The 2017 Energy Exchange features a solid line up of plenary speakers from across the energy management spectrum. This year showcases policy and decisions makers from the largest and most influential sectors of the federal government and private sectors. Below is the current plenary speaker line up. Be sure to check back often for updates and new speaker additions.
Will Allen Foundation
Nascent Group Holdings, LLC
Will Allen is a Managing Partner and co-founder at Nascent Group Holdings, LLC. In his role as Managing Partner, Allen co-manages the day-to-day operations and investment and acquisition strategy for NGH. Allen attended The Ohio State University where he received his bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications; he also received a certificate of completion in continuing education courses through the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Programs at Harvard Business School and Kellogg School of Business. Allen has also completed internships with utility company National Grid and also with Congressman Bobby Rush on the Energy and Power subcommittee.
Prior to founding Nascent Group Holdings, Allen was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004 and most recently played for the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2015 Allen finished his NFL career after 12 successful seasons. In his collegiate years Allen was a member of The Ohio State 2002 National Championship. Allen’s senior year he was named a consensus All- American.
Allen is involved in the community and in business. Currently, he serves on the advisory committee for Be A Middle School Mentor that serves middle school students in Allegheny County through the United Way of South Western PA. He also serves as a board member for the Shyne Awards Foundation. In addition to serving those community programs Allen established the Will Allen Foundation. The foundation provides tools and resources to Educate + Influence + Empower people in his surrounding community. His business endeavors include investing in real estate and technology companies.
Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, U.S. Army
Ms. Carla K. Coulson was selected for the Senior Executive Service (SES) in June 2013. She serves as the Acting Deputy, Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management. In this capacity she develops and oversees Army-wide policies, programming guidance and strategies for a host of installation services of great importance to Soldiers, Families, and Civilians, including but not limited to, Soldier and Family Readiness, Family and Unaccompanied Soldier Housing, Logistics, Environmental, and Privatization and Partnership programs.
Ms. Coulson has over 37 years of experience in facilities engineering and installation management gained from a variety of assignments within the Departments of the Army and Defense, both in the United States and abroad. She served in command and supporting positions as an Army Engineer officer for over 28 of those 37 years, retiring in December of 2005.
In her 9 years as a Department of the Army Civilian she has served a term appointment in the SES as the Director of the Defense Media Activity Transition in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, and most recently performed duties as the Director, Installation Management for the Defense Logistics Agency. In addition, she performed duties as the Army’s Assistant for Construction in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and the Environment.
Ms. Coulson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry from Salem College, Salem, WV, and a Master’s of Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University. She is a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College and the Canadian Forces College, National Security Studies Course.
FEMP, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy
Hayes Jones is the Operations and Agency Engagements Supervisor for the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program. In this role, she leads a team focused FEMP strategic planning and operations as well as working with agencies to leverage expertise from across FEMP programs to create replicable solutions and implement energy management projects. She has been with FEMP for over eight years and has previously served as the budget and communications lead. Hayes has bachelor and master degrees from Duke University.
Director of Sustainable Engineering
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Luke Leung is the director of the MEP + Sustainable Engineering Studio for SOM. Leung leads his team in attaining the highest levels of human, environmental, and financial performance. He has won multiple awards, including eight “Excellence in Engineering” awards from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), two “Beyond Green” awards from the National Institute of Building Sciences, and several sustainable design awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Project highlights include the Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest man-made structure; Roche Diagnostics in Indianapolis; the Greentown Qingdao Tower; the Zhengzhou Greenland Tower; and more than 40 LEED® certified or registered buildings, including a LEED® Platinum building with the first large-scale horizontal wind turbine in Chicago.
Leung is a LEED® Fellow. He is also a Centennial Fellow from the Penn State University Architectural Engineering Department; a member of the ASHRAE Environmental Health Committee; chairman of the Building Pressure Committee; member of the Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings; member of the AIA Large Firm Roundtable Sustainable Committee; member of the Sustainable Committee of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH); part-time professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology; a member of the Chicago Sister Cities program with China; and member of the editorial teams for the CTBUH “Natural Ventilation in High-Rise Office Buildings” and the ASHRAE handbooks on tall buildings, among other publications.
Mr. Rick Marrs, PE
Deputy Assistant Administrator
Office of Strategic Infrastructure, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Rick joined NASA’s Office of Strategic Infrastructure in 2015. His office develops infrastructure policies and integrates mission support for the accomplishment of NASA’s Science, Aeronautic, Space Operations and Exploration Missions. Strategic Infrastructure includes management of Facilities, Real Estate, Logistics, Aircraft, Environment, Space Environments Testing Assets and Sustainment efforts.Prior to joining NASA, he served on the Staff of the Commandant of the Marine Corps overseeing policy development, budget formulation and execution of $2B/yr to support 24 installations. He was also the first Chief Engineer for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, developing capabilities to oversee the reconstruction efforts of various agencies.
Prior to retiring from the Navy Civil Engineer Corps, Captain Marrs held numerous leadership positions, including serving as a member of Task Force Energy for the Secretary of the Navy in 2009; as the Inspector General for Naval Facilities Engineering Command; as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Engineering for the MultiNational Security Transition Command – Iraq (MNSTC-I); in the Facilities and Energy Office on the staff of the Secretary of Defense; as Commander U.S. Support Group East Timor and as the Commanding Officer of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74. Rick received a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Masters in Civil Engineering from Stanford University. He is a member of the Defense Acquisition Corps.
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.
FEMP, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. 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 at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as a Senior Contracting Officer.
Leslie has bachelor and master degrees in business administration from Washington State University.
Energy Exchange Project Leader
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Terry is a building scientist and project lead in Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Building Technologies Research and Integration Center. He is passionate about improving the strategic energy management of buildings, developing advanced building energy performance metrics and rating capabilities, improving performance contracting project building and risk mitigation, and the Energy Exchange!
He has contributed pioneering technical developments that helped enable EPA’s highly-recognized Energy Star Buildings Labeling Program, New York State’s pay-for-performance incentive program for multi-family buildings, the first-ever building performance targets in an ASHRAE standard, and helped dozens of federal customers reduce risks in performance contracting projects.
Acting Assistant Secretary
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy
In his role as Acting Assistant Secretary in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Daniel Simmons leads EERE to achieve its vision of a strong and prosperous America powered by clean, affordable, and secure energy. He oversees technology development in the energy efficiency, renewable power and sustainable transportation sectors.
Daniel is also serving as EERE’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary. He previously served on the Presidential Transition Team. Before joining the Department of Energy, Daniel served as the Institute for Energy Research’s Vice President for Policy, overseeing its energy and environmental policy work at the state and federal level.
He previously served as director of the Natural Resources Task Force at the American Legislative Exchange Council, was a research fellow at the Mercatus Center, and worked as professional staff on the Committee on Resources of the U.S. House of Representatives.
He is a graduate of Utah State University and George Mason University School of Law.
Dr. Timothy Unruh
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy
As Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Dr. Unruh is responsible for leading all of EERE’s applied research, development, and demonstration for renewable energy, including geothermal, solar, wind and water power.
Previously he served as the Federal Energy Management Program Director. In this role, he managed the implementation of policy and actions that resulted in energy efficiency implementation and renewable energy adoption, as well as reduced energy and water use in federal government operations. He was instrumental in guiding DOE through a streamlining of the Super Energy Saving Performance Conctract selection process.
Before joining EERE, he was Director of Operations for ConEdison Solutions, where he led a team of engineers and project managers to implement energy savings projects in government and private installations. While in this role, he worked to educate energy users on performance contracting methods to achieve energy reduction goals. He was also heavily involved in the measurement and verification of energy savings resulting from these projects.
He has Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas.
Maria Tikoff Vargas
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.