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Energy Central’s Leaders in Innovation in the Electric Power Industry: Announcing the Selected Champions of Innovation

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Matt Chester's picture
Energy Analyst Chester Energy and Policy

Official Energy Central Community Manager of Generation and Energy Management Networks. Matt is an energy analyst in Orlando FL (by way of Washington DC) working as an independent energy...

  • Member since 2018
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  • Mar 23, 2020

This item is part of the Innovations in Power - Spring 2020 SPECIAL ISSUE, click here for more

Late 2019 and into early 2020, Energy Central put out a call for nominations for power industry professionals who are leading the way in Innovation. We asked our community members to nominate leaders who they thought were deserving to be recognized for their contributions in the sector, and the response was overwhelming!

In total, we received over 100 submissions that spanned across different areas of the industry, various regions across the country (and even the globe), and unique parts of the utility industry where innovative thinking could be applied. To narrow the submissions down to our ultimate Champions of Innovation, we assembled a Review Committee of four of Energy Central’s most active and trusted members of our Network of Experts: John Benson, Dick Brooks, Stephane Bilodeau, and Gary Hilberg.

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A very special thanks is due to these four experts for volunteering their time and efforts to this process: we couldn’t have done this with you!

After our Review Committee read through and rated each of our eligible nominees, Energy Central was able to narrow down the list to 5 Champions and 5 Honorable Mentions who we would like to recognize as Leaders in Innovation in the Electric Power Industry.

In no particular order, our Champions are as follows:

  • Jacklyn Ulban, Manager of Business Resiliency & Compliance, Unitil for role of program manager for implementing iRestore’s exclusive First Responder mobile application across her utility’s service territory
  • Stephanie Simons, Mechanical Engineer, BELCO for spearheading the Nolan Smith Battery Energy Storage System (BESS)
  • Joseph Wadel, C&I Energy Waste Reduction Pilot Program Manager, Consumers Energy for managing Consumers Energy’s Commercial and Industrial Emerging Technologies Pilots program for the past 4 years
  • Tilak Subrahmanian, Vice President of Energy Efficiency, Eversource for improving the go-to-market strategy for providing energy efficiency services to customers by transforming the Eversource energy efficiency group into a sales-driven organization backed by sophisticated customer segmentation
  • Greggory Kresge, Manager of Electrification of Transportation at Hawaiian Electric for engaging stakeholders and initiating a subsidized training for auto repair professionals on EV repairs to help increase EV adoption on the island of Moloka'i. 


The Champions will be featured in a ‘Leader in Innovation in the Electric Power Industry’ profile article. Be on the lookout for the articles in the community (and this article will be updated to include the relevant links to those articles as they are published). We encourage you to read more about their trailblazing progress in the utility industry, to ask them questions about their work, and to connect with them to learn more.

We also want to recognize each of the following Honorable Mentions for their tremendous work to adapt innovative thinking where it’s needed in the energy sector:

  • Aleksandar Vukojevic, Manager of the Emerging Technologies Office, Duke Energy for his work on Mt. Holly Microgrid
  • Jay Caspary, Director of Research, Development & Tariff Services, Southwest Power Pool for his leadership in SPP's renewable energy penetration record. 
  • Thomas Fischer, Senior Program Manager, Tennessee Valley Authority for leading TVA's foray into AI and Machine Learning 
  • Kevin Marquardt, Manager of Federal Policy, CenterPoint Energy for building out a stand-alone data privacy program for CenterPoint Energy. 
  • Anshuman Bhalla, Manager of Instrumentation & Control Systems, The AES Corporation for his creation of an original design for the integration of Multiple Control Systems in a Combined Cycle Power Plant. 

Congratulations to all who have been recognized. Energy Central is extremely eager to see your transformative ideas continue to shape the future of the sector. And thank you to everyone who was involved in this process—from the winners and other nominees to those who did the nominating to the review Committee to each and every member of the Energy Central Community who continues to foster the necessary mindset towards new thinking and sharing lessons learned across the industry with your peers!

Joseph Wadel's picture
Joseph Wadel on Mar 31, 2020

Thank you Energy Central and the volunteer review committee providing the opportunity to share!

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