h Speaker Biographies - 2019 State Energy Conference of North Carolina
2019 State Energy Coference of North Carolina: Connecting North Carolina's diverse energy economy






Keynote Speaker Biographies

Sharon Allan

Sharon Allan

Chief Strategy Officer, Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA)

Sharon Allen serves as the Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer providing leadership and strategic direction for the organization. She is an executive known for business transformation and growth and has advised corporate boards, Fortune 100 companies, venture & private equity companies, as well as the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. National Institute of Standards & Technology, and many U.S. National Laboratories on their efforts to address the transformation of the energy sector.

Prior to joining SEPA, she held roles as the CEO of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel; Managing Director/partner Accenture; President, Elster Integrated Solutions as well as executive roles at ABB. She currently sits on the advisory board of Enertech Capital.

Sharon holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Florida and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Duke University Fuqua Business School.

Christina Cress

Christina Cress

Regulatory Counsel, CIGFUR, Of Counsel Bailey & Dixon, LLP

Christina Cress is Of Counsel to the law firm Bailey & Dixon, LLP in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her practice focuses primarily on energy and utilities work, including serving as Regulatory Counsel to the Carolina Industrial Group for Fair Utility Rates (CIGFUR), a group of large customers of electric and gas public utilities in North Carolina who intervene in rate cases and other important electric utility proceedings at the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

Before she returned to private practice, Christina served as a Staff Attorney at the North Carolina Utilities Commission, where she spent the majority of her time advising the Commission regarding electric and water utility matters, including general rate cases, and the implementation of clean energy programs created by the enactment of HB 589 (S.L. 2017-192).

Originally from rural Florida, Christina fell in love with North Carolina upon moving here in 2010 to attend law school at UNC - Chapel Hill. Save for traveling, she hasn’t left the state since. When not working, Christina usually is immersed in reading non-fiction books, listening to energy policy podcasts, or spending time with her fiancé, Sam, and their rescue dogs, George and Kramer (like the Seinfeld characters).

Andy Geissbuehler

Andy Geissbuehler

Advisory Director (Renewable Resources Int’l), BVG Associates

Andy brings over 25 years of EPC energy project experience and held executive positions with multinationals such as ABB, Alstom and GE. He led Alstom's wind business in North America for seven years, including delivery and installation of Block Island while heading up GE's US offshore wind operations. Further, he served as Chairman for several wind energy operators.

Andy’s consulting experience includes advising US East Coast States on supply chain, port infrastructure and wind energy strategic planning. He also progressed an innovative Jones Act marine logistic solution in partnership US oil & gas, European project- and vessel operating companies and US based private equity.

Trafton Dinwiddie

Christina Cress

Policy Advisor, Office of the Speaker of the House, NC General Assembly

A native of Raleigh, N.C. and graduate of North Carolina State University with a degree in Political Science and History, Trafton is a current Policy Adviser for Speaker Tim Moore in the North Carolina House of Representatives. He has been in the Speaker’s office in different capacities since 2015, and now is the lead adviser on issues ranging from Agriculture, Energy, and Environment policies among others.

Heather Hildebrant

Heather Hildebrandt

Statewide Initiatives Supervisor at NC Department of Transportation

Since graduation with a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University with a focus on Environmental Programs, Heather Hildebrandt has worked at the intersection of transportation and air quality. With Mobile Source Compliance with the Division of Air Quality, she gained expertise with alternative fuels and emission control and also managed grants through both state and federal funded programs. Currently, Heather works with NC DOT in the Transportation Planning Division where she supervises the Statewide Initiatives Group that oversees Transportation Conformity, the Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Program as well as statewide multi-modal planning. The group also helps lead efforts in NCDOT for resiliency and electrification of the transportation sector. Heather has volunteered as a mentor with FIRST Robotics and has worked with the EV Challenge since 1996 and currently sit on the board of the Carolina Electric Vehicle Coalition.

Katharine Kollins

Jennifer Weiss

President of the Southeastern Wind Coalition

Katharine Kollins is President of the Southeastern Wind Coalition, a non-profit dedicated to advancing wind power in the Southeast through outreach and education. Since September 2015 she has managed SEWC’s programming across 11 states working with a wide variety of stakeholders to promote land-based, offshore, and imported wind power.

Katharine's experience in the wind industry includes working for Boston-based developer First Wind, consulting with Vestas R&D to formulate a federal grant funding strategy, and a role as business development manager for The Wind Alliance. Katharine has also worked in other renewable energy capacities as an analyst at the Nicholas Institute and authoring an NREL paper on third-Party PPA financing of solar systems.

Prior to the Southeastern Wind Coalition, Katharine worked for RTI International where she was the finance lead for two $30M+ divisions. In her role at RTI Katharine led the creation and start-up of a new business segment that allowed RTI to win over $30M in new work during its first year.

Katharine is a 2009 graduate of Duke's Fuqua School of Business and Nicholas School of the Environment, where she earned her MBA and Master of Environmental Management. Katharine currently services on the board of Advanced Energy as an appointee of North Carolina Governor, Roy Cooper.

Brian Krevor

Brian Krevor

Lead Environmental Protection Specialist, Office of Renewable Energy Programs, Environment Branch for Renewable Energy, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Brian is the NEPA Team Lead within the Environmental Branch for Renewable Energy in BOEM's Office of Renewable Energy Programs (OREP). Prior to serving as the NEPA Team Lead, Brian was an environmental coordinator with OREP for 9 years. During that time Brian served as the environmental lead for projects in Massachusetts, North Carolina, and South Carolina and coordinated the Draft EIS for the Vineyard Wind project. He is currently also the environmental lead for the Ocean Wind project as well as the office lead for CZMA and Environmental Justice. Brian received a bachelor’s degree with a Major in Environmental Policy and a Minor in History from Tulane University. .

John Larson

Jennifer Weiss

Director of Public Policy & Economic Development

John Larson joined Dominion Energy in 1996 and is currently the Director of Public Policy and Economic Development. During John’s career at the company he has held various leadership positions in business development, alternative energy technologies and construction. He is well versed in offshore wind through his experience in the development and early permitting activities for Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) Pilot Project.

Currently, a large part of his time is spent on Dominion Energy’s Business to Business, Workforce Development and Community Outreach activity for as the Company moves forward implementing the requirements of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, including the 16,100 MW of solar, 5,200 MW of offshore wind and 2,700 MW of storage, with the objective of maximizing opportunities for Virginia’s vendors, subcontractors and suppliers.

Sushma Masemore

Sushma Masemore

Acting Assistant Secretary for Environment, NC Dept. of Environmental Quality

Sushma Masemore was recently named the Acting Assistant Secretary for Environment, and served as the State Energy Director since 2018.

Sushma and her team are working to bring clean energy solutions and sustainable practices to North Carolina businesses, citizens, and government operations. As the agency’s Acting Assistant Secretary, Sushma oversees regulatory programs such as permitting of discharges to surface waters; issuance of air emissions permits; permitting of coastal development; management of solid and hazardous wastes, and regulation of energy, mining, and land resources..

For Executive Order 80, Sushma lead the development of the statewide greenhouse gas inventory, the NC Clean Energy Plan, and the NC Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan. She is involved in the implementation of various climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resiliency actions. As the Executive Designee, Sushma organizes and oversees the convening of the Climate Change Interagency Council.

Sushma has over 30 years of public and private sector experience related to pollution control and energy systems planning. For the Division of Air Quality, Sushma managed teams of engineers and scientists to develop air quality rules and state implementation plans. Prior to that, she held various supervisory and deputy director roles in environmental consulting.

Sushma earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from University of Maryland Baltimore County, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in NC.

Betsy McCorkle

Betsy McCorkle

Partner, 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.

Kevin McLaughlin

Kevin McLaughlin

Vice President Government Affairs and External Relations, Duke Energy

Kevin McLaughlin serves as vice president of government affairs and external relations for Duke Energy in North Carolina. He leads the groups responsible for the state’s government and community relations strategies. This includes managing strategic relationships with the governor’s office, executive branch agencies, legislators, local officials and communities.

Before joining Duke Energy in January 2020, McLaughlin served as policy director for the U.S. Government and Education practice at SAS Institute. In this role, he was the principal liaison to governors, attorneys general and legislative leadership to increase brand awareness and encourage the adoption of data-driven strategies. Prior to joining SAS, McLaughlin was the deputy chief of staff for the governor of North Carolina. He managed all sections of the Office of the Governor and worked directly with Cabinet secretaries and agencies to develop and implement executive branch priorities. He also led legislative negotiations for bipartisan reform to both North Carolina workers and tort laws. Before serving in the governor’s office, he was chief operating officer and general counsel for the N.C. Department of Administration. Prior to his public service, McLaughlin was a litigation attorney and partner in The Van Winkle Law Firm in Asheville, N.C.

McLaughlin currently serves as a member of the WakeMed Foundation Board and gubernatorial appointee to the 2020 Complete Counts Commission. He is a member of Class XVI of Leadership North Carolina, past member of the board of visitors for the University of North Carolina and former chair of the advisory board of the Y-Guides of the Triangle. He has also served as secretary for the American Council of Young Political Leaders.

Alexander C. Miller

Jennifer Mundt

Founder and Principal of Alex Miller Government Affairs

Alex began lobbying in 2006 and has built Alex Miller Government Affairs into a leading lobbying and public relations firm, ranked among the “10 Most Powerful Lobbyists in North Carolina”. Prior to founding the firm, he served as an Infantry Squad Leader in the United States Army and a direct practice Social Worker. In addition to the firm’s lobbying work, Alex has managed state legislative campaigns, run independent expenditure political efforts, and advised statewide and national campaigns. He holds a Bachelors in Social Work from Pacific Lutheran University and Masters with a focus in Public Policy from the School of Social Work at UNC Chapel Hill.

Jennifer Mundt

Jennifer Mundt

Senior Policy Advisor, N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Jennifer Mundt joined the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in April 2017, after spending more than a decade as a nonpartisan senior legislative analyst serving the North Carolina General Assembly. While at the legislature, Jennifer drafted and evaluated environmental, energy, and public health legislation and policy.

Jennifer earned bachelor’s degrees in environmental science and political science from Virginia Tech before working as an environmental consultant in the private sector. She earned her master’s degree in Public Health from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007. While at Carolina, Jennifer focused her studies on environmental policy.

In addition to her role as Senior Policy Advisor, Jennifer represents North Carolina on the Regional Energy Resources Council to the Tennessee Valley Authority, and currently serves as Council Chair. Her energy expertise has been tapped by Governor Cooper to lead the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s North Carolina Renewable Energy Task Force.

Jeremy Tarr

Jennifer Mundt

Senior Advisor for Climate Change Policy, Office of Governor Roy Cooper, North Carolina

Jeremy Tarr is Senior Advisor for Climate Change Policy for North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. Before accepting this appointment, he served as the NC Governor’s Office policy advisor for energy, environment, transportation, climate change, and natural resources. Jeremy oversees implementation of Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 80 (“North Carolina’s Commitment to Address Climate Change and Transition to a Clean Energy Economy”), serves as Governor Cooper’s designee on the North Carolina Climate Change Interagency Council, and represents North Carolina in the U.S. Climate Alliance. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the National Council on Electricity Policy.

Jeremy previously worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where he helped finalize the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and led development of the CPP’s Rate-Based Model Rule. Prior to federal employment, he worked on national climate and energy policy at Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University and served as a law clerk for the Honorable Patricia Timmons-Goodson at the Supreme Court of North Carolina. Jeremy is a graduate of Davidson College and UNC School of Law.

Eric A. Thumma

Eric A. Thumma

Senior Director, New Business Offshore Wind, Avangrid Renewables

In this role as Senior Director for New Business he leads the U.S. offshore businesses’ commercial activities including RFP responses, offtake agreements, lease auction bids as well as external communications and state policy, legislative and regulatory affairs.

He is an energy and environmental professional with over twenty years of experience in senior management positions with Avangrid Renewables (formerly Iberdrola Renewables) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Eric joined Avangrid Renewables in 2007 as Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs. In concert with the Avangrid Renewables team, he has participated in the development of over 1,200 megawatts of wind energy in seven states.

Prior to joining Avangrid Renewables, Eric was Deputy Secretary for Pollution Prevention and Compliance Assistance and energy director for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. He earned a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) and Master of Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

Karen Wayland

Karen Wayland

CEO, GridWise Alliance

Karen Wayland is CEO of GridWise Alliance and Principal at kW Energy Strategies, where she provides strategic consulting on grid modernization and clean energy policy. She is a recognized expert in national energy and environmental policy and served in leadership positions at the highest levels of government and nonprofits, including as policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Energy and to the Speaker of the House. She serves as Director on the Board of Center for Sustainable Energy and is a Distinguished Associate at Energy Futures Initiative, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at Boston University Institute for Sustainable Energy and an Equity in Energy Ambassador at the US Department of Energy. She holds a Master of Science from the University of Connecticut and a Dual Ph.D. in the fields of geochemistry and resource development from Michigan State University.

Jennifer Weiss

Jennifer Weiss

Senior Policy Associate, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University

Jennifer Weiss is a senior policy associate at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions where she focuses on the intersection of energy and environmental policy, especially in the electricity sector.

Jennifer joined the Nicholas Institute in 2017 and works closely with state environmental regulators and utility commissioners on the intersection of energy and environmental planning. She provides information and research on a variety of intersecting renewable energy investment and conservation practices, including the exploration of innovative financing mechanisms and the analysis of the impact of new energy policies, mandates and programs on new and existing energy programs.

In addition to her energy work, Jennifer has over 13 years of consumer and small business banking experience and holds a master of environmental management degree from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, a master of business administration from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at San Diego.