Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association
Janine Benner - Energy Director, Oregon Department of Energy
Janine Benner serves as the Director of the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE). Janine joined ODOE in 2017 as Assistant Director for Planning and Innovation and was confirmed by the Oregon Senate as ODOE’s director in February 2018.
Janine came to ODOE from the U.S. Department of Energy, where she served as Associate Assistant Secretary in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs.
Janine also spent 12 years working for Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) as Energy and Environmental Policy Advisor, Legislative Director, and Deputy Chief of Staff. She grew up in Portland, OR and has a degree in history from Princeton University.
Scott Campbell - President, United Steelworkers, Local 12-591
Scott has worked in energy logistics in the Pacific Northwest for 15 years. In his current role with the United Steelworkers, he is interested in the potential for efficiently diversifying the energy portfolio for the state to integrate cleaner energy technologies and provide family wage jobs that multiply in the community.
More about United Steelworkers, Local 12-591.
Kent Caputo - Chief Operating Officer, Cowlitz Indian Tribe
Tim Cortes - Chief Technology Officer, Plug Power
Tim Cortes is Chief Technology Officer at Plug. Headquartered in the Capital Region, Plug is guiding the world to a more sustainable future with accessible, reliable and cost-effective green hydrogen energy. As the leader of the end-to-end green hydrogen economy, Plug provides services from production to storage and delivery of hydrogen to energy generation to help customers like Amazon, Walmart and Home Depot meet their business goals and significantly reduce carbon emissions.
Mr. Cortes’ focus includes responsibility for the company’s long-term technology strategy and vision. Mr. Cortes works with the leadership team to develop technology roadmaps, design solutions and implement processes that make technology development a significant differentiator for Plug. He collaborates with industry leaders and assesses customer needs to ensure that the organization proactively anticipates, supports, and solves technical problems in support of customer issues. Additionally, Mr. Cortes identifies potential M&A opportunities that will drive the technology roadmaps as well as position Plug to vertically integrate in key component and subsystem elements.
Mr. Cortes joined Plug as Vice President of Hydrogen Energy Systems in January of 2015. Prior to joining Plug, Mr. Cortes served as Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Engineering at Smiths Power. In these positions, he was responsible for research and development, as well as solutions for global applications. During his tenure at Smiths Power, Mr. Cortes led product line expansion that resulted in a doubling of revenue growth in less than six years.
As a thought leader in the space, Mr. Cortes has testified before Congress and spoken at various industry events, sharing his expertise and perspectives on pertinent topics surrounding the hydrogen economy. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from New Mexico State University, has several patents covering power system architecture and is on the Board of Directors for the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association.
Michelle Detwiler - Executive Director, Renewable Hydrogen Alliance
Michelle’s career spans over 20 years in the energy sector, primarily in government affairs. She came to RHA from PacifiCorp, a Berkshire Hathaway Energy utility, where she oversaw the utility’s engagement in California and Washington state legislative issues. She has managed Alaska public utility clients in an energy law practice and international, federal and state energy efficiency policy for a global building products manufacturer.
Prior to settling in Portland, Oregon, Michelle worked for the World Bank in Washington, DC, on infrastructure projects in China, the Middle East and North Africa.
Michelle received her Bachelor of Arts in Policy Studies from Syracuse University, and her Master’s in Public Administration from George Washington University.
More about the Renewable Hydrogen Alliance
Conor Duggan – Director of Government Affairs, First Mode
Robin Everett - Senior Organizing Manager, Sierra Club
Aaron Feaver - Director, The Joint Center for Deployment and Research in Earth Abundant Materials (JCDREAM)
As Director of The Joint Center for Deployment and Research in Earth Abundant Materials (JCDREAM), Aaron aims to bring together researchers and industry throughout Washington to focus on sustainable material supply chains for clean energy and transportation.
Under the umbrella of JCDREAM, Aaron has led the development of the Consortium for Hydrogen and Renewably Generated E-Fuels (CHARGE), which supports the growth of the hydrogen economy in Washington state. CHARGE envisions a robust, equitable, and well-connected hydrogen economy built on sustainable material supply chains.
Prior to JCDREAM, Aaron specialized in energy storage, nanotechnology, and ultracapacitors. He co-founded EnerG2 and Group14 Technologies, two successful startups in the Seattle area focused on the synthesis and processing of high-performance carbon materials. Aaron received a Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Washington.
Jackie Flowers - Director/CEO, Tacoma Public Utilities
Chris Green - Assistant Director, Office of Economic Development & Competitiveness
Before joining the Washington State Department of Commerce, Chris served as Vice President for Business Retention and Expansion for the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County, a private, non-profit organization focused on recruiting and retaining businesses in Pierce County. While working at the EDB, Chris worked with hundreds of firms helping them to identify tax incentives, workforce training options, financing packages and a variety of other resources to help them grow and create jobs. Chris also served as the current Co-Chair of the Tacoma-Pierce Aerospace Partners, a group focused on growing and improving the local aerospace industry. Prior to his work at the EDB, Chris worked in government relations and also worked on the staff of several elected officials, including former Congressman Norm Dicks, current Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and current Congressman Derek Kilmer.
Chet Greene - President, Par Rocky Midstream
Chet Greene is the President of Par Rocky Mountain Midstream and Vice President of Business Development and Renewable initiatives for Par Pacific Holdings. Chet has spent his entire career in the energy sector, starting with Shell Pipeline, then working for Buckeye Partners, moving on to SEACOR Energy, then working to develop Par Pacific Holdings.
Chet has a degree in Electrical Engineering and has focused most of his career on building pipeline systems, product terminals, marine facilities and unit train operations.
He is excited about participating on the PNWH2 board and helping develop new strategies that will meet the state and federal goals, as well as reduce the carbon emissions in our fossil fuel.
Gary Ivory - Director, Douglas PUD
Gary Ivory has an Accounting degree and an MBA from Washington State University. He worked for the Washington State Auditor’s Office before joining Douglas PUD in 1997. He worked as the District’s Chief Accountant, Auditor and Treasurer before being named General Manager in July 2017.
Gary serves as secretary of the Pacific Northwest Renewable Hydrogen Association. He has held leadership roles in the community with the Bridgeport School Board and Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Gary is married and has three grown children. In his free time, he enjoys snowmobiling, biking and spending time with his family.
Josh Jacobs - VP Clean Energy Strategy, Puget Sound Energy
Alan Krause - Global Director, Renewable Energy Fortescue Future Industries
Alan Krause currently serves as a Global Director for Renewable Energy for Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) and provides senior and executive guidance on renewable energy opportunities globally. He has 45 years of experience in energy and water infrastructure development, serving as Chairman, CEO and President of MWH Global and, after merging with Stantec, as Global President. Stantec is considered a top ten global engineering company with ~27,000 staff and an annual turnover of ~$5B. During his career, Alan has focused on the natural resource and water infrastructure sector and has extensive experience with global projects involving hydropower, pumped storage, geothermal and wind generation+baseload on a global basis.
Residing in the Pacific Northwest, Alan has been a key executive in FFI and is deeply familiar with strategies to optimize intermittent renewable energy sources (i.e., wind and solar) with dispatchable baseline (MidC hydropower energy) to improve electrolysis efficiencies. In his four-plus decade career, Alan has extensive experience delivering large, complex and challenging infrastructure projects, including the recently completed new Panama Canal, where he served as the Design and CM key executive on arguably the single largest heavy civil project of the century.
He holds an MS in Geological Engineering (Geotechnical) from the Mackay School of Mines and completed the three-year (1996-98) Owners – Presidents Program at Harvard Business School.
Dan McKisson - President, ILWU WA Area District Council
John Mi - Head of Worldwide Hydrogen Strategy, Amazon
John Mi leads hydrogen strategy at Amazon. Before joining Amazon, he held various leadership roles at large renewable energy companies. His professional experience has focused primarily on the financing and business development of innovative energy solutions.
John is passionate about environmental equality and corporate sustainability. He holds a MA in Environmental and Resource Economics from Duke University and a BA in Environmental Science from Colorado College.
April Sims - President, Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO
April Sims (she/her) was elected President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, in October 2022 and was sworn in to begin her four-year term in January 2023. She is the first woman to be elected WSLC president and the first Black woman elected to the presidency of an AFL-CIO state federation. As President, April is the chief executive officer of the council, supervises all of its activities and staff, and leads Washington’s largest union organization representing more than half a million union members.
April’s lived experience is evidence of the power and potential of organized labor. The granddaughter of Louisiana sharecroppers and the daughter of a single mother, she has seen the power of unions to change lives. The Great Migration brought April’s grandfather to Washington, where his union job provided economic dignity for his family. Her mom’s union job pulled their family out of the cycle of poverty. As a young mother, it was April’s union job that allowed her to build economic security – and activated her as a leader in Washington’s labor movement.
In 2002, April joined the staff of her union, Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE), eventually serving as Legislative and Political Action Field Coordinator. She joined the WSLC staff in 2015 as Field Mobilization Director before becoming the WSLC’s Political and Strategic Campaign Director in 2017.
In 2018, the unions that comprise the WSLC elected April as Secretary-Treasurer of the council, the first person of color elected as a WSLC executive officer. She served in that office, as the council’s chief financial officer, from 2019 to 2022.
An innovator and change maker, April is a life-long Tacoma resident living with her family and 110-pound chocolate lab in the gritty city she’s proud to call home.
Jeff Warnke - Director of Government and Public Relations, Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation
Born and raised in western Washington, Jeff Warnke is a University of Washington Tacoma Graduate. He was raised on the waters and in the mountains of the beautiful state of Washington.
Early in his career, Jeff worked in politics and elections. He has spent the past 25 years working for the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation in a variety of roles. Most recently, he has worked as the Director of Government and Public Relations for 5 Tribal Chairman. Job duties include direct lobbying, negotiating with outside governments on a wide range of issues, managing community relationships on behalf of the tribe, and managing the tribe’s charitable donations and media relations.
Jeff finds that there is always something exciting on the horizon with his job.
Tom Wolf - Senior Government Affairs Manager, US West Coast, BP America
For the past 37 years, Tom has enjoyed the opportunity to take complex issues, translate them into clear messages and take them to the court of public opinion.
In his current role as bp’s Senior Government Relations Manager – U.S. West Coast, BP America, Tom focuses on issues and opportunities for the company in Washington, Oregon and California – working from the company’s Cherry Point refinery outside of Blaine, Washington.
Prior to his time at bp, Tom was Executive Director of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce’s Energy Council in Chicago — where he led the Council’s charge to develop environmentally responsible, fact-based and cost-effective energy policies. Before his Chamber activities, Tom spent two decades in the public affairs agency arena working for nonprofit, government, political, and corporate clients. During that time, Tom had the honor of advancing governors, congress members, senators, a president (Clinton) and a presidential candidate (Obama). He has worked with clients in Aruba, Kuwait, Antigua, Panama, Brazil and (mainly) the United States.
Tom lives in Bellingham, Washington, with his wife, Barbara Govednik, and is a longtime baseball fan who loves popcorn (hence the picture). He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations (a long time ago!).