President, 27 Consulting
J.L. Martinez is the President of the 27 Consulting. Prior to this, he served as Sr. Director, Office of Clean Energy, at FPL, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, where his responsibilities included identifying and originating clean energy opportunities in the state to promote visibility, commitment, and economic development. Mr. Martinez led the Company’s efforts in the development of three large solar projects and three large combined cycle natural gas facilities. NextEra Energy is one of the nation’s leading electricity-related services companies. Its subsidiaries include Florida Power & Light Company, Florida’s largest electric utility with nearly 4.6 million customer accounts, and NextEra Energy Resources, a fast-growing independent power producer with a presence in 26 states. Mr. Martinez joined Florida Power & Light in 1981. Prior to being named to his present position, he served as Senior Director of Project Development in the state. Before that he served as Director of Human Resource Services overseeing the corporate safety department, labor relations, and the corporate quality program. He has also served the company in various management positions and special projects.
Mr. Martinez holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Thomas University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Nova Southeast. In addition, he is a graduate of the Boston University Leadership Program., and the Harvard Program on Negotiation. Mr. Martinez is part of the St. Thomas University Hall of Fame. Mr. Martinez serves as the Chairman of the Florida Solar Energy Center and also serves on other Advisory Boards throughout the State, most notably The Florida Energy Systems Consortium, The Florida Research Consortium (FRC), and The St. Thomas University President’s Advisory Board. He has also worked closely with the Department of Energy on renewable energy initiatives and is active in speaking engagements throughout the country.Mr. Martinez is also on the West Palm Board of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and recently founded Student Aces(ACE), a not for profit organization dedicated to the development of leadership for high school students. He and his wife Silvia, their three children and four grandchildren, live in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Ben Amaba, PhD
PE, CPIM®, LEED® AP
Dr. Ben Amaba’s expertise is in executive management, strategic planning, operations, and engineering. He is responsible for manufacturing, energy, petroleum, chemical, nuclear, government and logistics industries for systems and software engineering. Dr. Amaba is the IBM Global executive for the Rational Products Division.
As a Global Business Executive and Trusted Partner he has transformed major corporations and organizations by executing on a shared vision and cross-functional goals. He has been quoted to inspire exceptional performance by translating highly complex concepts and projects into realistic business objectives. Applying robust analytical skills to drive market innovation, Dr. Amaba uses sound data analysis and commercialization techniques to ensure success of solutions-based products and services. Dr. Amaba is focused on Systems Thinking for the Internet of Things, the interconnection of sensors, devices, and everyday objects to drive economic improvements and sustainable architectures.
Dr. Ben Amaba holds a PhD. degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering from the University of Miami, Florida; a M.B.A./M.S. degree in Engineering and Operations, and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Amaba is a registered and licensed PE in several states with International Registry; certified in Production, Operations, and Inventory Management by APICS ®; LEED® Accredited Professional (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design); and certified in Corporate Strategy by Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Dr. Amaba holds positions as Executive Board Member of Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE), Founding member to the Institute of Advanced Systems Engineering, Founding member to the Center of Advanced Supply Chain Management, Founding member to the Center of Biomedical Research, member for Citizens for Clean Energy, Editorial Board of the Open Cybernetics and Systemics Journal, and Executive Advisory Board Member to the University of Miami and University of Central Florida. Dr. Amaba is a member of the organizations: American Nuclear Society (ANS), Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS), Engineering Club of Memphis, and Florida Engineering Society (FES).
Dr. Amaba holds a copyright for Process Activity Flow Framework®, the foundation for IBM’s Business Driven Development framework for requirements, design, architecture, simulation, and application development techniques. Dr. Amaba is prominently featured in “Giving 2.0,” by Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, which details contributions to bolster and promote STEM education and careers, and is an Alexis de Tocqueville Society/United Way Member, which recognizes local philanthropic leaders. Dr. Amaba has published globally on best practices and robust approaches to drive market innovation, economic development and private public partnerships.
Thomas “Tommy” Boroughs is a Partner in the Orlando office of Holland & Knight, focusing his practice in the areas of zoning and land use regulatory matters together with real estate development, acquisition and sales. He currently serves as the Co-Chair of the firm’s Florida Land Use Team.
In addition to his considerable experience in zoning and land use, he also has extensive experience in various areas of real estate development, as well as transactional aspects of real estate, including purchase and sale negotiations, structuring and financing of complex commercial real estate transactions. Recently, he has focused on energy law with an emphasis upon renewable and alternative energy. Mr. Boroughs has experience in solar pv, solar concentrating power and biomass gassification projects. Extended bio for Tommy Boroughs
Gustavo Cepero has over 35 years of experience in the energy industry, including a 20 year career with Florida Power & Light (FP&L) and 15 years with Florida Crystals. He started his career with FPL as entry level engineer and progressed to head of several major departments. During this time, Mr. Cepero accumulated experience in all major functional areas of the electrical power industry, including engineering, economic and markets analysis, financial, legal and regulatory, fuel procurement, and environmental and in all conventional forms of power generation and fuels (oil, gas, coal, and nuclear).
Mr. Cepero was directly involved in most of the major power supply and delivery decisions and projects undertaken by FPL from the late 1970’s through 1990.
He s currently an officer with Florida Crystals responsible for planning and business development, with a special focus on the energy business. Mr. Cepero has been directly involved in the development, construction, financing, and management of energy projects for Florida Crystals as well as the evaluation and, if applicable, the development of new technologies, with particular emphasis on renewable electricity and fuels.
Florida Crystals is a pioneer and leader in sustainable agriculture and the conversion of renewable agricultural resources (sugars, carbohydrates, and biomass) to energy, such as electricity and ethanol, and Mr. Cepero has been instrumental in all such efforts. Mr. Cepero has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Detroit, a Master of Business Administration from Florida International University, a Juris Doctor from the University of Miami, and an Executive MBA from the Harvard Business School. He has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1982, and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers since the 1970s.
Christopher Fountas is a General Partner of aVP. He has spent much of his career founding, building and funding early-stage technology companies, many at the intersection of the commercial and government markets. Mr. Fountas co-manages both MILCOM and OnPoint. He serves as a Trustee of OnPoint and manages several of AVP’s investments, including those in The NanoSteel Company, Atraverda, Akermin, Cocona and Petra Solar. Mr. Fountas has over 20 years experience founding, advising and capitalizing emerging growth companies. Mr. Fountas has co-founded several successful start-up companies, and continues to serve as a board member and advisor to many of these companies, including Alpine Fresh.
Christopher Fountas graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.S. Degree in Finance and earned a JD (cum laude) from the University of Miami.
Mr. Gladding is an experienced environmental and energy lawyer. He focuses on environmental counseling, permitting, enforcement defense and litigation. With more than 20 years of experience in 30-plus states and most EPA regions, he has been involved in major civil cases, high-profile criminal investigations, and complex regulatory and dispute resolution proceedings. Mr. Gladding also has been significantly involved in state legislative lobbying in ten states. He has represented numerous Fortune 500 companies, as well as smaller businesses and business owners in diverse environmental proceedings. For the past several years, he has focused on assisting businesses with renewable energy and energy efficiency issues. He also has served on the FESC Steering Committee and for three years as a Commissioner on the Florida Energy and Climate Commission.
Ms. Grove has worked with The Southern Company for over 20 years. As Gulf Power’s Workforce Development Coordinator, she is responsible for the creation and management of talent development partnerships to grow Gulf Power’s future workforce and to enhance Northwest Florida’s economic development position. These partnerships span the entire talent supply chain, beginning with early learning programs and continuing to elementary energy career awareness programs, middle school STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs, high school talent pipeline programs, and post-secondary technical and engineering program partnerships. She is also engaged in workforce development initiatives at both the Southern Company and national level through the Southern Company Workforce Development Council and the national Center for Energy Workforce Development. Ms. Grove was recognized in 2012 by US News as one of the Top 100 Women in STEM for her role in STEM talent development.
Ms. Grove helped found the first state energy workforce consortium and serves on the Executive Committee and as Incoming Chair for the Florida Energy Workforce Consortium. Ms. Grove serves in many community, state and national organizations focused on education and workforce development including as Vice Chair of the Board of CareerSource Florida, the state workforce investment board; as a Board member of the Florida Education Foundation; as an Executive Steering Committee member of the 2014 Florida Skills USA Leadership Conference; and as an Executive Committee member of ECARE (Every Child A Reader in Escambia County).
Ms. Grove recently served as the founding Executive Director of the Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council and now serves as a member of the NWFMC Education & Training Committee, where she is supporting regional manufacturers in their effort to grow a more skilled talent supply to support this critical industry in the Northwest Florida economy.
Ms. Grove holds a Master of Science degree in organizational communication from Purdue University and bachelor’s degrees in political science and communications from Birmingham-Southern College. She lives in Pensacola and enjoys spending time with her family, including husband, Ray, and four boys: Andrew, Hank, Matt and Scott. They enjoy fishing, surfing, and camping.
Dan Holladay is the Director of the international Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research with responsibility for development of new programs in advanced materials and emerging technology fields with an initial focus on advanced universal smart sensors and photonics devices.
Before joining UCF, Holladay worked at SEMATECH for 20 years in management and director positions for the international consortium’s industry-directed technology development programs. Dan was the Director of Advanced Technologies for national and international SEMATECH emerging technology initiatives (including energy), and was the SEMATECH / DOE Executive lead in the launch of the U.S. PV Manufacturing Consortium. From 2000 to 2008 he served as the Associate Director and Director of Operations for SEMATECH’s advanced R&D lab/fab.
Prior to SEMATECH, Holladay worked 12 years at Honeywell/Atmel in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and five years at Mostek Corp.’s R&D lab in Carrollton, Texas. He also served four years in the Air Force, working in a top secret electronic career field.
Holladay has spent over 30 years in the semiconductor industry, equally split between manufacturing and R&D. With extensive experience managing process-engineering and operations groups, Dan also has overseen departments in maintenance, equipment engineering, facilities engineering, and failure/analytical/test labs.
Byron A. Knibbs joined Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) in May 1997, as Director of Business Development. As he progressed through the organization, Mr. Knibbs was promoted to Director of Business Development and Lighting in January 2000; his responsibilities included aggressively marketing OUC services and managing the daily operations of the Lighting Division. In March 2005, he was promoted to Vice President of the Energy Delivery Business Unit and was responsible for the day-to-day operation of OUC’s Transmission, Substation and Distribution systems. In October 2009, Mr. Knibbs was appointed Vice President of Sustainable Services and is responsible for renewable and conservation programs, process improvements, new technology, education and sustainability awareness, shared services for OUC and OUC Cooling. Mr. Knibbs previously worked with the City of St. Cloud Electric Utility for 12 years in different capacities, four of those years as the Electric Utility Director. During his tenure with the City, his work experience in different departments spanned from engineering, substation, system operations, power production, transmission and distribution, and metering, to contract administration. Mr. Knibbs holds an Associate/Bachelor Degree in Aeronautics Electronic Engineering Technology, a Bachelor Degree in Computer Information Science and a Masters Degree in Business Administration.
Thomas Lawery advances renewable, qualifying facility and distributed energy resource business for both utility-owned and non-utility owned distributed generation in Florida.
Mr. Lawery has worked for 26 years in the power industry for Florida Power then Progress Energy and presently Duke Energy, the largest regulated utility in the United States. Prior to his present role as Wholesale and Renewables manager, Mr. Lawery most recently held the position of Director of Business Planning overseeing $1B in power plant capital asset management across all of Duke’s regulated generation plants.
Previous roles included Director of Outage and Maintenance Services providing power plant outage and maintenance support for the 57 plants throughout Florida. He has also held positions in power plant management and operations, project, engineering and construction management and environmental support.
Mr. Lawery holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Florida State University and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Florida. Mr. Lawery also earned his master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from the University of Tampa.
Bryan Levy is the President and CEO of XChanger Companies Inc. where he is responsible for overseeing a comprehensive energy efficiency design and implementation firm working with state, federal and private clients on reducing energy costs and environmental impact. Bryan has been a leading voice and pioneer in the design and construction of HVAC energy efficiency and optimization products for nearly 10 years across the United States.
Based in Annapolis, Maryland, XChanger Companies Inc. is an energy conservation firm that is an active proponent of green technology advancements, working with both Energy Star™ products and as a part of the design and build teams of residential and commercial LEED™ certified structures. XChanger’s groundbreaking HVAC technologies, not only improves HVAC efficiency and comfort of living, but also dramatically reduce energy consumption.
Mr. Levy previously held executive leadership positions with both Andersen Corporation and BoHan Contracting, Inc. where he developed an understanding of state and federal energy tax incentives policy as well as the value of air management and delivery systems in commercial and residential construction in the mid-Atlantic region.
Mr. Levy received a Bachelor of Science from Salisbury University and earned his Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Maryland.
Mr. Levy is the Founder and President of the Bowen Foundation for Autism, sits on the Board of The Arc of the Central Chesapeake and is active with several local charities and youth sports. Mr. Levy and his wife of 18 years, Tanya, reside in Annapolis with their two children Bowen and Addison.
President – INcomm
Owner – Hypower, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Richard Paul-Hus is President of INcomm and founder/owner of Hypower, Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Hypower is a provider of energy and communications solutions with projects across the United States. Hypower was founded in 1991 and has grown to a peak of over $100 million in revenue. Richard serves on the Board of Directors for Citizens for Clean Energy; formerly on Board of Commissioners for Broward Health (one of the country’s largest public health systems). Richard was Chairman of InternetCoast NAP Committee which resulted in the NAP of the Americas. He is a graduate of Stetson University
MS BA. Richard is married to Colleen and has 4 children.
Prof. Periana immigrated to the US when he was 17 years old to pursue a career as a Chemist. Working his way through college as a busboy he graduated with honors from the University of Michigan with a BSc in Chemistry. He then joined Dow Chemical where he worked for two years. During this time his work resulted in 10 patent applications. He then left Dow Chemical to pursue a PhD in chemistry at U.C. Berkeley. At Berkeley he helped to pioneer the emerging field of low-temperature hydrocarbon chemistry and graduated summa cum laude after four years. With 15 offers in hand, Dr. Periana chose to move to the Monsanto Chemical Co. in St. Louis, MO. Quickly, realizing that he was not a large company man, he left for a position with an early startup company in the Silicon Valley, Catalytica, Inc. At Catalytica he rose through the ranks from Research Chemist to Vice President of research over the course of 10 years. In that time he was directly responsible for raising approximately $35 million. His work helped to take the company public with a $250MM capitalization. During this time he became one of the world’s leading experts in the now established field of low-temperature chemistry for the conversion of hydrocarbons raw materials to fuels, chemicals, and power. His work there was highlighted by numerous invitations to the leading universities and research institutes of the world, interviews on National Public Radio, coverage by Wall Street, science shows on TV as well as two publications in Science, one of the two most prestigious scientific journals in the world. He is the key inventor on the only systems that the world has developed for the efficient, lost cost, low temperature conversion of methane to methanol. Coupled with changing management at Catalytica and the dot com meltdown, Dr. Periana chose to accept a position as Chemistry Professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in order to continue his work on the development of the next generation of catalysts for the 21st Century. Here Prof. Periana was tenured and became an acknowledged leader in the field of low-temperature catalysis. His work here is highlighted by substantial funding from oil companies, as well as, the NSF and publication in Science and other leading journals. He taught and graduated 6 graduate students during this time. At this point he was discovered by Dr. Lerner, the president of Scripps and offered a position as a full Chemistry Professor. Prof. Periana chose to move to Scripps Florida as he saw this as the next hot bed for technology development. Already Prof. Periana has raised almost $1MM, with the promise for almost $7MM more in the next three to five years. His long-term plans at Scripps Florida will be to build a $100MM department focused on the development of the next generation of cleaner, cheaper fuels, chemicals, and energy for the 21st century.
T.J. Szelistowski leads the Regulatory Affairs team at Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas Company. He is responsible for all aspects of regulatory policy including all filings and proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Florida Public Service Commission. Additionally, he is responsible for the development and communication of regulatory strategy, rate case development and leadership, and regulatory compliance oversight regarding federal and state reliability standards and codes of conduct.
Mr. Szelistowski started his career with Tampa Electric as a cooperative education student in 1978 and joined Tampa Electric full time as an engineer in 1983. He has held a variety of engineering and operations management positions within Tampa Electric including Director- Transmission and Distribution Operations, Director- Energy Control Center, and Director of Labor Relations.
Mr. Szelistowski moved into his current role in February of 2011.
Mr. Szelistowski holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master degree in Business Administration from the University of Tampa. Mr. Szelistowski is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the IEEE Power and Energy Society and is a registered professional engineer in Florida. He is a graduate of Leadership Florida Class XXXI and serves on the local board of the Coastal Conservation Association. Mr. Szelistowski and his wife Cathy have two adult children and live in Tampa, Florida.
Mr. Susac is responsible for developing and executing national and state-level political and regulatory strategies related to Sunstreet Energy Group, a Lennar Company. He is responsible for managing all contract lobbyists and other political consultants at the federal, state and local level. In addition, Mr. Susac assists the company with the preparation of documents submitted for public filing at regulatory agencies and state legislatures to effectively communicate the company’s position.
Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Vinick is CEO of Aquantis, Inc. a marine hydrokinetic energy technology and product development company which focuses on turbine design for converting the kinetic energy from the flow of ocean gyres and tidal flows. In this capacity he directs the product and business development processes of the Company. He has broad experience in ocean policy, environmental policy, project management and government relations and has been extensively engaged in the offshore renewable energy regulatory development process and BOEM and FERC permitting regimes.
Prior to joining Aquantis, Mr. Vinick served as Chairman and CEO of Ecosphere Technologies, Inc., a Florida-based diversified water engineering, technology licensing and environmental services company that designs, develops and manufactures sustainable wastewater treatment solutions for industrial markets. He previously worked for the Cousteau family for over 25 years managing their ocean-related activities with positions as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Ocean Futures Society, Vice President of the Cousteau Society, and Fonde de Pouvoir of Parc Oceanique Cousteau, the latter representing one example of his extensive international management experience.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Vinick served as Director of Training and Development for TRW, Inc., and Executive Director of Adult Education for the University of Southern California. He has received commendations from the White House for his work with youth education and from the Los Angeles City Council for community environmentalism.
Mr. Vinick currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Ecosphere Technologies, Inc., and Ocean Futures Society and holds a Masters degree in international relations and a BA in Political Science.
Brian Yablonski is currently External Affairs Director for the Gulf Power Company, an investor owned utility serving Northwest Florida. He is responsible for the management and oversight of regulatory and governmental affairs activities.
Prior to working with Gulf Power, Mr. Yablonski was Vice President of Public Affairs for the St. Joe Company, one of Florida’s largest private landowners. In this role, he helped strategically plan nearly 600,000 acres of land in Northwest Florida, including having overseen state and federal governmental relations, environmental strategy and economic policy development. He also served as Director of Policy and Deputy Chief of Staff for Florida Governor Jeb Bush, where he helped craft the administration’s major policy initiatives.
Mr. Yoblonski is in his seventh year as a commissioner on Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the state agency charged with protecting endangered species and wildlife, and overseeing hunting and fishing activities in the state of Florida. In addition, he was appointed in 2007 by then-Florida Speaker of the House Marco Rubio to serve on the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, which meets once every 20 years to examine the state’s tax and budget structure. In that capacity, he served as the primary sponsor of Constitutional Amendment 4, an initiative to provide tax exemptions for natural lands placed into permanent conservation easements. As a result of this work, he was named Florida’s 2009 Wildlife Conservationist of the Year by the Florida Wildlife Federation.
Mr. Yablonski is also an Adjunct Fellow with the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) in Bozeman, Montana. This national institute works to improve environmental quality through the use of market principles and property rights. Mr. Yablonski is a contributor to PERC’s policy journal. As well, Mr. Yablonski sits on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Excellence in Education and the Foundation for Florida’s Future, both reform-oriented education organizations chaired by former Governor Bush.
Mr. Yablonski graduated with honors from Wake Forest University and the University of Miami School of Law.
Paul Zombo has been working in the fields of Metallurgy, Failure Analysis and NDE for thirty years since earning a degree in Metallurgical Engineering. His areas of involvement include: welding, casting, forging, coating, machining, repair, and materials development used in power generation, aerospace, and heavy industry. Work experience includes 24 years at Siemens Power Generation, 4 years at Kennedy Space Center and 5 years at Timken Steel Manufacturing working on turbines, generators, space vehicles, payloads, launch structures, launch support equipment, steel processing, steel finishing, and automation. Paul has accumulated 36 patents & 29 publications in the fields of NDE, in-situ inspection, welding and metallurgy. Paul was honored as “Siemens Inventor of the Year 2009” for outstanding innovation.