Past Confernces

2017 - Ninth Annual Alumni in Energy Conference

April 27th

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Tour of Millstone Nuclear Power Plant, Waterford, CT

(Pre-Registration required, limited to 15 people)

Shuttle to pick up all guests at Omni Hotel at 9:00am

6:30 PM
Dinner at Elm City Social

266 College Street, New Haven (Pre-registration required)

April 28th

7:45 AM

Shuttle to Yale School of Management

165 Whitney Ave from Omni Hotel

8:00 AM

Continental Breakfast at Yale School of Management

8:30 AM
Welcome & Introduction

  • Richard Tavelli, ‘79 MPPM
  • Dan Fisher, ‘04 MSL, Forbes

8:35 AM
Opening Remarks

  • Gary Brudvig, Director Yale Energy Sciences Institute and Benjamin Silliman, Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Biophysics and Biochemistry
  • Edward (Ted) Synder, Indra K. Nooyi Dean and William S. Beinecke, Professor of Economics and Management, Yale School of Management

9:00 AM

Developing Israel’s Leviathan Gas Field

  • Dan Fisher, ‘04 MSL, Moderator
  • Kristen Ghattas, ’04, ‘10 JD, ‘10 MBA, Noble Energy
  • Amir Nebenzhal, ’04 MBA, Noble Energy
  • Wes Johnson, ‘09 MA, ‘09 MBA, Noble Energy
  • Laura Johnson, ‘09 MBA, Noble Energy

9:45 AM


10:00 AM
Today’s Challenges in Grid Management

  • Barbara Tyran, ‘79 MBA, Moderator, Executive Director, Government & External Relations, Electric Power Research Institute
  • Bob Nelson, ‘77, President, National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates
  • Sonny Popowsky, ‘72, Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate (retired)
  • Bob Ethier, ‘90, Vice President, Market Operations ISO New England

11:15 AM
Break for Lunch at New Haven Lawn Club (a short walk!)

12:30 PM
Lunch concludes (walk back to Evans Hall)

1:00 PM
Rate of Market Adoption of New Technologies in Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Technologies

  • Paul Beaton, ‘10 JD, ‘10 MEM, Senior Program Officer, National Academies of Sciences
  • Matthew Nordan, ‘97, Managing Partner, MNL Partners

2:00 PM

Today and Tomorrow for Nuclear Power

  • Christina Back, ‘84, Vice President Nuclear Reactor Technology, General Atomics

2:45 PM

3:15 PM
Energy Technology Developments

  • Richard Tavelli, ‘79 MPPM, Moderator

Yale Breakthrough (10% efficiency) in Photovoltaic Technology

  • Andre’ Taylor, Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Geothermal Energy Development

  • G. Warfield (Skip) Hobbs, ‘69, Managing Director, Ammonite Resources

4:15 PM
Renewable Energy Technologies CENG-ENAS 430

  • Professor Andre’ Taylor, Moderator
  • Term Project Presentation by the students

5:30 PM
Closing Remarks and Reception

  • Ed Hirs, ‘79 ‘79 MA ‘81 MBA

Speaker Bios

Paul Beaton is a study director at the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) of the National Academy of Sciences. His work focuses on innovation with special attention to energy technologies. Recent studies include an analysis of policies to increase the pace of innovation for power sector technologies and an assessment of the greenhouse gas impacts of tax policy.  Paul earned a combined J.D. and Master of Environmental Management from Yale Law School and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. He also has a degree from the University of North Carolina-Asheville where he received a congressionally awarded Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.

Christina Back Dr. Christina Back is Vice President of Nuclear Technologies and Materials at General Atomics. She is an internationally recognized expert in both fission and fusion energy research, with over 25 years of experience leading research in private industry and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories. She regularly serves on committees for the National Academy of Sciences and the DOE. Recently, she participated in the White House Summit on Nuclear Energy and provided testimony to U.S. Congressional Committees. Dr. Back earned a B.S. from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Florida. She has over one hundred peer-reviewed publications and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Dr. Back believes nuclear energy must be part of the mix to meet U.S. and global energy needs. She is committed to bringing innovation through engineered materials and advanced technologies to make transformational advances in nuclear energy. At General Atomics, Dr. Back is responsible for nuclear fission programs and related technology development. Her major efforts focus on advanced nuclear reactors and accident-tolerant nuclear fuel to ensure that the world has clean, safe, cost-competitive energy for today, and tomorrow.

Gary Brudvig is the Benjamin Silliman Professor of Chemistry at Yale, teaching molecular biophysics and biochemistry. His lab is studying how nature solved the difficult problem of using solar energy to convert water into O2, with the goal of discovering new artificial processes for converting solar energy into useful fuels. Brudvig has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota and a PhD from the California Institute of Technology.

Robert Ethier is Vice President, Market Operations at ISO New England, overseeing day-ahead and real-time markets in forward capacity and transmission rights, resource registration, market settlements and market analysis. From 2008 to 2014 he was Vice President, Market Development responsible for the design and development of wholesale electricity markets. Dr. Ethier has authored papers on electricity price volatility, electricity auctions, and asset valuation. He has a B.A. in Economics from Yale University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Applied Economics from Cornell University.

Kristen Ghattas works in Noble’s Houston office and manages analysis, strategic planning, and corporate finance activities for Noble’s East Mediterranean business unit. Previously she worked in corporate development, finance, and restructuring roles in a variety of industries and in Mergers & Acquisitions advisory at JPMorgan. Kristen is a graduate of Yale College and earned a joint JD/MBA from Yale Law School and Yale School of Management.

G. Warfield “Skip” Hobbs is a geologist and founder and managing partner of Ammonite Resources, an international petroleum, geothermal and mining consulting firm based in New Canaan, Connecticut. Hobbs holds a bachelor of science degree in geology from Yale and a master’s in petroleum geology from the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, London.  He has served as an officer of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and from 2004-2012 served on the Executive Committee of the American Geological Institute. In his spare time Skip manages a family farm in Massachusetts that produces organically grown vegetables, honey, maple syrup, grass-fed beef, and timber.

Wes Johnson is based in Cyprus working to export Noble’s Eastern Mediterranean gas discoveries to Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Europe. Previously he managed exploration and production assets in the Gulf of Mexico, served as Country Manager in Cameroon and managed upstream/midstream commercial matters in Equatorial Guinea. Wes graduated Baylor University in 2003 earned a joint M.B.A./Master of International Relations degree from Yale. He is married to Laura Johnson.

Laura Johnson works in Noble’s Cyprus office managing Noble’s environmental, health, safety and regulatory activities and previously managed Noble’s Social Investment and Stakeholder Engagement programs in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. Laura started her career at Bechtel Corporation’s offices in Houston and London where she worked in Corporate Social Responsibility and Supply Chain. A native of Houston, Laura graduated from the University of Hawaii in 2004 with degrees in International Business and Marketing and received her MBA from Yale SOM in 2009.

Amir Nebenzhal is chief financial officer of Noble’s East Mediterranean operations, based in Israel. Prior to joining Noble in 2012, Amir was an investment banker with Lehman Brothers and Barclays in New York and Tel Aviv, focused on energy and Infrastructure.  Amir is a graduate of Haifa University and Yale School of Management. He enjoys spending his weekends on the tractor with his family and looks forward to his first wine vintage. 

Matthew Nordan is managing partner at MNL Partners, which develops energy and environmental projects in global markets with a focus on China. Prior to MNL, Matthew was a venture investor at Venrock, where he was oversaw investments in Nest Labs, purchased by Google for $3.2 billion and FINsix. Before Venrock, Matthew was President of Lux Research, an advisory services firm for science-driven innovation that he co-founded in 2004. He serves on the boards of FINSix, Sense Labs, Quidnet Energy, and Greentown Labs and is co-founder and chairman of the Investment Committee of PRIME Coalition, a pioneering nonprofit bringing philanthropic capital to energy innovation. Matthew graduated from Yale, where he conducted cognitive neuroscience research on emotion and memory.

Sonny Popowsky was Consumer Advocate of Pennsylvania from 1990 to 2012.  He started his career at the Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) as an Assistant Consumer Advocate in 1979 and served as the President of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA) from 1996 to 1998. In 2010 he was appointed to the Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee by Secretary Steven Chu, where he served as vice chair from 2012 to 2016. Mr. Popowsky currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Advisory Council to the Electric Power Research Institute and the City of Philadelphia Water, Sewer and Storm Water Rate Board. He graduated from Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Edward A. Snyder is Indra K. Nooyi Dean and William S. Beinecke Professor of Economics and Management at the Yale School of Management. He is focused on building Yale SOM’s global educational network. He is a graduate of Colby College with a Ph. D from the University of Chicago who started his career as an economist in the Justice Dept.’s antitrust division. He previously served as Dean and George Shultz Professor of Economics at the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business.  

André Taylor is Associate Professor of Chemical & Environmental Engineering at the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science, studying nanomaterials devices for energy conversion and storage in fuel cells, solar cells, batteries and biomass conversion. He has a PhD from the University of Michigan and previously served as a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Barbara Tyran is Executive Director, Government & External Relations, for the Electric Power Research Institute in Washington. She serves as principal liaison between EPRI executive management and Congress, the administration, national trade associations and state utility commissioners and legislators.  Ms. Tyran previously managed federal government affairs for two utilities in Kansas and was a consultant with Booz Allen & Hamilton. She is also chairman of the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Energy and Energy Services, where she has served since 2005. Ms. Tyran holds a BA degree with Honors from Stanford University and an MBA from Yale University.