Speakers may be subject to change.
Jim Ahlgrimm is currently the Deputy Director of the Wind Energy Technologies Office. He was a manager in EERE’s combined Wind and Water Power Technologies Office from 2002 to 2017, and also served as Acting Director of the Water Power Technologies Office in 2016. He has previously been responsible for the planning and budgeting of wind turbine test facilities and wave energy test site development, as well as manufacturing and materials research and development. He is the U.S. representative to the International Energy Agency wind committee, and served as chairman of the committee from 2013-2016. Mr. Ahlgrimm is a U.S. Navy veteran, having served as a nuclear submarine officer. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy, an MBA from the University of Maryland, and an MS in National Resource Strategy, from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
Aaron Barr is a Principal Consultant with MAKE Consulting, a WoodMackenzie business. Aaron specializes in market research in wind turbine technology and servicing trends. Aaron lends his technical expertise to provide technology forecasts, economic trade-off analysis, market assessments and supporting due diligence projects. Prior to joining MAKE in 2013, Aaron spent over eight years within GE’s wind energy engineering division. Aaron holds an engineering degree from Virginia Tech and an MBA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Carlo L. Bottasso
Carlo L. Bottasso received a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the Politecnico di Milano in Italy. Dr. Bottasso holds the Chair of Wind Energy at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, where he directs the Wind Energy Institute. He is the President of the European Academy of Wind Energy, and one of the Chief Editors of the new journal Wind Energy Science. His research interests are in wind energy and rotorcraft technology, with particular reference to modeling and simulation, aeroservoelasticity and control. On these topics he has co-authored over 300 publications, including 116 peer reviewed journal papers.
Pietro Bortolotti recently joined NREL as a PostDoc. His main research activities fall within the Big Adaptive Rotor (BAR) project and he focuses on systems engineering for wind turbines. Pietro graduated at the Technical University of Munich under the supervision of Prof. Carlo Bottasso with a thesis entitled “Integrated Design of Wind Turbines”. Before TUM, he worked at DTU, TU Delft and WMC studying different aspects of the structural design of rotor blades.
Tom Brady is the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of SkySpecs. He holds two degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan, is an Endeavor Entrepreneur, and was named one of Forbes “30 Under 30” in 2016. Tom has been working with autonomous drones since 2009 when he and fellow SkySpecs co-founders started the Michigan Autonomous Aerial Vehicles research project at the University of Michigan. At SkySpecs, Tom is responsible for product strategy and engineering. He leads the development of the SkySpecs’ autonomous blade inspection solution, as well as the company’s new data analytics and blade management software, Horizon. In 2017, he and the SkySpecs’ team were recipients of the Small Business Voucher from the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and won the Wind O+M Dallas Award for Most Innovative New Technology.
Andrei Buliga has a degree in Wind Energy from Technical University of Denmark, focusing on loads, aerodynamics and aero elasticity. For the past 6 years, Andrei has been working for Bladena ApS in the wind industry as a structural engineer, blade expert where blade failure modes and blade behavior have been assessed. Involved in multiple root cause analysis, Cost-out projects and FEM analysis, Andrei is challenging current wind turbine technology with innovative solutions by using new product enhancements to strengthen the structural blade design in current and future blades.
Santhosh Chandrabalan leads the 3M Wind business in his capacity as the Global Business Manager. Santhosh’s background is in Composites and has spent a significant portion of his career in various leadership capacities in the Wind, composites and solar industry. His past experiences includes research in composites, process engineering, engineering management, global key account management, etc. He is an active member and held leadership positions in many global Wind/Composites communities and consortiums. Santhosh holds a BS in Composites Material Engineering from Winona State University and MS in Engineering Management from Southern Methodist University and currently pursuing his Executive MBA at Duke University.
Josh Crayton moved into the role of director of business development upon returning to Rope Partner in 2015 after a brief stint as the blade services manager at Upwind Solutions. Josh started his career in wind in 2005 as a rope access technician with Rope Partner, where he contributed to many serial flaw remediation projects as well as blade repair and maintenance. He has since been involved in the management team in areas such as marketing, project management, and development of the blade services program as the blade services manager. In his thirteenth year in wind, Josh is optimistic about the industry’s future and continues to be a contributing member of the Sandia blade reliability collaborative.
Samuel Davoust is a Senior Engineer in Wind & Performance at GE Renewable Energy, with 10 years’ experience in wind industry and aerospace research and technology. Samuel’s areas of expertise include conducting wind tunnel experiments and full scale atmospheric testing to characterize complex turbulent flows, leveraging measurements ranging from hot-wire to PIV and lidar. His focus has been on product and technology development especially wind lidar and wind turbine power performance applications. Samuel received a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Ecole Polytechnique for research conducted at ONERA, the French Aeropsace Lab, and then worked for lidar manufacturer Leosphere before joining GE.
Dr. Brandon Ennis joined the Wind Energy Technologies Department at Sandia National Laboratories in 2014 from Purdue University. He has supported multiple projects focused on rotor structural design as the aeroelastics lead for the National Rotor Testbed and Offshore VAWT projects, SWiFT experimental loads analysis, and atmospheric data analysis. Brandon currently leads DOE’s Optimized Carbon Fiber project which is focused on material and structural optimization in wind turbine blades.
Gary Georgeson is the Boeing Senior Technical Fellow in Nondestructive Evaluation/Testing (NDE/NDT), where he has worked since 1988 in Seattle, Washington. He holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering/Materials Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara. In his current role, Gary provides the strategy and roadmaps for NDE of aerospace structures during both manufacturing and aircraft service. As Boeing’s most prolific inventor, he has developed or co-developed numerous NDE systems and methods (200+ patents), particularly related to composite structure validation. Gary is the co-inventor of the Boeing Blade Crawler and Boeing ROVER, which were developed for automated in-service inspection of aerospace structure. His innovations have supported various Boeing platforms, and helped Boeing win contract R&D programs from the USAF, USN, NASA, TTCI, and the FAA. Gary is often called upon by the U.S. government and industry for advisory roles regarding NDE.
joined NSE Composites as a Principal Engineer in 2001. His primary responsibilities include project management and lead investigation for technical contracts related to development of software analysis tools for engineering applications. Doug has extensive experience with detailed finite element analysis involving fracture mechanics, progressive damage simulation, linear and non-linear stability, and non-linear material behavior. Doug has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, from the University of Washington.
Ron Grife, Directory of Engineering, Leeward Renewables
Ron Grife joined Leeward in April of 2016 as the director of engineering and his duties include establishing the technical support functions at Leeward and driving improvements in equipment performance and reliability of the company’s operating fleet. Prior to joining Leeward, Ron served as the manager of Turbine Performance and Reliability at EDPR and was a turbine upgrades project lead in Vestas’ R&D office in Houston. Ron also serves as the chair of the ANSI-recognized AWEA Wind Standards Committee. Before joining the wind industry Ron spent seven years at Bell Helicopter in the aerodynamics and performance group developing, modeling and testing helicopter technology. Ron received his Master’s Degree in Mechanical engineering from the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Jeffrey Hammitt is the Principal Technical Specialist in NextEra Energy Resource’s Engineering and Technical Services Renewables organization. He leads the Blades & Structures team, which is responsible for technical support related to blade, tower, and foundation issues. Jeffrey is responsible for the blade performance and reliability of NextEra’s entire wind fleet, including working with suppliers and internal resources to develop technical solutions and lead root cause assessments. Jeffrey has more than 30 years’ experience in engineering, design, and construction in the power industry. He is a graduate of Truman State University.
Lars Hedegaard is Head of the Blade Design Structures team at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy in Boulder, Colorado. He has over 10 years of blade design experience and has been involved with structural design, technology development, blade manufacturing, testing and certification. Back in 2012, he was the structural lead engineer on the B75 blade, which was the world’s largest blade in production at the time. Lars holds a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering with focus on composite structures from Aalborg University in Denmark.
Dr. Tommy Herges is a Senior Member of the Technical Staff in the Wind Energy Technologies Department at Sandia National Laboratories, where he has worked since 2013 on experimental aerodynamics and fluid dynamics. Tommy has worked on a variety of laser-based flow diagnostics including the Sandia Wake Imaging system, the DTU SpinnerLidar and the Windar WindVISION systems. Specifically, his efforts include measuring and analyzing wind turbine wakes, in addition to developing image processing and object detection based wake tracking methods. Dr. Herges’s research interests include experimental fluid dynamics, non-intrusive optical diagnostics of flowfields, and image processing. Dr. Herges received his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign in 2008, and his Ph.D. degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign in 2013.
Jason joined NREL in 2000 and leads the wind turbine multi-physics engineering tool development activities, including the FAST software for modeling the dynamic response of land-based and offshore wind turbines. He also guides projects aimed at verifying, validating, and applying engineering tools to wind turbine design and analysis. Jason currently co-chairs an IEA Wind research task on developing, verifying, and validating simulation models for offshore wind turbines. He is the principal investigator for a DOE-funded project to improve the modeling of offshore floating wind system dynamics. He also is a U.S. representative on the IEC working group to develop an international technical specification for the design of floating offshore wind turbines.
Geoff Klise is the manager of Sandia’s Wind Energy Technologies Department and leads the team in developing new technologies and models for improving wind turbine design, reliability and operations. Prior to leading the wind department, he led research efforts and tool development aimed at improving the market value proposition for solar in a real estate transaction and techniques for analyzing operational data from solar power plants for use in system reliability models. He recently served the past two years as an associate editor for the ASME Journal of Solar Energy Engineering. His career started at Sandia in 2006 in support of water-energy nexus research, which encompassed algal biofuel resource availability, technoeconomic assessments of carbon sequestration and power plant resource demands, and water use for photovoltaic power plant construction and operations.
John Korsgaard has worked with wind turbine blades at LM Wind Power since 1990. He has a M.Sc. degree in mechanical engineering from Aalborg University, Denmark. He has had various positions in the R&D department at LM Wind Power and is currently responsible for the Test and Validation Center where tests are performed on raw materials and components from micro to full scale blade testing.
Brian is the manager of the Operational Services Group at AWS Truepower. He is responsible for operational asset energy evaluations, evaluations of portfolios of assets and portfolio benefit, and detailed evaluation of 1 minute and 10 minute SCADA data to identify and resolve operational issues. He is currently serving as chairman for the AWEA Wind Standard’s Committee group developing a wind power plant performance measurement test standard.
Fabrizio Leone is the Senior Manager of Blades Engineering in Vestas’ Global Service department. His team provides technical and operational support of in service wind turbine blades around the world. Fabrizio has over 20 years of experience in inspection and investigative techniques, condition monitoring, and failure and root cause analyses, with 11 years focused on blades. Prior to joining the wind industry, he held similar roles in the automotive and commercial construction sectors. Fabrizio has a Bachelor of Engineering Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Matthew Malkin has 10 years of wind energy experience with a focus on blade technology. As a part of the Wind Technology group at DNV GL, Matt has led multiple blade failure investigations, blade manufacturing quality reviews, lightning studies, and technology reviews. Prior to his career in wind energy, Matt spent 12 years at Boeing. Matt has bachelor’s and master’s degrees of science in mechanical engineering.
Dr. David Maniaci is a Senior Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories and is the Rotor Blade and Wind Plant Aerodynamics Lead in the Wind Energy Technologies Department. His current research includes wind turbine wake dynamics, the effects of leading-edge erosion and soiling on airfoil and rotor performance, and the functional scaling and design of rotor blades. He currently leads efforts on the development, verification, validation and uncertainty quantification of wind energy computational models. He received a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University, where he was an instructor of aircraft design for several years and performed research in applied aerodynamics, wind tunnel testing, and wind turbine aerodynamics.
Torben Mikkelsen is professor in the Department of Wind Energy at the Technical University of Denmark DTU. His field of work is remote sensing for wind energy and atmospheric sciences, atmospheric dispersion and atmospheric flow and turbulence. He leads research and technological development of the European ESFRI road map remote sensing-based experimental infrastructure for renewable energy WindScanner, cf. www.windscanner.dk and www.WindScanner.eu. Professor Mikkelsen received his PhD from the Technical University of Denmark in 1983, followed by a Postdoc position as associate research professor at the Naval Postgraduate Schools Meteorology and Physics Department 1985-1986 in Monterey, Ca. He became full professor at DTU in 2011.
Steve Nolet is Senior Director, Innovation & Technology and Principal Engineer at TPI Composites in Warren, Rhode Island. He manages technical activities in the development of low-cost composite structures for the company’s primary business activities including Wind Energy and Transportation Systems. Mr. Nolet also manages the activities of TPI Composite’s Physical Sciences Laboratory and is responsible for the characterization and qualification of resins, reinforcements and their composites used in the development and production of composite products across the organization.
Josh Paquette is a Principle Member of the Technical Staff in the Wind Energy Technologies Department at Sandia National Laboratories, where he has worked for 13 years. Over this time, he has been involved in blade design, manufacturing, and testing, as well as several U.S. Department of Energy renewable energy techno-economic analyses. He currently leads wind turbine blade design and reliability research efforts within the group, including the DOE-sponsored Big Adaptive Rotor, Blade Reliability Collaborative, and the National Rotor Testbed projects. Josh has a Master’s degree in Engineering Mechanics from the University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Suhas Pol is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas Tech University. His expertise is in the field of fluid dynamics applied to wind energy. His research involves comprehensively-instrumented wind farm platforms to solve issues faced by wind energy industry. He has extensive experience with fluid dynamics experimental tools and actively supervises graduate and undergraduate students to achieve their research goals. Dr. Pol also collaborates with wind energy industry partners and Sandia National Laboratory. He is the investigator for product-market fit driven TTU wind energy research projects that require cutting edge diagnostic tools to validate next generation wind turbine concepts. Prior to his position at TTU he was a post-doctoral researcher at the Los Alamos National Laboratory where he was responsible for developing large-field instrumentation capable of characterization of flow physics around wind turbines and other large aerodynamic structures.
Dennis Roach is a Senior Scientist in the Transportation Safeguards and Surety Organization at Sandia National Labs. He has over 25 years of experience in the areas of experimental and analytical assessment and nondestructive inspection of structures. His specialty is in damage tolerance and inspection of composite and metallic structures including the development of sensors for in-situ health monitoring. Dennis’ work within the wind industry has focused on developing and transferring advanced inspection methods for wind turbine blades. Before joining Sandia, he worked on the Space Shuttle program at Boeing and was a research fellow at the National Aerospace Laboratory in the Netherlands. He is a founding member of the Aerospace Industry Steering Committee on Structural Health Monitoring, chairs the Inspection Task Group of the International Commercial Aircraft Composite Committee and is a member of the IEC PT5 Wind Committee. Dennis has seven patents and over 250 technical publications including co-authored books on the application of advanced composite materials and the use of Structural Health Monitoring methods. He received his degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Texas.
Dr. Lawrence Schovanec
Dr. Lawrence Schovanec was named president of Texas Tech University in 2016. An Oklahoma native, Schovanec earned a bachelor of science in mathematics from Phillips University and a master of science in mathematics from Texas A&M University. He earned his doctorate in mathematics from Indiana University. He began his career as an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, where he eventually served as chairman for nearly 10 years. He subsequently was appointed dean of the university’s largest college, the College of Arts & Sciences, then served as interim president for 10 months in 2012 and 2013, before being named Provost.
Jens Nørkær Sørensen
Jens Nørkær Sørensen is professor of fluid mechanics and the head of the fluid mechanics section at DTU Wind Energy. He received his Ph.D. in 1986, and after a post-doc at ONERA in France he became faculty member at DTU in 1989, where he has been full professor since 2001. His research interests cover basic as well as applied topics in fluid mechanics and wind energy. He has published about 300 papers and his research is cited more than 5500 times. In 2015 he received the European Academy of Wind Energy’s Scientific Prize for his research in wind energy. His latest research deals with analysis and simulation of wind turbine wakes and the dynamics of helical vortices.
F. Demet Ulker
F. Demet Ulker holds a PhD degree in Aerospace Engineering, specialized in decision making and control under uncertainties for complex system development and operations applied to wind energy and aerospace. She works on data-driven methods, uncertainty quantification, sensitivity analysis, risk assessment, and optimal controller designs for performance enhancement and risk mitigation. Currently, she is working as a senior researcher at Envision Energy, prior to joining to Envision, she worked for a helicopter company in Turkey, MIT – Aerospace engineering department and Aeroacoustics and Structural Dynamics Lab. at National Research Council.”
Dr. Carsten H. Westergaard
Carsten H. Westergaard is a Senior Advisor to Sandia National Laboratory on wind energy. He is the president and owner of Westergaard Solutions, Inc., a consulting company to renewable energy companies and suppliers developing new exiting new technologies and market approaches. Carsten has served in numerous advisory board positions and chaired international reviews of large multi-year government research programs in several countries. Carsten earned his Ph.D. from the Danish Technical University with a thesis on optical computing and laser based turbulent flow measurements. During his years as a student, he attended the University of Illinois and spent time at CERN in Switzerland and Baker Oil Tools in Houston. He has been holding a variety of management roles–including technology, sales, and marketing–working for LM Wind Power, Dantec Dynamics, Force Technology and Vestas Wind Systems in Denmark and the US. Recently, he also served as Professor of Practice at Texas Tech University, teaching and researching wind energy. During his career, he has published over 80 publications and 25 patents/pending.
Arno van Wingerde
Arno van Wingerde is the Chief Scientist of the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems (IWES). He has a Ph.D. in the fatigue of tubular steel structures at the Delft University of Technology, followed by a postdoc at the University of Toronto. He helped to establish and later lead the rotor blade test centre at IWES and has 20 years of experience in wind energy research. Within the EERA (European Energy research Association) JP Wind, he coordinates the subprogram “Structures, materials and components” and has extensive experience in coordinating various European, Dutch and German research proposals and leading the subsequent projects.