Plenary Speakers

Day 1 – Plenary Session: Smart Grid Technology Vision

Ebrahim Vaahedi

Ebrahim Vaahedi
Plenary Chair
Associate Vice President, 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.


Juan de Bedout

Juan M. de Bedout
Chief Technology Officer, GE Energy Connections

Juan is the Chief Technology Officer for GE’s Energy Connections business, leading a team of 8,000 engineers in over 20 countries around the world.

Energy Connections is GE’s electrification and automation business, an $11B division serving a diverse array of customer segments including electric power transmission and distribution, renewable energy, oil and gas exploration and production, metals, mining, marine electric propulsion, commercial buildings and data centers, among others. The business has a complete portfolio of products and service offerings, including generators, primary equipment for high voltage utility applications, turnkey electrical substations, distribution automation products, circuit breakers and switchgear, variable speed motor drives, electrical motors, and a thorough suite of utility and industrial automation products. Under Juan’s leadership, the engineering team is responsible for designing and producing world-class products and solutions for the Energy Connections businesses.

Prior to this role, Juan served as the Technology Director for the Electrical Technologies & Systems organization at GE Global Research, reporting to the Senior Vice President of GE Global Research. In this role, he led a global team of approximately 550 scientists and engineers, responsible for advanced technology development in the areas of semiconductor devices and packaging, electronics, electrical power conversion, controls and signal processing, in support of GE’s Energy, Oil & Gas, Aviation, Transportation and Healthcare businesses.

An avid Boilermaker through and through, Juan obtained all of his degrees from Purdue, starting with a B.S.M.E degree in 1994, followed by an M.S.M.E. degree in 1996, and finishing with a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 2000. Juan was born in Medellín, Colombia, South America.


Ali Ipakchi

Ali Ipakchi
Vice President Smart Grid & Green Power, Open Access Technology International

Dr. Ipakchi has over 35 years of experience in the application of information technologies to power systems and electric utility operations. As the Senior VP of Smart Grid and Green Power at OATI, he is responsible for product development and market strategy for distribution operations and smart grid areas. Prior to OATI, he was Vice President of Integration Services at a leading consulting firm, assisting utilities with technology roadmap, business and implementation strategies.. Prior to that, Dr. Ipakchi held various senior management positions at ABB and Alstom leading teams for power application and market systems development, and system solutions delivery. He has been actively involved in various initiatives under DOE, NIST, SGIP, IEEE and various ISOs. He holds a PhD from University of California at Berkeley, and is co-holder of three US patents on power systems applications and instrument diagnostics.


Gary Rackliffe

Gary Rackliffe
Vice President, Smart Grids North America

Gary 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 also is 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 (NEMA’s) Smart Grid Council and is a member of the NEMA Distribution Automation Section, Connected Systems Division, and Grid Modernization Leadership Committee. He is also a member of the DistribuTECH Advisory Committee, the Department of Commerce Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee, the Department of Energy ADMS Steering Committee, the IEC Smart Energy Systems Committee, and the is the Technical Advisor for the IEC US National Committee’s advisory group. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster, the GridWise Alliance, and the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel.

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.


Mike Carlson

Mike Carlson
President, Siemens Digital Grid, North America

Mike Carlson is a global management executive with more than 25 years of experience in finance, technology and operations management across industries. Currently, Mike is President of Siemens Digital Grid North America and CEO of eMeter, A Siemens Business. Mike’s initial background began in finance and systems and he has dedicated his 20+ years in the energy industry to harnessing technology to achieve value through business transformation and grid modernization.

As the former CIO of Xcel Energy, Mike was a key player in designing and implementing the utility’s business transformation and smart grid strategy. In his current role at Siemens, Mike is responsible for driving the business strategy and execution for the Digital Grid business and global software development.

Prior to Siemens, Mike served as the General Manager for Energy Software Solutions in GE’s Energy Services’ Digital Energy business. With leadership experience as the Executive Vice President of Smart Grid Operations at Gridpoint, Inc. and Vice President and CIO for Xcel Energy, Mike’s expertise has focused on developing and applying advanced technologies to grid management for improved efficiency, reliability and performance.

Siemens Digital Grid partners with leading utilities and industrial energy consumers worldwide to provide expertise and innovative technologies. In North America, Digital Grid has worked with more than 1,000 energy customers to deliver proven solutions and services that improve operational efficiencies, enhance reliability and resiliency, and empower consumers to better manage their energy use.


Thierry Godart

Thierry Godart
General Manager of Energy Solutions, Intel

Thierry Godart joined the Internet of Things Group (IOTG) of Intel Corporation as General Manager of Energy Solutions in July 2015 to develop and deliver IoT solutions for the Power and Oil & Gas industry. The goal of Energy IoT is to implement an optimum energy value chain with reduced environmental impact in real-time. The scope of Energy IoT includes generation, transmission and distribution and consumption of electricity as well as the efficient extraction and refinement of oil and gas products.

Thierry is working with the ecosystem of equipment manufacturers, automation and software vendors, as well as utilities, oil & gas producers and service providers to develop and deploy ubiquitous connected devices, edge platforms and cloud architectures for operational excellence and transformative businesses.

Thierry has 25 years of experience providing advanced solutions to the global energy industry. At Schneider Electric, he was responsible for selling the complete set of Schneider offerings to electric utilities worldwide. Prior to his tenure at Schneider, Thierry led the Smart Grid Division of Siemens in North America. He has also held leadership positions at Areva T&D, ABB and GE.

Thierry holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Master’s degrees in Applied Mathematics and Electrical Engineering, all from Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA). He is a SUPELEC (Paris, France) Engineer.

Thierry lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.


Day 2 – Plenary Session: Policy and Regulatory Considerations Related to Grid Modernization

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.


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.


Day 3 – Plenary Session: Utility Executive Perspective

Jay Giri

Jay Giri
Plenary Chair
Director, GE Grid Software Solutions

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.


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.


Rana Mukerji

Rana Mukerji
Senior Vice President of Market Structures, NYISO

Rana Mukerji is Senior Vice President of Market Structures for the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO). He joined the NYISO in May 2006. Mr. Mukerji is responsible for the departments of Market Design & Product Management, Strategic & Business Planning, Research & Development and Market Training. Before joining the NYISO, Mr. Mukerji spent seven years with ABB in Raleigh, NC and Zurich, Switzerland where he served as Vice President and General Manager and Group Senior Vice President.

At ABB, Mr. Mukerji had global responsibility for ABB’s Power Technology Asset Management and Consulting services. He also led ABB’s $500 million global Utility Partner Business, overseeing 3,000 employees in 35 countries. Mr. Mukerji was with General Electric in Schenectady, N.Y. from 1990 to 1999 where he was General Manager of GE’s Power Systems Energy Consulting business. At GE, Mr. Mukerji implemented the Six Sigma quality improvement program in the Power Systems Energy Consulting organization, and helped establish the GE-MAPS software as an industry standard tool for evaluating competitive power markets. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. He earned a Masters of Engineering degree in Electric Power Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Mr. Mukerji is also a Professional Engineer registered in the State of New York.


Mark Karl

Mark Karl
Vice President, Market Development, ISO-NE

As Vice President, Market Development, Mark Karl is responsible for the design and development of wholesale electricity markets and oversees the functions of Wholesale Markets Strategy, Demand Resources Strategy, NEPOOL Markets Committee coordination, and Market Rules Integration. Mr. Karl previously served as Senior Director of Resource Adequacy in the ISO’s System Planning Department, where he was responsible for the operation of the Forward Capacity Auction, development of the load forecast and installed capacity requirements, and the auction qualification process. Prior to that, he served as Director of Market Development and Integration, designing markets and representing the ISO in stakeholder, regulatory, and legislative processes. Before joining the ISO in 2000, Mr. Karl was at Duquesne Light Company in Pittsburgh for nearly 20 years as a key member in Duquesne’s participation in Pennsylvania’s transition to competitive markets, interacting extensively with state regulators, and holding various roles, including engineer at fossil and nuclear plants, finance and strategic planning, and regulatory and economic analysis.


Thomas J. Pierpoint
Director, Business Applications, Exelon

Thomas J. Pierpoint is Director, Business Applications, at Exelon. Exelon is a FORTUNE 100 company that works in every stage of the energy business: power generation, competitive energy sales, transmission and delivery. As the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, Exelon does business in 48 states, D.C., and Canada and had 2015 revenues of $34.5 billion. Exelon employs approximately 34,000 people nationwide.

Mr. Pierpoint and his team are responsible for the software applications that support the electric and gas utilities at Exelon Utilities: Pepco, Delmarva Power & Light and Atlantic City Electric. These applications support key functions such as Customer Care, Asset Management, Engineering, Operations and Emergency Management. This group also manages internet and mobile applications that directly support our customers and the public with access to outage information and the ability to pay bills and manage energy usage.

Mr. Pierpoint is also one of the leads for the Pepco Incident Management Team that responds to emergency events. This team consists of nearly 1,400 employees with second roles.

Mr. Pierpoint holds an MIT Sloan Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership. Mr. Pierpoint also holds a Master’s in Business Administration, a Master’s in Project Management, graduate work in Software Engineering and a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering Technology.