Speakers & Panelists
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SPEAKERS & PANELISTS
Jeff Merkley, U.S. Senator for Oregon
After earning an undergraduate degree from Stanford and a graduate degree in Public Policy from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Senator Merkley worked as a national security analyst at the Pentagon and at the Congressional Budget Office. Senator Merkley entered the Oregon House of Representatives in 1998 and became Speaker of the House in 2007. In 2008, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. He is currently the junior United States Senator from Oregon, serving on the Senate Committees on Appropriations; Environment and Public Works; Budget; and Foreign Affairs. In the Senate, he has been one of the leading voices pushing to take on climate change and accelerate the shift to a clean energy economy. In April of this year Senator Merkley introduced the “100 by ’50 Act,” which lays out a roadmap for a transition to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2050.
Earl Blumenauer, U.S. Representative for Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District
Earl Blumenauer was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and has been a life-long resident of Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District. During his service in the Oregon Legislature, on Multnomah County Commission, and on Portland City Council, he developed a national reputation for advocacy for public transportation, land use planning, and protection of the environment. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996, Blumenauer is a leading Congressional advocate for rebuilding and renewing America. He has strengthened access to infrastructure financing tools and led efforts to support and expand federal investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. As former Vice Chair for the House Select Committee on Energy Independence & Global Warming, he has defended EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gasses in the fight against climate change. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, Blumenauer has led the fight for increased investments in renewable energy, and is a strong voice for tax reform, simplification, and equity for Oregon industries.
Jerry McNerney, U.S. Representative for California’s 9th Congressional District
Jerry McNerney was sworn into office on January 4, 2007. He is proud to represent California’s 9th District, which includes a large portion of San Joaquin County and parts of Contra Costa and Sacramento Counties. Jerry is honored to serve on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the oldest standing legislative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. He has a Ph.D. in mathematics and previously served as an engineering contractor as well as an energy consultant. During his career in wind energy, Jerry’s work contributed to saving the equivalent of approximately 30 million barrels of oil, or 8.3 million tons of carbon dioxide.
Bob Wieckowski, California State Senator, 10th District
Senator Bob Wieckowski was elected on Nov. 4, 2014 and represents the 10th Senate District in the California State Legislature. Mr. Wieckowski chairs the Environmental Quality Committee and Budget Subcommittee 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation. Senator Wieckowski’s district is home to more clean tech companies than any other district in the state. The Senator is a state leader in advocating for climate adaptation programs and has participated on state and regional panels examining green infrastructure investments. Mr. Wieckowski is a small business owner and a bankruptcy attorney. He received his B.A. from the University of California and his J.D. from Santa Clara University Law School.
Rocky Chavez, California Assembly Member, 76th Assembly District
Assembly member Rocky Chávez began his public service career immediately after graduation from California State University, Chico when he joined the United States Marine Corps. He spent more than 28 years as a United States Marine, rising to the rank of Colonel and being assigned Chief of Staff for the 4th Marine Division. Upon retiring from the Marine Corps, Rocky founded and directed the School of Business and Technology, a charter High School in the Oceanside Unified School District. In 2002, Rocky was elected to the Oceanside City Council. During his seven years of service he focused on economic development, public safety and quality of life issues. In 2009, Rocky was appointed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve as Undersecretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs. He later served as Acting Secretary. Rocky was first elected on November 6, 2012 to represent California’s 76th Assembly District.
Megan Decker, Commissioner to the Oregon Public Utility Commission
Megan Decker was appointed to the Oregon Public Utility Commission by Gov. Kate Brown on April 1, 2017. Her expertise in energy policy and regulation comes from managing utility commission advocacy in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana as counsel for Renewable Northwest. She also served as Board Chair of the NW Energy Coalition. Megan’s legal experience also includes work as an Assistant General Counsel with the Port of Portland and as a land use lawyer in private practice. Megan earned a B.A. from Stanford University and a J.D. from University of Washington School of Law, and served two years as a judicial clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Elliot Mainzer, Administrator & CEO, Bonneville Power Administration
Elliot Mainzer was named Administrator in January 2014 but had served as Acting Administrator since July 2013. He is responsible for managing the nonprofit federal agency that markets carbon-free power from Columbia River hydroelectric dams and the region’s one nuclear plant. BPA also operates most of the high-voltage power grid across the Pacific Northwest. From February to July of 2013, Mainzer served as BPA’s acting deputy administrator. Mainzer has held a variety of management positions within the agency’s Power, Transmission and Corporate organizations. Most recently, as executive vice president of Corporate Strategy, he led the agency’s strategic planning process and provided policy leadership and cross-agency coordination on renewables integration, market design, climate change and integrated planning. He has provided leadership and coordination of significant regional initiatives, including the Northwest Wind Integration Action Plan in 2007 and the Northwest Power Pool Members’ Market Assessment and Coordination Initiative. Prior to joining BPA, Mainzer established and managed Enron’s Renewable Power Desk out of its offices in Portland, Ore. Mainzer earned his bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of California, Berkeley. He has an MBA and Master of Environmental Studies degree from Yale University.
Ruchi Sadhir, Energy & Climate Change Policy Advisor to Oregon Governor Kate Brown
Ruchi Sadhir is Governor Kate Brown’s Energy Policy Advisor, working on a range of matters related to energy and climate change. Prior to joining the Governor’s office, she was the Senior Policy Advisor at the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC), where she tracked burgeoning energy policy issues confronting regulated utility industries and led dockets on exploration and formulation of new policy. Before her work at the OPUC, Ms. Sadhir helped lead development of renewable energy and electric transmission siting and permitting policy in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of the Interior, staffed the Obama Administration’s “Rapid Response Team for Transmission,” and was a law clerk at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Ms. Sadhir holds an LLM in Environmental Law from the George Washington University Law School, a JD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and a BS from the University of Michigan College of Engineering.
Michael Garland, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pattern Energy
Mike Garland is President & CEO of Pattern Energy Group, Inc. (Pattern Energy), and also serves as the CEO of Pattern Energy Group LP (Pattern Development). Prior to joining Pattern Development, Mr. Garland was a partner at Babcock & Brown from 1986 to 2009. Previously, Mr. Garland worked for the State of California as Chief of Energy Assessments from 1975 to 1986.
Tom Starrs, Vice President, Market Strategy and Policy, SunPower Corp.
Tom Starrs serves as SunPower Corporation’s vice president, market strategy and policy, where he is responsible for the company’s global market assessment, market strategy and public policy initiatives. He has 25 years of experience in and around the solar power industry, including senior management positions with Iberdrola Renewables (now Avangrid), PPM Energy, and Schott Solar. Starrs is widely recognized as a leading strategist on solar energy market development, business strategy and policy. He serves on the boards of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, the Smart Electric Power Alliance, the Solar Energy Industries Association, and the Wind Energy Foundation. Tom holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Program, and a J.D. from the University of California Berkeley’s School of Law.
Scott Bolton, Senior Vice President, External Affairs and Customer Solutions, Pacific Power
Scott Bolton is senior vice president, external affairs and customer solutions, at Pacific Power. He is responsible for the company’s government relations, public affairs, external media relations, community affairs, regional stakeholder engagement and economic development for Oregon, Washington and California. Prior to joining PacifiCorp in 2004, Bolton worked for a large public affairs firm as senior account manager and lobbyist. He has also held positions as director of government affairs for a broadband services firm, and previously worked as a congressional aide for U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden. During his more than five years with Wyden, he served in a number of capacities, including managing the senator’s Central Oregon field office in Bend. Bolton earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Portland State University, received a master’s degree in business administration from Marylhurst University, and completed Willamette University’s graduate utility management program. He is an active member in the business and non-profit communities, serving on the boards of directors for the Oregon Business Association, the Association of Washington Business, Portland Business Alliance, Lloyd Enhanced Service District, Pacific Northwest Utility Conference Committee, and is the Board Chair for the Marylhurst University Board of Trustees. Bolton is also an American Leadership Forum of Oregon senior fellow. Bolton served on active duty as an intelligence analyst in the U. S. Army and the Oregon Army National Guard. He is PacifiCorp’s representative to the Employers in Support of the Guard and Reserves program, which helps employees transition between military service and civilian life.
Matt Baker, Environment Program Officer, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Matt Baker is a Program Officer in Environment at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. He helps develop and implement grantmaking strategies for climate and energy, and collaborates with environmental leaders and others in the public and private sectors to achieve the foundation’s goals to reduce greenhouse gases and advance clean energy. Formerly commissioner with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, Matt worked to regulate and help set rates for the state’s electric and gas investor-owned utilities and to implement new energy policies. Prior to that, Matt founded and served as executive director of Environment Colorado from 2000 to 2008. Matt has a bachelor’s degree in history from the Pennsylvania State University. He has served as a member of Colorado’s Pollution Prevention Advisory Board and as a vice-chairman of the Transit Alliance. He was named Wind Energy Advocate of 2004 by the American Wind Energy Association and received the 2005 Wirth Chair Sustainability Award for advocacy from the University of Colorado Denver.
Tarika Powell, Senior Research Associate, Sightline Institute
Tarika Powell, senior research associate, researches and analyzes energy policy and infrastructure. Tarika is a graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, where she received an American Bar Association fellowship in environmental law and interned at Southern Environmental Law Center. She received a Master’s of Education and undergraduate degrees in English and African-American Studies from Oberlin College. In her free time, she enjoys visiting the many parks in Seattle.
Eileen Wenger Tutt, Executive Director, California Electric Transportation Coalition
Prior to becoming the Executive Director of the California Electric Transportation Coalition, Eileen Tutt worked in California State government for more than 15 years. Most recently, Eileen served as Deputy Secretary for the California Environmental Protection Agency. Prior to her time at the Cal EPA, Eileen worked for the California Air Resources Board. Eileen helped develop regulations and programs that have placed the State of California at the forefront of environmental protection.
Steven Douglas, Senior Director, Energy & Environment, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
Steve is the Senior Director of Energy and Environment for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers – a trade association representing 12 of the world’s leading automakers. In this role, he works extensively on environmental regulations with both the California Air Resources Board and U.S. EPA including zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), low emission vehicle program, U.S. EPA’s Tier 3, and On-Board Diagnostics (OBD). In addition to his work with CARB and EPA, he represents the Alliance on environmental issues in state legislatures throughout the country. A Captain in Navy Reserve, Steve spent 13 years as an active duty submarine officer and the last 20 years in the Navy Reserve. Most recently, he was the Commanding Officer of the Pacific Strike Group Operations unit based in Portland but serving Submarine Group 7 in Yokosuka, Japan. Steve holds an electrical engineering degree from Auburn University and was an Anthony Kennedy Fellow at McGeorge School of Law prior to being recalled in 2001.
Sarah Hunt, Director, Center for Innovation and Technology, American Legislative Exchange Council
Sarah E. Hunt is Director, Center for Innovation and Technology at ALEC. She leads the Center’s Energy Innovation Project. Her policy work focuses on free-market solutions for the energy future. Her diverse professional background includes political law practice, campaigns, non-profit leadership, and management consulting. She began her career in public policy as legislative staff in Oregon and New Mexico. Sarah is the co-author of Oregon’s Ballot Measure 73, passed by statewide referendum in 2010. After being homeschooled for ten years, Sarah studied political science and College Republican organizing at the University of New Mexico. She is also a graduate of the Willamette University College of Law, with a JD and certificate in environmental and energy law, and Georgetown University Law Center, with an LLM in international environmental law.
Melissa Powers, Professor of Law and Director, Green Energy Institute at Lewis & Clark Law School
Melissa Powers is a Jeffrey Bain Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. In 2014–2015, Melissa was a Fulbright-Schuman Scholar researching Denmark and Spain’s renewable energy laws. Melissa is also the founder and faculty director of the Green Energy Institute at Lewis & Clark Law School, an organization that designs policies to a transition to a zero-carbon energy system. Melissa’s research focuses on energy reform, climate change mitigation, and pollution control. She is a co-author of the books Climate Change and the Law and Principles of Environmental Law, and several articles and book chapters focused on climate and energy law. Melissa received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Lewis & Clark Law School, and her B.A. in environmental sciences from the University of California at Berkeley.
Michelle Romero, Deputy Director, Green for All
Michelle Romero has nearly a decade of organizing and advocacy experience fighting for progressive issues—ranging from immigrant rights and economic justice, to higher education, redistricting, and voting rights. Michelle joined Green For All in early 2016 to bring her interdisciplinary and multi-ethnic organizing experience to the fight for climate justice. In her role as Deputy Director of Green For All, she leads the team to implement a bold climate agenda that seeks to create an inclusive green economy for all—starting with those hit first and worst by pollution and climate change. Immediately prior to joining Green For All, Michelle worked in the Issues Management and Policy Analysis unit for the President of the University of California system, Janet Napolitano. She also spent five years at the Greenlining Institute. Michelle holds a B.A. from the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Kelly Hall, Washington Policy Manager, Climate Solutions
Kelly Hall is the Washington Policy Manager at Climate Solutions, an organization with the mission of accelerating clean energy solutions to the climate crisis. She helps develop, analyze, advocate for, and implement clean energy policies for a rapid and equitable transition to clean energy in the Northwest. Prior to Climate Solutions, Kelly began her career as a Probation Officer, but her career quickly shifted during graduate school after a course examining the ethics of climate change. She attended University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, where she held positions as a Research Assistant for the Climate Impacts Group and a Student Energy Consultant for Smart Grid Northwest. After graduation, Kelly gained expertise in renewable energy policy and utility regulation as Renewable Northwest’s Washington Policy Manager before transitioning to Climate Solutions in 2016.
Barbara Hins-Turner, Executive Director, Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy – “A Centralia College Partnership”
Barbara Hins-Turner was appointed to the Washington State Community and Technical College system as Executive Director of the Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy at Centralia College in 2005. Previously, she was employed by Portland General Electric as Corporate University Director and Apprenticeship Coordinator. Hins-Turner is the Principal Investigator (PI) for the Washington Integrated Sector Employment (WISE) $10 million U.S. Department of Labor TAACCCT Round 4 grant and serves on steering committees for National Science Foundation (NSF) clean energy grants awarded to Shoreline and South Seattle Colleges. She was PI for the U.S. Department of Energy Workforce Training for the Electric Power Sector grant ($5 million; leveraged to $12 million); PI for the U.S. Department of Commerce grant to create the Academy of Energy Entrepreneurs; and Co-PI for Shoreline and Edmonds Community College’s NSF Energy Management grants. Ms. Hins-Turner serves on the Board of Directors for the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, Joint Center for Deployment and Research in Earth Abundant Materials appointed by Governor Inslee, NSF Cyber Watch West Visiting Committee and is Chair of the IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES) Community College Outreach Committee.
Don Furman, Director, Fix the Grid Coalition
Don Furman is the director of Fix the Grid, a campaign to create a low carbon grid using the California Independent System Operator as a platform. Most recently, Don was the Senior Vice President of External Affairs for Iberdrola Renewables, Inc. (now Avangrid Renewables), the second largest wind power operator in the U.S. While with Iberdrola, he had responsibility at various times for development, transmission, communications, regulation and public policy. In 2009-10, he chaired the board of the American Wind Energy Association. Don was previously with PacifiCorp, most recently as Senior Vice President of Regulation and External Affairs. At various times, he also held the roles of Vice President of Mergers and Acquisitions and Vice President of Transmission. He led PacifiCorp’s efforts to form an RTO in the Pacific Northwest. He also founded and served as the first President of PPM Energy, which is now Avangrid Renewables. Prior to joining PacifiCorp, Don held various senior positions in a power marketing company, and he also practiced law for nine years. He received a BA in economics from Northwestern University in 1979, and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in 1982.
Arthur Haubenstock, General Counsel & Vice President, Government & Regulatory, 8minutenergy
Arthur Haubenstock is General Counsel and Vice President, Government & Regulatory with 8minutenergy Renewables, one of the largest developers of utility-scale solar and storage in the United States. He has helped shape the current energy landscape through legislation, regulation and policy from both the solar and utility perspectives, in addition to negotiating power purchase and storage contracts, obtaining project financing and permitting, and addressing strategic and project-specific environmental matters. Arthur has worked for independent power producers, technology innovators, major utilities, and governmental agencies. He serves on the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee to the Dep’t. of Commerce, and has also served on the boards of several sustainable energy-related organizations, including the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies (“CEERT”), the Large-scale Solar Association, the Solar Energy Industries Association, and the advisory board of The Vote Solar Initiative.