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Convening Leaders for a Prosperous Southeast

The 5th Annual Summit will bring together professionals in business, policy, and academia from across the state and region for two days of discussion, workshops, mentoring and networking to foster leadership and growth in the Southeast’s clean tech industry.


  • Innovation Celebrating the entrepreneur in the Clean Tech Industry.
  • Clean Energy Understanding how clean energy and clean technology innovations are driving economic growth and transforming both urban and rural regions.
  • Food Highlighting new technological breakthroughs that advance global food security and increase sustainable farming.
  • Clean Energy and Water Exploring the work being done to create innovative solutions for progressive city needs



  • Keynote Addresses by clean tech industry leaders and key government officials.
  • Panel Discussions  with industry, governmental, and academic leaders.
  • Workshops for collaboration with students and professionals.


Lydia AbebeLydia Abebe
Focus Area Lead
The Water Institute at UNC

Lydia is the lead scientist for the Health Systems and Healthy Environments focus area. She works at the intersection of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) in health care facilities, with an emphasis on the links between science, policy, and practice, in both developed and developing countries.

Robin AldinaRobin Aldina
Manager of Energy Research
NC Sustainable Energy Association

Robin is the Manager of Energy Research at the NC Sustainable Energy Association, where he leads the Market Intelligence team in the design and implementation of market research, data analysis, and report preparation related to the clean energy industry in North Carolina and the Southeast.  Prior to joining NCSEA, Robin worked as an analyst for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, RTI International, and Duke University.

He earned a Master of Environmental Management degree with a concentration in Energy and the Environment from the Nicholas School at Duke University. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Richmond.

Dean AmhausDean Amhaus
President & CEO

The Water Council

Dean Amhaus has served as the first President & CEO of The Water Council since March 2010. The Council’s express purpose is to grow the Milwaukee region into a world hub for water research, education and economic development. The only organization of its kind in the United States, The Council is coalescing these attributes into a powerful force that is garnering international recognition. The Council’s most significant achievement occurred in September 2013 with the opening of the Global Water Center, a one-of-a-kind water technology research and business accelerator located in a 98,000 square feet /30,000 square meter seven-story refurbished Silver LEED warehouse in Milwaukee’s downtown. One of the programs within the Center is The BREW, which assists water technology entrepreneurs develop their company and expand their commercialization opportunities. Mr. Amhaus has served as the President of the Spirit of Milwaukee, which is dedicated to enhancing Milwaukee’s image; President of Forward Wisconsin, the state’s economic development organization; and Executive Director of the Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Commission. For six years, Mr. Amhaus was with the Wisconsin Arts Board; first as Deputy Director and later as Executive Director. During the 1980’s he worked in government relations in Washington, D.C. Schooled in Wisconsin, Mr. Amhaus received his M.B.A from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and his B.S. in Business from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Alice AmmermanAlice Ammerman
Professor and Director
UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Alice S. Ammerman, DrPH, RD, is a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member, a Director at the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (a CDC Prevention Research Center), and Professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Gillings School of Global Public Health and School of Medicine.

Dr. Ammerman’s research interests involve design and testing of innovative nutrition and physical activity intervention approaches for chronic disease risk reduction in primarily low income and minority populations. Interventions include low literacy materials development, interactive computer technology, individual tailoring, and multiple risk factor interventions. She has developed and validated dietary and physical activity assessment instruments as well as psychosocial surveys. Dr. Ammerman is also active in research and public health practice related to community based public health, nutrition interventions by primary care providers, participatory research, assets mapping, and university-community partnership development. She has conducted several large systematic evidence reviews regarding dietary change interventions.

Stephen ArbogastStephen Arbogast
Professor of the Practice of Finance
UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Stephen Arbogast’s teaching career has focused on international finance, project finance, business ethics and the business of energy.

He comes to UNC Kenan-Flagler from the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston where he was Executive Professor of Finance and received the Bauer College Payne Teaching Excellence Award in 2008. He served as the treasurer of Exxon Chemical and ExxonMobil Chemical Company from 1997-2004. His Exxon career spanned 32 years and included assignments as finance manager of Esso Brasileira, treasurer of Exxon Capital Corporation and finance director of Esso Standard Thailand.

While treasurer of Chemicals, he was responsible for the financing of Exxon’s $40 billion worldwide chemical business. He served on joint venture boards with Exxon partners in Saudi Arabia, Australia and the United States. Over the course of his career, he led or participated in more than $4 billion in capital market and project financing. He also worked in operating affiliates encompassing petroleum refining, petrochemicals, marketing and logistics.

Professor Arbogast has written over 70 case studies which are core teaching materials for his courses. The cases include many transactions he led or participated in during his Exxon career. He also has written numerous articles on the energy industry and is the author of Resisting Corporate Corruption, which offers case studies and essays examining the causes of unethical corporate behavior and the options available to employees for resisting such activities. It includes cases covering Enron from early days until its bankruptcy in 2001, as well as cases on the ethical dilemmas at Countrywide, Fannie Mae, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and the rating agencies leading up to the financial crisis.

Professor Arbogast has been a member of the National Renewable Fuels Laboratory (NREL) Biofuels Technical Review Panel since 2008. He was principal investigator on a study for NREL entitled “Preferred Paths for Commercializing Pyrolysis Oil at Conventional Refineries” from 2008-2010. He received a master’s degree in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, his BA in government from Cornell University and a master’s degree in theological studies from the University of St. Thomas, Houston.

Chris AyersChris Ayers
Executive Director
North Carolina Utilities Commission Public

Christopher J. Ayers was appointed Executive Director of the North Carolina Utilities Commission Public Staff by Governor Pat McCrory for a six year term that began on July 1, 2013. Mr. Ayers is a native of Rutherford County, North Carolina. He graduated magna cum laude from Duke University with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology in 1999. Mr. Ayers received his Juris Doctor with Honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2002 where he also served as Managing Editor of the North Carolina Law Review. Mr. Ayers served as a law clerk to the Honorable Linda McGee with the North Carolina Court of Appeals from August 2002 to August 2003. From August 2003 to June 2009, he practiced law in Raleigh, North Carolina with the law firm of Hunton & Williams LLP. Mr. Ayers joined the law firm of Poyner Spruill LLP in Raleigh as a partner in June 2009 where he practiced law until July 2013. His primary areas of practice were utilities regulation, environmental, zoning and land use, administrative and appellate law. He also served a two-year term on the Environmental Management Commission from July 2011 through June 2013.

Rye BarcottRye Barcott
Managing Partner and Co-Founder
Double Time Capital

Rye is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Double Time Capital. He previously led a new energy investments team as a special advisor to the CEO of Duke Energy. Rye is a former United States Marine Corps officer. He also co-founded the non-governmental organization Carolina For Kibera. Rye’s current board affiliations include Carolina For Kibera, NDI, and the Environmental Defense Fund – Southeast. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School, and he received an honorary doctorate from Dartmouth College.

Brian BednarBrian Bednar
President and Owner
Birdseye Renewable Energy, LLC

Raised and based in Charlotte, NC, Brian graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with a BS in Business Administration and earned an MBA at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. Brian’s professional background is in agribusiness, real estate brokerage, development and property management. In 2009, Brian stepped back from the day to day operations of his real estate business and shifted his focus to solar development.

Phillip BenfeyPhilip Benfey
Co Founder and Chair

SAB at Hi Fidelity Genetics

Philip Benfey graduated from the University of Paris and received his PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University under the guidance of Dr. Philip Leder. He did post-doctoral research at Rockefeller University in the field of Plant Molecular Biology working with Dr. Nam-Hai Chua and was appointed an assistant professor there in 1990. In 1991 he moved to New York University where he became an associate professor in 1996 and full professor in 2001. He was the founding director of the Center for Comparative Functional Genomics at NYU. In 2002 he was named professor and chair of the Biology department at Duke University and in 2003 was named a distinguished professor.

Benfey is the recipient of a Helen Hay Whitney post-doctoral fellowship and an NSF pre-doctoral fellowship. He was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2004 and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2010. In 2011, Benfey was named an HHMI-GBMF Investigator by The Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Gordan and Betty Moore Foundation under an initiative to support fundamental plant science research. He currently serves on the editorial boards of Science, Developmental Cell, and BMC Plant Biology. His research focuses on plant developmental genetics and systems biology.

In 2007 he co-founded a spin-off company, GrassRoots Biotechnology, which was sold to a large multinational in 2013.  He now leads a new company, Hi Fidelity Genetics, that applies sophisticated data analytics to plant breeding.

Elizabeth BennettElizabeth Bennett
Strategic Outreach and Communications Manager
Distributed Energy Resources at Duke Energy Corporation

Elizabeth Bennett leads the strategic outreach and communications for Duke Energy’s distributed and renewable activity in its regulated service territories of the Carolinas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

Her team is responsible for developing and implementing strategic communications, education and stakeholder engagement in support of Duke Energy’s strategy to advance distributed technologies for the benefit of its customers. She has served in this role since the Fall of 2014.

Elizabeth joined Duke Energy in 2005 as a member of the media relations team in the company’s corporate communications group, and most recently managed industry engagement for the company’s grid modernization area. From 2007 to 2011, she worked in the Duke Energy Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm, managing all of the company’s philanthropic work in the Charlotte region. In 2012, she served as project manager for the company’s overall involvement and as the energy provider the Democratic National Convention.

Elizabeth has a background in public relations and worked in broadcast media and several marketing agencies before joining Duke Energy. She has an accreditation in public relations and graduated from Hollins University with a B.A. in English.

Elizabeth is a member of the board of directors of Kindermourn, is a big sister in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program and serves on E4 Carolinas communicators committee Elizabeth and her husband, Reid, have two children, Logan and Alex.

Adam BergmanAdam Bergman
Senior Vice President
CleanTech Banking at Wells Fargo

Adam Bergman is a Senior Vice President in Wells Fargo’s CleanTech Banking team.  He has almost 20 years’ experience in investment banking, including over 17 years working with growth companies and more than 12 years covering the CleanTech sector.  As one of the first investment bankers to focus on the CleanTech sector, Adam is considered one of the leading subject matter experts, having transaction experience in the agricultural technology, biofuels, biomaterials, clean transportation, energy efficiency, energy storage, renewable energy, smart grid and water technology sectors.

During the past 20 years, he has worked for leading global investment banks, including Deutsche Bank, Jefferies, JPMorgan, Rothschild and UBS, and has covered the CleanTech, Technology, Industrial and Healthcare sectors.  Adam has completed over 40 domestic and international financings valued at over $12 billion and over 25 domestic and cross border M&A, restructuring and strategic advisors assignments valued at over $25 billion.

Adam has a B.A. in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.  Additionally, he holds an M.A. in International Development from the International University of Japan. Adam lives in San Francisco, California with his wife and two children.

Wells Fargo’s Global CleanTech Group started in 2007 to provide industry expertise, financial services, and resources to support innovative companies developing and implementing new technologies and business models to solve some of the most complex problems facing humanity including climate change as well as food and water availability.  Wells Fargo has provided more than $52 billion in environmental finance, supporting sustainable buildings and renewable energy projects nationwide since 2005. This includes investments in more than 300 solar projects and 47 wind projects that generate enough clean, renewable energy to power hundreds of thousands of American homes each year.  Additionally, Wells Fargo has committed to a number of environmental goals by 2020, including purchasing renewable energy to power 100% of the Bank’s operations, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% compared to 2008, increasing energy efficiency by 40% compared to 2012, reducing water use by 65% compared to 2012 and providing an additional $60 million in philanthropic giving to critical environmental needs such as clean technology and environmental education.

Brian BoutinBrian Boutin
Director, Albemarle – Pamlico Sounds Program
North Carolina Chapter of The Nature Conservancy

Dr. Boutin began serving as Director, Albemarle-Pamlico Sounds Program for the North Carolina Chapter of The Nature Conservancy in 2016. In this capacity, he oversees all aspects of protection, science, stewardship, restoration and community relations for northeastern North Carolina. He began his career with the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries where he co-authored the 2010 update of the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan which recommended strategies to maintain and improve coastal fisheries habitat across the state. In 2009, he joined The Nature Conservancy’s North Carolina Chapter to lead a large-scale, multimillion dollar, multiagency effort to restore oyster reefs and wetlands on protected lands in the Albemarle-Pamlico region. Beginning in 2012, he led research to identify the impacts of managed freshwater flows on key physical, chemical, and biological indicators in South Florida estuaries with the South Florida Water Management District. Prior to his current position, Dr. Boutin worked as Director of Conservation Programs for the Delaware Chapter of The Nature Conservancy where he provided leadership and oversight of land, water, oceans, and climate initiatives. Dr. Boutin holds a Ph.D. in Marine Bioscience from the University of Delaware and a B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Christine BoyleChristine Boyle
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Valor Water Analytics

Christine served as Operations Manager for e-commerce firm in the first dot com boom before going on to get her doctorate in water resource planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While there, she led a team at Environmental Finance Center on a multiyear study of water utility data analytics for the state’s Urban Water Consortium.

She has advised the national governments of China and the Maldives on national water policy in her role as a World Bank consultant. At Valor, she works with utilities worldwide to introduce technologies that drive efficiency and set a new bar for how utilities understand and utilize data.

Patrick BresslerPatrick Bressler
Executive Vice President
Fraunhofer USA

Patrick Bressler is the Executive Vice President of Fraunhofer USA since October 1, 2014. He manages the operations of the seven Fraunhofer USA Centers. Tasks include developing technology transfer and innovation partnerships with U.S. universities and companies, and strengthening transatlantic collaboration in applied science and technology between the United States and Germany. Dr. Bressler serves on scientific review panels and international expert groups, in particular, in materials research and transatlantic cooperation and science and technology. Patrick is an adjunct professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan State University.

From 2010 to 2014 he was the director of Fraunhofer Brussels and a member of several advisory committees to the European Commission (EC) on science and innovation, in particular, proposal review panels and as an independent expert on the EC’s Key Enabling Technologies High Level Group and Electronics Leadership Group. He chaired the European Science Foundation’s Materials Science and Engineering Committee from 2012 to 2015.

Earlier career stages include academia and industrial research jobs and over a decade as senior scientist at the Berlin synchrotron radiation facility in the field of synchrotron radiation instrumentation and condensed matter physics. He holds a PhD in semiconductor and surface physics from the Technical University Berlin, Germany.

Greg BrownGreg Brown
Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

Greg Brown is a professor of finance and director of the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. He also is the founder and research director of the Institute for Private Capital. His research centers on financial risk and the use of financial derivative contracts, such as risk management tools. He also studies private investment strategies, including hedge funds and private equity.

Dr. Brown’s research has been published in leading academic and practitioner finance journals, including The Journal of Finance, The Journal of Financial Economics, The Review of Financial Studies, The Journal of Derivatives and The Financial Analyst Journal.

Dr. Brown is also managing director and director of research for Amundi Smith Breeden Associates, a global asset management firm specializing in fixed income investments. He has served as a consultant on financial risk and portfolio management for money management firms, the U.S. government and Fortune 500 companies.

Prior to joining UNC Kenan-Flagler, he worked at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in the Division of Research and Statistics. He also worked in artist relations for a subsidiary of Capitol Records in Hollywood. He received his PhD in finance from the University of Texas at Austin and his BS with honors in physics and economics from Duke University.

Tom ButlerTom Butler
Owner, Manager
Butler Farms                                                                                                                                                                                        

Tom Butler Sr. is the owner and manager of Butler Farms where they take pride in their quality pork renewable energy. He was born in Harnett County on the family farm, educated in local schools and attended East Carolina University, majoring in Science with a minor in Biology.

Tom has been a contract pork producer since 1995 and involved in Anaerobic Digesters since 2007. He is a pioneer and innovator of swine waste to electric systems on small farms in North Carolina. On his farm he has been doing research and development of earthen, covered, lined, mixed mesophilic/anaerobic digester. In addition, research on hydrogen sulphide scrubber, bio gas chiller, bio gas dryers and CO2, CH4 sequestration since 2008.

Jenna CarpenterJenna Carpenter
Founding Dean and Professor of Engineering
Campbell University

Dr. Jenna P. Carpenter is the Founding Dean and Professor of Engineering at Campbell University in North Carolina.  Prior to that, she served for 26 years at Louisiana Tech University, as Associate Dean, Department Head and Director of the Office for Women in Science and Engineering. She is a past president of the Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN).  Dr. Carpenter was Principal Investigator of Louisiana Tech’s National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE grant, which sought to create a culture of success for women faculty in engineering and science, and previously served as co-Principal Investigator on the NSF-funded WEPAN Knowledge Center Project, which created an online database/professional community focused on women in engineering and science. She also served as Vice President for Professional Interest Councils on the Board of Directors for the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), as Director-at-Large for the ASEE Women in Engineering Division, as national Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Faculty Advisor/Counselor Coordinator and as First Vice-President of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). Dr. Carpenter currently advises and speaks about diversity and mentoring for a variety of NSF-funded programs and women-serving engineering and science organizations. She is an ABET Program Evaluator, Co-Chair of the mathematical societies’ Joint Committee on Women, Chair of the MAA Council on the Profession, and Chair of the Steering Committee for the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholars Program.  Dr. Carpenter is serving on the Triangle Women in STEM Initiative Steering Committee and as co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group.  In 2015 DreamBox Learning selected Dr. Carpenter as one of their 10 Women in STEM Who Rock! for her advocacy work and TEDx talk, “Engineering: Where are the Girls and Why aren’t They Here?

Christian CarlsonChristian Carlson

Over 20 years of sales and sales leadership experience encompassing GIS, spatial sciences, business development, strategic planning, territory management, direct sales and customer relations. A self-motivated, versatile professional, with on the ground experience building organizations and executing sales strategies.

In his current role, Christian leads ESRI’s state, local and provincial government sector. The team is made up of 180+ individuals that help users and their organizations to apply geographic science and information technology to solve problems and accomplish their business objectives. Members of this team include industry marketing, sales executives, solution engineers, partner alliance managers, and administrative staff throughout the United States.

Areas of interest and energy: strategic planning, business development, direct sales, negotiation, new markets, organizational leadership, smart communities, resilient government, sustainability. Christian thrives on competition and big ideas. Christian lives in Boulder, CO with his wife and three children. Personal interests include: ultra trail running, sailing, road biking, painting, fly fishing, sea/whitewater kayaking, exploration and visiting as many national and state parks as possible.

Royston CarterRoyston Carter
Senior Director
Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation

The mission of the Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation is to bring the many wonders of the marine world out of the laboratories and into reality. MBCOI tasks itself with developing the methods, ingenuity, connections and expertise to guide those innovations for the benefit of all.

My role is to support and facilitate research, development and commercialization of new marine-based inventions and innovations from institutions and organizations across NC and beyond. I will maintain office locations in the Morehead City/Beaufort and RTP regions but can be contacted about any relevant technology irrespective of location.

Clammerhead CessnaClammerhead Cessna
Carteret County

David Cessna grew up in his family’s ancestral region of Carteret County, North Carolina, and graduated from East Carteret High School in 1978.

Beginning at the ripe old age of six, Cessna learned firsthand the many wonders of commercial fishing from his grandfather, and the mysteries surrounding shellfish quickly pulled him in deeper.  He knew that in order to be a successful fisherman, he must understand the resource. His adventures and endeavors provided Cessna with an extensive amount of shellfish knowledge, and the interesting nickname, “Clammerhead”.  Over the next four decades, Clammerhead worked primarily with shellfish, both in the wild and running aquaculture leases for himself and other growers. During this time, Clammerhead established deep roots with trusted associates in the seafood industry in Carteret County.

In 2009, Drs. Niels Lindquist and Joel Fodrie at the UNC-Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City invited Clammerhead to work as a Commercial Fisherman Collaborator on Sea Grant-funded projects.  Between 2009 and 2015, Clammerhead worked with many UNC-IMS faculty, graduate students and technicians on multiple oyster-focused research projects. In 2015, Clammerhead partnered with Dr. Lindquist to invent the ephemeral Oyster Catcher™ substrate and co-found Sandbar Oyster Company LLC.

Clammerhead’s roles with Sandbar Oyster Company involve (1) developing sustainable oyster production methods and marketing the company’s oyster brands, including its unique, signature oyster, the Atlantic Emerald™, and (2) researching and developing shoreline protection applications for Oyster Catcher™ through the creation of structurally resilient living shorelines. Clammerhead’s vision for Sandbar Oyster Company is as an engine for sustainable economic growth in coastal communities and helping mitigate the devastating impacts of rising sea levels and other climate change impacts on the coastal communities.

Greg CharacklisGreg Characklis
Director/ Professor
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dr. Characklis joined the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in March 2001, and currently serves as the Philip C. Singer Distinguished Professor of Environmental Engineering.  His primary research interests involve developing solutions to water resource challenges through systems-based approaches that integrate consideration of both engineering and economic principles. Specific areas of interest include the development of more efficient (e.g., market-based) approaches for managing water resources, the economic and environmental tradeoffs associated with energy production, and the development of new tools and strategies for managing environmental financial risks. In the past, he has also directed several laboratory and field studies that explore the role particles play in microbial transport, research with particular relevance in the development of water quality models used to evaluate the location and severity of microbial contamination.

In addition to his faculty appointment, Dr. Characklis serves as the Director of the Center for Watershed Science and Management, a division of the UNC Institute for the Environment, while also serving as an Editor with the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences.  In 2012, he was elected to the Board of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) and was subsequently selected by the Board to serve as AEESP President in 2015-16.  In 2014 he was selected as a Fellow by the Kavli Frontiers of Science, an initiative of the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2010 he was named a Leopold Environmental Leadership Fellow by Stanford University’s Woods Institute.

Dr. Characklis holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering from Rice University and a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. He and his wife Raquel have three children, daughters Katie (born 1999) and Kayla (born 2002), and son Will (born 2009).

Samantha ChildressSamantha Childress
Director of Community Engagement
United Solar Initiative, Inc.

Samantha Childress is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Environmental Management at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, concentrating in Energy & Sustainability. Samantha is a recent graduate of Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Science in Appropriate Technology and a minor in Sustainable Development. As a member of United Solar Initiative’s Board of Directors, she has coordinated and participated in solar photovoltaic installations where she was responsible for planning, sourcing materials, managing work crew, and leading volunteers to ensure high quality and on-time systems in Nicaragua. She currently leads USI’s Operations and Maintenance team that communicates with community leaders to ensure systems are operating properly and positively impacting the communities. Samantha is also a Research Assistant for Duke University’s Sustainable Energy Transitions Initiative (SETI) where students and faculty coordinate with researchers across the world through the Environment for Defense organization to evaluate and research policies that promote clean energy use in the developing world. She has interned with the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA), performing market research and analysis for clean energy projects in the southeast United States and is motivated by the growing opportunities at the nexus of business and energy access. In her free time, she works with the Duke Women’s Soccer team as their Video Coordinator and enjoys watching Duke Basketball in Cameron Indoor Stadium. 

Diane CherryDiane Cherry
Strategic Director
North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association

Diane is the Strategic Director at the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association. In this role, she works with NCSEA and its stakeholders to ensure North Carolina’s energy path becomes incrementally more sustainable, consistent with the organization’s mission and strategic objectives. Diane also teaches U.S. Environmental Policy, Written Communication and other subjects in the Master in Public Administration program at NC State University.

Prior to her current role, she worked for 10 years as the Environment Policy Manager at the Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State University, where she worked collaboratively to build capacity for collective action in energy, infrastructure, transportation and the natural environment.

Diane has worked as a budget and management analyst for the City of Raleigh, an environmental policy analyst at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and as the senior policy advisor to the state’s Environmental Director at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. She also spent several years in Washington DC at Resources for the Future, an environmental economics think tank and at Abt Associates, an environmental consulting firm.

She holds a graduate degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Virginia. Diane is a graduate of Leadership North Carolina.

Marshall CherryMarshall Cherry
Chief Operating Officer
Roanoke Electric Cooperative

Marshall Cherry is a native of rural northeastern North Carolina. He has served the members of Roanoke Electric Cooperative for 22 years and currently serves as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer. He received a BS in Business Administration from Livingstone College, Salisbury, North Carolina. He also a graduate of the NC Rural Economic Development Center’s Leadership Institute and has received other training in Economic Development at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Institute of Government. He is currently a board member of The Support Center, a statewide Community Development Financial Institution, and chairs their small business lending committee. He has also received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army Reserves after eight years of service. He has presented best-in-class activities in customer service, government relations, and energy efficiency initiatives, customer engagement at many national and state associations’ meetings. In his spare time he enjoys reading/listening to Motivational Books and numerous sporting activities.

Beth ClarkBeth Clark
Project Development Manager
Blue Sphere

Beth Anne contributes 30 years of experience in waste management, recycling, and corporate sustainability. She has acted as an advisor for municipal waste to energy projects and has been active in energy efficiency market development. She has served as Executive Director of the Carolinas EcoCrescent, Director of the Sustainable Business Leadership Forum, Sierra Club Clean Energy Campaign Manager, and Environmental Services Manager for Goodwill Industries. Beth served 8 years on the Mecklenburg County Waste Management Advisory Board, Central Piedmont Community College Sustainability Advisory Board for 4 years, and Sustainable Business Advisor for the Michael Scott Mater Foundation. As Principal of Sustainable Visions Consulting, her focus on food waste prevention and utilization led her to Blue Sphere where she currently manages project development in the Eastern region of the US. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Chris ClementChris Clement
IronOak Energy

Dr. Chris Clement has over 13 years of experience as a practitioner, consultant, researcher, and educator working at the intersection of the clean energy, sustainability, economics, impact investment, and innovation. He brings a creative and analytically rigorous approach to collaborations with investors, developers, and startups to help them innovate and scale clean energy and climate solutions. He has advised a range of clients on award-winning sustainable development and clean energy projects in the US, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and East Africa. Dr. Clement serves as an Advisory Board Member to the Real Assets Adviser, an Institutional Real Estate, Inc. publication.

Previously, Dr. Clement was an Economist with the Sustainable Development Group at AECOM, a Fortune 500 company ranked as the #1 Engineering and Design Firm in the world. At AECOM, he specialized in innovative low-carbon infrastructure project modeling, analysis, and finance. Dr. Clement completed his PhD at the University of Vermont’s interdisciplinary research program on innovation in energy systems, where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow. He holds two Masters degrees from Yale University, an MBA from the School of Management and a Masters in Environmental Management from the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He also holds a BS in Environmental Science with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador.

Trevor ClementsTrevor Clements
Tetra Tech Engineering, P.C.

Trevor Clements is the President of Tetra Tech Engineering, P.C., and a Director of Water Resources for Tetra Tech, Inc.  He has a Masters in Water Resources from Duke University and over 32 years of experience working with local, state, and federal agencies and organizations to develop and implement integrated management frameworks incorporating sustainable and resilient practices. Mr. Clements has researched and developed triple-bottom line management approaches for communities to respond to change (water quality, climate, land use, population, social and economic) and is now incorporating Food-Energy-Water Nexus concepts. His work includes facilitating local and regional program capacity in water supply protection, green infrastructure and low impact development, and sustainable water infrastructure management. His current focus is on helping communities implement “one water” management measures to achieve economic, quality of life, and environmental objectives collectively while increasing economic and climate resilience.

Roy CooperRoy Cooper
North Carolina

Roy Cooper recently became the Governor for North Carolina, prior to which he served as North Carolina’s Attorney General to fight crime and protect consumers. He was first elected in 2000 and was reelected to a fourth term in 2012.

Roy was born in Nash County, NC in 1957, attended public schools and worked summers on the farm. His mother, Beverly Cooper, worked as a school teacher and his father, Roy Cooper Jr., farmed and practiced law. Roy Cooper attended UNC Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar and received his undergraduate and law degrees there.

Before becoming attorney general, he was the managing partner of his law firm where he learned how to run a small business. He was elected to both the North Carolina House and Senate and served as Senate Majority Leader and Chairman of the Judiciary and Ethics Committees among others.
Roy has served for many years as a Sunday school teacher, an elder and deacon in his church. He has long tutored students at local schools and has led fundraising for the March of Dimes, Barium Springs Home for Children and the United Way. He and his wife, Kristin, who is also an attorney, have three children, Hilary, Natalie and Claire.

Greg CopenhaverGreg Copenhaver
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Gregory shares joint appointments as a Professor in the Department of Biology and the Integrative Program for Biological and Genome Sciences (IBGS) at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is also a Distinguished Adjunct Professor at Fudan University in Shanghai. Greg’s research focuses on chromosome dynamics and the mechanisms of inheritance. He is an Associate Member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the UNC Center for Bioethics and the Curriculum in Genetics. Greg obtained his BS (with high distinction) from University of California Riverside in 1990 and his PhD in Biology and Biomedical Sciences from the Washington University in St. Louis in 1996. He completed his postdoctoral studies in Genetics at The University of Chicago in 2001. He serves as the Director of Graduate Studies (Biology – MCDB) at UNC and as Editor-in-Chief for the peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS Genetics. In addition, he co-founded the biotechnology company Chromatin Inc. He has also authored or co-authored numerous research papers including publications in Science, Nature, PLoS Genetics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Nature Genetics.

Glenn CutlerGlenn Cutler
Co- Founder

Glenn Cutler; Glenn Cutler is one half of the NCBeerGuys
team. He and Dave Tollefsen share a love for NC craft beer and promoting the industry and economics of beer. They can be found online, across any number of platforms drinking and talking about craft beer, providing information about the folks who produce local beer or writing about and promoting beer adventures, activities and events statewide. Craft beer drinkers love their online listing of statewide craft beer events and interactive maps of breweries and other beer related places. Their work is primarily in videos that attempt to reach and appeal to both new and seasoned craft beer drinkers in fun and entertaining ways from an “everyman” perspective. Glenn and Dave both make personal appearances in support of beer events or to speak about the industry. They strive to bring both education and pleasure to any table where they rest their pint glasses. Find them at or follow along on their beer adventures via Twitter or Instagram @ncbeerguys.

Tom DardenTom Darden
Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Tom Darden is founder and CEO of Cherokee and its predecessors. Cherokee has raised over $2.2 billion in five institutional private equity funds, and invested this capital in the acquisition, cleanup, development, and sale of approximately 550 environmentally contaminated real estate assets in the US, Europe and Canada.

Tom earned a Master in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a JD from Yale Law School and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar. His 1976 undergraduate thesis analyzed the environmental impact of third world development and his 1981 Yale thesis addressed interstate acid rain air pollution.

William DaviesWilliam Davies
Africa Lead – 2030 Water Resources Group
International Finance Corporation







Keith DickersonKeith Dickerson
Manager Smart Infrastructure
Schneider Electric

Keith has been engaged in the energy and infrastructure space for over 28 years in operations and business development. His technical background includes engineering, project and operations management with Siemens Building Technologies. 

 Since 1997, he has been a sales professional with Schneider Electric. His career started in the Power business unit. He spent four years as a National Account Manager in the Federal space.  Since 2013 he has been with Smart Cities, focusing on urban infrastructure programs in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. 

 He is a cum laude graduate of the University of Alabama with a B.S. in Engineering Management. His military background includes service as a search and rescue aircrewman in the U.S. Coast Guard and as a ground team leader in the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary.

Ronald DiFeliceRonald DiFelice
Co-founder and Managing Partner
Energy Intelligence Partners

Dr. DiFelice is a co-founder and Managing Partner at Energy Intelligence Partners (EIP), a firm providing expertise and operational support to launch, grow, and improve businesses in the energy sector. In this role, he brings the unique perspective gained from having worn every hat required to successfully start, fund, operate, and grow a business. Beyond traditional advisory work, he also takes on operational duties to help execute.

 Before launching EIP, Dr. DiFelice was focused on technology commercialization and drove two battery companies from white board to profitability. He has over 15 years of experience with all types of energy storage technologies and markets. In addition, he has led projects across the energy sector spanning distributed energy resources, renewable energy systems, and grid-edge technologies, among others.

 Dr. DiFelice holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Virginia Tech (Phi Lambda Upsilon), an MBA from Kenan‐Flagler at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Beta Gamma Sigma), and Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is an active member of RTP Capital, an angel investor group that provides seed capital to early-stage companies.

Adrian DuehlAdrian Duehl
Research Entomologist
Bayer CropScience

Adrian Duehl is a product development manager with Bayer, his responsibilities include early development insecticides, soil applied biologics and insecticides, and digital farming development. His has worked with Bayer for four years, spending the first three with the biologics group in West Sacramento California, leading the foliar entomology team and an insecticide discovery project team. Adrian’s current role brought him back to the east coast and he now assesses the potential of his products in the field through trials across the country. Adrian is passionate about agriculture and the potential of biologics to bring greater sustainability. He balances his love of research with spending time with his wife and three young children.

Tim DuffTim Duff
General Manager Regulatory Strategy & Evaluation
Duke Energy

Tim Duff leads Regulatory Strategy and Evaluation for Duke Energy’s Market Solutions organization. He is responsible for the development of strategies, policies and analytics related to gaining regulatory approvals for retail customer products and services. He was named to his current position in December 2013, after serving as the director of regulatory strategy and collaboration since January of 2010.

Tim graduated from Michigan State University with bachelor’s degrees in business administration and political economics. He also holds an MBA from the University of Michigan.

Tony FerlottiTony Ferlotti
Purchasing Agent
Atlantic Brew Supply

Tony is a purchasing agent at Atlantic Brew Supply, a home brew store in Raleigh. They are attached to Raleigh Brewing Company and have a commercial division that sells equipment to other breweries in the city, state, and nation.

Victor FlattVictor Flatt
Center for Climate, Energy, Environment & Economics

Victor B. Flatt is the Tom & Elizabeth Taft Distinguished Professor in Environmental Law, the Co-Director of the Center for Climate, Energy, Environment & Economics (CE3), and the Co-Director of the North Carolina Coastal Resources Law, Planning, and Policy Center. He also has an appointment as a Distinguished Scholar in Carbon Markets and Carbon Trading at the Global Energy Management Institute at the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business where he lectures on regulatory risks to the energy industry, and is a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform. Flatt teaches courses in environmental law, energy law, natural resources, interagency environmental cooperation, international environmental law, climate change, and the practice of environmental markets. He received his B.A. in Chemistry and Mathematics, magna cum laude, from Vanderbilt University, where he was a Harold Stirling Vanderbilt Scholar. He received his J.D., cum laude and Order of the Coif, from Northwestern University School of Law, where he was a John Henry Wigmore Scholar.

Erin FleckensteinErin Fleckenstein
Coastal Scientist, Manager
North Carolina Coastal Federation

Erin joined the federation in February 2008 and manages our regional office in Wanchese. She holds a Master of Science in marine biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a Bachelor of Science in marine and freshwater biology from University of New Hampshire. She leads a variety of initiatives to restore wetlands, create oyster sanctuaries and living shoreline and build rain gardens.

Tim FloodTim Flood
Associate Professor of Management and Corporate Communication
UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Tim Flood teaches several courses on presentation skills, global communication, business writing, U.S. language and culture for international and exchange students, and segments of the Communication, Leadership and Career Management series. Dr. Flood is the author of MBA Fundamentals: Business Writing (Kaplan Press, 2008). He also edited The Rhetorical Dimensions of Cyberspace with Beth Baldwin (1997). His research interests include the roles of media and technology in both interpersonal and corporate communication, cross-cultural communication and global business leadership fluency. He has consulted with the World Bank/IFC and Egyptian Institute of Directors on issues of corporate governance and educational outreach, and has led study trips to businesses in Egypt, Turkey Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. Prior to joining UNC Kenan-Flagler, Dr. Flood worked as a solutions consultant for Vanguard Cellular Systems (now part of AT&T Wireless) Dr. Flood received his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, his MA from Texas A&M University and his BA from the University of Maryland.

Carol L. FoltCarol L. Folt
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

When CAROL L. FOLT became Carolina’s 11th Chancellor, and 29th in the lineage of leaders that date back to Carolina’s founding, she said: “As America’s first public university, Carolina became the gold standard. The founders passed the baton, and the future is up to us. How can we fulfill this honorable charge in a way that is ever fresh and relevant?”

Folt – an internationally recognized life scientist, award-winning teacher and accomplished academic leader – has worked to fulfill that honorable charge by placing Carolina’s students at the center, advancing the university’s academic excellence, championing Carolina as a leading global public research university and focusing on innovation through the development of new avenues for entrepreneurship that are translating world-class ideas into real-world applications.

Carolina, which routinely ranks among the nation’s top public universities and is noted as one of the best values in college education, welcomed its largest and most academically accomplished class this past fall. Once again selected from a record pool of applicants, 17 percent of the Class of 2020 are the first in their family to attend a four-year institution of higher education, and the number of active duty and veterans of military service on campus is the highest since World War II. Carolina is one of the nation’s top ten research universities and ranks 8th in the nation for federal research funding. In the last couple of years, the university has reached nearly $1 billion in annual research expenditures.

Under the chancellor’s leadership, Carolina also has continued to improve on the school’s winning track record of undergraduate diversity, retention and graduation rates – particularly for low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students – while moving forward with additional emphasis on Carolina’s historic commitment to ensuring affordability together with accessibility and excellence. Carolina is one of the few public universities that remains both need blind and covers the full financial need of its students. Carolina is the least expensive of 14 peer public universities and debt-per-student, just over half of the U.S. average, has remained nearly flat in inflation-adjusted dollars for more than a decade.

As leader of North Carolina’s flagship public university, Folt and her leadership team champion attracting, developing and retaining world-class faculty that are focused on excellence in teaching and ground-breaking research. Carolina’s faculty lead by doing, and each day they share their knowledge and excitement with the next generation who will face a rapidly evolving future as they embark upon impactful careers, many in fields that don’t exist today. Carolina is committed to benefiting its local and state communities and to cultivating the global outlook of its students, with more than a third of Carolina undergraduate students studying abroad – one of highest rates among public universities.

Folt came to Carolina from Dartmouth College, where she was interim president in 2012-2013 and served as a faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences and academic leader. As a widely respected scientist, Folt and her students’ pioneering work on the effects of dietary mercury and arsenic on human and ecosystem health led to numerous changes in national and global policy and consumption advisories around the world. Folt graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara, earning both a bachelor’s degree in aquatic biology and a master’s degree in biology. She received her doctorate from UC-Davis and undertook a postdoctoral fellowship at Michigan State University before joining the faculty at Dartmouth.

Gary FreemanGary Freeman
General Manager
Renewable Energy Compliance, Duke Energy Corporation

Gary Freeman currently serves as General Manager-Distributed Energy Resources Compliance and Origination for Duke Energy. In this role he oversees the power purchasing activities for renewable energy resources as well as traditional energy supply resources. He has served in various management roles within the company including overseeing the energy efficiency and demand response programs and overseeing the wholesale power trading function.

Before joining Progress Energy in 1999, he spent 19 years with South Carolina Electric and Gas where he held various engineering and management roles in transmission, distribution, customer service and HR. Freeman holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Clemson University and a master’s of business administration from the University of North Carolina.

Kathleen GrayKathleen Gray
Director/Associate Director
Environmental Resource Program/Outreach and Public Service

Kathleen M. Gray, associate director for outreach and public service in the UNC Institute for the Environment, manages the Environmental Resource Program (ERP), with a mission of enhancing public understanding of current environmental science and health research and its relevance to daily life, and empowering North Carolinians to make informed decisions that protect the environment and public health. She also directs the outreach and research translation efforts of two federally-funded research centers in UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. Gray has over 20 years experience conducting environmental health education with community audiences and assisting businesses and government agencies in making sustainable choices. Prior to joining UNC, she led an assessment of NC’s recycling industry for the Division of Pollution Prevention in the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, advised over 300 businesses in expanding their use of environmentally responsible products and services for Green Seal, assisted EPA’s voluntary environmental programs in developing and evaluating educational materials, and led a community-focused environmental health program at Vanderbilt University. Ms. Gray earned an MSPH in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from UNC-Chapel Hill and a BS in Mathematics from Vanderbilt University.

Annette GreenAnnette Green
Vice President, Sales Commercial Business Unit
SAS Americas

Annette Green leads the comprehensive business and strategic operations of the Commercial Business organization within the Americas sales division of SAS. As vice president, Green has profit and loss responsibility for a business unit covering the US midmarket, in addition to the hospitality, transportation, travel, and services verticals, as well as the strategic account relationship with General Electric. Additionally, she directs the field sales organization in the aforementioned markets, as well as SAS’s US and Latin American Inside Sales organization.

Her primary responsibility is to serve as a focused executive, and provide strategic planning for both field in the industry verticals she oversees, as well as inside sales.  She is also responsible for directing a staff comprised of over 200 sales professionals, sales-support personnel and industry domain principals across 16 regional offices, who work together to improve business returns for the customer, helping them transform how they do business thru the smart application of SAS’s expertise and business analytics.

Green has been with SAS for over 26 years, achieving increasing levels of responsibility within marketing, sales and sales management.  Prior to joining SAS, Green worked with Research Triangle Institute, where she was entrusted with different positions of expanded responsibility as a member of the Environmental Sciences Division.

Green earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from North Carolina State University and completed graduate level studies in the School of Management Sciences at NCSU, with an emphasis in Information Technology.

Green personally champions SAS’s commitment to the community as an active volunteer for Wake County Public Schools and the Make-a-Wish foundation. She was also selected as a VIP member in the Continental Who’s Who registry of National Business Leaders.

Along with spending time with her husband and two sons, she enjoys reading, playing piano, running and playing golf.

Kevin M. GuskiewiczKevin M. Guskiewicz
Dean College of Arts and Sciences
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz, a neuroscientist and nationally recognized expert on sport-related concussions, became dean of the College of Arts and Sciences on Jan. 1, 2016. Previously, he had served as senior associate dean for the natural sciences and chair of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science in the College.

As dean, he oversees the largest academic institution on campus, encompassing more than 70 academic departments, curricula, programs, centers and institutes.

A 20-year member of Carolina’s faculty, Guskiewicz is the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Exercise and Sport Science and co-director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center and director of the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. He holds appointments in the department of orthopaedics, department of physical medicine and rehabilitation, the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center and doctoral program in human movement science.

Guskiewicz earned a B.S. in athletic training from West Chester University, M.S. in exercise physiology/athletic training from the University of Pittsburgh and Ph.D. in sports medicine from the University of Virginia. Over the past 22 years, his research has focused on sport-related concussion, investigating its effect on balance and neurocognitive function in athletes, and the long-term neurological issues related to playing sports.

In 2011, he was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship for his innovative work on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of sport-related concussions. He and his colleagues used that award to help improve safety in high school sports and to help the U.S. military identify and treat serious head injuries. In 2013, Time magazine named him a Game Changer, one of 18 “innovators and problem-solvers that are inspiring change in America.”

Annalee HarkinsAnnalee Harkins
Data Specialist and Project Manager
Environmental Finance Center

Annalee Harkins joined the Environmental Finance Center in 2016. She holds a BS in Information Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a diploma in Art & Design from London College of Fashion. Annalee is responsible for data visualization and project management of rate surveys and online dashboards. Before joining EFC Annalee worked as an Analyst for IronOak Energy Insights, and as a photographer. Her interests include energy management, consumer engagement with utilities, and smart grids.

Rashida HodgeRashida Hodge
Director, Client Delivery and Implementations
IBM Watson Group

Rashida Hodge is Director, IBM Watson Client Delivery leading the implementation of Watson client engagements for Asia Pacific and the Americas. Watson is one of IBM’s most significant innovations in IBM’s history and represents a new era of information technology. The IBM Watson Group is charged with accelerating a new class of “cognitive” software, services and apps that will fuel a diverse cloud-based ecosystem of enterprises. As a core member of the IBM Watson Leadership Team and Chief of Staff to Mike Rhodin, Senior Vice President, IBM Watson Business Development, she was influential in the formation of the operating model for the historic launch of IBM Watson. Since joining IBM in 2002, Rashida has held several leadership roles across IBM, ranging from business development and brand strategy to various global operational business functions. Particularly known for her intrapreneurship skills; Rashida was instrumental in leading the formation and execution of the Globally Integrated Enterprise Structure for the IBM Integrated Supply Chain, which included leading operations locally in Europe, Middle East and Africa and China. Rashida has a Bachelor of Science (2002) and Master of Engineering (2003) in Industrial Engineering, from North Carolina State University and holds an MBA (2013) from Duke University. She is a board member of the NC State College of Engineering Foundation and founder of the NC State College of Engineering Foundation Real Hope for Next Gen Engineers Endowed Scholarship focused on providing financial assistance for minorities and women. Rashida is originally from St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. She has a passion for mentoring and giving back to her community. She lives daily by her childhood steel-pan organization motto, “Nothing is too complicated that it cannot be simplified by hard work”.

Reginald HolleyReginald Holley
The Longmire Group

Reginald Holley, Principal and founder of The Longmire Group, has eighteen years of progressive experience in Local, State and Federal government agencies and political experience. Holley has a proven ability in providing leadership in managing senate and state affairs, advising on matters of policy, legislation and public services. He is a registered lobbyist with the State of North Carolina.

Holley has previously served as Deputy State Director for the Honorable United States Senator Elizabeth Dole. He served as a liaison on behalf of Senator Dole with members of Congress, Senators and their respective staff; State legislators and other elected officials.

In addition, Holley is the former Director of State Youth Council for the North Carolina State Department of Administration. There, he developed policies and procedures for promoting youth involvement in leadership in government, civic affairs and local communities.

Holley is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He is a member of the Order of the Old Well and is a former Student Body Vice-President.

Board Memberships and Honors include Board of Visitors, School of Environment, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; United States Commission on Civil Rights, North Carolina State Advisory Council; Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee, North Carolina Bar Association.

George HowardGeorge Howard
Co-Founder /CEO

Restoration Systems, LLC

George is responsible for identifying growth opportunities for Restoration Systems outside of North Carolina and for the implementation of innovative mitigation in North Carolina. He is also a respected speaker for legislative and mitigation policy progress in the industry as a whole.

Working as staff in the United States Senate in Washington, D.C. from 1990 to 1996, George was responsible for environmental public policy, particularly wetlands, water quality and species issues. He recognized mitigation banking as an opportunity to return home to North Carolina and moved to Raleigh in 1996 to help sponsor the state’s first successful large-scale mitigation bank — the 660 acre Cape Fear Regional Mitigation Bank, now in its 18th year of documented ecological success. His determination to make North Carolina a leader in private sector environmental mitigation led George to found Restoration Systems with John Preyer in 1998.

George has testified to the U.S. Congress in support of the industry, is a former six year Director of the National Mitigation Banking Association, and a regular presenter at regional and national environmental conferences.

He was appointed in July 2012 by North Carolina Senator Pro-Tem Phillip Berger to the newly formed NC Mining and Energy Commission, charged with writing the rules for natural gas exploration in North Carolina, and in 2011 as a Trustee of the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund. In 2006 then Governor Michael Easley named George to the state’s Land and Water Conservation Study Commission. He recently joined the boards of the North Carolina Museum of History Associates and the First Flight Foundation of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

A 1989 Political Science graduate of the University of North Carolina, George grew up in rural Guilford County along the Deep River. He is the grandson of two engineers, and continues a family tradition of water related heavy construction. The former Paul N. Howard Company and Howard International completed more than 4,000 water quality projects in the Southeastern U.S. and twenty foreign countries.

Jeff HughesJeff Hughes
Lecturer and Director
UNC Environmental Finance Center

Jeff Hughes joined the School of Government in 2002. He has more than 25 years of experience assisting communities in addressing finance and policy challenges related to the provision of environmental services and programs. Hughes is the author of numerous reports, guides, and articles on environmental finance and environmental policy analysis subjects. He works with a range of state and national organizations that focus on utility and environmental issues. He is an active member of Council of Infrastructure Finance Authorities (CIFA) and the American Water Works Association (AWWA). Hughes is the director of the Environmental Finance Center at the School of Government. His research and teaching interests include service pricing, economic regulation, and public finance. He was named Albert and Gladys Hall Coates Distinguished Term Lecturer for 2012–2014. Prior to joining the university, Hughes worked as a finance specialist for RTI International where he managed utility finance and governance projects throughout Central Europe and Africa including a yearlong position as an infrastructure finance advisor to the Polish government. Hughes also worked briefly as a utility director for a small rural community in North Carolina. He earned a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Duke University.

Bob IrvinBob Irvin
Executive Director
CLT Joules

Bob’s strategic and financial leadership experience includes helping to transform three major utilities.

TVA:  Senior Vice President, Strategy, Financial Planning and Business Development – re-positioned federal utility to compete with Southeastern peers.

Duke Energy:  Vice President, Market & Portfolio Analysis -developed growth strategy and portfolio of energy assets to succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace.  Involved in significant business development work from PanEnergy to Cinergy.

NYSEG:  Director, Corporate Development – diversified electric utility into gas distribution and energy services.

As an energy executive, he was responsible for business development, strategy, system planning, technology ventures and leadership development.  He was most recently a strategic advisor to investor-owned utilities primarily focused on disruptive technologies and enterprise growth.  Other relevant experience includes providing venture capital analysis for IC2, a University of Texas think tank, and working with the EPA. Bob received his MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill, MEM (Master of Environmental Management) from Duke University and his BA in Biology from McDaniel College.

Brad IvesBrad Ives
Associate Vice Chancellor
UNC at Chapel Hill Campus Enterprises

Brad Ives became the Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Enterprises at UNC-Chapel Hill May 4, 2015.

Ives brings a wealth of both public and private sector expertise to the University. He most recently served as Assistant Secretary for Natural Resources with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR), where he managed 2,000 employees in five divisions, including the State Parks and the N.C. Zoo.  Prior to joining NCDENR, Ives was with Semprius Inc., a North Carolina-based manufacturer of advanced solar panels, and served as CEO of Integro Earth Fuels Inc., a biomass energy technology company, and was the founder and CEO of Illumination Renewables LLC, developer of an award-winning landfill gas project with ExxonMobil Corporation.

From 2002 to 2008, Ives was managing director at Babson Capital Management in London and Charlotte, where he led investments in an energy technology venture capital fund and headed European sales. Ives spent the first twelve years of his career as a structured finance lawyer in New York and Charlotte. He is a true blue Tar Heel having obtained a Juris Doctor from the UNC School of Law in 1989 after receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science here in 1986 as a Morehead-Cain Scholar.

As the Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Enterprises, Ives provides oversight for the University’s Auxiliary Services, Energy Services, Transportation and Parking, Student Stores, and Trademarks and Licensing. This encompasses a $175 million budget with a team of approximately 650 University employees and 450 contracted employees. Ives also serves at the University’s Chief Sustainability Officer.

Vivian JonesVivian Jones
Town of Wake Forest

Wake Forest, NC Mayor 2001-Present

Wake Forest Board of Commissioners 1999-2001

NC Eastern Municipal Power Agency Board of Commissioners 2003-Present, Chair 2011-2013

ElectriCities of NC Board of Directors 2013-Present

NC League of Municipalities Board of Directors 2006-2010

Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Executive Board 2001-Present, Chair 2011-2013,

Vice-Chair 2008-2010

Triangle Transit Board of Trustees 2013-Present

Triangle J Council of Governments Mayors & County Chairs Group 2011-Present, Chair 2011-Present

Education: The Woman’s College of UNC 1961-1962

William KamkwambaWilliam Kamkwamba
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

William Kamkwamba was born August 5, 1987 in Dowa, Malawi, and grew up on his family farm in Masitala Village, Wimbe, two and half hours northeast of Malawi’s capital city. The second eldest of Trywell and Agnes Kamkwamba’s seven children, William has six sisters, Annie, Dorris, Rose, Aisha, Mayless, and Tiyamike.

William was educated at Wimbe Primary School, completing 8th grade and was then accepted to Kachokolo secondary school. Due to severe famine in 2001, his family lacked the funds to pay the $80 in annual school fees and William was forced to drop out of school a few months into his freshman year. For five years he was unable to go to school.

Starting at 14, rather than accept his fate, William started borrowing books from a small community lending library located at his former primary school. He borrowed an 8th grade American textbook, Using Energy, which depicted wind turbines on its cover. He decided to build a windmill to power his family’s home and obviate the need for kerosene, which provided only smoky, flickering, distant and expensive light after dark. First he built a prototype using a radio motor, then his initial 5-meter windmill out of a broken bicycle, tractor fan blade, old shock absorber, and blue gum trees. After hooking the windmill to a car battery for storage, William was able to power four light bulbs and charge neighbors’ mobile phones. This system was even equipped with homemade light switches and a circuit breaker made from nails, wire, and magnets. The windmill was later extended to 12 meters to better catch the wind above the trees. A third windmill pumped grey water for irrigation.

William graduated from Dartmouth College in 2014 and started his tenure at as a Global Fellow. William’s time at Ideo focused on Human Centered Design and sent him around the world working on projects ranging from sanitation in India to gender-based violence prevention in Kenya. He is now working with WiderNet to develop appropriate technology curriculum that will allow people to bridge the gap between “knowing” and “doing”. WiderNet will distribute the content through eGranaries around Malawi and across the continent.

Tim KuhlsTim Kuhls
Head Barley Grower
Perry Farms

Tim Kuhls is the head barley grower at Perry Farms, a century farm in Wake County, NC. A veteran of Corporate America, Kuhls is forging strategic partnerships in Agriculture and Industry with companies and institutions across the US. His mission is to achieve profitable growth and long term sustainability for his family’s farming operation, while also serving to benefit his community. Kuhls is an avid home brewer, beer lover, and supporter of local small business, which makes his passion for locally grown malting barley only natural!

Zachary KuznarZachary Kuznar
Energy Storage and Microgrid Development-Duke Energy

Zachary Kuznar works as the Director of CHP, Energy Storage and Microgrid Development for Duke Energy.  In this role he focuses on business case development, technology evaluation and regulatory initiatives for Distributed Generation in all of Duke Energy’s regulated service territory.  Previously he worked in the Emerging Technology Office and managed a number of energy storage field installations.  He also has experience in the fossil generation business unit.  Prior to joining Duke, Zak worked in the Advanced Materials division of General Electric.  Zak is on the Board of Directors for the Energy Storage Association, Board of Directors for NAATBatt, on the Advisory Board of the Lugar Center for Renewable Energy at IUPUI, and is on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the School of Chemical and Paper Engineering at Miami University.  Zak holds an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University, and a Master’s and Ph.D. in Chemical and Environmental Engineering from Yale University.

Rick LarsenRick Larsen
Senior Vice President & Director of Strategic Initiatives
Natural Capital Investment Fund

Rick is Senior Vice President & Director of Strategic Initiatives for Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF), TCF’s green business lending arm. Rick has worked with NCIF since 2007, when he opened the NC operations of NCIF.

Rick manages NCIF’s strategic initiatives and impact measurement efforts, assists NCIF’s President with fundraising and outreach, and originates loans in the Southeast. He has led investments in enterprises in the following sectors: agriculture and local foods; logging; recycling; limited resource farmers; and eco-tourism.

Rick has over 25 years of experience in community development and business finance, focused on supporting rural entrepreneurs, green businesses, and social ventures. He has worked with a mission-driven venture capital fund; run a nationwide entrepreneurship education program for rural youth and adults; and worked in manufacturing. He earned an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a BA from Amherst College. He teaches Impact Investing and social venture finance at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

Todd LeisterTodd Leister
North America Agronomy Manager
Novozymes Biologicals, Inc.

Todd Leister currently serves as the North America Agronomy Manager where he leads the Novozymes NA field trial efforts as part of the Global Agronomy team. His team is focused on supporting The BioAg Alliance, the strategic alliance between Novozymes and Monsanto seeking to develop new microbial technologies to help improve crop yields worldwide. Todd began his career in 1988 with a small start-up company, Crop Genetics International Inc., which was one of the first to test a genetically modified microbe in the field. After returning to school to complete a Ph. D. and a post-doc at the University of California, Berkeley in plant microbe interactions he began work with DuPont Pioneer where his work focused on the characterization and development of transgenic crops including corn, soybeans and wheat. Subsequent to joining Novozymes he was the Program Leader for Pioneer’s transgenic soybean insect and disease programs as well as their hybrid wheat program. Currently he leads the Novozymes field testing program in North America and is a member of two of the BioAg Alliance pipeline governance teams responsible for overseeing the execution of the alliance strategy. Todd holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Frostburg State University and a Doctorate in Biological Sciences from University of Maryland Baltimore County. His major areas of research expertise include molecular plant-microbe interactions, transgenic product development, and agronomy. Based in Raleigh, NC, he enjoys spending free time with his family, biking, team sports, and relaxing at the beach.

Niels LindquistNiels Lindquist
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Niels Lindquist received a B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Florida in 1983 and then conducted Ph.D. research in natural products chemistry and chemical ecology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  He continued marine chemical ecology research as a post-doctoral associate and then faculty member at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) in Morehead City.  For many years, Lindquist studied coral reefs, but in 2010, his research interests turned to North Carolina’s oysters.

Oysters were once Kings of the Coast. They sustained and protected coastal civilizations for millennia.  In recent times, human activities have severely depleted and degraded oyster habitats worldwide. Despite decades of restoration efforts, oyster populations are not recovering and harvest yields from wild stocks remain depressingly low.

Lindquist’s research in oyster ecology and restoration has involved many collaborators, including David “Clammerhead” Cessna, a commercial shellfish harvester from Carteret County.  Through their work, Lindquist and Clammerhead invented a novel composite material named “Oyster Catcher™ for “catching” and growing immense numbers of oysters from wild oyster populations.  Importantly, Oyster Catcher™ is ephemeral, fading away over time and leaving behind new oyster habitat.  UNC filed a patent application for the novel substrate, and Lindquist and Clammerhead formed Sandbar Oyster Company LLC to license the commercialization rights and manufacture products for sustainable oyster aquaculture, oyster-habitat restoration and shoreline protection.  Following on the heels of a successful feasibility project funded by UNC’s Office of Commercialization and Economic Development, Sandbar Oyster Company received a tremendous boost as one of five winners in the spring 2016 competition for startup support from NC IDEA.  In 2017, Sandbar Oyster Company is bringing to market its signature oyster, the Atlantic Emerald™, and working on living shoreline projects in collaboration with the North Carolina Coastal Federation and coastal engineering firms.

Mark LittleMark Little
Executive Director
Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

Mark Little, PhD, is Executive Director of the Kenan Institute. He is also the  permanent Director of NCGrowth.  In these roles, he manages institute operations, supports high-growth  entrepreneurs, helps communities grow and retain business, facilitates  strategic regional economic development, and researches solutions to pressing  energy, environment, and climate related problems. Little brings to this  position a broad, international background in environmental and earth science,  policy analysis, and renewable energy development. Immediately prior to joining  the institute, he served as a AAAS Congressional Science Fellow to the U.S.  House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Ofei ManteOfei Mante
Research Chemical Engineer

Dr. Ofei Mante is currently a Research Chemical Engineer at RTI International’s Energy Technologies Division. He has over 10 years of experience in thermochemical conversion of biomass. His research efforts are geared towards addressing technical barriers and challenges related to thermochemical processing and conversion of biomass. His focus is on using thermal, chemical, and innovative catalytic processes based on a biorefinery concept but analogous to the existing petroleum refinery to produce a wide variety of biomass derived intermediates that can be used in today’s processing infrastructures for liquid fuels, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, plastics and other essentials of modern life. Prior to joining RTI, He was a tenure track Assistant Research Engineer in the Sustainable Energy Technologies Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) where he was responsible for the Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program for biomass thermochemical conversion. He is skilled at benchtop, laboratory, and pilot plant thermochemical conversion system operations. His current research focus is on the conversion of biomass into biofuels and biochemicals via catalytic pyrolysis and hydrotreating.

Gary MarchioniniGary Marchionini
UNC School for Information and Library Science








Marilynn Marsh-RobinsonMarilynn Marsh-Robinson
Partnership and Alliances Manager
Environmental Defense Fund

Marilynn Marsh-Robinson is responsible for ensuring EDF’s work reaches diverse audiences and projects include holistic strategies that incorporate socioeconomic factors.  She has worked on various energy efficiency projects with academic institutions, including a strong focus on minority serving colleges and universities, rural communities and local governments. She also specializes in environmental justice initiatives with traditionally underserved communities that help amplify their concerns and strengthen environmental advocacy efforts. By coordinating these relationships, Marilynn has helped secure passage of legislation and continues to increase overall visibility of the organization.

Marilynn is currently pursuing an MPA and participates on the boards of North Carolina Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN) and North Carolina Conservation Network (NCCN). She also holds a BA in Political Studies from Meredith College.

Patrick MateerPatrick Mateer
Seal the Seasons

Patrick is founder and CEO of Seal the Seasons. He enjoys nothing more than produce mixed with politics. Patrick launched Seal the Seasons to support local farmers and find a sustainable way to make healthy food available to all. In the community, he serves as treasurer of the Immigrant and Refugee Community Partnership. In his free time, Patrick loves to hike, ride motorcycles, and is trying to learn to make everything he eats from scratch.




Rob MazzoniRob Mazzoni
TrueBridge Capital Partners

Rob is a principal and one of the earliest members of the TrueBridge investment team, focusing on due diligence, deal flow, and industry analysis.

Following two years as a senior associate at TrueBridge, Rob earned his MBA with honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. During his time at Chicago Booth, Rob interned with the Andreessen Horowitz deal team in Menlo Park, CA, as well as with Airtime, a video communications technology company based in Silicon Valley. While completing his studies, Rob also interned with Hyde Park Angels, one of the Midwest’s largest early investor networks.

Rob first worked with TrueBridge co-founder and general partner Mel Williams at UNC Management Company, Inc. (UNCMC) as an investment and performance analyst. While there, Rob helped manage the firm’s portfolios in venture capital, private equity, real estate, energy and natural resources, and distressed debt.

In addition to his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Rob holds a BS in Business Administration with distinction and honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Betsy McCorkleBetsy McCorkle
Kairos Government Affairs

Betsy McCorkle has served the clients of Kairos Government Affairs since 2015. Beyond expertise in lobbying, she provides a unique understanding of the policy process with extensive experience navigating complex issues and diverse stakeholders.

Before joining the firm, Betsy directed the government affairs work for the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, a non-profit membership organization, where she gained extensive experience in leading diverse coalitions of businesses and other non-profits toward legislative goals. Betsy also has experience in workforce development, economic development, agricultural policy, and has been responsible for policy analysis and communications for political campaigns across the southeastern United States.

Betsy received a Master Degree in Environmental Management from Duke University, and she holds a Bachelor Degree in Environmental Economics from the University of Georgia (UGA), where she graduated magna cum laude. Betsy was a 2013 Recipient of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Young Alumni Achievement Award and the 2012 Recipient of the J.W. Fanning Distinguished Young Professional Award. Betsy and her husband, Ben, live in Cary with their daughter.

Brewster McCrackenBrewster McCracken
President / CEO
Pecan Street

Brewster McCracken is president and CEO of Pecan Street, a research and commercialization institute focused on the utility industry and headquartered at The University of Texas. In July 2014, Time Magazine described Pecan Street’s work as “the most extensive energy-tracking study in U.S. history. . . . That kind of data is unprecedented in the electricity industry. . . The Pecan Street team is already using it to upend long-held theories about electricity use.” Mr. McCracken was one of three global smart grid project leaders invited by the government of Japan to present at the one-year anniversary conference for the reconstruction of Fukushima in March 2012. In 2013, Smart Grid Today named him one of the nation’s “50 Smart Grid Pioneers,” and named him to its VERGE 25 list of 25 U.S. smart grid leaders. He is the author of numerous research reports on customer energy use. He was elected to two terms on the Austin City Council, serving in a city-wide at large position. Through his elected position, he served as a board member of Austin Energy and Austin Water, founded and chaired the city council’s Emerging Technologies Committee and led the city’s collaboration with The University of Texas to establish technology incubators in bioscience and wireless technologies. Prior to holding elected office, he practiced commercial litigation for nearly a decade with two large international law firms. He is an honors graduate of The University of Texas School of Law and Princeton University, and he holds a master’s degree in in public affairs from UT’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

Chuck McGradyChuck McGrady
North Carolina House of Representatives

Serving his fourth term in the North Carolina General Assembly, Representative Chuck McGrady is a graduate of Mercer University School of Law in Macon, Georgia. After teaching law at Wayne State University Law School in Michigan and clerking for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, Representative McGrady spent several years in private practice before being recruited as legal counsel for Contel Corporation, the First Atlanta Corporation, and Alston & Bird, all in Atlanta.

Representative McGrady was appointed by House Speaker Tim Moore to chair the full Appropriations Committee as well as to serve as Vice-Chairman of both the Judiciary and Environment Committees. He will also serve on the Agriculture Committee, the Committee on Alcoholic Beverage Control, the Commerce and Job Development Committee, the Education Committee on Universities, the Ethics Committee, and the Transportation Committee for the 2015-2016 Session.

Michelle MeyerMichelle Meyer
Marketing Manager for Power Grids

Responsible for marketing activities and sales support for ABB’s EPC substation solutions, energy storage offerings, & FACTS devices including Static Var Compensators (SVCs) & STATCOMs.

Support and maintain market strategies for various product lines in North America. This requires coordinating with Local Product Managers to collect, analyze and report key sales metrics, market data, and competitor intel.

Manage creative marketing content for Power Grids North America. This includes creating, writing, and implementing marketing materials such as brochures, case studies, white papers, technical documents, articles and presentations.

SalesForce CRM expert for Power Grids North America. Responsible for internal trainings, sales and opportunity pipeline reporting, dashboard creation, and data quality management.

Mary Beth MirandaMary Beth Miranda
Senior Manager
Technology Sourcing and External R&D
Novozymes North America Inc.

Mary Beth Miranda has more than two decades of experience in business development, new ventures and external innovation.  As the Senior Manager—Technology Sourcing and External R&D, she leads the North America external R&D effort for Novozymes’ BioAg business which includes The BioAg Alliance, the strategic alliance between Novozymes and Monsanto that develops and commercializes microbial technologies to improve crop yields. Novozymes is an investor in AgBiome where Dr. Miranda serves as a board observer. Dr. Miranda earned her Ph. D. in chemical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and BS degrees in chemical engineering and applied biology at MIT.

Jonas MonastJonas Monast
Center on Climate, Energy, Environment & Economics

Jonas Monast is the inaugural C. Boyden Gray Distinguished Fellow at Carolina Law and co-directs the Center on Climate, Energy, Environment & Economics (CE3). Monast’s work focuses on the interaction of federal and state energy policies, aligning energy and environmental policy goals, and regulatory options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Prior to joining the Carolina Law faculty, he directed the Climate and Energy Program at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and taught courses on energy and environmental issues at Duke University’s School of Law and Nicholas School of the Environment. Monast has also worked as an attorney in the Corporate Social Responsibility Practice at Foley Hoag LLP, as a congressional fellow for the late Senator Paul Wellstone, and as legislative counsel for the Center for Responsible Lending. Monast earned his law degree from Georgetown University and his B.A. from Appalachian State University.

Bryant MooreBryant Moore
Director of Strategic Partnerships
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Bryant is the Director of Strategic Partnerships in the Office of Commercialization and Economic Development. He is an executive with over 30 years of broad leadership experience developing medical products. He has an extensive background in product development, technology, evaluation and business development which spans the areas of clinical diagnostics, endoscopy and sports medicine, cardiology and ophthalmology. Most recently, he was Global Head, Refractive R&D for Abbott Medical Optics, a division of Abbott Laboratories. Prior to Abbott he held several key leadership roles in Medtronic’s Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management business. He was Vice President, External Partnerships and Technology Assessment having accountability for developing strategic partnerships with early-stage start-ups, universities and other external research organizations to help the business grow the product pipeline. Prior to this role he held the positions of Vice President Biotechnology and Technology Scouting, Vice President Product Development and Technology and Vice President Applied Technology and Central Engineering.

Bryant holds a BS degree in Chemistry from North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC and a PhD degree in Biochemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Megan NeliganMegan Neligan
Project Finance Analyst
Cypress Creek Renewables

Megan Neligan is a project finance professional at Cypress Creek Renewables, with a focus on tax equity and corporate development strategy. She first joined Cypress in 2015 as a member of the New Markets team in the role of project manager and has worked in both the North Carolina and Santa Monica offices. Megan co-founded the internship program at Cypress and works to forge long-term partnerships with universities in proximity to various Cypress offices. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies, with minors in Entrepreneurship and Music, from UNC Chapel Hill. When she is not working to get as much solar into the ground as possible, she is singing opera in Los Angeles. 

Zachary NimchukZachary Nimchuk
Assistant Professor
University of North Carolina

The Nimchuk lab studies plant development in the Department of Biology at UNC. They are interested in identifying the function of genes and pathways that contribute to stem cell regulation in plants. Prior to moving his lab to UNC in 2015, Zack was an assistant professor at Virginia Tech. Zack received his doctorate at UNC Chapel Hill studying bacterial pathogens of plants and then switched fields to study development for his post-doctoral work at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.



Charlie NoblesCharlie Nobles
Marketing Director








Derek NormanDerek Norman
Head of Corporate Venture Capital

Derek joined Syngenta Ventures in 2009 as one of the founding members. As the corporate VC group of Syngenta, Syngenta Ventures invests in innovative companies across the world that have the potential to help growers around the world farm more productively. Prior to Syngenta, he was with Hatteras Ventures Partners, which invests in healthcare-focused life science companies. Before joining Hatteras, Derek worked at Dean & Co., a strategy consulting firm. Derek serves as a director on the boards of AgriMetis and the AgTech Accelerator. He was an observer to the board of Marrone Bio Innovations prior to its IPO in 2013. Derek holds a B. S. degree in chemistry, with Honors, from Stanford University, a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry and Chemical Biology from Harvard University, and he is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Mohammed OufattoleMohammed Oufattole
VP Research & Development

Benson Hill Biosystems

Mohammed joined Benson Hill Biosystems in early 2016 as the Vice President of Research and Development, bringing close to 20 years of experience in Life Sciences and Agricultural Biotechnology with an in-depth expertise in trait discovery and the development of genetically engineered crops. Prior to joining Benson Hill, Mohammed spent a decade of his career at Monsanto where he served in numerous progressing roles in the biotechnology division, including multiple scientific leadership positions across various Discovery and Enabling Technology programs and the head of Monsanto’s Biotechnology Research Center in India. Mohammed was involved in the Monsanto-Novozymes BioAg Alliance program, where he led the development of a portfolio of microbial-based products across both companies and played a key role in the commercial launch of Optimize XC, the alliance’s latest generation of Bradyrhizobium inoculants for North America.

Mohammed completed his postdoctoral training at Washington State University, where he also obtained an M.B.A. He earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and M.S. in Biological Sciences from Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, and his B.S. from the University of Moulay Ismail in Morocco.

Fran O’SullivanFran O’Sullivan
General Manager
IBM GBS Global Operations

Fran O’Sullivan is the General Manager of IBM GBS Global Operations. She is also the IBM Senior State Executive for North Carolina and Senior Location Executive for IBM at Research Triangle Park, NC, one of the largest IBM sites in the world. Most recently, in 2015, Fran was the GM of IBM Systems Strategy and Operations organization, where she lead the transformation of IBM Systems and made significant contributions across strategy, development, operations – as well as empowering the organization to embrace agile and design thinking in the way they work. Previously Fran was the General Manager of IBM’s Integrated Supply Chain from 2010-2014, which encompassed all aspects of the company’s global supply chain, manufacturing and global procurement, as well as front office support from quote creation through fulfillment to invoicing and accounts receivable. Fran left IBM in 2005 as part of the Lenovo divestiture where she was Senior Vice President of Product Group responsible for the award winning ThinkPad notebooks and Think personal computers. Prior to leaving IBM, she was General Manager of IBM’s Personal Computer Division. Fran began her career with IBM in an assignment with NASA’s Space Shuttle Program in Cape Kennedy, Florida. Fran is known for being passionate about driving client experience, transformation, leadership and technical development, and social. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a BS in Electrical Engineering and serves on the University of Virginia’s Engineering Board of Trustees. Fran has also served on the board of the North Carolina Coastal Pines Girls Scouts.

Patricia ParkerPatricia Parker
Department Chair, Associate Professor
Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dr. Patricia Parker is Chair of the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is also an associate professor of critical organizational communication studies. Her work focuses on leadership by women and girls to promote equity and social justice in their communities and beyond. As the inaugural Director of Faculty Diversity Initiatives for the College of Arts and Sciences (2012-2015), she developed the College’s diversity liaison program, a network of faculty leaders working for equity and inclusion in their respective departments. For this effort, she won the 2014 University Diversity Award, UNC-Chapel Hill’s highest award for achievement in advancing diversity and inclusion. She is founder and executive director of The Ella Baker Women’s Center for Leadership and Community Activism, a venture supported by a 2006 Kauffman Faculty Fellowship for social entrepreneurship. In 2013 she received the UNC Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Award for teaching. She is the inaugural recipient (2010) of the Engaged Scholars Service Award in the National Communication Association’s Organizational Communication Division. Dr. Parker is the author of Race, gender, and leadership (Erlbaum, 2005), and a forthcoming book on community-based leadership for social justice. She has published over 20 essays and book chapters appearing in international journals and edited volumes, including Management Communication Quarterly, Leadership Quarterly, the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication Research, and the Handbook of Business Discourse.

Grant ParkinsGrant Parkins
Watershed Education Coordinator
Environmental Resource Program

Grant Parkins engages community-based organizations, environmental science professionals, and Middle and High School Students in water-related educational activities. He also serves as co-coordinator of the North Carolina Watershed Stewardship Network, which seeks to empower more effective stewardship in North Carolina by collecting and sharing information on watershed groups and by reporting conditions in local watersheds. Prior to joining the Institute for the Environment, Grant served as the Manager of School Programs for the North Carolina Botanical Garden and as a Science Educator for UNC’s DESTINY Traveling Science Learning program.

Grant has a M.S., Marine Science from North Carolina State University, 2005 and a B.S., Biology from Bowling Green State University, 2001

Ralph PätzoldRalph Pätzold
Chief Executive Officer
OPVIUS GmbH, Germany

Dr. Ralph Pätzold is CEO of OPVIUS GmbH, Germany – the market leader in Organic Photovoltaic. He studied physics at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg until 2002 with specialization in solid-state physics and received a PhD in material science targeting Organic-LEDs on flexible Substrates from the same university in 2004. In 2012 he finished a MBA degree in General Management. Between 2004 and 2008 he held different project and program manager positions at Siemens AG and Osram Opto Semiconductors GmbH in the field of OLEDs for lighting applications. Until 2012 he was Director of Key Account Management for retrofits at Diehl Aerospace being responsible for product and market development for LED based lighting systems used in the aftermarket. In 2012 he took on the position as CEO at BELECTRIC OPV, now being OPVIUS.

Heather Payne

Heather Payne
Assistant Director
Center for Climate, Energy, Environment and Economics (CE3)

Heather Payne joined the Center for Climate, Energy, Environment and Economics (CE3) in 2012. Prior to CE3, she served as a judicial clerk for Judge Martha Geer on the North Carolina Court of Appeals. She focuses her scholarship on environmental, energy and water law. In addition to her CLEAR responsibilities, she serves on the Board of Directors of the Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA).

Heather graduated with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering (High Honors) from the Georgia Institute of Technology (1999) and a J.D. (Order of the Coif) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2011)



Brock PhillipsBrock Phillips
Grounds Maintenance Manager
Sun Raised Farms

Brock Phillips is the Grounds Maintenance Manager for Sun-Raised Farms, a company that promotes the working relationship between agriculture and renewable energy in North Carolina.  Sun-Raised Farms manages the vegetation on utility-scale solar projects by partnering with local farmers who use sheep to graze the sites, thereby producing local, pasture-raised lamb while sustainably managing the grounds of these solar projects.

Prior to joining Sun-Raised Farms, Brock was the livestock manager of a sustainable farm in Hillsborough, NC where he raised pasture-raised poultry and pork and grass-fed beef and lamb.  Originally from Kansas, he earned a BS in Environmental Science and a BS in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead-Cain Scholar.

Robert PhocasRobert Phocas
Sustainability Director
City of Charlotte

Robert Phocas was named the City’s energy & sustainability manager in April 2010. Rob lead the implementation of a three-year, $6.78 million Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program that resulted in 17 unique projects throughout Charlotte.

As the EECBG program rolled to a close last year, Rob has started a strategic plan for the City’s future sustainability initiatives and looks forward to making Charlotte a national and global environmental leader.

Teena PiccioneTeena Piccione
Senior Vice President
Fidelity Investments IT Enterprise-Wide

Teena began her technical career as an international consultant, and joined BellSouth Long Distance in 1999 to spearhead a joint venture between BellSouth and Qwest. She was soon assigned to develop and lead the Program Development Office, and she continued to manage and lead teams and programs through 2007. She became Chief of Staff in IT for AT&T in 2008, managing complex projects then became Executive Director of IT, responsible for release management, front-door processes, records management, disaster recovery and business continuity.

In 2013, she was appointed by officers of AT&T as vice president responsible for setting up a Big Data organization from the ground up to include – business operations, culture, facilities, records management, disaster recovery, college hiring, hiring program, program and project management. In 2015, Teena moved to Fidelity Investments to take on a SVP Enterprise-wide role responsible for Product 2.0, Application Modernization, Cloud Strategy and Data.

In 2015, Teena won the IT Executive of the Year award at Innotech, Diversity Champion Award at AT&T and the Women of Color Community Service of Excellence award. She serves as on the Executive Council for the MSBA University of Texas Austin and Dallas where she judged scholarship speech and debate competitions. As well, she judged Capstone projects at SMU and numerous speech and debate competitions in Georgia and Texas. She is a noted industry speaker on Big Data, Cloud, Cyber Security and STEM. Teena recently moved to the Raleigh/Durham area. She is married and the proud mother of two teenage girls. She is highly energetic and loves classical music, hiking and spending time with her family. Teena packs her own sunshine!

Craig PoffCraig Poff
Director of Business Development
Avangrid Renewables

Craig Poff is Director, Business Development with Avangrid Renewables where he is responsible for development of utility scale wind and solar energy projects in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States.  Craig directs all aspects of the development process including site selection, real estate, environmental assessments, permitting, engineering and government and public relations.  He began his career in residential and commercial development and before moving into the renewable energy space.  Craig currently serves on the board of the SE Coastal Wind Coalition and is a member of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association and American Wind Energy Association.

Tina PrevatteTina Prevatte
First Hand Foods

Having grown up in a small town in eastern NC as the daughter of two local business owners, Tina has been aware from an early age of the role that businesses can and do play in community and economic development. She spent her early career working with the US Environmental Protection Agency as an environmental engineer enforcing the Clean Air Act, effectively forcing companies to take responsibility for their environmental impacts. From this work, Tina was inspired to find more proactive ways to engage businesses in socially and environmentally responsible approaches. This led her to the dual degree program between UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and the Department of City and Regional Planning, where she received both an MBA and a MCRP. Tina is convinced that the power of business can be used to solve social and environmental problems. As Co-CEO of Firsthand Foods she is responsible for financial planning and management, directing sales and marketing efforts, building and maintaining internal business systems, leadership of day-to-day business management activities and decisions, and providing strategic direction toward long-term business goals. Tina also holds both a B.A. in Women’s Studies from UC Santa Cruz and a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley.

Paul QuinlanPaul Quinlan
Clean Tech Specialist
ScottMadden, Inc.

Paul Quinlan is a Clean Tech Manager at ScottMadden, a management consulting firm serving the energy industry.  Paul regularly assists clean energy and utility clients with strategic planning, business planning, market analysis, and due diligence evaluations.  Prior to joining ScottMadden, he worked as managing director of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, a nonprofit organization focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency policy issues. Mr. Quinlan earned a master of public policy and a master of environmental management from Duke University and a B.S. from the University of Notre Dame.

Cor RademakerCor Rademaker

Founded over twenty five years ago, by Drs. Ing. Cor Rademaker, MBA, visiting scholar smart cities UNC; CEO Strateq, Netherlands. An acknowledged international expert with thirty years of experience in urban development and associated econometrics, market research, logistics and planning, he is developing a UNC-based, regional smart cities hub. He lectures on smart city topics locally, as well as at several institutions in Europe. Furthermore, Mr. Rademaker is chairman of the national Dutch Strategic Smart City Advisory Board.

Arcot RajasekarArcot Rajasekar
UNC School of Information and Library Sciences

Dr. Arcot Rajasekar is a Professor in the School of Information and Library Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Chief Scientist at the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), and co-Director of Data Intensive Cyber Environments (DICE) Center at UNC. Previously he was at the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, leading the Data Grids Technology Group. He has been involved in research and development of data grid middleware systems for over a decade and is a lead originator behind the concepts in the Storage Resource Broker (SRB) and the integrated Rule Oriented Data Systems (iRODS), two premier data grid middleware developed by the Data Intensive Cyber Environments Group. A leading proponent of policy-oriented, large-scale data management, Dr. Rajasekar has several research projects funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Archives, National Institute of Health and other federal agencies. Dr. Rajasekar has more than 150 publications in the areas of data grids, digital library, persistent archives, logic programming, and artificial intelligence. His latest projects include the Datanet Federation Consortium and DataBridge, building a social network platform for scientific data.

Amanda RichardsonAmanda Richardson
Lead Brewer and Sustainability Coordinator
Fullsteam Brewery

Amanda Richardson is the lead brewer and sustainability coordinator at Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, NC. She works to develop collaborative methods of sustainability across breweries, and create sustainably-minded communities through craft beer.

Carol RosenfeldCarol Rosenfeld
Senior Project Director
Environmental Finance Center at UNC-Chapel Hill

Carol Rosenfeld joined the Environmental Finance Center at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2016. Her work focuses on financial models and mechanisms that governments, nonprofits, universities, and other public organizations can implement to increase the deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy. She also conducts research on public/private partnerships and alternative delivery options for environmental services. Rosenfeld previously advocated for green banks at the Coalition for Green Capital and managed energy use for the City of Philadelphia. In addition, she has worked on sustainability strategy at the University of Pennsylvania, Exelon, and Environmental Defense Fund. Carol earned an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a degree in civil and environmental engineering from Princeton University. She is a LEED Accredited Professional and a senior fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program.

Jeff RosichanJeff Rosichan
Chief Scientific Officer
AgTech Accelerator

Jeff Rosichan, Ph.D., brings more than 25 years of AgTech management, scouting and early-stage milestone development experience to AgTech Accelerator. As chief scientific officer, Dr. Rosichan is responsible for developing relationships with academic institution partners, shaping the strategic technology investment framework and managing all R&D activities from early discovery to global field trials. Prior to joining AgTech Accelerator, Dr. Rosichan served as external technology leader at Dow AgroSciences, initiating and managing external research collaborations with various universities and companies. He also helped to develop and implement Dow AgroSciences cereals business and R&D strategy. Dr. Rosichan’s broad technology includes cereals, oilseeds, output traits, bioprocess R&D, gene expression and plant transformation. Dr. Rosichan holds a B.A. in biology and zoology from Humboldt State University, a M.S. in genetics and a Ph.D. in genetics and cell biology from Washington State University.

John SalmeronJohn Salmeron
PlantSciences at Precision BioSciences

John has enjoyed working in plant biotechnology for more than 20 years. Prior to joining Precision, he helped launch Intrexon’s agricultural research division, and led research teams at Syngenta focused on trait and genomic technology development. His postdoctoral work at Cal-Berkeley led to the cloning of one of the first disease resistance genes from plants. At home, John loves to cook for his family and create wine pairings. He earned an A.B. in biology from Washington University in St. Louis, a Ph.D. in botany and genetics from Duke University, and is certified as a Project Management Professional.

Al SegarsAl Segars
PNC Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship & Director
UNC at Chapel Hill Center for Sustainable Enterprise

With expertise in the areas of innovation and technology management, Al Segars brings the perspective of strategic change to the challenges of adopting and using new technology and business processes.  He has applied this expertise to new products, business models, and supply chains for many of the most innovative organizations throughout the world.

His research interests include technology management, new media, strategic planning for new technology, design for sustainability, and financial and operational metrics of new technology. He also examines how firms create effective innovation, invention and proof-of-concept processes for the design of products and services.

Dr. Segars is the faculty director of the Center for Sustainable Enterprise.

He is an active consultant with such organizations as Apple, Disney, DARPA, Pixar, Siemens, Xerox, Red Hat, IBM, Sprint, Bank of America, GlaxoSmithKline, U.s. Department of the Navy and U.S. Department of Army. He serves as a speaker and expert for state and federal governments on technology transfer and implementation for economic development.

He received his PhD from the University of South Carolina in technology management with minors in international finance and corporate strategy, his MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill and his BS from UNC-Charlotte.

Brendan ShaneBrendan Shane
Regional Director for North America

Brendan Shane serves as the Regional Director for North America at C40. In this role, he supports C40 Cities in the United States and Canada in their climate action and sustainability planning, measurement, and implementation and facilitates inter-city, regional, and global collaboration. Prior to joining C40, Brendan served as Chief of Policy and Sustainability for the District Department of the Environment in Washington, DC, where he worked across District Government and with private sector stakeholders to develop and implement the city’s first comprehensive sustainability plan. He also managed programs including green building and climate change and supported a range of cutting-edge initiatives across energy, waste, and sustainable development. Brendan served as Washington’s C40 coordinator and was an active member of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, a network of sustainability officials from more than 120 North American cities. Brendan previously served as Environmental Director for the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation, a District-owned redevelopment authority, and practiced energy and environmental law at Van Ness Feldman, LLP.  Brendan is a watershed hydrologist and attorney by training with a bachelors in government from Franklin & Marshall College, masters in geology from the University of Maryland, and law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Paul ShermanPaul Sherman
Associate State Legislative Director
North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation

Paul Sherman is the Associate State Legislative Director with the North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation.  In this position, he represents NCFB at the North Carolina General Assembly on environmental, energy, renewable energy, irrigation, climate change, transportation, and other regulatory issues.

Paul attended North Carolina State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological and Agricultural Engineering and is a registered Professional Engineer.  His previous work experience includes livestock confinement design, construction engineering and animal waste management.  Prior to joining Farm Bureau, Paul worked for the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources where he supervised the animal waste permitting program and served on the technical advisory panel researching alternative swine waste treatment options.

William G. “Gus” SimmonsWilliam G. “Gus” Simmons
Director of Bioenergy

Gus Simmons is a passionate advocate for the development of our planet’s bioenergy resources, particularly the utilization of organic wastes as feedstock for the development of biofuels, such as anaerobic digester biogas. Gus’s efforts to promote and place into operation systems that harvest the carbon from organic wastes and use it to displace our dependency on fossil fuels are a prime example of Cavanaugh’s commitment to cultivating the stewardship of our natural resources through innovation. Gus leads innovation around the globe to marry advanced waste treatment and utilization processes that produce infinitely renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and sustain agriculture to feed and power a growing planet.

Gus joined Cavanaugh in 2001 as Agricultural Services Director, serving as Project Manager for the firm’s efforts to assist the State of North Carolina with projects to evaluate innovative approaches to managing agricultural wastes. Since joining our firm, Gus has led the development of innovative organic waste treatment solutions for the municipal, industrial, and agricultural sectors. In all of these cases, a commitment to stewardship can be observed – through pollution control, financial efficiency, and beneficial reuse of water, carbon, and nutrients.

Gus graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Biological & Agricultural Engineering, with concentration in biological waste treatment. Upon graduation, Gus worked in agri-industry, holding positions responsible for the design, permitting, and environmental compliance of a number of agricultural and food processing facilities in North America and Europe.

Kelly SmithKelly Smith
Biotechnology Innovator

An experienced biotechnology innovator, Kelly Smith has returned to the entrepreneurial community after serving as Head of Pasteuria Bioscience for Syngenta Crop Protection. She was a co-founder of Pasteuria Bioscience, where she was principally responsible for development of the proprietary Pasteuria manufacturing process. She served most recently as CTO prior to its acquisition by Syngenta. Prior to Pasteuria Bio she worked in research and development for Entomos, Inc, developing an early version of the Pasteuria fermentation process, and Hercules Chemical, developing biocides and biological diagnostics for the paper industry. She holds an MS and PhD in Environmental Engineering Science from the California Institute of Technology and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University.

Mark SobseyMark Sobsey
Kenan Distinguished Professor
UNC Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering

Dr. Mark Sobsey is a Kenan Distinguished Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received a B.S. in Biology (1965) and a M.S. in Hygiene (1967) from the University of Pittsburgh, Pa. and a Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences from the School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley (1971). This was followed by a post-doctoral position (1971), instructorship (1972) and assistant professorship (1973) in the Department of Virology and Epidemiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas. He joined the faculty of the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in 1974 as an assistant professor. Professor Sobsey is internationally known for research, teaching and service in environmental health microbiology and virology and in water, sanitation and hygiene, with more than 200 published papers and reports. Professor Sobsey is an author, consultant and scientific advisor to the World Health Organization, World Bank, UNICEF, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State of North Carolina and other international, national and state entities.

Jill StewartJill Stewart
Associate Professor / Deputy Director
UNC Gillings School of Public Health

Dr. Stewart develops novel techniques to detect and track pathogens in water. She is particularly interested in linkages between ecosystems and human health and well-being. Areas of specialty include water and shellfish quality. She is also interested in evaluating impacts of non-point source pollution, and in evaluating the manner in which human activities (development, stormwater management) can affect their exposure to microbial contaminants. Overall, this research is leading to a greater understanding of how environmental conditions can affect human health, and how humans themselves influence this process.

Dan TomsoDan Tomso
Chief Science Officer

Dan has a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Biology from Duke University and has trained in Bioinformatics with the NIH. He was part of the R&D team at Athenix, where he helped lead the trait discovery effort and managed several major partnerships. Prior to joining AgBiome, Dan managed the US trait research team for Bayer CropScience and also established a global R&D alliance management program there. He has been with AgBiome since the founding of the company.

Liz TracyLiz Tracy
Facilitator and Co-Instructor
Citrix-Red Hat Startup Accelerator

Liz brings international experience in community development and public outreach to her role as HQ Raleigh’s Director. She ran a nationally-recognized jewelry business and arts-based learning camps for kids. Liz manages HQ Raleigh membership services and programming, and facilitates the Raleigh Innovators Program each fall.

Gary TrottGary Trott
VP of Marketing, Intelligent Lighting

Gary Trott is a product development innovator and technologist for Cree Lighting who is driving the creation of game-changing intelligent LED lighting products.   His passion for lighting was fully inspired while receiving his B.S. in Architectural Engineering – Illumination Emphasis from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

 During his 20 plus year career, he has developed products for the most respected brands in the industry in the largest indoor and outdoor categories.   He holds numerous patents covering some of the most significant new product releases in the past 15 years. 

 For the past ten years, Gary has focused on developing solid state lighting products and served as a key leader in the team that commercialized the first viable SSL fixture for general illumination.  He drove the vision behind Cree SmartCast technology, the first intuitively simple lighting intelligence platform.      

 Gary is the VP of Marketing, Intelligent Lighting where he leads the product and marketing strategy of Cree’s connected intelligent lighting platforms. 

Pierre Pascal UrbonPierre-Pascal Urbon
Chief Executive Officer
SMA Solar Technology AG

Pierre-Pascal Urbon (b. 1970) studied business administration and was active in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) consulting until 2005 — when he joined SMA. In 2006, he was appointed to the Managing Board and in 2011 as Chief Executive Officer. Urbon planned SMA’s initial public offering and partnership with Danfoss A/S. He has also decisively advanced the Group’s internationalization and the Company’s transformation in 2015. As Chief Executive Officer, he has been responsible for Strategy, Sales and Service since January 2017. Pierre-Pascal Urbon is a member of the Board of Directors of Tigo Energy, Los Gatos, USA.

Berry VetjensBerry Vetjens
Business Director

Berry Vetjens is Business Director at TNO. His focus is on developing information innovations for use in smart Urbanization concepts. Prior to this role he was responsible for TNO’s ICT innovations. In this role he drove the development of applications for large scale sensor networks such as in smart dairy farming, and smart water management. He has over 20 years’ experience in concept development and innovation management in various roles. He is coordinator of the Digital Transition track in the Roadmap Next Economy for the Dutch Metropolitan Region Rotterdam The Hague and is a member of the board of the Dutch Telecom Society (TSOC).

Maggie WagnerMaggie Wagner
NSF Plant Genome Postdoctoral Fellow
North Carolina State University

I’m a plant biologist and NSF Plant Genome Postdoctoral Fellow currently based at North Carolina State University, working with Peter Balint-Kurti, Jim Holland, and Posy Busby. My research focuses on the genetic basis of plants’ interactions with their environment– especially their microbial neighbors– in both natural and agricultural systems. I use my training in quantitative genetics and evolutionary ecology to study the relationships between plant genotypes, phenotypes and microbiomes, toward the broad goal of improving the health of crops and wild plants facing environmental challenges.

I got my Ph.D. in May 2016 from Duke University, advised by Tom Mitchell-Olds. For my dissertation I researched the ecological causes and evolutionary consequences of plasticity of glucosinolate defensive chemistry in Boechera stricta.

Before that, I attended the University of Michigan, where I majored in Plant Biology. As a NSF REU student I also spent a summer at Harvard Forest researching the successional dynamics of a pristine hemlock-pine forest following a catastrophic hurricane.

General Counsel
North Carolina Utilities Commission

Mr. Watson is General Counsel for the North Carolina Utilities Commission. He received a law degree, with highest honors, from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C., and an undergraduate degree in engineering from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Mr. Watson is a member of the North Carolina State Bar and the Energy Bar Association.

Mr. Watson has spent over 25 years in the electric industry as an engineer and as an attorney. Prior to joining the Utilities Commission, Mr. Watson worked in Knoxville in the legal department of the Tennessee Valley Authority. He also spent several years in private practice in Raleigh representing clients in utility matters before federal and state regulatory authorities.

Markus WilhelmMarkus Wilhelm
Co-Founder, CEO
Strata Solar, LLC

Markus Wilhelm, the co-founder and CEO of Strata Solar, LLC, one of the top solar energy solutions providers in the United States, has 25 years of experience behind him in media, book publishing and direct marketing. Markus Wilhelm has served on the boards of a handful of illustrious companies, including Guthy-Renker, Barnes & Noble.Com,and the DMEF, the advisory boards of the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Public Health and Collider Media, and as chairman of the Direct Marketing Association and Syskoplan. Until recently Mr. Wilhelm was also a member of the Energy Policy Council of North Carolina.

Markus Wilhelm’s foray into the sustainable energy industry came about when, after retiring to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, he and his wife started a green construction business which built environmentally friendly luxury homes. This passion for sustainable energy construction grew into Solar Strata, LLC, in 2009, a turnkey solar energy developer based in Chapel Hill. The company provides a host of solutions for communities, government, utilities, and corporations. Strata Solar’s clients have included Bayer, GlaxoSmith-Kline, IKEA and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Markus Wilhelm’s vision has led Strata Solar to partner with the United Solar Initiative, an organization that sponsors and facilitates the construction of solar-powered electricity and water-pumping systems in lesser-developed countries. He enjoys spending his time off reading mystery novels, and has published, among others, the popular authors James Patterson, Harlan Coben and Dan Brown.

David A. Williams Sr.David A. Williams Sr.

David worked at the Wake Electric Membership Corporation for thirteen years, prior to that he was with the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives for eighteen years.

He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with an AB in Journalism.

Tripp WilliamsonTripp Williamson
Operations Manager of Williamson Greenhouses
Founder of Cropbox

Williamson graduated from NC State in 2003 with a B.S. degree in Agriculture Business. Williamson’s father, Burl Williamson, revolutionized the tobacco industry by introducing new greenhouse design’s, cutting edge hydroponic techniques and specially engineered mowers to farmers. Today, their innovations have spread across the world and is the international standard for cultivating tobacco. Williamson Greenhouses continues this tradition today by introducing the CropBox. The Cropbox is a completely turn-key agricultural system that utilizes a shipping container, hydroponics, and smart technologies. By growing the equivalent of an acre of field grown crops or 2,200 square feet of greenhouse space within a 320 sq ft footprint, the Cropbox is among the world’s most highest yielding agricultural systems. Williamson believes the potential market for the Cropbox is vast because the world’s food needs are growing while the land available for farming is shrinking. Williamson continues to grow and innovate the product in hopes of reducing energy needs by producing the first ever solar paneled Cropbox..

Sebastian WolfrumSebastian Wolfrum
Executive Brewmaster
Bull Durham Beer Co.

Sebastian Wolfrum is the founder and maltster of Epiphany Craft Malt in Durham, NC, to provide an integrated regional supply to brewers, distillers, and other sprouted grain ventures. Born and raised in Germany, he earned his certification as a brewer & maltster with the Ayinger Brewery outside of Munich from 1997 to 1999. Continuing his brewing career in the U.S., from 2006-2013 Sebastian was Director of Brewing Operations for the second largest craft brewery in North Carolina. As a founding member of the NC Craft Brewers Guild in 2008, he continues to be very involved in the affairs of the small brewers in the region. In 2012, he added a certificate in distilling from IBD, London. Sebastian has joined Capitol Broadcasting Company as the executive brewmaster for the Brewmill at Rocky Mount Mills & Bull Durham Beer Co.

Miguel YanezMiguel Yanez
Program Associate
Environmental and Energy Study Institute

 Miguel is a project associate for EESI’s on-bill financing initiative to improve the energy efficiency of homes served by rural electric cooperatives and public utilities. Prior to joining EESI in 2014, Miguel served as a Market Research Analyst for Abengoa Solar in Washington, DC. He holds a graduate degree in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from the New School University in New York City, and an undergraduate degree in Geography and Urban Planning from the Complutense University in Madrid, Spain.


Pre-Summit Workshops

Pre-Summit Workshops

Wednesday, March 1 | UNC Carolina Club

Workshops available to all Summit attendees, workshop registration link will be included in your Summit registration confirmation email. Registration will close when capacity is reached.

Attend morning, afternoon or both.


Wednesday, March 1st
8:30 – 9:00 Check In
9:00 – 12:15 Workshop: Design Thinking & Food in North Carolina
Carolina Club – Dowd and Harris Rooms
12:15 – 1:15 Lunch
1:15 – 4:30 Workshop: Perfecting Your Pitch Techniques Carolina Club – Dowd and Harris Rooms

Day 1

Summit Day 1

Thursday, March 2nd
8:00-9:00 Networking
Continental Breakfast
+ Exhibitors
9:00-9:10 Welcome Remarks
(Grumman Auditorium)
Kevin Guskiewicz
9:10-9:15 Welcome + Introduction
(Grumman Auditorium)
Carol L. Folt
9:15-9:30 Keynote Speaker
(Grumman Auditorium)
Governor Roy Cooper
9:30-9:45 Featured Speaker
(Grumman Auditorium)
Megan Neligan
9:45-10:30 Keynote Speaker
(Grumman Auditorium)
Fran O’Sullivan
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-12:00 Thematic Sessions
(Grumman Auditorium)
Public-Private Partnerships Between Universities and the Private Sector: A Powerful Way to Advance Innovation
(Redbud Room)
The Value of Energy Efficiency Programs: A Closer Look at On-Bill Financing in North Carolina
(Dogwood Room)
Agricultural Innovation and Rural Development
(Sunflower Room)
Restoring the Gulf
12:00-1:15 Lunch
Featured Speakers
(Trillium Dining Room)
“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” with Author William Kamkwamba and Rye Barcott
STEM Lunch
(Bellflower Room)
Triangle Women In STEM Panel and Luncheon
1:30-2:45 Thematic Sessions
(Dogwood Room)
Venture Capital in Ag Tech
(Grumman Auditorium)
What is on the Horizon for Energy Storage?
(Redbud Room)
Oyster Restoration as an Economic Development Tool
(Sunflower Room)
Trends in Energy and Climate Policy
2:45-3:00 Break
3:00-4:15 Thematic Sessions
(Grumman Auditorium)
Frontiers in Entrepreneurial Finance
(Sunflower Room)
Opportunities and Challenges for Commercial and Industrial Solar
(Redbud Room)
How the Revolution in Genomics is Improving our Food Security
(Dogwood Room)
Innovative Ways to Deliver Energy and Water to the Developing World
4:15-4:30 Break
4:30-5:00 Presentation
(Grumman Auditorium)
Craig Poff: Wind Energy: What Happened in North Carolina?
5:00-6:15 Keynote Speaker
(Grumman Auditorium)
Tom Darden
6:15-8:00 Summit Dinner with Keynote Speaker
(Trillium Dining Room)
Adam Bergman

Day 2

Summit Day 2

Friday, March 3
8:00-8:45 Networking
Continental Breakfast +
8:45-8:50 Welcome and Introductions
(Grumman Auditorium)
Reginald Holley
8:50-9:30 Keynote Speaker
(Grumman Auditorium)
Pierre-Pascal Urbon “The Digitization of Energy.”
9:30-10:10 Keynote Speaker
(Grumman Auditorium)
Ralph Pätzold “Organic PV – Do We Need Another PV Technology?”
10:10-10:30 Keynote Speaker
(Grumman Auditorium)
Chuck McGrady
10:30-11:00 Mentor Meetup Refreshments
+ Exhibitors
11:00-12:15 Thematic Sessions
(Redbud Room)
Analytics for a Sustainable World
(Grumman Auditorium)
A Look at Solar Farms and Agricultural Lands
(Dogwood Room)
Can Biologicals Meaningfully Increase Food Production While Protecting The Environment?
(Sunflower Room)
Water Research at UNC: Assisting Communities Across North Carolina * Interactive Workshop
12:15-1:30 Networking Lunch
+ Exhibitors
(Trillium Dining Room)
1:45-3:00 Thematic Sessions
(Grumman Auditorium)
Universities Creating the Next Great Companies
(Redbud Room)
Opportunities for Growth in the Bioenergy Sector
(Dogwood Room)
The Entire Value Chain for Craft Beers
(Sunflower Room)
Innovative Financing for Water Projects
3:00-4:30 Closing Reception

Subject to change.


All Sponsors





Carolina Partners

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One of the unique aspects of the Summit is the substantial student participation from UNC and other universities across North Carolina. For students the Summit serves as an introduction to clean tech and its potential as an economic driver in our region.

  • The Summit Mentor Program offers students an invaluable opportunity to meet with a professional throughout the Summit.
  • The Networking Lunch offers students and representatives from a wide variety of companies a chance to meet and make connections.


In accordance with the UNC Institute for the Environment’s commitment to sustainability the

2017 UNC Clean Tech Summit will be a Carolina Green event.