Innovation and Sustainability Manager, Waterfront Toronto
Aaron leads corporate initiatives focused on green buildings, zero-carbon communities, and energy system planning for new waterfront neighbourhoods, including the strategy for sustainable development at Sidewalk Toronto. He previously worked at MaRS Discovery District’s Advanced Energy Centre, and started his career in land development and utility construction at Mattamy Homes, North America’s largest private homebuilder.
Managing & Technical Director, OpenADR Alliance
Rolf is the Managing & Technical Director of the OpenADR Alliance. In this capacity, Rolf oversees all aspects of the non-profit organization, the technical developments, and the certification program. Before going independent, Rolf was the Technical Manager for Telecom and the Global Competence Center for emerging communication protocols at a global testing firm. In this role, Rolf was involved in many international standardization efforts and guided the company's efforts in these areas.
Rolf has been an active member of the NIST SGTCC, USNAP Alliance, ZigBee Alliance, and other organizations driving the development of new technologies with a specific focus on standardization, certification and interoperability. Rolf holds a Master’s Degree in electrical engineering.
SVP, Partnerships & Managing Director, Advanced Energy Centre, MaRS Discovery District
Ron leads all corporate partnership activity at the MaRS Discovery District. MaRS is a 1.5 million square foot innovation hub based in Toronto, Canada. As one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs, MaRS works with over 1,000 companies across multiple sectors, helping them to scale their businesses. In this role, Ron works with a broad range of globally significant corporate partners, creating pathways to market for MaRS’ ventures and working with our partners to improve their abilities to unlock their own capabilities to adopt innovation faster.
Ron joined MaRS in July 2014, to help found and lead the MaRS Advanced Energy Centre as its Managing Director. The Centre works with a diverse group of public and private partners, to accelerate the adoption of innovative Canadian clean energy technologies into the energy ecosystem. The organization works across the entire energy sector, taking a holistic and systemic approach in removing barriers to market entry, scale-up and export.
Ron is recognized as a thought leader regarding the clean energy opportunities that lie within the evolution of the modern power system. Based on his well-respected perspective on the smart grid, he was recruited to the executive committee of the board for both the Ontario Energy Association and the Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid. He is also elected chair of the Corporate Partners Committee of the Ontario Smart Grid Forum. Prior to joining MaRS, Ron was the President and CEO of ENBALA Power Networks, a leading smart grid technology company offering grid optimization services to utilities and system operators by harnessing the capabilities inherent in the demand side of the electricity system. Ron holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto.
Chair, 38 North Solutions
Katherine Hamilton is Chair of 38 North Solutions, a public policy consultancy specializing in clean energy and innovation. Her firm also manages a non-profit organization, Project for Clean Energy and Innovation. Previously, she ran the GridWise Alliance, was policy director to the Energy Storage Association, and served as an advisor for Good Energies, a private equity company with a clean energy portfolio. Katherine directed American Bioenergy Association, developing renewable portfolio standards in states legislatures, including Maryland and New Jersey.
At the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Katherine worked in buildings research and government relations. Katherine spent a decade at an investor-owned utility, designing electrical systems for commercial and residential developments. Katherine holds degrees from Cornell University and the Sorbonne. She was appointed an Ambassador to the Secretary of Energy’s C3E Program under the Clean Energy Ministerial; is a co-host of The Energy Gang podcast through Greentech Media; serves as President of the Board of GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic; and is Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the Future of Energy.
UNB Chair, J Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management & Entrepreneurship University of New Brunswick
Dhirendra is Professor and the Dr J Herbert Smith ACOA Chair in Technology Management and Entrepreneurship at the University of New Brunswick (UNB), Canada. Dhirendra utilizes his expertise from the telecom sector and extensive academic background in the areas of entrepreneurial finance, masters of business administration, and engineering, to promote a bright future for New Brunswick.
Passionate about entrepreneurship, design, engineering, innovation, and leadership, Dhirendra ignites this same passion in others through his teaching at UNB, local entrepreneurial community outreach, and the creation of programs such as the Masters of Technology Management and Entrepreneurship (MTME) program, Technology Commercialization Program, Summer Institute and Energia Ventures. Recognition of his tireless efforts and vision are demonstrated through UNB’s 2014 award from Startup Canada as “Most Entrepreneurial Post-Secondary Institution of the Year”. Most recently, he received the Entrepreneur Promotion Award by Startup Canada (2017), as well as the Outstanding Educator Award by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of New Brunswick in 2018.
Robert T. Wilhite, III
Managing Director, Navigant Energy
In his role as a Managing Director in Navigant's Energy practice, Rob leads the global utilities client segment and serves on the Energy practice leadership team. He also supports the firm's growth with a focus on senior client relationships, engagement delivery, and industry thought leadership. Since starting his career 33 years ago, Rob has worked exclusively in the energy industry and brings a unique combination of technical knowledge and business strategy experience.
On a global basis, Rob has often advised energy clients in achieving increased efficiency in strategic and master planning, operational effectiveness, grid automation, and technology strategy and implementation. He also supports utility strategies seeking new revenue growth and business expansion. In addition to utilities, Rob has also developed growth and market entry strategies for competitive retail energy firms, equipment suppliers, private equity firms, government agencies and municipalities, and industry policy groups.
Rob began his career with an 11-year stint at Florida Power & Light (FPL), where he managed State-wide energy efficiency programs and developed technical expertise in planning, designing, and overseeing construction of electric distribution facilities. Following FPL, Rob worked for the Electric Power Research Institute and then with Accenture. More recently, Rob applied the past 12 years of his career with KEMA (now DNV GL), where he was responsible for achieving growth, profitability, and operational performance objectives as managing director for the Americas, and as global director for all management and operations consulting. He developed KEMA’s grid modernization advisory unit, overseeing expansion into one of the more successful practices within KEMA, but also positioned the firm as a respected market leader in this domain. He also co-authored KEMA’s first book, Utility of the Future: Directions for Enhancing Sustainability, Reliability and Profitability.
Rob was recognized as one of the top 25 consultants in the U.S. by Consulting Magazine in 2009. He has also been cited as one of the Networked Grid 100 Movers and Shakers of the Smart Grid by Greentech Media in 2012, as well as participated in President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in 2011.