Mr. Hochstetler is CEO of Central Electric Power Cooperative, the wholesale power supplier for the 20 electric distribution cooperatives in South Carolina. Rob has spent 30 years in the energy field, working in diverse areas of the industry. He serves in the all-volunteer humanitarian South Carolina State Guard as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Engineering Detachment. He and his wife reside in Chapin, South Carolina.
Mike Steffes has served as ACES’ President and Chief Executive Officer since May 2013. ACES is a cooperative owned energy risk management service company that provides comprehensive commodity services for its Members and Customers. In his role, Mr. Steffes leads the development and execution of the company’s long-term strategy and assures that ACES is able to fulfill its mission of helping its Members and Customers manage their energy risk.
Before assuming his current role as President and CEO, Mr. Steffes served as ACES’ Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer since 2001. During this time, he was responsible for all commercial activities of the company including management of the company’s Marketing, Origination, Trading, Structuring, Fuels, and Emissions departments.
Prior to joining ACES, Mr. Steffes was Vice President of Marketing and Trading for PP&L in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Mr. Steffes led the development of the utility’s unregulated trading subsidiary into a profitable, full-service trading organization.
Mr. Steffes has also held other significant roles in the industry; helping pioneer state of the art risk management systems at Valero Energy and leading natural gas marketing and trading businesses throughout the U.S. Mike received his BA degree at Albion College and his MBA at the University of Detroit.
Nicholas Eberstadt holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he researches and writes extensively on demographics and economic development generally, and more specifically on international security in the Korean peninsula and Asia. Domestically, he focuses on poverty and social well-being. Mr. Eberstadt is also a senior adviser to the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). His many books and monographs include Poverty in China; The Tyranny of Numbers: Measurement and Misrule; The End of North Korea; The Poverty of the Poverty Rate: Measure and Mismeasure of Material Deprivation in Modern America; Russia’s Peacetime Demographic Crisis: Dimensions, Causes, Implications, and Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis. He has offered invited testimony before the US Congress on numerous occasions and has served as consultant or adviser for a wide variety of units within the US government. In 2012 Mr. Eberstadt was awarded the prestigious Bradley Prize, and he delivered the Irving Kristol Lecture in 2020. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University, a Master of Science from the London School of Economics, a Master of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a PhD in political economy and government from Harvard University.
Jesse D. Jenkins is an assistant professor and macro-scale energy systems engineer at Princeton University with a joint appointment in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and Environment. He leads the Princeton ZERO Lab (Zero-carbon Energy systems Research and Optimization Laboratory), which focuses on improving and applying optimization-based energy systems models to evaluate and optimize low-carbon energy technologies, guide investment and research in innovative energy technologies, and generate insights to improve energy and climate policy and planning decisions. Dr. Jenkins earned a PhD and SM from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, worked previously as a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, and spent six years as an energy and climate policy analyst prior to embarking on his academic career. Dr. Jenkins recently served on the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine expert committee on Accelerating Decarbonization of the U.S. Energy System, was a principal investigator and lead author of Princeton's landmark Net-Zero America study, and leads the REPEAT Project (repeatproject.org), which provides regular, timely, and independent environmental and economic evaluation of federal energy and climate policies as they’re proposed and enacted. Dr. Jenkins has delivered invited testimony to multiple Congressional committees and his research is frequently featured in major media outlets. He regularly provides technical analysis and policy advice for non-profit organizations, policy makers, investors, and early-stage technology ventures working to accelerate the deployment of clean energy.Links: Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=iCJvalsAAAAJ&hl=en LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/jessedjenkins Twitter: https://twitter.com/JesseJenkins
Gary Ackerman co-founded and served until 2018 as the Executive Director of the Western Power Trading Forum (WPTF), a California mutual-benefit, non-profit corporation. The group’s mission continues to be encouragement and promotion of lower electricity prices and enhanced system reliability through policies undertaken either by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), California Independent System Operator (ISO), or the California PUC. Current membership is ninety-eight entities including corporations and utilities that generate, distribute, market, and trade wholesale power. (1998 - 2018)
Other professional engagements include founder and Executive Director of the Western Independent Transmission Group (WITG) (2011 – 2013), consulting to private-client corporations such as ITC Holdings (2013 – 2019), Calpine Corporation (2004), Automated Power Exchange (2002), and the Ridge Energy Group (2002).
In the 1990s, Mr. Ackerman worked as a developer of natural gas fired generation projects in Nevada and California. Prior to moving to California in 1978, Mr. Ackerman worked as an analyst at Commonwealth Edison, the electric utility serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.
Mr. Ackerman has an M.A. in Economics from the University of Chicago (1976), and a B.A. in Economics from Michigan State University (1973).
Mike Nasi is a partner with Jackson Walker LLP where he practices environmental and energy law. Mike attended the University of New Mexico, the University of Texas, the University of Houston Law School and the University of Texas School of Law. For over 28 years, Mr. Nasi has appeared before state and federal regulatory agencies and appellate courts working on energy and infrastructure project development issues. His clients have ranged from small governmental bodies to state governments; multi-state compacts to state and national industry associations; and small, privately-held companies to multi-national publicly-traded corporations.
Mr. Nasi’s law practice spans across numerous federal and related state environmental, natural resource and utility regulatory programs with a focus on regulatory compliance counseling and litigation as well as project development incentives and market reforms. Mike is counsel for energy and infrastructure interests in state, regional and national litigation and policy initiatives including matters pending before several state and federal agencies and multiple Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States and on energy policy debate in state legislatures across the country.
Mike has been an expert witness and speaker at docketed hearings, legislative proceedings, energy policy events, and classrooms across the country, including invited briefings at the White House and the United Nations, and is published in several trade, law, and business journals on environmental and energy law.
Mr. Nasi participates on advisory boards or as counsel for several state and regional energy research initiatives including the Wyoming Energy Agency (WEA), the Energy Policy Network (EPN), the University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) Foundation Board, the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB), the Energy Council Public Advisory Board (PAB), and the University of Houston Center for Carbon Management in Energy (CCME). He is consistently recognized on several “Best Lawyer” lists, and was awarded Law 360’s “Energy & Environmental Trailblazer Award” for his work on carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) projects.
Among his many philanthropic activities, which include Board posts for several non-profits and leadership at the Salvation Army Austin Command, Mike has donated his time and expertise to the cause of permanently funding the Texas Water Plan, including as a Board Member for H20 for Texas and as an ongoing advocate for infrastructure investments with the State of Texas political leadership.
As part of the ACES Senior Management team, Matthew Fischesser is responsible for leading the IT organization at ACES. Prior to becoming CIO, Matthew held a variety of positions over his tenure at ACES, in both Process Control and IT. Prior to joining the ACES team, Mr. Fischesser was a Senior Consultant at Deloitte & Touche LLP.
In leading the ACES IT organization, Matthew and his team are responsible for implementation and around-the-clock support of ACES’ generation operations, trading, risk, analytical, and settlement software solutions; maintaining, enhancing, and supporting a robust and reliable telecommunications and network infrastructure; designing and implementing best practice controls to meet regulatory and financial reporting requirements; developing and managing physical and cyber security programs; and leading business continuity and disaster recovery planning and readiness for ACES’ four regional trading centers and the national service center.
Matthew has experience leading large-scale system implementations, managing vendor relationships, building key technology partnerships, directing enterprise architecture design, managing ACES Member and Customer integration and consulting efforts, and supporting the planning and establishment of ACES’ technical vision. He has successfully led numerous strategic, multi-million dollar implementations including SAP enterprise resource planning system integration projects, EMS/GMS/SCADA solutions, customer relationship management solutions, commodity trading and risk management systems, and ISO bid to bill solutions.
Matthew has a proven record of operational excellence, financial stewardship, customer service, leadership, and innovation. He has an extensive knowledge of various energy markets and the services ACES provides to its Members and Customers, including forecasting, portfolio optimization, market operations, generation operations, risk management, settlements, energy allocation, and invoicing.
Matthew holds a Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University (IU) and an MBA from IU’s Kelly School of Business. He is a Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), as well as an inactive Certified Public Accountant.
Brian Heithoff has been Trico Electric Cooperative’s CEO/General Manager since April 2021. Trico is a non‐profit electric distribution cooperative serving 50,000 Members in communities surrounding the City of Tucson, including portions of Pima, Pinal, and Santa Cruz counties.
The majority of Trico’s market area is to the west of Tucson and spans approximately 66 miles east to west and 80 miles north to south, extending to the border with Mexico. Trico’s headquarters are in
Marana with a service center in Sahuarita. As Trico’s chief executive, Brian oversees $300M in utility infrastructure and $110M in revenues.
Mr. Heithoff has worked for electric cooperatives for more than three decades, including 23 years as a CEO. Prior to Trico, he has served for 10 years as the CEO and General Manager of High West Energy,
Inc., which serves members in southeast Wyoming, western Nebraska, and northern Colorado, including the Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Prior to his service at High West Energy, Heithoff served in numerous positions in the electric co‐op industry, including:
• CEO/General Manager at Consumers Energy in Marshalltown, Iowa.
• CFO at United Power in Brighton, Colorado.
• CFO at Morgan County REA in Ft. Morgan, Colorado.
• CFO at Clay‐Union Electric in Vermillion, South Dakota.
Brian has four children ages 26 and 22 – he has two sets of twins. He has also been actively involved in the communities where he has lived serving on the governing boards of local chambers, hospitals, economic development organizations, Rotary clubs, a local bank and several non‐profit organizations. Brian is a proven CEO and General Manager adept at leading innovative and team‐oriented cooperative
organizations. He has demonstrated leadership collaborating with employees, members, communities, and public officials.
Christian Nagel is the Director of Power Supply at Rayburn Electric Cooperative where his responsibilities include coordinating and overseeing Rayburn’s power supply and generation activities. This involves defining Rayburn’s power supply strategy, directing Rayburn’s hedging and risk management activities, and making recommendations to executive leadership and the Board of Directors. Additionally, he ensures compliance with internal risk and planning policies and assists in the training and education of Rayburn’s power supply activities to the Board of Directors.
Prior to joining Rayburn, Mr. Nagel began his career in the energy industry by working at ACES. While at ACES he held various management and trading positions and most recently was the Portfolio Director of the ERCOT and SPP regions. In this role his responsibilities included hiring, managing, training, and developing traders, establishing and executing hedging and portfolio optimization strategies for members and clients, and coordinating risk management controls with middle and back-office functions.
Preceding the energy industry, Christian was a commodities trader in Chicago, IL where he traded futures and derivatives that included interest rates, currencies, stock indices, and energy products. This career gave him a unique understanding of risk management that he was able to adjust to apply to the cooperative business models. Christian completed his BS degree at Indiana University.
Lee Ragsdale serves as the Senior Vice President, Energy Delivery in the Power Supply Division for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives headquartered in Raleigh, NC.
Lee is a recognized leader in discovering and delivering innovative energy solutions that simultaneously make our grid more flexible and efficient while providing co-op consumer-members new and unprecedented ways to manage their home energy use. He has testified before the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee on DER and microgrids, and in front of the North Carolina Utilities Commission on the Distribution Operator, transmission planning, and integrating DER. Most recently, he has spearheaded North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives’ Distribution Operator initiative, integrating edge-of-grid resources including, microgrid and distributed energy resources, providing enhanced visibility and coordinated efforts across all 26 NC electric cooperatives for reliability on the grid. Lee serves on the EPRI Research Advisory Committee and is a member of the Industry Advisory Board of the NCSU FREEDM Systems Center.
He joined NCEMC in January 2007 and over the course of the last 16 years has led teams in Resource Planning, Portfolio Management, and Asset Management, and has been actively involved in cybersecurity, grid modernization and company-wide strategic planning. Lee has been in the electric utility industry since 1991 having worked at Georgia Power, NewEnergy Associates, and Progress Energy Ventures prior to joining North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives.
Lee holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration in Economics from Georgia State University. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of North Carolina.
Lee resides in Raleigh, NC with his wife and two children. He is an active member of Hayes Barton United Methodist Church. He enjoys running and biking in ultra-distance events and tries to keep up with his active teenagers.
As part of the ACES Senior Management team, Andy Whitesitt leads ACES’ Business Development function. Mr. Whitesitt joined ACES in July 2003 and has held various positions in power, natural gas, and business development, most recently as Vice President of Business Development. Mr. Whitesitt and his team are responsible for the development of new Member and Customer business for ACES. He and his team also help identify trends in the market around which ACES can create new services or expand existing services to meet its Members’ and Customers’ needs.
Mr. Whitesitt began his energy career in 2001 with ICAP Energy as a Commodity Broker transacting power and natural gas in the Northeast and Canada. His industry experience includes fundamental and technical analysis of the energy markets; trading physical and financial power, natural gas, heating oil, crude oil, emissions, and renewable energy credits; fuels origination; pipeline and storage agreement negotiations; and development, implementation, and analysis of hedging and fuel procurement strategies. Additionally, Mr. Whitesitt has presented on a variety of topics including fuels, power markets, environmental regulations, coal plant retirements, rail and pipeline developments, and industry outlooks.
Dr. Jennifer Golbeck is a computer scientist, Director of the Social Intelligence Lab, and a professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research focuses on analyzing and computing with social media and creating usable privacy and security systems. She writes for Slate and The Atlantic and frequently appears on NPR, including as a regular guest host for The Kojo Nnamdi Show. Her TED talk was named one of the most powerful talks of 2014. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, a Bachelor of Science degree, a Master of Science degree in Computer Science at the University of Chicago, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Mr. Brannan serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of NCEMC. He joined NCEMC in 2006 and previously held the position of Senior Vice President of Power Supply and Chief Operating Officer. Throughout his career in the electric utility industry, Joe has experienced various areas of utility operations and management, risk management, energy trading and marketing operations. He holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University.
Brent joined Dairyland Power Cooperative as President and CEO on July 13, 2020.
Prior to Dairyland, Ridge served as Vice President, Corporate Services, and Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer at Energy Northwest (Richland, Wash.). His responsibilities included finance, treasury, enterprise risk management, asset management, human resources, supply chain, information services and energy services and development. He also served as Vice Chairman of the Corporate Nuclear Safety Review Board for Columbia Generating Station.
Earlier in his career at Energy Northwest, Ridge served as Asset Manager, Controller and Chief Risk Officer. He was also the manager of Construction and Maintenance Services, responsible for power plant modifications, outage and online major maintenance, facilities and commercial engineering.
Ridge earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Idaho and an MBA from Regis University (Denver, Colo.). He also completed the Reactor Technology Course for Utility Executives at MIT, the Utility Executive Course at the University of Idaho and the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University.
Ridge has been involved in the communities where he’s lived. He served on the Chancellors Advisory Council for Washington State University and as a member of the Tri-City Development Council Board of Directors, March of Dimes Board, United Way Board and former Chairman of the Board of Columbia Industries. Ridge and his wife, Lisa, have two sons.
Eric Rasmussen is the Vice President of Capital Projects and Technical Services at Oglethorpe Power Corporation (OPC), a position he began in September 2021. In this role, he leads an organization responsible for supporting 11 generation facilities with major capital projects and technical services support. He is also responsible for Vogtle 3&4 project oversight and new generation construction. In his previous role with OPC, he served as the Director of Nuclear Development and Capital Projects. Before joining OPC in 2017, he held a variety of Vogtle 3&4 related positions within the Southern Company. Most recently, he was the Nuclear Development Regulatory Manager at Georgia Power where his primary responsibilities were Vogtle 3&4 regulatory filings with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), interfacing with the PSC Construction Monitor and communications with project co-owners. Prior to his involvement in the Vogtle project, he worked at Kimley-Horn and Associates as a civil engineering design consultant.
Eric has been married to his wife Danielle for 14 years and they have three children Rachel, Thomas, and Andrew. His free time is spent coaching his son’s baseball team, spectating at his other children’s t-ball and softball games, and running. He has run the last 13 Peachtree Road Races (10K) in Atlanta.