Bios

Farrokh Albuyeh received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering, with emphasis on Power Systems, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He is currently Senior Vice President, Smart Grid Projects at Open Access Technology International, Inc. (OATI), where he is involved in the development and delivery of software solutions and systems for Smart Grid  and grid renovagtion. Prior to joining OATI in 2004, he worked for Alstom/AREVA T&D where he was involved in the development of products and solutions for participants in energy markets. From 1985 to 1999 he worked for ABB as the Director, Product Development and Marketing, where he was involved in the design and implementation of advanced transmission system analysis, and generation scheduling applications for Energy Management Systems and market applications for ISOs and RTOs.

Dr. Albuyeh is a Life Senior Member of IEEE Power & Energy Society and is the past chairman of IEEE’s Power Industry Computer Applications (PICA) conference.

Ron Ambrosio is the Chief Scientist and Co-Founder of Utopus Insights, responsible for the technical vision of the company, and for industry and government liaison. Prior to this Ron was an IBM Distinguished Engineer and Chief Technology Officer for IBM’s Smarter Energy Research, overseeing the Energy and Utilities Industry technical activities in the company’s research laboratories around the world. Over his 35-year career Ron has worked in a variety of areas including embedded real-time operating systems, distributed agent frameworks, and pervasive computing environments, ultimately focusing on networked embedded computing with particular emphasis on what he coined “Internet-scale Control Systems” — the interoperability of control systems and sensor networks with enterprise systems and business processes. He helped establish IBM’s activities in both Smart Grids and Smarter Planet.

From 2012 to 2014, Ellen Anderson was senior advisor on energy and environment to Gov. Mark Dayton and assisted the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board on energy and environmental issues. Anderson helped coordinate state climate change planning, led the implementation of Gov. Dayton’s Executive Order 11-32, including organizing the EQB’s Minnesota Environmental Congress, issuing Minnesota’s Environment and Energy Report Card, and initiating and drafting the EQB’s Minnesota and Climate Change: Our Tomorrow Starts Today report.

In March 2011 Gov. Dayton appointed Anderson chair of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, where she served until early 2012.

Anderson served in the Minnesota Senate from 1993 to 2011 and was re-elected five times, representing several neighborhoods of St. Paul and the city of Falcon Heights.  She chaired the Jobs, Energy and Community Development Committee; the Commerce Committee; the Energy and Telecommunications Committee; and the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Finance Committee. Her signature legislation includes the Renewable Energy Standard, the Community Based Energy Development law, the Next Generation Energy Act, and many other energy and consumer protection laws, including a law raising the minimum wage; cthe Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment (co-author); the Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Act; and the first law in the nation, now in federal law, protecting nursing mothers in the workplace.

Anderson holds a B.A. from Carleton College and J.D. cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School. She was an adjunct faculty member at Metropolitan State University and the University of Minnesota, teaching courses in law, energy, and sustainability. She has served in numerous leadership and community volunteer positions and received dozens of awards for her leadership in energy, environment, and economic and social justice. Most recently, Anderson received the 2013 Ecological Society of America Regional Policy Award for Informing Policy with Ecological Science and served on the advisory committee for the 2014 Midwest Innovation Summit. She currently serves as a member of the Citizens League Electrical Energy Study Committee, an observer to the e21 project on new utility business models, and the advisory boards for the U of MN Joint Degree Program in Law, Science & Technology and the Will Steger Foundation.

Ellen is married and has two teenage sons. She enjoys reading, travel, gardening, bicycling, hiking and the great outdoors.

Tanya Barham’s management experience spans a wide variety of innovative and traditional energy applications including; coal and gas fired power plant operations, planning, maintenance, and uptime management for clients such as Salt River Project, Tucson Electric Power and Colorado Springs Utilities. She worked on geospatial management of ISO 140001 for Shell Petroleum Distribution in Iceland. Tanya also has helped develop energy efficiency and renewable energy startups including: scaling a nascent AirCarePlus HVAC tune-up technology and savings aggregation program that has delivered 350 trillion BTU savings to small to medium commercial buildings on behalf of investor owned utilities; and building the Solar 4R Schools renewable energy education startup that now serves over 200 schools nationwide and delivers over 1 MW of solar energy.

David Forfia is Director of Enterprise Architecture and IT Transformation at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, where he is responsible for the architecture for the systems which operate the Texas electric grid operations and implementing the programs that transform the delivery of IT services to ERCOT’s stakeholders. During his tenure at ERCOT, he has served in many roles including Director of Infrastructure & Operations, Director of Application Services and multiple roles on the Texas Nodal implementation. He has more than 25 years of experience in the industry, and began his career at Austin Energy in 1987. Forfia received his bachelor’s from the University of Texas and MBA from St. Edward’s University, both in Austin. Forfia is PMP certified and currently serves on the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel Board of Directors where he Chairs the Nominating and Governance Committee and serves on the Executive, Technical and Audit committees.

Gerald Gray is a Senior Program Manager at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and leads the EPRI enterprise architecture and integration research. In this capacity Dr. Gray also participates in the development of industry standards as a member of International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) TC57, MultiSpeak®, and IEEE organizations, is the technical lead on IEC 61968-5 Distributed Energy Resource Optimization standard, and contributes to the IEEE 2418 blockchain standard. He is also a member of the GridWise® Architecture Council and a Board of Directors Member of the Utility Communication Architecture International Users Group (UCAIUG).

Dr. Gray earned a Masters of Administrative Sciences in Managing Information Systems from the University of Montana and a Doctor of Philosophy in Organization and Management with a specialization in Information Technology from Capella University.

Doug Houseman has extensive experience in the energy and utility industry and has been involved in projects in more than 30 countries. He is routinely invited to speak at international events in the industry and has been widely quoted in a number of international publications. Doug was named part of the World Generation Class of 2007, one of 30 people in the global utility and energy industry so named. Doug was the lead investigator on one of the largest studies on the future of distribution companies and for the last five years has been working with more than 100 utilities and manufacturers, 50 governments, 5 international agencies/NGOs.

Mostafa (Mos) Kaveh is the dean of the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering.  He became dean on June 11, 2018 and had previously served as interim dean since Jan. 16, 2018.

As dean, Kaveh is chief executive officer and chief academic officer of the College of Science and Engineering, the University’s second-largest college, which spans 12 departments and is ranked among the top engineering and science academic programs in the country. He provides strategic and intellectual leadership and administrative oversight for the school and works to advance its research, teaching, and service.

Kaveh has served in various roles in the College of Science and Engineering for more than 40 years. Most recently, he served as associate dean for research and planning since 2005, where his responsibilities included managing CSE financial resources, promoting research opportunities, and enhancing collaborations between faculty and our programs and industry. Before becoming an associate dean, he was head of the University of Minnesota Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 1990-2005. Kaveh joined the University of Minnesota electrical and computer engineering faculty in 1975.

Kaveh holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Purdue University, and master’s degree in electrical engineering from University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Purdue. He is highly regarded for his research in statistical signal processing and their applications, specifically in wireless communications. Kaveh is a Fellow of IEEE and AAAS, has received Society and Meritorious Service Awards from the IEEE Signal Processing Society, and receive the Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineer Award from Purdue University.

Lorenzo Kristov is an independent consultant continuing to work in areas began while employed at the California Independent System Operator, areas which are encompassed by the broad heading of electric system evolution toward an integrated-decentralized structure. Rapid advances in distribution-connected energy resources (DER) and scalable control systems, combined with the need of local governments and communities to develop local energy systems for greater resilience and reduced environmental impacts, are driving the electric industry toward a more decentralized structure. Yet although these local systems will be capable of islanded operation to withstand the impacts of major external disruptions, they will remain connected to the bulk electric system most of the time to engage in wholesale transactions. Hence an “integrated-decentralized” structure. Some areas of focus within this broad heading are: community-level energy systems; integration of energy and municipal services to create resilient communities; whole-system architecture for the integrated-decentralized future grid; transmission-distribution interface coordination with high DER; redesign of wholesale spot markets for a zero marginal cost supply fleet; distribution system operator (DSO) models; distribution-level energy markets; new utility business models.

Dr. Melton is the administrator of the GridWise® Architecture Council, manager of the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Distribution Systems Management project and a senior technical leader for smart grid research and development projects. He was the director of the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration project that concluded in June 2015. He has over 30 years of experience applying computer technology to a variety of engineering and scientific problems. In addition to smart grid related projects, recent experience includes research and engineering in cyber security for critical infrastructure protection and process control system security. Dr. Melton is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a Senior Member of the Association for Computing Machinery.

Mark Paterson is the General Manager of Horizon Power’s Consumer Energy division.  Horizon Power is responsible for providing electricity across regional Western Australia, which is the world’s largest service territory served by a single utility.  Covering diverse terrain, various climate zones and a wide range of demographic groups, including a significant indigenous population, this is also one of the most sparsely populated areas of the world with only one customer per 50km².

Rob Pratt is one of the early thought leaders behind the smart grid, focused on an information-rich future for the power grid. manages Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s (PNNL’s) GridWise™ program activities for the U.S. Department of Energy. He leads a team studying communications architecture, advanced control technology, and simulation of the combined engineering and economic aspects of the future grid, including the effect of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Farrokh Rahimi is Senior Vice President; Market Design and Consulting at Open Access Technology International, Inc. (OATI), where he is currently involved in analysis and design of power and energy markets and Smart Grid solutions. He has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), along with over 40 years of experience in electric power systems analysis, planning, operations, and control, with the most recent 10 years in the Smart Grid area. Before joining OATI in 2006, he collaborated with California ISO, Folsom, CA for eight years, where he was engaged in market monitoring and design. His prior experience included eight years with Macro Corporation (subsequently KEMA Consulting), five years with Systems-Europe, Brussels, Belgium; one year with Brown Boveri (now ABB), Baden, Switzerland; ten years, as a university professor, researcher, and consultant in power and industrial control systems, and two years with Systems Control, Inc. (now ABB Systems Control, Santa Clara, CA), where he started his professional career.

Dr. Rahimi has been a member of a number of Smart Grid task forces and committees collaborating with IEEE, NERC, NAESB, WECC, and IRC among others.

Matthew Schuerger is a commissioner on the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission serving since February 1, 2016.

Commissioner Schuerger is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and serves on the NARUC Board of Directors and Committee on Electricity. He serves as Vice-President of the Organization of MISO States Board of Directors and Executive Committee and is a member of the MISO Advisory Committee. He is a member of the Electric Power Research Institute Advisory Council and Executive Committee. In addition, he has been elected to serve on the Member Representatives Committee of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation where he represents state government interests in maintaining reliability of the electric grid.

Commissioner Schuerger has over thirty years of experience in the energy industry as a senior manager and professional engineer, including work focused on power system planning and reliability, energy markets, grid modernization, distributed energy resources, grid integration of renewable energy, strategic planning, and business development. From 2001 until he was named to the Commission, Schuerger was the President of an engineering and management consulting firm. Prior to that, he was the Executive Vice President of District Energy St. Paul Inc., a privately held provider of district heating, district cooling, and cogenerated electricity.

Commissioner Schuerger earned a Master’s of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University.

Leonard C. Tillman is a partner with Balch & Bingham LLP of Birmingham, Alabama and practices in the firm’s Energy Section. Leonard represents major utility clients and advises on a variety of regulatory and commercial law matters. He is a graduate of the University of South Alabama and the Cumberland School of Law of Samford University where he was Associate Editor of the Cumberland Law Review. Recently, Leonard was named to the list of The Best Lawyers in America for his work on Commercial Transactions/UCC Law.

Chris Villarreal has worked in the electricity regulatory policy industry for nearly 20 years, including 11 years as staff at the California PUC and Minnesota PUC. In that time, Chris has led initiatives on topics such as grid modernization, rate design reform, data access and data privacy, cybersecurity, and energy storage. Chris is also the author of several white papers from his time at the California PUC on topics such as pre-pay, microgrids, and cybersecurity, as well as the lead author of the NARUC DER Rate Design and Compensation manual, released in 2016. He is currently President of Plugged In Strategies where he advises clients on grid modernization, technology, regulatory and policy matters.

Nick Wagner is the President of NARUC and  an Iowa Utilities Board Member. He began serving as a member of the Iowa Utilities Board on May 24, 2013, appointed by Governor Branstad to fill a term ending on April 30, 2019.

Board member Wagner was installed as the new president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) at its Annual meeting in November 2018. As NARUC President, Wagner will focus on ensuring NARUC is meeting the needs of its members, and is providing the leadership necessary in an evolving utility industry. Wagner also serves on the NARUC Committee on Gas, the Washington Action Program, and the Committee on Critical Infrastructure. He previously held several leadership positions with the Mid-America Regulatory Conference (MARC).

Prior to joining the Board, Wagner was the Director of Quality Management for the ESCO Group in Marion, Iowa.

Wagner also served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 2008 to 2012 as ranking member and chair of the Local Government Committee, and as vice chair of the Appropriations Committee. Wagner also sat on the Administration and Regulation Budget Sub-Committee, Commerce, Transportation, and Ways and Means Committees.

Wagner previously served four years as an at-large elected member of the Marion City Council.

Wagner received his Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical engineering in 1996 and a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering in 1998, both from the University of Iowa. He and his wife, Mandie, reside in Marion, Iowa, and have a daughter and son.