Organizing Committee Biographies
ISGT 2019 Conference Chair
Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy
Michael Pesin is Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Advanced Grid Engineering Research and Development Division at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. Mr. Pesin has over 30 years of experience in the electric utility industry directing development and execution of advanced technology programs.
Prior to joining the DOE Mr. Pesin spent most of his career leading technology organizations at electric utilities where he led technology strategy development, managed research and development programs, and directed strategic programs and demonstration projects. These included substation and distribution automation, advanced metering infrastructure, communication networks and cybersecurity, energy storage, distributed generation, microgrids, electric vehicles, transactive energy, energy management and distribution management systems.
Mr. Pesin also founded and led a management consulting company working in the US and internationally with electric utilities, technology companies and investors. He was a board member at a number of technology organizations, is actively involved with many electric power industry groups, and is a frequent speaker at industry events.
ISGT 2019 Conference Vice-Chair
Manager Distributed Energy Resource, Pepco Holdings
Steve Steffel is Manager, Distributed Energy Resource Planning and Analytics at Pepco Holdings, Inc. He has over 30 years of electric utility experience and provides oversight of the team doing the technical analysis for integrating DERs into the distribution grid. Over 700 MWs have gone into the PHI distribution grid and over 300 MWs into the transmission grid. In addition, his team has worked on the deployment and development of advanced power flow tools, interactive hosting capacity and heat maps, integrating smart inverter based systems, battery storage, fuel cells, wind, CHP and other DERs into the grid. Steve is a Senior Member of IEEE, the Section chair of the Delaware Bay Section, has served on standards committees, published in IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, published in the Power and Energy magazine and is a PE in NJ and MD.
Julio Romero Agüero
ISGT 2019 Conference Publications Chair
Chief Innovation and Transformation Officer, JEA
Dr. Julio Romero Agüero is Chief Innovation and Transformation Officer at JEA. He provides leadership in the identification, development, evaluation, and adoption of emerging technologies, business models, services, processes, and industry leading practices to improve overall enterprise performance and sustainability, and achieve digital transformation. He has 23 years of industry experience in the areas of technology and business strategy, grid modernization, smart grid, utility of the future, distribution systems analysis, planning, and operations, and integration of distributed generation, energy storage, microgrids and electric vehicles. He has developed solutions in these areas for electric utilities and regulatory boards in the USA, Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia. Before joining JEA he was Vice President of Strategy and Business Innovation at Quanta Technology, where he led the development of pioneering methodologies and concepts for planning and analysis of modern and future power distribution systems, grid modernization, and distributed energy resources. He has been Adjunct Professor at University of North Carolina at Charlotte and University of Houston. He is a former Commissioner of the National Energy Commission of Honduras. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE, and has served as Chair of the IEEE Distribution Subcommittee, Chair of the IEEE Working Group on Distributed Resources Integration, Editor of IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, and Editor of IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid.
Robert W. Cummings
ISGT 2019 Conference NERC Representative
NERC Senior Director of Engineering and Reliability Initiatives
Mr. Cummings joined NERC in 1996 and has extensive experience in the industry in system planning, operations engineering, and wide area planning. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Power System Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and is an IEEE Senior Member. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of CURENT (Center for Ultra-wide Area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks), a National Science Foundation and Department of Energy Engineering Research Center. His geographically diverse experience includes Central Vermont Public Service Corporation in System Planning (generation and transmission), Public Service Company of New Mexico, and the East Central Area Reliability Coordination Agreement (ECAR) regional office of NERC.
Mr. Cummings was the “father” of power interchange transaction “tagging” and the Interchange Distribution Calculator for the Eastern Interconnection. Mr. Cummings was instrumental in the founding of the NERC System Protection and Controls Task Force, now the System Protection and Control Subcommittee, acting as the staff coordinator from 2004 through 2009.
He was a principal investigator of the 2003 Northeast Blackout and the more recent September 8, 2011 Arizona-Southern California Outage, leading multiple event analysis teams in the sequence of events development, modeling and studies (powerflow and dynamics analysis), and transmission/generation performance areas. He directed the NERC Event Analysis program for five years, leading or working on 12 major disturbance analyses.
Mr. Cummings is the senior staff technical advisor for the NERC System Analysis and Modeling and the System Protection and Controls Subcommittees, and is the technical advisor to the North American Synchro-Phasor Initiative. He is also the technical director of the NERC System Protection Improvement Initiative, the Modeling Improvements Initiative, and the Frequency Response Initiative.
Arnie de Castro
Product Manager, SAS
Arnie de Castro is a Principal Product Manager in the IoT Division at SAS in Cary, North Carolina. He is responsible for the SAS Energy Forecasting solution. He has over 35 years of experience in building commercial software and in teaching, research and consulting in the electric utility industry. Prior to working with SAS, Arnie managed the development of software applications for electric power system optimization, electricity price forecasting and energy transaction risk analysis. He developed and maintained long-term capacity planning, mid-term resource optimization and short-term unit commitment and economic dispatch software that are still in use in the industry today. Arnie has a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech, and is an adjunct faculty member at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte and at North Carolina State University.
- Analytics in the Smart Grid – December 21, 2018
ISGT 2019 Conference Technical Chair
Gerald “Jerry” FitzPatrick is the leader of the Applied Electrical Metrology (AEM) Group and the Wide Area Monitoring and Control and Smart Meters (WAMCSM) Project at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The WAMCSM project conducts research and development in measurements to support performance characterization and promote the interoperability of smart grid devices and systems such as Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs), Merging Units (MUs), smart sensors, and smart meters. The project develops improved measurement systems, tests, and calibrations for intelligent grid equipment to ensure the measurement accuracy as well as interoperability necessary to enable and accelerate the smart grid. The project also has played a major role in the development and harmonization of smart grid standards in both IEEE and IEC. These advancements are achieved through hardware-in-the-loop simulations of real-world applications and R&D performed in the NIST Smart Grid Testbed laboratories. The AEM Group maintains and improves the U.S. national standards for voltage, current, power, and energy that are the foundation of part of the U.S. measurement system. The measurements of these basic standards, which are based on quantum effects and fundamental constants for the highest accuracy and stability, are disseminated through a chain of measurements of transfer standards to end-user equipment such as handheld multimeters and residential smart meters.
Jerry began his career at NIST as a researcher in high voltage insulation and measurements in 1988 after receiving his PhD. in Electrical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He received his M.S.E.E. from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1984, and his B.S. in Physics from Rutgers University in 1979. Prior to joining NIST, Jerry had been a researcher in high voltage insulation testing and development at Exxon Research and Engineering Company in Annandale, N.J., where he worked on projects to determine the mechanisms of insulation behavior and failure.
- 10 Years of ISGT! – October 5, 2018
Sr. Manager, Grid Modernization and Resilient Infrastructures, Sandia National Laboratories
Mr. Hanley is Senior Manager of the Grid Modernization and Resilient Infrastructures Group at Sandia National Laboratories. His group conducts research on enhancing the resilience of our critical energy infrastructures, including grid-scale optimization, controls, and microgrids; energy storage technologies; renewable energy integration; power electronics; cyber security; and advanced analytics for complex systems. He joined Sandia in 1988 and has been working in Sandia’s renewable energy and electric grid programs since 1994. From 2005 through 2014, Charlie managed Sandia’s Photovoltaics and Distributed Systems Integration Program. Prior to that, he managed Sandia’s international renewable energy programs, through which he oversaw the implementation of more than 400 photovoltaic and wind energy systems in Latin America. He received his B.S. in Engineering Science from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, New York.
Dr. Ron Melton
ISGT 2019 Conference Secretary
Senior Power Systems Researcher and Project Manager, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Dr. Melton a Senior Power Systems Researcher and Project Manager in the Electricity Infrastructure Group at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). He is the administrator of the GridWise® Architecture Council and the Principal Investigator for the DOE Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium project for an ADMS Open Source Platform. He was Project Director of the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration that concluded in June 2015. He has 10 years of experience in cyber security for critical infrastructure systems and over 30 years of experience applying computer technology to a variety of engineering and scientific problems. Dr. Melton is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a Senior Member of the Association for Computing Machinery. Dr. Melton received his BSEE from University of Washington and his MS and PhD in Engineering Science from the California Institute of Technology.
- ISGT 2010–ISGT 2019 – What’s in the Cloud! – September 24, 2018
- ISGT 2019 – Shaping your Career – November 28, 2018
- What do Blockchain, Resilience, Demand Response and DER have in common? – January 7, 2019
Assistant Professor, University of Utah
Dr. Masood Parvania is currently an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering with the University of Utah. His research interests are on the applications of mathematical optimization methods, calculus of variations, and scientific computing to the operation and planning of interdependent critical infrastructure, cyber-physical power and energy systems, and modeling and integration of distributed renewable energy resources.
Dr. Parvania is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid. He is the Chair of the IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES) Utah Chapter, Chair of the IEEE PES Task Force on Reliability Impacts of Demand Response Integration, and the Secretary of the IEEE PES Reliability, Risk and Probability Application (RRPA) Subcommittee. He is a member of the IEEE and INFORMS.
- ISGT NA 2019 features Papers, Panels and Demos on Grid Resilience – November 5, 2018
Thomas J. Pierpoint
ISGT 2019 Conference Plenary Chair
Director (retired), Pepco Holdings, an Exelon company
Tom is active with a number of companies that serve the Utility Industry. Tom is also active with the IEEE, serving as the Vice-Chair of the Energy Policy Committee, as a member of the IEEE PES ITSTF, and as part of the organizing committee for the upcoming ISGT (Innovative Smart Grid Technology) Conference.
Prior to this, Tom was an executive Director at Exelon. Exelon is a FORTUNE 100 company that serves more than 10 million electric and gas customers and employs approximately 34,000 people nationwide with 2017 revenues of $31.5 billion.
Tom and his team were responsible for the software applications that support Exelon’s electric and gas utilities at Pepco, Delmarva Power & Light and Atlantic City Electric. These software applications support key functions such as Customer Care, Asset Management, Engineering, Operations and Emergency Management. This group also supported internet and mobile applications that provide public access to outage information and the ability to pay bills and manage energy usage. Mr Pierpoint’s team also had responsibilities with the Enterprise corporate systems such as HR, Finance, and Supply Chain.
Tom was a PHI Team Lead for the Exelon/PHI Merger. This team was responsible for the integration of all PHI software Applications into Exelon. This is Mr. Pierpoint’s third Utility Merger in performing this type of role.
Tom was also a Lead for the Pepco Incident Management Team that responds to electric emergencies as well as cyber events. This team consists of nearly 4,000 employees with second roles.
Tom holds an MIT Sloan Advanced Certificate for Executives in Management, Innovation and Technology. Tom holds a Certificate in Design Thinking from the UVA Darden School of Management. Tom also holds a Masters in Business Administration, a Masters degree in Project Management, graduate work in Software Engineering and a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering Technology, an Associates in Electronics Technology and five years of formal training as an Electronics Technician.
Senior Vice President, OATI
Farrokh Rahimi holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), along with over 40 years of experience in the electric power industry. In his current role as Senior Vice President, Market Design and Consulting at Open Access Technology International, Inc. (OATI), Dr. Rahimi oversees development of market design and consulting activities, and is also a key contributor to OATI’s Smart Grid and Grid Modernization activities.
Dr. Rahimi is Life Member of IEEE and a member of a number of Smart Grid and Grid Modernization task forces and committees collaborating with IEEE, NERC, NIST, NAESB, WECC, IRC, and GWAC among others.
ISGT 2019 Conference Treasurer
Director – Global Engineering Standards, American Sugar Refining, Inc.
Matthew Stryjewski is Director of Global Engineering Standards for American Sugar Refining, Inc., which is the world’s largest cane sugar refining and marketing company. Matt has also worked for Baltimore Gas & Electric (an Exelon Company) and AT&T Mobility throughout his career. He has actively participated within numerous engineering research and development organizations over the years including EPRI, PSERC and NEETRAC.
Mr. Stryjewski holds a BSEE from the University of Maryland, College Park, is an active member of the Baltimore IEEE Section and Baltimore PES Chapter, is the Vice Chair for the IEEE PES General Meeting Steering Committee and is a member of the IEEE-USA R&D Policy Committee.
ISGT 2019 Industry Chair
Rui Sun received his B.S. degree from Southeast University, Nanjing, China, M.S. degree from Clemson University and Ph.D. degree from Virginia Tech. He’s now a consulting engineer in the Electrical Transmission Planning Department with Dominion Energy Virginia Power. Rui is technically leading a dedicated team on Dominion’s GMD mitigation plan/research. The team evaluates field operations concerns and performs research associated with GIC and GMD issues. Rui has done a handful study in wide area system dynamics and stability. He has published several IEEE transaction and conference papers on wide area system islanding contingency analysis. He currently works in Dominion’s black-start and restoration project which technically reviews and validates Dominion’s blackstart restoration plan and apply dynamic study using adapted Dominion transmission network model. Rui works closely in Dominion’s synchrophasor projects. He leads the architecture design team for Dominion’s future synchrophasor data historian. He participates in Next Generation Gird Architecture Work Group lead by PJM and several researching collaborations with academia such as VT and UTK.
Rui is IEEE member, IEEE Power & Energy Society member, CIGRE member, reviewer of IEEE transactions on Power Systems, Power Delivery and Smart Grids, IEEE general meeting conference. Rui currently serves in the NERC TPL-007-2 “Transmission System Planned Performance for Geomagnetic Disturbance Events” standard drafting team; NERC Geomagnetic Disturbance (GMD) Task Force; IEEE Transmission Planning subcommittee; IEEE WG 17 and IEEE PES Working Group on Understanding, Prediction, Mitigation and Restoration of Cascading Failures (CFWG).
ISGT 2019 Conference Volunteer Chair
Energy Systems and Information Technology Officer, Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute
Yonael Teklu received his B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, and his M.Sc. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Virginia Tech, USA. He is currently the Energy Systems and Information Technology Officer at Virginia Tech’s Advanced Research Institute. His research interests include energy systems planning, smart grids, renewable energy and distributed generation systems. He has served as chair of the IEEE PES Chapter for Northern Virginia and Washington DC as well as volunteer chair at ISGT2017 conference.
Associate Vice President, Smart Grid Development, Open Access Technology International
Dr. Ebrahim Vaahedi is an Associate Vice President at OATI where he leads Smart Grid solution development. He has over 30 years of experience in different segments of Energy Industry specializing in the development and execution of technology strategies for utility industry. Dr. Vaahedi joined OATI following his prior position with a major Canadian utility as Chief Technology Officer where he was accountable for developing and executing a consolidated technology plan. Dr. Vaahedi is a Fellow of IEEE, has authored many publications including a recent book in modern power system operation entitled “Practical Power System Operation”. Presently he chairs IEEE Bulk Power System Operations Committee and IEEE Smart Grid Publications Committee.
- Industry Leaders Shaping the Power Grid of the Future – February 5, 2019
ET Operations Engineering group, Dominion Energy
Duotong Yang received his M.S degree from University of Florida in 2013 and Ph.D degree from Virginia Tech in 2017. He is now working in ET Operations Engineering group for Dominion Energy. His main research interests are synchrophasor applications, voltage security assessment, and FACTS devices performance evaluation.
- How Utilities Can Prepare for the Next Generation Smart Grid? – November 12, 2018