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9th Annual Energy Innovators Virtual Conference


April 7, 2021
9:10 am - 12:30 pm


Zoom Webinar


Michigan EIBC

Michigan EIBC invites you to join us for the 9th Annual Energy Innovators Conference on Wednesday, April 7 from 9:10am to 12:30 pm EST. This virtual conference will take place via Zoom.

The content of the half-day virtual conference features prominent speakers and panelists who will discuss the latest energy-related topics and innovations. There will also be a mid-conference networking session with a variety of options to connect with other attendees.

The keynote speaker for the conference is Pete Kadens, serial entrepreneur and dedicated philanthropist who currently serves as the chairman of The Kadens Family Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to closing the pervasive wealth and education gaps in the US. The topic of his presentation is Investing in Our Communities: Dream Big, Act Small.

These speakers will also be featured:

Building Electrification, Green Infrastructure Finance,
and Climate Justice:  

How to Make Buildings Greener, Healthier and Smarter While Increasing Wealth in Historically Disenfranchised Communities

Fireside Chat with Michigan Public Service Chairman Dan Scripps and FERC Commissioner Allison Clements

What Happened in the First 100 Days and What’s Next?
Moderated by JR Tolbert


Sponsorship opportunities are available and can be viewed here: 2021 Energy Innovators Conference-Sponsorship Opportunities

Event Sponsors

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More information on speakers:

Anthony Adragna is POLITICO’s congressional environment and energy reporter. He’s the former author of Morning Energy and came to POLITICO following four and a half years covering EPA and other environmental issues with Bloomberg BNA. Adragna is a Washington, D.C. native and a graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont. When he’s not chasing lawmakers on Capitol Hill, he enjoys cooking and rooting for the Washington Nationals. He also hosts the ”POLITICO Energy” podcast.
Donnel Baird is the founder of BlocPower, a clean tech startup based in New York City. BlocPower develops portfolios of clean energy retrofit opportunities in underserved communities, and connects those opportunities to investors seeking social, environmental, and financial returns. BlocPower creates jobs for qualified local low- income workers, energy savings for community institutions, reduces carbon emissions, and provides returns to investors. BlocPower is backed by Kapor Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Eric and Wendy Schmidt, the American Family Institute for social and environmental impact, and Salesforce. Baird is a graduate of Duke University and Columbia Business School, where he was a recipient of the Board of Overseers Fellowship and a recipient of investment from the Lang Fund for Entrepreneurial Initiatives. He spent four years as a political and community organizer, and more than two years managing a national initiative to leverage American Reinvestment and Recovery Act energy efficiency investments in underserved communities. Baird lives in his native borough of Brooklyn with his wife and son.

Joseph Britton is the Executive Director of the Zero Emission Transportation Association. Joe has spent the past fifteen years working in the U.S. Senate, most recently serving as Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM). Prior to that he spent five years as Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) and six years with Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) serving as a Legislative Assistant. He also served as a Senior Advisor to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, helping to oversee the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, and the Forest Service. He helped launch the Zero Emission Transportation Association alongside 35 member companies in November 2020. Joe holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics and American Government from the University of Virginia, and a Master of Arts in Government and a Master of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. He and his wife, Katie, had their first child in November of 2015 and their second in November of 2018.Commissioner Allison Clements has two decades of public and private sector experience in energy regulation and policy, representing utilities, independent power producers, developers and lenders, nonprofits and philanthropies on grid policy issues. Prior to her time at FERC, she spent two years as director of the energy markets program at Energy Foundation. Commissioner Clements also founded Goodgrid, LLC, an energy policy and strategy consulting firm. She also spent a decade at Natural Resources Defense Council in New York, NY, as the organization’s corporate counsel and then as director of the Sustainable FERC Project. Before that, she spent several years in private legal practice. Commissioner Clements has served as a federal energy expert in several capacities, including as a member of a National Academies of Sciences committee on grid resilience and as a clinical visiting lecturer at Yale Law School. She grew up in Dayton, Ohio and now lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and two children.

Pete Kadens is a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist, currently serving as Chairman of The Kadens Family Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to closing the pervasive wealth and education gaps in the US. Pete retired in August 2018 as CEO of Green Thumb Industries (GTI), one of the largest publicly-traded, legal cannabis operators in the US with a current market capitalization of over $6 billion. Prior to that, in 2008, Pete started one of the largest commercial solar companies in the US, SoCore Energy, named one of Chicago’s most innovative businesses by the Chicago Innovation Awards. He employed over 4,000 people and created billions in shareholder value over his 18-year career as a CEO. Pete was named one of the Crain’s Chicago Business “40 Under 40” in 2012, and in 2019, he was named a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, a fellowship that accepts roughly 20 individuals from around the world each year to create ventures that solve society’s intractable problems. Pete is the chairman emeritus at StreetWise and sits on several other boards in the for-profit and nonprofit space. In 2019 Pete founded HOPE Toledo in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, to ensure that Toledo Public School children, and a parent, could go to post-secondary school for free.

Dan Scripps was appointed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to the Michigan Public Service Commission on February 21, 2019 and was designated as Chair in July 2020. His term ends July 2, 2023. He also serves on the Upper Peninsula Energy Task Force and Michigan Dam Safety Task Force. Mr. Scripps is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and serves on NARUC’s Committee on Critical Infrastructure and its Task Force on Emergency Preparedness, Recovery, and Resiliency. He is also active with NARUC’s Committee on Gas, Committee on International Relations, and Washington Action Program. Mr. Scripps also serves on the executive committee of the Organization of MISO States, and he is a past president and the current secretary of the Mid-America Regulatory Conference (MARC). Mr. Scripps served one term representing Benzie, Leelanau, Manistee, and Mason counties in the Michigan House of Representatives, where he chaired the House Banking and Financial Services committee and served on committees dealing with energy, telecommunications, and environmental protection. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Scripps worked for the Energy Foundation, where he coordinated policy and grantmaking strategies in the Midwest and Plains and led efforts to double regional grantmaking to groups engaged in equity-oriented climate and energy work. He previously served as president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, where he led efforts to expand deployment of advanced energy resources in Michigan, and as a Vice President with Advanced Energy Economy, focusing on energy finance. As an attorney, Mr. Scripps practiced law in the Washington D.C. office of Latham & Watkins LLP, advising regulated utilities, project developers, and financial institutions on cutting-edge domestic and international energy projects. Mr. Scripps is a graduate of Alma College and a 2005 honors graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. He lives with his family in northern Michigan.

Kelly Speakes-Backman is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable nergy (EERE), and Acting Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy. In her role, Speakes-Backman leads and directs the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, focused on creating and sustaining American leadership in the transition to a global clean energy economy.  She oversees the planning and execution of the organization’s $2.8B portfolio of research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable transportation. Speakes-Backman most recently served as the first CEO of the Energy Storage Association, the national trade organization for the energy storage industry. She has spent more than 20 years working in energy and environmental issues in the public, NGO, and private sectors. In 2019, Speakes-Backman was honored by The Cleanie Awards as Woman of the Year.

 J.R. Tolbert is a Managing Director for Advanced Energy Economy. In this role, he oversees policy development and campaigns focused on achieving 100% carbon free power and transportation sectors by 2050 in the eastern United States. He also oversees the organizations political activity via Advanced Energy Works, a network of advanced energy workers across the country. Prior to joining AEE, J.R. served as the Executive Director of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, a nonpartisan organization supporting legislators who are committed to protecting the environment. J.R. graduated from Auburn University with a BA in Political Science in 2001 and is a 2008 graduate of Green Corps – the field school for environmental organizing. He lives in the Byrd Park neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia with his wife Mary and sons Sully and Jackson.