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BEL Leadership

Gary Connett

Gary Connett, Great River Energy (retired)

Co-Chair

Gary is a recently retired electric utility executive with a long-standing and demonstrated history of working in the national electric utility industry. Prior to his retirement, Gary was the director of demand-side management and member services for Great River Energy, a generation and transmission cooperative located in Maple Grove, MN. In that capacity Gary was responsible for the organization’s nationally recognized demand-side management programs, which included demand response, conservation and energy efficiency, and beneficial electrification initiatives.

Today Gary continues to be actively engaged in the electric energy business by being a consultant to the National Rural Electric Association, and Co-Chairman of the newly formed Beneficial Electrification League. Gary holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Bethel University, St. Paul, MN, and a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from St. Thomas University, St. Paul, MN.

Keith Dennis

Keith Dennis, NRECA

Co-Chair

Keith Dennis is a Senior Director in the Business and Technologies Strategies Division of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). Keith has an interdisciplinary background in engineering, business, and law and works with NRECA’s Legislative, Regulatory Policy, and Technical teams on issues related to energy end use, including energy efficiency and demand response. Keith has published numerous papers on beneficial electrification and leads this initiative on behalf of NRECA.

Prior to joining NRECA, Keith worked at the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) where he led a Policy and Guidance Team for a $3.2 billion energy efficiency and conservation grant program. He also served at The White House Council on Environmental Quality where he supported several large energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. He has also held numerous positions in the private sector.

Keith holds an A.B. in Engineering and Environmental Sciences from Dartmouth College, a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) and Master of Engineering Management (M.E.M.) from the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, and a Master of Studies in Environmental Law (M.S.E.L), summa cum laude, from Vermont Law School. He is also licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.).

Robin Roy

Robin Roy, Next Energy US, by courtesy of NRDC

Vice Chair

Robin advises government, industry and environmental organizations on energy policy and strategy, focusing primarily on practical steps toward an energy future that is deeply decarbonized, abundant, resilient, and economically vibrant. Focus areas include beneficial electrification (serving as Vice Chair of the of the Beneficial Electrification League), advanced storage and grid-responsive consumer technologies to integrate clean electricity, and currently coordinates a multi-party clean ammonia energy project.

Robin works at the nexus between the practicalities of competitive markets, effective public policy, and the opportunity created by technological and institutional innovation, with a particular focus on bringing greater mutual understanding among diverse stakeholders where that can advance business, consumer, and environmental opportunities.

Robin previously co-founded Next Energy P/L, an adviser to Australian governments, industry and environmental organizations on energy policy, strategy and project management. He was formerly Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, focusing on new directions for federal and state clean energy policy, and continues to consult to NRDC.

Robin served as Project Director & Fellow at the U.S Congress Office of Technology Assessment, advising the Congress on vulnerability of electricity systems to terrorism and natural disaster, energy efficiency in the federal government and housing sectors, competition in the electricity market, fusion energy research, and nuclear power plant life extension and decommissioning. Early in his career, he was with Pacific Gas and Electric Company developing strategic opportunities in demand response and in combined heat and power.

Robin serves on the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Energy and Environment Directorate Advisory Committee, the Next Step Network Board of Directors, and has served on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s federal advisory committee on manufactured housing.

Robin received a PhD – Civil Engineering, MS – Engineering-Economic Systems and BS – Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

Ruth Calderon

Ruth Calderon, Golden Spread Electric Cooperative

Ms. Ruth Calderon joined Golden Spread Electric Cooperative, Inc. in February 2012 and has 13 years of experience in leading environmental and regulatory initiatives. In her current position as Environmental Policy and Legislative Affairs Manager, Ms. Calderon effectively advocates for rural electric cooperative issues and is responsible for the development of strategy and policy related to environmental and legislative concerns. Ms. Calderon currently serves as President of the National Rural Electric Environmental Association . Before joining the Golden Spread team, Ms. Calderon worked for Xcel Energy Services, where she managed regulatory case filings as a Regulatory Case Specialist. Ms. Calderon holds an M.S. in Environmental Science from West Texas A&M University.

Carla Frisch

Carla Frisch, Rocky Mountain Institute

Carla is a Principal at RMI working on America’s Pledge. America’s Pledge brings together private and public sector leaders to ensure the United States remains a global leader in reducing emissions and delivers the country’s ambitious climate goals of the Paris Agreement. Before joining RMI, Carla worked at the US Department of Energy for ten years under three different administrations. She directed policy and analysis offices focused on climate and environment, energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean transportation, and electricity systems. She led large, collaborative teams and multi-million-dollar portfolios, resulting in better designed national energy and climate policies. Carla worked extensively on climate vulnerabilities and solutions, including on the National Climate Assessment and US Midcentury Strategy. Carla also has experience working in local government and is a Certified Energy Measurement and Verification Professional.

Diane Huis

Diane Huis, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives

Diane Huis is the Senior Vice President, Innovation and Business Development for the NC Electric Cooperatives. In this role, she is responsible for working closely with the member cooperatives as well as the statewide team to identify and incorporate beneficial electrification opportunities in the areas of electric transportation, industry, agriculture and grid flexibility. Diane’s previous experience with the NC Electric Cooperatives includes wholesale power supply resource planning and portfolio management, risk management, transmission planning and regulatory affairs. Diane graduated from Georgia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of NC. She is a graduate of Leadership North Carolina Class XXV, a program that engages leaders from across NC to learn about issues related to government, economic development, health and human services, education and the environment.

Steven Koep

Steven Koep

General Manager & Beneficial Electrification Ambassador

Steven Koep currently serves as General Manager of Beneficial Electrification League (BEL). With specific expertise and experience in the evolving Electric Water Heating, Demand Response, Renewable Storage and Beneficial Electrification (BE) markets, Steve has over 25 years of experience working with the electric utility industry to develop new opportunities for leading-edge energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.