Keynote Addresses


Monday, Feb. 25
(8:30am – 9:00am)

Grid Modernization & Resiliency

Patricia Hoffman
Assistant Secretary U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability


Bio: Patricia Hoffman is the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability at the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability leads the Department of Energy’s (DOE) efforts to modernize the electric grid through the development and implementation of national policy pertaining to electric grid reliability and the management of research, development, and demonstration activities for “next generation” electric grid infrastructure technologies. Hoffman is responsible for developing and implementing a long-term research strategy for modernizing and improving the resiliency of the electric grid.

Hoffman directs research on visualization and controls, energy storage and power electronics, high temperature superconductivity and renewable/distributed systems integration. She also oversees the business management of the office including human resources, budget development, financial execution, and performance management. Before joining the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Hoffman was the Program Director for the Federal Energy Management Program which implements efficiency measures in the federal sector and the Program Manager for the Distributed Energy Program that developed advanced natural gas power generation and combined heat and power systems. She also managed the Advanced Turbine System program resulting in a high-efficiency industrial gas turbine product.

Hoffman holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Ceramic Science and Engineering from Penn State University.


Tuesday, Feb. 26
(8:30am – 9:00am)

Duke Energy’s Grid Modernization Journey – Where we’ve been and where we’re going.

Mark Wyatt 
Vice President of Smart Grid & Energy Systems,
Duke Energy


Bio: Wyatt is vice president of Smart Grid & Energy Systems for Duke Energy and has more than 25 years of experience in the information management field. He joined the company in July 1980 as a programmer analyst. Throughout his career, he has been instrumental in establishing and managing information technology strategy, processes and mechanisms that allow the information technology function at Duke Energy to support both a regulated and non-regulated business model. After a series of promotions in the information technology area, he was named director of global asset development in 1998, where he established a service delivery process supporting both domestic and international information management business needs. He advanced to managing director of information management in January 2000, and was named vice president of information management for Duke Energy Generation Services in October 2001. He was named vice president of information management for Duke Energy North America in January 2003, and named vice president of information technology for Duke Power in November 2003. Wyatt was named to his current position in the Franchised Electric and Gas – Operations organization in April 2006.  The Winston-Salem, N.C., native earned a bachelor of science degree in computer science from North Carolina State University.


Tuesday, Feb. 26
After Dinner Talk
(6:30pm – 8:30pm)

alex_mcEachernSmart Grids: Some Amusing and Interesting Worldwide Measurements

Alex McEachern
Power Standards Lab


Grid measurements are so simple and easy when everything is in a steady-state condition, but that’s rarely the case with Smart Grids. McEachern will present practical, hands-on examples of measurement challenges on Smart Grids – ones that lead directly to new ways of thinking about everything from revised grid standards, to the behavior of animals, to questions about distribution stability.

Bio: Alex McEachern is President of Power Standards Lab in California, a Fellow of the IEEE, and Convenor/Chair of various IEC groups. He has been awarded more than 30 patents related to electric power distribution, and examines interesting power problems in an average of 20 countries per year. (In the next two months, he is scheduled to look at power problems in South Africa, Germany, Saudi Arabia, France, possibly Italy, Japan, Spain, Israel, Turkey, Belgium, and, of course, the United States and Canada.)


Wednesday, Feb. 27
(8:30am – 9:00am)

Industrial Innovation and the Smart Grid

Danielle Merfeld, Ph.D.
Technology Director, 
Electrical Technologies & Systems, GE Global Research


Bio: Danielle is the Technology Director for the Electrical Technologies & Systems organization in GE Global Research, reporting to the Senior Vice President of GE Global Research. In this role, she leads a global team of over 500 scientists and engineers, responsible for advanced technology development in the areas of semiconductor devices and packaging, electronics, electrical power conversion, controls and signal processing, in support of GE’s Energy Management, Power & Water, Oil & Gas, Aviation, Transportation, Home & Business Solutions and Healthcare businesses.  The ET&S team is organized into six Technology Organizations, which are distributed across GE’s four Global Research facilities.

Prior to her current role, Danielle was General Manager of Solar Technologies at GE Energy.  She initially joined GE Global Research in 1999 and led the Semiconductor Technology Laboratory, later serving as the Director of the Solar Technology Platform before transferring to her role at GE Energy.

Danielle received her B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University.  She has authored or co-authored over 70 papers in refereed technical journals and has given presentations at conferences and symposiums around the world.  She is a member of several technical associations (MRS, APS, ECS, IEEE and SWE), and is on the editorial board of Future PV journal.