Plenary Speakers

Day 1 – Opening Session

Jacob Bernhagen

Jacob Bernhagen
Chair, 2016 ISGT Conference

Jacob Bernhagen graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in 2009 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. He has spent over 8 years working in the electric utility industry and currently works as a system protection engineer at Xcel Energy in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a member of IEEE, chairman of the Twin Cities chapter of the IEEE Power and Energy Society, a registered professional engineer in Minnesota, and a member of the planning committees for the 2016 Innovative Smart Grid Technologies Conference and the 2016 Minnesota Power Systems Conference.


Jay Giri

Jay Giri
IEEE PES Board

Jay Giri, PhD is Director of Power Systems Technology and Strategic Initiatives at GE Grid Software Solutions in Redmond, Washington, USA. He is a group manager for engineers who deliver software applications to utility control centers for: electricity market systems, generation monitoring and control and synchrophasor/phasor measurement unit (PMU) analytics. He is a liaison for university research activities and an affiliate professor at the University of Washington. Jay and 11 other engineers co-founded Energy System Computer Applications (ESCA) in 1978. After numerous corporate mergers, ESCA became part of GE Grid Software Solutions in 2015. Jay designed and implemented the original software for the ESCA automatic generation control (AGC) and dispatcher training simulator (DTS) power system simulation functions. Today this AGC controls over 50% of North American generation as well as generation in many other countries, and the DTS is one of the predominant simulators used by control centers worldwide.

He has a PhD from Clarkson University in New York and a B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras. He was elected IEEE Fellow: “For contributions to the design and implementation of power system control centers” in 2002. Since 2011, Jay has been a member of the IEEE Power &Energy Society (PES) Governing Board – now focussing on Industry Outreach. Jay was appointed Alstom Grid Senior Fellow in 2013 and a member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences in 2015.


Joseph Paladino

Joseph Paladino
Technical Advisor, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Department of Energy

Mr. Joseph Paladino has worked for most of his career in the advancement and commercialization of technology to address energy and environmental issues. His efforts in both private and public organizations have focused on waste management, energy efficiency, and energy infrastructure modernization. Over the past several years, he led efforts to convey the impact of the smart grid technologies advanced in projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. His current focus is to leverage this information to help decision-makers, including regulators, make informed choices on investments in advanced grid technologies.

Mr. Paladino has an A.B. in Biology from Middlebury College and an M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. He also holds a patent for a design for a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility.


Day 1 – Plenary Session: Smart Grid Technology Vision

Ebrahim Vaahedi

Ebrahim Vaahedi
Senior Director, Open Access Technology International

Dr. Ebrahim Vaahedi is a Senior Director 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.


Sasan Mokhtari

Sasan Mokhtari, Ph.D.
CEO and President, Open Access Technology International

Dr. Mokhtari, has over 32 years experience in the North American Energy Industry, and holds the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of Open Access Technology International, Inc., (OATI) which he founded in 1995. Dr. Mokhtari focuses OATI on providing innovative solutions, platforms, infrastructure, and hardware technologies that help to usher in new business paradigms in the energy industry worldwide. OATI is the premier provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) featuring the OATI Data Centers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. OATI products and services are used throughout the industry by private, publicly traded, governmental and regulatory entities to support energy and transmission scheduling, congestion management, commodity trading and risk management, SmartGrid implementations, Open Access Same Time Information Systems (OASIS), Private Key Infrastructure (PKI) security, and Microgrid technologies.

Prior to his current positions, for over 11 years, Dr. Mokhtari held the position of Manager of Research and Development for a large multinational energy industry vendor, where he guided the development and implementation of various techniques and applications for the economic and reliable operation of electric power systems. Dr. Mokhtari holds a doctorate in Electrical Engineering, Power Systems, from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he also served as Lecturer in the Departments of Electrical Engineering and Mathematics. Dr. Mokhtari is the holder of U.S. patents, author of numerous professional papers, and has participated in numerous panel sessions, workshops and technical conferences. Dr. Mokhtari is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).


David Whitehead

David Whitehead
Vice President, Research and Development, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. (SEL)

David Whitehead joined Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. (SEL) in 1994 and is currently the vice president of Research and Development and also oversees the company’s Government Services Division. He is a member of the SEL Board of Directors. Mr. Whitehead received his BSEE from Washington State University and his MSEE from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Mr. Whitehead is a senior member of the IEEE and chairs the Power and Energy Society Substations C6 group that addresses serial cryptographic protocols. Mr. Whitehead currently holds 51 patents worldwide with several others pending and is a registered Professional Engineer in Washington, New York, Michigan, and North Carolina.


Damir Novosel

Damir Novosel
CEO, Quanta Technology

Damir Novosel (SM 1994, F 2003) is president and co-founder of Quanta Technology, a subsidiary of Quanta Services, a Fortune 500 company. Previously, he was vice president of ABB Automation Products and president of KEMA T&D US. He has led development and implementation of a number of pioneering concepts, methods, and products that improved reliability and efficiency of power grids. Dr. Novosel is IEEE PES President and member of National Academy of Engineers. Damir holds 17 US and international patents and published over 150 publications in Transactions, Journals and Proceedings, receiving PES 2011 and 2013 Prize Paper Awards. He holds PhD and MSc degrees in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University, where he was a Fulbright scholar and was elected Distinguished Engineering Fellow, and the University of Zagreb, Croatia, respectively.


Byron Flynn

Byron Flynn
Senior Director – Smart Grid GE Grid Solutions

Byron Flynn, P.E., is Senior Director – Smart Grid North America for GE Grid Solutions and has worked in the electric utility industry for over 35 years. In this role, Mr. Flynn is responsible for supporting electric utilities’ development of Modern Grid solution architectures, roadmaps and business cases. This includes GE’s wide range of innovative solutions from traditional and renewable power resources across the transmission and distribution system to smart cities, industries and consumers.

Prior to joining GE in 1999, Mr. Flynn served in Sales and Marketing with Stellar Dynamics, a subsidiary of Idaho Power in Boise, Idaho. In this role, Mr. Flynn was responsible for substation automation solutions from 1996 till the acquisition by GE. Prior to that assignment, Mr. Flynn served as Power Control Supervisor with Idaho Power Company responsible for EMS and SCADA engineering & maintenance. His service to Idaho Power began in 1981 and includes working in the System Communications, Transmission and Distribution Substation Design, and Power Operations Departments.
Byron teaches Smart Grid courses on Distributed Energy Resources, a Modern Grid course for GE’s Engineering Consulting organization and several courses on Smart Grid for various industry groups. He is a contributor to SGIP’s OpenFMB initiative, bringing the IoT and advanced interoperability to the power grid. Over the last decade, he has created award winning smart grid architectures and roadmaps for utilities around the world, published dozens of papers and delivered hundreds of presentations on substation and distribution automation, cyber security, personal privacy, distributed generation, communication networks and various other smart grid systems. He is the lead inventor on a Smart Grid Patent.

Byron received his B.S.E.E. degree from University of Idaho, and an M.B.A, Beta Gamma Sigma, from Boise State University. Byron is Licensed Professional Engineer (Idaho) and is a Senior Member of IEEE.

GE’s modern grid is an integrated solution set that can combine technologies and expertise from thought leaders throughout the world. Whether working with an early adopter already reaping benefits from data and analytics, or helping someone new to the concept, GE is positioned to help customers map the logical, proactive steps to take their business digital. Beginning with connecting assets and collecting time series data, to installing analytics that produce operations insights and optimization, energy stakeholders are achieving results at every stage of the digital maturity curve. And our commitment to open systems and standards means GE’s solutions can add value while integrating with the technology of a rapidly evolving grid.


Wanda Reder

Wanda Reder
Chief Strategy Officer, S&C Electric Company

Wanda Reder is the Chief Strategy Officer at S&C Electric Company. Prior to S&C, she has held leadership positions at two major investor-owned utilities. Her pioneering work has led to smart grid deployments and wind, solar energy, and utility-scale battery storage integration into traditional utility systems. An IEEE Fellow, Reder was recognized with the 2014 IEEE Richard M. Emerson Award for her leadership in the IEEE Smart Grid program and in the continued growth of the Power and Energy Society (PES), including the creation of its Scholarship Fund program. Reder was the first woman president of PES and is responsible for the launch of the IEEE Smart Grid, positioning IEEE as the leading source for information on smart-grid technology. Wanda is a member of the US Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee. She is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a candidate for 2017 IEEE President-Elect.


Day 2 – Plenary Session: A Regulatory Perspective of Grid Transformation

Christopher Villarreal

Christopher Villarreal
Director of Policy, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

Chris joined the Minnesota PUC in May 2015 as its Director of Policy. In this role, Chris provides policy research and assistance to the Commissioners and analyzes policy considerations for future and on-going policy development, including on issues such as grid modernization, rate design, data access and privacy, and cybersecurity.

Chris is on the Board of Directors for the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, and is also on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee for the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB). At NAESB, Chris chairs the Energy Services Provider Interface (ESPI) Task Force which is the standard that supports Green Button, and the Data Privacy Task Force. Chris is the Staff Chair of the Staff Subcommittee on Rate Design at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).

Prior to joining the Minnesota PUC, Chris spent 9 years at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as a Senior Regulatory Analyst. At the CPUC, Chris worked on a variety of CPUC proceedings, including on Smart Grid, data privacy and data access, cybersecurity, demand response, and rate design. Chris also authored several White Papers on topics such as pre-pay, cybersecurity, and microgrids. Before the CPUC, Chris worked in Washington, D.C. as an energy law paralegal focusing on FERC matters. Chris has a B.A. in History from Baylor University.


Jorge Camacho

Jorge Camacho
Chief, Office of Infrastructure and System Planning, Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia

Jorge currently leads the Office of Infrastructure and System Planning at the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia and its initiative to modernize how energy is delivered in Washington. He started his career with Louisiana Power & Light maintaining the underground electric distribution system of downtown New Orleans, he then moved to Washington, DC to support the Intelligence Community with DoD. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering (Tulane, UF) and completed all doctoral coursework in power engineering (LSU). He is a registered professional engineer and a member of the IEEE serving in the National Electrical Safety Code and the IEEE 1547 Conformity Assessment committees.


Jay Griffin

Jay Griffin
University of Hawaii

Dr. James “Jay” Griffin is a faculty member at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI), which is an independent research unit at the University of Hawaii supporting the state’s efforts to develop indigenous renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels. Jay joined the HNEI faculty in 2009 and worked on several research projects analyzing renewable grid integration challenges in Hawaii. These projects included a series of grid integration studies and leading a Department of Energy-funded smart grid demonstration project on the island of Maui. In 2012, at the request of the Chair of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (HPUC), Jay took a leave of absence to serve as the Chief of Policy and Research at the HPUC. For four years, Jay led the PUC’s team of researchers and economists assisting Commission decision-making with energy policy research and analysis, and recently returned to his faculty position in July. In returning to HNEI, Jay will be leading research initiatives to support the state’s clean energy goals and developing a technology testing and demonstration program for emerging distributed energy resource (DER) technologies.


Asa Hopkins

Asa Hopkins
Director of Energy Policy and Planning, Vermont Public Service Department

Dr. Asa Hopkins is the Director of Energy Policy and Planning for the Vermont Public Service Department. He and his staff conduct state energy planning and oversee regulated utility planning, evaluate the performance of Vermont’s energy efficiency utilities, and run programs aimed at advancing the state’s renewable energy, climate change, and energy efficiency goals. He is particularly focused on how various regulated and unregulated energy sectors are changing due to advances in technology and markets, and how responsive public policy can shape and direct those changes to advance broader objectives. Prior to his work in Vermont, he worked at the U.S. DOE on the first Quadrennial Technology Review, and on appliance energy efficiency analysis for Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. He earned his PhD in physics from Caltech.


Day 3 – Plenary Session: Utility Executive Perspective

Teresa Mogensen

Teresa Mogensen
Senior Vice president, Xcel Energy

Teresa Mogensen is senior vice president, Transmission at Xcel Energy and is responsible for all aspects of Xcel Energy’s current and future electric transmission system and T&D substations across 10 states. She is president of the Xcel Energy Transco, several transmission-only subsidiary companies engaged in competitive transmission growth opportunities. Xcel Energy, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn. with regional headquarters in Denver, Colo.; Eau Claire, Wis.; and Amarillo, Texas, has one of the fastest growing investor-owned utility transmission systems with over 20,000 miles of lines and 1,200 substations.

Mogensen serves on a number of industry and community boards of directors, including the Midwest Reliability Organization (MRO), one of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) regional entities, and the Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. She chaired the MRO board during 2014 and 2015. She serves on the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Power Delivery and Utilization Sector Council and its Transmission Executive Committee, Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Energy Delivery Executive Advisory Committee, North American Transmission Forum and many other electric utility industry groups. She served previously on the NERC Planning Committee, where she represented investor-owned utilities.

Prior to Xcel Energy, Mogensen spent seven years with the American Transmission Co., Waukesha, Wis., where she held various leadership positions and helped start up the first
for-profit, transmission-only company in the country. She began her career as an engineer with Wisconsin Electric, now We Energies, of Milwaukee, Wis. Mogensen earned both a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Marquette University. She is a registered professional engineer and prior certified NERC system operator.


Terrence Donnelley

Terrence R. Donnelley
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, ComEd

Donnelly leads ComEd’s day-to-day operations. He is responsible for performance in operations, safety, service reliability, customer satisfaction, financial management and smart grid development. ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation. ComEd delivers electricity to approximately 3.8 million residential and business customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population.

Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), now including the Pepco Holdings utilities, is the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with 2015 revenues of approximately $34.5 billion. Headquartered in Chicago, Exelon does business in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Exelon is one of the largest competitive U.S. power generators, with more than 32,700 megawatts of owned capacity comprising one of the nation’s cleanest and lowest-cost power generation fleets. The company’s Constellation business unit provides energy products and services to approximately 2 million residential, public sector and business customers, including more than two-thirds of the Fortune 100. Exelon’s six utilities deliver electricity and natural gas to approximately 10 million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania through its Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO and Pepco subsidiaries. Follow Exelon on Twitter @Exelon.

Donnelly began his professional career at PECO in 1983 and has 32 years of experience in the utility industry.

He previously served as ComEd’s executive vice president of Operations, leading all energy delivery and transmission system operations. Donnelly has held several other executive positions covering a broad range of functions for ComEd and PECO.

Donnelly serves on the board of directors for Edison Illuminating Companies, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Joffrey Ballet Chicago and the Big Shoulders Fund. He also serves on the board of trustees and quality committee at La Rabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

Donnelly earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and received an MBA degree from Temple University.


Chantal-Aimee Hendrzak

Chantal-Aimee N. Hendrzak
Executive Director – Market Evolution of PJM Interconnection

Chantal is responsible for developing and implementing PJM’s strategic plan for market development, emerging technology adoption and overseeing market performance analysis. Responsibilities include ensuring the ongoing development and reliable integration of resources such as demand response, renewables, energy storage, and adoption of other industry innovations and emerging initiatives.

Ms. Hendrzak previously held the position of executive director – System Operations, responsible for PJM’s transmission operations and real time markets / operations coordination to include scheduling, reliability coordination, training, as well as the engineering analysis required to run the system.

Prior to this, Ms. Hendrzak was the executive director – Operations Support, responsible for the operations and support of the real-time operational model, the management of real time data, outage coordination, generator interconnections and deactivations, transaction scheduling, transmission analysis and regional and seasonal studies.

Ms. Hendrzak also held the position of director, Applied Solutions, responsible for evaluating and supporting the adoption of advanced solutions for the operation of the bulk power transmission system and related markets. She was also the director of International Relations for PJM, responsible for developing, managing, and leveraging PJM’s international relationships.

Previously, Ms. Hendrzak held the position of manager – Operations Development responsible for leading the development and enhancement of applications used in real-time operations. Prior to that, she was a project leader coordinator in the Information Services Division.

Ms. Hendrzak earned her Bachelor of Science in business and French from Albright College and Master of Business Administration through The Pennsylvania State University. She is also a graduate of the Wharton Leadership Program, holds a Board position on the Farm Park Preservation Association in Norristown, PA and is an alumni of Leadership – Philadelphia.


Ryan Keel

Ryan Keel
VP Technical Operations, EPB

Ryan has played an instrumental role in the company’s design and construction one of the country’s most sophisticated smart electric distribution systems.

EPB of Chattanooga revolutionized their reliability by deploying a fiber optic communications network and over 1400 intelligent switches across their entire system… in just two years. Ryan was one of the architects behind this massive change – he will share best practices for system wide deployments, lessons learned, and five years of results so that you can speed up the pace of your grid reliability.

He will discuss:

  • What motivates a utility to make such a big change to their grid
  • The facts and results from the first five years of the system being online
  • The lessons EPB learned that will help you plan and prepare for your own system wide distribution automation.

Using a 100% fiber optic network as its backbone, EPB has constructed a “Smart Grid,” next-generation electric system that includes capabilities designed to reduce the impact of power outages, improve response time and allow customers greater control of their electric power usage. That same fiber optic network is also delivering advanced services including 1 gigabit-per-second Internet to customers throughout the company’s 600 square mile territory. This exclusive capability has attracted worldwide attention and earned Chattanooga, TN the nickname “Gig City.”

Ryan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Tech University, an MBA from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and has been working in the fields of electrical engineering and operations since 1997.