13th Annual Southern BioProducts and Renewable Energy Conference

November 13, 2014

Trent Lott Center
University of Southern Mississippi

Hattiesburg, MS


Sumesh AroraSumesh Arora, Innovate Mississippi
Sumesh Arora, Innovate Mississippi Dr. Sumesh Arora is Vice President of Innovate Mississippi, a non-profit organization with a mission to champion technology and innovation based economic development. He is also the Director of Strategic Biomass Solutions-Renewable Energy Venture Startup (REVSup) Academy; a program that helps cleantech entrepreneurs develops their business through providing coaching services and then connecting them to a wide variety of resources including early stage capital. Sumesh is currently serving as the E3 (Economics-Energy-Environment) program coordinator for Mississippi which helps manufacturers become more energy efficient and run leaner and more profitable operations. Earlier this year, Sumesh was invited by Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan to testify before the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture on the topic of advanced biofuels. He is the co-inventor of a patented technology to convert poultry litter into biogas and is actively involved in commercializing these systems in the USA and overseas. He is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Southern Mississippi’s College of Business. Sumesh has a PhD in international development and masters and bachelor’s degrees in engineering from the University of Central Florida.

Jason AzoulayJason Azoulay, University of Southern Mississippi
Dr. Azoulay research interests include homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis: synthesis, behavior and performance, kinetics, and mechanisms, new functionality, controlled polymerization reactions, catalyst composites. He is also interested in electronic, photonic, and magnetic materials: synthesis, molecular and self-assembly, fundamental atomic and molecular level mechanisms, structure-function-property relationships, device fabrication and engineering.

Elliott BickerstaffElliott Bickerstaff, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality
Elliott has worked in Air Division with the Department of Environmental Quality for over 24 years and is currently the manager of the Air Emissions Inventory Branch in the Air Division. He has an Engineering Degree from the University of Mississippi, is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Mississippi, and is Board Certified in Air Quality by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers. He is on the Board of Directors for the Mississippi Chapter of the Air and Waste Management Association (AWMA). He has worked in permitting, compliance, emission inventory development, and air quality planning. His current responsibilities are development and management of air emission inventories for Mississippi and planning for new air quality standards, including the proposed Clean Power Plan under section 111(d).

Arthur Brickey Art Brickey, Friedman, Luzzatto & Co.
Art Brickey is a Senior Vice President for Friedman, Luzzatto & Co. Mr. Brickey is responsible for the investment banking services of the firm. Mr. Brickey’s duties include raising debt for project financings all over the country, including many energy related (or other types specific to RFP) projects. Mr. Brickey coordinates with credit enhancers, rating agencies, underwriters, derivative providers and bond counsel during each transaction. In addition, Mr. Brickey analyzes and models interest rates and revenue bond sizing schedules to minimize the interest cost to the client. FLCO, a women-owned business (WBE), and has been a FINRA-registered broker/dealer since 1986, a SIPC member since 1989, and a Registered Municipal Advisor since 2010. FLCO was established to provide financial advisory and underwriting services for taxable and tax-exempt municipal debt obligation to governmental entities nationwide. The company provides financial advisory and underwriting services for issues that are either asset-backed or revenue supported, as well as general obligation debt.

Jeff Cantin, Solar Alternatives
Jeff is an entrepreneur and industry representative in Louisiana’s growing renewable energy and technology industries. He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Rice University and maintains state-wide contracting licenses and NABCEP Solar certification. His efforts include a leading regional solar energy firm, a large-scale wind energy development, and cofounding of the region’s renewable energy trade association. As owner of Solar Alternatives, Jeff has helped establish high standards for solar construction and introduced new technologies to the region through innovation, sponsorships and community outreach. Hybrid solar and mobile power applications are the firm’s unique technological strengths, as well as technology support for the nascent electric vehicle industry. Jeff is also co-founder of Louisiana Wind, a wind development firm that aims to bring utility-scale renewable power to central Louisiana. In 2010, Jeff co-founded the Gulf States Renewable Energy Industries Association (GSREIA), representing renewable energy firms in Louisiana and the region as a chapter of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Jeff currently serves as Secretary of the board and coordinates the organization’s staff as well as its policy initiatives.

Allie Harris Allie Harris, Schneider Electric
Allie Harris is the sales team leader for Schneider Electric’s Energy & Sustainability Division. Managing business development across various vertical markets throughout Mississippi and Alabama, Allie coordinates resources to guide public entities through large scale capital improvement projects to achieve desired energy, infrastructure and financial goals. In her 8 years with the company, she has negotiated over $50 million in energy performance contracting business resulting in millions in annual savings. Allie graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Industrial Distribution

Stewart Hood Stewart Hood, MuniStrategies
Stewart Hood serves as Vice President of Research and Systems for MuniStrategies. Stewart works closely with Lange and McCreery on business strategy and NMTC compliance. Stewart also focuses on community development research, internal operations, and project underwriting and analysis. Stewart is also a lead analyst for Grits Capital, a Mississippi Small Business Investment Company (MSBIC). In this capacity, he focuses on internal operations, investment origination and project underwriting. Hood has a background in entrepreneurship and new venture finance, founding three startups and receiving a Master of Business Administration (with a focus in entrepreneurship) from F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Hood also attended the University of Mississippi where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and a Taylor Medalist for the School of Liberal Arts. Hood also serves as Mississippi Chair on the national board for Republic Charter Schools, a CMO that currently operates three charter schools in Nashville with growth prospects in Mississippi.

Chad Ihrig Chad Ihrig, Mississippi Power Company
Chad Ihrig is the Manager of Energy Efficiency Implementation and Strategy at Mississippi Power headquartered in Gulfport, MS. Ihrig has a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Texas at Austin and is completing his master's degree with concentration in marketing at Auburn University. Ihrig has 16 years of energy industry experience with previous roles in natural gas trading, risk management, finance, and marketing. Most recently, he has developed the portfolio of eight energy efficiency programs for Mississippi Power residential, commercial, and industrial customers and also led a successful pilot program that reached more than 1,000 low-income customers. Ihrig is married with two children and lives in Gulfport, Mississippi.

Lawrence B. Johnson Jr. Lawrence B. Johnson Jr., Entergy Mississippi
Lawrence is the Energy Efficiency Manager and Public Affairs Executive at Entergy. Lawrence joined Entergy in 1982 and handled various professional and managerial duties in the Customer Service Department for Entergy of Mississippi, Entergy of New Orleans, and Entergy of Louisiana and the Customer Service Support Department for Entergy. Currently, Lawrence is Entergy Mississippi Inc.’s Energy Efficiency Manager. Lawrence serves as the manager developing an energy efficiency quick start program in part or all of 45 counties. The primary mission is to introduce new programs to improve the energy efficiency and quality of life for our residential, commercial, government, and industrial customers. In Public Affairs, Lawrence is one of two person team representing the company’s interest with the Mississippi State Legislators (52 senators and 122 representatives). Prior to joining Entergy, Lawrence was on active duty for three years in the United States Army serving as 1st Lieutenant serving in the Field Artillery. While attending Ole Miss, Lawrence was on football scholarship. Lawrence was 2nd Team All SEC in 1975 and Team Captain in 1978. He lettered in 1974, 1975, 1977, and 1978.

Susan King Susan Floyd King, Jones Walker
Susan Floyd King is special counsel in the firm's Real State Practice Group and a member of the Environmental team. Ms. King's environmental law practice includes assisting clients in meeting regulatory requirements under state and federal law, the areas of permitting and the resolution or avoidance of environmental compliance issues, and the defense of civil and criminal enforcement actions. Ms. King's experience includes matters related to natural resource damage assessment under the Oil Pollution Act, regulatory requirements under the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, RCRA, CERCLA, EPCRA and TSCA, including issues associated with citizen suits, and recent initiatives by state and federal agencies, especially in the area of environmental justice.

Alex Major Alex Major, Green Flight Foundation
Alex Major is the founder and chairman of the Green Flight Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed to further education, outreach and demonstration of renewable fuels and green business practices in private and business aviation. Mr. Major is also the founder and chairman of the Kings of the Air, a nonprofit organization that intends to fly the first Beechcraft King Air ever made around-the-world in 2015 fueled with 100% renewable jet fuel. Mr. Major has been a pilot since he was 17 years old and has flown everything from small single engine aircraft to business turboprops and jets. In addition to having been involved in a wide array of aviation business ventures, Mr. Major has been an environmental entrepreneur for 25 years and for the last eight years has been focused on the production of biofuels for use in hybrid electric vehicles as well as private and business aircraft. Mr. Major has been an irrepressible entrepreneur since he was a teenager. His curiosity, creativity and business acumen have contributed to him starting a diverse series of businesses over the past 40 years; from a furniture manufacturing company to a hit-making recording studio in Boulder, Colorado in the 1970’s; to New York City real estate development and a California aerial firefighting company in the 1980’s; to the development of tree-free paper in Europe and an attempted green internet bank venture in California in the 1990’s; to a valiant attempt to acquire Th!nk Nordic, the Norwegian electric car manufacturer, from Ford Motor Company in the early 2000’s. Since the beginning of the new millennium, Mr. Major’s focus has been on the above mentioned aviation charity and environmental technology. Through his interest in aviation and renewable fuels, Mr. Major was inspired to start the Green Flight Foundation in 2008 and in January of 2009, he successfully launched the presentation, “Can We Still Fly Jets & Save the Planet”, at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi to be followed up by the World Biofuels Markets Conference in Brussels, the World Tourism Forum in Lucerne, Switzerland, the European Future Energy Forum in Bilbao, Spain, the Next Generation Biofuels Feedstocks conference in Amsterdam and San Francisco, the People, Planet & Peace Conference in San Jose, Costa Rica, the Latin American Business Aviation Conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the European Future Energy Forum in London, England, and last but not least, American Renewable Energy Day in Aspen, Colorado.

Peter Privon Peter Privon, GE Aviation
Peter Privon, GE Aviation Peter Privon is currently A320neo Transcowl Assembly Process Owner at the GE Aviation facility in Ellisville, MS. Peter is responsible for leading the technical process development for this new product while driving product conformity and compliance into the teaming culture. Peter began his career at GE Aviation in 2009 on the Operations Management Leadership Program. While on program, Peter completed technical and leadership roles in Greenville, SC, Yakima, WA, Cincinnati, OH, and Clearwater, FL. Peter rolled off program as a Quality Engineer in Clearwater's CCA cell driving organizational metric focus and supporting the initial phases of the teaming journey. Before beginning his current role, Peter worked as a Team Coach and ERP System Implementation Leader in Ellisville, MS. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, Peter and his wife Katy moved to Mississippi in 2013 with their dog and two cats. Outside of work, Peter and Katy enjoy playing golf, cycling, and other outdoor activities.

Timothy RialsDr. Timothy G. Rials, UT – Center for Renewable Carbon
Professor and Director, Forest Products Center, Southeastern Sun Grant Center and Center for Renewable Carbon Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries; University of Tennessee Agricultural Campus A native of McComb, Mississippi, Tim Rials received his undergraduate degree in Forest Management Science from Mississippi State University in 1980. He then transferred to Virginia Tech where he earned both Masters (1983) and Ph.D. (1986) degrees from the Department of Wood Science and Technology. Tim then joined the faculty at the University of California-Berkeley as assistant professor, conducting research on renewable materials. In 1988, he moved to Louisiana accepting a research scientist position with the USDA-Forest Service, Southern Research Station in Pineville. After 8 years of experimentation around wood-polymer interfacial properties and adhesion, Tim accepted the role of Project Leader of the wood utilization research unit. Five years later, Tim moved to The University of Tennessee, accepting the position of Professor in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, and Director of the Forest Products Center. At UT, Tim expanded his research into vibrational spectroscopy of wood and related materials while working to coordinate the Forest Products Center’s overall program and vision. In 2005, he assumed the role of director for the Southeast Sun Grant Center, effectively broadening the research effort to consider bioenergy and bio-based products. A fellow in the International Academy of Wood Science and member of the American Chemical Society, Tim continues working today to advance the efficient use of wood and biomass to strengthen the bioeconomy in Tennessee and the Southeast.

Maya RaoMaya Rao, Trinity Consultants
Maya Rao is currently working at Trinity Consultants as the Manager of the Jackson, Mississippi Office. She worked at Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) for the last 25 years and was Chief of Air Division. Maya Rao has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Ravi Shankar University in India and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. She has a Mississippi PE license, and is a Board Certified Environmental Engineer. Trinity Consultants is an environmental consulting company with an expertise in air quality issues. Trinity assists organizations in meeting environmental regulatory compliance obligations associated with the Clean Air Act including air permitting, regulatory reporting, air dispersion modeling analyses, MACT applicability and compliance, and ambient monitoring. We are experienced in other environmental media including water resources permitting requirements, hazardous and solid waste management, and noise analyses.

Randy RousseauRandy Rousseau, Mississippi State University
Dr. Randall Rousseau is with the Forest and Wildlife Research Center and the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service as a hardwood management forester. His expertise is in hardwood and pine tree improvement, tree plantation management and natural hardwood management Randy is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and he has a BS and a MS in Forestry from Louisiana State University in 1974 and 1976, respectively and a PhD in genetics from Mississippi State University in 1980. Following graduation from Mississippi State University Randall took a job with Westvaco as a research scientist in charge of hardwood tree improvement and Improvement of Non-Native Tree Species. In 1989, Randall was assigned Mission Leader of the Interior Loblolly Pine Program, which included lands in Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. In 1999, he became Research Center Leader for the Central Forest Research Center where he directed research in pine and hardwoods. Following the merger of Mead and Westvaco in 2003, Randall was named Project/Center Leader for MeadWestvaco. He remained in that position until July 2005 when the Fine Papers Division of MeadWestvaco was sold to Cerberus Capital Management. From July 2005 to September 2006 Randall worked as a consultant for SmartWood, Bayer Chemicals, GreenWood Resources, ArborGen and MeadWestvaco. This work included the areas of tree improvement, certification, biotechnology, silviculture, economics and pesticides. His areas of research are concentrated on bio-energy using hardwood plantations and cloning aspects of bottomland oak species, woody biomass production and carbon markets.

Adam Stone Adam Stone, Jones Walker
Adam Stone is a partner in the firm's Business & Commercial Litigation Practice Group and practices from the firm's Jackson office. He is a U.S. Green Building Council LEED Accredited Professional (LEED-AP), and focuses his practice on complex construction, fidelity and surety, insurance litigation, and complex commercial disputes. Mr. Stone has experience litigating disputes on behalf of contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, design professionals, and owners in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. He has also handled complex commercial disputes for several manufacturers with facilities in Mississippi. Mr. Stone's practice covers unique aspects of U.C.C. law and disputes related to contracts and payments. He is experienced in Daubert proceedings and has successfully challenged experts in litigation. Mr. Stone authored the Mississippi section of the Guide to State Procurement; A 50 State Primer on Purchasing Laws, Processes and Procedures, published by the American Bar Association in 2011, and co-authored “Green Building Development in Mississippi,” which appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of the Mississippi College Law Review. He has been recognized by former Governor Haley Barbour and the Mississippi Development Authority for dedication and support of the Model Contractor Development Program. Mr. Stone also routinely conducts seminars on construction law and bad faith litigation.

Richard SunRichard Sun, Best Tech Brands
Richard A. Sun, CFA, is the Vice Chair and Chief Strategy Officer of Best Tech Brands, an early stage developer and marketer of fuel and oil Synergyn® additives that are “better, greener, cheaper”. He is also founder and owner of Sun & Co. and has been involved in 30 startups and early-stage companies as an advisor, investor, executive, founder or board member. He is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Innovate Mississippi and a member of the Investment Committee of its Seed Funds.. He was a private finance investment banker for 22 years with Bankers Trust Company (now Deutsche Bank), Goldman Sachs, First Boston (now Credit Suisse) and UBS. From 1994 to 2001, he was a private equity investor with Emerging Markets Partnership, a $6 billion firm backed by AIG and the Government of Singapore. He has arranged, advised on or made over $11 billion investments, approximately 60% of which were energy related. Rich earned a BA from Princeton University and an MBA from New York University.

Shelby ThamesShelby Thames, University of Southern Mississippi
KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Shelby Thames, University of Southern Mississippi Dr. Thames has published more than 170 peer-reviewed articles and contributed to more than 400 conference papers, directed and lectured at numerous short courses, and holds 33 patents. He received numerous awards including the 2002 Coatings R&D Person of the Year, Modern Paint & Coatings March/April 2003, AAIC Anson Ellis Thompson Career Achievement Award in 1999, and the NUC Wheeler McMillan award in 1998. He was further honored in 1998 when the 104,000 sq. ft. research center was appropriately named the Shelby Freland Thames Polymer Science Research Center. Dr. Thames’ research interests include all aspects of coatings including waterborne, high-solids, powder, ultraviolet, and low VOC coatings. Specific areas of interest include composites, solvent systems, organosilicon chemistry, high-performance polymers, emulsion polymerization, structure-property relationships, the utility of agricultural materials as industrial raw materials for the polymer industry, and failure analysis of coatings, inks, and adhesives. Dr. Thames is skilled in formulations and testing including interactions of binders, pigments, additives, and other coating ingredients.

Tommy VitoloTommy Vitolo, Associate, Synapse Energy Economics
Tommy Vitolo, PhD, is an associate at Synapse Energy Economics, Inc. (Synapse), a research and consulting firm specializing in energy, economic, and environmental topics. He earned his PhD in systems engineering from Boston University, and has more than seven years of professional experience as a consultant, researcher, and analyst. Since joining Synapse in 2011, Dr. Vitolo has focused on utility resource planning, variable resource integration, avoided costs, and other issues that typically involve statistical analysis, computer simulation modeling, and stochastic processes. His recent projects include assisting the Mississippi Public Service Commission in a proceeding to develop and implement net metering and implementation standards for Mississippi; developing testimony supporting a fair and reasonable methodology and assumptions for calculating the costs and benefits of solar PV in North Carolina; and providing technical analyses in a South Carolina solar net metering docket. He has also recently analyzed various policy issues related to distributed energy resources and/or net metering in Massachusetts, New York, and Wisconsin. Before joining Synapse, Dr. Vitolo worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory, where he designed algorithms and implemented software to create network topologies for orbital, aerial, land-based, and nautical vehicles.

Jenah ZweighJenah Zweigh, Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA)
Jenah Zweig serves as the Policy Director at the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA). Prior to her work with SEEA, Jenah worked at the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability for the City of Atlanta, Natural Justice in Cape Town, South Africa and the U.S. Department of Justice. She is a LEED Green Associate, certified mediator in Georgia and California, AESP SEARCH Vice President and Presidential Volunteer Service Award honoree. Jenah earned a law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law, where she served as Editor in Chief of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, and a bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Southern California. Jenah is a proud member of Georgia Organics, and supporter of alternative transportation who walks to work.