Ever since America's first commercial oil well began gushing in Pennsylvania in 1859, the state has profited from a robust energy industry. More recently, conservation and green-energy organizations have sprouted across the commonwealth’s three-quarters-rural landscape, pushing Pennsylvania to diversify into wind, solar and other renewable resources.
The Keystone State is currently America's second-largest energy exporter and its third-largest coal and electricity producer, while the power generated via from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale – the U.S.'s largest natural gas field – radiates literally and metaphorically beyond state borders. Whether drilling shale, promoting green alternatives or keeping the power grids stable, the people on this list are all helping to write Pennsylvania’s sustainable next chapter.
This list was written by journalist Hilary Danailova.
Last year, President Joe Biden appointed Manu Asthana to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, recognizing Asthana’s forward-thinking leadership of the largest power grid in North America and one of the world’s largest electricity markets. Since joining Pennsylvania-based PJM as CEO in 2020, Asthana has maintained reliable service for 65 million Americans across 13 states while guiding a transition toward a cleaner, more efficient energy grid. Asthana is a member of the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, an industry collaboration with the federal government on crisis preparation.
Michael Innocenzo heads PECO, Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas utility and a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation. Innocenzo, who earlier in his career was Philadelphia’s emergency services supervisor, most recently served as PECO’s COO. His leadership has seen the $10 billion Philadelphia company grow to more than 1.6 million electricity customers and a half-million natural gas customers in its Southeastern Pennsylvania market, with annual revenues of nearly $3 billion.
Richard Weber is a co-founder of the Marcellus Shale Coalition and the co-founder, chair and CEO of PennEnergy Resources, a private equity-backed independent oil and gas operator in the Marcellus Shale. He previously led the expansion of Atlas Energy, a company with 10,000 oil and gas wells, until its $4.4 billion sale to Chevron; as president, Weber added 300,000 acres and drilled 300-plus wells, including pioneering development in the Marcellus Shale. Prior to that, Weber founded the energy group at McDonald & Company Securities.
The nation’s largest producer of natural gas is in the hands of CEO Toby Rice. He leads EQT, a 140-year-old company with over 1 million gross acres in the Marcellus Shale, substantial reserves in the Utica Shale and operations across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. Rice is also a partner at Rice Investment Group, which invests across the oil and gas sectors. He previously held a series of leadership roles at Rice Energy, which was acquired by EQT in 2017.
James Brock is chief executive of CONSOL Energy, a 159-year-old Canonsburg-based coal producer and exporter and one of America’s leading energy companies. Brock led the firm to record annual revenues of $2.3 billion in 2022 – a whopping 84% increase over the previous year. Brock, who is also a member of the CONSOL board’s health, safety and environmental committee, previously served as COO for coal at CNX Resources Corporation before its separation from CONSOL Energy.
Christopher Franklin heads Essential Utilities, which provides clean water, wastewater management and natural gas services to 5.5 million customers across 10 states. Under his stewardship, Essential Utilities has become an industry leader in proactive PFAS standards, donates $500,000 to environmental causes through its foundation and is working on a 60% emissions reduction goal by 2035. Franklin, a director of the National Association of Water Companies, is on the executive committee of The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and Houston-based CenterPoint Energy.
Even before he was confirmed as Pennsylvania’s newest secretary of environmental protection, Rich Negrín was busy assessing the toxic plumes of the East Palestine train derailment and leading the state’s response to a Delaware River chemical spill. Negrín, the DEP’s first Latino secretary, draws on experience that includes serving as Philadelphia’s city manager and deputy mayor. An attorney by training, he recently secured a $10 million civil penalty from Shell Chemicals Appalachia for excessive emissions – part of his stated priority to pursue environmental justice.
At Westinghouse, CEO Patrick Fragman is building on the 130-year-old electric company’s history of innovation with a strategic transition to carbon-free nuclear technology. Fragman began his career in France, a country known for its strong nuclear sector; he advised the French Environmental Ministry and worked in Canada and China before serving as CEO for grid integration at ABB, a Zurich-based electrification firm. Since joining Westinghouse, Fragman has cultivated the company’s global presence, including a collaboration on Poland’s first nuclear plant.
Roger Perreault heads King of Prussia-based UGI Corporation, a holding company that distributes and markets energy services and products nationally and globally. Perreault recently led the company to a AAA rating in the ESG category from the financial research outfit MSCI, putting UGI in the top 7% of corporations globally. A chemical engineer by training, Perreault came to UGI from Air Liquide, a Paris-based international industrial gases company where he spent two decades, including serving as president for large industries and North America.
The commonwealth’s largest investor-owned water utility is in the hands of Justin Ladner, who, as president of Pennsylvania American Water, oversees water and wastewater services for 2.4 million customers. Ladner previously headed Illinois American Water and, prior to that, served as director of national regulatory affairs for American Water. Ladner, who holds degrees in both engineering and law, has worked as a metallurgical engineer for U.S. Steel and as an attorney, policy expert and government affairs manager for Southern Power and Southern Nuclear.
Gladys Dutrieuille is the longest-serving female and African American chair of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. She is also the immediate past president of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners and an executive committee member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Dutrieuille, who spent 20 years as an attorney to the Senate Democratic Caucus, is the 2023 recipient of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Christianson Award.
Now is the most exciting industry moment in Kevin Walker’s 30-year utility career. That’s what the Duquesne Light Company chief recently told CEO Magazine, as he masterminds $2 billion in infrastructure upgrades aimed at shoring up the 100-year-old electric utility – and positioning both the company and the region for a greener future. Walker, one of Pittsburgh’s highest-ranking African American executives, holds an engineering degree from West Point and an MBA from Wharton, and previously served as Duquesne Light’s COO.
As CEO of Allentown-based PPL Corporation, Vincent Sorgi steers the growth and strategic vision of one of America’s largest investor-owned utility companies, with nearly 4 million electricity and natural gas customers. Sorgi joined PPL in 2006 and was previously COO, guiding the spinoff of its competitive generation business. He was the founding chair of the Electric Power Research Institute, serves on the board of the Edison Electric Institute and has chaired the Low-Carbon Research Initiative Board Working Group.
Having led energy initiatives for decades at Pennsylvania’s Energy Development Authority, Geoff Bristow is currently the agency’s acting executive director. Bristow most recently served as regional energy program manager for the energy program office – part of the state Department of Environmental Protection – assisting stakeholders across various energy-using sectors to implement clean energy strategies. He currently oversees financing for clean energy projects statewide, including solar, wind, geothermal and other underutilized technologies.
As president of Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania and Maryland, Mark Kempic has guided a long-term, $2.8 billion upgrade and expansion of the company’s natural gas distribution system, as well as research into hybrid technologies to reduce carbon impact. He also serves as Pittsburgh-based COO in both states for Columbia Gas – a subsidiary of NiSource, one of America’s largest utility outfits. Kempic, an attorney with technical degrees, joined Columbia Gas in 1979 and, prior to his current role, served as COO for its Massachusetts branch.
Capping a three-decade career devoted to environmental advocacy, Cindy Adams Dunn is currently Pennsylvania’s secretary of conservation and natural resources. Dunn masterminded four new state parks, oversaw record park visitation and created the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps, connecting young people with public lands jobs. She has also expanded the agency’s DEI efforts and champions initiatives to combat climate change and further green energy. Dunn previously served as CEO of PennFuture, state director of Audubon Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania coordinator for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.
As president of the Peoples division of Essential Utilities, Michael Huwar supervises natural gas distribution to 740,000 customers in Southwestern Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky. He is currently upgrading Peoples’ distribution infrastructure to reduce leakage and ensure sustainable delivery. Huwar previously spent nearly 35 years with Columbia Gas, including as president and COO of Pennsylvania and Maryland operations. He serves on the boards of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the Energy Association of Pennsylvania and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.
Energy and environmental policy top the list of matters Kevin Sunday handles as director of government affairs at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, where he successfully championed recent environmental legislation and energy regulations. Sunday, who previously handled communications for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, currently serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Energy, Clean Air & Natural Resources Committee. He also chairs the board of the American Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Region, as well as its government relations and outreach committee.
In 2020, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney appointed real estate developer Seth Shapiro as CEO of Philadelphia Gas Works, a utility with a half-million customers. Since then, Shapiro has grown annual revenue by nearly 40% and restored America’s largest municipal gas utility to ”A” bond ratings for the first time in two decades. Shapiro also guided completion of a new, state-of-the-art facility with five-year cost savings of $100 million, established an annual Energy Innovation Symposium and spearheaded PGW’s participation in the Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Hub.
Longtime energy executive Scott Wyman oversees Pennsylvania operations for FirstEnergy, an electric utility serving 6 million customers throughout the mid-Atlantic. In this role, Wyman has oversight of the Met-Ed, West Penn Power, Penn Power and Penelec subsidiaries, and recently announced a new apprenticeship program to build the utility worker pipeline. Wyman, who holds degrees in electrical engineering as well as business, was previously regional president of Penelec and, prior to that, managed the division’s operations and asset management.
At Pittsburgh-based Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, Sean Moran leads the Oil & Gas Practice Group, while fellow shareholder Alan Seltzer leads both the Power Generation & Utility and Renewables Practice Groups.
Moran led a legal team in a successful U.S. Supreme Court appeal lifting the stay halting the completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. He was named 2022 Energy Law ”Lawyer of the Year” in Pittsburgh by The Best Lawyers in America, which has also named him to its national list in the corporate law and energy law categories.
Seltzer, based in Harrisburg, concentrates on energy- and utility-related transactions and litigation before state and federal courts and administrative agencies, including the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. He has served on the Pennsylvania Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force.
Akshar Awalgaonkar and Jay Sparling keep the water flowing stateside as senior vice president and vice president of business development, respectively, for Veolia, the French global water, waste management and energy firm.
Awalgaonkar, the Philadelphia-based chief procurement officer for the firm’s Water Technologies & Solutions Group, is also a champion of industry inclusivity: He led efforts to diversify supplier networks at recent global summits and, as the executive sponsor for the Veolia Women’s network, launched the Women in Procurement leadership program.
Sparling, who joined Veolia last November, previously worked in energy sales for Enron, Consumer Energy and American Water and served as global business development director at Honeywell. He most recently founded and led Media-based Sandia Realty.
Groundbreaking Latino attorney Nelson Diaz is a director for both PECO and its parent corporation, Exelon; he has also served on the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. Diaz, a litigator, is currently of counsel at Dilworth Paxson and previously served as Philadelphia’s city solicitor. He was the first Puerto Rican admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar and, later, was the state’s first Latino judge and youngest-ever judge when he was elected to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in 1981.
Nobody was surprised last winter when Gov. Josh Shapiro tapped MeeCee Baker to chair his transition’s environment and energy advisory committee. As CEO of Versant Strategies, a government relations firm, Baker is among Pennsylvania’s most prominent rural affairs advocates in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C. Her career has included roles with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Penn State and the National Association of Agricultural Educators, where she was the first woman to serve as president.
Douglas Kuntz is the longtime president and CEO of Warren-based Pennsylvania General Energy, which operates 1,500 oil and natural gas wells throughout the Appalachian basin. He leads a 45-year-old, privately owned company that was one of the pioneers of the Marcellus Shale drilling boom, debuting its first well there in 2005. Under Kuntz, PGE remains one of the region’s most prominent energy producers, with more than 80,000 acres of oil, natural gas and mineral rights, extensive timberland and a sizable economic impact.
Christopher Lewis, a partner in Blank Rome’s business litigation practice, is a major player in Southeast Pennsylvania’s energy scene. Lewis, who concentrates on energy and public utility law, is a former chair of the Philadelphia Energy Authority and has served on the Delaware River Port Authority Board of Commissioners. He is also prominent in Democratic politics, having been an elector for the 2008 Electoral College and a delegate to that year’s Democratic National Convention, and served on President Barack Obama’s national finance committee.
Energy clients at Cozen O’Connor turn to Michael Klein and David Zambito, who are the firm’s senior counsel and chair of its utility and energy group, respectively.
Klein recently handled the permitting and approvals for the state’s largest wind facility, the 88-turbine Mehoopany Wind. He is legal counsel for both the Pennsylvania Water Utility Counsel and the Pennsylvania Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network.
Zambito, the Harrisburg office’s managing partner, served as lead regulatory counsel for Pennsylvania-American Water Company’s recent $235 million acquisition of the City of York’s wastewater system assets. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
As both parties vie for control of the nation’s energy agenda, Republican U.S. Rep. Glenn ”GT” Thompson plays a key role. Thompson, a longtime champion of Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry, currently co-chairs the bipartisan Natural Gas Caucus. The eight-term congressman, who grew up in a Centre County farming family, also leads the House Agricultural Committee, where – via the latest farm bill – he aims to redirect federal funding currently targeted for green energy practices.
U.S. Rep. John Joyce is Pennsylvania’s voice on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which oversees the federal Department of Energy. The Altoona dermatologist, first elected to Congress in 2019, is also a prominent champion of rural causes. His recent energy-related legislation includes measures curbing what he calls executive climate overreach, restricting the EPA from taking action against traditional gas-powered vehicles and expanding access to flexible air permitting.
Gene Yaw and Carolyn Comitta, the Republican and Democratic co-chairs of the state Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, also serve on the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority and the state Environmental Quality Board.
Yaw, who championed the legislation establishing the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Fund, recently sponsored measures setting fertilizer standards and restricting the use of PFAS in firefighting foam. He currently chairs the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.
Comitta, who also co-chairs the Pennsylvania Legislative Climate Caucus, helped establish the 1,700-acre Big Elk Creek State Park and recently introduced the Solar for Schools Grant Program.
Delaware County Rep. Greg Vitali is the Committee’s Democratic chair and a member of the House Climate Caucus. The first Pennsylvania lawmaker to introduce climate change legislation and to propose a natural gas severance tax, Vitali is currently sponsoring measures that would facilitate programs involving solar and wind energy, as well as low-emissions vehicles.
Northwest Pennsylvania Rep. Martin Causer, a longtime champion of rural concerns, is the GOP chair of the state House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, where he recently introduced legislation to update the commonwealth’s oil and gas policy. Causer also serves on the Pennsylvania Grade Crude Development Advisory Council and the Environmental Quality Board.
As President of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, David Callahan leads political advocacy, media engagement and community education around responsible development, transportation and use of natural gas in the Appalachian basin. The native Pennsylvanian also ensures that the organization, staffed with industry experts, is a resource for stakeholders on key regulatory and policy areas. Under Callahan, the coalition also maintains strong relationships with Pennsylvania’s construction trades – emphasizing a bipartisan, collaborative approach to energy and environmental issues.
Earlier this year, Tricia Breeger made history as Mitsubishi’s first female CEO when she was appointed chief of Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, the Japanese company’s North American power system affiliate. The Western Pennsylvania-based Breeger joined MEPPI two decades ago and has served as president since 2022. In addition to overseeing the company’s operating groups and services, she is now tasked with defining the company’s strategy as Mitsubishi transitions toward a reduced-carbon future.
When Newsweek named CNX Resources to its ”America’s Most Responsible Companies” list in 2021 and 2022, Brian Aiello made sure people heard about it. Aiello heads external relations at the Pittsburgh-based natural gas driller, which posted $1.3 billion in 2022 revenue; before that, he oversaw communications for CONSOL Energy prior to its spinoff from CNX. Aiello also chairs the board of the $30 million CNX Foundation and serves on the Marcellus Shale Coalition board. He previously worked for U.S. Sens. Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter.
Over two decades at the helm, Tracy McCormick has grown the Retail Energy Supply Association from its regional origins into a formidable national presence. McCormick makes the case for consumer-driven gas and electric retail energy choice before state commissions, legislatures and the media and, most recently, via an informational web portal. She also launched National Energy Shopping Day, an annual event urging consumers to align their energy choices and sustainability goals.
Over a dozen years at the helm of the American Petroleum Institute Pennsylvania, Stephanie Catarino Wissman has been a forceful advocate for the state’s oil and gas producers. She oversees the American Petroleum Institute’s chapter in the state where the nation’s oil industry was born – and which is now America’s second-largest producer of natural gas, fueling a robust energy economy. Wissman previously worked in government affairs for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and for Embarq, a global communications provider.
Based in Pittsburgh, Keith Bittner oversees stateside utility service and operations for Eaton, a Dublin-based power management company with annual revenues of nearly $21 billion. Bittner joined Eaton in 2001 as a project engineer and has held positions of increasing leadership, managing sales and engineering teams and, most recently, serving as Northeast region operations director for electrical engineering. Bittner holds a degree in industrial and manufacturing engineering from Penn State and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.
Rolando Amaya oversees mid-Atlantic operations for WSP USA, the civil engineering firm behind marquee projects like San Francisco’s Salesforce Tower and One World Trade Center. Amaya, who holds degrees in civil and environmental engineering, is an experienced infrastructure expert who joined WSP USA in 2017. As senior vice president – first for the capital district, and now for Pennsylvania and six other states – he works with policymakers and spearheads equitable, environmentally conscious and sustainable development.
In 1979, Cliff Forrest founded the Rosebud Mining Company in Kittanning with a handful of employees. He now leads an operation that has grown to 30 underground coal and surface mines, a half-dozen preparation plants and a staff of over 1,000. Forrest, who is a major donor to former President Donald Trump and other pro-coal candidates, has also invested heavily to relaunch the historic Iron City beer label after buying and reviving the moribund Pittsburgh Brewing Company.
Susan Bruce helps clients navigate Pennsylvania's electric and natural gas markets, handling a range of transactions and advising on regulatory and business issues. Bruce co-chairs the Energy and Environmental Law group at McNees, where she is also a member of the Renewable Energy & Corporate Sustainability and Environmental, Social and Governance groups. Bruce is a former electricity committee chair of the Energy Bar Association and was named to the 2022 ”Women of Influence” list by the Central Penn Business Journal.
After beginning his career in finance, Wayne Barnett found his niche at the intersection of energy and business development. Earlier this year, Barnett became the external affairs manager for Cordia, the sustainability-focused energy company he joined as a development expert when it launched last fall. Based in Philadelphia – where he previously headed business expansion and strategic partnerships for Clearway Community Energy – Barnett now guides Cordia’s expanding network of corporate and institutional stakeholders across 10 metropolitan areas.
Andrew Ritter manages federal and state legislative and regulatory affairs for Range Resources, a company that pioneered natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale and remains one of its largest operators. Prior to joining the company in 2018, Ritter spent a decade in the public sector, working at the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as well as in the governor’s office. He currently serves on the Marcellus Shale Coalition Executive Board.
Attorney Glen Thomas leads GT Power Group, a regulatory consulting firm, where he draws on decades of experience testifying on energy issues before state legislatures and regulatory agencies. Previously, as chair of the Pennsylvania Utility Commission, Thomas handled the restructuring of state electricity, natural gas and local telephone markets; he was also deputy director of policy for then-Gov. Tom Ridge. Thomas is currently president of PJM Power Providers Group, a nonprofit dedicated to maintaining regional energy markets.
Pittsburgh attorneys Kevin Garber and Joseph Reinhart are shareholders in the Environmental and Energy and Natural Resources practice groups at Babst Calland, a national firm.
Reinhart, who is also the firm’s vice chair, brings 30 years of regulatory and policy expertise – across the oil and gas, coal and chemical industries – to the Energy and Natural Resources Group, which he co-chairs.
Garber’s legal practice focuses on natural resources, water and the remediation of Pennsylvania’s industrial sites. He represents and counsels mining and oil and gas companies, and also teaches environmental law at Duquesne University.
Nathan Johnson joined Citizens Electric Company in 2018 as vice president of engineering and operations and assumed the top job this year after a yearlong stint as COO. He manages a 112-year-old Lewisburg utility that delivers 160 million annual kilowatt hours to nearly 10,000 rural customers across 55 square miles. Johnson, who holds an electrical engineering degree from Bucknell, previously spent a decade as an engineer at Pennsylvania-based PPL Electric Utilities.
Lauren Barr is Bravo Group’s energy practice lead, bringing her deep industry knowledge and relationships in the public and private sectors to public policy advocacy. Her efforts have helped secure measures impacting natural gas production and investment in recycling technologies, ensuring a positive regulatory environment and promoting competitive energy markets. Barr’s career has included roles in the state legislature and executive branches, at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and managing government affairs for an electric utility.
At the business accelerator Pittsburgh Gateways Corporation and its flagship program, the Energy Innovation Center, President and CEO Donald Evans helps cultivate the next generation of sustainable energy ventures. Under the leadership of Evans, a one-time corporate attorney, PGC collaborates with some 30 partners and has supported twice that many startups – like Pittsburgh-based CorePower magnetics, which recently secured a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Evans has also expanded the EIC, whose campus serves as an incubator for technology and research.
Rick Vicens has headed Olympus Power since it was founded in 2007. Under his guidance, Olympus has grown into a leading independent power plant investment and management outfit, with properties across the country and half of its current generating facilities located in Pennsylvania. Vicens, a seasoned power-plant turnaround expert, previously oversaw business development and financing for the Delta Power Company, which had $3 billion in assets and 26 power plants nationwide before its 2007 sale.
Nicolle Snyder Bagnell and Ryan Purpura are partners and energy experts in the Pittsburgh office of Reed Smith.
Bagnell is known for her successful, multimillion-dollar litigation on behalf of the oil and natural gas industry in state and federal courtrooms throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. She is a trustee of the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation.
Purpura, who practices in both Pennsylvania and Texas, represents oil and gas companies and financial outfits in energy transactions reaching 10-plus figures. He is an advisory board member for the Institute for Energy Law and has taught that subject at Duquesne University.
Third-term state Rep. Jim Struzzi currently co-chairs the House Coal Caucus and led recent efforts to stop Pennsylvania’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The Indiana County Republican also sponsored last year’s Energy Sustainability and Investment Act, which championed a regional hydrogen hub, and authored legislation allowing Pennsylvania companies to bid on well-plugging contracts. He serves on the board of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation.
Shannon Dawson specializes in energy and environmental issues at Wojdak Government Relations, where she is an associate vice president. Dawson, who advised the Shapiro transition team earlier this year, learned the Harrisburg political ropes working at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and in the office of then-Gov. Ed Rendell, including as part of the team for his chief of staff. She has also previously coordinated external affairs for Comcast.
Pennsylvania’s oldest and largest oil and gas industry group is headed by Daniel Weaver, who, since 2016, has served as president and executive director of the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Association. Weaver represents the political, economic and community interests of nearly 400 member producers, drilling contractors, pipeline operators, distributors and others. Previously, the Oil City native was the group’s director of public outreach, from which he launched the association's energy education program for middle-grade teachers.
Terrance Fitzpatrick represents the commonwealth’s electric and natural gas utilities as head of the Energy Association of Pennsylvania, a 115-year-old industry group. He steers policy advocacy before state government and convenes the association’s committees around matters like accident prevention, regulatory affairs, transmission and distribution. Fitzpatrick previously chaired the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and, prior to that, helped draft Pennsylvania’s electricity competition law as counsel to the state Senate’s Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
Senior of Counsel Tim Weston brings a half-century of natural resource expertise to K&L Gates, where he is a member of the environmental and energy, infrastructure and resources practice groups. Weston’s past roles include a stint at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, where he worked on the state water plan; prior to that, he was the department’s associate deputy secretary for resources management. In 2019, the Pennsylvania Bar Association awarded Weston its Environmental and Energy Law Section Lifetime Achievement Award.
After a quarter-century at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and a run as EPA regional chief of staff, Jenifer Fields co-founded ACRI Environmental Group in 2021. As managing partner, she supervises a consultancy that counsels public and private clients on regulatory compliance, infrastructure and property issues, permitting, and other environmental concerns. Prior to launching one of Pennsylvania’s few women-owned environmental outfits, Fields earned a civil engineering degree and served a decade in the U.S. Army.
CEO Emily Schapira and Vice President Katie Bartolotta shape strategic vision, projects and advocacy at the Philadelphia Energy Authority, an independent municipal authority dedicated to building the city’s clean energy economy and infrastructure.
During Schapira’s seven-year tenure, the authority has supported nearly $400 million in energy efficiency and clean energy programs and is executing a 10-year strategic plan to promote clean energy citywide while creating 10,000 jobs. Schapira also spearheaded a home repair and energy upgrade program and championed the launch of Philadelphia Green Capital Corp., a public-private funding initiative.
Bartolotta supervises the authority’s collaborations and guides policy advocacy. She recently worked on the $91 million Philly Streetlight Improvement Project, the city’s largest-ever energy efficiency undertaking, and partnered with the city’s Office of Sustainability to secure federal climate funding.
Rod Henkels is at the helm of his family’s utility infrastructure business, which marked its 100th anniversary this year. Henkels, who previously served as the Blue Bell-based company’s COO, oversees a privately held firm that designs and builds infrastructure for the oil, pipeline, power and gas distribution industries. Under his stewardship, Henkels & McCoy has a national clientele and subsidiary companies providing engineering, construction and support services.
Businesses are increasingly under pressure to tout their ESG credentials – and Donald Racey shows them how. As the founder and chief sustainability officer of Engage Sustainability Solutions, Racey helps organizations craft and communicate meaningful strategies around economic, social and environmental responsibility, as well as corporate branding and marketing. He previously shepherded companies through transformations at FTI Consulting, as managing director of corporate finance for turnarounds and restructuring.
With climate change blaring daily from headlines, Dave Grupp helps clients figure out what they can do about it. He leads Green Choice Energy Consulting, a Pittsburgh-based outfit that counsels businesses on energy efficiency, responsible environmental strategy and long-term sustainability. Grupp, who holds degrees in mechanical engineering as well as business, previously spent a dozen years at Direct Energy, most recently as vice president of renewable services.
Katie Blume is a leading Harrisburg voice in the fight to combat climate change and promote environmental justice. The political and legislative director for Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania most recently advocated for a bipartisan measure promoting solar energy in Pennsylvania schools; she is now working to curb the state’s power plant emissions. Blume, who is currently president of the Millheim Borough Council, served on the Shapiro transition team and previously directed policy and organizing for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.
From ESG to engineering, Chuck Hurchalla manages a suite of energy-related businesses at Evolution Sustainability Group, where he is CEO. Under his purview: Evolution ESG Partners, a strategic consultancy; Evolution Energy Partners, a full-service energy management firm; and Evolution Engineering Partners, which specializes in cost-effective energy efficiency projects. Hurchalla, a 30-year veteran of the energy markets, was previously vice president for energy solutions at UGI Energy Services, which was absorbed into Evolution.
Conestoga-based Dustin Droege began his career as an electrician and now heads operations at Brookfield Renewable U.S., one of the world’s largest public renewable energy outfits. He joined Brookfield in 2016 and rose through operational leadership at the firm, which develops and operates 7,800 megawatts of renewable power – wind, solar and hydroelectricity – across 34 states. Droege holds a degree in electromechanical maintenance and technology management from the Pennsylvania College of Technology.
Katherine Gilmore Richardson brings a millennial’s climate sensibility to Philadelphia’s City Council, serving her first term as the youngest woman ever elected citywide. As chair of the body’s Committee on the Environment, Gilmore Richardson created the Citizen Environmental Advisory Committee to promote policies addressing climate change; she has also championed sustainable investment for the city’s pension fund. Gilmore Richardson is the commonwealth’s only representative to the U.S. EPA’s Local Government Advisory Committee, where she is vice chair of its Environmental Justice Working Group.
Bill Ponticello has his finger on the pulse of commonwealth environmental policy as president of Penn Environmental & Remediation, a subsidiary of Doylestown-based Penn Color, the pigment and coloration producer. Ponticello was one of the original three employees at Penn E&R, a Hatfield outfit born out of the nascent movement to remediate Pennsylvania’s industrial brownfields. Over three decades, Ponticello has steered the company’s growth into a full-service environmental, engineering and construction consulting company with a staff of 100.
Alongside his family members – Jud Kroh, president and Zachary Kroh, chief commercial officer – Scott Kroh leads Robindale as chair and CEO. In the 23 years since Robindale was founded, Kroh has steered the Latrobe-based family energy outfit from its original roots in waste coal reclamation, cleaning up refuse piles across Western Pennsylvania. He now oversees Robindale’s myriad affiliated companies, with services that span power generation, metallurgical coal and limestone mining, transportation and logistics, and brokerage.
During the quarter-century that Kareem Afzal has led PDC Machines, it has grown from a Southeast Pennsylvania outfit to a global hydrogen energy firm with offices on four continents. Afzal is currently the executive chair of the family business, which provides hydrogen gas compression technology to industrial gas and renewable energy companies, as well as to hydrogen refueling stations for hydrogen-powered vehicles. Philadelphia-based Afzal also chairs the Afzal Family Foundation, a humanitarian organization.
Longtime environmental engineer and lifelong entrepreneur Scott Smith heads Envirosure, the company he founded to provide environmental services to commercial, industrial and federal real estate clients. Smith leads a team that performs site assessments, masterminds remediation projects, and investigates soil and groundwater issues. Prior to starting his West Chester-based company in 2006, Smith was a project manager at Kleinfelder and an engineer for several environmental outfits.
From his Erie office, Mike Colpoys leads utility operations, security and Pennsylvania government affairs for National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation. Colpoys joined the company right out of college in 1987, gaining experience in a variety of utility, pipeline and storage operations roles – including spearheading pipeline development projects for the National Fuel Gas Midstream Company division. Along the way, he earned an MBA from Penn State Erie.
Over 30 years with PennEnvironment, David Masur has been one of Pennsylvania’s most prominent environmental advocates and played an important role in shaping state policy around energy, environmental regulation and land use. He steered the organization to major legal victories against polluters under the federal Clean Water and Clean Air acts, and has advised the environmental transition teams for then-Gov. Tom Wolf and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. In addition to leading PennEnvironment, Masur supervises the Pennsylvania Public Interest Group and Pennsylvania’s Public Interest Network.
Alyssa Edwards advocates for Pennsylvania’s green future at the Philadelphia office of Lightsource BP, a global developer of large-scale solar projects. She leads environmental affairs and government relations, advocating for policies that will increase the commonwealth’s proportion of clean energy. Edwards, a two-decade veteran of the renewable energy sector, is also a board member of PennFuture, a Harrisburg-based environmental advocacy nonprofit that is the state affiliate of the National Wildlife Association.
At RiverStewards, an organization dedicated to the Susquehanna River ecosystem, Scott Weidner heads the nonprofit branch, the RiverStewards Collaborative; he is also a senior fellow with the Social Enterprise Group.
His current projects include a comprehensive data repository for the Susquehanna River, an ongoing analysis of return on investment in the watershed, and the One Water planning process for Centre County’s Spring Creek watershed, which RiverStewards intends as a watershed planning model.
After a nationwide search, Penn State selected one of its own as the next director of its prestigious EMS Energy Institute: Sanjay Srinivasan, who, until July, headed the university’s energy and mineral engineering department. In addition to directing the institute’s research on topics as varied as coal, natural gas, petroleum, clean fuels and nanomaterials, Srinivasan oversees Penn State’s role as administrator of the $25 million University Coalition for Basic and Applied Fossil Energy Research and Development, a program of the federal Department of Energy.
Eugene DePasquale, Pennsylvania’s former two-term auditor general, is now a co-chair of Energy Future PA, which promotes a diverse portfolio of technologies to power Pennsylvania’s future energy needs. In this role, DePasquale cultivates the organization’s partnerships with stakeholders – including universities, municipalities and unions – to support responsible use of nuclear, carbon and zero-carbon technologies. DePasquale previously served three terms in the state legislature, where he supported the bipartisan Alternative Energy Investment Act.
As Philadelphia’s newest parks and recreation commissioner, Orlando Rendon cultivates not only plants and playgrounds, but also people and communities in a department with more than 3,000 employees and 10,000 acres of public land. Prior to his May appointment, Rendon held community engagement and programming roles with the city, the parks department and ASPIRA, America’s largest nonprofit Hispanic education organization – earning the 2011 Delaware Valley Most Influential Latinos Award.
From riverbanks to park trails, Pennsylvania Environmental Council President Davitt Woodwell has guided the management of the commonwealth’s landscapes for more than 30 years. He works closely with nonprofits and municipal agencies on policies affecting air, water, recreational infrastructure and natural resources. Two decades ago, as director of the Riverlife Task Force, Woodwell developed a master plan for Pittsburgh’s waterfronts; he has also served as the Environmental Council’s staff attorney. Woodwell currently serves on several advisory committees of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Since taking over leadership of Green Building United last year, Rich Freeh has guided numerous initiatives to transform the region’s communities through green building education and environmental advocacy. These include a partnership with the William Penn Foundation to support green building practices for Philadelphia nonprofits, and a collaboration with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to help area building owners track energy usage. Freeh previously held executive roles with the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network.
Jaret Gibbons works at the intersection of energy generation and environmental justice as head of the Appalachian Region Independent Power Producers Association. In this role, he represents the movement to reclaim mining land for alternative energy – championing the Coal Refuse Reclamation to Energy Tax Credit, partnering with the state Department of Environmental Protection on abandoned mines and promoting environmental remediation across the region. The Ellwood City native, a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh Law School, served five terms in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Bruce Logan directs Penn State’s Institutes of Energy and Environment, where he develops large-scale, interdisciplinary research teams seeking solutions to climate and energy challenges. An environmental engineer, Logan developed new methods for producing renewable electricity, founded an international researchers’ organization to study microbial electrochemistry and authored a consumer guide to sustainable energy use. He sits on the advisory board of the Novo Nordisk Foundation CO2 Research Center, which facilitates new technologies for carbon dioxide capture and conversion.
Robert Altenburg, a longtime fixture of Pennsylvania’s environmental policy landscape, currently serves as senior director for energy and climate at PennFuture. On behalf of his nonprofit and all Pennsylvanians, he works closely with state regulatory agencies and clean energy experts and shares his insights before lawmakers and community groups. Altenburg, who holds earth science and law degrees, spent two decades at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, advising the governor’s office as an executive policy specialist.
As legislative and political director of the Sierra Club of Pennsylvania, Jen Quinn leads advocacy efforts around everything from the state’s emerging hydrogen development efforts to proposed state measures promoting solar energy and schools and limiting PFAS and other toxins. She also works on educational and outreach materials, including an environmental scorecard rating legislators for each election. Quinn chairs the Clean Power PA coalition’s environmental table and serves on the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ ecological management advisory committee.
After a dozen years at Carnegie Mellon University, Daniel Tkacik last year became executive director of its Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. He brought industry leaders, investors and entrepreneurs to campus for Energy Week 2023, a national conference, and has spearheaded startup competitions to generate ideas for a clean-tech ecosystem. Tkacik, who earned a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from CMU, previously oversaw research communications for the College of Engineering.
Mark Bodenschatz heads the Penn State Facilities Engineering Institute, which promotes energy-efficient infrastructure for both Penn State and the institute’s consultancy clients. He also manages the institute’s role as primary adviser to the commonwealth for electricity and natural gas procurement. Bodenschatz, who holds architectural engineering degrees from Penn State, previously spent 30 years at the Office of the Physical Plant and, as associate athletic director, guided the university’s capital planning and facilities.
As the University of Pittsburgh’s sustainability chief, Aurora Sharrard emphasizes the intersection of equity, environment and economics for Pitt’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plans. She oversaw a 2018-22 progress report and now coordinates partnerships, as well as guiding the Pitt Sustainability Challenge, with a university-wide goal of carbon neutrality by 2037. Sharrard, who holds a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering, previously spent a dozen years at the nonprofit Green Building Alliance. She serves on the boards of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission and Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services.
Pittsburgh’s urban landscapes owe a debt to the efforts of Matthew Galluzzo, who has devoted his career to neighborhood revitalization and conservation. As CEO of the nonprofit Riverlife, Galluzzo is currently implementing the city’s first permanent riverfront maintenance fund; he also led a successful effort to expand the state’s waterfront development tax credit, garnering $20 million in public and philanthropic investment. Prior to joining Riverlife, Galluzzo was the longtime director of the Lawrenceville Corporation, where he facilitated over $200 million in public and private investments.
Jeaneen Zappa believes energy efficiency isn’t just good for the planet; it’s also a key driver of workforce development. She makes this case as executive director of the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance, which spearheads partnerships, convenes events and advocates politically to advance energy-saving products, services and related jobs. Zappa previously directed Pittsburgh-based Conservation Consultants, an organization promoting residential energy efficiency, and was Allegheny County’s first sustainability manager.
Coal’s dominance may be on the wane, but the Pennsylvania industry has a champion in Rachel Gleason, who serves as executive director of the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance. She represents more than 160 member companies in the nation’s third-largest coal-producing state, working closely with state and federal lawmakers and regulatory agencies. Gleason previously honed her political and legislative skills as executive director for the House Majority Policy Committee.
Oliver Bass has labored in myriad capacities over a quarter-century at Natural Lands, one of the nation’s oldest and largest land conservation groups. As president since 2019, Bass has overseen preservation of 7,000 acres; previously, as a vice president, he increased visitation to Natural Lands’ 42 nature preserves and launched initiatives to improve green space access in park-deprived communities. Bass is a member of the Land Trust Alliance’s National Land Trust Leadership Council and serves on the executive committee of the PA Growing Greener Coalition.
At the Center for Coalfield Justice, Sarah Martik represents the interests of residents and communities most affected by Pennsylvania’s fossil fuel extraction industry. Martik, who joined the organization as a community organizer, leads advocacy for environmentally sound policy around the coal, oil and gas industries, as well as programs educating area residents about their land and waterways. Under Martik’s guidance, CCJ hosts grassroots summits and political rallies, and has expanded its mission with climate justice and voter education initiatives.
From pipelines and coal plants to electric vehicles and PFAS, Susan Phillips investigates the intersection of Pennsylvania’s energy industry, its affected communities, and state and national politics. The longtime WHYY and NPR energy and environment reporter, who spent a year studying climate change at MIT as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow, was a founding member of the StateImpact Pennsylvania website. Her reportage has earned numerous Edward R. Murrow Awards, as well as recognition from the Associated Press and Columbia University.
Clean energy is an easy sell. Just ask Kathy Willard, the longtime executive director for power sales at Constellation Energy, which bills itself as the nation’s largest producer of carbon-free energy. Willard heads a team committed to shifting its electricity from 90% to 100% carbon-free by 2040 while eliminating greenhouse gas emissions through wind, solar and hydro and nuclear resources. Based in Kennett Square, Willard joined the Fortune 200 company in 2012 after five years at Exelon, where she was a supervisor.
Since the 1980s, wetland scientist Mark Gutshall has devoted his career to environmental issues around the Susquehanna River. He is the founder and chair of RiverStewards, a public-private consortium devoted to Susquehanna-area conservation, watershed management, environmental data tracking and community education. Gutshall also founded LandStudies, an environmental restoration and land planning outfit with projects throughout the mid-Atlantic.
In 2018, Sharon Pillar looked around Pennsylvania’s fossil fuel-dominated landscape and realized the commonwealth needed a clean-energy nudge. She founded the Pennsylvania Solar Center to advance green momentum in the state’s energy scene, with the goal of combating climate change while creating new jobs. As executive director, Pillar has launched an online resource hub, facilitated solar consulting and advocated for solar-friendly state policy. She also owns a clean energy market consultancy, the Hot Earth Collaborative, and previously worked on solar programs at PennFuture.
Joylette Portlock defines sustainability broadly – not only as safe drinking water and renewable energy, but also social equity, workforce development and affordable housing. As director of Sustainable Pittsburgh, Portlock engages regional governments, nonprofits and businesses in promoting policies and practices to advance these priorities across the region. Portlock, who holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University, also serves on the Advisory Board of the Black Environmental Collective.
Devi Ramkissoon leads the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, promoting a just, green and thriving local economy. She guided the recent launch of SBN’s local food systems program, which aims to localize the supply chain, reduce waste and promote regenerative agricultural practices. Ramkissoon, who has a background in international development, has also championed financing opportunities through a Clean Energy Prize as well as encouraging diversity among its participating area businesses.
Pennsylvania lawmakers are used to debating coal mines – but cryptocurrency mining is something new. The controversial industry is championed in Pennsylvania by Greg Beard, co-chair and CEO of Stronghold Digital Mining, which uses reclaimed Pennsylvania coal refuse sites to power its Bitcoin mining operations. Despite lawmakers’ skepticism, Beard remains bullish on the embattled currency and its much-maligned energy practices, recording $106 million in revenue last year. Beard, a longtime natural resources investor, also heads Beard Energy Transition Acquisition Corporation.
John Quigley, who previously led both the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, is the founding director of Harrisburg University’s Center for Environment, Energy & Economy. Quigley’s vision engages researchers in data science, artificial intelligence and information systems to develop strategies for clean energy and sustainable, climate-resilient development. Quigley, a former mayor of Hazleton, is also a board member of the University of Pennsylvania’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy.
After volunteering and serving as a board member for Friends of the Riverfront, Pittsburgh-bred attorney Kelsey Ripper became its executive director in 2020. The nonprofit veteran leads an organization dedicated to maintaining and expanding the Three Rivers Heritage and Water Trail systems, which comprise 33 miles of urban and suburban byways along the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers. Ripper previously directed the Microenterprise Project for Volunteers of Legal Service, a New York City-based pro bono organization.
Biologist Kelly Knutson directs the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, guiding federal policy, strategy and partnerships throughout four basin states. Knutson recently advanced legislation to reauthorize the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act, an example of his bipartisan approach to federal advocacy. He also serves on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service steering committee for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program and helps bring together conservation stakeholders for the National Wildlife Federation’s annual conference, Wildlife Unite.
Whether explaining the energy economies of China and Saudi Arabia or parsing the impact of fuel costs on American families, Andy Stone brings industry knowledge and a lively touch to ”Energy Policy Now,” a podcast series he hosts and produces at the University of Pennsylvania Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. Stone, who is also an independent energy consultant, was previously an energy reporter at Forbes Magazine and editorial adviser to the World Bank’s carbon finance unit.
Since 1996, Meg Cheever has led efforts to bolster Pittsburgh’s green open spaces. Cheever is the founding president of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, which was created to reverse deteriorating conditions at the city’s historic parks and improve safety, cleanliness and accessibility. Under her leadership, the conservancy has raised nearly $150 million, funded two dozen major infrastructure projects and expanded into additional neighborhoods and community spaces throughout Pittsburgh.
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