech & sustainability practice area including a role as co-leader of the firm's nuclear consulting practice. He has assisted more than 45 companies focusing on electric generation business management, merger integration, strategic and business planning, organizational restructuring, and management models. Chris earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of South Carolina, an M.S. in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to joining ScottMadden, Chris worked in nuclear safety at Duke Power Company.


Gary Rackliffe - Vice President, Smart Grids - North America, ABB
ary Rackliffe is the ABB Vice President for Smart Grids North America. He has been in this position since 2009 and leads ABB's smart grid initiatives in North America. He recently also became the General Manager for the Smart Grid Center of Excellence located in Raleigh, North Carolina.

With 30+ years of electric grid transmission and distribution experience, Gary has been recognized as an industry leader on smart grid technologies. He is the past chair of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s Smart Grid Council and is a member of the NEMA Distribution Automation Section, the DistribuTECH Advisory Committee, the Department of Commerce Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee, and the IEC Smart Energy Systems Committee. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster and for the GridWise Alliance.

Gary holds BS and ME degrees in Power Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a Registered Professional Engineer and an IEEE Senior Member. He has co-authored a T&D planning book, and has written numerous technical papers and articles.

Panel: How do energy and environmental policies impact business strategies?  


Tim Profeta - Director, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University
Tim Profeta is the director of Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Since 2005, the Nicholas Institute has grown into a major nonpartisan player in key environmental debates, serving both the public and private sectors with sound understanding of complex environmental issues.

Profeta’s areas of expertise include climate change and energy policy, the Clean Air Act, and adaptive use of current environmental laws to address evolving environmental challenges. His work at the Nicholas Institute has included numerous legislative and executive branch proposals to mitigate climate change, including providing Congressional testimony several times on his work at Duke University, developing multiple legislative proposals for cost containment and economic efficiency in greenhouse gas mitigation programs, and facilitating climate and energy policy design processes for several U.S. states. In addition to his role at the Institute, Profeta serves as Chairman of the Board for 8 Rivers Capital, is a member of the Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors, and is a member of The American Law Institute. Profeta also holds an appointment as an Associate Professor of the Practice at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

Profeta earned a J.D., magna cum laude, and M.E.M. in Resource Ecology from Duke in 1997 and a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University in 1992.

Robert Eidson - Lead Associate, Booz Allen Hamilton
ob Eidson is a lead associate with Booz Allen Hamilton and currently supports both conventional and renewable energy programs with the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. In his first assignment with Booz Allen, Mr. Eidson worked in Army’s Office of Energy Initiatives (OEI) as the Senior Technical Advisor to the Army’s Executive Director.
Prior to joining Booz Allen Hamilton, Mr. Eidson worked for two energy services companies, most recently as the Director, Federal Business Development for Chevron Energy Solutions; and prior to this, as the Federal Business Director for Energy Systems Group.

Bob retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), where he served as a portfolio manager of energy projects in VA’s unique enhanced-use leasing program. He also directed the operations and redevelopment of Pershing Hall, an American military memorial building in Paris, France, where he served as VA’s Attaché to the American Embassy in Paris. Mr. Eidson planned and negotiated the federal government’s and VA’s first privately-financed, constructed, owned and operated energy plant through VA’s enhanced–use lease authority and an energy services contract. Following federal retirement and entrance into the private sector, he served in a management role on six other energy purchase and lease transactions in both VA and the Army.

Bob is a civil engineer graduate of Duke University and served as a combat engineer officer and Vietnamese refugee camp commander in the US Marine Corps Reserves.

Shawn Heath - Vice President & Chief Sustainability Officer, Duke Energy
hawn Heath serves as vice president and chief sustainability officer for Duke Energy. He is responsible for the company's sustainability-related goal setting, reporting, internal programs and stakeholder outreach. He was named to his current position in January 2012. 

Heath joined Duke Energy in 2001 as an internal auditor and moved to the company's local government relations group in 2005. From 2006 to 2009, he held a variety of positions focused on regulatory and legislative planning for Duke Energy's utility business in North Carolina and South Carolina, including director of state energy policy and vice president of outreach and advocacy. During 2010, Heath served as vice president of planning and business support for the company's U.S. Franchised Electric and Gas organization. During 2011, he supported Duke Energy’s integration
executives responsible for the planning of integration activities for the Duke Energy/Progress Energy merger. Prior to joining Duke Energy, Heath was employed by Arthur Andersen, from 1994 to 2001. He provided both audit and management consulting services. From 1993 to 1994, he served as an accountant for Beverly Enterprises. A native of Deale, Md., Heath earned a Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude, in accounting from Virginia Tech. He also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Yale University. Heath serves on the board of directors of the Central Piedmont Community College Foundation. He is also actively involved in the Charlotte Heart Walk and a number of grassroots community engagement activities.
Heath and his wife, Dede, have three sons.

Craig M. Cookson - Director, Sustainability & Recycling, Plastics, American Chemistry Council
raig Cookson is the Director of Sustainability and Recycling for the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council, a trade association representing the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. Craig is responsible for leading the Plastics Division’s strategic national initiatives to increase the recycling of plastics, advance opportunities for energy recovery, and promote awareness of plastics’ role in providing sustainable solutions to society’s greatest challenges.

Before coming to ACC, Craig was the Vice President of Integrated Business Strategies at 720 Strategies, where he designed and implemented strategic grassroots programs for corporate, association, and non-profit clients. Craig was also the Deputy Director of State-Federal Relations for Governor Mitt Romney. Craig advocated on behalf of Massachusetts’ interests on the issues of energy, transportation, education, and local commerce.

Craig holds a B.A. in Political Science from The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and an MBA from Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Craig is a long-time New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox fan and currently lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife Elizabeth and their twin boys.


Panel: What are the impacts and expectations of the recent drop in oil prices?

John Buley - Professor of the practice, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
John is Consulting Professor at Duke University, Fuqua School of Business, Advisory Committee Chair of the Impact Investing Initiative of Center for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship and Head of the Center for Financial Excellence. John retired from JPMorgan in 2012. John was Head of Principal Investing for Social Finance, a unit of J. P Morgan’s Investment Bank, responsible for investing J.P. Morgan’s capital commitment of $100mm in impact investments in the Emerging Markets. John joined the Social Finance Group in 2008 in a volunteer capacity. In 2009, he joined the group full time. John was Chairman and Head of the Investment Committee of JPM Mezzanine Capital, a proprietary investment strategy focused on subordinated debt and equity co-investment for mid cap U.S. and European companies from 2003 through 2009. JPM Mezzanine Capital invested in over 40 private companies in the U.S. and Europe during his tenure, investing over $1 bn.

John has held Board of Director responsibilities or Board observer rights for over 20 private U.S. companies. He supervised a $200mm portfolio of venture capital investments and was a member of the Valuation Committee of Chase Capital Corporation, JP Morgan Chase’s middle market sub debt and equity group. John held various roles with JPMorgan Chase’s heritage banks between 1996 and 2004 Head of Corporate Finance Products, including Mergers and Acquisitions, Private Placements, Loan Syndications and Corporate Finance Advisory. He also headed Product Integration, linking Capital Markets, Commercial Banking, and Investment Management Products, John served as a senior member of merger integration team during several mergers over the past 15 years. John also served on the Commercial Bank Credit Committee of Bank One, the Portfolio Risk Committee and the Commercial Bank, Investment Management and Capital Markets Management Committees of Bank One. John was Head of Capital Markets and Corporate Finance at a large regional bank from 1987- 1996. John started his career as an attorney in the banking practice of White & Case. In 1982.

John earned a J.D. from Temple University. In 1991, he received an LL.M in International Taxation from Villanova University. 

Rob Jacobs - CEO, Caird Energy LLC
Rob Jacobs has worked as a geologist, asset manager, and head of business development for both private and publicly traded oil and gas companies for more than 25 years.  Currently he is CEO of Caird Energy which formed in 2014 and is currently involved in drilling horizontal wells in the Permian Basin of West Texas.  Prior to Caird from 2012-14, Rob was President of Atlantic Energy Holdings whose assets also were in the Permian Basin.  Atlantic sold its interests in 2014.  From 2006-2012, Rob served as President and co-founder of Classic Hydrocarbons Inc.  Classic sold its interests in 2013.  From 1998 to 2006 Rob was a founding partner of Encore Acquisition Company where he was involved in all aspects of oil and gas development, and served in a number of capacities including Vice President – Geology and Senior Vice President - Asset Management, Business Development, and Administration.  His responsibilities at Encore encompassed management of the company’s acquisition and growth programs, and oversight of the land department.  Originally a private equity backed company, Encore went public in 2001, and merged with Denbury Resources in 2008.  Prior to Encore, he worked for 12years as a geologist on the staff of Bass Enterprises Production Company. Rob has a B.S. in geology from Duke University (where he served on the Alumni Council of the NSOE); and an M.S. in geology from North Carolina State University.  He is active in numerous industry organizations and has served as Chairman of the Fort Worth Wildcatters. 

Raul Camba - Managing Director, Accenture Strategy Upstream
Raul Camba is Managing Director Accenture Strategy Upstream. His responsibilities include managing the Mexico and Andean Countries business and the Mexico office; Recruiting and people development. Raul’s areas of expertise are Functional:Strategy, Capital projects, Organization, Talent Development and Industry:  Off shore development and production, LatinAmerica. He holds B. Sc. Chemistry UNAM, pH.D. Chemistry Oxford University. Raul Camba worked 9 years in Schlumberger business consulting and led the Mexico office. Before, he worked as Associate Principal at McKinsey & Company focused in upstream oil and gas in Latin America, US and Europe and UK recruiting.


Mike Cormier - Managing Director, Barclays
Mike Cormier is a Managing Director in Barclays’ Natural Resources Group in the Investment Banking Division.  He is based out of New York and focuses on the midstream and upstream verticals within the energy sector.  Mike has worked on several high profile M&A, equity and debt assignments throughout his career, including notable 2015 transactions such as structuring advisor on Columbia Pipeline Partners’ ~$1.2bn MLP IPO, financial advisor on WPX Energy’s $2.75bn acquisition of RKI with lead bookrunner roles on the associated financing and financial advisor to The Williams Companies on their~$65bn sale to Energy Transfer Equity.  Mike has earned his CFA designation and received his BA from Middlebury College (1999) and MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business (2004).


Chase Krieger - Vice President, Morgan Stanley
Chase Krieger joined Morgan Stanley’s Global Investment Banking Division in 2014 as a Vice President in their Technical A&D group. He focuses on developing and presenting technical analyses in support of strategic discussions as well as active buy and sell-side oil and gas transactions at the asset and corporate levels. He works largely in the upstream space and has been active in the industry since 2009, having previously worked as a Manager for Schlumberger Business Consulting from 2010-2014 leading teams on operational, organizational, and strategic projects. Prior to joining the energy space he spent three years in the defense industry as a design engineer with the Northrop Grumman Corporation and the Goodrich Corporation.  He holds an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He and his wife reside in Houston, TX.