Dr. Shihab Kuran
Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Kuran is an investor, serial entrepreneur and a seasoned executive in the global semiconductor, power and cleantech sectors. He founded and ran several private companies and served as an executive/board member at six public companies. He led companies in the start-up stage and managed global organizations. In semiconductors, he developed a business that became the sole supplier to Intel as they launched their coveted Centrino platform. In the cleantech space, he founded and ran Petra Solar where he developed leading-edge technologies and launched the largest solar project in the world in 2009. Prior to founding Power Edison, he served as the President of Strategic Development at NRG. Before joining NRG, Dr. Kuran served as the President of Advanced Solutions at Sun Edison. He was named by Greentech Media as one of the “100 people you must know in Smart Grid in 2012.” In 2011, he was named by NJBIZ as one of “The 100 most powerful people in New Jersey business,” and his company, Petra Solar was awarded the American Technology Award in both Smart Grid and Clean Tech. In 2010, E&Y recognized him as the NJ Green Tech Entrepreneur of the Year, and Fortnightly Magazine named him as a “top guru” in the solar industry. His efforts are fueled by a vision for a peaceful world with universal access to clean and sustainable sources of food, energy and water. He serves on the Advisory Boards of the Charles Edison Fund, the Edison Innovation Foundation and at The Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurship at FDU. He served as a Board Member of the NJTC and an External Advisory Board Member of Rutgers Innovation Park. Dr. Kuran holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the City University of NY and an Executive Management degree from Harvard Business School. He is an inventor and has published over 40 papers.
Yazan has extensive knowledge of sustainable energy technologies including energy storage. Most recently, he has worked at NRG in the strategic development group where he played key roles in the development of the company's energy storage strategy.
His previous work was in the cryogenics and superconductivity fields, performing research and writing modeling software for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) upgrade under the European Organization of Nuclear Research (CERN). Prior to that, Yazan has worked on rail transportation with Siemens and has worked in the UK's Institute of Sound and Vibrations Research on developing methods for detecting propeller cavitation. Yazan graduated with First-class honors, receiving a Bachelor's and Master's of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southampton with a specialization in Sustainable Energy Systems.
With a dedicated career commencing in 1986, Frank A. Napolitano, P.E., has practiced exclusively within the Power & Utilities space, enjoying a diversified variety of specialist roles in relevant areas such as engineering, construction, operations, financial forecasting, corporate development, project finance, corporate finance, M&A, commodities and principal investing. Mr. Napolitano was most recently Managing Director and Global Head of Power and Renewables in the Investment Banking Department of Credit Suisse. Prior to that, Mr. Napolitano was Group Head of the U.S. Power &Utilities Group within the Investment Banking department of RBC Capital Markets, LLC. In his immediately prior position as President of Lakeside Energy LLC (a private equity portfolio company of American Securities LLC), Mr. Napolitano was responsible for leading management and business development activities, including transaction origination, negotiation, financing, execution, operations and portfolio management. During the period 1994-2008, he served as an investment banking professional at Lehman Brothers and Chase Manhattan Bank, where he held management leadership, client management and deal/transaction responsibilities. During the period 1986-1994, Mr. Napolitano served in various business and operating roles within the underlying Power & Utilities industry itself at firms including Hess Corporation, O&R Energy, ConEdison, Brooklyn Union Gas and Woodward-Clyde Consultants. His education includes an MBA with a dual concentration in finance and marketing from the NYU Stern School of Business, as well as both a Masters and a Bachelors of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. On behalf of utility and power clients, Mr. Napolitano has presented expert testimony in several notable venues including the FERC and the State Regulatory Commissions of California, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, New York, and Pennsylvania. Mr. Napolitano is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Pi Phi Chapter of the Pi Tau Sigma International Mechanical Engineering Honor Society, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of New York.
Bob retired in 2019 as executive vice president, chief financial officer, and chief strategy officer of the New York Power Authority, a $3 billion state-owned hydropower and clean energy services company. During his seven-year tenure at NYPA, Bob led the development of three landmark clean energy strategic plans, including one focused on deep decarbonization across the economy and another focused on digital transformation across the enterprise. He recently led the development of NYPA’s new business investments totaling over $1 billion in EV charging infrastructure, energy storage, offshore wind transmission, and digital products and services.
Bob is a member of the board of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the non-profit operator of the electric grid and the $29 billion power market across 15 states and Manitoba. He was previously a member of non-profit Urban Green Council and the Building Energy Exchange, both in New York City, and a member of the Transformation Advisory Council formed by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to advise them on modernizing the grid in Puerto Rico.
Prior to joining NYPA, Bob was vice president of North America business development for Ocean Power Technologies, an ocean wave energy company in New Jersey. Prior to that role, he directed the mergers and acquisitions function for Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. in Pennsylvania.
Bob served as the Chief of Strategic Planning at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey from 2003-2007, and was treasurer and vice president of corporate development for a utility company in New Jersey. Bob’s early career was as director of public finance for the State of New Jersey, managing over $8 billion in infrastructure funding, and as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers.
Bob holds a Master’s in Business Administration in finance from the State University of New York at Albany, and a Bachelor’s in Economics from Union College in Schenectady, New York.
Dr. Kelli Joseph
Dr. Kelli Joseph works across both wholesale and retail electricity markets on regulatory policy, market design, and power system economics throughout the United States and internationally. She led U.S. regulatory and market strategy efforts for several independent power producers in the restructured ISO/RTO wholesale electricity markets and worked in Grid Operations at the New York ISO. In the Global Energy Practice at The World Bank, she focused on renewable, storage, and distributed energy resource integration, and published a chapter in the Bank’s Rethinking Power Sector Reform, a decades long look back at developing country experience with electricity reform. Dr. Joseph was nominated to the NARUC-NASEO Joint Task Force on Comprehensive Electricity Planning, a DOE-funded effort focusing on the regulatory and policy innovations needed to manage a 21st century power grid. She is also an Advisor with the Future Power Markets Forum at the Columbia SIPA Center on Global Energy Policy, an Adjunct Professor in the Clarkson University Business of Energy Program, and on the Board of Directors with the Energy Storage Association.
Dr. Joseph speaks Hindi/Urdu, and Spanish, holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Virginia, an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Virginia, and an MBA, with a concentration in Finance, from IE Business School in Spain, where she was a U.S. Fulbright Scholar.
Mr. Sordillo has over 35 years of experience providing risk engineering services to residential, commercial and industrial accounts. He has held senior global leadership positions at two major international insurance organizations, as well as experience with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, before joining the Sompo team. He is a registered professional civil and fire protection engineer. In addition, he is a Certified Safety Professional. Mr. Sordillo has been a guest speaker at many different venues including AICPA CFO’s annual meeting and the ASSE seminar program. His topics cover innovative approaches in safety and security. He has held board level positions on charitable organizations such as United Way and the Red Cross, and is currently on the advisory board of the fire science program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, on the Society of Fire Protection Engineers Foundation and a trustee of the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program. Mr. Sordillo was honored by the National Fire Protection Association with Lifetime Membership and by UL for his efforts in promoting safety and security. The National Safety Council recently requested that Mr. Sordillo author two papers for publication on their website in October and November 2017. As he is a recognized expert in the role of government in safety and security, he recommends guidelines for public servants and elected officials on preparing and responding to an emergency.
Mr. Sordillo is a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), National Fire Protections Association (NFPA), Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL). His education includes an MBA from the University of Massachusetts, as well as BS Civil Engineering from Tufts University
W Richard Grosdidier
W Richard Grosdidier has more than 35 years of domestic and international experience in tax equity, project and structured finance, banking, treasury, M&A, project development, team leadership and complex transaction management. He has also been instrumental in the creation of several startup companies in both structured finance and renewable energy.
Richard has held senior finance and development positions with leading companies in the energy/renewable energy industry such as: Innogy SE, NRG Energy, Next Era Energy Resources, DZ Bank AG, Foster Wheeler Energy Corporation, Signal Capital and AT&T Capital. While at NRG he held the position of Senior Vice President of Commercial Execution and helped the company build a 1.8 GW utility scale solar portfolio through greenfield development and M&A. At Next Era Energy, Richard was Senior Director of Project Finance and Analysis and played a key leadership role in multiple complex financing's and M&A transactions. At DZ Bank, he was a Senior Energy Banker and developed several new markets for the bank. Richard also was based in Asia for 8 years with responsibility for project finance leading the execution of numerous cross border financings. Early in his career Richard spent 10 years as an Institutional Tax Equity Investor focused on the energy sector.
Richard holds a B.S., Commerce & Finance from Wilkes University and an M.B.A. and Juris Doctor from the University of Dayton.
Roger Corrado began his financial career trading commodities in the pits of the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT, now known as Ice Futures U.S.) on behalf of Dean Witter and Merrill Lynch. He subsequently founded his own commodities firm and became a significant trader of agricultural commodities as well as precious metals and energy.
Roger’s leadership skill and industry knowledge led to his selection as Vice Chairman of NYBOT and Chair of its Executive Committee. In this capacity he played key roles in NYBOT’s governance, public relations, and in its ultimate acquisition by the Intercontinental Exchange in 2007. Roger has been a frequent guest and analyst on financial news shows offering his commentary on the markets.
Roger has been enthusiastically involved in many charitable and community initiatives including the NYMEX/CME Charitable Foundation, the St. Francis Breadline, Futures and Options for Kids, Say: The Stuttering Association for the Young, and Building Homes for Heroes. Locally he is on the Board of the Hoboken YMCA and Community Center and Food Pantry, former mentor at St. Anthony’s High School in Jersey City, and basketball coach at Hoboken Catholic Academy.
Dr. Julia Nesheiwat
Over 20 years of energy resources, critical infrastructure, and environment experience focused on building public-private partnerships, as a senior executive in cabinet-level agencies, academia, and as a U.S. Army combat veteran; Former Deputy Assistant to the President for Resilience and Homeland Security and as Florida’s Chief Resilience Officer, as well as former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State building the first Energy Resources Bureau working on energy transformation in the power generation sector. Dr. Nesheiwat is currently serving as a Commissioner on the U.S. Arctic Research Commission.
Previously, she served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Special Envoy and the Under Secretary for Energy, Environment, and Technology. PhD dissertation from Tokyo Tech, “Post-Disaster Reconstruction in Technology & Resiliency in the age of Climate Change” focused on post disaster reconstruction of coastal towns suffering from lack of power, flooding, and rising sea levels. Managed the resiliency and energy working group on the World Economic Forum’s Council (WEF) Global Advisory Council. Promoted U.S. investment opportunities and advancing U.S. energy technology interests. A known public speaker advocating for further research and development in critical infrastructure protection, energy storage & efficiency and conservation. Led initiatives with United Nations, FEMA, EPA, DoD, State, and White House for natural resource programs and innovation projects engaging globally and domestically with foreign ministers, multinational corporation CEOs from Exxon, Chevron, Dutch Royal, GE, NRG, Westinghouse, Cheniere, as well as NGO’s, universities, and local/state governments.
A former U.S. Army intelligence officer, Dr. Nesheiwat served consecutive tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, and awarded the Bronze Star Medal.
Dr. Nesheiwat was an International Affairs Fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations and on the Governing Advisory Council for the World Economic Forum. She earned a Ph.D. from Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan; an M.A. from Georgetown University, and B.A. from Stetson University. She is a proficient Arabic and Japanese speaker.
Abbas Akhil is currently the Principal of Renewable Energy Ventures. Previously, Abbas was the Principal Member of Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories. While working at Sandia, he was the lead developer of the Department of Energy/Electric Power Research Institute Electricity Storage Handbook which is regarded within the industry as the leading reference for energy storage literature. He performed some of the early utility-specific system studies under the Energy Storage Program that eventually lead to battery energy storage projects in Fairbanks and Metlakatla, AK. Abbas has also been involved in Distributed Generation for more than eight years and co-authored the CERTS Microgrid Concept paper. This included working to implement the US DOE/State of Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative for Kauai and Lanai islands.
Jim’s entire 32 year career has involved energy efficiency, renewables, modular and distributed energy storage, electrical generation and other advanced energy concepts technologies, valuation and markets. That put Jim at the forefront of the nascent “distributed energy resources” (DERs) movement for most of his career. DERs are just coming to the fore as both a revolutionary and disruptive phenomenon in the electric utility industry.
For the last seventeen years Jim has focused primary on modular and large scale energy storage, with an emphasis on benefits, value propositions and market development. Of special note is a seminal report entitled Energy Storage for the Electricity Grid: Benefits and Market Potential Assessment Guide, published by the U.S. Department of Energy and Sandia National Laboratories’ Electric Energy Storage Program in February 2010.
Jim is principal and senior analyst for E&I Consulting. He is senior advisor to the California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA) and he served as Senior Analyst with Distributed Utility Associates for 13 years.
Mr. Martinez has over thirty years of experience as an executive in the energy industry. He retired from Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) in 2016, one of the nation’s leading electric utilities, where he worked for 35 years. During his tenure at FPL, Mr. Martinez was responsible for overseeing the Office of Clean Energy, where his responsibilities included identifying and originating clean energy opportunities in the state to promote visibility, commitment, and economic development. Mr. Martinez actively worked on the company’s clean energy transformation from oil to natural gas and solar energy. From 2009 - 2012, Mr. Martinez led the development efforts on three large scale solar projects in Florida. He was also instrumental in converting three large scale oil generation plants to natural gas.
Mr. Martinez is the past chairman of the Florida Solar Energy Center and also serves on other advisory boards throughout the state, most notably The Florida Energy Systems Consortium, The St. Thomas University President’s Advisory Board and The Keiser University Advisory Board. Mr. Martinez serves as an adjunct professor at Keiser University and is a frequent speaker at conferences, schools and leadership forums.
Mr. Martinez also serves as President and Co-Founder of a not for profit organization, Student ACES, dedicated to working with student athletes on leadership and values. Buck is passionate about investing in our youth and works countless hours serving in the capacity of teacher, mentor and coach.
Mr. Martinez holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Thomas University and a Masters in Business Administration from Nova Southeast. In addition, he is a graduate of the Boston University Leadership Program, the Harvard University Program on Negotiation, and the Lifeworks Leadership Program. Mr. Martinez is a member of the St. Thomas University Hall of Fame.
VP, Information Technology
Prasenjit (Jeet) is an entrepreneur and tech evangelist who has made significant contributions in enterprise scale M2M/ IOT, AI products and platform engineering. He has served in global leadership positions in tech giants IBM, Wipro and Visa to drive innovation and thought leadership in the emerging technology space.
In the last two decades, Jeet has played key roles in driving Business IT transformation and enterprise architectural initiatives in the emerging technology space. He has been leading start-up initiatives in unique cloud-enabled platforms (SaaS) levering human-machine collaborations.
Under his leadership, the global IT firms partnered with fortune 100 clients in adoption and modernization strategies of emerging technologies, OT/ IT convergence and SOA best practices. He has contributed in open source technologies, industry specific assets / frameworks and platforms. Jeet has managed large global engagements, strategic business planning for budget allocation, fund-raising initiatives and has been exposed to Global IT practices and business cultures across three continents (North America, EMEA & AP).
Jeet has been awarded CTO of the year by Corporate America, New York and best CEO leading Business transformation by TMT News, UK. His corporations are ranked as top 100 Asian-American companies by USPAACC. Jeet holds an MBA and BS in electronics. Jeet has filed patents and made significant scholarly contributions in wireless, AI and distributed systems for over a decade.
Eliot f. Assimakopoulos
Eliot Assimakopoulos is the CEO of Sequestra. Sequestra delivers decarbonization solutions for corporations & consumers. Eliot has more than 25 years of experience in the construction, energy, and high technology industries. During his 20-year career at GE, he led efforts to advance technology and market development for smart-grid and renewable energy. Specifically, he led the development and commercialization of GE's microgrid solution from conception through the start-up of a new business unit in GE. Additionally, he led the startup of GE Grid Solutions Government Business.
Prior to joining GE, Eliot was Executive Vice President for MetroNexus, a $1.2B global technology asset company that he started-up with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. He has also worked with other technology focused companies including Teleglobe International and MCI Communications.
Additionally, Eliot is frequently a public speaker advocating transformative models for energy & sustainability and has appeared on media productions such as PBS’ Fred Friendly Seminar & has co-authored several publications related to alternative energy & grid integration.
Eliot was a Captain in the United States Marine Corps and a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute. He also holds an MBA from American Intercontinental University.
Eliot has five children, lives in Pittsburgh, PA and enjoys hiking & reading.
Elie Bou-Zeid is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the founding director of the Metropolis Project for urban technology at Princeton University. He is also associated faculty with the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment and the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department.
An expert in geophysics and atmospheric sciences, his research is broadly focused on measurement and modelling of material and energy transfers in the lower atmosphere, with applications to urban environmental quality, building energy efficiency, wind energy production, and polar sea ice fluctuations. He is editor of the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, and a co-author of the NSF-sponsored report on Urban Climate and Resiliency aimed at understanding the role of megacities on global climate, and developing strategies to improve urban climate-resilience and reduce urban atmospheric greenhouse emissions.
Elie holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Environmental Engineering and Water Resources from the American University of Beirut, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University.