Moving from Environmental Data to Resilience:
Forging Public-Private Partnerships in the Energy Sector
Biographies for the Speakers
NCEI CWC Customer Engagement Branch Chief
Dr. Michael Brewer is the Chief of the Customer Engagement Branch at the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), Center for Weather and Climate in Asheville, North Carolina (formerly the National Climatic Data Center). He also manages the US Drought Portal and the Global Drought Information System. He and his team work closely with customers to ensure they have access to the climate data they need to make informed decisions. He participates in climate – and water-related activities for US and International Climate Assessments and for the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. Mike has a PhD in Climatology from the University of Delaware. His 15 minutes of fame came as the Weather Channel Geek of the Week April 25 – May 2, 2015.
Regional Climate Services Director and Regional Host
Dr. David P. Brown is the Southern Region Climate Services Director for NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, based in Fort Worth, TX. As his role, Dr. Brown is charged with building and sustaining intra- and inter-agency partner networks at the regional level to support the development and delivery of place-based climate information and services across the South. For nearly 15 years, Dr. Brown has been active in the climate services community as a researcher, state climatologist, and member of three NOAA Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) projects. Prior to joining NOAA, he served as Assistant Professor of Geography at Louisiana State University, and as Assistant Professor of Geography and New Hampshire State Climatologist at the University of New Hampshire. He holds Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Geography from the University of Arizona, and a B.S. degree in Meteorology from Penn State University.
CEO and Co-Founder of Acclimatise
John has over 20 years’ experience in assessing the impacts of climate change. Prior to Acclimatise he worked in the UK water sector for Severn Trent Water, where he led their strategic business planning team, overseeing more than £4bn of asset investment, with responsibilities for water resource and waste water planning, and environmental consenting.
John co-founded Acclimatise with Dr Richenda Connell in 2004. He has extensive experience of integrating climate change into business decision-making and risk management processes. He has a particular expertise in the impacts of climate change on SMEs, multi-national corporates and their supply-chains, the financial services sectors and small island developing states (and in particular the Caribbean where he has a long association with many of the key stakeholders). John is also interested in the legal implications for business, disclosure of information to investors, the mobilization of private-sector finance and the provision of climate funding to developing countries.
John has worked on projects in Europe, Africa, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, Asia and Australia for banks, governments, institutional investors, development partners, and the private sector.
He has published numerous articles in professional journals and appeared as a speaker at conferences throughout the world on water, environmental issues and climate change. He holds a B.Sc. in Economics and a Postgraduate Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning. In 2013 John was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world on environmental investing and policy making by the Journal of Environmental Investing.
Philip Q Hanser
Principal, The Brattle Group
Mr. Hanser assists clients in issues ranging from utility industry structure and market power and associated regulatory questions, to specific operational and strategic issues, such as transmission pricing, generation planning, and tariff strategies. He also has expertise in fuels procurement, environmental issues, forecasting, marketing and demand-side management, and other complex management and financial matters.
Over his thirty years in the industry, Mr. Hanser has appeared as an expert witness before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the California Energy Commission (CEC), the New Mexico Public Service Commission (NMPSC), the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW), the Vermont Public Service Board (VPSB), the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN), the Connecticut Siting Commission, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and before arbitration panels and in federal and state courts. He has also presented before the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commission (NARUC) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). He served six years on the American Statistical Association’s Advisory Committee to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Prior to joining The Brattle Group, Mr. Hanser held teaching positions at the University of the Pacific, University of California at Davis, and Columbia University, and served as a guest lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago. He has also served as the manager of the Demand-Side Management Program at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). He has been published widely in leading industry and economic journals.
National Centers for Environmental Information
Director of NCEI’s Center for Coasts, Oceans and Geophysics
Dr. Eric Kihn is a long time employee of the National Centers for Environmental Information (formerly the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC)) in Boulder. Eric first began in 1989 as a student assistant and joined as a Professional Research Associate with the University of Colorado Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) later that year. Since joining as a federal employee in 1991 he has served at many levels in the organization including physical scientist, group leader, then Deputy Director, and currently serves as Acting Director.
In addition to numerous papers in the space weather arena, Eric's research interests led to the development of the Space Weather Analysis (SWA) a 15 year look at the space environment though data-assimilative models. Eric Kihn is the lead developer of the Space Physics Interactive Data Resource (SPIDR) and Environmental Scenario Generator (ESG) systems for which he received DOC silver medals in 1994 and 1997. In 2011, Eric completed NOAA's Leadership Competency Development Program (LCDP) where he was selected by his class to receive the Linda Winner Award for Outstanding Leadership.
Vice President, Distribution System Operations, ComEd
Cheryl is responsible for the safe operation of the electric distribution system for the entire ComEd service territory in Ill and for the company's readiness in Emergency Preparedness. Prior to her current position, Cheryl was the director at the Operations Control Center. She was responsible for the policies and procedures necessary to ensure the operation of the electric distribution system in a safe, reliable and efficient manner. Cheryl began her career in 1991 in Distribution Engineering in Chicago. She has held multiple positions in distribution engineering, distribution planning, supply, and asset management prior to her current executive role. Cheryl is an active member in the Chicago Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and MEA's chapter of Energetic Women. Cheryl holds a bachelor's degree of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from DePaul University.
Analytics Manager, JEA
Mr. Mathis has worked with JEA since 2003 in various roles in engineering technology & analysis, energy efficiency & demand response and most recently as an analytics manager. Between 2005 & 2012 Kent was instrumental in establishing and managing JEA’s load research department by setting up the framework for collecting utility data, designing samples, developing processes & procedures, hiring staff, negotiating external support and developing internal and external customers. In 2013 JEA reworked the load research department into the Customer & Utility Analytics department where he has supported a similar but broader function of developing the utility analytics group.
Mr. Mathis leads a multi-disciplined analytics team that is responsible for solving a variety of utility challenges involving water and electric interval load data, related customer data including various types of weather data. Some current analytic projects would include: Rate Strategy Development, Short-Term Water/Electric Forecasting, Demand/Energy Analytics, Abnormal Consumption Algorithm Development, and providing Public Data Requests Support. Mr. Mathis is responsible for DWH extractions from over 25 Universes including the development of Automated Reporting that assists peer managers/directors with operational reporting and departmental problem solving. Mr. Mathis also provides utility regulatory and other reporting services to the Florida PSC, DOE, EIA, NERC, APPA as well as numerous internal audiences.
Mr. Mathis is a registered professional engineer in Florida, a certified energy manager, and a certified measurement and verification professional. Mr. Mathis is a member in the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies (AEIC) load research & analytics committee where he most recently served as Vice Chair, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) where he is a senior member.
He earned bachelors and masters degrees in electrical engineering from Missouri Science & Technology University in Rolla, Missouri in 1985 and 1987, respectively.
Prior to his current position in the utility industry, Mr. Mathis has worked in various engineering and leadership roles in the transportation, defense and financial industries in Taiwan, France and the US.
Outside of work, Kent is very active with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) where he is a certified teacher who volunteers to teach one of their signature programs.
Mr. Mathis has been married for 27 years. He and his wife have three boys, two who have graduated college and are on their own and one who is a senior in high school. Kent and Merry Lynne make their home in Jacksonville, Florida where they have lived since the early 90s.
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services
Mark Paese serves as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In this capacity, he provides day-to-day oversight of the activities of NESDIS’ satellite operations, data processing, product and service delivery and research functions. He also has oversight responsibilities of the NESDIS budget planning and administration.
Mark previously served as the Director of the Office of Operational Systems for NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) where he was responsible for the day-to-day operations and management of NWS systems, providing systems engineering, software management, facilities, communications, configuration management and logistical services. He was also responsible for policy development, implementation, operations, support and evaluation of operational weather systems.
Mark has 30 years of experience in all facets of weather, communications and aviation, including 12 years in private industry. He has broad experience in leading science-based service organizations, introducing change, and using and implementing technology and science.
Previously, Mark held senior positions at Booz, Allen & Hamilton, and prior to that with Westinghouse Electric Corporation. While in the private sector, he was responsible for systems engineering, operations and maintenance, acquisition, program management, strategic planning and business development.
Mark has also served as the Executive Director of the White House Task Force on Effective Warnings. His efforts resulted in the President signing the Executive Order 13407: Public Alert and Warning Systems. Mark also served on the FCC’s Commercial Mobile Service Alert Advisory Committee — charged with examining existing and planned disaster warning systems — resulting in today’s Wireless Emergency Alert capability. In addition, he serves as a member of numerous delegations at international governmental summits and conferences, including the U.S. delegation to World Radiocommunication Conferences and the World Meteorological Organization. Mark is a recipient of the Presidential Rank Award, four Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Awards and a NOAA Administrator Award.
Emergency Operations Director for Georgia Power Company (Southern Company)
Aaron is a graduate of Auburn University and lives in Carrollton, GA. Aaron is married to Kathy Strickland and they have two children and five grandchildren.
Aaron has been with Georgia Power for 37 years. Aaron’s background and experiences have included Marketing, External Affairs and Distribution.
Aaron has been the GPC Emergency Ops Director for 15 years, managing the Emergency Planning and Restoration activities for GPC. Aaron is the past Chair of the Southeastern Electric Exchange Mutual Assistance Committee, presently serving as Co-Chair of the Edison Electric Institute Mutual Assistance Committee, Co-Chair National Mutual Assistance Response Team, AEIC Storm Committee, Chairing AEIC Storm Restoration Logistics Committee, SEE Mutual Assistance Guidelines Subcommittee, All Hazards Consortium Fleet Movement Working Group, Utility Analytics Storm Committee and Schneider Weather Service Customer Advisory Board.
Aaron and Kathy are active in West Georgia Habitat for Humanity, Citizens of GPC, Carrollton First United Methodist Church, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and enjoying their grandchildren.
Director at NOAA Center for Weather and Climate
Mike is currently the Director of the Center for Weather and Climate (CWC) at the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). NCEI is the world’s largest active archive of climate and weather data and provides access and stewardship to the Nation’s resource of global climate and weather related data and information. CWC monitors climate variation and change and provides this information to the US, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization, the International Council for Science Union World Data Center System, the Global Climate Observing System, the Group on Earth Observations, and other international scientific programs.
Mike is involved in the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which integrates federal research on changes in the global environment and their implications for society. USGCRP is steered by the Subcommittee on Global Change Research under the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, overseen by the Executive Office of the President.
Before joining CWC, Mike was the US representative at the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, serving as the Senior Scientific Expert on satellites, climate, and data sharing. GEO coordinates international collaboration for Earth observations to support decision-making and provides a framework for governments and international organizations to develop new projects and coordinate their strategies and investments. GEO members include over 180 Governments, the European Commission, and over 100 intergovernmental, international, and regional organizations.
Previously, Mike was the Director of the Technology, Planning and Integration Office, which led to the development of the NOAA integrated Earth Observation System Architecture and Data Management System Architecture. He provided recommendations to NOAA senior leadership on requirements, architectures, and acquisitions to meet national and international Earth observational needs. Mike regularly represented NOAA to Congress, the White House Office of Management and Budget, and the Executive Office of the President.
Mike also served as co-chair of the USGEO Strategic Assessment Group, providing the US strategic earth observation portfolio recommendation to the Executive Office of the President. Recently, Mike served on the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites Strategic Implementation Team, coordinating international satellite activities.
Prior to joining NOAA, Mike served at NASA Headquarters as the Associate Director of Program, Analysis and Evaluation and as the Program Executive of the Earth Observation System Program, where he managed the development and launch of NASA’s current climate satellite systems.
During the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort, Mike was detailed to the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). He served as an authorized representative of FEMA in Texas, as the program manager for all Texas-based contracts valued over $4.5 Billion; as well as point of contact with public officials, major media organizations and local relief organizations.
Mike earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters Degree in Research and Development Engineering Management. Mike is a certified NASA Program Manager, a life member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a member of the National Space Foundation, and is a 3rd degree black belt in Karate.
Mike is a veteran of the United States Air Force; his honors and awards include the Department of Commerce Gold Medal, NOAA Employee of the Month Award, NASA Office of Earth Science Outstanding Engineer Award, the National Space Club Award for Outstanding Aerospace Achievement, the Aviation Week and Space Technology Aerospace Laurel Award, the United States Air Force Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Cold War Service Medal, and the Gulf War Service Medal.
Assistant Administrator for Satellite & Information Services National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Dr. Stephen Volz is the NOAA Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services. NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service is dedicated to providing timely access to global environmental data from satellites and other sources to promote, protect and enhance the Nation’s economy, security, environment and quality of life. In this role Dr. Volz leads the acquisition and operation of the nation’s civil operational environmental satellite system. He also leads efforts for research and development of products and programs to archive and provide access to a variety of Earth observations via three national data centers. Dr. Volz is a leader in the international Earth observation community, serving as the NOAA Principal to the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS). In this capacity he leads efforts to coordinate global satellite-based observations among international space agency partners to further the development of a Global Earth Observation System of Systems. In addition, Dr. Volz serves as the Co-Chair of the NOAA Observing Systems Council, a group that coordinates observing systems requirements and provides resource recommendations for NOAA’s observation platforms. He is also a member of the NOAA Executive Council, NOAA’s executive decision-making body. Dr. Volz previously served as the Associate Director for Flight Programs in the Earth Science Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. As the Program Director, Dr. Volz managed all of NASA’s Earth Science flight missions and associated activities. Within this flight portfolio, Dr. Volz managed a line of Principle Investigator (PI) led missions in airborne science, small satellites, and instrument missions of opportunity, including the development of the Announcements of Opportunity to solicit the science and mission proposals, along with their subsequent evaluation and selection. Steve managed within the flight program a suite of Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs) that process, distribute, and archive all of NASA’s Earth science data, as well as the science research data products developed from these and other satellite remote-sensing data. Dr. Volz worked with domestic and international space agencies to actively support and promote partnerships and collaboration to further NASA and the nation’s Earth science remote-sensing objectives, and to maximize the beneficial utilization of NASA’s Earth science data. Dr. Volz has 26 years professional experience in aerospace. Prior to serving as the Flight Program Director, Dr. Volz was the Earth Science program executive for a series of Earth Science missions, including EO-3 GIFTS, CloudSat, CALIPSO, and ICESat, and he led the Senior Review for the Earth Science operating missions. Dr. Volz worked in industry at Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation from 1997–2002, where he was the Project Manager for the Space Infrared Telescope Facility superfluid helium cryostat and other flight projects. From 1986–1997 Dr. Volz worked for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center as an instrument manager, an I&T Manager, a systems engineer, and a cryogenic systems engineer on missions and instruments including the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), among others. Dr. Volz is a member of several professional societies, including the American Physical Society (M’82), the American Astronomical Society (M’87), the American Geophysical Union (M’02), and the American Meteorological National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | NOAA Satellite and Information Service Society (M’08). He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), an active member of and participant in the Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS), and a member of the GRSS Administration Committee (AdCom) for the period of 2013–2017. He is the recipient of several awards, including the Silver Snoopy Award from NASA’s astronaut team in 1994 for his work as the instrument manager and team lead for the Space Shuttle cross bay mounted Superfluid Helium On Orbit Transfer (SHOOT) experiment, the Goddard Space Flight Center John Boeckel Award for Engineering Excellence (1992), and the Ball Corporation Award of Excellence from the Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation (BATC) in 2001. Dr. Volz has a doctorate in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (1986), a master’s in Physics from Illinois (1981), and a bachelor’s in Physics from the University of Virginia (1980). He has more than 20 publications in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Volz is a native-born Washingtonian, and lives in Bethesda with his wife Beth and his two teenage daughters.