Illinois State University
Illinois State University
Jump over the College navigation bar.
The Illinois Renewable Energy Conference
July 16, 2014 - Illinois State University, Normal, IL - Bone Student Center Ballroom - 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

   Illinois Wind Working Group Logo   Illinois Solar Energy Association Logo   Geotheral Alliance of Illinois Logo   Illinois Biomass Working Group logo  

  Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs Western Illinois University         Stantec

Cultural Resource Analysts logo   Geronimo Energy    Iberdrola Renewables logo    Invenergy logo


The Illinois Renewable Energy Conference featured plenary session speakers of interest to all areas of renewable energy, plus breakout sessions in tracks focusing on wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass, on topics regarding policy, technical, and case studies. 

NOTE:  Speaker presentations that we were granted permission to post on the website are after each speaker's name.  Please click on the red "PDF" to open each file.  A few more presentations are expected, please check back.



David Loomis, Center for Renewable Energy, Illinois State University, 8:00 AM - PDF
Lesley McCain, Illinois Solar Energy Association, 8:00 AM - PDF
John Freitag, Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives, 8:00 AM - PDF
Fred Iutzi, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, Western Illinois University, 8:00 AM - PDF

Mel Nickerson
, IL Energy & Recycling Office, IL Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, 8:30 AM - PDF
Sarah Wochos, Environmental Law and Policy Center, 9:00 AM - PDF
Lillian Salerno, USDA Rural Development, 11:30 AM - PDF1 , PDF2
Susan Hedman, Environmental Protection Agency Region 5, 3:15 PM - PDF
Anthony Star, IL Power Agency, 3:45 PM

back to top


Kevin Borgia, Wind on the Wires, 10:15 - PDF
Lewis Opsal, City of Geneseo, 1:50 - PDF
Bill Poole, Stantec, 12:30 - PDF
Jeff Reinkemeyer, Iberdrola Renewables, 10:15 - PDF
Wes Slaymaker, WES Engineering, 1:50 - PDF
Beth Soholt, Wind on the Wires, 12:30 - PDF
Karen Tyrell, POWER Engineers, Inc., 12:30 - PDF
Jolene Willis, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, Western Illinois University, 1:50 - PDF

Brian Haug, Continental Electrical Construction Company, 10:15 - PDF
Mike Hornitschek, StraightUp Solar, 12:30 - PDF
Michelle Knox, WindSolarUSA, 12:30 - PDF
Joyce McLaren, NREL 1:50 - PDF
Sean Middleton, Illinois Rural Electric Co-Op, 12:30 - PDF
Chuck VonDrehle, Juhl Renewable Energy Services, 10:15 - PDF

Dave Buss, Connor Company and Geothermal Alliance of Illinois, 10:15 - PDF
Dan Couillard, GI Energy, 1:50 - PDF
Doug Dougherty, Geothermal Exchange Organization, 12:30 - PDF
Mark Nussbaum
, Architectural Consulting Engineers, 10:15 - PDF
Matt Slager
, Hanson Professional Services, 1:50 - PDF

Thomas Canam, Eastern Illinois University, 10:15 - PDF
Patty Greteman
, Patriot Renewable Fuels, 10:15 - PDF
Steve John
, Agriculture Watershed Institute, 12:30 - PDF
Peter Johnsen
, Arvegenix, LLC, 1:50 - PDF
M. Cristina Negri, Argonne National Laboratory, 1:50
Regan Radtke, Energy Biosciences Institute, University of Illinois, 12:30 - PDF
Lillian Salerno, USDA Rural Development, 12:30 - PDF1 , PDF2
Jay Solomon, University of Illinois Extension, 1:50 - PDF
Paul Wever, 10:15 - PDF

Kyle Barry, Husch Blackwell
Shannon Fulton, StraightUp Solar and Illinois Solar Energy Association
Gary Letterly, University of Illinois Extension

back to top

 FULL CONFERENCE AGENDA (schedule and speakers subject to change):

8:00      Welcome & Overview of Wind, Solar, Geothermal, and Biomass

    • Illinois Wind Working Group - Dr. David Loomis, Center for Renewable Energy, Illinois State University - PDF
    • Illinois Solar Energy Association - Lesley McCain, Illinois Solar Energy Association - PDF
    • Geothermal Alliance of Illinois - John Freitag, Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives - PDF
    • Illinois Biomass Working Group - Fred Iutzi, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, Western Illinois University - PDF

8:30      Plenary Session - Illinois Renewable Energy Policy and DCEO Grant/Rebate Update - Mel Nickerson - PDF

9:00      Plenary Session - Illinois Renewable Energy Policy - Sarah Wochos - PDF

10:00    Break - Visit Exhibitors

10:15    Breakout Panel Sessions

    •              Wind - Policy - Kevin Borgia ( PDF ), Jeff Reinkemeyer ( PDF )
    •              Solar - Technical - Chuck VonDrehle ( PDF ), Brian Haug ( PDF )
    •              Geothermal - Technical - Dave Buss ( PDF ), Mark Nussbaum ( PDF )
    •              Biomass - Case Studies - Thomas Canam ( PDF ), Patty Greteman ( PDF ), Paul Wever ( PDF )

11:30    Lunch - Plenary Session - Lillian Salerno  ( PDF1 , PDF2 )

12:30    Breakout Panel Sessions

    •              Wind - Technical - Beth Soholt ( PDF ), Karen Tyrell ( PDF ), Bill Poole ( PDF )
    •              Solar - Case Studies - Sean Middleton ( PDF ), Michelle Knox ( PDF ), Mike Hornitschek ( PDF )
    •              Geothermal - Policy - Doug Dougherty ( PDF )
    •              Biomass - Policy - Lillian Salerno ( PDF1 , PDF2 ), Regan Radtke ( PDF ), Steve John ( PDF )

1:40     Break - Visit Exhibitors

1:50     Breakout Panel Sessions

    •              Wind - Case Studies - Jolene Willis ( PDF ), Wes Slaymaker ( PDF ), Lewis Opsal ( PDF )
    •              Solar - Policy - Joyce McLaren ( PDF )
    •              Geothermal - Case Studies - Matt Slager ( PDF ), Dan Couillard ( PDF )
    •              Biomass - Technical - Peter Johnsen ( PDF ), M. Cristina Negri, Jay Solomon ( PDF )

3:00     Break - Visit Exhibitors

3:15     Plenary Session - Susan Hedman ( PDF )

3:45     Plenary Session - Anthony Star

4:30     Adjourn

back to top


is a member of Husch Blackwell's Energy & Natural Resources team, and puts an emphasis on renewable and clean energy products and advises companies as they expand and pursue economic development projects. He identifies and negotiates economic incentive programs that meet his clients' business objectives, and he guides partnerships that integrate public and private stakeholders. Kyle’s industry experience includes serving as Illinois counsel for FutureGen 2.0 clean coal project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy; counseling wind energy clients in Illinois, focusing on tax, land use, zoning and economic development incentives; and advising major power-generation clients in arbitration dispute over the construction of two power plants in China.  Kyle's experience also includes working as a commercial litigator in Chicago with Jenkens & Gilchrist and Hedlund, Hanley & John before he moved to Springfield, Ill. to take a position as Deputy General Counsel for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Most recently he was a partner at McGuireWoods LLP.

Kevin Borgia KEVIN BORGIA has several years of experience in wind power policy at the state and federal levels. He was founder and Executive Director of the Illinois Wind Energy Association, a non-profit advocacy group and trade association. IWEA merged into Wind on the Wires in late 2011, and Kevin continues advocating for wind power in Illinois as part of the WOW staff.   In his roles as wind energy advocate in Illinois, Kevin has secured significant state policy victories for wind energy in Illinois, including new tax incentives and stable tax structures for wind development, improved markets for renewables under the Illinois Power Agency, new loan guarantees for renewables, and better permitting regulations for wind farms in the state.  Previously, Kevin worked as editor of the federal energy and environmental policy newsletters Energy Washington and Inside EPA. He is a central Illinois native and a graduate of Illinois State University.

Dave Buss DAVE BUSS, PE,  started working in the Energy field in 1977 with the opening of Buss Energy Systems, which specialized in solar energy systems, energy conservation products, and geothermal heating and cooling systems. After his first geothermal system installation in 1980, he went on to install hundreds of systems across western Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri over the next 10 years.  After serving as Territory Manager for WaterFurnace from 1990 till 2012, he is now Geothermal Product Manager for Connor Company, assisting in the design and sale of Climatemaster geothermal systems throughout Illinois. He has been a Certified Geothermal Designer for more than 9 years, and as such has been involved in the design of hundreds of geothermal systems for schools, churches, office buildings, medical facilities, apartment complexes, and assisted living facilities. Mr. Buss received special recognition as a “Legend in Energy” at the World Energy Engineering Congress at Washington D.C. in 2009.  His approach to system design is to keep the system as simple as possible, but always strive for the highest overall efficiency at a reasonable cost.

Thomas Canam THOMAS CANAM, PH.D., received his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada, before completing his Ph.D. in Forest Biotechnology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He served as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto and then as a visiting fellow with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Cellulosic Biofuels Network. He joined the faculty at Eastern Illinois University in 2011 as an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. He is the Bioresource Leader for the Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE) at EIU, and operates a bioproducts and biomaterials research laboratory.

Dan Couillard DAN COUILLARD is a licensed Professional Engineer and a Certified Geothermal Designer that has been in the geothermal industry since 2008. He is the Vice President of Geothermal at GI Energy, a design-build company for both geo-exchange and combined heat and power systems and is the Secretary-Treasurer for the Geothermal Alliance of Illinois (GAOI). Dan’s geothermal perspective has been influenced through a range of responsibilities including building energy modeling, field and interior design of geo-exchange mechanical systems, construction project management, estimation, business development, financial analysis, project finance modeling and operational management. What really gets him up in the morning professionally is working on scaling the technology.

Doug Dougherty  DOUG DOUGHERTY is President and CEO of the Geothermal Exchange Organization, the "Voice of the U.S. Geothermal Heat Pump Industry." GEO is a non-profit trade group that represents the political and business interests of its member companies across the United States.  Prior to his position at GEO, Doug served for 13 years as President of the Illinois Telecommunications Association (ITA), a member driven organization representing the telecommunications industry on issues of common interest.  Doug came to the ITA from work for the Illinois Lieutenant Governor, first as Executive Director of the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council and then as Senior Advisor for Economic Development.  Before returning to state government in 1995, Doug spent nine years working for an electric power generator and transmission cooperative in a number of management positions, including Assistant General Manager for External Affairs.  From 1976 through 1986, Doug worked for several state agencies, including the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, and the Illinois Commerce Commission, where he was Assistant General Manager.  During his public and private sector careers in community and economic development, Doug has been recognized for his contributions to number of well known organizations including Rural Partners which he helped form in 1989 and the Illinois Development Council which awarded Doug their Economic Developer of the Year award in 1991.  Doug earned his undergraduate degree in political science from Bradley University and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Illinois, Springfield.

John Freitag JOHN FREITAG is executive director of the Geothermal Alliance of Illinois, the statewide trade group for the geothermal heat pump industry. He was instrumental in forming the GAOI in 2008, served on the initial board of directors as secretary/treasurer, and has been executive director since 2010. He also works as VP-Operations for the Assn. of IL Electric Cooperatives, where he’s been since 1985. Freitag has been involved in the geothermal heat pump industry for 20-plus years and has had a geo system in his home since 1999. He is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), as recognized by the American Society of Association Executives, and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. He is an expert on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Shannon Fulton SHANNON FULTON is the Director of Illinois Business Development for StraightUp Solar, a solar integration company with offices in the St. Louis region and Bloomington, IL.  She also lives her passion for advancing the use of renewable energy by serving as President of the Illinois Solar Energy Association and as a Solar Ambassador for WeCare Solar, a non-profit organization focused on reducing infant mortality by equipping off-grid medical clinics in developing countries with solar power for lighting and emergency communication.  Shannon is also a Licensed Professional Geologist with many years of experience in environmental consulting in Illinois. She holds degrees in renewable energy, geology, and geohydrology from Illinois State University, where she also took the court as a Redbird basketball player.

Patty Greteman PATTY GRETEMAN  is Vice President and Chief Administration Officer for Patriot Renewable Fuels, LLC. Patty joined Patriot, as Controller in April, 2011 and is responsible for human resources, asset management, information systems, compliance, and clerical supervision. In addition, she has recently assumed additional responsibilities in the areas of community relations, renewable fuels industry participation, and and all aspects of business development. Prior to joining Patriot, from 1999-2010 Patty held the positions of Vice-President, Internal Audit, and Vice-President, Controller for iPCS, Inc., a publicly traded company operating as a Sprint PCS Affiliate of Sprint Nextel Corporation. She is a graduate of Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska and has her Certified Internal Auditor and Certified Public Accountant licenses (both inactive).

Brian Haug BRIAN HAUG is the Director of Energy Solutions for Continental Electrical Construction Company.  Continental is a 100 year old, privately held electrical contracting firm located in the Chicagoland area.  Brian’s division within Continental focuses on keeping their customers aware of new technologies in the marketplace that will assist them in reducing their energy spend and carbon footprint and then makes those projects a reality by implementing fully designed solutions with their crew of over 350 skilled electricians.  Areas of expertise include solar, battery storage, combined heat and power, advanced building energy controls, and electrical infrastructure.

Susan Hedman SUSAN HEDMAN was appointed by President Barack Obama to be EPA Region 5 Administrator on Earth Day 2010. She directs EPA’s operations in the six-state Great Lakes region, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, as well as 35 federally-recognized tribal governments. One of her most important roles is that of Great Lakes National Program Manager, in which she oversees restoration and protection of the largest freshwater system in the world.  She leads a team of over one thousand scientists, engineers, lawyers, environmental specialists and administrative staff in the Region 5 Office.  Before accepting the President’s appointment, Susan was environmental counsel and senior assistant attorney general in the Illinois Attorney General’s office, where she focused on litigation and legislation relating to environmental protection, energy efficiency, renewable energy, carbon capture technology and associated consumer issues.  Previously, Susan was chief legal officer for the Geneva-based United Nations Compensation Commission tribunal that handled claims for environmental damage from the oil fires in Kuwait and releases of oil in the Persian Gulf, as well as the costs of de-mining and disposal of unexploded ordnance from the 1990 Gulf War.  Susan has a Ph.D. from the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, a M.A. from the La Follette School of Public Affairs and a J.D. from the School of Law at the University of Wisconsin. She has over 35 years of experience working on environmental and energy issues.

Mike Hornitschek MIKE HORNITSCHEK joined StraightUp Solar in 2012 as Director of Strategic Development to help lead the company’s exponential success from start-up to becoming the St Louis region’s premier installer and beyond as solar evolves into a mainstream energy source.  Originally from Wisconsin, Mike is a 23-year Air Force command pilot and veteran who retired with his family in Belleville, Illinois, after serving as the installation commander for Scott AFB.  An aeronautical engineer with degrees from the Air Force Academy and an NSF Fellowship at Stanford, he also holds a masters in international security studies from the Air War College.

Fred Iutzi FRED IUTZI manages programs in agriculture, energy, sustainability, and cooperatives for the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) at Western Illinois University (WIU). He is chair of the Illinois Biomass Working Group, vice chair of the Agricultural Watershed Institute, a gubernatorial appointee to the Illinois Ethanol Research Advisory Board, and a steering committee member of Heating the Midwest with Renewable Biomass and of the Illinois Wind Working Group. Iutzi received an MS in sustainable agriculture and agronomy from Iowa State University and a BA in geography from the University of Missouri, and is a Certified Crop Adviser and a Professional Community and Economic Developer. He resides in rural Hancock County, IL, where he assists with his family's cash grain farm. Founded in 1989, the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs is the state's designated academic clearinghouse for rural development research and initiatives. Information on IIRA programs is available at

Steve John STEVE JOHN is the co-founder and executive director of the Agricultural Watershed Institute, a nonprofit conservation and research organization based in Decatur, Illinois. AWI’s Local Bioenergy Initiative is addressing the environmental benefits of perennial energy grasses. Prior to AWI’s formation, Mr. John was an environmental planning consultant. From 1987 to 1995, he served on the Decatur City Council and was active in watershed management to protect Lake Decatur. He serves on the steering committees of the Green Land Blue Waters Consortium and the Illinois Biomass Working Group. He has a BA in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame.

Peter Johnsen PETER JOHNSEN has been involved in developing Field Pennycress as an advanced energy crop for the past 10 years as a scientist, farmer and entrepreneur. He serves as the Regulatory Lead with Arvegenix LLC, a company established to use advanced molecular genetic information and sophisticated breeding techniques to produce commercial seeds with improved agronomic traits that bring value to farmers growing Pennycress as an energy crop. The company is also developing cropping systems, logistics and processing technologies to produce high-quality animal feed ingredients and oil for conversion to renewable fuels with a focus on aviation fuel.   Johnsen has over 30 years of experience in the university, government and private domains receiving his B.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As an academic, he held positions at the University of Pennsylvania, Louisiana State University and was Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Bradley University. In the Federal government, Johnsen was a Research Leader, Director and then Senior Executive with the USDA, Agricultural Research Service. In 2003 he was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering and in 2004 he was named the Federal Laboratory Director of the Year.

Michelle Knox MICHELLE KNOX is the founder and owner of WindSolarUSA, Inc., a turn-key renewable energy company located in Central Illinois. She began research and development of WSU in September of 2008 with a goal of helping the residential, commercial, and agricultural markets to invest in their own clean energy future while attaining a desired level of self-sufficiency.   Michelle received her training through the Midwest Renewable Energy Association in Custer, WI and is a Certified Site Assessor for both solar photovoltaics and solar thermal, and is presently finishing the requirements to obtain the same for wind. WSU has developed multiple photovoltaic projects ranging in size from 1.08kW to 120.15kW.  Prior to pursuing her renewable energy career, she was the Development Director (fundraiser/grant writer) for a private, east-side elementary school in Springfield and a Montessori teacher of 6-9-year-olds. Michelle is an advocate and promoter of renewable education and hopes to use her teaching and fundraising skills to further the advancement of the solar market statewide through her role on the board of the Illinois Solar Energy Association to which she was elected in January of 2013.

Gary Letterly GARY LETTERLY earned a bachelor of science in agriculture - agronomy at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a master of arts - agricultural and environmental affairs at University of Illinois Springfield. Letterly served as an agronomist and plant manager in central Illinois for 14 years prior to Extension. His current research and teaching responsibilities include the development of alternative energy/biofuel crops for regional production. He works locally to investigate various uses of energy crops and screens plant selections for their development into large-scale biomass and cellulosic ethanol fuel stocks.

Dave Loomis DAVID LOOMIS, PH.D., is Professor of Economics at Illinois State University where he teaches in the Master’s Degree program in electricity, natural gas and telecommunications economics.  Dr. Loomis is Director of the Center for Renewable Energy and Executive Director of the Institute for Regulatory Policy Studies.  As part of his duties, he leads the Illinois Wind Working Group under the U.S. Department of Energy.  Dr. Loomis is part of a team of faculty that has designed a new undergraduate curriculum in renewable energy at Illinois State University.  Dr. Loomis earned his Ph.D. in economics at Temple University.  Prior to joining the faculty at Illinois State University, Dr. Loomis worked at Bell Atlantic (Verizon) for 11 years. He has published articles in the Energy Policy, Electricity Journal,  Review of Industrial Organization, Utilities Policy, Information Economics and Policy, International Journal of Forecasting, International Journal of Business Research, Business Economics and the Journal of Economics Education.

Lesley McCain LESLEY McCAIN has been the Illinois Solar Energy Association’s (ISEA) Executive Director since April 2012, and served on the ISEA Board of Directors from September 2009 until April 2012. As ISEA’s Treasurer she sat on the Executive Board from 2009 to 2010. Previously, Lesley was the  Midwest Director of Business Development for Community Energy Inc.,(CEI) where she worked since June 2005. She began with CEI as the Residential Program Manager for the award winning City of Naperville Renewable Energy Program, and in January, 2006 added corporate and industrial sales to her responsibilities. Lesley is passionate about renewable energy and is excited to have the opportunity to help transition Illinois to our clean energy future. Lesley holds a BA from Northern Illinois University in Communication Studies and a Yoga Alliance certified instructor.

Joyce McLaren JOYCE McLAREN has been with NREL for the past five years in the Strategic Energy Analysis Center. She conducts analysis on renewable energy markets, policy and program design at the local, state and national levels, and international policy comparisons. Her most recent work has focused on new business models and utility programs and rate structures to support distributed solar development. She also provides technical assistance to state and local decision makers and municipal utilities.  Before coming to NREL, Joyce worked at the California Energy Commission. She obtained her doctorate in Science and Technology Policy, from the University of Sussex in England, and was a visiting scholar at the University of Lille in France.

Sean Middleton SEAN MIDDLETON, P.E., is the Manager of Engineering at Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative.  He is currently responsible for all new technology applications at the cooperative including engineering and IT.  Middleton received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Bradley University in 1996 and is pursuing his MBA from the University of Illinois at Springfield.  He is a member of the IEEE including the Power Engineering Society and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).  Middleton currently sits on the Smarter Grid member advisory group from the Cooperative Research Network (CRN) under NRECA.

M. Christina Negri M. CRISTINA NEGRI is an agronomist and leads the phytotechnologies R&D activities at Argonne. During her 20+year Argonne appointment, she conducted and directed laboratory to full scale projects developing technologies for environmental stewardship and applying them to design sustainable production systems for lignocellulosic energy crops feedstock. These multidisciplinary projects leverage the understanding of crop/water relationships to maximize both biomass productivity and sustainability, minimize drought losses, and validate strategies for the utilization of alternative water and land resources to increase biomass productivity while at the same time providing positive environmental services. Prior to Argonne, M.C. Negri worked 10 years in private industry in Italy as R&D liaison with universities and other Italian national research organizations. Research focused on developing methods for the sustainable, beneficial reuse of industrial and urban waste and for pollution mitigation in agriculture. This work was in support of a state-of-the-art, innovative, large facility for the treatment and beneficial recovery of waste products in agriculture. She also served as the Convener of a CEN (the European Standardization Organization) Working Group, leading experts from European Union Nations towards the creation of European environmental standards for agricultural commodities.

Mel Nickerson MELVILLE NICKERSON is Deputy Director of the Illinois Energy and Recycling Office for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.  He is an attorney that leads a team specializing in programs and policies that spurs Illinois’ green economy. He has led several key initiatives that include managing the formation of: a clean energy innovation fund, an energy storage initiative, an energy efficient building codes enhancement program, an energy efficiency wastewater treatment plant program and expanded the annual recycling budget as a means of furthering economic development and to offset greenhouse gas emissions.

Mark Nussbaum MARK NUSSBAUM, PE, a Mechanical Engineer in private practice. He is the Principal at Architectural Consulting Engineers in Oak Park, Illinois, and is currently a registered professional engineer in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Prior to starting his own firm, he worked at various size organizations including the US Navy (Nuclear Power Plant Operator), General Electric, the City & County of San Francisco Bureau of Engineering and two mid-size architectural/engineering firms in the St. Louis area.  While he consults on a wide array of projects, the two principle areas in which the firm works are: Historic Properties; and the integration of energy efficient technologies including geothermal system whenever possible. In the nearly two decades that he has been in private practice, he has worked on over 100 projects involving historically significant buildings and dozens of projects which included a geothermal component – either study, design or installation – for a wide array of building types from new construction: Wheaton Christian Grammar School, North Central College Residential/Recreation Building, various municipal, and park district buildings; and existing/historic structures including: Unity Temple, Fabyan Villa, Charles Gates Dawes House, Emil Bach House, Glessner House among others.

Lewis Opsal LEWIS OPSAL is Director of Electrical Operations for the City of Geneseo. He has been with the City of Geneseo for 25 years. He is the chairman of the Illinois Municipal Utilities Association (IMUA) for 2014, and also a member of Midwest Municipal Transmission Group (MMTG).

Bill Poole BILL POOLE is Senior Environmental Project Manager with Stantec Consulting Services Inc., an environmental consulting firm that provides private and public sector clients with a full range of technical natural resource services, and regulatory consultation on today’s complex environmental issues. Bill has degrees in biology and wildlife management from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and has been professionally involved in the natural resources field for over 28 years. His experience includes evaluating potential environmental impacts associated with a variety of development projects such as electric transmission, pipelines, mining, transportation, residential and commercial development and power generating facilities including coal, natural gas, hydroelectric and wind energy projects. Subsequently, he works closely with developers, engineers, contractors and natural resource regulatory agencies to provide solutions for environmental impact avoidance or minimization and, when necessary, develops conservation plans and mitigation strategies for regulatory compliance. His involvement in such projects includes wildlife habitat and risk assessments, endangered and threatened species surveys, wetland and waterway identification and permitting, and avian and bat surveys.

Regan Radtke REGAN RADTKE is a Regulatory Associate with the Energy Biosciences Institute at the University of Illinois. Regan earned her J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law in 2013 and has concentrated her interests on biofuel law and regulation. In particular, Regan has monitored and researched regulatory activity surrounding the Renewable Fuel Standard, focusing on current issues such as RIN fraud and the EPA renewable fuel volume mandates.

Jeff Reinkemeyer JEFF REINKEMEYER is Director of Eastern Renewable Development with Iberdrola Renewables, LLC.  He  graduated from University of Missouri-Rolla in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, earned his MBA from Marylhurst University this past December, has been a licensed Professional Engineer since 1994, and a Certified Energy Manager since 2012. Prior to Iberdrola Renewables, Jeff worked in the petrochemical and rubber industries in production, maintenance, and project engineering roles, worked as a consulting design engineer/construction manager, and later worked as a program manager for a company performing at risk design build construction in a variety of different industries including the energy industry. At Iberdrola Renewables Jeff managed construction for the 72 MW Providence Heights wind project currently operating in Bureau County, IL, and was the lead developer for the 300 MW Streator Cayuga Ridge South wind project currently operating in Livingston County, IL. In addition to overseeing development activities on approximately 1,000 MW of wind and solar projects in the Midwest, Jeff has been involved in development and resolution of various state and federal energy policy initiatives and issues since 2010.

Lillian Salerno LILLIAN SALERNO is Administrator for the Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS), an agency within the Rural Development mission area of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). As Administrator, Ms. Salerno is responsible for overseeing the Agency's $10.7 billion guaranteed loan portfolio. RBS provides financial and technical assistance to small businesses and cooperatives throughout rural America to expand job opportunities, helps businesses grow, promotes energy independence through energy efficiency and the development of clean, renewable forms of energy.  As Administrator, Lillian has focused on strengthening economic development capacity in rural communities including initiatives for job creation, increased access to capital, regional collaboration, and energy efficiency. Ms. Salerno further promotes the Secretarial priorities for strengthening the bioeconomy and supporting local and regional foods. During her tenure at USDA, Lillian has played a key role in support of several Administration initiatives including The White House Business Council, 'Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership' (IMCP) initiative, Advanced Manufacturing and Small Business Credit Initiatives.

Matt Slager MATT SLAGER, P.E., is the Chief Mechanical Engineer at Hanson Professional Services and serves on the Board of Directors for the Geothermal Alliance of Illinois. Matt is a professional engineer licensed in multiple states and holds the LEED AP credential. He has designed numerous innovative commercial HVAC projects for educational, government, and U.S. Department of Defense clients. Much of his professional experience has focused on design and energy modeling of high performance buildings including LEED projects and buildings designed for Net Zero Energy use.

Wes Slaymaker WES SLAYMAKER, P.E., has fourteen years of experience working in the wind energy business. He is currently President of WES Engineering Inc, a six person firm specializing in wind project development, operations, and repairs for mid sized turbines for Schools, Farms and Industrial Clients. He has a Bachelors of Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech, and is a registered Professional Engineer in Minnesota and Wisconsin. He has assisted in all aspects of the development, construction management, and operations of wind turbine projects ranging in size from a single 11kW turbine at BHC College in Illinois, to a 10 MW wind turbine project in Wisconsin. Mr. Slaymaker’s duties include the installation and monitoring of wind measurement equipment, assistance in operations and repairs of wind turbines, turbine layout, permitting, electrical interconnection and construction supervision.

Beth Soholt BETH SOHOLT is Executive Director of  Wind on the Wires, Beth Soholt brings more than 15 years experience working with the electric industry in various capacities. At WOW she directs work in the areas of technical/transmission planning, state regulatory proceedings, legislative education and outreach. She holds a seat on the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) Advisory Committee representing the Environmental Sector. She was also selected as one of three NGO representatives on the Stakeholder Steering Committee of the Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative.  Beth holds a law degree from Hamline University Law School, St. Paul, Minnesota, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa.

 Jay Solomon STANLEY "JAY" SOLOMON is an Energy and Environmental Stewardship with University of Illinois Extension serving Northwestern Illinois.  Renewable energy applications of solar, wind, and biomass have been a part of his educational program for over 12 years.  Since 2009, he a significant part of his work has been in the biomass for heat and power applications.  As a founding member of the Illinois Biomass Working Group, Solomon continues to work on promoting awareness and developing the bridge market opportunities for biomass.  His efforts included research on densification issues, presentations on local production to utilization systems, and a symposium on biomass for heat and power opportunities.  Solomon holds a BS and MS in Agricultural Engineering from Oklahoma State University.  He is a member Illinois Wind Working Group and American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineering Renewable Heat and Power Generation Technical Committee.

Anthony Star ANTHONY STAR was appointed Director of the Illinois Power Agency by the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission in March, 2013. His responsibilities include overseeing the development and implementation of plans to procure electricity and renewable energy resources for residential and small commercial customers who take supply service from Ameren or ComEd.  Prior to his appointment he served as a Policy Advisor to two Chairmen of the Illinois Commerce Commission. Before entering government service Anthony spent thirteen years at the Center for Neighborhood Technology in a variety of roles working on energy policy and environmental sustainability, culminating in the position of Director of Policy and Evaluation for CNT Energy. He helped develop and implement the nation’s first residential real-time pricing program as well as community-based energy efficiency and demand response programs. Anthony holds a BA in History and an MA in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, serves as the Treasurer of the Chicago Recycling Coalition, and is a past Board Member and Treasurer of the Illinois Environmental Council. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two children.

Karen Tyrell KAREN TYRELL, PH.D., is the Manager of the Midwest Biology Department at POWER Engineers, where she provides planning and effects analyses to understand risks to environmental resources, with the goal of optimizing both development and conservation goals. In her work, Dr. Tyrell evaluates potential project siting, construction, and operational features and defines a path compatible with development, agency requirements, and public stakeholder values. Specializing in wildlife impact assessment, mitigation, and regulatory permit compliance, Dr. Tyrell provides a range of environmental studies addressing the needs of commercial developers, as well as federal, state, and municipal government organizations. Karen received her doctorate from the University of Illinois, has served as university faculty, and has developed training courses for federal and state environmental programs. Karen served on the Indiana Bat Recovery Team, and is active on a number of academic advisory committees addressing development of energy generation and distribution facilities.

Chuck VonDrehle C HUC K VONDR EHLE has eight years experience in the solar PV industry and over that time Chuck has worked on over 2MW of solar projects in various capacities including project management and system design.  Chuck currently oversees the operations of the distribution side for Juhl Renewable Energy Services where he provides equipment and technical support to an international array of solar installers.  Juhl has recently developed the SolarBank to address the growing demand for battery storage integrated into both grid-tied and off-grid solar solutions and Chuck handles the technical support and sales channels for the product.  His presentation will focus on the integration of battery-back up systems into solar arrays.  We will discuss some of the technical issues that arise and the new solutions being developed to address this growing market.  

Jolene Willis JOLENE WILLIS is the Sustainable Development Specialist for the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University.  Willis provides technical assistance and public outreach to rural communities with areas of focus on cooperative business development, brownfield technical assistance, and statewide wind energy applied research and outreach, specializing in school/community-based wind energy projects and curriculum resources. She oversees the IIRA’s meteorological tower and data program, conducts research on wind public policy issues, and serves rural areas with wind energy information resources from small to utility scale projects. Willis co-administered the Illinois Wind for Schools program; is an executive committee member of the Illinois Wind Working Group, and serves the Illinois Energy Learning Exchange (ELE) as co-chair of the Career Development Sub-Committee. She has been closely involved in advancing several community wind projects, including the small wind turbine installation at WIU-Macomb campus. Willis has comprehensive leadership experience in economic development and non-profit organizations. She holds a B.S. in agricultural communications from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a M.P.A. from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Paul Wever PAUL WEVER is Co-Founder and President of Chip Energy and President of Paul Wever Construction Equipment Company of Goodfield, IL. Chip Energy specializes in biomass energy and wood waste recycling. We provide biomass fuels as well as devices that utilize them. We offer several products including erosion control socks, mulch, biochar, firewood, pallets, and crates. We will soon be a supplier of wood pellets and biomass briquettes as well following the completion of our Biomass Conversion Facility.

Sarah Wochos SARAH WOCHOS works to encourage clean energy development, energy efficiency, and global warming solutions throughout Illinois and the Midwest.  She previously worked on energy policy at the Council of State Governments – Midwest and health policy at the University of Wisconsin Medical School.

back to top

REGISTER ONLINE! (Click here!)


The Illinois Wind Working Group, Illinois Solar Energy Association, Geothermal Alliance of Illinois, Illinois Biomass Working Group, their members, board members, directors, agents, and other representatives expressly disclaim any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of information posted on this site, directly or via a link, authored by others. Any person that relies on any such information does so at his or her own risk, and shall not attempt to hold the representatives liable or responsible in any way.

No audio or video taping is allowed at The Illinois Renewable Energy Conference without expressed written consent by the host organizations and the speakers.

2014-08-04T13:37:06.188-05:00 2014