Keith Dennis is President of the Beneficial Electrification League, a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to increase understanding of the benefits of electrification by promoting the market acceptance of beneficial electrification. He is also the CEO of Electrification Strategies LLC. Keith has an interdisciplinary background in engineering, business, and law. He worked for nearly a decade at NRECA where he was Vice President of consumer member engagement and coined the term "environmentally beneficial electrification," which led to an industry movement around beneficial electrification.
Keith joined NRECA directly from the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) where he led a Policy and Guidance Team for a $3.2 billion energy efficiency and conservation grant (EECBG) program. He also served at The White House Council on Environmental Quality where he supported several large energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.
Keith holds an A.B. in Engineering and Environmental Sciences from Dartmouth College, a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) and Master of Engineering Management (M.E.M.) from the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, and a Master of Studies in Environmental Law (M.S.E.L), summa cum laude, from Vermont Law School. He is also licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.).
Gary Connett, Great River Energy (retired)
Gary is a recently retired electric utility executive with a long-standing and demonstrated history of working in the national electric utility industry. Prior to his retirement, Gary was the director of demand-side management and member services for Great River Energy, a generation and transmission cooperative located in Maple Grove, MN. In that capacity Gary was responsible for the organization’s nationally recognized demand-side management programs, which included demand response, conservation and energy efficiency, and beneficial electrification initiatives.
Today Gary continues to be actively engaged in the electric energy business by being a consultant to the National Rural Electric Association, and Co-Chairman of the newly formed Beneficial Electrification League. Gary holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Bethel University, St. Paul, MN, and a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from St. Thomas University, St. Paul, MN.
Robin Roy, Ph.D., Principal, Next Energy US
Robin advises government, industry and environmental organizations on energy policy and strategy, focusing primarily on practical steps toward an energy future that is deeply decarbonized, abundant, resilient, and economically vibrant. Focus areas include beneficial electrification (serving on the Board of the of the Beneficial Electrification League), advanced storage and grid-responsive consumer technologies to integrate clean electricity
Robin works at the nexus between the practicalities of competitive markets, effective public policy, and the opportunity created by technological and institutional innovation, with a particular focus on bringing greater mutual understanding among diverse stakeholders where that can advance business, consumer, and environmental opportunities.
Robin previously co-founded Next Energy P/L, an adviser to Australian governments, industry and environmental organizations on energy policy, strategy and project management. He was formerly Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, focusing on new directions for federal and state clean energy policy, and continues to consult to NRDC. He previously served with the U.S Congress Office of Technology Assessment advising on nuclear plant life management, vulnerability of energy systems to terrorism and natural disaster and energy market restructuring, and early in his career worked at Pacific Gas and Electric Company on demand response and combined heat and power.
Robin received a PhD – Civil Engineering, MS – Engineering-Economic Systems and BS – Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.
Ruth Calderon, Golden Spread Electric Cooperative
Ms. Ruth Calderon joined Golden Spread Electric Cooperative, Inc. in February 2012 and has 13 years of experience in leading environmental and regulatory initiatives. In her current position as Environmental Policy and Legislative Affairs Manager, Ms. Calderon effectively advocates for rural electric cooperative issues and is responsible for the development of strategy and policy related to environmental and legislative concerns. Ms. Calderon currently serves as President of the National Rural Electric Environmental Association . Before joining the Golden Spread team, Ms. Calderon worked for Xcel Energy Services, where she managed regulatory case filings as a Regulatory Case Specialist. Ms. Calderon holds an M.S. in Environmental Science from West Texas A&M University.
Diane Huis, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives
Diane Huis is the formerly (now recently retired) Senior Vice President, Innovation and Business Development for the NC Electric Cooperatives. In this role, she is responsible for working closely with the member cooperatives as well as the statewide team to identify and incorporate beneficial electrification opportunities in the areas of electric transportation, industry, agriculture and grid flexibility. Diane’s previous experience with the NC Electric Cooperatives includes wholesale power supply resource planning and portfolio management, risk management, transmission planning and regulatory affairs. Diane graduated from Georgia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of NC. She is a graduate of Leadership North Carolina Class XXV, a program that engages leaders from across NC to learn about issues related to government, economic development, health and human services, education and the environment.
Roanoke Electric Cooperative
Western Iowa Power Cooperative
Roanoke Electric Cooperative
Rappahannock Electric Cooperative
Mountain Parks Electric, Inc.
Dakota Electric Association, Board of Directors
East River Electric
Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC
Kevin DeMaster is Sr. Mgr. Efficiency & Electrification with Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC. Since 2014 his focused attention supports utilities and implementers of energy efficiency, demand response, and beneficial electrification for residential and commercial energy efficiency programs utilizing ductless mini-split and variable refrigerant flow (VRF) heat pump technology.
Prior to Mitsubishi Electric, Kevin has 15 years efficiency experience ranging from 5 years as a School District Energy Manager saving over $1M in energy costs followed by 10 years designing and implementing many programs for two large Implementers Slipstream and CLEAResult managing over $100M in programs.
Geothermal Exchange Organization
Ryan Dougherty is President of the Geothermal Exchange Organization, a national trade group representing the geothermal heat pump industry. He has extensive experience in public policy and governance, most recently serving as Deputy Director of the Illinois Healthcare and Human Services Framework. A decade in public service has helped inform his new role as an ambassador for geothermal heat pumps and building decarbonization, helping policymakers and energy professionals understand the technology’s potential.
Tri State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.
Matt Fitzgibbon serves as the Beneficial Electrification Manager of wholesale power supply cooperative Tri State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. In his role, Matt works closely with Tri-State’s member distribution cooperatives and public power districts to lead the development and implementation of electrification and demand-side management programs for residential and business consumers. Additionally, he works with stakeholders throughout the electric utility, energy services, contracting and retail industries to drive education and adoption of heat pumps, electric vehicles and other opportunities for efficiency and electrification across the four states served by Tri-State’s members.
Prior to his current role, Matt served over the past decade in a variety of other member relations and rates roles at Tri-State. He holds a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and an MBA from the University of Colorado.
Great River Energy
Jeff Haase is the Manager of Member Services and End Use Strategy for Great River Energy. In this capacity he manages member-owner collaboration to facilitate consensus on business issues and provides leadership for Great River Energy’s energy efficiency, electrification, and member demand response operations. Jeff focuses on optimizing GRE’s program offerings and quantifying the benefits these programs bring to member-owners. Jeff earned a Bachelor’s of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and is a registered professional engineer. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and four children.
Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP)
Neil Kolwey is the Industrial Program Director/Building Electrification Specialist at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP). Neil leads programs to advance energy efficiency in the industrial sector and promotes best practices in utility energy efficiency programs for industrial customers throughout the region. Neil also promotes beneficial electrification in buildings and industry, working with the SWEEP Buildings team, and is currently Co-director of the Beneficial Electrification League of Colorado (BEL-CO).
Before joining SWEEP, Neil worked for E Source for 9 years, focusing on greenhouse gas (GHG) consulting and writing reports on utility programs for large customers, climate change business strategies, and other topics. In 1999-2000, Neil won a Fulbright grant to study in Sweden and earned an MS in Environmental Management and Policy from Lund University. Neil has a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Iowa and is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Colorado.
Ben Longstreth is a senior attorney with NRDC's climate and clean energy program. Ben works with federal agencies, legislators and affected companies to design policies that work to protect our climate. Before joining NRDC, he was an attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice. Longstreth holds a bachelor's degree from Williams College and a JD from Columbia University. He is based in Washington, D.C.
John M. McWilliams, P.E.
Dairyland Power Cooperative
John is a senior innovation engineer for Dairyland Power Cooperative in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His work involves a variety of energy innovation programs for electric vehicles and energy storage. Prior to his 22 years at Dairyland, he worked for Westinghouse Electric Corporation and AVO International. His work took him all over the world with working assignments in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and England. He has a bachelor of science in electrical engineering degree, a master of engineering in systems engineering degree and a graduate certificate in biorenewable resources and technology from Iowa State University and a master in business administration from the University of Wisconsin—La Crosse. He is a registered professional engineer in Wisconsin, a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a member of the IEEE-USA Energy Policy Committee and an ABET program evaluator for electrical engineering programs.
Kenneth C. Shiver
Mr. Shiver serves as the Chief Economist and Director of Planning and Regulatory Support for the Atlanta-based Southern Company. In this role he oversees the demand-side planning functions of the company, represents the company as a witness in its regulatory filings, and engages with the industry on current issues such as electrification, electric transportation, forecasting, pricing, energy efficiency, the economy, and utility planning. He is a graduate of the University of West Georgia (BBA-Economics) and Georgia State University (MS-Economics) and has over 30 years of experience within the industry.
Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA)
Aimee Skrzekut joined the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance as president in April 2021. An innovative leader serving nonprofits for more than 25 years, Aimee is passionate about energy efficiency for all. Before joining SEEA, Aimee served as a management consultant specializing in strategic planning, fundraising, policy development, program design, and evaluation. She also designed energy efficiency program solutions for Hoosier Energy. Aimee served as Director of Programs at the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, where she first collaborated with national and regional partners like SEEA. Aimee's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion extends well beyond her work in energy, having led a national center at the American Bar Association. Aimee currently volunteers as a Beneficial Electrification League collaborator with NRECA and NRDC. She has previously served as an AESP chapter president and Health Connect One board member. She has supported fundraising efforts at nonprofits including Health Connect One, Project Bona Fide and Teatro Vista. Aimee received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Illinois. She is an avid hiker, reader, and gourmand. She loves traveling with her family and looks forward to many walks throughout the Southeast with both new and old friends.
Keith Dennis, NRECA
See Keith Dennis' bio in the Board Leadership section above.
Ms. Roepke specializes in building coalitions. She has served in leadership roles for DOE-funded solar and energy access programs that have engaged thousands of utility staff to meet new challenges through innovative solutions. Debra has extensive experience in strategic alliances for the service of low-income populations as she founded and grew “one of the most effective and efficient charities in the DC region”, Computer C.O.R.E. Prior to this, she specialized in IT and research analysis for the US Navy and Marine Corps. Her experience includes effective management of large staffs and the successful engagement of diverse groups with representatives of all age groups and more than 40 nations. She has a degree in Biology from Macalester, a Masters in Science, Technology and Public Policy from GWU, and a Master Certificate in Six Sigma from Villanova.
Tracy Warren has more than 20 years’ experience in communications and media relations, including 10 years in the electric utility sector. Her experience includes managing state and national media and public awareness campaigns, serving as press secretary for a presidential campaign and two Members of Congress and directing communications for national issue advocacy and trade organizations. Most recently, Tracy directed the Macro Grid Initiative, a partnership of the American Council of Renewable Energy and Americans for a Clean Energy Grid where she built a diverse coalition in support of expanding high-voltage transmission. At NRECA Tracy led communications for NRECA’s research and development program focused on grid modernization, beneficial electrification, distributed energy resources and rate design. Tracy graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Virginia with a BA in English and Chinese, where she also received a Masters in English Literature.
Director of Western States Engagement
Tom Polikalas is a public relations, communications, and government affairs professional who has promoted beneficial electrification for over 20 years, primarily through working in the electric cooperative industry. While working as the public relations/communications supervisor at the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA), Tom helped DMEA earn several marketing communications awards from NRECA’s “Spotlight on Excellence” program for DMEA’s innovative ground-source heat pump programs. Tom’s tenure as Nevada representative of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) involved a great deal of coalition building and public outreach that helped achieve legislative and other government affairs success. Tom’s career has involved facilitating projects in the electric transportation, air source and geothermal heat pump technology sectors. Tom has a BA in Economics from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) and did graduate work in Economics at UNR and Brigham Young University (BYU.)