West Virginia Department of Commerce Speaker Bios

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Speaker Bios




Phil DiPietro
David M. Flannery
James R. Haney
Steven B. Hedrick
Jeff Herholdt
Charlie Huguenard
Calvin A. Kent, Ph.D
Susan Lavenski

Mike McKechnie
Mark Muchow
Christine Risch
Scott Rotruck
Gary Thompson
Gene Trisko
Chris Weikle
Tom Witt

Phil DiPietro

Phil DiPietro
Office of Strategic Energy
Analysis and Planning, NETL

Phil DiPietro works as an analyst at the United States Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. He specializes in carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (CO2 EOR) although he is also interested in coal power plant efficiency. Mr. DiPietro served as the DOE manager for the 2011 CO2 EOR Resource Assessment Report, “Improving Domestic Energy Security and Lower CO2 Emissions with Next Generation CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery.” He also recently co-authored an SPE journal paper, “A Note on Sources of CO2 Supply for Enhanced Oil Recovery Operations.” Currently Mr. DiPietro is working with the staff at Advanced Resources International to develop the next version of the CO2 EOR Resource Assessment. He is also developing a scenario analysis that will look at CO2 EOR deployments over the next 50 years, and specifically where the CO2 is going to come from.

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David M. Flannery

David M. Flannery
Jackson Kelly PLLC


David M. Flannery is a member of Jackson Kelly PLLC, and the firm’s environmental practice group. His practice is focused on the representation of companies and trade organizations in a variety of matters, including energy and environmental regulatory issues, facility siting, and the litigation of environmental enforcement and environmental tort cases at both the state and federal level.

Mr. Flannery serves on a number of state and national industry trade associations and environmental committees. He is a member of the board of directors of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and was the chairman of the Chamber’s board of directors in 2005 - 2006. He is a trustee of the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation. He is also a member of the environmental committee of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. By virtue of an appointment by the Governor of West Virginia, he serves as a commissioner to the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO).

Mr. Flannery has been admitted to practice in Kentucky and West Virginia, the Supreme Court of the United States of America, the D.C. Circuit and the Third, Fourth, and Sixth Circuit Courts of Appeal. In addition to his law degree, Mr. Flannery holds a B.S. in electrical engineering. Since 1991, he has been listed in Best Lawyers in America. He is also a Founding Regent of the American College of Environmental Lawyers.

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James R. Haney

James R. Haney
Vice President, Compliance and Regulated Services, FirstEnergy

James R. Haney is vice president and Chief Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) compliance officer for First Energy Service Company, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. Jim has 34 years of service with FirstEnergy. He is a graduate of West Virginia University with a BS in Electrical Engineering and is a Registered Professional Engineer in West Virginia, and Maryland. He serves as a director for the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Leadership West Virginia, West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation, and Marion County Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of the WV Roundtable. Jim serves on advisory committees for the WVU Engineering School and the WVU Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.

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Steven B. Hedrick

Steven B. Hedrick
Vice President of Bayer CropScience LP
& Head of Institute Industrial Park

Steve Hedrick is vice president and head of the Bayer CropScience Institute Industrial Park, a chemical manufacturing industrial park outside of Charleston, W.Va.

In his current role, Hedrick chairs the Site Leadership Team and is responsible for all activities associated with the continued success of the Institute Industrial Park, including Bayer CropScience operations and guest facilities for The Dow Chemical Company, Praxair, FMC and Adisseo, among others. His responsibilities include health, safety, and environmental affairs; emergency response; site services; employee leadership; and community outreach.

He is the immediate past chair of the Chemical Industry Committee of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association (WVMA), which serves as West Virginia’s Chemical Industry Council, and is a member of the WVMA board of directors. He also serves as chairman of WVMA’s Marcellus to Manufacturing Committee (M2M). Hedrick serves on the board of directors of both the Charleston Area Alliance and the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce and is vice chairman of the Economic Development Committee. He serves on the American Chemistry Council Process Safety Committee, as well as the Bayer Group Global Process and Plant Safety Committee. Hedrick also serves as the industry representative to the Kanawha County Metro 911 board of directors.

Hedrick brings extensive experience in the chemical industry, having held positions of increasing responsibility with Lyondell, Bayer MaterialScience and Bayer CropScience. His entry into the chemical industry followed service as an officer in the United States Army.

A native of West Virginia, Hedrick holds a bachelor of science degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He resides in Scott Depot with his wife Lana and two sons.

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Jeff Herholdt

Jeff Herholdt
Director, West Virginia Division of Energy

Jeff Herholdt serves as director of the Division of Energy, a stand-alone agency under the Department of Commerce, overseeing the Energy Efficiency Program and the Office of Coalfield Community Development. The agency advances West Virginia policy related to resource diversification and building energy codes. He serves as chairman of the West Virginia Public Energy Authority and the Governor’s alternate to the Southern States Energy Board. He is a member of the board of directors for the West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Appalachian Regional Commission Energy Advisory Committee. Jeff serves as co-director of Industries of the Future- West Virginia.

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Charlie Huguenard

Charlie Huguenard
Senior Vice President and GM, Longview Power, LLC

Charlie Huguenard is the senior vice president and general manager of Longview Power, LLC, which is owned by GenPower Holdings. He has 32 years of extensive technical, managerial and business experience in the power generation industry. Charlie has been with the Longview Power project for five years and has been responsible for transitioning the project from construction to operations, starting up the business unit and developing the operations team. He has direct experience in plant asset management, operation and maintenance, environmental permits, and labor agreements. Prior to joining GenPower he held positions at Southern Company, Southern Energy, Mirant and owned his own power generation consulting company. He graduated from Auburn University with a B.S. in mechanical engineering.

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Calvin A. Kent, Ph.D
Former Vice President, Business and Economic Research,
Marshall University

Dr. Kent holds the Elizabeth McDowell Distinguished Professorship in Marshall’s College of Business, directs the BB&T Center for American Capitalism and is a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Business and Economic Research.

Prior to his current job he was vice president for Business and Economic Research and dean of the Lewis College of Business at Marshall for 10 years. He came to Marshall from Washington D.C. where he was the administrator of the Energy Information Administration during the first President Bush’s administration.

For 12 years he held the Herman W. Lay Chair in Private Enterprise at Baylor University in Waco, Texas and headed the National Center for Entrepreneurship in Economics Education. Prior to that, he was professor of economics at the University of South Dakota and chief economist for the South Dakota Legislative Research Council. Earlier in his career he served on the staff of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.

He has been mayor or chair of the city council in three different cities including Huntington, W.Va. Currently he consults with the West Virginia Legislature, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Energy, and Department of Tax and Revenue. He is a former co-vice chair of Governor Underwood’s Fair Tax Commission and served on Governor Manchin’s Tax Modernization Committee. He is a member of the West Virginia Property Valuation and Training Commission.

He has taught in 14 different countries and more than 50 U.S. universities. He has been married for 50 years and has two daughters and six grandchildren.

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Susan Lavenski

Susan Lavenski
Just Beneath the Surface Alliance

Susan Lavenski’s experience includes working with local, regional and national public figures; media representatives; and business executives. An expert in issues management and media relations, Lavenski has been responsible for promoting multimillion-dollar statewide transportation issues, utility expansion projects, elections and health care certificates of need to resolve a host of corporate and controversial hurdles.

She has spearheaded countless campaigns and provided strategy for Fortune 500 businesses. Her work has produced results that have garnered statewide, national and international coverage for clients.

As managing partner, Susan is responsible for the daily operations of the Charleston office, provides direction and leadership to staff, and manages the client services division. She serves on the board of directors for the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and is CRA’s representative to the West Virginia Business Roundtable, the Business and Industry Council and the West Virginia Manufacturers Association.

Susan was named one of West Virginia Executive’s “Young Guns” of 2011, a prestigious group of 10 business leaders across the state who exemplify success at a young age. She was also named one of The State Journal’s “40 under 40” in West Virginia, an honor recognizing those who are playing critical roles in the state as well as demonstrating their commitment to building a better future.

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Mike McKechnie

Mike McKechnie
Principal, Mountain View Solar

Mike McKechnie and his brother Pete discovered the power and benefits of solar energy during their time as green homebuilders with their company, Mountain View Builders.

In 2008, they decided to add renewable energy to their company’s portfolio and eventually did a full conversion from building homes to installing solar energy systems with their new company, Mountain View Solar (mtvSolar).

Whenever possible, Mountain View Solar utilizes underemployed or unemployed contractors and trains them on-site for gainful employment in the solar jobs sector.

Mike and his company have won several awards for their work throughout the state, including the 2012 SBA Entrepreneurial Success of the Year award.

Mike and his family reside in a small, all electric, solar and wind-powered home in Berkeley Springs, W.Va. Their average electric bill (their only utility bill) is around $25 per month! Mike drives an all-electric car that he charges with solar panels on his roof and has not purchased a drop of gasoline in 16 months. That’s 22,000 gas-free miles!

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Mark Muchow

Mark Muchow
Deputy Secretary, Department
of Tax and Revenue

Mark Muchow is deputy secretary of the Department of Revenue. In this position, Mr. Muchow works closely with the cabinet secretary and state budget office on matters of fiscal policy.

Mr. Muchow was a member of the 1994 Global Leaders for the South Forum sponsored by BellSouth Corporation. He was a consultant to the Governor’s Commission on Fair Taxation Project 1997-2000. He co-authored a study of tax incentive programs in West Virginia, an analysis that contributed to the enactment of significant reforms in 2002. He was also a participating member of the tax modernization project.

Mr. Muchow has a B.A. in history/secondary education from Edinboro University and a M.S. in public management and policy from Carnegie-Mellon University. He has more than 28 years experience with the Department of Revenue, including more than 17 years in various management-related positions and 24 years in the area of revenue forecasting.

Mr. Muchow lives in Poca with his wife Gwen and their son Joseph.

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Christine Risch

Christine Risch
Director of Research, Center for
Business and Economic Research,
Marshall University

Christine Risch is the director of research for the Center for Business and Economic Research at Marshall University. Her work for the center focuses on regional and local industry analysis, as well as energy and environmental policy analysis. Christine also designed the West Virginia Stock Index, which tracks the top 20 publicly traded firms that do business in West Virginia. Prior to joining the CBER she worked as a contractor for the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C., bigdough.com in Maryland, and ICF, Inc. in Virginia. Christine holds a master’s degree in energy economics from The Pennsylvania State University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Marshall University. She resides in Huntington with her husband and two children.

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Scott Rotruck

Scott Rotruck
Vice President, Corporate Development &
State Government Relations,
Chesapeake Energy Corporation

Scott Rotruck is vice president of corporate development and state government relations for Chesapeake Energy Corporation. He is a 1977 graduate of West Virginia University and 1986 MBA graduate of Frostburg State University. He spent 10 years in railroad operations with CSX and Norfolk Southern Corporation, and 15 years in the coal industry in regulatory affairs with Maryland Coal, Inc., Anker Energy and CONSOL. From 1999 through 2006, he worked at West Virginia University, including five years teaching entrepreneurship at the College of Business & Economics and two years as senior advisor to the president and economic development director for the WVU Extension Service. There, he focused on economic development and technology transfer. Scott also served on the board of trustees for the University of Charleston.

His five years in the natural gas industry began in 2006 with Chesapeake Energy Corporation and includes serving on the board of directors of the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association (WVONGA) and EnergizeWV. He is currently serving on the Marcellus to Manufacturing Task Force and on the WV Natural Gas Vehicles Task Force, both as an appointee of West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. He also serves on the board of the Ohio Oil & Gas Association (OOGA) and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

Scott served as chair of the WV Council for Community & Economic Development, the WV Tourism Commission, WV’s venture fund called JIT, and the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, among several other boards and commissions. Scott and his wife Carol live in Morgantown, WV. They have been married for 30 wonderful years and have three adult children, who all attended WVU.

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Gary Thompson
Energy Education, WVU-Parkersburg

Gary Thompson grew up in Parkersburg, W.Va. and graduated from Parkersburg South High School. Shortly after high school, he moved to Seattle, WA where he earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Washington. There he worked at Lloyd Controls, designing and commissioning equipment for plywood and sawmills. After 10 years he moved to San Francisco, CA where he earned a master’s degree in computer science at San Francisco State University. He was vice president of Standard Electric and Engineering, a company that designed, manufactured and commissioned equipment for the newspaper industry. He later managed java.net, an online community targeting software developers. He has taught computer science at San Francisco State University and Mills College in Oakland, CA. After spending 20 years in San Francisco, Gary moved back to Parkersburg in 2010, where he currently teaches energy assessment and management technology as well as solar energy technology. When not working, he and his family enjoy international travel and long distance backpacking.

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Gene Trisko

Gene Trisko
American Coalition for
Clean Coal Electricity

Gene Trisko is an attorney who represents labor and industry clients in energy and environmental matters.

Mr. Trisko has a B.A. in economics from New York University (1972) and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center (1977). He is admitted in the District of Columbia, and has appeared before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in matters concerning the Clean Air Act. He has lectured on Clean Air Act implementation at The Pennsylvania State University, the University of Virginia, and the West Virginia University School of Law.

He was active on behalf of the United Mine Workers in the reauthorization of the Clean Air Act in 1990, and is the author of more than 20 articles on Clean Air Act implementation published in economic, environmental and law journals. He has been a long-term advisor to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, and directs ACCCE’s Northeast Ad Hoc OTC Group, focusing on air quality regulation in the Northeast. He has represented ACCCE in numerous state regulatory and legislative proceedings involving the Clean Air Act.

Mr. Trisko has participated as an NGO on behalf of the United Mine Workers in all United Nations climate change negotiating sessions subsequent to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. He represented a consortium of labor interests in the recently concluded Midwest Governors’ Association climate change process.

Mr. Trisko was an appointed member of the U.S. EPA’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee from 2001 until 2010, and a member of the EPA’s Mercury MACT Working Group from 2003 to 2005. In 2000 and again in 2007, he was appointed by the U.S. Department of State to represent U.S. industry and labor in bilateral negotiations with Canada on air pollution control. He has testified on Clean Air Act and climate change issues before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as numerous state legislative bodies.

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Chris Weikle

Chris Weikle

Chris Weikle serves as Governor Tomblin’s deputy director of public policy, focusing on a broad range of issues impacting the state of West Virginia. He acts as Governor Tomblin’s federal liaison, working with the National and Democratic Governor’s Associations and West Virginia’s federal representatives. Chris also assists with Governor Tomblin’s Natural Gas Vehicle Task Force.

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Tom Witt
Former Director, Bureau of Business and
Economic Research, WVU

Dr. Tom S. Witt is professor of economics, emeritus, West Virginia University. Prior to his retirement in June he served 27 years as the director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research in the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics.

Dr. Witt received his BA from Oklahoma State University and his MA and Ph.D. degrees from Washington University (St. Louis). He joined WVU in 1970 as an assistant professor of economics. The State Journal, West Virginia’s leading business weekly, named Dr. Witt as the 10th Most Influential Leader shaping West Virginia in 2011. The publication also selected him in 2000 for Who’s Who in West Virginia Business. He has been a consultant to five West Virginia governors and the West Virginia Legislature on a variety of topics spanning energy economics, tax and expenditure policy, highway financing, regional economic development, and target industry studies. He has co‐authored and edited two books, West Virginia in the Nineties: Policies for Economic Progress (WVU Press) and Power From the Appalachians (Greenwood Press) and has numerous publications in academic journals and research monographs. He was the project director and principal investigator on over six million dollars of research grants and contracts at WVU.

Dr. Witt is a member of the American Economic Association and the National Association for Business Economics. He is a past president of the Association for University Business and Economic Research and served as AUBER’s representative on the Council of Professional Organizations on Federal Statistics.

Dr. Witt has been active in many civic and economic development organizations including the Monongalia County Development Authority (past vice president), Friends of West Virginia Public Radio (past president), and Monongalia Arts Center (past president).

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