2085 Lincoln Hwy, Edison, NJ 08817 The NJBIA Event Team Email
PLEASE NOTE – VENUE HAS CHANGED TO THE PINES MANOR
2085 Lincoln Hwy, Edison NJ 08817
Policymakers and advocates are looking to decarbonize our economy due to the threat of climate change. President Biden and Governor Murphy have set aggressive decarbonization goals and are seeking to implement those goals through regulatory policies.
- But how much of a threat are we facing from climate change, in what timeframe, and what tradeoffs are we making by moving away from fossil fuels?
- Are these goals even realistic and what will they mean to energy availability, affordability, and reliability?
The conference will focus on reality – what needs to be done, what can be done, in what timeframe, at what cost, and with what tradeoffs? We hope to better inform you, and our policy makers, on our energy future.
We will also be honoring former PSEG Chairman and CEO Ralph Izzo, former Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator and Chairman of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee Bob Smith out our awards reception following the conference for their leadership in setting energy policy.
This is a hybrid event.
Refer to the Energy Policy Conference details below for more information.
- Policy Conference Program8:00 a.m.
Breakfast, Networking & Registration9:00 a.m.
Welcome & Opening Remarks9:15 a.m.
Innovations for our Energy FuturePresented by Stephen D. Westhoven, New Jersey Resources and New Jersey Natural Gas9:35 a.m.
New Jersey’s Energy FuturePresented by Richard T. Thigpen, PSEG10:00 a.m.
Future of Fossil Fuels and Gas UtilitiesPresented by Steven Cocchi – South Jersey Industries & Rob Jennings – American Petroleum Institute10:45 a.m.
Networking Break11:10 a.m.
Thermal Energy Storage at Princeton UniversityPresented by Ted Borer – Princeton University11:30 a.m.
Decarbonization and the GridPresented by Timothy Burdis – PJM Interconnection12:00 p.m.
Climate Uncertainty and RiskLuncheon Keynote with Dr. Judith Curry, Climate Forecast Applications Network1:00 p.m..
The Status of New Jersey’s Wind IndustryPresented by Damian Bednarz – Attentive Energy, Janice Fuller – Anbaric, Crystal Pruitt – Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind & Moderated by Erick Ford – New Jersey Energy Coalition1:45 p.m.
The Future of Nuclear EnergyPresented by Samuel Gordon – Holtec International, Nathan C. Howe – K&L Gates LLP, Senator Andrew Zwicker (D-16) – Scientist, Innovator, & Public Servant & Moderated by Rebecca Moll Freed – Partner, K&L Gates LLP2:45 p.m.
Networking Break3:00 p.m.
Decarbonization and TransportationPresented by Jim Appleton – New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers, Matt Forman – North American Subaru, & Moderated by Jeanette Hoffman, Marathon Public Affairs, LLC3:30 p.m.
Realistic Decarbonization PerspectivesManaging Risks of Transition, Presented by Bob Martin – Christie 55 Solutions LLC
Fossil Fuels & Renewable Energy, Presented by Krystal Wrigley – ExxonMobil Technology & Engineering Company
How do we get to Net Zero by 2050? Presented by Jesse Jenkins – Princeton University
Regulatory Obstacles to Transition, Presented by Kenneth J. Sheehan, Esq., Counsel, Genova Burns LLC4:50 p.m.
Remarks from the New Jersey Board of Public UtilitiesPresented by President Christine Guhl-Sadovy5:10 p.m.
- Awards Reception 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Awards Reception
Our Featured Speakers
Michele N. Siekerka, Esq., President and CEO of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, leads the nation’s largest, most influential employers’ organization, advocating on behalf of New Jersey’s large and small businesses for policies that will make New Jersey more affordable and regionally competitive.
Being known as a collaborative leader, Siekerka is leading an NJBIA established coalition (New Jersey Business Coalition) comprised of more than 100 business and nonprofit associations across the state to tackle the tough economic and business challenges our state is facing during COVID 19.
Well versed on the ‘boots on the ground” issues affecting our state’s business community, Michele is often the “go to” resource for media and is sought after to share her expertise in public forums across the state.
Christine Guhl-Sadovy was appointed by Governor Phil Murphy as Commissioner of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities in 2023.
Prior to her nomination, she served as Cabinet Secretary in the Governor’s senior staff.
Commissioner Guhl-Sadovy previously worked at NJBPU, where she rose to the position Chief of Staff under President Joe Fiordaliso, helping to spearhead Governor Murphy’s clean energy agenda.
During her time as NJBPU Chief of Staff, Ms. Guhl-Sadovy worked on several key initiatives of the Administration including the 2019 Energy Master Plan, implementation of the 2018 Clean Energy Act, and development of the State’s electric vehicle incentive program.
Prior to serving in the Murphy Administration, Ms. Guhl-Sadovy worked as the Legislative and Political Director for Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey.
Commissioner Guhl-Sadovy is a lifelong New Jersey resident. She received her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and serves on the board of Anchor House, Inc., a Trenton-based youth homelessness organization. She lives in Lambertville with her family.
Ray Cantor is Deputy Chief Government Affairs Officer of Government Affairs of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), the nation’s largest state-level business association whose member companies collectively employ 1 million people.
Cantor, an attorney whose career has included high-level positions in the legislative and executive branches of government, a former assistant commissioner and, later, chief adviser to the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), leads NJBIA’s advocacy efforts on environmental and energy matters affecting the business community.
At DEP, Cantor oversaw the offices of Legal Affairs, Dispute Resolution, and Economic Analysis in addition to advising the DEP commissioner on policy, legal, management, and economic matters. Cantor was also responsible for policy formulation related to all DEP regulations, including site remediation, NRD, air quality, water regulation, and land-use management.
A graduate of New York Law School, Cantor began his career working at the state’s Office of Legislative Services as senior counsel in the Environment, Energy, & Natural Resources section. He later served as the Assistant Commissioner of Land Use Management & Compliance at DEP until 2002 and also worked as a project consultant for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Cantor’s experience as a business lobbyist includes five years as director of Government Affairs for the Medical Society of New Jersey and then executive director of the New Jersey Apartment Association. He returned to the state DEP in 2010, where he served as chief advisor to DEP Commissioner Bob Martin for eight years.
Damian Bednarz leads the Attentive Energy team and is responsible for successfully positioning the project to implement its business and development strategies across New York And New Jersey. Damian recently led Attentive Energy’s efforts to successfully submit an impactful proposal to the NJBPU’s third offshore wind solicitation, offering to supply New Jersey with up to 1,342 MW of clean and renewable wind energy.
Prior to joining Attentive Energy, Damian managed a diverse clean energy and climate portfolio at a leading national public affairs and strategic communications firm. Damian also served in several senior leadership roles at the US Department of Energy during the Obama-Biden administration, including chief of staff for the Office of International Affairs and White House Liaison.
Edward “Ted” Borer is the Energy Plant Director for Princeton University and is actively involved in campus energy and carbon emissions reduction efforts and strategic planning. He has 39 years of experience in the power industry, starting in the nuclear industry in the early 1980s. He is a registered professional engineer and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering as well as the CEM, and LEED-AP certifications. He has held leadership roles in the International District Energy Association and New Jersey Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability. He has provided briefings for members of the US Senate and FERC commissioners. He is a founding member of the Microgrid Resources Coalition. He speaks regularly on energy topics and has published numerous articles in trade magazines and peer-reviewed journals as well as a book chapter on combined heat and power (CHP). Ted is the founder and principal of Borer Energy Engineering, LLC, a consulting firm offering training and operations-based guidance to the energy industry.
As senior manager of state policy solutions, Burdis manages a team of professionals who endeavor to harmonize emerging state electricity policies with wholesale market design and transmission system planning policies. His organization specifically focuses on: offshore wind development; clean energy development; resource adequacy evolution; grid modernization; and, grid security maintenance.
Before his current post, Burdis served as the business operations manager to PJM’s General Counsel / Senior Vice President of Law, Compliance and External Relations. Here he managed a portfolio on matters relating to corporate governance, regulatory filings, development of policy and messaging, and long-term corporate strategy.
Prior, Burdis served as manager of policy analysis & strategy, managing a team of economists focused on the outreach and strategy development for state government engagement; focusing on policy assessment, market design and transmission planning. Additionally, he managed PJM’s engagement with the Organization of PJM States, Inc. (OPSI) and its interaction with the company’s Executive Team and Board of Managers.
Burdis started his career as an engineer working in PJM’s markets and operations divisions.
He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He holds a Master of Science in Engineering from West Virginia University and a Bachelor of Science from Lebanon Valley College.
As senior vice president and chief financial officer, Steven R. Cocchi is responsible for maintaining the organization’s fiscal strength, enabling profitable operation through effective strategic planning and oversight of financial activities.
Mr. Cocchi joined the company in 2009 as director of legal affairs, where he was responsible for a variety of corporate legal matters. In 2011, he was appointed director of rates and revenue requirements and was later named vice president of rates and regulatory affairs. Prior to his current role, Mr. Cocchi served as chief strategy and development officer, responsible for the oversight and strategic direction of the company’s regulatory initiatives and filings. Mr. Cocchi assumed his current role in 2020.
An alumnus of Rutgers University, Mr. Cocchi earned his undergraduate degree in political science and history and also holds a Juris Doctor from Rutgers School of Law. He is a member of the Public Utility Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association, the State Affairs Committee of the American Gas Association, and the Board of Trustees at the Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City.
Dr. Judith Curry is President and co-founder of Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN). She is Professor Emerita at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she served as Chair of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences for 13 years. Her expertise is in climate dynamics, extreme weather, and prediction/predictability. Curry is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Geophysical Union. She is a recipient of the Henry J. Houghton Research Award from the American Meteorological Society.
Following an influential career in academic research and administration, Curry founded CFAN to translate cutting-edge weather and climate research into forecast products and services that support the management of weather and climate risk for public and private sector decision makers. Curry is a leading global thinker on climate change. She is frequently called upon to give U.S. Congressional testimony and serve as an expert witness on matters related to weather and climate. Her influential blog Climate Etc. addresses leading-edge and controversial topics about climate change and the science-policy interface. Her new book Climate Uncertainty and Risk: Rethinking Our Response – Rethinking the climate change problem, the risks we are facing, and how we can respond.
Dr. Curry is actively engaged at the intersection of science and public policy. She has served on the NASA Advisory Council Earth Science Subcommittee, the DOE Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Council and the National Academies Climate Research Committee and the Space Studies Board. She is frequently called upon to give Congressional testimony and serve as an expert witness on matters related to extreme weather and climate change.
Blog: Climate Etc. judithcurry.com
Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN): www.cfanclimate.net
Forthcoming Book: Climate Uncertainty and Risk https://anthempress.com/climate-uncertainty-and-risk-hb
Erick combines nearly two decades of public sector leadership and private sector experience in the energy industry. He brings a keen understanding of the strategies and approaches to shaping and affecting policy through collaboration with trade groups, community groups, business and municipal stakeholders.
Erick advises businesses in the utility, energy, hydrogen energy, software development and renewable energy sectors. A leading authority in New Jersey’s energy and utility sector, he currently serves as President of the New Jersey Energy Coalition, where he assists water, electric, gas utilities and renewable energy companies with navigating and crafting regulatory policy. He also has a deep understanding of the interplay between cybersecurity and the energy industry, with experience managing the Best Practices in Cybersecurity Program for Protect Our Power, an independent organization of former electric utility industry, military, government and regulatory experts focused on strengthening the resiliency of our electric power grid. In addition, Erick is the current Chairman of the New Jersey Society for Economic, Environmental Development’s Energy Committee, where he oversees energy-related initiatives and policy activism for the organization.
As a confidential aide to a commissioner and the President of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Erick advised on energy sector policy issues and liaised with New Jersey organizations, including the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC), Department of Energy, Department of Environmental Protection, and the Economic Development Authority, to address issues regarding cybersecurity, workforce development, electric vehicles, and rulemaking. Prior to his roles in the energy and utility space, Erick was the Agency Manager of the NJ MVC.
Erick has led and participated in key industry panels regarding utility policy, energy efficiency, solar, offshore wind, electric vehicle, hydrogen, nuclear energy and incentive programs at forums like NARUC, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association and EUCI. He has also lectured at the Rowan University Center for Responsible Leadership, Stockton University and at the Stevens’ Institute.
Matt Forman is Director of Federal and State Government and Regulatory Affairs for North American Subaru, Inc. Before joining Subaru in 2019, Matt was a Senior Manager of Government Relations for Fiat Chrysler where he focused on environmental and energy policy. Previously, Matt practiced environmental law at the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and international law firms in New York City and Washington, D.C.
Matt is a graduate of Amherst College and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York.
Rebecca Moll Freed is a partner in the firm‘s Newark office and a member of the Government Contracts and Procurement Policy practice.
Prior to joining the firm, Rebecca served as a partner with a business-focused law firm, where she specialized in corporate political activity and nonprofits, trade associations, and tax-exempt organizations. She has advised corporations, limited liability companies, trade associations, charitable organizations, social welfare organizations, political action committees, independent expenditure only committees (Super PACs), issue advocacy groups, and coalitions on their political activity, as well as counseling companies on government contracting and the procurement process.
Rebecca’s practice is truly at the intersection of law, government, and business. Through her varied practice, Rebecca focuses on helping companies successfully navigate through a myriad of complex regulatory frameworks pertaining to political contributions, pay-to-play rules, government contracting, ethics rules, lobbying requirements, and energy and utility matters. Rebecca always takes a “hands-on” approach to working with clients and views herself as an extension of the client’s team.
Rebecca provides training and counseling to companies, in-house counsel and corporate ethics and compliance officers seeking to maximize government contracting opportunities while assuring their compliance with the law. Rebecca provides clients with substantive counsel on pay-to-play laws and has extensive experience in assisting clients successfully prepare and complete RFPs and RFQs for federal, bi-state, state, and local government entities. Rebecca also has experience with vendor codes of ethics, prequalification questionnaires, background qualification questionnaires, diversity in government contracting, set-asides for minority and women owned businesses (MWBEs), Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs), and public-private partnerships (P3s).
In the energy and utility space, Rebecca has worked with utility companies, solar companies, and offshore wind companies on procurement matters and lobbying and political activity compliance. She has also represented clients before the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU).
Janice Fuller is Anbaric’s Mid-Atlantic President where she spearheads the company’s policy efforts as well as leads project development of offshore wind transmission infrastructure.
Prior to joining Anbaric, Ms. Fuller served as Chief of Staff to Congressman and House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone (NJ-06), and previously served as District Director. She also held roles as Director of Cabinet Affairs in the administration of Governor Jon Corzine where she oversaw the operations of several state departments and as the Executive Director of a statewide political party, as well as senior leadership roles in numerous political campaigns.
Ms. Fuller graduated with honors from Boston University. She previously served as an elected member of the Board of Education in her hometown in New Jersey and currently serves as the President of the Boys & Girls Club of Monmouth County.
Sam Gordon is Holtec’s Senior Manager of Client Relations supporting business development efforts and on-going projects with existing clients throughout the United States and has been with the company since 2022. Mr. Gordon received his bachelor’s degree in Nuclear Engineering Technology from Excelsior College and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Florida State University.
Sam served 10 years in the US Navy, primarily onboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, where he supervised a nuclear engine room. Following the completion of his time in the service, Sam began work in the civilian nuclear power industry with Talen Energy at Susquehanna Steam Electric Station in 2010. While there Sam served in various roles within Training, Work Management, and Maintenance with ever increasing responsibility. In 2017, Sam moved to a corporate role with Entergy as an Online Work Management Manager based out of the White Plains, NY office. Responsibilities in this role focused primarily on nuclear safety, risk management and production management.
Jeanette Hoffman is an experienced public affairs consultant and media spokesperson specializing in strategic messaging, marketing, crisis communications and public affairs campaigns. As president of a public affairs firm that services a broad range of corporate and non-profit clients, she has over two decades of experience in issues advocacy, campaigns, politics, policy, and state government. Hoffman is also a media commentator who can be seen on national television and radio stations discussing politics and public policy.
Jeanette was awarded the Carol Murphy Award by Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey, and she’s been named to ROI-NJ’s Top Women in Business and their Power List for Government and Public Affairs, as well as NJBIZ’s prestigious Forty Under 40 list. Since 2012, Democratic State Senator Loretta Weinberg has consistently featured Jeanette on her New Jersey Women of Power List. She’s also been named one of the Right Women to Watch and one of PolitickerNJ’s top political operatives several times.
Jeanette has served as a senior vice president at one of the state’s top ten lobbying firms and Vice President of the Commerce Industry Association of New Jersey, representing more than 900 businesses. A former Executive Director of the New Jersey Republican State Committee, Hoffman was the Party’s primary media spokesperson throughout several campaign cycles. Jeanette began her career in state government working for Governor Christine Todd Whitman, and later worked for Assembly Speaker Jack Collins and Congressman Bob Franks.
A media commentator in high demand, Jeanette can be seen and heard discussing politics and public policy on many New Jersey and national television and radio stations. She is regularly featured as a political strategist and pundit for major media outlets. Consistently, Jeanette is a featured commentator for several news organizations during major events, including network election night coverage.
A proud graduate of The College of New Jersey, Jeanette previously served on the College’s Alumni Executive Board. She currently sits on the Boards of the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey and the Jersey Shore Partnership and volunteers in her local community as a Commissioner of the Two Rivers Water Reclamation Authority. She is also active with the Count Basie Center for the Arts and is an avid marathon runner. Jeanette resides in Monmouth County, New Jersey with her husband and four children.
Nathan Howe is a member of the Power practice group at K&L Gates LLP. Nathan provides value to clients in a range of regulatory and transactional matters. He counsels clients at the forefront of the rapidly transforming energy ecosystem including renewable energy developers, corporate buyers, utilities, retail energy suppliers and electric cooperatives, with an emphasis on emerging industries. He guides clients through the intricacies of the evolving energy law landscape for onsite, offsite, distributed, and utility-scale project development and advises clients on commercial and regulatory risks, interconnection processes, available incentives, and on a range of contractual arrangements such as offtake agreements, acquisition agreements, and multi-party collaborations.
He has also represented clients in regulatory matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU), and other state regulatory agencies, in proceedings such as utility rate filings, mergers, contract disputes, and rulemakings. He has represented trade groups and industry stakeholders as lead counsel in renewable energy procurement, clean energy technology, and energy efficiency proceedings, including incentives programs proposed by utilities. He assists clients in all phases of these proceedings, including discovery, settlement, evidentiary hearings, and written submissions, from inception to resolution, as well as rehearings and appeals.
Jesse D. Jenkins is an assistant professor and macro-scale energy systems engineer at Princeton University with a joint appointment in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and Environment. He is also an affiliated faculty with the Center for Policy Research in Energy and Environment at the School of Public and International Affairs and an associated faculty at the High Meadows Environmental Institute.
Jesse completed a PhD in Engineering Systems (’18) and SM in Technology and Policy (’14) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BS in Computer and Information Science (’06) at the University of Oregon. He worked previously as a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, researcher fellow at Argonne National Laboratory, and spent six years as an energy and climate policy analyst prior to embarking on his academic career. At Princeton, Jesse leads the ZERO Lab (Zero-carbon Energy systems Research and Optimization Laboratory), which focuses on improving and applying optimization-based energy systems models to evaluate and optimize low-carbon energy technologies, guide investment and research in innovative energy technologies, and generate insights to improve energy and climate policy and planning decisions. Jesse recently served on the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine expert committee on Accelerating Decarbonization of the U.S. Energy System, was a principal investigator and lead author of Princeton’s landmark Net-Zero America study, and leads the REPEAT Project (repeatproject.org), which provides regular, timely, and independent environmental and economic evaluation of federal energy and climate policies as they’re proposed and enacted. He has delivered invited testimony to multiple Congressional committees and his research is frequently featured in major media outlets. He regularly provides technical analysis and policy advice for non-profit organizations, policy makers, investors, and early-stage technology ventures working to accelerate the deployment of clean energy. He is currently an advisor to Rondo Energy, Eavor Technologies, MUUS Climate Partners, Energy Impact Partners, and Clean Air Task Force and is a partner with DeSolve, LLC, which provides decision support, analytics, and policy advisory services.For an introduction to Jesse’s work, he recommends the following resources: A short video, “The Grid We Need to Electrify Everything,” describes the central role of the electricity sector in deep decarbonization. Jesse’s appearance on the Ezra Klein Show podcast, “The Single Best Guide to Decarbonization I’ve Heard.” A September 2022 Bradford Seminar at Princeton on “The Inflation Reduction Act and the Path to Net-Zero.” The Net-Zero America final report. “The Paths to Net Zero,” an article from April 2020 in Foreign Affairs, lays out how far we’ve come and the challenges that remain on the path to decarbonize global energy systems. Finally, for a wide-ranging discussion on Jesse’s research and approach to macro-scale energy systems modeling and decision support, listen to his appearance on the Voltcast podcast in March 2021 with host and environmental journalist David Roberts.
Rob Jennings is the Vice President of Natural Gas Markets at the American Petroleum Institute. He leads API’s efforts on natural gas and LNG issues, as well as emerging technologies including hydrogen, renewable natural gas, certified natural gas and carbon capture and sequestration. His responsibilities include engaging with a diverse set of stakeholders to communicate the many benefits natural gas offers not only to the U.S. but also to importing countries as well as the role it can play in a lower carbon energy future. Prior to joining API in 2021, Rob spent 10 years in power and gas market consulting at Energy Ventures Analysis, Inc. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from James Madison University.
Bob Martin is a senior executive with vast experience in both the public and private sectors working with and running large and complex organizations. He is a recognized expert in the utility and energy industry, and in environmental regulatory strategy. Bob has extensive skills and experience managing, transforming, and consulting to companies and government organizations.
Bob’s expertise includes:
- Renewable Energy Strategy (Offshore & Onshore Wind, Solar, Battery Storage and Hydrogen)
- Business Strategy and Growth
- Regulatory & Permitting Strategy at the State and Federal levels
- Land Use Strategy
- Environmental Strategy
- Fossil and Nuclear Power Generation
- Electric Power Transmission
- Infrastructure and Engineering
Bob served as New Jersey’s Commissioner of Environmental Protection under Governor Christie from 2010 to 2018, managing over 2,800 professionals and a multi-million-dollar annual state budget and other federal and state resources. He effectively implemented the transformation of the DEP to better fulfill the department’s mission to protect the air, water, land, and natural and historic resources of the state. He has deep knowledge and expertise in state and federal environmental and land use laws and regulations and working with numerous federal agencies and departments. Bob also played a key leadership role under Governor Christie in coordinating the State’s preparation and response, and long-term rebuilding from natural disasters, especially for Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Prior to public service, Bob was a Partner at Accenture LLP with over 25 years of experience consulting to a broad variety of businesses and industries, with leadership positions in their Utility & Energy practice. He has extensive skills and experience in all aspects of business and management consulting, including business strategy and planning, business transformation and operations reengineering, IT strategy, systems implementation, and change management.
Bob has extensive international experience including living and working in the UK for 5 years and doing significant consulting work throughout Europe and Canada. He has demonstrated expertise in all the key aspects of the utility industry, including electric generation, electric & gas transmission, and electric, gas and water distribution operations. Bob has a BA in Economics & Sociology from Boston College and an MBA, concentrating in Finance & Investments, from the George Washington University.
Crystal Pruitt is the External Affairs Lead supporting all teams and portfolio of projects at Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind. Prior to her joining Atlantic Shores, Crystal was the Deputy Director in the Clean Energy Division of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and ran the Office of Clean Energy Equity. This office, created in 2020, was the first of its kind focusing on ensuring access to clean energy programming and technologies for all residents across New Jersey.
A graduate of North Carolina State University and John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Crystal transitioned to government work in 2017 and has worked in both the Legislative and Executive Branches.
Notably, prior to her work with the NJ Board of Public Utilities, she was Chief of Staff, for now, NJ State Senator Andrew Zwicker (LD-16), and worked as a legislative liaison for the NJ Department of Human Services. In addition to her state government experience, she is also a sitting councilwoman in her hometown of Franklin Township, NJ, located in Somerset County, NJ.
Kenneth J. Sheehan, Chair of Genova Burns’s Energy Practice, brings significant experience in both the public and private sectors, with a broad and deep knowledge of the legal and policy foundations of both the regulated utility industry as well as the new Green Energy economy.
Having served in significant roles at the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, as well as with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General and the New York Department of Public Service, Ken’s experience covers the legislative, regulatory, and litigation elements of energy, water, telecommunications, clean energy, and solid waste. Ken has successfully brought and defended matters before State and federal regulatory agencies as well as the New Jersey Courts, including trial level, appellate level, and New Jersey Supreme Court, as well as before numerous federal Circuit Courts and an amicus brief before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Ken has represented clients seeking approvals at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, assisted in the drafting and defense of legislation including NJ’s Solar Act, the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act, and the Long-Term Capacity Acquisition Pilot Program. Likewise, Ken has represented some of the largest public and private utility companies in the State and has successfully negotiated multi-billion dollar matters on behalf of the State.
Richard T. Thigpen was named senior vice president – Corporate Citizenship in July 2018. Mr. Thigpen is also chairman of the PSEG Foundation. He is responsible for areas of the business that drive public policy through advocacy, including federal, state and local government affairs, sustainability, charitable activities and corporate social responsibility. Mr. Thigpen is a member of PSEG’s Executive Officer Group.
Mr. Thigpen joined PSEG in March 2007 as vice president –State Governmental Affairs of PSEG Services Corp. He has been a public affairs consultant since 1999 and was a co-founding partner of 1868 Public Affairs, which provides lobbying, strategic planning, public relations and government relations services to clients in New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C.
Previously, Mr. Thigpen served as an associate at the New York law firm of Thacher Proffitt and Wood in the mortgage-backed securities practice group (1988 to 1990), was district director for U.S. Rep. Don Payne (NJ-10) (1990 to 1996) and executive director of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee (1996 to 1999). He also has served as a political analyst for New Jersey Network and as an academic associate for PublicMind, Fairleigh Dickinson University Polling and Survey Research Institute. Mr. Thigpen also was a former assistant to the president of the NAACP State Conference for Public Affairs. He is currently a member of the boards of the Regional Plan Association, the New Jersey Climate Change Alliance, the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, New Jersey Television, the Brown University Alumni Association and the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund. He also is a member of the American Association of Blacks in Energy’s national board and chair of the Legislative Issues and Public Policy Committee.
Mr. Thigpen holds a Doctor of Law degree from Columbia University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Brown University.
Mr. Westhoven joined New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) in November 1990. Currently, he serves as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of New Jersey Resources (NJR) and its principal subsidiary, NJNG.
He began his career as an engineer at NJNG before becoming a Director, and eventually Senior Vice President, of NJR Energy Services (NJRES). Later he was named Senior Vice President and COO of NJR’s unregulated businesses, NJRES, NJR Clean Energy Ventures and NJR Home Services before being named President and Chief Operating Officer.
Mr. Westhoven earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from The Catholic University of America and serves as a member of its Board of Visitors. He is an alumnus of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.
Senator Andrew Zwicker is a physicist and a member of the New Jersey Senate representing Central NJ’s 16th Legislative District. He serves on the Budget and Appropriations, Higher Education, Labor, and Military and Veterans’ Affairs committees. Additionally, he is a member of the Manufacturing Caucus, the Disability Caucus, the NJ Commission on Science, Innovation, and Technology, and was Vice-Chair of the NJ Biotechnology Task Force. He served in the NJ General Assembly from 2016 – 2021 where he was the Chair of the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee. His legislative focus includes the role of R&D as an economic driver, addressing global warming, and voting rights, among others.
A lifelong New Jersey resident, Andrew is head of Communications and Public Outreach at Princeton University’s Plasma Physics Laboratory, a world leader in developing an advanced form of energy known as fusion.
He has taught classes in bioethics and writing, and led plasma physics workshops for faculty and students. The American Association of Physics Teachers named him as one of the 75 leading contributors to physics education in the US.
Andrew was raised in Englewood, NJ where his love of learning and passion for science came from his mother, a public school English teacher, and father, a chemical engineer. Andrew earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Bard College and a master’s and Ph.D. in physics from Johns Hopkins University.
Andrew and his wife Barbara, an elementary school educator, raised three children and one pitbull-boxer mix named Rocky.
Please visit https://andrewzwicker.com, for more information.
Meet Our Award Honorees
Steve Sweeney represented the Third Legislative District, which includes portions of Gloucester and Cumberland counties and all of Salem County from 2002 to 2021.
Steve Sweeney entered public service after his daughter was born with Down syndrome. Horrified at the manner in which individuals with disabilities were treated, he vowed to make a difference not just in his daughter’s life, but in the lives of those in his community.
He served on the Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders from 1997 to 2010 and was Freeholder Director from 1998 until 2010. During that time, he helped county taxpayers save $30 million through innovative programs that promoted shared services. As a result, Senator Sweeney was named a “Politician Who’s Ahead of the Curve” by Philadelphia Magazine for his cost saving initiative.
Senator Sweeney was selected by his colleagues in the Democratic Majority to lead the Senate a record of six terms, starting in the 214th Legislature in 2009 after he took the oath as Senate President on January 12, 2010. He was selected by his fellow Senate Democrats to maintain his leadership position again in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020.
An ironworker by trade, Senator Sweeney has taken the lessons he has learned to advocate on behalf of organized labor, the rights of workers and the needs of working families. He repeatedly sponsored laws to raise New Jersey’s minimum wage, including a constitutional amendment requiring regular cost-of-living increases, and he advocated for legislation to protect unemployment funds from being diverted so they are there for those who need them. Senator Sweeney also wrote the legislation creating New Jersey’s Paid Family Leave program, learning from his experience with his newborn daughter when he spent nearly two months in the hospital after she was born.
Senator Sweeney also sponsored legislation to establish marriage equality for all New Jersey residents. He has also sponsored bills to provide equal pay for women, for a “Sexual Assault Bill of Rights” for victims of assault and to require earned sick leave.
As Senate President, he has taken a leading role in promoting property tax relief, replenishing the Transportation Trust Fund and refocusing the state’s fiscal priorities. In 2011, Senator Sweeney proposed sweeping reforms to the public employee pension and health benefits systems that will save taxpayers over $120 billion over a 30 year period and will save the pensions of hundreds of thousands of public employees. The reforms have been hailed as a national model for other states. He also authored laws to increase funding for the state’s pension systems and require quarterly payments, bringing savings and greater fiscal stability to state finances. Senator Sweeney was also instrumental in crafting the state’s two-percent cap law to help hold down property taxes.
In 2018, Senate President Sweeney established a bipartisan panel of legislators and economic experts to develop reforms that address the state’s most challenging fiscal problems. The Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup issued a series of far-reaching recommendations, the “Path to Progress” report, which will help to avert crisis conditions, maintain fiscal stability, reduce the costs of government and allow the state to support vital needs and services.
Senator Sweeney has also fought for full and fair funding for all of New Jersey’s schools, sponsoring “The School Funding Reform Act” to advance educational opportunities and hold down property taxes, and authoring the “Vocational Education Bond Act” to provide vocational job training and increase school security and he fought for additional state support for Extraordinary Special Education for special needs students.
Senator Sweeney also has sponsored numerous laws to strengthen the ability of law enforcement to protect children from sex offenders and protect the families of police officers, firefighters and emergency services personnel killed in the line of duty. He also sponsored a plan to create a statewide network of Child Advocacy Centers that provide safe places for abused children.
The Senate President has held a strong environmental record sponsoring a law that expands the development of offshore wind energy, paving the way for the state to become the nation’s wind-energy manufacturing hub, and he led the fight to ban the hazardous gasoline additive MTBE. Senator Sweeney is a lifelong supporter of farmland and open space preservation, and has worked to deliver funding to protect pristine land from development. He also authored the bill to ban smoking on New Jersey’s beaches.
Senator Sweeney was born on June 11, 1959 in Camden.
Senator Smith was born in Scranton, Pa. He earned a degree in history from the University of Scranton in 1969, an M.S. in chemistry there in 1970, and an M.S. in environmental science from Rutgers University in 1973. He graduated from Seton Hall Law School in 1981 and was admitted to the bar that year. He is owner of the Piscataway law firm of Bob Smith and Associates.
Mr. Smith was elected to the Senate in 2001 and re-elected five times. He served in the Assembly from 1986 to 2002. He sponsored legislation reforming the Garden State Open Space Acquisition Program to focus on water resource protection, preservation of the Highlands, providing a continuing source of revenue for New Jersey state parks, and setting in place measures to improve water quality in the Barnegat Bay, including comprehensive fertilizer controls. He also sponsored two constitutional amendments, approved by voters, to provide stable funding for open space, farmland and historic preservation and to dedicate natural resource damage litigation awards to restore the environment.
Mr. Smith has served on Piscataway’s Environmental Commission and Planning Board. He was a councilman from 1977 to 1980, and mayor from 1981 to 1986.
Senator Smith’s wife is the former Ellen Foster. They have two children and seven grandchildren.
NJBIA is thrilled to honor these three longtime leaders in the energy and environment sectors who have truly made a difference for our state and continue to put New Jersey on the best forward as it relates to energy and the environment.
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