Thousands of industry professionals from around the world gathered for this dynamic session! The DistribuTECH 2018 keynote session continued the tradition of featuring highly-respected industry experts who will share their views on the challenges and opportunities utilities face. Attendees heared what these experts believe utilities must do to not just survive, but thrive now and in the future. They also shared their thoughts about the digital transformation that is redefining utilities and their customers.
Conference Program Chairwoman, DistribuTECH
Editor in Chief, POWERGRID International
President & CEO, Itron
Providing great opening remarks, Philip Mezey of Itron set the stage for the great discussions to come - and ultimately helped kick off one of the best DistribuTECH events ever.
Social Influencer, Thulium
• Top 1% of global Social Media Influencers (Klear)
• Top 15 Social Media Marketing Influencers of 2016 (Onalytica)
• Top 10 Augmented Reality, Top 25 AI/Machine Language; Top 50 Social Media, Big Data, Blockchain, AND Digital Transformation; and Top 100 IoT Influencer in 2015 & 2016 (Onalytica)
Joining the keynote lineup for 2018, Tamara McCleary gave a brief and insightful look at social media and the impact it can play in the utility industry. She’ll also spent the rest of the week at DistribuTECH - engaging in the #DTECH2018 conversation.
President & CEO,
Paula Gold-Williams is President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CPS Energy. She assumed the role on July 25, 2016, after serving in the interim capacity for nine months.
As President & CEO, Paula leads its more than 3,000 team members with the vision she has coined “People First,” whereby CPS Energy is evolving its efforts to create and deliver value to its employees, customers and community into a new age of energy solutions.
Paula has more than 30 years of leadership experience in San Antonio, including being a Regional Controller for Time Warner’s cable and telephony regional office and the Vice President (VP) of Finance for Luby’s, Inc. before coming to CPS Energy in late 2004. Over her 12 years at CPS Energy, she has progressively served as Controller & Assistant Treasurer; VP & Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) – Organizational Excellence & Shared Services; Executive Vice President (EVP), Chief Financial Officer (CFO) & Treasurer; and Group EVP – Financial & Administrative Services, CFO & Treasurer, ultimately overseeing all enterprise financial functions, while taking on the strategic oversight for People & Culture, Enterprise Safety & Health, Supply Chain, Facilities, Enterprise Information Technology, and Physical & Cyber Security.
Relative to governance, Paula is the sponsor of the company’s Energy Portfolio Strategy Committee (EPSC), as well as two committees that oversee direct and nuclear decommissioning investments. Additionally, she is a member of the Employee Benefits Oversight Committee (EBOC) that provides high-level leadership over CPS Energy’s pension, health, life and disability plans. Membership for this committee also includes the Board of Trustees (BOT) Audit Committee.
Outside of CPS Energy, Paula serves as Chair on the Advisory Committee of Executives (ACE) for St. Mary’s University’s Greehey School of Business (GSB), her undergraduate alma mater. She also serves on the Board of The University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) and the Advisory Committee of The University of Texas San Antonio’s School of Engineering. She is the Chair for the Board of San Antonio’s public television station, KLRN, and is a member of its Executive Committee. Paula also serves on the Advisory Council for Haven for Hope, and as Advisory Trustee to both the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), an internationally recognized center of excellence in applied research and development, as well as FM Global, an international mutual insurance company. She is also a member to the San Antonio Medical Foundation (SAMF).
Paula was inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame in 2017. She has also been honored with numerous awards including the San Antonio Business Journal’s Elite Executive CEO Distinction, as part of their 2016 C-Suite Awards, and the San Antonio Women’s Chamber of Commerce (SAWCC) Constellation of Stars Award in 2015. She was appointed as Honorary Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA) Commander in 2014 and also received Best CFO and Finance awards from the San Antonio Business Journal (SABJ) and La Prensa, respectively. Additionally, Paula mentors numerous people inside and outside of CPS Energy, from college students to vice presidents.
Paula has an Associate Degree in Fine Arts from San Antonio College. She has a BBA in Accounting from St. Mary’s University, also located in San Antonio, Texas, as well as a Finance & Accounting MBA from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. She became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) while working for her first professional employer, the then Big 8 accounting firm of Ernst & Whinney.
Paula is married and has two daughters.
President & CEO,
New York Power Authority (NYPA)
Gil C. Quiniones has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Power Authority (NYPA), the nation's largest state-owned electric utility, since 2011. He is responsible for developing and implementing the statewide utility's strategic vision and mission and for supervising its operations, legal and financial matters and relationships with external stakeholders.
Under his leadership, NYPA is currently playing a key role in the Governor's Reforming the Energy Vision initiative to use market forces and new technology to empower customers and encourage the growth of clean renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Quiniones is co-chair of the Board of Directors of the Alliance to Save Energy and serves on the boards of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Large Public Power Council. He is the Power Authority’s principal representative to the American Public Power Association, from which he received the Alex Radin Distinguished Service Award in 2017. Quiniones was also named as the 2017 Smart Electric Power Alliance Power Player of the Year, an award that recognizes those on the front lines of energy transformation in the United States.
Quiniones was co-chairman of the New York Energy Highway Task Force, which helped carry out Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's vision for reimagining New York State's energy system through partnerships between the public and private sectors. In 2015, he also served as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Electric Power Research Institute, the electric power industry's international research and development organization.
Before joining NYPA in 2007 as executive vice president of Energy Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Quiniones served in several positions in the administration of New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, including more than four years as senior vice president of Energy and Telecommunications. He previously worked for Con Edison for 16 years and was one of four co-founders of Con Edison Solutions, the utility's unregulated energy services company.
Deputy Director of the Energy Institute,
Josey Centennial Professor in Energy Resources,
Co-Director of the Clean Energy Incubator at the Austin Technology Incubator,
Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin
Michael Webber is the Deputy Director of the Energy Institute, Josey Centennial Professor in Energy Resources, Co-Director of the Clean Energy Incubator at the Austin Technology Incubator, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, where he trains a new generation of energy and water leaders through research and education at the intersection of engineering, policy, and commercialization. He has authored more than 375 scientific articles, columns, books, and book chapters, including op-eds in the New York Times and features in Scientific American. His latest book Energy 101, published digitally, is available from DISCO Learning Media. His recent book, Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival addresses the connection between earth’s most valuable resources with a hopeful approach toward a sustainable future and is receiving wide praise. A highly sought public speaker, he has given more than 200 lectures, speeches, and invited talks in the last few years, such as testimony for hearings of U.S. Senate committees on the energy-water nexus, keynotes for business meetings, plenary lectures for scientific conferences, invited speeches at the United Nations and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and executive briefings at some of the nation’s leading companies.
He has served in many distinguished advisory and regulatory positions for industry, government, and non-profits. Webber was a member of AT&T’s Sustainability Advisory Council (2009—2012) and a judge for Platt's Energy Industry Awards (2010, 2011, 2013). He also has served in advisory roles for high-growth businesses in the energy and water sectors. In addition, he has extensive governance experience as a commissioner for Austin Energy (2008-2013). Other positions include the Board of Advisers for Scientific American (since 2009), the Roundtable on Sustainability with the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering (since 2012), as a board member for non-profits such as Sustainable America (2012—2016), the Hope Street Group (2004—2006), and the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) (since 2012). In 2006-2007, he was selected to serve as a member of the Renewable & Sustainable Energy Team with the Texas Workforce Commission as a part of Governor Perry's Industry Cluster Initiative. From 2010—2013, Webber was founding Vice-Chair of the Energy-Water Nexus Interdisciplinary Council for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
In addition, as a professor, Dr. Webber has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at UT Austin since 2007 across departments as diverse as mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, liberal arts, business, geosciences, public affairs, and undergraduate studies. His teaching has been honored four separate times with major awards from the University of Texas System. Dr. Webber’s research focuses on the convergence of policy, technology, and resource management related to energy and the environment. In 2014 he was selected as a Fellow of ASME (the American Society of Mechanical Engineers), honoring his work and service to the scientific community and in 2015 honored with ASME’s Frank Kreith Energy Award. Entities such as the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Department of Energy, and non-governmental organizations, such as UNESCO, have featured Dr. Webber’s research in their policy-making decisions. He holds four patents (with another two patents pending).
His expertise, opinions, and research have been published, cited or featured in many media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, NPR, PBS, Bloomberg TV, The Daily Telegraph, BBC, ABC, CBS, Discovery, Popular Mechanics, New Scientist, MSNBC, and the History Channel.
His capstone class “Energy Technology and Policy” was launched as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) titled “Energy 101” September 2013 through a partnership with edX. More than 44,000 students from around the world registered for the course, and nearly 5000 completed it, which is twice the normal completion rate for MOOCs. He has also offered the course as part of executive education programs and professional training in Austin, TX; Houston, TX; Washington DC; Durham, NC; Phoenix, AZ; and Leatherhead, England for companies such as ExxonMobil, Sinopec, CNOOC, and many others.
Dr. Webber received his BA with High Honors in Plan II Liberal Arts and his BS with High Honors in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He then received both a MS and a PHD in mechanical engineering with a PhD minor in electrical engineering from Stanford University where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow. He then served as a senior scientist at Pranalytica, where he invented sensors for homeland security, industrial analysis, and environmental monitoring. He then transitioned to the RAND Corporation studying energy, innovation, manufacturing, and national security. Dr. Webber is one of the originators of Pecan Street Incorporated, a public-private partnership in Austin, Texas, running the nation’s largest smart grid and smart water experiment. He lives with his wife and three children in Austin, TX.