UCLA Smart Grid Energy Research CenterConnected Autonomous Electric Vehicle
Electric Transportation of Goods and People and the resulting impact on Energy Infrastructure ConferenceTuesday, September 15, 2020


Amin Ghazanfari
Principal Scientist, Hydro-Québec's Centre of Excellence in Transportation Electrification and Energy Storage

Amin Ghazanfari is with Hydro-Québec's Center of Excellence, where he has served in various capacities at the Development Projects unit. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at Polytechnique Montréal. Amin has completed many award-winning projects and received over 20 major distinctions. Amin has extensive experience in leading global cross-functional teams on large-scale projects in areas of transportation electrification, energy storage systems, and cyber-physical energy systems and helping companies to create more value in their business.

Prior to joining Hydro-Québec, Amin was with MGR Company as the Technical Manager, playing a pivotal role in bringing about organizational changes through the implementation of enterprise resource planning systems designed to increase productivity and efficiency. He served as a Steering Committee Member of the Standardization Advisory Board, developing a strategic roadmap for energy efficiency products. He also served as the Smart Grid Program Lead at the Niroo Research Institute. He has particular expertise in deep research, high-level strategy, consensual negotiations, creating a shared vision within different sectors, and project oversight.

Amin Ghazanfari

Aparna Mehta
Vice President - Global Customer Solutions, UPS

Aparna Mehta is a Vice President in Global Customer Solutions at UPS. An accomplished global logistics & supply chain leader, she works with the Top Tier customers, and is skilled at assessing business processes to develop profitable innovative solutions that enhance customer experiences. For more than 20 years, Aparna offers the entrepreneurial spirit & has been engaged with inspiring teams to peak performance and developing future leaders. Some of her accomplishments include – a TED talk on Online Returns, presenting 2 innovative ideas for startups at UPS – and winning Round 1 funding for both.

She has two Masters’ degrees – an MBA (from India) and a master’s in applied computer science, from Illinois State University. She also has completed the Executive Perspectives Program from Goizueta School, Emory University. Aparna completed a 3-week Community Internship Program with Donaldina Cameron House, San Francisco where she was immersed in our communities to serve. In her personal time, she serves as a member of Ahaana.org, a South Asian non-profit, aimed to uplift widows and abused women in South Asia. She is deeply involved in her spiritual journey, enjoys, reading, traveling, and spending time with family.

Aparna Mehta

Bob Purcell
CEO, VIA Motors International

Bob Purcell is a recognized global leader in business strategy and the development and commercialization of new technology. For over 30 years, he has successfully led new business and advanced technology initiatives with both major manufacturers and start-up companies. Bob is both an experienced operating executive and successful entrepreneur. Bob was appointed CEO of VIA Motors in April 2020 after serving as COO since 2015. VIA Motors develops and produces electric and hybrid drive systems and vehicles for commercial fleets.

He was the Chairman and CEO of Protean Holdings, developer of the revolutionary Protean Drive™ in-wheel electric drive system from 2010 to 2014. He also served on the Board of Boston-Power, a leader in lithium-ion battery systems for automotive applications during this timeframe. Bob's advisory group, Purcell & Associates, which he founded in 2008, has worked with Berkshire Hathaway, Harwinton Capital, Oak Investment Partners, GSR Ventures and Delphi Automotive. The projects were focused on creating and implementing winning business and technology strategies for automotive and clean energy companies. Prior to founding Purcell & Associates, Bob was the Vice President of Global Planning, Sales and Strategic Alliances at the General Motors Powertrain Group. He was responsible for product, business and technology planning for GM's $30B engine and transmission operations worldwide. He also managed Powertrain's $2B annual outside sales activity, and created Powertrain's industry-leading $1B technology licensing portfolio.

From 1994 to 2002, Bob led the General Motors Advanced Technology Vehicles Group (GM ATV). GM ATV functioned as a 'car company within a car company' and was responsible for electric, alternative fuel and military vehicles in the GM product portfolio. This group developed and produced the GM EV-1, the world's first modern electric car, and the S-10e electric truck. Many of the technologies that were pioneered at GM ATV are still widely used throughout the industry today in electric and hybrid vehicle applications. In addition to his responsibilities at GM ATV, Bob also served as Chairman of the Board of the GM-Ovonic Advanced Battery Joint Venture.

In the early 1990's Bob was instrumental in architecting the successful turnaround plan for GM's North American Operations. He began his General Motors' career in 1982 and held a variety of assignments in finance, manufacturing, planning and program management. Bob received his MBA from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, and is a graduate of the Executive Management Program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Bob Purcell

Dakota Semler
Founder and CEO, XOS Trucks

Dakota Semler is the co-founder and CEO of XOS, Inc. His passion for the clean fuels and experience in Fleet Operations established the founding vision for XOS, Inc. Dakota's business and leadership aptitude have been realized through successful ventures in hospitality, real estate, and tour operations. Dakota's vision for XOS, Inc. is to create battery-electric commercial vehicles that achieve performance benchmarks of an existing diesel, accomplish higher levels of reliability, and are commercially viable without public subsidization. This vision has led XOS, Inc. to building and launching its first fully-electric class-8 semi-truck prototype, the ET-One, in December 2017. The ET-One will enter into production in 2019 along with XOS's medium duty class 6 delivery vehicles. Dakota concurrently serves as CEO and founder of Malibu Wines Safari.

Dakota Semler

Freeman Shen
Founder and CEO, WM Motor

Freeman Shen is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of WM Motor, an emerging leader in China's fast growing electric vehicle and e-mobility market. Prior to WM, he co-founded and was CEO of Pateo Group, a leading vehicle connectivity and telematics company. Earlier in his career, Freeman was a Board Member and Group Vice President of Geely Holding Group. While at Geely, he was responsible for the acquisition of Volvo Car Group in 2010, following which he was appointed as Chairman of Volvo China. Prior to Geely, Freeman held a number of senior roles in the automotive industry in China, including VP of Fiat Group China, CEO of Fiat Powertrain Technologies China, and Founder and First President of BorgWarner China. Mr Shen's early career was spent at Eaton Corporation and TXU Group.

Mr. Shen holds a BSc in Engineering Mechanics from the South China University of Technology; an MSc in Structural Engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA); and an MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He is also a graduate of the Advanced Management Program (AMP) at Harvard Business School.

In recognition of his services to local economies and communities, Freeman was awarded the Camellia Award from the Zhejiang Provincial Government in 2003, and the Magnolia Award from the Shanghai Municipal Government in 2013. He was a member of Board of Overseers, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota; a fellow with the Aspen Institute; and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Freeman Shen

Ganesh V. Iyer
EVP, Managing Director, NIO USA

Ganesh Iyer is the Managing Director of NIO in the U.S. and Executive Vice President and Global CIO. He is a business-savvy CIO and Digital development and operations Exec with over 30+ years of experience delivering proven results in various industries including Autonomous Tech, Hi-Tech, Manufacturing, and Telecom. He's recognized for re-booting digital organizations in emerging and global markets and is an expert at change management and building relationships across the organization to achieve company goals.

Previously he held the role of Vice President and CIO at Tesla Motors for nearly 5 years. He led Tesla's E-Commerce, Home Grown ERP, Service Operations, and Business Intelligence systems. Prior to Tesla, he led senior leadership roles at VMWare, Juniper Networks, WebEx, Electronic Data Systems (EDS), and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

Ganesh has a BS Degree in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Mathematics.

Ganesh V. Iyer

Gary Gero
Chief Sustainability Officer, County of Los Angeles

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors appointed Gary Gero to be the County's first Chief Sustainability Officer in November 2016. His duties include: building and launching the largest community choice energy program in California; creating a countywide sustainability plan that addresses regional environmental, economic, and equity issues; and serving as the key environmental advisor to the Board of Supervisors.

Gary previously served as the President of the Climate Action Reserve, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Los Angeles and operating across North America. He now serves as the Vice-Chair on its Board of Directors. He has also serves on the board of Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters and has previously served on the CFTC's Energy and Environmental Markets Committee, the board of the California Invasive Plants Council, and the Glendale City Planning Commission.

Gary's career includes many years in local government including having served as the Assistant General Manager for the City of Los Angeles Environmental Affairs Department. He also worked for several years at the LADWP where he oversaw energy efficiency, renewable energy, and distributed generation programs. Gary earned his Master's degree from the London School of Economics and has a pair of undergraduate degrees from the University of California at Berkeley.

Gary Gero

Jack Allen
Chairman & CEOProterra

Jack Allen is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Proterra. He is a results- focused leader who has spent his career defining the commercial vehicle industry. He has more than three decades of experience in driving core businesses at Navistar International Corporation. He most recently served as Navistar's executive vice president and chief operating officer, and previously was president of that company's North America truck and parts division. Allen also served as president of Navistar's engine group, where he led major business initiatives including the acquisition of Brazilian engine producer MWM and a partnership with MAN of Germany. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and an MBA from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He serves on the boards of the Milwaukee School of Engineering and Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.

Jack Allen

Jordan Smith
Senior Engineer for Emerging Technologies Evaluation, Southern California Edison

Jordan W. Smith is Senior Engineer for Emerging Technologies Evaluation in SCE's Grid Technology and Modernization organization. He has been evaluating advanced technology vehicles, energy storage, and charging infrastructure for 20 years at SCE's EV Technical Center. In 2011, California adopted battery charger efficiency standards in its appliance code, based in part on prior work by Smith at SCE, work which later led to him to chair the SAE J2894 task force on EV charger power quality. In 2013 he developed and executed the SCE test plan which enabled connection of the first vehicle to grid systems in the L.A. Air Force Base V2G pilot - the first V2G systems aggregated to engage in the California ISO ancillary services market. Mr. Smith received a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering and an M.S. degree in engineering management from California State Polytechnic University and is a licensed professional engineer in California.

Jordan Smith

Keshav Sondhi
Director - Fleet Engineering & Sustainability, PepsiCo, Inc.

Keshav is the Director of Fleet Engineering and Sustainability at PepsiCo. At PepsiCo, he is responsible for managing Vehicle Engineering and Vehicle Acquisition programs. His group is also responsible for developing and incorporating innovative vehicle technologies that will help PepsiCo achieve its Sustainability goals. For more than 18 years he has been leading technology development and vehicle engineering efforts at some of the largest fleets in the Utility, Manufacturing and Global Logistics industries. Prior to joining PepsiCo, Keshav worked in a similar capacity at Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) in California and at FedEx Express in Memphis. Having worked for large fleets and also for an Electric and Natural Gas utility, he has a keen perspective on the opportunities and the challenges that accompany the use of clean alternative energy sources. He was awarded Aspen Institute's First Movers Fellowship in 2011 for his commitment to reduce a fleets' reliance on petroleum based fuels. Keshav has an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and a graduate degree in Manufacturing/Industrial Engineering.

Keshav Sondhi

Lincoln Bleveans
Assistant General Manager, Power Supply, Burbank Water and Power

Lincoln Bleveans has been an executive in the global energy industry for over 25 years, focused on electric power and sustainability. His experience spans the globe and the energy value chain, from emerging technologies to independent power project (IPP) development to utility operations. He is an internationally recognized thought-leader, writer, and speaker on energy, sustainability, and leadership known for progressive but pragmatic solutions to complex, high-impact challenges. Mr. Bleveans is currently an executive at Burbank Water & Power, an innovative and high-performing electric and water utility in Southern California providing reliable, affordable, sustainable power and innovative solutions to media giants and residential customers alike.

Lincoln Bleveans

Marc Manning
VSenior Director, Vehicle Engineering & AcquisitionLA Metro

Marc Manning is the Senior Director, Vehicle Engineering & Acquisition at Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He is responsible for engineering support and acquisition for Metro’s ~2400 bus fleet. Additionally, his team is tasked with developing the roadmap for 100% ZEB (Zero Emission Buses) by 2030. Prior to Metro, he worked at CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) for 4 years where he managed the electric bus program, acquisition of new buses, and engineering support for over 1800 Buses. Before his public transit experience, he worked in product development for Cummins Inc. He has a BSME from Georgia Tech and a MSME from North Carolina State University.

Marc Manning

Nancy Sutley
Chief Sustainabiity Officer, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

In July 2014, Nancy Sutley was named Chief Sustainability and Economic Development Officer of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) where she oversees energy efficiency, water conservation, economic development, and electrification of the transportation network. Prior to LADWP, Nancy Sutley served as Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality from January 2009 to February 2014. Under Sutley, the Council on Environmental Quality played a central role in shepherding the Obama Administration’s signature environmental accomplishments. Sutley was one of the chief architects of President Obama’s June 2013 Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare the U.S for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to address climate change.

Prior to her appointment as Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, Sutley was the Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment for the City of Los Angeles, California under Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. She represented Los Angeles on the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. She served on the California State Water Resources Control Board from 2003- 2005. Sutley also was Energy Advisor for California Governor Gray Davis, and Deputy Secretary for policy and intergovernmental relations at the California EPA from 1999-2003. During the administration of President Clinton, Sutley worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Regional Administrator in San Francisco and Special Assistant to the Administrator in Washington, D.C. Sutley received her bachelor's degree from Cornell University and her Master in Public Policy from Harvard University. Sutley resides in Los Angeles, CA.

Nancy Sutley

Noel Crisostomo
Air Pollution Specialist, California Energy Commission

Noel Crisostomo is an Air Pollution Specialist leading the design of transportation electrification policy at the California Energy Commission. In this role, his efforts aim to improve coordination between charging infrastructure regulations, grid integration technology analysis, incentives, and forecasting. Previously, Noel was a regulatory analyst at the California Public Utilities Commission, where he oversaw the investor-owned utilities' development of electric vehicle programs including dynamic rates, charging infrastructure installation, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, and demonstrations leveraging electric vehicles as grid resources. Noel has previous experience at Rocky Mountain Institute, San Diego Gas & Electric, and holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Earth Systems from Stanford University.

Noel Crisostomo

Rajit Gadh
Professor and Director, UCLA Connected Autonomous Electric Vehicle (CAEV), Smart Grid Energy Research Center (SMERC), Energy for a Smart Grid Consortium (ESmart)

Dr. Rajit Gadh is a Professor at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at UCLA, and the Founding Director of the UCLA Smart Grid Energy Research Center or SMERC. He is also Founder and Director of the Connected and Autonomous Electric Vehicle or CAEV.

Dr. Gadh's research interests include Smart Grid, Electric Vehicles (EV), EV-Grid Integration, Renewable-integration, Distributed Energy Resources, Autonomous Vehicles, Artificial Intelligence, Wireless sensors and RFID, and IOT, . He has over 200 papers in journals, conferences and technical magazines, and several patents granted.

He has a Doctorate degree from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), a Masters from Cornell University and a Bachelor's degree from IIT Kanpur. He has taught as a visiting researcher at UC Berkeley, has been an Assistant, Associate and Full Professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and did his sabbatical as a visiting researcher at Stanford University for a year. He has won several awards from NSF (CAREER award, Research Initiation Award, NSF-Lucent Industry Ecology Award, GOAL-I award), SAE (Ralph Teetor award), IEEE (second best student-paper, WTS), ASME (Kodak Best Technical Paper award), AT&T (Industrial ecology fellow award), Engineering Education Foundation (Research Initiation Award), William Wong Fellowship award from University of Hong-Kong, etc., and other accolades in his career. He is on the Editorial board of ACM Computers in Entertainment Publication and the CAD Journal.

Rajit Gadh

Stella Li
President, BYD Motors Inc.

Stella Li is Senior Vice President of BYD Company Limited and President of BYD Motors Inc. She is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations and long-term strategic planning for BYD's North American and Latin American operations. Under Stella's leadership, BYD has achieved exponential international market growth and became a dominant global force in clean technology and consumer electronics.

BYD Motors Inc. is an American manufacturing company and a wholly owned subsidiary of BYD Company Ltd, a global technology company with over $15B in revenue annually and over 220,000 employees across the globe. BYD was founded in 1995 as a battery manufacturer and advanced consumer electronics company. In 2003, BYD entered the automotive market and began to apply its battery expertise to the challenge of transportation, becoming the largest domestic car manufacturer in China. BYD's unique combination of battery and automotive experience is now revolutionizing every aspect of clean transportation, with a product line of 100% electric buses, trucks, forklifts, passenger vehicles, and monorail systems. BYD's clean energy division also produces energy storage systems, solar panels, and LED lights.

Stella successfully launched BYD's cutting-edge technology products into markets across the globe. In September 1996, Stella joined BYD as a Marketing Manager. She established the first overseas office in Hong Kong in 1997, the European headquarters in Amsterdam in 1999, and the North American headquarters for batteries and consumer electronics in Chicago in 2000. In 2002, she helped develop the partnership between BYD and Motorola, providing the latter with mobile phone batteries and a wide range of components and parts. As the architect of BYD's thriving expansions in the Americas, Stella established the company's North American clean energy and transportation headquarters in Los Angeles in 2011 and its manufacturing in 2013 for electric buses, trucks, and energy modules in Los Angeles County.

Stella earned her B.A. in Statistics from Fudan University - one of the top 5 universities in China and among the most selective institutions of higher learning in the world. She was appointed as Vice President of BYD Company Limited in 2002 and Senior Vice President in 2006. Since 2007, she has focused on BYD's business development throughout the Americas.

Stella Li

Vandana (Ana) Mangal
Faculty Lecturer, UCLA and Executive Director of Easton Technology Management Center (former), UCLA Anderson School of Management

Dr. Vandana (Ana) Mangal teaches management classes at UCLA and consults on innovation and edtech for higher education. As Innovation Advisor at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, she has worked with the Dean and his leadership team on the strategic initiative to bring innovation into the curriculum for the purpose of differentiation. She has also led the initiative to integrate fourth industrial revolution technologies such as AI, data and blockchain into the MBA curriculum at Graziadio, to prepare MBAs to manage and lead in digitally transforming sectors. Earlier, Dr. Mangal was the Executive Director of the Easton Technology Management Center at UCLA Anderson School of Management, where she was instrumental in creating the strategy and design for a technology leadership certificate program which she grew into an endowed Center. Through her research on the BIT project at UCLA Anderson, she has published four books, papers and articles. Dr. Mangal speaks at conferences and forums on emerging technology related topics including women in technology, AI for education, preparing the workforce of the future and disruption in the transportation sector with technology deployment. Her PhD is from Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College and she has worked at Intel Corp, Tata Group and AE Business Solutions consulting before UCLA Anderson. She received her PhD from Carnegie Mellon University and her undergraduate degree is in Electrical Engineering.

Vandana (Ana) Mangal

Previous Speakers/Panelists

Alan Westenskow Director of Business Development Proterra Inc.
Alexander Keros Manager, Advanced Vehicle and Infrastructure Policy General Motors
Amy Lilly State Regulatory Principal Specialist Mercedes-Benz Research & Development N.A.
Andrea Linder Customer Experience Specialist Porsche Motorsport
Angelina Galiteva Board of Governors California ISO
Austin Heyworth Public Affairs Manager Uber
Bernd Pichler Chief Marketing Officer ICONIQ Motors
Brittany Syz Director of Clean Transportation San Diego Gas & Electric
Colton Ching Vice President, Energy Delivery Hawaiian Electric Company
Dakota Semler CEO XOS Inc.
Dwight Brown Director, Vehicle electrification strategy General Motors, China
Henrik Fisker Chairman Fisker Inc.
Jenny Elfsberg Director Innovation Lab Hub US Volvo Group
João Torres CEO, EDP Distribuição Portuguese Distribution System Operator
Josep Miro Olive R&D SAIC Volkswagen
Katie Sloan Director, eMobility SCE
Kevin Dasso Senior Director of Smart Grid & Technology Integration Pacific Gas & Electric Company
Leon Kaunitz Director of Body and Structural Engineering NIO USA Inc.
Livio Gallo Chief Executive Officer Enel Distribuzione
Lori Pepper Deputy Secretary for Innovative Mobility Solutions California State Transportation Agency
Mani Srivastava Professor UCLA Electrical Engineering
Mark McGranaghan Vice President Electric Power Research Institute
Marvin Moon Assistant General Manager Pasadena Water and Power
Matt Mikio Miyasato Assistant Deputy Executive Officer Air Quality Management District
Michelle Bogen Manager, Advanced Powertrain BMW of North America
Nancy Ryan Deputy Executive Director for Policy CPUC
Nancy Sutley Chief Sustainability and Economic Development Officer LADWP
Noel Crisostomo Air Pollution Specialist California Energy Commission
Pat Hoffman Assistant Secretary U.S. DOE
Rajit Gadh Director UCLA Smart Grid Energy Research Center
Robert Weisenmiller Chair California Energy Commission
Ryan Harty Manager of Connected and Environmental Business Development American Honda Motor Co.
Stefan Hertel Chief Engineering UX GEELY EV
Stefan Krause CEO Canoo
Stella Li President BYD Motors Inc.
Stephen B. Wemple Vice President, Regulatory Affairs Con Edison
Thilo Markiewicz Manager Smart Charging & Energy Solutions Byton
Todd Petersen Mobility 2.0 Product Manager LADOT
Tom Doughty Vice President, Customer and State Affairs California ISO
Tsu-Chin Tsao Professor UCLA Mechanical and Aerospace
Veronica Siranosian Senior Project Manager AECOM Ventures
Vibhu Kaushik Director, Grid Technology and Modernization Southern California Edison
Vijaya Ganugula Manager, Demand Response Operations NYISO
Vincent Poor Professor of Electrical Engineering & Dean School of Engineering and Applied Science Princeton University