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IECON 2024, Chicago, IL
November 3-6, 2024

Opening Plenary Panel Session – November 4th, 2024

Opening Plenary Panel Moderator

Sainab Taiwo Ninalowo

Senior Manager of Smart Grid & Innovation – Grid Modernization, ComEd, USA


Sainab Taiwo Ninalowo is the Senior Manager of Smart Grid & Innovation – Grid Modernization at ComEd, responsible for leading the team that oversees trial and development of new technologies onto the distribution system and optimizing new solutions and capabilities for customers through industry-leading engineering evaluation and implementation. Sainab is passionate about education and empowerment. She currently co-leads ComEd’s EV Rally, a program committed to inspiring young women to pursue STEM careers. Sainab was the chair of IEEE PES Women in Power – a global organization creating a movement to promote more diverse leadership in the Industry. She was the FY16 VP of Outreach for the Society of Women Engineers- Chicago Regional Section, where she oversaw the high school, elementary, scholarship, and collegiate programs. Sainab graduated with a BS in ME from Bradley University and an MBA degree from DePaul University.


Distinguished Panel Speakers

Michael Pesin

Deputy Assistant Secretary, Department of Energy, USA


Michael Pesin is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Grid Systems and Components Division at DOE’s Office of Electricity. His organization is responsible for the development and management of projects for next-generation electricity delivery technologies and supporting activities to accelerate their introduction to the marketplace.

Mr. Pesin has over 35 years of experience in the electric utility industry directing development and execution of advanced technology programs. Mr. Pesin is a licensed professional engineer and spent most of his career leading technology organizations at electric utility companies where he led technology strategy development, managed research and development projects, and directed strategic programs and demonstration projects in generation, transmission, distribution; system protection, automation, controls and metering; communication networks and cybersecurity; energy storage; distributed energy resources; microgrids; electric vehicles; and many other advanced technologies.

Prior to joining DOE, Mr. Pesin was also the founder and president of a consulting company working with electric utilities, technology companies, and investors.  He served as a board member at a number of technology organizations, is actively involved with many electric power industry groups, and is a frequent speaker at industry events.


Damir Novosel

President and Founder of Quanta Technology, USA


Damir Novosel is president and founder of Quanta Technology. He was also president of Quanta Energized Services. Previously, he was vice president of ABB Automation Products and president of KEMA T&D US. Damir served on various boards and is presently member of the Sandia National Laboratories Energy and Homeland Security External Advisory Board and Mississippi State University Industry Advisory Board.   Dr. Novosel is also an adjunct professor at North Carolina State University.

Damir, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineers (NAE) and IEEE Fellow and Life Fellow, served as the IEEE PES president and the VP of Technology. He is a secretary of IEEE PES Executive Advisory Council, chaired the IEEE Industry Technical Support Leadership Committee, and served as a member of the IEEE Standards Board. Damir received the IEEE PES Patrick P. Ryan Meritorious Service and Leadership in Power awards. He is the CIGRE US National Committee VP of Nominations and received the CIGRE Philip Sporn and Attwood Associate awards.  Dr. Novosel holds 18 US and international patents, published over 200 articles and reports, contributed to 7 books.

Damir holds PhD, MSc, and BSc degrees in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University (where he was a Fulbright scholar), the University of Zagreb, Croatia, and the University of Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, respectively. Dr. Novosel was selected as Mississippi State University Distinguished Engineering Fellow and received the Distinguished Alumni Award.

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Mohammad Shahidehpour

Distinguished Professor, Director of Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation, Illinois Institute of Technology, USA


Mohammad Shahidehpour is a University Distinguished Professor, Bodine Chair Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Director of the Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). He has over 40 years of experience with power system operation, planning, and control and has completed several major projects for the electric energy sector. His project on Perfect Power Systems has converted the entire IIT Campus to an islandable microgrid. Dr. Shahidehpour was the recipient of several technical awards including of the IEEE Burke Hayes Award for his research on hydrokinetics, IEEE/PES Outstanding Power Engineering Educator Award, IEEE/PES Ramakumar Family Renewable Energy Excellence Award, IEEE/PES Douglas M. Staszesky Distribution Automation Award, and the Edison Electric Institute’s Power Engineering Educator Award. He has co-authored 6 books and over 900 technical papers on electric power system operation and planning, and served as the founding Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid.  Dr. Shahidehpour is the recipient of the 2009 honorary doctorate from the Polytechnic University of Bucharest.  He is a Fellow of IEEE, Fellow of CSEE (China), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), and an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE). He is also listed as a highly cited researcher on the Web of Science (ranked in the top 1% by citations demonstrating significant influence among his peers).

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Henry Huang

Division Director, Energy Systems and Infrastructure Analysis, Argonne National Laboratory, USA


Zhenyu (Henry) Huang is Division Director of Energy Systems and Infrastructure Analysis at Argonne National Laboratory. He leads an organization devoted to developing and using analytical tools and technologies to help decision makers lead the transition to efficient, clean, renewable energy and ensure a robust and secure U.S. grid. He formerly served as a distinguished Laboratory Fellow at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and research professor at Washington State University. Dr. Huang’s expertise extends to policy advising, particularly as a Policy Advisor for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Undersecretary for Science and Innovation, where he led significant initiatives such as the DOE’s Grid Modernization Initiative and the White House’s Net Zero Grid and Electrification Game Changers Initiative. Within PNNL, Dr. Huang led key portfolios in power electronics and renewable integration and served as the Deputy Sector Manager for grid research. His research interests encompass high-performance computing, data analytics, and optimization and control for power and energy systems dominated by inverters and renewables. Before joining PNNL in 2003, Dr. Huang conducted extensive research in power system stability and analysis at various academic institutions, including the University of Alberta, McGill University, and the University of Hong Kong. He has over 200 peer-reviewed publications. He is a Fellow of IEEE. He received his B. Eng. from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China and Ph.D. degree from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.

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David R. Perez

Executive Vice President & COO, ComEd, USA


As executive vice president and chief operating officer, Perez is responsible for leading ComEd’s overall performance in the areas of service reliability, operations, engineering, construction, safety, financial management and smart grid development, including the implementation of one of the nation’s first utility-operated microgrid clusters in Chicago. A unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corp., ComEd delivers electricity to more than 4 million residential and business customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. Prior to his current role, Perez oversaw distribution operations for ComEd's more than 11,000-square-mile service area. These operations include new business, construction and maintenance, field operations and regional engineering. He previously served as vice president of transmission and substation at ComEd, where he was responsible for the construction, operation and maintenance of more than 5,800 miles of transmission lines and nearly 400 substations. He also previously served as vice president of distribution operations at ComEd for the Chicago and Maywood regions.

Before joining the operations team, Perez served as vice president of work management and new business at ComEd. In that role, he was responsible for more than 500 employees who managed construction and maintenance work plans and provided engineering and construction services for customers. With more than 20 years of experience in the energy industry, Perez also has held managerial positions in construction, maintenance, operations, work management, and technical investigations at ComEd. In 2007, Perez became a fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago, which exposes area executives to local challenges and the skills needed to make a difference in the community. He is a board member of the Chicago Metro History Center, the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Engineering and the Chicago Commons Governing Board. He also serves on the board of Association of Edison Illuminating Companies and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. Perez holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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