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NUvention: Energy Advisory Board

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Ben Blackburn

Director of Corporate Development and Finance, LanzaTech

Ben Blackburn is currently Director of Corporate Development & Finance at LanzaTech, where he leads the company’s venture/strategic fundraising and corporate development efforts, financial strategy and FP&A, project finance, and project management activities.  Prior to joining LanzaTech, he held leadership roles in product management and FP&A at The North Face where he helped launch the company’s first comprehensive sustainability initiative.  Ben spent the early part of his career in investment banking and financial services at Jefferies & Co. and Merrill Lynch.  He has an MBA from the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and a bachelor of science degree from Wake Forest University.

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Mark Johnson

Founder Helpanswers.org & CleanEnergyBlockchain.com

Mark Johnson is the Founder of Helpanswers.org & CleanEnergyBlockchain.com. Johnson led Smart Cities for Schneider Electric. Johnson served the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. standing-up the ARRA energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Johnson has been a senior consultant with Navigant Consulting and IBM Global Services for utilities and energy. Johnson has been an Entrepreneur-In-Residence for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority NYSERDA advising New York City startups. He has his MBA from Loyola University of Chicago and his BA from the University of Notre Dame.

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Erik Mazmanian

Vice President of Market Development & Partnerships, FirstFuel Software

Erik Mazmanian is a clean energy professional with 12 years of experience growing organizations and managing high-impact teams. He currently serves as the Vice President for Market Development & Partnerships for FirstFuel Software, where he runs product marketing and corporate development. Prior to joining FirstFuel, Erik worked in international business development at BrightSource Energy, a solar thermal energy development company. He also spent 5+ years as a strategy consultant, advising Fortune 1000 companies on innovation, new product launches, and market entry. He holds a Master’s in Business Administration from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BA from Trinity College (Hartford, CT), with Distinction. Erik currently lives in Chicago.

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Jim Murphy

President and Chief Operating Officer, Invenergy

Jim Murphy is a co-founder and President & Chief Operating Officer of Chicago-based Invenergy, North America’s largest independent, privately-held renewable power provider and a developer, owner and operator of clean energy facilities around the globe. Murphy is responsible for the company’s general management, as well as its corporate development, finance, legal and administrative functions. He is also a member of the Investment Committee for the Invenergy Future Fund, a venture capital source for emerging information technology companies in the energy industry. Since Invenergy’s founding in 2001, his leadership has played a central role in the company’s organic growth from a 5-person startup to an energy industry leader with more than 800 employees and $1 billion in annual revenues.

Murphy has more than 35 years of financial and management experience, primarily in the energy industry. During his career, he has managed the negotiation and execution of more than $30 billion in private equity and debt investments, power plant acquisitions and sales, and project debt and equity financing.

Murphy is a frequent speaker on matters related to the power industry, particularly project and corporate finance topics. He previously served on the Board of Directors of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and currently participates on the Leadership Council of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).

Prior to the formation of Invenergy, Murphy was Chief Financial Officer at SkyGen Energy LLC, a Vice President with financial advisory and investment firm, The Deerpath Group, Inc. and a Manager with Arthur Andersen’s utility practice group.

Murphy has a BS from the University of Illinois, magna cum laude, as well as CPA certification. Jim and his wife Kathy are active with several not-for-profit organizations that focus on quality education in Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods and juvenile cancer research.

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Gary Kremen

Founder, Match.comChairman, Clean Power Finance, Inc., San Francisco, CA

Gary Kremen is an entrepreneur, inventor, executive, and investor with more than 25 years of experience. He is the founder of Match.com online personals service, consumer finance business Clean Power Finance and a host of other companies including Sociogramics and Grant Media Management. Kremen is also the co-founder of Menlo Incubator. Kremen also travels frequently to speak on business development, online marketing, and capital raising for emerging growth companies. He has an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and bachelor of science degrees in computer science and electrical engineering from Northwestern University.

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Samir Mayekar

Co-founder and CEO, SiNode Systems, Chicago, IL

Samir Mayekar is the co-founder and CEO of SiNode Systems, a venture-backed company developing advanced materials for the lithium-ion battery industry. He previously served as deputy chief of staff of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government's development finance institution. Mayekar holds a BA from Northwestern University (summa cum laude) and a MBA with distinction from the Kellogg School of Management, where he was a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow. He is a guest lecturer on energy and entrepreneurship at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois.

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Phil O'Connor

President, PROactive Strategies, Chicago, Illinois

Dr. Phil O’Connor is president of PROactive Strategies, a Chicago consulting firm providing advice in the energy and insurance industries. For over two decades O’Connor has been recognized as a leading advocate of competitive market solutions for regulated businesses.

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Paul Pebbles

Business Services Manager, OnStar, LLC, Detroit, MI

Paul Pebbles is the business services manager for OnStar, where he has created customer-facing services for the GM Volt, leveraging OnStar’s unique connectivity and control. Pebbles has been with OnStar for the last decade, following previous engagements with Motorola, where he worked on automotive electronics and launched the Iridium Satellite phone, and with Amphenol, where he worked on connectors for the international space station.

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Jim C. Petersen

COO & President, AEP Energy, Chicago, IL

Jim C. Petersen is responsible for the growth and profitability of the retail energy business, and manages and improves AEP Energy’s sales, new market entry, customer service, billing, reporting and other operational activities.

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Tim Stojka

CEO, Agentis Energy, Chicago, ILChairman, Fast Heat, Inc., Elmhurst, IL

Tim Stojka is currently CEO of Agentis Energy based in Chicago, IL. Agentis is an energy technology company delivering wireless energy management systems for commercial and industrial applications. In addition to his role at Agentis Energy, Stojka has served as the CEO of Fast Heat Inc, a designer and manufacturer of heating elements, sensors, and controls.

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Doug Williams

Former Sr. Business Development Associate, Coskata, Warrenville, IL

Doug Williams is the former senior business development associate at Coskata, a biofuels technology start-up located in Warrenville, IL. Prior to Coskata, he was operational excellence manager at Genentech, a leading biotechnology firm in South San Francisco, CA. Williams has a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Northwestern University and a MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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