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Speaker Biographies

Please contact Mindi Sue Sternblitz-Rubenstein at Parks Associates or call 972-490-1113.


CR Herro CR Herro, Vice President of Innovation, Meritage Homes

CR has a 25 history of successful industry disruption and new business development for multi-billion dollar construction industries.  CR has been directly responsible for business development and M&A for the construction industry through the US. Over his 25 year career, CR has developed new business groups for Vulcan Materials, Lafarge / Holcium, and Meritage Homes.   
In 2009, CR joined Meritage Homes as the Vice President of Innovation, where he led their efficiency, automation, renewable, and advanced building programs.  Meritage was the first production home builder to build 100% Energy Star certified homes, offer cost effect zero energy homes in all of their markets throughout the US, and has partnered to align buyers, municipalities, trades, suppliers, and utilities in better building techniques.  In the last five years, Meritage has consecutively received the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year–Sustained Excellence Award, recognizing their ongoing industry leadership.

Russ Vanos Russ Vanos, SVP, Strategy & Business Development, Itron

Russ Vanos, vice president sales and marketing, global software and services for Itron, is a utility industry and connected city visionary who played a major role in driving early smart grid technology adoption in North America. He is now leading Itron’s global software and services marketing and sales and remains integral to the Internet of Things and smart cities initiatives for the company.

Vanos manages all aspects of Itron’s software and services sales and marketing enablement. From solution management to sales, Vanos is responsible for all outcome-based software and services offerings for Itron globally.

Vanos joined Itron in 1980 and has held various leadership positions across sales, marketing and operations, both nationally and internationally. Most recently, Vanos served as senior vice president of corporate strategy and business development.

Vanos is on the boards of the Washington State University Energy Innovation Center and Envision Charlotte, is a member of Edison Electric Institute (EEI), sits on the Cisco Internet of Things Steering Committee, and is a founding member of the Smart Cities Council. He is a frequent speaker at industry events, including The Economist Innovation Forum, Meeting of the Minds, Smart City Council Meetings, Cisco IOT World Forum, and Smart City Expo.


Amena Ali Amena Ali, Chief Revenue Officer, Whisker Labs
Twitter ID: @whiskerlabs

Amena Ali is chief revenue officer at Whisker Labs, who is bringing home intelligence to home services. The company's sensing and software platform simply monitors the home's power network to determine appliance efficiency and alert to degradation and failure. Amena oversees business development, sales and marketing. Previously, she was CMO of Earth Networks. Amena's background includes 20+ years as a senior executive at software and telecommunications giants such as EMC Corporation and MCI, and several technology start-ups. She was also a management consultant with Bain & Company. Amena holds a bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University and an MBA from Yale. 

Ben Clarin Ben Clarin, Sr. Project Manager, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)

Mark Cosby Mark Cosby, Director - Business Development, Westar Energy

Mark Cosby's responsibilities at Westar Energy include business development, product development and program management, focused on driving customer engagement and revenue growth. Since joining Westar in 2014, Mark has assisted Westar in establishing successful partnerships that have extended the Westar brand and deepened customer relationships. Mark's career has centered around developing and executing business and marketing strategies related to emerging technologies, including marketing, strategy, sales and operational leadership roles in Fortune 500 companies as well as emerging start-ups such as Sprint, Avaya, Nortel, Editure, Learning Station and Lucent Technologies. Mark earned an MBA from the University of Kansas and a BBA with a major in Accounting from the University of Oklahoma. Mark and his wife, Jimmie Marie, reside in Overland Park, Kansas. 

Chris DeSchamp Chris DeSchamp, Director Customer Solutions Development, Vectren

Christopher DeSchamp is Director of Customer Solutions Development at Vectren Corporation, where he focuses on new energy solutions - smart cities, smart homes, smart buildings and smart energy. He has also worked with leading consumer brands Schlage, Rubbermaid, and Fiskars. Christopher is a futurist who thinks and acts boldly. He makes what is technically feasible a reality and implements technology solutions that improve lives and positively impact the environment.

Seth Frader-Thompson Seth Frader-Thompson, Co-Founder and President, EnergyHub
Twitter ID: @fraderT

Seth Frader-Thompson co-founded EnergyHub in 2007 and continues to serve as its President. Under his leadership, EnergyHub has become a leading Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS) provider. As the creator and forerunner of the Bring Your Own Thermostat (BYOT) model, EnergyHub offers utilities end-to-end demand response program management, including program design, installation, marketing, and customer support services. He is a frequent speaker on DERs, demand response, and the connected home, and he serves on the Executive Committee as a member of the Board of Directors of the Smart Electric Power Alliance. Prior to founding EnergyHub, Seth served in several managerial and technical roles at Honeybee Robotics. During his tenure, he worked on robotics projects for NASA and developed bomb-disposal robots for the military. Seth has an MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado, where his research focused on Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) for Ultracold Atom Optics.

Deb Merril Deb Merril, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Just Energy

Joel Miller Joel Miller, Principal Supervisor, DTE

Joel Miller is the Supervisor for Energy Management Tools at DTE Energy where he has led the development and commercialization of DTE Insight since 2013. Joel earned his bachelor's degree with a major in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Wayne State University and an M.B.A. from of the Central Michigan University with concentrations in the Value Driven Organization and is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. His primary focus are those processes that gain deep insight into customer behaviors, market potential, and the application of emerging technology that delivers an excellent customer experience. 

Wayne Morrison Wayne Morrison, Principal, Emerging Technologies, Reliant
Twitter ID: @ReliantEnergy

Wayne Morrison is Principal of Emerging Technology with responsibility for reviewing new technology at Reliant, an NRG company. NRG's retail businesses, including Reliant, serve nearly 3 million customers. He has 37+ years electrical industry experience in both the regulated and deregulated market. Wayne helps to evaluate, develop and implement emerging energy products and services to business and residential customers including home automation, microCHP and energy storage technologies. He has been instrumental in developing the Reliant Smart Home in Houston where various products and services are tested and helps visitors better understand new technologies available for customers in the ERCOT market. Wayne started his career in distribution engineering. He then became program manager for the new home and retrofit air conditioning energy efficiency programs. Wayne has held several positions coordinating electric service for residential, commercial and industrial customers. He has also managed various teams including internet bill pay for more than 3 million residential electric and natural gas customers and software to remotely read electric meters and access day ahead pricing. Wayne earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Technology from University of Houston. He was recently licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission for instruction of real estate agents on these new technologies. 

Jamie Staples Jamie Staples, Head of Retail Energy Partnerships , Nest Labs

Jamie Staples is the Head of Retail Energy Partnership at Nest Labs. His work with deregulated energy partners focuses on leveraging Nest and Google hardware & software to drive customer engagement. Prior to Nest, Jamie spent several years at Opower where he led efficiency, demand response, and customer engagement programs with energy providers across the western and central US. 


Dina Abdelrazik Dina Abdelrazik, Research Analyst, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @DinaAtParks
Website: http://www.parksassociates.com

Dina Abdelrazik joined Parks Associates in 2016 as a part of the Consumer Analytics research team. She currently studies market trends and consumer behavior, focused in emerging technology products and services.

Dina earned her MS in Marketing, with a concentration in Marketing Analytics, from the University of Texas at Dallas and a BA in Advertising from Southern Methodist University.

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Tom Kerber Tom Kerber, Director, IoT Strategy, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @TomAKerber
Website: http://www.ParksAssociates.com

Tom leads Parks Associates research in the areas of home controls, energy management, and home networks. Tom authors numerous reports on energy management and home controls covering the evolution of technology, partnership opportunities, and new business models. Tom’s work at Parks Associates includes managing consumer surveys that track trends and market opportunities and enable insightful evidence-based forecasting for energy, security, and home controls. Tom speaks frequently at key industry events, and his views are sought out by national press organizations and publications.

Tom has done extensive consulting with electric utilities operating in a variety of regulator structures and numerous firms within the smart home ecosystem. Recent utility engagements include defining the home area network roadmap for a California IOU, updating the consumer engagement strategy for a traditional vertically integrated IOU, providing consumer and industry analysis to refine EE and DR programs for an IOU in a restructured market, and providing insights on the evolution of the connected home for a large Midwest IOU. Tom has also led projects for many Fortune 500 companies, helping clients refine smart home strategies, develop scenarios of the future of the smart home market, enhance product roadmaps, and refine specific product features.

Prior to working at Parks Associates, Tom worked as director of engineering and director of product management in multiple industries. Tom began his career in the U.S. Navy nuclear power program on submarines. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in systems engineering and a master's in software engineering from the University of Texas.

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Please contact Mindi Sue Sternblitz-Rubenstein at Parks Associates or call 972-490-1113.