SPEA Alumni Energy Panel and Networking Lunch

Moderator: Ben Smith, MISO 

Ben Smith is a 2012 graduate of Earlham College and a 2016 graduate of the SPEA MPA – Energy program. During his time at SPEA he participated in the Hoosier Energy Capstone on Clean Power Plan Compliance. He did the Masters International program, which allowed him to combine his studies with a two years Peace Corps assignment in Nicaragua. In his current role as a Strategy Analyst at MISO, Ben communicates on what is going on in the industry and facilitates cross functional teams to present holistic views on specific issues (for example, using transmission to integrate renewables or distributed energy resources).

Panel Discussants 

Josh Cisney, Hoosier Energy

Josh Cisney works as a project developer at Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative in their renewable energy division. In that role, he has worked on developing over 300MW of utility scale solar, wind, and landfill gas projects in the Midwest. Josh Graduated from SPEA with a dual degree in energy and international development in 2014 and has an undergraduate degree in physics.

Shelby Houston, Indianapolis Power & Light Company

Shelby Houston is a regulatory analyst at Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL). At IPL, Shelby represents the company at the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) on key issues such as transmission cost sharing, market settlements and energy storage policy. She also manages stakeholder engagement for IPL’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) which is filed every three years with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). The IRP provides a twenty year outlook of the long-term resource needs for IPL. Ms. Houston earned a B.S. in Environmental Management and dual MPA-MSES degrees in Energy and Policy Analysis all from Indiana University-School of Public & Environmental Affairs (IU-SPEA). While at IU-SPEA, Shelby was the President of the Energy Leadership Student Association (ELSA) and worked as a graduate assistant at the IU-SPEA Career Development Office on the Career Networking and Exploration Trips (CNETs).

Benjamin Inskeep, EQ Research

Benjamin Inskeep is an Energy Analyst at EQ Research, where he focuses on U.S. renewable and distributed energy policy. Benjamin provides research, analysis and other consulting services to renewable energy and energy storage developers, community choice aggregators, retail suppliers, nonprofits, and large energy users with significant renewable energy portfolios. Upon achieving his MPA/MSES, Benjamin completed three semesters as a PhD student working in Prof. Attari’s lab at SPEA before taking a position at the NC Clean Energy Technology Center.

Mike Kowalick, McKinstry

Mike Kowalick participated in the Peace Corps Master’s International program and spent 3 years in Peru working with environmental education, youth development and business consulting. He supported the Hoosier Energy assessment of the Clean Power Plan and graduated from SPEA’s Environmental Policy program in 2016. He then moved to Seattle to work with a mechanical contracting and energy management company. In his current role with McKinstry, he helps schools, universities and hospitals mitigate risk and eradicate energy waste from the meter down.

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