Speakers & Panelists

Energizing the Valley and Generating Jobs


Mike Dozier

Mike Dozier

Mike Dozier has been executive director of OCED since January 2009. OCED manages the San Joaquin Valley Rural Development Center, San Joaquin Valley Regional Broadband Consortium, Smart Valley Places, and the Fresno State Connect program. OCED also conducts the annual Introduction to Economic Development Certificate Program with the University Business Center and California Association for Local Economic Development. Prior to joining OCED, Mike was assistant to the city manager with the City of Livingston, redevelopment director with the City of Atwater, and director of Community and Economic Development with the City of Clovis. Mike is a director on the following boards: Central Valley Business Incubator, San Joaquin Valley Workforce Funders Collaborative Board and the University Economic Development Association.


Rober Lapsley

Robert Lapsley

Robert Lapsley was named president of the California Business Roundtable in August 2011. He was selected based on his track record of leadership, relationship building and executing strategies in a complex public policy environment. Rob joined the CalChamber as vice president of public affairs in April 2007. Lapsley was responsible for CalChamber public affairs activities and CalChamberBusPAC. Rob is a graduate fellow of the Coro Foundation and is an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

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Brian Fiscalini

Brian Fiscalini

Brian Fiscalini is the general manager of Fiscalini Farms and Cheese Company. The farm includes 530 acres, 1800 mature dairy cows and a renewable energy-producing methane digester. Before coming home, Brian worked as an intern in Northern Indiana and Central Wisconsin for Fair Oaks Dairy Farms. Brian has worked in many aspects of animal husbandry, dairy cattle nutrition, growing crops, cheese manufacturing, sales and marketing for the family business. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cal Poly SLO and a MBA from the UOP

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Dr. Stephen Kaffka

Dr. Stephen Kaffka

Dr. Stephen Kaffka is director of the California Biomass Collaborative and extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis. He has advised the California Energy Commission and California Resources Agency on biomass energy and sustainability issues, and serves as an ex officio member of the state’s Bioenergy Interagency Work Group. He participates on the California Air Resources Board’s Sustainability Standards and Indirect Land Use Change workgroups. He was a member of a National Research Council’s committee producing the recent report: the Renewable Fuel Standard, Potential Economic and Environmental Effects of US Fuel Policy

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Remarks and Moderators


Frank Gornick

Frank Gornick

Frank Gornick is Chancellor of the Wests Hills Community College District, where he has been the Chief Executive Officer since 1994. The District is comprised of WHC Coalinga and WHC Lemoore, as well as the North District Center, Firebaugh. Dr. Gornick has served as past Chair of the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium and as the Governor’s appointee for higher education on the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley. In 2009 he was appointed as a public representative for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Dr. Gornick grew up in Chicago. He earned an A.A. degree at West Hills College Coalinga and came back 28 years later as CEO.


Jim Mayer

Jim Mayer

Jim Mayer is President and CEO of California Forward, a bipartisan public interest effort to bolster democracy and improve the performance of government in California. Jim was part of the team that developed and launched California Forward in 2008. Jim was the executive director of the Little Hoover Commission, an independent and bipartisan state panel that reviews state programs and policies for efficiency and effectiveness. Jim joined the Commission’s staff in 1994 as a project manager and served as deputy executive director prior to being appointed executive director in January 1999.


Robert Tse

Robert Tse

Robert Tse creates and implements innovative strategies to benefit California’s regional and rural economies. He integrates policies, resources and initiatives through federal, state, local government and public-private partnerships. He is the USDA lead for the Strong Cities – Strong Communities (SC2) White House pilot initiative in Fresno. He is driving strategies for urban-rural broadband infrastructure and development of regional agriculture technology economic clusters in areas such as Fresno and Sacramento. His broad strategic reach also includes goods movement, international trade, health-food-agriculture systems, veterans and farming, water, and energy.

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Robert J. Gore

Robert J. Gore

Robert J. Gore of the The Gualco Group, Inc., applies a wide range of insights and knowledge from 35 years as a senior executive for two governors, a UC chancellor, the international engineering firm CH2M Hill, a large business insurance underwriter, the California Hospital Association and the Association of California Insurance Companies. His career began as a Los Angeles Times urban affairs writer. As a senior advisor to the firm, Gore collaborates with the advocacy team to deliver targeted issues management and representation in natural resources (land use, water, energy and agriculture), environmental protection, risk and asset management, healthcare and criminal justice.

Panel One: Fossil Fuels: Boom or Bust?


Dr. Mark Nechodom

Dr. Mark Nechodom

Dr. Mark Nechodom serves as director of the California Department of Conservation (DOC). Mark has dedicated his professional life to integrating conservation, regulation and development right where it matters the most – on the land, on the farm and in the forest. Prior to his service as DOC director, Dr. Nechodom was a senior policy advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture. He has also served as director of the Office of Environmental Markets at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Dr. Nechodom earned his doctorate in political science and environmental policy from the UC Santa Cruz, where he taught for several years.


Allison Smith

Allison Smith

Allison Smith is the energy policy manager in the Policy & Environmental Solutions group at Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), the largest natural gas distribution company in the nation. She joined SoCalGas in 1990 as an associate engineer. Allison has worked in the engineering, customer services, regulatory affairs and environmental policy departments for SoCalGas. In her current position, she is leading a project to address the long-term role for natural gas in Southern California’s energy future. Allison holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley.

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Trevor Demayo

Trevor Demayo

Trevor Demayo is the system optimization and energy management advisor for Chevron’s San Joaquin Valley Exploration & Production operations, based in Bakersfield, Calif. Before joining Chevron in 2003, Trevor worked in Canada, Japan and California on advanced combustion research, air pollution control, automotive exhaust analysis, and real-time air pollutant monitoring, and has published and presented several peer-reviewed papers on these topics. He has also assisted Chevron in its global flare reduction programs, served on the Clean Development Mechanism team for the Chevron Darajat Geothermal project, and helped coauthor the 2011 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Renewable Energy Source.


Ismael Díaz

Ismael Diaz Herrera

Ismael Díaz Herrera is associate director of the Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED) at Fresno State. Ismael contributes to the development of university-led activities that align Fresno State’s assets to regional initiatives aimed at improving the competitiveness and prosperity of the San Joaquin Valley. Recently, Ismael helped launch the San Joaquin Valley Electric Vehicle Partnership, a regional private-public collaborative focused on increasing electric vehicle adoption through disbursement of information on the incentives and benefits, deployment of additional charging station infrastructure, and training of an electric vehicle Swaobrkrifnoa.

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Sabrina Demayo

Sabrina Demayo Lockhart

Sabrina Demayo Lockhart has more than 15 years of experience working in the Capitol community. She currently serves as communications director for Californians for a Safe, Secure Energy Future, a coalition designed to educate the public and correct misinformation about proven, safe oil extraction technologies. Previously, she served as the Assembly Republican Caucus communications director and press secretary. She began this role in December 2010, shortly after Assemblywoman Connie Conway was unanimously elected as the first woman Assembly Republican Leader in three decades. She was also appointed by Assemblywoman Conway to serve as the chair of the Assembly Republican Caucus Diversity Outreach Team.

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Panel Two: Renewable Fuels: Can the Portfolio Expand?


Suzanne Korosec

Suzanne Korosec

Suzanne Korosec is the director of the California Energy Commission’s Renewable Energy Division. During her 28 years at the Energy Commission, she has served in a variety of capacities and been involved in renewable energy issues since the early 1990s. From 2008-2013, she was assistant executive director for Policy Development in charge of developing energy policy recommendations for the governor. From 2006-2008, she served as senior policy advisor to Commissioner John Geesman, who was the chair of the Energy Commission’s Renewables Committee. From 1996-2006, she helped design and implement the Energy Commission’s Renewable Energy Program, which provided nearly $1 billion in financial incentives to support renewable energy development.

Presentation


Elise Brown

Elise Brown

Elise Brown is assistant director for the Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy and oversees the Institute’s renewable energy work. Elise brings 10 years of experience in academia and various sectors of government. Prior to her joining the Policy Institute, she was the associate director for the California Geothermal Energy Collaborative and program manager for the California Renewable Energy Center. She has also served as the renewable energy coordinator for the State of Utah, and currently holds seats on two Western Electric Coordinating Council’s Transmission Expansion Planning and Policy subcommittees. Elise holds a B.S. from the University of Utah in environmental studies, and a Master of Applied Science in Natural Resource Management from James Cook University in Queensland, Australia.

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Tom Hintz

Tom Hintz

Tom Hintz is the managing partner of SeaHold® LLC, a firm in the waste-to-energy field, with anaerobic digestion as its primary focus. The firm consults with colleges, private industry and other research organizations on the feasibility of anaerobic digesters; the Team Biogas division provides the laboratory instruments for measuring the biogas that the digesters produce and methane potential analysis. Tom is a graduate of Indiana University with a degree in economics. His main focus is renewable energy, especially in California, working with farmers, private industry, universities, innovative entrepreneurs, and government agencies. Tom’s greatest strengths are the conceptualization, visualization and implementation of waste-to-energy projects that yield significant revenue, while maximizing environmentally sound practices.

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Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes is the client business manager for Covanta’s California biomass and Stanislaus energy-from-waste facilities. He has been with Covanta for six years in various business management, finance and accounting roles, including oversight of Covanta’s Delano and Mendota biomass energy facilities’ biomass fuel procurement activities.

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Russell Teall

Russell Teall

Russell Teall is the founder and president of BIODICO. Under Dr. Teall’s leadership, BIODICO has successfully evolved patented biorefinery production techniques for a wide variety of feedstocks. Beginning with laboratory-scale demonstrations, these technologies eventually led to full-scale commercial operations in California, Nevada, Colorado, Texas and Australia. These plants utilized Teall’s patented process with capacities of 3-10 million gallons per year and produced biodiesel predominantly from recycled fryer oils, with the capability of using a wide variety of other feedstocks, including crude vegetable oils and animal fats. BIODICO is continuing to actively develop improvements to the bioenergy system platform in conjunction with the U.S. Navy at the Naval Facilities Engineering Expeditionary Warfare Center at Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme, Calif.

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Jim Tischer

Jim Tischer

Jim Tischer is the project manager for Mendota Bioenergy, LLC, that is developing a 15 MGY advanced and cellulosic ethanol plant in western Fresno County. The project was recently awarded a $5 million competitive grant by the California Energy Commission to build a first-in-the-nation energy beet 1 MGY pilot/demonstration plant in western Fresno County. Tischer has been advising the Mendota Advanced Bioenergy Beet Cooperative since formation in fall 2008. Jim also has a concurrent assignment at the California Water Institute at Fresno State and advises the governor’s appointed California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley leadership, elected leaders, water community and public to develop an Integrated Regional Water Management Plan Framework. He has served as a pump and well drilling company president, founding manager of a large central California resource conservation district, and as the executive director of a statewide agricultural sustainability organization.

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Julia Levin

Julia Levin

Julia Levin is the executive director of the Bioenergy Association of California (BAC), an association of companies, agencies and local governments working to promote sustainable bioenergy development. Prior to BAC, Julia served as the deputy secretary for Climate Change and Energy at the California Resources Agency where she chaired the governor’s Inter-Agency Bioenergy Working Group and led development of California’s 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan. Previously, Julia worked with Attorney General Jerry Brown to defend California’s feed-in tariff and other clean energy policies. Julia has also served as a commissioner on the California Energy Commission, where she was the presiding commissioner on renewable energy and associate commissioner on energy efficiency.

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Panel Three: Herding the Electrons: Grid, Device & Demand


Steve Metague

Steve Metague

Steve Metague’s responsibilities include directing Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s participation in the development of major new electric transmission projects in the western United States in support of PG&E’s 33 percent renewable portfolio standard goal for 2020. He also represents PG&E at various policy and planning forums. He is secretary of the California Transmission Planning Group (CTPG) and he represents the CTPG on the WECC Transmission Expansion Planning Policy Committee. At PG&E, he has held numerous positions, including director of transmission rates and director of grid customer services, where he was responsible for wholesale electric energy and transmission contracts and commercial arrangements for PG&E.

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Heather Sanders

Heather Sanders

Heather Sanders has worked in the wholesale side of electricity for over 15 years in consulting and software. Formerly the director of Smart Grid Technologies and Strategy, she was responsible for demonstration, research and promotion of Smart Grid and other technologies supporting ISO reliability, market efficiency and transmission utilization objectives. Her focus now is advancing policy that enables the incorporation of distributed energy resources that include distributed generation, demand response, energy storage, electric vehicles and microgrids. She also leads an internal ISO corporate initiative titled “Grid Evolution Readiness” that studies the impact of renewable integration, evolving operational needs and resource requirements, Smart Grid technology integration and pilots, and renewable forecasting. She holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and an MBA from the University of Utah.

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Geoffrey Dewhurst

Geoffrey Dewhurst

Geoffrey Dewhurst, manages the engineering, procurement and construction of a 60 MwAC PV solar site in Fresno County, that utilizes tracker technology. This project includes coordination with PG&E for interconnect Overseeing procurement of contracts for construction of sub-station and Gen-tie, development of ISO 18001 Safety Management System for site coordination, and is a member of the First Solar Project Management Plan development group.

 


Surya Pidapartii

Surya Pidapartii

Surya Pidapartii is responsible for technology and system design at Novus Energy LLC. He is a registered civil engineer with expertise in wastewater treatment and anaerobic digestion. He has over 27 years of experience in design, construction and troubleshooting at over 100 plants around the world. At Novus, Surya developed the metrics to validate the value proposition of the NBC system and led the efforts to configure the process and enabled it to be built with industry standard equipment. Surya has authored several patents and publications and is a member of the Technical Practice Committees that define practice standards for anaerobic digestion, attached growth systems and biological nutrient removal.

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Dr. Daniel Howes

Dr. Daniel Howes

Dr. Daniel Howes obtained his B.S. in agricultural systems and environment from UC Davis in 1997, a M.S. in water engineering in 2001 from Cal Poly SLO, and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from UC Irvine. He has worked for the Irrigation Training and Research Center at Cal Poly as a senior engineer for the last 14 years, primarily on projects in the western U.S. Projects include evaluation of agricultural water energy use, basin and field level evapotranspiration, remote sensing, irrigation district modernization, flow measurement and water management. He teaches irrigation courses at Cal Poly including irrigation system design and management, pump and well design, and canal design and modernization.

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Dave White

Dave White

Dave White is an energy coordinator for Kern County. He has more than 20 years of combined experience in municipal and commercial energy industries working for both Kern County and PG&E. He has managed the installation of energy efficient equipment upgrade programs and municipal solar construction projects, while optimizing the use of federal grant and utility company incentive programs. He holds a B.S. in business management from Cal State Bakersfield and is a past president of the North of the River Chamber of Commerce.

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Panel Four: Energizing Employment


Stacie Dabbs

Stacie Dabbs

Stacie Dabbs is associate director of operations for the CSU Fresno Office of Community & Economic Development (OCED). She manages internal operations for OCED, leads the administration of the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, and recently concluded the successful completion of Smart Valley Places, a regional planning grant in partnership with 14 urban Valley cities and several nonprofit organizations. A San Joaquin Valley native, Stacie hails from the westside farming communities of Firebaugh and Mendota. Prior to joining OCED in 2009, she spent seven years as a Congressional staffer in both Capitol and California district offices. She was selected to participate in the Leon Panetta Institute of Public Policy Congressional Intern Program in 2003, serving in the Capitol office of former Congressman Cal Dooley. In subsequent years, she served as policy adviser to former Congressman Dennis Cardoza from 2004-2009. She earned a B.A. in political science from CSU Fresno in 2004 and a Master of Public Administration from CSU Stanislaus in 2009.

 


Daryl Baltazar

Daryl Baltazar

Daryl Baltazar has been chair of the Clean Energy Cluster for two years. He has been a Board Member of the US Green Building Council Central Valley Chapter, the International Facility Management Association Central Valley Chapter, and the International Green Industry Hall of Fame. Daryl is a Business Development Representative for Stantec, an international architectural, design engineering firm with an office in Fresno focused on the food and beverage industry, as well as the alternative energy industry. He has a M.A. in international environmental policy with a focus in energy policy, and a B.A. in international business.

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Geoffrey Dewhurst

Geoffrey Dewhurst

See above for profile

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Dr. Stephen Kaffka

Dr. Stephen Kaffka

See above for profile

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Tom Hintz

Tom Hintz

See above for profile

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Surya Pidaparti

Surya Pidaparti

See above for profile

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Heather Sanders

Heather Sanders

See above for profile

 


Robert Tse

Robert Tse

See above for profile

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