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Invited Speakers

FRIDAY JUNE 6, 2014 - Keynote Speaker Plenary Opening Session

Michael Brower 

Michael Randolph Brower, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE)

Michael R. Brower was unanimously elected to be the third permanent President and CEO of ACORE by the Board of Directors on December19, 2013. He had served as ACORE’s Interim President and CEO after Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn was named by President Obama to be the Assistant Secretary to the Navy for Energy, Installations and the Environment in July 2013. A former ACORE Board member, Mr. Brower has decades of experience in renewable energy policy, project development, finance and market development. He now leads the organization for implementation of the Board of Directors-ratified strategic plan, directing ACORE’s operational policy and practice; as well as, internal and external relations including financial matters and industry-wide coordination, communications and cooperation. More...

​SATURDAY JUNE 7, 2014​ - Keynote Speaker Plenary Opening Session

James Fenton

Dr. James M. Fenton, Ph.D.
University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC)​

Dr. James M. Fenton is the Director of the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), where he leads a staff of 140 in the research and development of energy technologies that enhance Florida's and the nation's economy and environment and educate the public, students and practitioners on the results of the research.  FSEC’s SunSmart program placed 10 kW of PV with battery back-up at more than 100 schools to provide power to emergency shelters and education demonstrations for students.  The US DOE is currently funding national programs at FSEC in: “Building America” energy efficient homes, Photovoltaic Manufacturing, Hot-Humid PV testing of large-scale PV to show bankability, train-the-trainers education for solar installations, and programs to decease the soft-costs of PV installation. Recently, DOE provided funding to UCF to manage a smart-grid education consortium for power engineering students.  The US Department of Transportation recently awarded the nation’s only University Electrical Vehicle Transportation Center (EVTC) to FSEC.​

FRIDAY JUNE 6, 2014 - Plenary Opening Session: Go Solar, Go Business!​

Bertha Watson Henry
Broward County Administrator​

Bertha W. Henry was named County Administrator in October 2008 after serving as Interim for a year.  As County Administrator, she serves as chief executive officer of Broward County and directs the functions of County Government under the auspices of the nine-member Board of County Commissioners. Administrator Henry oversees the 2nd largest county in the state of Florida and the 17th largest county in the nation with over 1.8 million residents. She guides the operations of nearly 60 agencies, including the airport, seaport, and convention & visitors’ bureau with a budget of $4 Billion. A native of Miami, Florida, Henry has a distinguished career in public service with more than 35 years of experience in public administration, including service in Montgomery County (Dayton) Ohio and the City of Miami. She first came to Broward County in 1996 and served as Assistant to the County Administrator until 1998, when she accepted a position as Assistant City Manager of Finance and Administration for the City of Miami. She was instrumental in the City’s return to solvency during the City’s financial recovery.  Henry returned to Broward County in July 2000, serving as Broward County's Deputy County Administrator. Henry has a Master of Science Degree in Public Administration (Finance Concentration) from Florida State University and a Bachelor of Science in Government, also from Florida State University. She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her professional and volunteer endeavors, and is affiliated with a number of organizations.​

FRIDAY JUNE 6, 2014 - Plenary Lunch Session​

Ted Deutch
Florida's 21st District ​

Congressman Ted Deutch is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives on behalf of Florida's 21st district, which includes South Florida communities throughout Palm Beach County and Broward County. An Assistant Whip to Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, he has been highlighted by the Washington newspaper Roll Call as a young, rising voice in the House Democratic Caucus, and was previously named one of America's top Jewish politicians to watch by the Forward newspaper. Congressman Deutch is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, the House Ethics Committee, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in which he serves as the Ranking Member on the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee. ​

​SATURDAY JUNE 7, 2014​ - Plenary Opening Session​

Martin David Kiar,
Broward County Commissioner,
District 1​

Martin David Kiar serves as the Broward County Commissioner for District 1. A lifetime resident of Broward County, Kiar is committed to maintaining our unique way of life for all residents and future generations. Kiar earned his bachelor of arts degree at Palm Beach Atlantic University in 1999 and his juris doctorate at Nova Southeastern University in 2002. He lives in Davie with his wife, Kelly, his daughters, Brianne and Camryn, and his puppy, Cooper. In 2006, Kiar had the privilege of serving Broward County in the Florida House of Representatives. He was reelected in 2008, and again in 2010. In 2012, he was elected to serve as a Broward County Commissioner. He was the first person in Broward County’s history to win an open (no incumbent running) Broward County Commission seat unopposed. He is also one of the youngest Broward County Commissioners to ever serve in that capacity.Martin David Kiar is the Broward County Commissioner for District 1. District 1 encompasses parts of Davie, Weston, Sunrise, Plantation, Lauderhill and Tamarac. As a lifetime resident of Broward County, Commissioner Kiar is committed to maintaining our unique way of life for all residents and future generations.
Commissioner Kiar earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Palm Beach Atlantic University in 1999 and his Juris Doctorate at Nova Southeastern University in 2002. 
Previously, Commissioner Kiar had the privilege of serving Broward County in the Florida House of Representatives.  Commissioner Kiar was first elected to the Florida House in 2006, and was reelected in 2008 and again in 2010. In 2012, Commissioner Kiar was elected to serve as the Broward County Commissioner for District 1.   Commissioner Kiar was the first person in Broward County's history to win an open (no incumbent running) Broward County Commission seat unopposed.  Commissioner Kiar is also one of the youngest Broward County Commissioners to ever serve in that capacity.
Commissioner Kiar lives in Davie with his wife Kelly, his daughters Brianne and Camryn, and his puppy, Cooper.​

Bryan M. Myers,
U.S. EPA Region 4,
Energy and Climate
Change Coordinator​

Mr. Myers has worked for EPA for over 18 years gaining a broad base of regulatory experience across several media. He has worked as both an engineer and attorney, and was the designated EPA regional congressional liaison.  Mr. Myers is currently the Energy and Climate Change Coordinator for Region 4, based out of Atlanta.  He has been working to encourage the climate preparedness and resilience dialogue, as well as broaden renewable energy development in the southeast. Mr. Myers has a law degree from the University of Oregon and Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech.​

Topic: The Vision of Go SOLAR Florida​

Jeffery Halsey,
Go SOLAR Project Director, Environment Protection and Growth Management - Broward County ​

Jeffery Halsey obtained his BS degree in Biology from the University of Central Florida, Orlando and his Masters in Public Administration at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.  Mr. Halsey has a twenty-seven year career in the environmental field, both public and private sectors, and he currently works as a Division Director at Broward County’s Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department - Pollution Prevention, Remediation and Air Quality Division. Mr. Halsey is an Institute of Hazardous Materials Management Certified Hazardous Materials Manager, a National Association of Environmental Professionals Certified Environmental Professional, and is currently a board member of the Florida Local Environmental Resource Agencies (FLERA). ​

Chair: Kay Sommers,
Go SOLAR Project Manager, Environment Protection and Growth Management - Broward County ​

Kay Sommers has worked for Broward County Environmental Protection and Growth Management since 1986 in a number of capacities.  She served as the team leader for the Emerald Award Environmental Recognition Program from 2002-2013, and as the county co-company leader for the American Heart Association Heart Walk from 2004 to 2012.  She is a Master Trainer for Process Mapping and a Level III Coach and Trainer for Facilitation for all county departments.  Ms. Sommers is also a LEED Green Associate and serves as the Project Manager for the Go SOLAR Florida grant at Broward County Pollution Prevention, Remediation, and Air Quality Division. In this capacity she chairs multiple committees with cross jurisdictional participants and oversees a grant budget of $2,275,776. Ms. Sommers also manages the Air Quality Technical Support Section which is responsible for calculating Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories for the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact, the Climate Change Task Force, and for Broward County Government Operations.  The section also provides environmental education and programming through school and community events. Ms. Sommers graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering.  She has been a loyal fan of the Wildcat basketball team ever since. ​

Topic: PV Innovation Landscape: A Global and Local Perspective​

Dr. Fatima Toor 

Dr. Fatima Toor, Ph.D.,
Solar Research Analyst,
Lux Research Massachusetts

Dr. Fatima Toor is an Analyst at Lux Research on the Solar Intelligence team. She helps clients – Innovation 1000 corporations, leading institutional investors, utilities, and public policy makers – make better strategic decisions and monitor the ever changing global solar market. She is frequently quoted in the press, and has been cited globally in various publications on solar innovation and market trends. Dr. Toor obtained a doctorate and Master’s Degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University where she developed cutting edge III-V-based quantum cascade lasers for environmental and medical sensing. Dr. Toor has published in many peer-reviewed scientific journals, presented at various scientific conferences and received several awards for academic excellence.

Topic: Insurance and your solar exposures

Lorin Schiff Montgomery 

Lorin Schiff Montgomery, CPCU Vice President Corporate Insurance Advisors, LLC

Lorin Schiff Montgomery is the Vice President of Corporate Insurance Advisors, a commercial insurance agency located in Ft. Lauderdale. She has worked with business owners for more than 29 years to protect their assets and income by assisting them in cost effectively managing their risk through different insurance vehicles. Ms. Montgomery has managed the insurance programs for many large South Florida businesses including: Eldorado Furniture, Farmer and Irwin Corporation, and US Foundry. Having the ability to ensure that specialized and general businesses in the US or overseas get exactly the coverage they need, at a fair market price, is the hallmark of her practice. She also currently serves on the Board of Directors of NAWIC Chapter 78 and The Construction Underground.

Topic: Off grid PV systems for rural electrification, back up power, outdoor and recreational activities

Andres Castanos 

Andres Castano,
COO & Marketing Director
Yake Solar Power Corp.

Mr. Castano is an Electrical Engineer graduate from Florida International University specialized in Control Systems. During his senior design he worked on a project called "The Smart Green Factory", a smart automated system using renewable energy that allowed factory personnel to manipulate all loads independently and also the energy source based on grid peak hours. His experience contributed in the development of Yake Solar’s innovative line of products. His passion for the solar world started long before joining Yake Solar, he had a passion for helping the world improve its energy use through innovation and renewable resources. He has been a guest speaker at various solar energy conventions.

Topic: 3 times the power in 30% less space: Distributed Concentrated Solar

Robert Mellifont 

Robert Mellifont,
Vice President,
Business Development
Sunergy World, Inc.

Robert Mellifont is Vice President, Business Development at Sunergy World, a wholesaler of Solar Panels and other Solar driven systems. Mr. Mellifont has been actively involved in designing and selling solar energy systems for the past 6 years. His motto is “Find a Better Way”. He has spent the last 45 years in Sales, Sales Management and Entrepreneurship. He has designed and sold residential, commercial and mobile solar energy systems. Mr. Mellifont has a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from St. John’s University in New York City. He moved to Broward County in the Sunshine State in May 2013.

Topic: FIU Solar House’s Potential Performance: A Study of Natural Ventilation Strategies


Dr. Cheng-Xian
(Charlie) Lin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Florida International University

Dr. Cheng-Xian (Charlie) Lin is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at FIU. He directs the Computational Fluids and Energy Sciences (CFES) Laboratory and the Sustainable Energy and Thermal Transport Systems (SETTS) Laboratory. He earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, and has authored and co-authored over 160 papers in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. His current research interests include Solar Energy Utilization, Building Energy Simulation, Computational Fluid Dynamics, and Heat Transfer. He serves on the review panels of NSF, DOE, and DoD, and on the editorial boards of eight international journals. He is an active member of the ASME, ASHRAE, AIAA, and ASEE.

Long Phan

Long Phan,
Graduate Research Assistant Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Florida International University

Long Phan is currently a Ph.D. student working in Professor Cheng-Xian Lin’s Sustainable Energy and Thermal Transport Systems Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Florida International University. In 2003, he and several FIU students provided technical support for the Solar Decathlon China. Mr. Long completed his Bachelor of Science degree at FIU in 2013. With a steady momentum, he decided to pursue his Ph.D at FIU to further extend his research interests. His major research areas are renewable energy applications, computational fluid dynamics, building energy simulation, and sustainable design of modern green buildings.​

Topic: Accessing Affordable Solar Financing Through PACE

Stacey Lawson 

Stacey Lawson, CEO

As CEO of Ygrene, Stacey Lawson brings 20 years of experience as a business executive in the areas of manufacturing, technology and clean energy. She co-founded the Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Engineering. Ms. Lawson previously held positions as Division General Manager for Siebel Systems, Senior Vice President for Parametric Technology Corporation and co-founder of InPart Design. She was also recently a candidate for U.S. Congress in California’s 2nd congressional district. Ms. Lawson holds a B.S. in chemical engineering and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Topic: The Value of Solar: Developing Solar Friendly Communities

Rebecca Cantwell

Rebecca Cantwell
Executive Director, Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association
And Executive Director,
Go Solar Colorado​

Go Solar Colorado Executive Director Rebecca Cantwell brings years of project management, communications and policy leadership experience to her work on solar energy.  She was recently appointed as Executive Director of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA). Ms. Cantwell previously served as Senior Program Director for COSEIA where led the team that created Solar Friendly Communities, a nationally recognized program to reduce solar soft costs. She also previously worked as a Community Energy Coordinator and has managed numerous renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. She edits Smart Energy Living, an online magazine at She came to her work on clean energy after a nationally award-winning career as newspaper and magazine journalist.​

Topic: Distributed and Mobile Solar Electricity Generation with Energy Storage Devices and Application to PrePaid (PPD) Technology for the Latin America Marketplace​

Albert Franklin Rodriguez

Albert Franklin Rodriguez
President of ATI Energia LLC, ATI Companies Group and
Vice President of Marketing, Ambient Technologies, Inc. and Subsidiaries​

Mr. Rodriguez is a member of the BellSouth International Wireless team that developed the first international roaming service throughout the Americas growing revenues to $28 Million in 7 years. He was also leader of the team that designed and built the “ATI Solar Lounge” which has become a trademark of ATI Energia and a prototype for Mobile Solar Technology. The ATI Solar Lounge received a nomination for the top 10 Innovations at the BizTech Innovation Summit in 2011 by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. In March of 2011, Mr. Rodriguez was a speaker at the Renewable Energy World Conference, Tampa Convention Center showing the benefits and parallels between the deployment of Wireless Technology and Distributed Electricity in Latin America.​

Topic: Solar Microgrids and Your Community's Disaster Recovery Strategy: How to prepare for the worst, plan for the best, and save money in the process​

Michael Burr

Michael Burr
Founder and Director
Microgrid Institute

Michael Burr is the founder and director of Microgrid Institute, a collaborative think tank that addresses factors affecting deployment of microgrids and distributed energy resources for communities, companies, and institutions. Mr. Burr coordinates multidisciplinary efforts to develop legal and financial models, perform microgrid feasibility studies, and support project development. He formerly served as editor-in-chief of Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine, and Electric Light & Power magazine before that. He has provided consulting and advisory services to a variety of public agencies and Fortune 500 companies, such as the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Maryland Energy Administration, IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and U.S. Generating Co.​

Topic: Micro-Parallel Inverters: A New Technology that Reduces Installation Labor by 75%

Arnold Kravitz
Vice President of Commercial Business
Technology Research Company

Prior to joining Technology Research Company, Mr. Kravitz was the founder and General Manager of the Integrated Sensor Solution Business Unit for the Sarnoff Corporation. Previous to that he held the positions of Vice President of Advanced Technologies and Vice President of Engineering at L-3 Communications. Mr. Kravitz's distinguished career also includes various positions at BAE Sustems, where he was Chief Engineer, Program Engineering Manager III, and Department Head for the Integrated Electronics Systems Integration Division and the Optics Center of Excellence.

With over 30 years of industry experience, he has been the recipient of numerous awards and has been granted numerous US and internation patents. He received his BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Hartford, a Masters of Electrical Engineering from Resselaer Polytechnic Institute and is a graduate of numerous corporate training programs.​

Topic: Energy and the New Paradigm​

Richard F. "Scott" Schroeder
Solar Contractor and Vice President
Schroeder Solar Energy


Mr. Schroeder started his technology career by installing Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) in 1970 for Southern Bell in Dade County Florida. He moved into engineering after completing his Bachelor's degree at FIU and has contributed to many state-wide projects.

Deregulation facilitated innovation but left Mr. Schroeder stagnated in POTS as wireless took off. In 1996, after 26+ years at Ma Bell he made the jump to Nortel and was Lead Network Engineer of many country-wide projects in the Caribbean and Latin America. 

Expecting energy deregulation, he obtained a solar contracting license but learned that Florida lawmakers encourage Plain Old Electric Service (POES). Mr. Schroeder works to advance energy policy in Florida in order to facilitate the rollout of 2G energy and its plethora of services.​

Topic: Training Opportunities for the Solar Workforce​​

Colleen Kettles 

Colleen Kettles
Program Director
Florida Solar Energy Center

Colleen Kettles is a Program Director at the Florida Solar Energy Center. She serves as the Coordinator of the Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition and is engaged in alternative energy workforce development and training initiatives. Ms. Kettles has worked in both the public and private nonprofit sectors and has more than 30 years of legal and policy research, program development and implementation in the fields of solar energy and energy efficiency.  She is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Law and is a member of the Florida Bar, serving on the Environmental and Land Use Law Section Energy Committee and the Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section Development and Green Building Committee.​

​Topic: Today and Tomorrow, Design Driven Decisions​

Valerie Amor
Valerie J. Amor 
Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD&C, Lic. Florida R.E. Broker 
Founder of Drawing Conclusions
and Owner/Principal Broker of Eco Logical R.E. + Community Builder

Valerie Amor is the Visionary Founder of Drawing Conclusions, a multi-disciplinary, community focused architectural firm engaged in cutting edge sustainable design, helical research, educational program (SCALe™), LEED consulting, certifications, accreditations and emerging green job initiatives. She is the owner/principal broker of Eco Logical R.E. + Community Builder focused on sustainable real estate development. Ms. Amor is dynamically engaged in local, county and national organizations focused on sustainability and climate change issues. Ms. Amor chairs the Fort Lauderdale Sustainability Advisory Board and co-chairs the AIA Fort Lauderdale C.O.T.E. As a published author, she contributes to several columns as well as local and national publications.​

Topic: How Can I Tell If Solar Will Be A Good Fit For My Home / Business?​

Steve Collier

Steve Collier
Director Smart Grid Strategies
Milsoft Utility Solutions

Steve Collier is Director Smart Grid Strategies at Milsoft Utility Solutions, an industry leader in the development, deployment, and support of electric utility software. Starting at Houston Lighting & Power in the mid 1970s, Mr. Collier began a long career in professional, executive, consultant, board member positions for energy, telecommunications and information technology companies. After graduate school at Purdue University, he worked in the USDOE solar photovoltaic program at Sandia National Labs. Mr. Collier is an IEEE Technical Expert who writes and speaks extensively on smart grid technologies and applications.​

Topic: Solar Water Heating- The Most Cost Effective Use of Solar

Reed Wilson
Reed Wilson
Vice President
Florida Solar Energy Industries Association

Reed Wilson is the owner of the FL Green Team an energy conservation company in Ft. Myers, FL that specializes in solar energy systems, high efficiency air conditioning, insulation and window tinting. He has been a licensed solar contractor since 1988, is a state certified energy rater and holds a pool contractor’s license as well. Mr. Wilson holds a BFA degree from Wittenberg University and has completed many courses at the Florida Solar Energy Center and the University of Florida. He is currently vice president of the Florida Solar Energy Industry Association where he also serves on the board of directors.​

​Topic: Manufacturing Wind Turbines in South Florida ​

Jamie Schlinkmann

Jamie Schlinkmann

Jamie Schlinkmann is a driven entrepreneur and engineer who has led teams responsible for development and manufacture of numerous machines used in manufacturing and medical laboratory automation. More than 5,000 pieces of capital equipment installed worldwide are a direct product of his company and technologies he played a key role in the development of. Now focused on products to improve the sustainability of our lifestyle and environment, Mr. Schlinkmann has led his team to develop EcoVert—the quietest and highest technology wind turbine ever designed for distributed generation applications. EcoVert is specifically designed for suburban and coastal living environments near population.​

​​Topic: Effective Policy Mechanisms for PV Deployment ​

Ralph Avallone

Ralph Avallone
Secretary General of the International Green Energy Council
Washington, DC​

Ralph Avallone is the founder and the Secretary General of the International Green Energy Council, an advocacy organization that is based in Washington DC.  He travels worldwide discussing climate change, environmental stewardship and the creation of Green Economies.
Mr. Avallone has educated many large corporations and businesses in regards to greening their daily practices to increase their triple bottom line: economic, environmental and social benefits. He was awarded the 2004 American Patriots Gold Medal and was also appointed to the Presidential Business Commission by President George W. Bush.  That same year he was also awarded the Senatorial Medal of Freedom, an honor bestowed upon only 225 recipients in American history. Mr. Avallone is the author of The Great Green Revolution™ .​

​Topics: Solar 101; Job Creation and Renewable Energy ​

Ray Johnson
Ray Johnson
Founder and President
The US Solar Institute, USSolar, USSolar International, and Florida Solar One, Inc.

Ray Johnson holds Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Economics from The Ohio State University and professional licensure in mechanical engineering, solar contracting, and continuing education instruction. In 2008 he founded award winning US Solar Institute (USSI) – a Florida Department of Education Licensed and dedicated solar training college and is a professional colleague/member of several organizations including the National Science Foundation, US Green Building Council, American Council on Renewable Energy and International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Ray is the Master Trainer and author for USSI and Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) Solar Certification Workshops and has over 25 years of experience in construction, design and systems programming. His experience includes central energy power plant design and construction, energy audits, photovoltaic electric and solar thermal system manufacturing, design and construction. He is affiliated with an array of central energy power plant projects including University of Miami Medial Campus, CNN Headquarters, The Mayo Clinic, and the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games Aquatic Center’s Solar Energy Plant – a first of its kind at that time.

​​Topic: Advancing Solar in the State ​

J.L. “Buck” Martinez
J.L. “Buck” Martinez
Sr. Director Office of Clean Energy
Florida Power & Light Company (FPL)

J.L. “Buck” Martinez is responsible for identifying and originating clean energy opportunities to promote visibility, commitment, and economic development.  He led the company’s efforts in developing three large solar projects and three large combined cycle natural gas facilities.
Mr. Martinez joined FPL in 1981 and has served in various capacities including Senior Director of Project Development and Director of Human Resource Services. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Thomas University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Nova Southeastern. He is a graduate of the Boston University Leadership Program and the Harvard Program on Negotiation. He was recently elected to the St. Thomas University Hall of Fame.
Mr. Martinez serves as the Chairman of the Florida Solar Energy Center and various Advisory Boards including Florida Energy Systems Consortium, Florida Research Consortium, and St. Thomas University President’s Advisory Board. He has also worked closely with the Department of Energy on renewable energy initiatives.​

​​FRIDAY JUNE 6, 2014 - Plenary Session: On your mark, get set, let’s Go Solar: A Round table discussion on Go Solar Florida​

James F. Murley

James F. Murley
Executive Director,
South Florida Regional Planning Council​

Jim Murley has spent over three decades working on public policy issues important to Florida. Currently the Executive Director of the South Florida Regional Planning Council, Mr. Murley served as Secretary of the Department of Community Affairs under Governor Lawton Chiles and was appointed chair of the Florida Energy and Climate Commission by Governor Charlie Crist. Mr. Murley spent over ten years with Florida Atlantic University overseeing research on urban and environmental issues. He serves on the Broward County Climate Change Task Force, is Vice Chair of the Miami-Dade County Sea Level Rise Task Force, and was contributing author for two chapters in the recently-released National Climate Assessment. Mr. Murley was recently named to the “South Florida 100” by the Sun-Sentinel newspaper to provide weekly input on regional issues impacting Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. He is a graduate of Leadership Florida and a Fellow in the National Academy for Public Administration.​

Heather Carruthers,
Monroe County Commissioner, District 3 ​

Heather Carruthers is in her second term serving on the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners, representing Key West. She served as Chair of the South Florida Regional Planning Council and on the Executive Committee of the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership, which oversaw the development of the Seven50 Prosperity Plan, a seven-county, 50-year blueprint for ensuring economic prosperity and the best possible quality of life in Southeast Florida. A former hotelier and current board chair of the grassroots organization Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe, Commissioner Carruthers also serves on the board of the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade and Monroe and as the Board of County Commissioners’ liaison to the Monroe County Climate Change Advisory Committee. She earned Certified County Commissioner designation from the Florida Association of Counties and also graduated from the Good Government Initiative at the University of Miami.​
Barbara Sharief - Broward County mayor and Commissioner, District 8

Barbara Sharief,
Broward County Mayor and Commissioner, District 8​

Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief is a native of South Florida. She was raised in Broward County and is a long-time resident of District 8. Mayor Sharief graduated from North Miami Senior High School and the Jackson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing and obtained an associate degree in nursing from Miami Dade College. She continued her education by earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing and an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Degree from Florida International University. Mayor Sharief has more than 16 years of business experience relating to care for medically complex children, and in 2001, she founded what is now known as South Florida Pediatric Homecare Inc. Prior to her election to the Broward County Commission, Mayor Sharief served as Vice Mayor and City Commissioner in Miramar. As a county commissioner, she has promoted job creation, economic development, tourism, neighborhood revitalization, education, and quality care for the elderly and children. Mayor Sharief is an active and energetic mother of three and an involved member of the PTA.​
Chris Dzadovsky, St. Lucie County Commissioner, District 1

Chris Dzadovsky,
St. Lucie County Commissioner, District 1​

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, St. Lucie County Commissioner Chris Dzadovsky has been a permanent resident of St. Lucie County since 2003 and a member of the Board of Commissioners since 2008. His career experience includes owning his own businesses, being a volunteer firefighter, and 23 years as an airline safety professional for US Airways. After relocating to St. Lucie County, he attended Indian River State College, earning a degree in applied science for business. He is nearing completion of a second degree in political science. Commissioner Dzadovsky has been involved in many community activities in the county, including as former president of the Fort Pierce Hibiscus Park Crime Watch & Neighborhood Association, the Fort Pierce Code Enforcement Board, St. Lucie County Skate Park Committee, and the St. Lucie County Citizens Budget Committee. In 2012, he earned the Outstanding Green Elected Official Award from the U.S. Green Building Council’s South Florida Chapter.​

​FRIDAY JUNE 6, 2014 - “It takes a village” Developing Solar Friendly Communities

Neville Williams
Neville Williams
Standard Solar Inc.,
Solar Electric Light Fund, and Solar Electric Light Company

Neville Williams is the founder of Standard Solar Inc. which sells and installs residential, commercial and utility-scale solar power systems.  Mr. Williams has over 30 years of experience in executive management, communications, and marketing.  He previously served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Energy during the Carter Administration. 
Mr. Williams founded Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) to bring solar electricity to unelectrified people in the developing world.  SELF has assisted national governments and community organizations to implement "solar seed" projects. Mr. Williams also founded Solar Electric Light Company, which has brought solar power to 150,000 families in India.  He is the author of SUN POWER, an account of his experience in the global solar electricity business.  He is currently a co-developer of mid-size solar farms in New Mexico to serve electric cooperatives.​

​FRIDAY JUNE 6, 2014 - The Renewal: Embracing Renewable Energy and Business Development ​

Sandy-Michael E. McDonald

Sandy-Michael E. McDonald
Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development​

Sandy McDonald became director of the Office of Economic and Small Business Development in 2013.  Prior to this he worked for 13 years in Community and Economic Development on both local and federal programs.  His expertise includes initiating tax increment finance programs, brownfield redevelopment, small business development and disadvantaged business enterprise opportunities. Mr. McDonald has coordinated projects for blight removal, educational attainment, safe and vibrant neighborhoods and economic self-sufficiency. In Michigan he served as the director of the downtown development authority and director of community and economic development. Mr. McDonald also served as chair of the Great Lake State Governor’s Cities of Promise initiative. Working with multiple partners he collaborated on an endeavor resulting in more than $25 million in projects and technical assistance for the City of Pontiac.​

Cesar A. Rivas
Senior Vice President,
Regional Manager
PNC Bank

Cesar A. Rivas is a Senior Vice President of PNC Bank’s Regional Consumer Bank. As a Regional Manager for the Broward-Dade West Region, he is responsible for the management and overall performance of 13 branches located in that market. Prior to joining PNC, Mr. Rivas worked for Petroleum of Venezuela and Compaq.  He also established a language school geared towards corporate training, where he developed advanced methods of instruction. Mr. Rivas subsequently joined PNC Bank and has held positions in Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania including serving as Branch Manager and Business Banker. After the PNC acquisition of National City, he relocated to South Florida to support the conversion and help bring the company culture into this market. ​

John Allan 

John Allan
General Manager
Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort

John Allan was recently appointed as the General Manager of Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. He is a three time recipient of the hotel’s Genius of the “And” Award for exceptional overall performance in each of the key performance indicators.  Mr. Allan oversees the quality and service brand standards for the property and manages over 200 team members. The award-winning resort recently installed wind turbines and remains committed to environmental stewardship. Mr. Allan has over twenty years of hospitality leadership experience. He is a graduate of Florida International University’s School of Hospitality Management.​

Erik T. Jacobsen
Regional Director of Facilities for JM Family Enterprises, Inc.

Erik T. Jacobsen is the Regional Director of Facilities for JM Family Enterprises, Inc. He has worked for JM Family for 16 years in various technical and management roles and is now responsible for JM Family’s solar arrays and sustainable facility management. JM Family is currently installing two more 156 kW arrays at its Deerfield Beach headquarters, for a total of seven arrays with over 800 kW solar capacity.​
Doug Anderson

Doug Anderson
Site Facility Manager
IKEA Miami

Doug Anderson is currently the Site Facility Manager at the IKEA Miami store, slated to open in the Summer of 2014. Prior to this, Mr. Anderson was the Maintenance Team Leader at IKEA Sunrise. Within the scope of his responsibilities at IKEA, he is responsible for ensuring a safe, secure, clean and functional environment for visitors and co-workers, as well as managing and maintaining the store and its mechanical operating systems. During his time at IKEA Sunrise he managed the largest solar installations in South Florida. Prior to working for IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, Doug was the Maintenance Manager at Dania Beach Hurricane.​
Robert Caine

Robert B. Caine PE
Project Caine

Robert Caine formed Project Caine in 2005. The firm emphasizes responsiveness to client’s needs and specializes in timely and quality design.  Prior to forming Project Caine, Mr. Caine was a senior partner and board member of the largest MEP firm in Florida. He has more than 30 years of national and international design experience for various project types such as single family residential, multi family residential, commercial, institutional, healthcare, university, airports and ports.  He has also developed an expertise in Green Building Design including the design of Solar Photovoltaic systems. Mr. Caine is a graduate of Villanova University with a degree in Electrical Engineering.  He has published numerous articles on electrical engineering and has given several lectures on various electrical engineering topics.​

​​FRIDAY JUNE 6, 2014 - Learning to be Green: Local Universities and Sustainablity ​

John Moriarty

John Moriarty
Director of the Career Development Center
Barry University​

John Moriarty, a native of Fort Lauderdale, is the Director of the Career Development Center at Barry University. Mr. Moriarty has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Florida and a Masters in Business Administration from National University. Prior to working at Barry University, he served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, and owned his own executive search firm. In addition to his role in the Career Development Center, Mr. Moriarty is a founding member of the Mission Integration Council at Barry and has been actively involved in Barry’s Earth Day planning committee over the past several years.​

Gregory Mason
Director of Sustainability
Broward College

Greg Mason is Director of Sustainability, at Broward College one of the three largest colleges in Florida. The position of Sustainability Director was created in 2010. Responsibilities of the Broward College Sustainability Department are diverse. Areas of interest include: energy and water management, LEED projects, recycling/reducing waste, transportation, community outreach, green purchasing and indoor air quality.  Prior projects have included reforestation and carbon sequestration in Scotland, consultant to Qatar Ministry of the Environment, Qatar Gas, and Exxon Mobil, US Department of Defense and US State Department regarding environmental issues.​

​​FRIDAY JUNE 6, 2014 - Let’s Breathe and Concentrate: Distributed Concentrated Solar and Natural Ventilation Strategies​

Stephen Barkaszi
Director for PV Systems Test and Certification Department
Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC)

Stephen Barkaszi is the Program Director for PV Systems Test and Certification Department at the Florida Solar Energy Center. Mr. Barkaszi works with the Department of Energy and the National Labs to manage the Hot, Humid Climate Regional Test Center for photovoltaic research. The program is focused on developing cost-effective and reliable photovoltaic energy systems. Technical assistance is provided along with accurate performance measurements, component development, and systems evaluation. Additional components of this work are to help reduce balance of system complexity and optimize processes to reduce soft costs.​

Second Annual Go SOLAR & Renewable Energy Fest    

The Second Annual Go SOLAR & Renewable Energy Fest will be held on June 6 & 7, 2014 at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center. This is the premier event in South Florida to promote and expand rooftop solar in Florida. The Go SOLAR program is growing! For our second Fest, in addition to photovoltaics, we added topics such as thermal, biomass, energy efficiency, wind energy and job creation to our agenda.

Abstract Deadline: April 15, 2014

Final Presentation Deadline: May 16, 2014

Abstract Submittal Form (PDF)

The first Go SOLAR Fest proved to be a shining success as more than 1,220 attendees, 54 exhibitors and 37 speakers showed up to the Broward County Convention Center on January 25-26, 2013 for the inaugural event. The exciting event offered solar and electrical contractors, installers and residents interested in bringing more solar energy to South Florida a unique opportunity to hear from the experts about recent advances in permitting, financing, solar rights, zoning, net metering and interconnection.

Prospective authors for the second Fest are requested to submit an abstract of 200-500 words and one 100 word biography by April 15, 2014. The abstract must clearly describe the nature, scope, content, organization, key points and significance of the proposed paper by completing the application package.

Presentations are to be original, non-commercial in that they focus on the technical business merits of a design, a method, a structure, an integration scheme, a material or a process rather than on the individual company’s product benefits. All abstracts will be reviewed and selected speakers will be notified no later thanMay 4, 2014.

Final Presentations canbe submitted electronically via EmailbyMay 16, 2014.

We invite you to share your expertise by submitting a proposal to present at the conference. We encourage presentations and panel discussion on the following topics:

Finance and Policy

  • I can get my permit in minutes…how do I pay for my solar system?
  • Increasing the Use of Renewable Energy in Florida
  • Federal, state and local policies that affect solar and other renewable energy
  • Production Tax Credits
  • Building Community Solar Programs
  • Financing commercial and municipal solar projects
  • Solar Economics 101
  • Available Financing Options for Residents

International Renewable Energy Developments

  • Renewable Energy Projects Across the World
  • The role of renewable energy in developing and developed countries
  • Energy and economic growth in emerging economies
  • Public-private ventures for energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability

Renewable Technologies and Market Trends

  • Technologies beyond PV and CSP, such as micro-inverters, central inverters and power optimizers
  • Pros and Cons of Battery-Based Solar Systems, Design and Maintenance
  • Preserving historic properties while embracing renewable technologies
  • Solar Thermal in the Sunshine State
  • Sustainable Transportation
  • The latest PV research
  • Energy Efficiency

I am ready to Go SOLAR!

  • I am interested in solar, what do I need to do first?
  • Simple ways to save energy and money (programmable thermostats, weatherizing, energy efficient windows, and more)
  • How many panels can I put on my roof to have a zero electric bill?
  • How does the FPL rebate work, what tax incentives are available?

Training Workshops: (Learning Units Preferred)

  • Code Compliance and Inspection of PV Systems
  • Fire Fighter Safety and Solar PV Systems
  • Sustainable Design (LEED)
  • Consumer Level ABCs of Solar

Jobs in Renewable Energy

  • What jobs are available?
  • What special training will I need?
  • What do they pay?
  • Is this a growth field?