Committee Members

 
 

Amanda Olson | Chair

Amanda Olson received her B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Missouri University of Science & Technology in 2011, and her MBA from University of Missouri Kansas City in 2016. She is currently a Senior Electrical Engineer at Burns & McDonnell. Amanda is actively involved with IEEE and CIGRE, and enjoys spending time with her family and toddler, skiing, and outdoors in her spare time.
 
What I Love about CIGRE: Being exposed to professionals from different backgrounds and companies within the power systems industry, and having the opportunity to participate in working groups. CIGRE has allowed me to connect with people I would never have had the opportunity to otherwise. Those connections lend themselves to learning opportunities, travel opportunities, and most importantly – friendships.

 

Kyle Thomas | Communications

Kyle Thomas received his M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech in 2011 and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is currently Supervisor of Dominion Virginia Power’s Electric Transmission Operations Engineering group. Kyle is actively involved in the North American Synchrophasor Initiative (NASPI), IEEE, CIGRE, and TRUC organizations. In his spare time, Kyle enjoys home renovation, snowboarding, hiking, and swimming.
 
What I Love about CIGRE: Getting a chance to meet new people and experts in the power system industry across the globe, and learning best practices and challenges seen around the world.

 

Chris Mertz | Events | Webmaster

Chris Mertz joined Dominion Virginia Power after graduating from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Chris is presently an Engineer III in Dominion Virginia Power’s Electric Transmission – Operations Engineering group. Prior to joining the Operations Engineering team, Chris was a member of the System Protection Engineering group with roles including short circuit analysis and relay setting development for capital projects, automation of the short circuit analysis and project process, creating relay setting optimization tools, development of system protection standards, and development of NERC PRC compliance procedures.
 
In his free time, Chris enjoys playing soccer, hiking, snowboarding, golfing, home brewing, shooting pool, and spending time with friends and family.
 
What I Love about CIGRE: CIGRE has given me the opportunity to meet and collaborate with professionals from various backgrounds and experiences. CIGRE has given me a broad insight into the technical and business challenges of the modern power systems industry, and also specific ideas and perspectives to help solve challenges at DVP. I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the NGN for the past four years and look forward to my continued involvement with the CIGRE U.S. National Committee.

 

Kojo Sefah | Events

Kojo has work experience in power and renewable energy industry as well as in the oil and gas industry. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota and master’s degree in power systems management at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He currently works at the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). Kojo is passionate about the energy industry and the growth of young engineers in the industry. In his free time, he volunteers at several other engineering organizations in the energy industry.
 
He loves to go hiking with friends and playing soccer with friends on the weekend. He also enjoys giving back to the community by volunteering at events that encourage kids to get into engineering.
 
Kojo is currently pursuing an MBA (Finance and Energy) at the University of Minnesota.

 

Lauren Warkenthien | International Collaboration

My name is Lauren Warkenthien. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Binghamton University. I have had various experiences through my working career. I started working at a utility, then spent some time working for an independent system operator, and currently I work for Leidos as a Project Manager/Transmission Line Engineer. In my spare time I enjoy running, hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and I teach Les Mills BodyPump classes. I also volunteer with Junior Achievements at local schools.
 
What I Love about CIGRE: I joined NGN CIGRE a little over a year ago and have found it to be a wonderful experience. I have met so many people and made so many connections. One of the best parts of being in NGN CIGRE is the resources that are available every day. CIGRE covers so many different topics in the industry and once you join, you have all the information at your fingertips. I have taken on the International Collaboration role within CIGRE NGN. The experience I receive from CIGRE not only helps in my current position, but also opens up many more opportunities.

 

Yazan Alsmadi | Marketing

 

 

Cynthia Ocasio-Hassett | Membership

 

 

Diana Lee | Mentoring

Diana Lee received her B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Florida State University and is currently pursuing her M.S. in Power Systems Management from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She is currently an Electrical Engineer at Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) and has worked in several Distribution and Transmission departments in the power industry. Diana is actively involved in IEEE Power and Energy Society Green Mountain Section and CIGRE NGN. In her spare time, she mentors a youth in her community, loves spending time with her friends & family, enjoys gardening, skiing, ice skating, being outdoors, shopping at the farmer’s market, taking photos and travelling.
 
What I Love about CIGRE:: I have been a CIGRE member for 3 years and have enjoyed participating in the Grid of the Future, networking with my Power System peers from around the world and collaborating with the NGN activities. I have benefitted not only myself but also my company with being able to download several publications from e-cigre website that deal with current issues. There’s a wealth of knowledge out there and it’s nice to be able to have access to these publications.

 

Saeed Kamalinia | Professional Development

Saeed Kamalinia received his BSEE and MSEE from University of Tehran, Iran and received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago in 2010. He has been with S&C Electric since then, where he is Manager of Consulting and Analytical Services department. He is the Technical Activity Coordinator of IEEE Region 4 and member of CIGRE Working Group C5.24 “Exploring the Market-based value of Smart Grid Development”. Saeed is recipient of IEEE-USA Divisional Professional Leadership award and IEEE PES-Chicago Chapter Outstanding Young Professional Engineer award.
 
Saeed loves playing soccer and is a die-hard fan of AC Milan! He has been running Chicago Half-Marathon each year since 2011 and will run his first full Marathon this October.
 
What I Love about CIGRE:Since joining CIGRE NGN 3 years ago I have been enjoying the collaboration with an active group of young professionals and participating in Grid of the Future symposiums. I also had a chance to contribute to a few CIGRE working groups and travel to different countries for WG meetings and interact with the international subject matter experts in the various areas of the power system.

 

Josh Snodgrass | Social Media

Josh Snodgrass received his Bachelors of Electrical Engineering from the University of Evansville in 2008. He has a variety of experience having worked for Duke Energy in the past in multiple fields of Distribution. Josh currently works for POWER Engineers, as a Distribution Studies Engineer. He is an active member in both CIGRE and IEEE-PES. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, hiking, and photography.
 
What I Love about CIGRE:I been a CIGRE member a little over 6 years now, and I enjoy the level of access you get to Industry Experts and the amount of Technical resources you get through all the international collaboration.

 

Jessica Lau | Webmaster

 

 

Ryan Quint | Members-At-Large