The Energy Exchange | Better Buildings Summit 2018 features an expanded speaking line up, including opening plenary speakers, keynote speakers, and SWAP Panel & Recognition speakers. This year showcases leading voices and policy/decisions makers from the largest and most influential sectors of the federal government and private sectors. Below is the current speaker line up. Be sure to check back often for updates and new speaker additions.
Opening Plenary Speakers
Senior Advisor, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy
Alex Fitzsimmons is the Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. In his current role, Alex is responsible for EERE’s strategic planning, policy, and communications, helping to lead technology development in sustainable transportation, energy efficiency, and renewable power.
Prior to joining the Department of Energy, Alex worked on energy policy for a variety of organizations, including the Institute for Energy Research, where he served as the Policy Director managing energy and environmental issues at the state and federal level.
Alex is a graduate of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Acting Director of Federal Energy Management Program, Department of Energy
Leslie Nicholls is the Acting Director for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). She previously served as FEMP’s Strategic Communications and Training Manager.
As Acting FEMP Director, Leslie oversees the implementation of policy and actions that result in energy efficiency implementation, renewable energy adoption, and reductions in energy and water use in federal government operations.
She brings nearly three decades of clean energy and executive leadership experience to EERE. Most recently, she served as Vice President of the Building Energy Solutions Division at Energetics Incorporated, a subsidiary of VSE Corporation. In this capacity, she was responsible for the management of multiple cross-cutting programs. She also provided expertise to federal agencies and private sector energy companies in federal and commercial energy management, greenhouse gas reduction, energy efficiency, clean energy deployment, and strategic planning.
Before holding that position, she worked for 17 years at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as a Senior Contracting Officer. During her tenure, she worked on many energy sector projects including lighting and building systems technology procurements, GovEnergy, and inventor innovation competitions.
Leslie has bachelor and master degrees in business administration from Washington State University.
The Honorable Lucian Niemeyer
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy Installations and Environment
Mr. Lucian Niemeyer was appointed by the President as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment on August 2, 2017. In this position, he provides budgetary, policy and management oversight of the Department of Defense’s real property portfolio which encompasses 28 million acres, over 500 installations with over 500,000 buildings and structures valued at a trillion dollars. Within this portfolio, he is responsible for enhancing the Department’s planning, programs, and military capabilities to provide mission assurance through military construction, facilities investment, environmental restoration and compliance, installation and operational energy resilience, occupational safety, and defense community assistance programs. Mr. Niemeyer is also responsible for the policy development and execution of initiatives concerning utilization, consolidation, and optimization of domestic and overseas installations.
Prior to his appointment, Mr. Niemeyer worked in the private sector as the founder of The Niemeyer Group, LLC. He also served from 2003 to 2014 on the professional staff of the United States Senate Committee on Armed Services where he was responsible for a wide portfolio of national security programs, including military installations and ranges, world-wide basing, energy programs, facility privatization initiatives, military budgets, unit readiness, industrial base, and environmental issues. He also provided oversight for military logistics and sustainment programs as well as Air Force and Navy acquisition programs.
Mr. Niemeyer is an Air Force veteran, retiring in 2008 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel with 15 years of active and 5 years of Air National Guard service working within the installation engineering and military plans community.
Mr. Niemeyer holds a Bachelor of Architecture, from the University of Notre Dame, a Master of Business Administration from The George Washington University, and a Master of National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.
Deputy Undersecretary for Management, Department of Homeland Security
Chip Fulghum became the Deputy Under Secretary for Management in May 2015. Along with the Under Secretary for Management, Mr. Fulghum oversees all aspects of the Department’s management programs, including financial, human capital, information technology, procurement, security, and asset management. He also provides support and guidance to the Department’s acquisition oversight process and represents DHS in a number of management-related interagency committees.
Mr. Fulghum has twice served as the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary. He has also served as the Acting Under Secretary for Management.
Mr. Fulghum joined the Department in October 2012 as the Budget Director within the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). He later served as the Department’s CFO from September 2014 – January 2017. As CFO, he had stewardship of internal controls to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse across DHS.
Prior to joining the Department, Mr. Fulghum served as a U.S. Air Force officer for 28 years, rising to the rank of Colonel. He is a graduate of the Air War College, the Air Command and Staff College, Professional Military Comptroller School, and Squadron Officer School. He holds a Masters of Business Administration from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, California, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina.
Dr. Martin Keller
Director, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Martin Keller became the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) ninth director on November 30, 2015. He also serves as the President of Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.
Keller has joined NREL from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) where he served as the Associate Laboratory Director for Energy and Environmental Sciences, which includes ORNL’s programs in biosciences, environmental sciences, buildings technologies, transportation, climate change, manufacturing, and electrical and electronics systems. In 2006, Keller was recruited to ORNL from an industrial enzyme discovery and development company to lead the Office of Science-supported BioEnergy Science Center, in which NREL is a partner.
Keller earned his doctorate in Microbiology (Summa Cum Laude) from the University of Regensburg in Germany. He was appointed a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2013. He serves on multiple boards and advisory panels, including the Science Advisory Board for the Council on Competitiveness.
Dr. Teresa R. PohlmanExecutive Director, Sustainability and Environmental Programs, Department of Homeland Security
Dr. Teresa R. Pohlman is the Executive Director, Sustainability and Environmental Programs at Headquarters, Department of Homeland Security. She has over 25 years of experience managing environmental and infrastructure program and product development.
Her background includes positions with responsibility for up to $1 billion annual budgets for environmental, infrastructure, and facility maintenance programs. As the Air Force Headquarters Air Staff Environmental Division Chief, she managed the worldwide environmental program.
While working for the Navy, she lead policy and guidance for base closure, cleanup, health and safety, and quality assurance. As the Tenant Activities Group Leader at the Pentagon Renovation Office, she was responsible for strategic master planning for the entire Pentagon Renovation.
Keynote Address Speakers
Dr. Kathleen Hogan
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Department of Energy
Dr. Kathleen Hogan is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). In this capacity, she oversees a diverse energy efficiency program and research portfolio that includes advanced manufacturing, buildings, federal energy management, low income weatherization, and intergovernmental partnerships. As part of EERE’s senior leadership, she helps to implement and advance administration priorities and initiatives that will increase energy affordability, productivity, and resiliency of the built environment.
Before this position, she served for more than 10 years as the Division Director at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency responsible for the development and operation of EPA’s clean energy programs focused on removing market barriers for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
These programs included the ENERGY STAR® program, programs for combined heat and power and renewable energy, corporate leadership programs, and efforts focused on state clean energy policies. Under her management, ENERGY STAR grew to a national brand for energy efficiency across products, new homes, and buildings. She was also a key convener of the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency and has served as a technical advisor on the boards of a number of national and regional energy efficiency organizations.
Earlier in her EPA career, she developed and managed programs to address emissions of methane and the high global warming potential gases including programs with the natural gas, waste management, livestock, aluminum smelting, and electronics industries. She also worked to address methane emissions in the Russian natural gas system and was an expert contributor on these topics to assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
She has been recognized for her work with a Presidential Rank Award, induction into the Energy Efficiency Hall of Fame of the U.S. Energy Association, and for being a contributor to the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
She has a Ph.D. from the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Bucknell University.
Frank G. Jackson
Mayor, Cleveland, OH
Mayor Frank G. Jackson is the City of Cleveland’s longest serving mayor, currently in his fourth term. Mayor Jackson is focused on ensuring Clevelanders of all backgrounds are provided with excellent services and opportunities for income equity and a strong quality of life.
In 2016, Mayor Jackson successfully led the voter-approved Issue 32 to strengthen services to citizens ranging from public works to youth programs to public health, sustainability, and more.
He began his public service career as an Assistant City Prosecutor in the Cleveland Municipal Court Clerk’s Office. From 1990 to 2005, Jackson represented Ward 5 on the Cleveland City Council, serving as Council President from 2002-2005. He earned an associate degree from Cuyahoga Community College and his bachelor’s, masters, and law degrees from Cleveland State University. Mayor Jackson is a life-long resident of the Central neighborhood, a Cleveland Metropolitan School District graduate, and an Army veteran.
President, Alliance to Save Energy
Jason Hartke was named President of the Alliance to Save Energy in 2018, bringing more than a decade of leadership experience in energy efficiency and sustainability. The Alliance is a nonprofit, bipartisan alliance of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders advocating for enhanced energy productivity to achieve economic growth, a cleaner environment, and greater energy security, affordability, and reliability.
Prior to joining the Alliance, Jason oversaw DOE’s efforts to advance and accelerate energy efficiency in commercial buildings. Before his tenure at DOE, he spent nearly a decade as a senior executive at the U.S. Green Building Council, leading national and international green building programs and campaigns.
Jason also served in the Clinton Administration, working in the West Wing of the White House in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. He received his PhD in public policy from George Mason University.
Chief Executive Officer and President, Legrand
John Selldorff is President and CEO of Legrand North and Central America (LNCA). He has more than 35 years of leadership experience building global brands and guiding top-tier companies. Since joining LNCA in 2002, John has more than quadrupled revenues and more than doubled the profitability rate while consummating 20 acquisitions. LNCA now represents approximately 40% of Legrand SA, a global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures.
Prior to his time at Legrand and following an extended period with GE, John was President of Honeywell’s global Automation & Control Solutions Service Business that was responsible for the installation and service of HVAC, Fire, Security, and Industrial Automation Solutions.
He is a member of the Board of Governors and former Chairman of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. John received his M.B.A. from J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and his B.A. from Colgate University.
Chief Operating Officer, Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Bill Peacock has served as Chief of Operations at Cleveland Clinic since 2009. He is responsible for the Clinic’s buildings and property, supply chain, clinical engineering, patient support services, protective services, hotels, international operations, marketing, and philanthropy.
He has been at the forefront of Cleveland Clinic’s international growth, overseeing its strategy in the Middle East, Asian, European, and Central and South American markets.
Before joining Cleveland Clinic in 2005, Bill served 24 years in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Captain in the Civil Engineer Corps.
He is a member of the American Society of Healthcare Executives and the American Society of Healthcare Engineers. He received an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy. He attended the Kellogg School’s Advanced Executive Program.
Chairman, Ohio Public Utilities Commission
Asim Z. Haque is chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, appointed by Governor John Kasich in 2013 and reappointed to a second term in 2016. Chairman Haque has testified before the Ohio General Assembly, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and has educated regulators abroad through formal partnerships with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
He serves on the board of directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and on their Electricity and Critical Infrastructure Committees. He is immediate past-president of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners. In addition, Chairman Haque was elected to the Member Representative Committee of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, where he represents state government interests in maintaining reliability of the electric grid.
He received a bachelor’s in chemistry and political science from Case Western Reserve University and his J.D. from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.
Partner Recognition & SWAP 4 Panel
Carlos Ruiz Rabago
Senior VP, Manufacturing North America, L’Oréal
Carlos Ruiz has been L’Oréal’s Vice President of Manufacturing for North America since 2017. He is responsible for internal manufacturing in the U.S. and Canada.
Carlos joined the L’Oréal group in June 2015 as Plant Manager of Franklin Manufacturing. He oversaw the creation of the Franklin Integrated Work System to optimize performance and develop capabilities at all levels in the plant, delivering great results in Safety, Quality, and Environmental as well as performance indicators.
Carlos was recognized as a Young Hispanic Corporate Achiever in 2015 by the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR). Carlos has worked in 4 different industries and 6 different countries.
He was born and raised in Mexico, where he received his degree in Industrial Engineering and an M.B.A. with Financial Specialization.
North Little Rock Plant Manager, L’Oréal USA
Eric Fox has been with L’Oréal USA since 2004 and is currently the Vice President of Operations and Plant Manager for the L’Oréal manufacturing facility in North Little Rock, Arkansas – the world’s largest cosmetics plant.
The 900,000-square-foot site produces cosmetics for Maybelline, L’Oréal Paris, Lancôme, Essie, and NYX. Eric’s previous roles with L’Oréal include managing the Florence, Kentucky factory and serving as VP of Purchasing for L’Oréal Americas, where he was responsible for a managed spend of $1.4 billion.
His previous career experience includes 7 years in Production Management at Tokusen USA, a specialty wire manufacturer in Conway, Arkansas. Prior to that, Eric worked as an engineering consultant based in New Jersey, California, and Arkansas.
He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a B.S. in Environmental Science and completed graduate studies in environmental engineering at Manhattan College. He also holds an M.B.A. from Webster University in Little Rock.
Head of CSR & Sustainability, L’Oréal USA
Danielle Azoulay is the Assistant Vice President of CSR and Sustainability for L’Oréal USA. She oversees the implementation of L’Oréal’s global sustainability program Sharing Beauty With All, which addresses environmental and social impacts across L’Oréal’s value chain.
Prior to joining L’Oréal USA, Danielle established the environmental sustainability program at Marc Jacobs International and worked on supply chain sustainability issues at PVH. Throughout her career, Danielle has developed and executed sustainability strategies to reduce supply chain impacts, drive positive change upstream, create business value, and increase stakeholder engagement. She has designed and implemented goal-oriented programs for impact areas such as responsible chemicals management, waste management, carbon emissions, water quality, and more.
Danielle has an M.A. in Environmental Conservation and Education from New York University where she focused her studies on climate change impacts to consumer products companies.
VP, Public Affairs & Strategic Initiatives, L’Oréal USA
Lauren Paige is the Vice President of Public Affairs & Strategic Initiatives at L’Oréal USA. She leads the company’s public affairs and strategic corporate initiatives including the For Women in Science philanthropy program and cross-functional sustainability projects.
Prior to joining L’Oréal USA, Lauren worked in the White House Communications Office for 5 years, serving for the last 3 as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Message Planning. She was responsible for creating and executing high-impact message opportunities to effectively communicate the administration’s policies.
Lauren was the Paid Media and Polling Manager on the 2007-08 Obama presidential campaign. Before joining the campaign, she worked as an associate at the Dewey Square Group, a public affairs and strategic communications firm.
Lauren graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Political Economy and minor in City and Regional Planning.
Global Energy Manager, General Motors
Al Hildreth is global energy manager for General Motors. Under his leadership, GM has saved $140 million in energy costs and earned EPA ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence 6 years in a row. Al co-chairs the Automotive Industry Action Group’s Greenhouse Gas Work Group, collaborating with OEMs and suppliers on GHG reporting and reduction.
He also leads GM’s work to share best practices with suppliers through the Suppliers Partnership for the Environment and CDP. Al has worked for GM for over 35 years. He holds a patent for an energy forecasting model and is co-author of “Analytics for Smart Energy Management,” a textbook offering tools for energy management for businesses.
Al earned a B.S. in engineering from Oakland University and an M.S. in engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic University. He is a registered Professional Engineer, Certified Energy Manager, and Certified Hazardous Materials Manager.
Associate Energy Engineer, General Motors
Erin Lawrence is an energy engineer for General Motors, helping lead the company’s energy efficiency efforts while meeting aggressive global operational commitments. In her current role, Erin is responsible for assisting 5 Michigan sites with their energy projects and strategies. She models energy consumption to co-draft utility budgets for the GM’s North American sites.
Erin also co-led the HVAC systems shut down schedule at Flint Truck Assembly, saving $160,000 per year. She began her career with GM as an environmental engineering intern in 2014, becoming a full-time employee in 2017. She is an Energy Manager in Training (EMIT) and an Engineer in Training (EIT).
Erin holds a bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering and a masters in Energy, Environmental, and Chemical Engineering, both from Washington University in St. Louis.
Senior Environmental Engineer, General Motors
Brian Wilger is a senior environmental engineer for General Motors. He leads waste and water environmental compliance, playing a critical role in powerhouse and facility energy efficiency management efforts at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant. Brian is responsible for the site’s employee engagement and strong energy and environmental culture.
Over the 16+ years he has been with GM, Brian has executed energy project planning and development across 15 manufacturing plants, managed and improved wastewater treatment operations, and helped the company realize operational contract changes, saving $1.5 million in annual powerhouse operation costs. He also led the installation of one of the largest solar arrays in southeast Michigan.
He began his career with GM as a co-op student in 2001 and became an assistant site utilities manager in 2005. Brian holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering from Wayne State University. He is a Certified Energy Manager and Certified Hazardous Materials Manager.
Maria Tikoff Vargas
Director Better Buildings Challenge, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy
Maria Tikoff Vargas is the Director of the Better Buildings Challenge at DOE. She also serves as a senior program advisor in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Previously, Ms. Vargas worked for the EPA starting in 1986. There, she was the Co-director of the ENERGY STAR® Buildings and Green Lights Partnership, and then served as the Brand Manager for the ENERGY STAR program for more than 15 years promoting the benefits of energy efficiency to businesses and consumers.
She also provided policy work on issues of ozone depletion, global climate change, and related environmental and energy issues.
Ms. Vargas earned a Bachelors at Swarthmore College in political science and economics, and a Masters from the University of Oregon in public affairs and urban and regional planning. In 2014, she was inducted into the Energy Efficiency Forum Hall of Fame.
Bryan Cohen is a partner at C+C, a Seattle-based communications agency. His motto is “everyone needs a little PR.” Bryan has spent the last 19 years of his career either on the phone pitching media, creating campaigns that will draw the media to a client, or training clients on how to present to the media.
His diverse clientele includes government organizations such as King County, Seattle Public Utilities, ENERGY STAR, DOE, and the EPA, as well as non-profits and businesses like Puget Sound Energy, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Vulcan, Google, BECU, and the Green Sports Alliance.
Bryan has placed stories on The Today Show, Good Morning America, USA Today, NPR’s Morning Edition, ABC’s World News Tonight, Newsweek, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Associated Press, Reuters, Home Magazine, Good Housekeeping, and in hundreds of media outlets in local markets throughout the U.S.