AGI DAY 2023

Pathways Toward a Clean Energy Grid

Session Information

AGI Industry Day brought together colleagues from state and federal agencies, utilities, industry, national laboratories, and academic, for a day of lively panel discussions and presentations. This year’s theme was “Pathways Toward a Clean Energy Grid.”

When: August 30 (9:00 am to 4:30pm PDT)

Where: Washington State University Tri-Cities (2700 Crimson Way Richland WA 99354) and virtually (Zoom)

Session Recordings

PowerPoint slides and videos are linked to the session titles under the “Agenda” tab.

*Videos are linked to the session title.

8:30-9:00 amRegistration & Continental Breakfast Networking
9:00-10:15 am Welcome AGI Industry Day 2023
Welcome AGI Industry Day 2023
PowerPoint Slides
Jeff Dagle  (PNNL) and Noel Schulz (WSU/PNNL), AGI Co-Directors
WSU’s leadership activities in the Energy Area
PowerPoint Slides
Sandra Haynes, (WSU) and Jonathan Male, (WSU)
Integration of Energy, Environment and National SecurityJud Virden, (PNNL) and Deb Gracio, (PNNL)
10:15-10:45 amKeynote Presentation:
“Moving to the Grid of the Future”
PowerPoint Slides
Michael Pesin, US Department of Energy
10:45-11:00 amEnergy Policy: State Legislator’s PerspectiveMatt Boehnke, Washington State Senator
11:00-11:15 amMorning Break 
11:15 am-12:00 pm Implementing Energy Policy Activities: State Regulators and State Government Perspective
PowerPoint Slides
– Dave Danner (Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission)
– Ann Rendahl (Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission)
– Kiera Zitelman* (National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners)
12:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch with Networking Tables 
1:00-2:00 pmAGI Research Collaborations
PowerPoint Links are Hyperlinked to Presenters Names
Liang Min (Stanford)
John Gibson (Avista)
Anamika Dubey (WSU/PNNL)
Jim Ogle (PNNL)
2:00-2:45 pmElectric Vehicles and the Grid
PowerPoint Slides
– Deborah Reynolds* (Washington State Department of Commerce)
– Julie Peacock* (PNNL)
– Phillip B. Jones* (Alliance for Transportation Electrification )
2:45-3:00 pm Afternoon Break 
3:00-4:00 pmAGI Industry Advisory Board Panel
PowerPoint Slides
– Larry Bekkedahl (Portland General Electric)
– Judith Estep (Bonneville Power Administration)
– Eleanor Ewry (Puget Sound Energy)
– John Gibson (Avista)
– Uzma Siddiqi (Seattle City Light)
– Rich Wallen (Grant County PUD)
– Greg Zweigle, (Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories)
4:00-4:30 pmOpen Discussion, Wrap Up & Next Steps Jeff Dagle and Noel Schulz, AGI Co-Directors
4:30-6:00 pmReception & Tours WSU Wine Science Center, 59 University Drive, Richland, WA 99354 
* Denotes speaker’s virtual participation

After the primary session, AGI will host a reception at the state of the art WSU Wine Science Center from 4:30pm to 6:00pm. The center is located at 59 University Drive, Richland, WA 99354

About the Wine Science Center

Built in a sagebrush landscape along the mighty Columbia River in the heart of Washington wine country, the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center is a hub for innovation, education, and collaboration.

Reception for AGI Day 2022

The state-of-the-art Wine Science Center was developed in close partnership with the wine industry. This teaching, research, and extension facility is among the most technologically advanced wine research and education facilities of its kind in the world, transforming the Washington wine industry with cutting-edge science in the tradition of its forefathers, Dr.Walter Clore and Dr. Charles Nagel. Learn more about the location on its website.

Michael Pesin — Deputy Assistant Secretary for Grid Systems and Components Division

U.S. Department of Energy

Michael Pesin is Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Grid Systems and Components Division at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity. His organization is responsible for the development and management of projects for “next generation” electricity delivery technologies and supporting activities to accelerate their introduction to the marketplace.

Mr. Pesin has over 30 years of experience in the electric utility industry. He is licensed professional engineer and most of his career worked at electric utility companies leading engineering and technology organizations and directing development and execution of advanced technology programs spanning entire electric grid infrastructure from generation to transmission, distribution, and customers.

Prior to joining DOE Mr. Pesin was also the founder and president of a management consulting company working with utilities, technology companies, and investors. He was a board member at several technology organizations, is actively involved with a number of electric power industry groups and is frequent speaker at the industry events.

Matt Boehnke

Matt Boehnke — Senator

WA 8th Legislative District

Sen. Matt Boehnke (Bank-ee) is serving his first term representing the 8th Legislative District in the State Senate after serving two terms in the Washington House of Representatives.

Matt was raised in Kennewick, graduating from Kamiakin High School in 1986. He then
attended Eastern Washington University, where he graduated as an ROTC-Distinguished
Military Graduate and received his active-duty commission in the U.S. Army Aviation branch in 1990. He spent the next 21 years in the service, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before retiring and moving back to Kennewick.

Since 2015, Matt has served as the director and lead professor of the cybersecurity division at Columbia Basin College. He also owns a cybersecurity consulting business. Before joining the Legislature, he served on the Kennewick City Council for three years.

In the House, Matt served on four committees, including in a leadership role as the ranking minority member of the Community and Economic Development Committee. He was also an assistant ranking member on the Information, Technology and Economic Development, House Appropriations and Environment and Energy committees.

Matt serves on the Senate Human Services (Ranking); Business, Financial Services, Gaming & Trade; Environment, Energy & Technology; and Ways & Means committees.

David W. Danner — Chair

Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission 

Gov. Jay Inslee appointed David Danner chair of the Utilities and Transportation Commission in February 2013 and re-appointed him to a second term in December 2018.

Danner had been the agency’s executive director since 2005 and secretary since 2008. Before that, he served as executive policy advisor to Washington Gov. Gary Locke on energy, telecommunications, finance and elections issues. In 2004, Gov. Locke named Danner to the state Pollution Control Hearings Board and Shoreline Hearings Board, where he served before moving to the commission.

Danner has also been a telecommunications attorney in private practice, counsel to the Washington Senate Energy and Utilities Committee, and senior policy advisor at the Washington State Department of Information Services. 

Danner serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), and the National Regulatory Research Institute (NRRI). He is Chair of the International Consortium of Energy Regulators, and a member of the State Technology Services Board and the Executive Council of the National Council on Energy Policy. He also serves on advisory boards of the Critical Consumer Issues Forum and the Center for Public Utilities at the New Mexico State University College of Business.

Danner has a B.A. from Columbia University, an M.A. in communications from the University of Washington, and a law degree from George Washington University.

David Danner


Ann Rendahl — Commissioner

Ann was first appointed to serve as a commissioner of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission by Gov. Inslee in December 2014 for a six-year term that ended Jan. 1, 2021. Ann has been reappointed and confirmed to a second six-year term ending Jan. 1, 2027.

Ann is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, or NARUC, Committees on Electricity and Critical Infrastructure, prior chair of the Committee on Electricity, a member of the Executive Committee, and serves on the Board of Directors.

Ann serves as a member of the Body of State Regulators for the California ISO’s Energy Imbalance Market. Ann also serves as a member of the Electric Power Research Institute’s Advisory Council through August 2025, and as a member of the Advisory Council of the Center for Public Utilities at New Mexico State University.

Ann previously served as the Director of Policy and Legislation for the UTC. Prior to leading the UTC’s Policy and Legislative Affairs Section, she served as the Director of the Administrative Law Division, as an administrative law judge for the UTC, and as an assistant attorney general representing the UTC.

Ann is a graduate of Wellesley College and received a master’s degree in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. She received her law degree from UC Law San Francisco.

Kiera Zitelman — Technical Manager at the Center for Partnerships and Innovation

National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC)

Kiera manages cooperative agreements with the U.S. Department of Energy on nuclear energy, coal-fired power, natural gas distribution, and microgrids. She develops technical assistance for state public utility commissions across these topical areas, developing webinars, briefing papers, trainings, workshops, tours, and other resources. Prior to joining NARUC, Kiera was an analyst with ICF, providing regulatory support, research, and economic analysis to federal rulemaking efforts. Kiera has a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland.  

Kiera Zitelman

Liang Min

Liang Min — Managing Director of the Bits & Watts Initiative

Stanford University

As the Managing Director of the Bits & Watts Initiative at Stanford University, Dr. Liang Min leads a multi-disciplinary affiliates program that brings together experts from various fields to drive the digital transformation of the electric grid in the 21st century. In addition to his Bits & Watts role, Dr. Min is also the Managing Director of the newly established Net-Zero Alliance, which provides a platform for global companies to collaborate with Stanford on research and education focused on achieving a net-zero future.

Dr. Min’s career began at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), where he was a senior project manager and contributed significantly to improving the electric grid’s reliability and security. His work resulted in the award of multiple U.S. patents for deploying phasor measurement unit technologies at utilities, supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He then spent ten years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he served as the founding group leader of the energy delivery group and associate program leader for the national lab’s cyber and infrastructure resilience program. He has also served as Research Director of the Electric Operations program for the California Energy System for the 21st Century, a $150M initiative to apply the country’s most sophisticated high-performance computing technology to enhance California’s grid reliability, security, and value to ratepayers.

John Gibson — Avista Innovation Lab Director and Chief R&D Engineer


John Zachary Gibson, P.E., is Avista Innovation Lab Director and Chief R&D Engineer at Avista and leads a team which operationalizes first grid deployments of products and services for Avista’s electric and natural gas customers.  

With more than 25 years of experience in the electric utility industry, Gibson is currently project sponsor for Avista’s participation in the Connected Communities project. In this role, Gibson will be leading a team to reimagine the utility product offering to support utility dispatchable services to improve grid utilization.  

In addition, Gibson lead the development of a shared energy model called an eco-district, which uses a centralized plant to supply energy to multiple buildings in an area referred to as the “five smartest blocks” in Spokane, Wash. This innovative model will transform how the electric grid of the future operates and help reinvent the utility business model.  

Gibson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical (BSEE) and civil engineering (BSCE) Gonzaga University, plus a Masters in Engineering Management Washington State University. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Washington. 

John Gibson

Deborah Reynolds

Deborah Reynolds — Transportation Managing Director

Washington State Department of Commerce

Deborah Reynolds is the Clean Transportation Managing Director in the Energy Office at the Washington State Department of Commerce. She oversees electric vehicle and charging infrastructure program development and cochairs the Washington State Interagency Electric Vehicle Coordinating Council. She has 23 years of utility regulatory experience from her previous work at the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC). While there, she was a key contributor to the UTC policy statement on electric vehicle supply equipment, and oversaw the development of rules for conservation programs, renewable portfolio standards, integrated resource planning, and clean energy implementation plans.

Julie Peacock — Policy Advisor

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

Julie Peacock is a policy advisor in the Economics, Policy, and Institutional Support Group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Here she works on projects related to energy and transportation policy. She has a special focus on strategic stakeholder engagement and enjoys projects that involve designing opportunities for structured decision-making amongst groups with divergent interests. In working on projects, her goals are to develop implementable solutions against challenges facing the energy and transportation system by balancing the needs of diverse stakeholders with what is technologically feasible.

Prior to joining PNNL, Peacock was the Oregon Liaison at the Bonneville Power Administration, where she worked to enhance the agency’s regional relationships. In that role, she worked across the business process automation business lines with multidisciplinary teams to ensure internal awareness and understanding of regional and state policy’s implications on Bonneville. She previously held several senior positions at the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC). Her last position there was as the director of policy where she was responsible for implementing legislation, stakeholder engagement, and developing legislative proposals. Notably, she worked with Commission staff on the implementation of transportation electrification programs and modernizing utility regulation.

Before the OPUC, Peacock worked for Oregon Department of Energy as a senior policy analyst focused on renewable energy, transportation, and electricity policy. There she also acted as the co-coordinator of the Columbia-Willamette Clean Cities Coalition.

She holds a Master of Public Affairs in environmental policy and natural resource management from Indiana University and an undergraduate degree in political science and public policy from North Carolina State University. 

Philip B. Jones — Executive Director

Alliance for Transportation Electrification 

Philip Jones is currently President of Phil Jones Consulting LLC based in Seattle, Washington, that provides expert advice and consulting services for organizations in the fields of energy and utility regulation, communications regulation, and cybersecurity compliance and regulation.

Mr. Jones currently serves as Executive Director of the Alliance for Transportation Electrification (ATE), an industry-funded non-profit association that seeks to promote the acceleration of transportation electrification deployments, a robust utility role, and interoperability and open standards.

Mr. Jones served as a Commissioner on the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) for 12 years from 2005 to 2017. He served in many leadership positions in NARUC (National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners). He served as President of NARUC in 2012-13. He serves on the EPRI Advisory Council. Mr. Jones is a native of Spokane, Washington and a graduate with a B.A. from Harvard College

Jeff Dagle— Co-Director (AGI)

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

Jeff Dagle has worked at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland Washington, operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), since 1989. During that time has had led numerous projects in the areas of transmission reliability and security. Recent project highlights include leading the North American SynchroPhasor Initiative (NASPI) and serving on the leadership team of the DOE Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium, leading the multi-laboratory system operations and control technical area. In 2018 Mr. Dagle was named co-director of the Advanced Grid Institute, a joint institute with Washington State University Other career accomplishments include leading the data requests and management task for the U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force investigation of the August 14, 2003 blackout, supporting the DOE Infrastructure Security and Energy Restoration Division with on-site assessments in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, leading the team providing cyber security reviews for the DOE Smart Grid Investment Grants and Smart Grid Demonstration Protections associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and serving as a member of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) study group that was formed in 2010 to establish critical infrastructure resilience goals. In 2014 Mr. Dagle was invited to serve on a National Academies of Science and Engineering committee to provide recommendations for the analytical research foundations for the next generation electric grid. In 2016 he was invited to serve on another National Academy committee focused on enhancing the resilience of the Nation’s electricity system. And in 2019 he was invited to serve on a third National Academies study committee on the future of electric power in the United States. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a member of National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). He currently serves as the vice president for the eastern region of the Washington Society of Professional Engineers (WSPE). He received the 2001 Tri-City Engineer of the Year award by the WSPE, a Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Award in 2007, and two R&D 100 Awards: in 2008 for the Grid Friendly™ Appliance Controller technology, and in 2018 for the Dynamic Contingency Analysis Tool. He holds several patents. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Washington State University in 1989 and 1994, respectively, and is a registered professional engineer in the State of Washington.

Noel Schulz — Co-Director (AGI)

Washington State University

Noel received her B.S.E.E. and M.S.E.E. degrees from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA. She is currently the Edmund O. Schweitzer III Chair of power apparatus and systems with the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA. Since February 2020, she has been the Chief Scientist with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), is in joint appointment as part of the PNNL/WSU Advanced Grid Institute (AGI). In July 2021, she became the Co-Director of AGI. She has been active for more than 27 years in teaching, research and service with six U.S. universities. Her research interests include computer applications in power system planning and operations including AI techniques. She is active in the IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES) and served as the IEEE PES President in 2012 and 2013. She was the recipient of the IEEE/PES Walter Fee Outstanding Young Power Engineer Award and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award. She is a Fellow of IEEE and ASEE.

Sandra Haynes — Chancellor

Washington State University, Tri-Cities

Dr. Haynes became Chancellor of WSU Tri-Cities in March of 2018. She previously served as the deputy provost and vice president of academic affairs and a professor in the Department of Human Services at the Metropolitan State University of Denver and was dean of the university’s College of Professional Studies for 13 years. Chancellor Haynes is a licensed psychologist. She earned her doctorate and master’s degrees in experimental neuropsychology at Colorado State University, where she also completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Her leadership skills and collaborative approach to building innovative partnerships are advancing WSU Tri-Cities through growth in enrollment, academic programs and facilities. As an academic, she believes it is vital to feed the life of the mind, contribute to disciplinary knowledge and to be of service to the communities in which she lives and works—a belief shared in the mission of WSU Tri-Cities.

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Jonathan Male — Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research and Director of National Laboratory Partnerships

Washington State University, TriCities

Dr. Jonathan Male joined Washington State University (WSU) February 2023 in the Office of Research as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research and Director of National Laboratory Partnerships. Jonathan is also an affiliate professor with the Biological Systems Engineering Department. 

Prior to joining WSU Jonathan was a chief scientist in the Energy Processes and Materials Division of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) May 2020 through February 2023. While at PNNL Jonathan became the co-director of the WSU-PNNL Bioproducts Institute in June 2021. Jonathan is interested in developing affordable technologies for the multiple uses of carbon. 

Previously Jonathan was in the in the role of the Director of the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) at the Department of Energy (DOE) for over six years. As Director of BETO, he led the Office’s work to lower modeled costs, reduce technology uncertainty, and accelerate research and development of bioenergy and renewable chemicals technologies in the emerging bioeconomy. 

Jonathan was at PNNL from 2006-2013 where he held a variety of roles, including Lab Relationship Manager for Bioenergy, Management and Operational detail with the Office of Biomass Program, and Scientist with projects in aftertreatment catalysts, scintillators, and renewable chemicals. 

Before joining PNNL Jonathan worked at General Electric (GE) where he developed catalysts at the GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna, New York. 

Jonathan Male received his Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Chemistry from the University of Greenwich, England, and his Ph. D. in Organometallic Chemistry from Simon Fraser University, Canada. 

Deb Gracio — Associate Laboratory Director, National Security

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

As Associate Laboratory Director (ALD) of the National Security Directorate (NSD) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Deb Gracio oversees the portfolio of national security programs and partnerships at PNNL. Under her leadership, PNNL delivers scientific insights, tools, and methods to deploy impactful science and technology to sponsors in the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community, and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Prior to assuming the ALD role, Gracio served as NSD’s chief operating officer, driving capability development, mission execution, and project management of the directorate. In her 30+ years at PNNL, Gracio has led the strategy, research, development, and management of multiple cross-disciplinary, multi-laboratory programs focused on the basic sciences and national security sectors. Her work included research and development of integrated computational technologies for biodefense, computational biology, computational chemistry, and atmospheric modeling.

Deb Gracio

Jud Virden

Jud Virden — Associate Laboratory Director, Energy and Environment

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

Jud Virden is the Associate Laboratory Director for the Energy and Environment Direc­torate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA.

He leads 1,200+ scientists, engineers, and staff who are delivering science and technology solutions for the nation’s complex energy and environmental challenges—including modernizing the power grid, advancing energy storage technologies, increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and lighting, developing biofuels, and resolving complex issues in nuclear science and environmental management.

Jud earned his Ph.D. and B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Washington. He joined PNNL in 1991.

Anamika Dubey — Joint Appointment

Washington State University / Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Dr. Anamika Dubey is Huie-Rogers Endowed Chair Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering in the School of EECS at WSU-Pullman. She also holds a joint appointment as a Research Scientist at the PNNL. Her research is focused on the model-based and data-driven methods for decision-support in large-scale electric power distribution systems for improved efficiency, operational flexibility, and resilience. She is the recipient of the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award and is currently leading several high-impact projects funded by DOE, NSF, and power industry.

James Ogle — Technical Lead in Grid Communication Planning Research and Applications

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

James Ogle is a chief electrical engineer at PNNL His research interests include distributed intelligence systems, communication network systems, ML and data analytics, and the integration of these technologies with advanced energy system controls to enable a more secure, sustainable, and resilient energy future. Prior to joining PNNL, Ogle had over 25 years industry experience spanning transmission and distribution engineering at electric utilities and commercial R&D developing communication, analysis, and management solutions for industrial systems.

Larry Bekkedahl — Senior Vice President, Advanced Energy Delivery

Portland General Electric

Larry Bekkedahl is responsible for advancing PGE’s strategy to build the grid of the future — one that is resilient, smart, and delivers a clean energy future. He oversees PGE’s strategic system architecture and system upgrades, which will serve as the foundation for the smart grid of the future. This includes initiatives related to system integration and operations, smart cities, enabling distributed energy resources, energy storage, dispatchable standby generation, transmission system performance and market interfaces, as well as innovation, research, and development.

Bekkedahl joined PGE in 2014 as vice president of Transmission & Distribution. He has more than three decades of leadership experience in the energy industry. Before joining PGE, he was senior vice president for transmission services at the Bonneville Power Administration and held leadership positions at Clark Public Utilities, PacifiCorp and Montana Power Company.

He has a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Montana State University and serves on the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Research Advisory Committee, the Stanford University Bits and Watts Advisory Council, GridWise Board, and CGA Board (811 call before you dig), Pacific Northwest National Labs Advisory Board, and the All Hands Raised Educational Council

Judith Estep — Chief Technology Innovation and Strategy Officer

Bonneville Power Administration

Judith Estep, PhD is the Chief Technology Innovation and Strategy Officer at the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).  In this role she is responsible for managing strategic initiatives related to operational and research activities.   

Prior to joining BPA she was a Manager in the Product Validation Operations and Planning group at Daimler Trucks North America.  Her educational background includes a BS in Mechanical Engineering, CSULA, a Master of Science in Operations Research, from GWU, and a PhD in Engineering and Technology Management from Portland State University.  The focus of her dissertation was on technology transfer in the utility industry.  She also has her Project Management Professional Certification.   

Her academic contributions and successes include assigned as a committee member for PhD students, adjunct Engineering and Technology Management faculty, teaching the Energy Innovations, Project Management, and Technology Transfer classes.  She received the 2019 Omega Rho Alumnus Award for her contributions to both industry and academia and was inducted into the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science Academy of Distinguished Alumni.   

Judith Estep

Eleanor Ewry

Eleanor Ewry — Supervisor Strategic System Planning

Puget Sound Energy

Eleanor Ewry is the Manager of Transmission Strategy and Markets at Puget Sound Energy. She is responsible for development of a long-range transmission strategy to meet PSE’s aspirational clean energy goal of being a beyond net zero carbon company by 2045.  

Eleanor is an Electrical Engineer with 14 years of experience in local and regional transmission system planning. Since joining PSE in 2009, she has engaged with regional partners across the Pacific Northwest and the Western Interconnection on major transmission project development while ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local policies and requirements. Eleanor has also managed the compliance program for PSE’s generation fleet, including a mix of natural gas, hydro and wind resources, and led the team responsible for local transmission system planning while at PSE. In her current role, she is tasked with ensuring that the transmission system can continue to deliver reliable power to customers as PSE transitions its resource mix to meet clean energy goals. 

Eleanor is a licensed professional engineer in Washington and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno and a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering with a focus on power systems from Arizona State University. 

John Gibson — Avista Innovation Lab Director and Chief R&D Engineer


John Zachary Gibson, P.E., is Avista Innovation Lab Director and Chief R&D Engineer at Avista and leads a team which operationalizes first grid deployments of products and services for Avista’s electric and natural gas customers.  

With more than 25 years of experience in the electric utility industry, Gibson is currently project sponsor for Avista’s participation in the Connected Communities project. In this role, Gibson will be leading a team to reimagine the utility product offering to support utility dispatchable services to improve grid utilization.  

In addition, Gibson lead the development of a shared energy model called an eco-district, which uses a centralized plant to supply energy to multiple buildings in an area referred to as the “five smartest blocks” in Spokane, Wash. This innovative model will transform how the electric grid of the future operates and help reinvent the utility business model.  

Gibson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical (BSEE) and civil engineering (BSCE) Gonzaga University, plus a Masters in Engineering Management Washington State University. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Washington. 

John Gibson

Rich Wallen

Rich Wallen — General Manager / Chief Executive Officer

Grant County PUD

Rich joined Grant PUD in June 2017. His professional background includes 30 years of energy industry experience within nuclear, coal, gas and hydro. He earned his bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University and received a master’s degree in business management from Clayton State University.

Rich is a veteran of the U.S. Navy where he served onboard the USS Enterprise as a nuclear power plant operator. He holds a project management professional certification.

Uzma Siddiqi — Sr. Manager of Grid Modernization and Strategic Technology

Seattle City Light

Ms. Siddiqi is an energy industry leader and works at Seattle City Light, the municipal electric utility serving Seattle and neighboring communities. She brings a customer-service focus to her work promoting decarbonization through clean electrification and distributed generation. Ms. Siddiqi holds a Masters Degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University, and she is a licensed Professional Engineer and a Project Management Professional.  

Uzma Siddiqi

Greg Zweigle

Greg Zweigle — R&D Fellow Engineer

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories

Gregary C. Zweigle is an R&D fellow engineer at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. (SEL) and leads a research team to develop wide-area power system analysis and control solutions. He holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science, a master’s degree in (physical) chemistry, and a master’s degree in electrical engineering,; all from Washington State University. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Northwest Nazarene University. Greg has 29 patents. 

Tim Nies — Regional Services Manager

Energy Northwest

Tim Nies is the Regional Services Manager for Energy Northwest (EN).  His employment with EN began in October of 2018. In his role he provides regional outreach and Business and Operations /Maintenance Services to utilities in the Northwest region.  He is the former General Manager of Franklin PUD and has over 25 years’ experience in Finance and Management. He has a BS in Accounting. Prior to working at Franklin PUD, he was the Regional Audit Manager for Southeast Washington at the State Auditors Office. Prior to his time with the State Auditor’s Office he began his career with the Moss Adams, a national accounting firm.    

Tim Nies

Planning Your Trip

Need help planning your trip? Use the Trip Planner to help guide you around everything the Tri-Cities has to offer.


The area has many hotels ranging in price and amenities see the full list here. The following list of hotels are near the event

Download PDF Copy

The primary session will be in the building marked “EAST” on the map. The reception will be in Wine Science Center marked “WSC” on the map.

Parking is free for the event.