2021 Featured Speakers and Panelists
The Energy Exchange has a rich tradition of featuring some of the leading voices across the federal energy management sector. Below is the 2021 speaker line up, including Opening and Closing Plenaries as well as Current Conversations.
Jennifer M. Granholm
Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy
Jennifer M. Granholm was sworn in as the 16th Secretary of Energy on February 25, 2021, becoming just the second woman to lead the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Secretary Granholm will lead DOE in helping America achieve President Biden’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 by advancing cutting-edge clean energy technologies, creating millions of good-paying union clean energy jobs, and building an equitable clean energy future. Secretary Granholm will also oversee DOE’s core missions of promoting American leadership in scientific discovery, maintaining the nuclear deterrent and reducing nuclear danger, and remediating the environmental harms caused by legacy defense programs.
Prior to her nomination as Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm was the first woman elected Governor of Michigan, serving two terms from 2003 to 2011.
As Governor, Jennifer Granholm faced economic downturns caused by the Great Recession and meltdown in the automotive and manufacturing sectors. She successfully led efforts to diversify the state’s economy, strengthen its auto industry, preserve the manufacturing sector, and add emerging sectors — such as clean energy — to Michigan’s economic portfolio. Today, one-third of all North American electric vehicle battery production takes place in Michigan, the state is one of the top five states for clean energy patents, and 126,000 Michiganders were employed in the clean energy sector prior to COVID-19.
Secretary Granholm was also the first woman elected Attorney General of Michigan and served as the state’s top law enforcement officer from 1998 to 2002.
After two terms as governor, Jennifer Granholm joined the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley as a Distinguished Professor of Practice in the Goldman School of Public Policy, focusing on the intersection of law, clean energy, manufacturing, policy, and industry. She also served as an advisor to the Clean Energy Program of the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Jennifer Granholm began her career in public service as a judicial clerk for Michigan’s 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. She became a federal prosecutor in Detroit in 1990, and in 1994, she was appointed Wayne County Corporation Counsel.
Secretary Granholm, an immigrant from Canada, is an honors graduate of both the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Law School. She and her husband, Daniel G. Mulhern, have three children.
National Climate Advisor, White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy
Gina McCarthy is the first National Climate Advisor—the president’s chief advisor on domestic climate policy—and leads the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy focused on mobilizing a whole-of-government approach to tackling the climate crisis, creating good-paying, union jobs, and securing environmental justice. Previously, she served as 13th Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and then as President and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). One of the nation’s most trusted and accomplished voices on climate issues, she has been at the forefront of environmental and public health progress in a variety of leading roles for over three decades.
In her time leading the EPA, McCarthy oversaw successful efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, mitigate air pollution, conserve critical water sources, and safeguard vulnerable communities from chemical hazards. She spearheaded the Obama-Biden Administration’s Clean Power Plan, which set America’s first-ever national standards for lowering carbon emissions from power plants, and helped pave the way for the Paris Climate Agreement. Prior to her role with the NRDC, McCarthy was a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and currently serves as chair of the board of directors of the Harvard Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment.
Throughout her career, McCarthy has advised five administrations of both Democratic and Republican Massachusetts governors on environmental matters, and she served as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection prior to being appointed by President Obama to head up the EPA’s Air Office. As EPA administrator, she pursued innovative global collaborations with the United Nations and the World Health Organization, and on global efforts to address pollution. Born and raised in Boston, McCarthy graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston and earned a master of science at Tufts University.
Program Director, Federal Energy Management Program, Department of Energy
Leslie Nicholls is the Program Director for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) focusing on assisting with strategic energy management activities. Most recently, Leslie served as FEMP’s Strategic Director with responsibility for leading cross-cutting strategic initiatives to increase FEMP’s program integration and impact. Leslie’s efforts have resulted in increased visibility of FEMP’s work; including strengthening stakeholder relationships and supporting the program’s expansion in technology innovation and validation to address federal sector energy, water, and resilience needs.
Leslie is the driving force behind the Energy Exchange; a widely recognized training and trade show focusing on efficient, resilient, and secure federal site operations to support mission assurance. The Energy Exchange provides workforce development to those who help maintain the 350,000 buildings and 600,000 vehicles owned and operated by the federal government.
Leslie served as FEMP’s Acting Director January 2017 – September 2018. Under her leadership, FEMP launched its Resilience and Security Program in response to federal agency needs. Prior to that role, she was FEMP’s Strategic Communications and Training Manager, in charge of overseeing processes and tools that were used to facilitate program communications and training.
Leslie brings nearly three decades of energy sector and executive leadership experience to her role. Prior to joining DOE, Leslie served as the Vice President of the Building Energy Solutions Division at Energetics Incorporated, where she oversaw a diverse portfolio of public and private sector clients and helped improve their operational health. Before joining Energetics, she was a Senior Contracting Officer at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, managing lighting and building systems technology development procurements, GovEnergy, and inventor innovation competitions.
Leslie is a certified project management professional, and has bachelor and master degrees in business administration from Washington State University.
Acting Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention and Senior Counselor for National Security, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Samantha Vinograd is the Acting Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention and Senior Counselor for National Security at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She was previously a CNN National Security Analyst, a Senior Advisor at the Biden Institute, and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. She began her career under President George W. Bush as the Deputy U.S. Treasury Attaché to Iraq, and she subsequently served on President Barack Obama’s National Security Council as Director for Iraq, Director for International Economics, and Senior Advisor to the National Security Advisor. She later joined Goldman Sachs, where her work focused on building public-private sector partnerships across a broad range of policy and business issues, and she later led global public policy at Stripe.
Ms. Vinograd has been deeply engaged in social impact work and served as an advisor to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Save the Children, and to the Concordia Summit. She was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Public Policy Institute, a David E. Rockefeller Fellow at the Trilateral Commission, and a Millennium Fellow at the Atlantic Council. She was also on the board of the Women’s Foreign Policy Group.
Ms. Vinograd has published in several outlets including New York Times, Washington Post, Daily Beast, USA Today, Harper’s Bazaar, Politico, and Marie Claire, and previously wrote the Presidential Weekly Briefing column on CNN.com.
She is fluent in French and studied advanced Arabic and Hebrew. She received her BA in Asian and Middle Eastern studies from the University of Pennsylvania and her MA in security studies from Georgetown University.
Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense (Climate), U.S. Department of Defense
Prior to his appointment, Joe Bryan was principal at a boutique consulting practice focused on clean energy technology and its intersection with national security. Joe previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy where he was responsible for policies relating to the Department’s installation and operational energy programs. Earlier in his career, he led investigations for the Senate Armed Services Committee and served on the professional staffs of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence and Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
Joe has consulted on energy policy in Namibia and South Africa and began his career working on electricity restructuring and state-level policies to encourage the growth of clean energy markets. He was formerly a Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center.
Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy
Kelly Speakes-Backman is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), and Acting Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy. In her role, Speakes-Backman leads and directs the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, focused on creating and sustaining American leadership in the transition to a global clean energy economy. She oversees the planning and execution of the organization’s $2.8B portfolio of research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable transportation.
Speakes-Backman most recently served as the first CEO of the Energy Storage Association, the national trade organization for the energy storage industry. She has spent more than 20 years working in energy and environmental issues in the public, NGO and private sectors. In 2019, Speakes-Backman was honored by The Cleanie Awards as Woman of the Year.
Agency Lead for Sustainable Operations, National Park Service
Currently serve as the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) Agency Lead for Sustainable Operations. Responsible for implementing programs for; climate change mitigation and resiliency, sustainable building design and construction, energy/ water conservation, and renewable energy system design.
Masters – Environmental Science and Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic University, VA.
Bachelors – Forest Biology from the State University of NY, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY.
Married with 3 children and living in Arlington, VA. Loves hiking, biking and kayaking among other outdoor activities.
Dr. Steven Ashby
Director, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Dr. Steven Ashby is Director of the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where he sets PNNL’s strategic direction and oversees its ~$1.2 billion R&D budget. Under his leadership, PNNL’s 5,200 talented staff members draw on signature capabilities in chemistry, Earth sciences, biology, and data science to advance scientific discovery and deliver innovations that advance sustainable energy and enhance national security.
Dr. Ashby previously served as PNNL’s Deputy Director for Science and Technology, and spent nearly 21 years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, ultimately serving as Deputy Principal Associate Director for Science and Technology.
A widely recognized leader in computational science, Dr. Ashby is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics; member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences; Commissioner for the Council on Competitiveness, and serves on advisory committees for local and state organizations, including the Washington Roundtable.
Director of Energy, Google
Michael Terrell is Director of Energy at Google where he leads global energy strategy and 24/7 carbon-free energy initiatives for Google’s data centers. In this role, he oversees the management of Google’s global energy portfolio and is responsible for market operations, energy policy and advocacy, and energy innovation initiatives. While at Google, Michael has advanced pioneering new approaches to Google’s procurement of nearly 6GW of renewable power, was the driving force behind Google’s 24/7 carbon-free energy vision, and has delivered landmark projects such as converting coal plants to data centers.
Michael has appeared in major media including The New York Times, The Economist, Financial Times, USA Today, Bloomberg, Fast Company, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Forbes, and Reuters. He also represents Google through numerous speaking appearances, testimony and official blogs. He is a regular lecturer on climate and energy at Stanford University and serves as Board Chair of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (www.rebuyers.org).
Prior to joining Google, Michael worked in energy and climate law and policy. He held several roles in the Federal government, including the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where he helped guide US policy on energy and environmental issues. He holds a JD from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree from Yale University’s Environment School and a BS from the University of the South. Follow him on Twitter @michael_terrell.
Chair, Council on Environmental Quality
Brenda Mallory was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 14, 2021 and sworn in as the 12th Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). She is the first African American to serve in this position. As Chair, she advises the President on environmental and natural resources policies that improve, preserve, and protect public health and the environment for America’s communities. She is focused particularly on addressing the environmental justice and climate change challenges the nation faces while advancing opportunities for job growth and economic development.
Chair Mallory grew up the oldest of four children in a working-class community in Waterbury, Connecticut. Raised in a family of dedicated community and public servants, she learned the importance of hard work, service, and perseverance. She saw the impacts on her community and the larger city when the industrial base of the “Brass City,” as Waterbury was known, abandoned the area, leaving deep physical and economic scars behind. Her personal experience fuels her commitment to making America’s environmental laws work for all people and ensuring that no community is left behind as the nation pursues a clean energy future.
Chair Mallory earned a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school for high school that changed the course of her life. She became the first in her family to attend college, graduating from Yale College with a double major in history and sociology and then from Columbia Law School as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. She began her environmental law career in private practice, where much of her work involved helping local governments secure federal environmental approvals for economic development projects. She eventually chaired the law firm’s Natural Resources Practice Group. Through this work, she gained valuable experience in the application of the National Environmental Policy Act, the bedrock statute that created CEQ in 1969 and which the agency administers. In 2000, she joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds, commencing an almost 20-year career in Federal service.
Chair Mallory served in a number of senior roles throughout her federal career at EPA and CEQ. She was involved in major Clean Water Act jurisdictional actions, including signature Supreme Court cases and the development of the 2015 Clean Water Rule. She served as EPA’s representative on a White House Task Force on Energy Project Streamlining with a focus on Clean Water Act permitting. She led EPA’s Pesticide and Toxic Substances Law Office as the agency tackled lead in renovations, lead and mercury in products, and early efforts to reform the Toxics Substances Control Act and address PFAS contamination. She also worked closely with agency officials on significant emergency response efforts, including those in response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Hurricane Katrina, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
As the ranking career official in EPA’s Office of General Counsel (OGC), Chair Mallory served as the chief operating officer for OGC and led operational efforts focused on Environmental Justice and diversity initiatives. She supported the development of OGC’s EJ Legal Tools report, which outlines opportunities within EPA’s legal authorities for advancing environmental protection of low-income and communities of color. She helped reform the EPA Office of Civil Rights to enable more effective processing of Title VI complaints. In addition, she guided the legal teams working on implementation of initiatives designed to integrate environmental justice considerations into EPA permitting and rule writing.
In Chair Mallory’s first stint at CEQ as the General Counsel, she helped shepherd many of President Obama’s signature environmental and natural resource policy successes to completion. She worked on the development of significant climate and environmental rules and policies, including the 2016 NEPA GHG guidance, which instructed federal agencies on how to effectively consider climate change impacts in decision-making; the Lautenberg TSCA Reform Bill, which gave EPA the tools to ensure the safety of chemicals and strengthen health protections for American families; the Clean Water Rule, which protected streams and wetlands from harmful pollution; and the designation of national monuments and other protected areas.
After serving as General Counsel, Chair Mallory spent four years working in the environmental advocacy community, most recently as the Director of Regulatory Policy at the Southern Environmental Law Center and prior to that as the Executive Director and Senior Counsel for the Conservation Litigation Project, a project supporting the protection of environmental and conservation values on public lands.
Now having returned to CEQ, Chair Mallory is looking to reinvigorate CEQ’s important environmental policy role in service of President Biden’s agenda. She is committed to working with all stakeholders to advance efficient permitting approaches that engage affected communities and that help avoid, minimize, or mitigate the environmental impacts of decisions. Chair Mallory will see that CEQ’s expertise is applied to the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to helping communities prepare for the increased flooding, more frequent hurricanes and wildfires, and other impacts of climate change that are already occurring. She will work to protect our nation’s natural treasures, and she will ensure that the voices of low-income and people of color are heard as we tackle the environmental and public health crises our nation faces.
Chair Mallory and her husband Mark live in Rockville, MD. They have three adult children. The family enjoys visiting the parks and other natural treasures that reflect the environmental values she has worked to protect.
Federal Chief Sustainability Officer
As the Federal Chief Sustainability Officer, Andrew Mayock leads President Biden’s efforts to improve the sustainability of the Federal government, including by helping Federal agencies prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change on their operations and services.
Andrew brings over 25 years of public and private sector experience to the Biden Administration, including service in the Obama and Clinton Administrations. In the Obama Administration, Andrew served as Deputy Director for Management and Associate Director for General Government Programs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). At OMB, he led OMB’s management offices and the President’s Management Council with a focus on digital services, cybersecurity, acquisitions, financial management, personnel and performance management. As Associate Director for General Government Programs, he oversaw policy and budget for six cabinet agencies comprising $225 billion of the President’s budget and covering over one million federal employees.
Prior to his OMB roles, Andrew served as the Deputy Vice President for Compact Operations for East and Southern Africa at the Millennium Challenge Corporation. He served as Executive Secretary at the U.S. Treasury Department from 2009-2010.
In the Clinton Administration from 1995-2000, Andrew worked at the White House and the U.S. Treasury Department. Andrew was a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton from 2003-2009 and McKinsey & Company from 2017-2020, where he focused on public sector programs.
During 2019–2020, Andrew served on the steering committee of the Climate 21 Project, which delivered advice for a coordinated, rapid-start, whole-of-government climate response.
Andrew received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, law degree from The George Washington University Law School, and a master in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
He and his wife have two children and reside in Washington, D.C.
Philip A. McNamara
Assistant Secretary for Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation
Philip A. McNamara serves as the Assistant Secretary for Administration. McNamara has more than 22 years of experience navigating Washington’s political, government, and policy landscape in high-pressure, high-visibility leadership roles working alongside top officials. Before joining DOT, McNamara served as the Director of Government Relations at The Pew Charitable Trusts. He returns to government after serving all eight years with the Obama administration in senior executive roles at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where he concluded his service as the Assistant Secretary for Partnerships and Engagement / Intergovernmental Affairs. Early in his career, McNamara spent 11 years at the Democratic National Committee. McNamara is a native of Massachusetts and a graduate of the University of Massachusetts – Amherst.
Director, Office of Management, U.S. Department of Energy
Ingrid Kolb was appointed Director of the Office of Management on December 1, 2005. As the Director she leads an organization comprised of nearly 230 employees with a budget of about $55 million. The Office of Management (MA) is the Department of Energy’s (DOE) central management organization providing leadership in such mission critical areas as acquisition management and oversight, real property management, sustainability, and personal property management.
Ms. Kolb also leads the Department’s internal policy and requirements program which develops procedures and processes for DOE organizations and its contractors. In addition, MA manages the Department’s Headquarters complex and provides administrative support to DOE’s 7,000 personnel in the Washington, DC area. Also, Ms. Kolb serves as the Department’s Chief Sustainability Officer and the Chief FOIA Officer. In 2007, she was awarded the President’s Distinguished Executive Service Rank Award.
Senior Advisor to the Administrator on Climate, U.S. General Services Administration
Sonal Kemkar Larsen is currently serving as the first Senior Advisor on climate to the Administrator of the U.S General Services Administration.
Previously, she served as a national advisor for an innovative mayoral-level partnership aimed at helping U.S. cities meet their climate and economic development goals through next-generation clean energy programs. Sonal was also with the White House Council on Environmental Quality where she advised on clean energy strategies and helped to draft the Presidential Memorandum on Federal Energy Management. Her previous experience also includes time at the U.S. Department of Energy, the largest builder of green buildings in the nation, and a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization promoting clean energy and environmental protection in the United States and abroad. Sonal also has extensive international experience, including in Sydney, Australia and at the United Nations Environment Program in Bangkok, Thailand where she helped develop national green building policies and design net-zero demonstration projects around the Asia-Pacific region.
Sonal is a graduate of the George Washington University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and holds a Master of the Built Environment from the University of New South Wales in Australia.
Richard Kidd IV
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment and Energy Resilience
Richard Kidd is member of the Senior Executive Service and is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment & Energy Resilience at the DOD. In this position, he provides policy and implementation guidance for programs and activities that enable resilient, cyber-secure energy for weapon systems and installations. Prior to this position, Kidd served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Strategic Integration where he led the strategy development, resource requirements, and overall business transformation processes for the Office within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment. Throughout Kidd’s career, he has served in various leadership positions including Executive Director for the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (FPISC), a Federal entity which he helped build. From 2007 to 2010 Richard Kidd served as Office Director for the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) where he assisted in drafting Federal Executive Orders and provided support to agencies working to meet sustainability targets.
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy and Sustainability
Ms. Christine Ploschke currently serves as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy and Sustainability (ADASA(E&S)), guiding program development and oversight of energy and water security, resilience, and conservation; sustainability; and operational energy. A native of Queens, New York, Ms. Ploschke began her federal career as the Environmental Branch Chief of the Army Reserve 99th Regional Support Command in 2010. From 2016 through July 2020, she was the Sustainability Branch Chief for the Office of the Chief of the Army Reserve, managing the Reserve’s Installation Energy, Water, Sustainability, and Environmental Programs. When not Acting DASA(E&S), she is the Water Resilience Program Manager for the DASA(E&S) Office and leads the oversight of Army Energy and Water budgetary planning and programming. Ms. Ploschke graduated magna cum laude from St. John’s University in 2006 and became a Certified Energy Manager through the Association of Energy Engineers in 2015.
Director for Installation Resilience, Department of the Navy
Ms. Sandy Kline is the Department of Navy’s first Director for Installation Resilience and currently serving Ms. Berger the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment. Her responsibilities include policy development and program oversight for installation resilience to include energy, water, control system cybersecurity and climate resilience. Her extensive Navy background as an integrator and innovator uniquely qualify her for the challenges of the position.
She previously served as the Deputy Director for the Department of Navy’s $3.6 billion dollar Military Construction Program and Chief Information Officer at the Naval Facilities Engineering Command. She was the Director for e-Business and Acquisition Systems at Naval Sea Systems Command and a Logistician and Program Manager for S-3 and F-14 aircraft programs at the Naval Supply Systems Command.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety and Infrastructure
Mark Correll, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety and Infrastructure. He provides executive leadership on all matters pertaining to formulation, review and execution of plans, policies, programs, and budgets for Air Force built and natural infrastructure, environmental, safety, and occupational health programs. These include facility management, military construction, family housing, as well as acquisition, operation, maintenance, repair, and disposal of real property, environmental compliance and restoration, ground safety, and workplace health.
Mr. Correll was commissioned in the Air Force in 1981 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, earning a degree in civil engineering, and retired in 2010 in the rank of colonel. Prior to his current assignment, Mr. Correll served as the Air Force Deputy Civil Engineer. Mr. Correll is registered as a licensed professional engineer in the state of Texas.
Director of Energy Performance, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment and Energy Resilience
Mr. Walter Ludwig is the Director of Energy Performance in the office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment and Energy Resilience, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment. He currently manages Installation Energy Planning, the Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program (ERCIP), DoD third-party financing, Utilities Privatization, and metering.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Master of Business Administration from the Naval Postgraduate School. He is a registered professional engineer in Georgia and a member of the Defense Acquisition Corps.