Speakers for VX Green Hydrogen Forum

Mike Levin
Congressman, California's 49th District
US House of Representatives
Biography

Mike Levin

Congressman, California's 49th District
US House of Representatives

For the last two decades, Mike has been involved in a variety of local, state and federal political campaigns and community organizations.

Mike is a passionate believer in clean energy and has over a decade of experience in the industry, helping to accelerate the transition towards more sustainable power generation and transportation options. Mike has served for several years on the board of the Center for Sustainable Energy, based in San Diego, and co-founded Sustain OC in Orange County. For his work in clean energy, Mike was named to the OC METRO 40 under 40.

Mike sits on the board of the Center for Sustainable Energy, and is also a co-founder and board member of CleanTech OC, Orange County’s clean technology trade association, where he served as the initial executive director.

Previously, he was part of the management team at a venture-funded clean tech startup.  Prior to industry, Mike worked as an attorney at Bryan Cave LLP, where he assisted clients with environmental and energy regulatory compliance, project development, and government advocacy.

Mike lives in San Juan Capistrano with his wife, Chrissy, a graduate of the University of Arizona and Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and their two children, ages 6 and 4.

Andy Marsh
President & CEO
Plug Power
Biography

Andy Marsh

President & CEO
Plug Power

Andy Marsh joined Plug Power as President and CEO in April 2008. Under his leadership, Plug Power has been a leading innovator in the alternative energy field, helping create an entirely new hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) market in the material handling space as the world moves towards electrification in mobility applications. This new market has proven to be one of the first successful endeavors to commercialize HFC technology, and today, the firm’s fuel cell solutions, including its GenKey suite and ProGen engine line, are leveraged by global marketplace leaders such as Amazon, Walmart, and Carrefour to power industrial electric vehicles.

As President and CEO, Marsh plans and directs all aspects of the organization’s goals and objectives, and is focused on building a company that leverages Plug Power’s combination of technological expertise, talented people and focus on sales growth to continue the company’s leadership stance in the future alternative energy economy. Under his leadership, Plug Power continues to spearhead hydrogen fuel cell innovations in both mobility and stationary applications, and his ability to generate revenue growth of more than 296 percent since 2012 has landed Plug Power on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500TM list in both 2015 and 2016.

Previously, Mr. Marsh was a co-founder of Valere Power, where he served as CEO and Board Member from the Company’s inception in 2001, through its sale to Eltek ASA in 2007. Under his leadership, Valere grew into a profitable global operation with over 200 employees and $90 million in revenue derived from the sale of DC power products to the telecommunications sector. During Mr. Marsh’s tenure, Valere Power received many awards such as the Tech Titan award as the fastest growing technology company in the Dallas Fort Worth area and the Red Herring Top 100 Innovator Award. Prior to founding Valere, he spent almost 18 years with Lucent Bell Laboratories in a variety of sales and technical management positions.

Mr. Marsh is a member of the Board of Directors for the California Hydrogen Business Council, a non-profit group comprised of organizations and individuals involved in the business of hydrogen. He holds an MSEE from Duke University and an MBA from SMU. In August/September 2017, Mr. Marsh was invited to join the Global Hydrogen Council as well, an international council of major auto manufacturers which is focused on the proliferation of hydrogen fuel cell technologies.

Tim Sasseen
Market Development Manager
Ballard Power Systems
Biography

Tim Sasseen

Market Development Manager
Ballard Power Systems

An electrical engineer at heart, Tim Sasseen has been deploying fuel cell electric buses since 2000, when he lead the engine control development team for the deployment the largest public fuel cell bus deployment to date. Tim followed these buses to Europe in 2003 to coordinate the operation and service of this fleet across 7 countries from the Daimler factory in Germany. Upon the successful completion of this monumental program, Tim lead the Ballard engineering team to create the HD6, one of the highest mileage heavy duty fuel cell modules in the industry. Since that time Tim has earned his MBA at UCSD, and has lead start-up developments in microgrids, wind power and stationary energy storage here in California. Tim is now responsible for business development for all of California for Ballard Power System’s medium and heavy duty fuel cell products.

Maryam Brown
President
SoCal Gas
Biography

Maryam Brown

President
SoCal Gas
Maryam Brown is president of Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), a Sempra Energy regulated California utility.
 
Previously, Brown was vice president of federal government affairs for Sempra Energy.
 
Prior to joining Sempra Energy in 2016, Brown served as the senior energy and environment counsel for the Office of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. From 2011 to 2012, she was the energy chief counsel for the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. From 2010 to 2011, she was policy counsel for the U.S. Senate’s Republican Policy Committee. Before that, she was manager of public policy and strategic planning for ConocoPhillips.
 
Brown serves on the board of directors of the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Business Roundtable. She holds both a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a law degree (Order of the Coif) from Louisiana State University.

 

Akira Muto
Consul General
Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles
Biography

Akira Muto

Consul General
Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles

Akira Muto was appointed Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles in August 2019.

With over 25 years of experience in the Foreign Ministry of Japan with background in Russia and policy planning, Muto has served as director of the Russian division, deputy director general (Ambassador) in charge of former Soviet Union states, as well as director of policy coordination division.  Additionally, Muto served as director of free trade agreement and economic partnership division and the director of the fourth division of Intelligence Service. As a diplomat, his previous assignments included Washington D.C., Moscow and Boston (Consul General).  In recent years, he served as Cabinet Councillor at National Security Secretariat and was engaged in various international security affairs.  His research interest covers strategic relations among US-Japan Alliance, Russia and China in the Asia-Pacific region.
 
Andrew McAllister
Commissioner
California Energy Commission
Biography

Andrew McAllister

Commissioner
California Energy Commission

Andrew McAllister was appointed to the California Energy Commission by Governor Edmund G. Brown in May, 2012, and reappointed in January 2017. He is lead commissioner on energy efficiency and forecasting. 

Andrew has worked for 3 decades in a variety of capacities across the utility, energy efficiency and renewable energy arenas. Prior to joining the CEC, he was managing director and policy director of a clean energy non-profit; a consulting project manager in California as well as in many developing countries; and an energy efficiency analyst at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 

He holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from UC Berkeley. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Kohei Masaki
Hydrogen Strategy Consultant- Corporate Strategy & Planning
Toyota Motor North America
Biography

Kohei Masaki

Hydrogen Strategy Consultant- Corporate Strategy & Planning
Toyota Motor North America

Kohei Masaki is a Hydrogen Strategy Consultant in Corporate Strategy & Planning Division (CS&P) in Toyota Motor North America (TMNA).

After 10-year experience for business consulting, Mr. Masaki started to work for Toyota to support hydrogen ecosystem development and expansion in the United States.

He provided business consulting service mostly in automotive industry, and has expertise in Strategy & Operation area such as mid-term plan development, new business entering strategy, external affair strategy and organization structure change strategy. Also, he had several projects relates to Fuel cell and Hydrogen industry in both US and Japan.

Current his responsibility is business planning and business development of Fuel Cell Electric Heavy-duty Truck and other broader applications.

Peter J. Sawicki
Regional Director, Sales and Marketing
Mitsubishi Power Americas, Inc.
Biography

Peter J. Sawicki

Regional Director, Sales and Marketing
Mitsubishi Power Americas, Inc.

Peter Sawicki is the Regional Director for Sales and Marketing – Pacific West at Mitsubishi Power Americas, a major equipment supplier and energy solutions provider for the power industry. Peter is based in San Diego, CA and is responsible for Mitsubishi Power’s sales and marketing activities on the West Coast. Peter has over 25 years of experience in the power industry with roles in design engineering, project management, project development and sales. Peter earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Manhattan College and his MBA Finance from Fordham University.

Yuri Freedman
Senior Director, Business Development
Southern California Gas Company
Biography

Yuri Freedman

Senior Director, Business Development
Southern California Gas Company

Yuri has broad experience as a developer and investor in gas infrastructure and power generation assets. In his current role of Senior Director, Business Development, he manages the portfolio of growth initiatives and R&D activities of Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas). Prior to his current role he held the position of Director, Commercial Development for Sempra LNG and Midstream, and previously held the positions of Director, Infrastructure Investments for Sempra US Gas and Power, and Director, Corporate Mergers & Acquisitions for Sempra Energy. 

Prior to joining Sempra Energy, Yuri was a Managing Director on the energy team of Fortress Investment Group and a Vice President in General Electric's energy investment arm, GE Energy Financial Services. He began his career as a geologist working in Arctic regions of Western Siberia on the development and construction of oil and gas pipelines. 

Yuri holds a MS in Engineering Geology from Moscow University (Russia), a PhD in Environmental Science and Energy Research from the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), and a MBA from the Yale School of Management. 

Dennis McGinn
Fmr. U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Navy
Senior Advisor and Board Member, Customer First Renewables
Biography

Dennis McGinn

Fmr. U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Navy
Senior Advisor and Board Member, Customer First Renewables

Dennis McGinn is a Senior Advisor and Board Member at CustomerFirst Renewables.

Dennis, who served 35 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy, also served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment from September 2013 until January 2017. He is a former President of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), a past member of the Steering Committee of the Energy Future Coalition, United States Energy Security Council, Bipartisan Policy Center Energy Board, and CNA Military Advisory Board and currently serves on several boards, including the Rocky Mountain Institute. He is also a senior advisor to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the Center for Climate and Security.

Christine Harada
President
i(x) investments
Biography

Christine Harada

President
i(x) investments

Christine Harada is President of i(x) investments. Ms. Harada has over 20 years of success in leading government and management consulting organizations. She previously served as the Federal Chief Sustainability Officer for the United States during the Obama administration. In this role, she provided oversight for all sustainability-related initiatives across the federal government in energy, fleet, and acquisitions-game-changing improvements that added to our nation’s clean energy future.

Her successes include developing and implementing policies to reduce the Federal government’s carbon footprint that resulted in an 18% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a 23% reduction in energy use at Federal facilities and 177 billion gallons of drinkable water saved. She also was responsible for investing $4B in federal building to improve aging infrastructure and lower overall energy consumption that led to an estimated 33,700 private sector jobs and resulted in efficiency gains that will save 1.4 million tons of CO2 emissions annually.

Prior to her White House role, Ms. Harada was the Acting Chief of Staff and U.S. General Services Administration where she was responsible for the overall operations supporting 12,000 federal workers with an annual operating budget of $26B. While at the GSA, Ms. Harada also served as Associate Administrator, Government-wide Policy and Chief Acquisition Officer responsible for transforming a “business model” to provide more proactive, evidence-based policies, and increased transparency at the agency.

She has extensive expertise in business strategy and translating that into operational excellence. Concurrently, she is a Fellow with the Los Angeles CleanTech Incubator. In addition, she is a member of the board of directors of Novume Solutions and the Millennium Institute.

She previously was a Partner with Ridge-Lane LP, a strategic advisory firm and merchant-bank. Ridge-Lane LP is a triple-bottom-line business that creates sustainable social value by bridging the gap that exists between private companies, investment capital, and government – across the Federal, State, and Local levels.

Ms. Harada’s private sector experience also includes serving as Global Manager, Transformation/Large Scale Change Practice at the Boston Consulting Group where which she was responsible for the operations and go-to-market strategy of the then-new practice area that spanned 78 offices around the world. While at Booz Allen Hamilton, Ms. Harada was a Principal with P&L responsibility for a 70+ person professional services business line with a $70M portfolio of projects.

Ms. Harada holds an MA, International Studies and an MBA, Finance, respectively, from the Lauder Institute and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds an MS Aeronautics/Astronautics and a BS Aeronautics/Astronautics, respectively, from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Zaib Shaikh
Consul General of Canada in Los Angeles
Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles
Biography

Zaib Shaikh

Consul General of Canada in Los Angeles
Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles
Mark Kirby
President & CEO
Canada Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Association
Biography

Mark Kirby

President & CEO
Canada Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Association

Mark Kirby, President and CEO, is a seasoned chemicals and clean technology executive with a decade of experience in the hydrogen and fuel cell sector. Mr. Kirby has held leadership positions at Ballard Power Systems, where he managed the $100 million divesture of the company’s automotive fuel cell business to Daimler and Ford, as well as Questair Technologies.

Formerly President and CEO of Fortress Advanced Bioproducts, the biotechnology division of Fortress Global Enterprises, Mr. Kirby laid the groundwork for a Canadian biorefinery demonstration project with over $30 million of government support. He also co-founded S2G Biochemicals where he was responsible for raising millions in government and private funding support while developing strategic partnerships to position the company’s technology for commercialization. In addition, Mr. Kirby was responsible for integrating acquisitions and growing new global business for a $100 million division of Praxair.

Mr. Kirby currently serves as a member of the board of directors at HTEC. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of British Columbia.

Paul Schultz
Director, Power External Energy Resources
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
Biography

Paul Schultz

Director, Power External Energy Resources
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
Colin Armstrong
President & CEO
HTEC
Biography

Colin Armstrong

President & CEO
HTEC
Colin is a professional mechanical engineer with more than 30 years’ experience in the hydrogen sector. He is a founder of HTEC and has lead the company since 2012. Colin is the driving force behind the development of British Columbia’s hydrogen station network, opening Canada’s first retail hydrogen fueling station in 2018. The first six stations – in Greater Vancouver and Victoria – will be in operation in 2020 and will enable the deployment of the first 1,000 zero-emission fuel cell electric vehicles in the province.  Prior to HTEC, Colin led hydrogen initiatives at Sacré-Davey Engineering, including an integrated waste hydrogen utilization project and the fueling project for a fleet of fuel cell buses operating in Whistler. Colin was also an investor and the lead engineer at Dynetek Industries (high-pressure carbon fiber gas storage cylinders) and worked at Ballard Power Systems to develop fuel cell manufacturing systems. Colin has been on the Board of the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association since 2011.

 

Roger Mortimer
Director of Corporate Strategy
Hydrogen Optimized
Biography

Roger Mortimer

Director of Corporate Strategy
Hydrogen Optimized
Gia Brazil Vacin
Assistant Deputy Director, ZEVs
GO-Biz
Biography

Gia Brazil Vacin

Assistant Deputy Director, ZEVs
GO-Biz
Christopher Cannon
Director of Environmental Management
Port of Los Angeles
Biography

Christopher Cannon

Director of Environmental Management
Port of Los Angeles

Christopher Cannon is the director of environmental management for the Port of Los Angeles, a position he has held since October 2010. In 2015, he was named chief sustainability officer of the Port.

In this role, Cannon is responsible for balancing commerce and growth with ecological sustainability and social responsibility at the nation’s busiest container port. The Environmental Management Division provides full environmental services related to water, soils and sediments, air and biological resources, and is responsible for preparation of environmental impact assessments mandated by state and federal law; special studies involving dredging, noise abatement, water quality and air quality; site restoration, remediation and contamination characterizations; wildlife management; and establishment of policies regarding environmental quality issues.

Cannon first worked at the Port of Los Angeles as a consultant, starting in 2004, where he worked with the Port Environmental Management Division’s Air Quality and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) groups, supporting the development of key air projects such as the Clean Air Action Plan as well as the Harbor Department’s efforts to complete critical environmental impact reports for Port-related projects. In 2008, he helped to develop and served as the Project Manager of the Port’s highly successful Clean Truck Program.
Cannon has 21 years of experience in the environmental services industry, working on a range of projects while employed by ENVIRON International Corporation and TRC Environmental Solutions.

Cannon also spent two years as a legislative assistant for environmental policy on the Washington, D.C. staff of U.S. Representative Martin Sabo of Minnesota.

Cannon received a bachelor’s degree in Government from Dartmouth College and a law degree from University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Bob Foster
Board Member
EPCOR Utilities
Biography

Bob Foster

Board Member
EPCOR Utilities

Bob Foster has spent more than 40 years in the energy policy arena in California.  He began his career working on energy efficiency for the State Senate and then led the energy efficiency program for the California Energy Commission.  He then joined Southern California Edison working his way up in the company, eventually serving as its President from 2002 to 2006.  After retiring from SCE, he ran for and was elected Mayor of Long Beach, Ca., serving for 8 years from 2006 to 2014.  He also served as Chair of California’s Independent System Operator (CAISO) from 2011 to 2014.  He now operates Prometheus Advisors, providing consulting on energy, water, entitlements, and public policy issues. He serves on the boards of EPCOR in Edmonton Canada, the American Transmission Company in Milwaukee, and Port Solutions in Los Angeles.  Bob is an ardent baseball fan and in 1983 coached a team from Sacramento to the Little League World Series in Williamsport Pa.