Kentucky Energy Management Conference - Speakers

David Absher, Senior Manager, Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs, Toyota Motor North America
Absher a native of Kentucky, is the Senior Manager for Toyota Motor North American Environmental Sustainability, a position held since August 2012. He is responsible for the development of strategies and tactical solutions to support Toyota’s environmental goals for all Toyota entities in North America, and is active in the coordination and development of Toyota’s global environmental action plans. Recently, Mr. Absher served as the Sr. Manager of the Sustainability Team that managed the sustainable design and development of the Toyota Motor North America headquarters in Plano, Texas that was awarded LEED Platinum. Mr. Absher was also one of the lead members that initiated the development of the Toyota Port Of Long Beach TriGen power and hydrogen system. The system will provide 100% renewable power and hydrogen fuel at the facility and will have the largest hydrogen dispensing system in the world to fuel the class 8 fuel cell electric trucks that is being jointly developed with PACCAR and currently used for drayage operations in southern California. On June 11, 2021 Toyota Motor Corporation announced a bold plan to achieve carbon neutrality across operations by 2035. Mr. Absher and the TMNA sustainability team is currently focused on reformulating strategies that will support the attainment of this goal. Mr. Absher is the leader for the decarbonization, and is the lead for renewable energy procurement for TMNA.
David has been with Toyota since 1987.

Rodney Andrews, PhD, PE, Associate Vice President for Research, University of Kentucky, Director, UK Center for Applied Energy Research
Rodney Andrews is Director of the Center for Applied Energy Research and Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Kentucky.  He is a Professor of Chemical Engineering. Dr. Andrews has been Director of UK CAER since 2007.  His research interests include conversion processes for coal and biomass, carbon fiber and composites, activated carbon materials, synthesis and application of carbon nanomaterials. Dr. Andrews has directed major multi-university and industry-academic collaborative projects.  Dr. Andrews currently serves on the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board. He also is a member of the Executive Council of the American Carbon Society and served as the society’s 2011 Graffin Lecturer. He was appointed to the National Coal Council in 2014.  Dr. Andrews is Program Director of Kentucky NSF EPSCoR, a statewide initiative to increase research infrastructure within the Commonwealth. Dr. Andrews received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Michigan State University and his PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Kentucky.  He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Kentucky.

Lonnie Bellar, Chief Operating Officer, LG&E and KU Energy LLC
LG&E and KU Chief Operating Officer Lonnie Bellar has over 35 years of experience in the electric and natural gas industry and currently oversees generation, energy supply and analysis, electric distribution and transmission, gas distribution and storage, safety, environmental and customer service. Progressing through the organization, Bellar has held a number of leadership roles including General Manager of LG&E’s Cane Run and Ohio Falls generating stations, Director of Financial Planning and Controlling, Director of Transmission, VP of State Regulation and Rates and VP of Gas Distribution and SVP of Operations. He was named to the University of Kentucky College of Engineering Hall of Distinction, recognizing alumni with distinguished engineering and professional accomplishments, outstanding character and commitment to community service. He is board member for Greater Louisville, Inc., Electric Energy Inc., Ohio Valley Electric Corporation, the American Gas Association, Southern Gas Association, and is on the University of Kentucky Engineering School dean’s advisory council.

Linda Bridwell, Executive Director, Kentucky Public Service Commission
Linda joined the Kentucky Public Service Commission in December 2020 as its new Executive Director.  In this position, Linda serves as chief administrative support to the Commissioners while leading the staff of the Commission, with an emphasis on increasing program efficiency and collaboration with stakeholders including other state and local agencies, regulated utilities, federal regulators, and customers. Prior to joining PSC, Linda worked with the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority as Deputy Executive Director, supervising the accounting and loan staff. Linda began her career with American Water, having served in a variety of capacities since starting with the company in 1989.  Before leaving American Water in February 2019, she managed water rates and regulation for the company’s Southeast Division, which spans Kentucky and Tennessee.  This included providing written and oral testimony   During her tenure, she promoted water infrastructure development and led the $164 million construction of the Kentucky River Station 2 Treatment Plant, the largest project in American Water’s history. Bridwell has received a number of professional honors, including the 2010 Kentucky Section ASCE Robert Gillim Award for service to the civil engineering profession. She was also named a co-recipient of the 2000 University of Kentucky Outstanding Young Civil Engineer Award. She served over 14 years a KIA Board member, and also served on the Kentucky Board of Engineers and Land Surveyors. She holds a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Kentucky, where she also completed her undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering. She earned a Master of Business Administration from Xavier University and is a registered professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Kent A. Chandler, Chairman, Kentucky Public Service Commission
Kent A. Chandler was appointed to the Public Service Commission by Governor Andy Beshear on July 6, 2020. His term expires June 30, 2024. Prior to his appointment, he served as Executive Director of the PSC since February of this year. Prior to becoming Executive Director, he was an advisor to the commissioners, focusing on federal issues surrounding the wholesale gas and electricity markets, including FERC-regulated regional electric transmission operators. Before coming to the PSC, Commissioner Chandler advocated for Kentucky ratepayers as an attorney in the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office of Rate Intervention. During his four years at the Kentucky Office of Attorney General, he appeared before state, federal and local boards and courts. In that position he regularly represented consumers before the PSC in electric, gas, water and sewer utility cases. While at the Attorney General’s Office, he also served on the executive committee of the Consumer Advocates of the PJM States, which includes other utility consumer advocates from jurisdictions in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Commissioner Chandler, a native of Providence, Kentucky, earned a Bachelor of Science in finance from Murray State University. He received a Juris Doctor from Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law. He and his wife Kimberly reside in Georgetown.

Neil Chatterjee, Senior Advisor, Hogan Lovells and Former Chairman, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
Chatterjee is a former Commissioner and Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and has deep ties in Washington and across the industry, with extensive experience across the energy landscape both domestically and internationally. He is respected for his ability to strike compromise and work with a wide variety of stakeholders.

In his time on the Hill and at FERC, Neil built a reputation as a bipartisan operator who builds alliances and cuts through red tape with an eye on always promoting innovation. Neil’s significant knowledge and experience is derived from operating at the highest levels of government and as such, is able to provide clients valuable insights and counsel when navigating the highly regulated energy industry.

While at FERC, Neil championed several strategic initiatives, including streamlining and improving FERC’s liquified natural gas application review and approval process, bolstering power grid reliability and resilience, and boosting renewable resources’ ability to compete in regional power markets and for the reduction of carbon emissions.

Neil is a policy reformer who broke down market barriers for the entrance of new technologies, particularly for low-carbon technologies. He has been an advocate for harnessing technology to mitigate physical and cyber threats to critical energy infrastructure.

Prior to his time at the Commission, Neil served as an advisor to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) where he aided in the passage of major energy, highway, and agriculture legislation. Neil also has experience working as a principal in government relations for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. He began his career as a staff member on the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Joe Craft, President, CEO and Director, Alliance Coal LLC
Joseph W. Craft III has been President, Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Alliance Resource Partners LP., since August 1999 and Chairman of the Board of Directors since January 1, 2019. Mr. Craft is a Director and a past Chairman of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, a Board Member of National Mining Association and a Director of America’s Power. He has been a Director of BOK Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: BOKF) since 2007 and chairman of its compensation committee since 2014. Mr. Craft holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Kentucky. Mr. Craft also is a graduate of the Senior Executive Program of the Alfred P. Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Gregory Dutton, Attorney, Frost Brown Todd LLC
Greg has broad experience in energy, environmental and administrative law, and focuses his practice on environmental compliance and litigation, and renewable energy state and local permitting. He has represented clients in federal and state litigation involving the Clean Water Act (CWA), Clean Air Act (CAA), and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Greg is particularly experienced in matters concerning wastewater discharge permitting, Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District permitting and enforcement defense, and landfill permitting and enforcement defense. Additionally, Greg regularly counsels clients on developing and siting solar projects. Greg has practiced extensively before the Kentucky Electric Generation and Transmission Siting Board (Siting Board) and the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC). His work securing approvals to site a solar generating facility on a reclaimed coal mine in Eastern Kentucky was recently featured in a New York Times cover story.  Greg’s PSC experience includes appearances on behalf of a water utility, several gas utilities, a sewer utility, a nationwide energy company, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the City of Louisville, and two state-wide business associations.  In total, he has appeared in hundreds of cases and overseen dozens of hearings on behalf of clients.

Rebecca Goodman, Secretary, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet
Rebecca Goodman was appointed as the state’s top environmental officer in December 2019 by Governor Andy Beshear.  Secretary Goodman has spent more than four decades in service to the Commonwealth.  She most recently advocated on behalf of Kentucky utility ratepayers as the executive director of the Office of Rate Intervention within the Office of the Attorney General.  Through her work on both state and federal cases, Secretary Goodman regularly dealt with social and environmental justice issues that frequently involved low income, disadvantaged and residential customer needs. She has served as general counsel for the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the Kentucky Executive Branch Ethics Commission and the Kentucky Electric Generation and Transmission Siting Board. Secretary Goodman also has served as the executive director of the Office of Legal Services at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet after beginning her career as a staff attorney for the Kentucky Public Service Commission.  Secretary Goodman earned her Juris Doctor from Salmon P. Chase College of Law, and her Bachelor of Science, Business Administration, Magna Cum Laude, from Kentucky State University.

Timothy J. Hagerty, Member, Frost Brown Todd LLC
Tim Hagerty is a partner in the Louisville, Kentucky office of Frost Brown Todd LLC, where he concentrates his practice in environmental, natural resources, and land use law.  He has over twenty-four years of experience counseling clients concerning the requirements of the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, and related federal and state environmental and resource review requirements.  He spends much of his time assisting clients in the electric utility and mineral extraction industries, including coal mining and oil and gas exploration. Hagerty also has extensive experience in metals manufacturing and heavy industry and in the transportation sector. Hagerty’s practice includes regulatory counseling, permit and enforcement defense litigation, and transactional support.  Hagerty is a graduate of the Yale Law School and the University of Louisville.

Jak Knelman, Associate, National Grid Renewables
Jak Knelman serves as an Origination Associate for National Grid Renewables. Jak is responsible for origination efforts with a regional focus on Load Serving Entities in addition to Corporate and Industrial clients. Prior to joining National Grid Renewables, Jak worked in the Kentucky thoroughbred industry as the Director of Stallion Nominations at the historic Calumet Farm, and currently serves on the board of the Breeders’ Cup ltd. Jak holds a Bachelors degree in Geography & Environmental Studies from Middlebury College and is a current resident of Lexington, KY.

Erich Miarka, Director of Development, Savion
Erich Miarka is a Director of Development with Savion, a utility-scale solar and battery storage development company based in Kansas City, MO. Savion, a subsidiary of Shell, is currently developing a pipeline of over 19 gigawatts of development assets across the United States. Erich leads development efforts in the PJM market in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia. In addition to typical greenfield developments, Erich is spearheading the development of several ‘coal-to-solar’ projects in Appalachia; siting solar and storage projects on former surface coal mines.

Chris Perry, President & CEO, Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives (KAEC)
Chris Perry is the President and CEO of the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives and United Utility Supply Cooperative since 2014, Chris Perry has worked in the electric cooperative community for more than 20 years. He joined Fleming-Mason Energy Co-op in 2003 as manager of engineering and became CEO of the utility in 2007. Perry has also served as manager of engineering services at Sumter Electric Cooperative in Sumterville, Florida and systems engineer at Nolin Rural Electric Cooperative in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. He has an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Kentucky and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. Perry and his wife, Kimberly, have two daughters, Alexandria and Alyssa.

Jerry Purvis, Vice President, Enviornmental Affairs, East Kentucky Power Cooperative
Jerry Purvis reports to the East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) Chief Operations Officer & Executive Vice President with responsibility for environmental affairs.  EKPC generates over 3,500 megawatts of coal-fired, natural gas-fired and renewable energy through 2,900 plus miles of transmission serving 87 of the 120 counties in Kentucky.  This effort serves 16 Owner-Member Cooperatives with over 1,200,000 customers, industry, local business entities in rural Kentucky.  The company is one of the last remaining KY-owned electric utility companies. He has served in many roles in his 28 years of service including: Senior Production Chemical Engineer, Cooper Plant Maintenance Superintendent, Environmental Affair Manager 2008, promoted in 2011 to Director of Environmental Affairs, Vice President promoted 2017 and is a member of the Executive Staff.  He and his staff manage environmental affairs with a proactive environmental philosophy and use of the latest environmental management system technology to serve their customers.  He is an active member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Chemistry Society, Utility Information Exchange Kentucky, U.S. Midwest Ozone Group, National Rural Electric and Environmental Association.  He is active in the community volunteering on the EKPC Good Giving Committee, a charitable outreach.  He earned dual Bachelors of Science degrees in Chemistry from Morehead State University and Chemical Engineering from the University of Kentucky and later, a Master of Business Administration from Morehead State University.

Kate Shanks, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Kate Shanks is Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the Kentucky Chamber. She has been with the Chamber for more than five years and focuses her work on energy, environment, small business, and competitiveness issues. She is a lifelong resident of Kentucky and earned both a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Conservation and Management and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Kentucky. Prior to joining the Chamber, Kate spent nearly 12 years working for state agencies focused on energy and environmental policy and regulation and has held multiple positions relating to communications, outreach, policy analysis and design, and legislative affairs.

Amy Spiller, President, Ohio and Kentucky, Duke Energy
Amy Spiller is president of Duke Energy's utility operations in Ohio and Kentucky, which serves approximately 850,000 electric customers and 533,000 natural gas customers. She is accountable for advancing the company's rate and regulatory initiatives, and managing the government relations, economic development and community affairs functions throughout the region.

Brian Zoeller, Attorney, Frost Brown Todd LLC
Brian leads the firm’s renewable energy industry team and primarily focuses on advising clients on project development, including utility scale-solar projects, landfill gas to energy projects and anaerobic digester facilities. He is currently involved in the development of solar facilities with an aggregate capacity of over 2 GW.