This is a supplemental guide for the Duke Energy Initiative’s “Women in Energy Panel.” See the event page for details.
The energy industry is booming, with the natural gas and solar industry leading the charge. In solar alone, jobs are growing at 20% per year. However the energy industry, like many other industries, faces a problem: the under-representation of women in the workforce. Given the huge importance of energy and the opportunities afforded by the industry (see Career Panel Primer), women’s voices and talents are especially needed.
Data on diversity of the workforce is limited for the industry as a whole. The exception is the solar sector, which publishes the annual Solar Foundation’s National Solar Job’s Census. The census reports that women account for 37,500 of solar workers (21.6% of the workforce), which is up from 26,700 (18.7%) in 2013. To improve those numbers, the leaders in the industry are promoting diversity through initiatives, such as the RISE (Realizing and Inclusive Solar Industry) Initiative, which is a partnership between SunEdison and Grid Alternatives.
While a positive example, the solar industry is likely the best-case scenario within the energy industry. Speaking to Greentech Media, Reginald Parker of 510nano, the largest African-American owned solar plant, characterized the problem, saying that if companies don’t cast an inclusive net when recruiting, “women and minorities get locked out even before they know there’s a chance to get in [the industry].”
In the interest of supporting a more inclusive energy industry, we would like to feature the Duke Energy Initiative’s “Women in Energy Panel.” The panel will be a discussion of opportunities in energy with seven women energy professionals. The conversation will be an interactive “live office hours” format, with panelists responding to questions submitted by the audience. Following the event, there will be breakout sessions over lunch, where students will get the opportunity to learn more from each speaker.
Below, please find the bios of the speakers on the panel.
Emily Felt, Business Development Manager
Emily Felt manages renewable energy strategy and policy at Duke Energy Corporation. Her work focuses on designing sustainable policies that will enable renewable energy growth and distributed generation adoption within the areas served by Duke Energy. From 2010-2012, she managed Duke Energy’s compliance with the North Carolina Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard. Prior to that, Emily worked as an industrial business developer for nearly ten years. She is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard University.
Brittany Goff, Energy Management
At GE Industrial Solutions, Brittany works in Product Marketing for GE’s Energy Management services. She is a graduate of West Virginia University and majored in Industrial Engineering and Spanish. Brittany has worked in a variety of roles for GE, with positions in sales, project management, and strategy. Brittany is a great example of somebody who leveraged an expertise in engineering into a business-oriented career.
Rebecca Stamps, Senior Product Management
Rebecca is a Senior Product Manager at GE Industrial Solutions. After majoring in Electrical Engineering at North Carolina State University, Rebecca worked in consulting for Clark Engineers before joining GE. With GE, Rebecca has held a number of roles including Engineering and Quality, Commercial Operations, and Commercial Manager for the Smart Grid division. An avid athelete, Rebecca enjoys spending time with family, at church, riding motorcycles, and watching Seinfeld.
Maria Kingery, Co-Founder and CEO
Maria is an entrepreneur who is passionate about seeking solutions to big challenges. She is co-founder and CEO of Southern Energy Management, a Morrisville, NC-based company that employs sixty energy efficiency and renewable technologies professionals who share her passion for transforming the way people make and use energy. The Awesome SEM Team (as she refers to them) has done just that on more than 15,000 projects so far.
In 2013, she co-founded ecoSelect Certifications to fill a need in the marketplace for an entry level green building certification that is easy for homebuyers to understand and for homebuilders to implement. More than 2000 homes have been ecoSelect certified so far, and the program is gaining traction nationally with builders and developers.
Because she understands that big change requires broad engagement, Maria works with several non-profit organizations supporting the evolution of the green economy. She serves as President of the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, President-elect of the Raleigh-Durham chapter of Entrepreneur’s Organization, and board member for the NC Sustainable Energy Association. She has also contributed to a number of statewide initiatives including the State Energy Sector Partnership and the NC Community College System’s Code Green Leadership Team. She was among a select group of energy sector business leaders invited to participate in the President’s Council for Jobs and Competitiveness.
Maria remains actively engaged with her alma mater, North Carolina State University, serving as an Advisory Board Member for the Poole College of Management Sustainability Initiative and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, where she earned a BA in English Literature, Summa Cum Laude. Maria lives in Raleigh with her husband and business partner, Bob, and their 13-year-old son, Zach, who never misses an episode of Freakonomics and wants to be a gaming economist when he grows up.
Kiersten Willams, Vice President
At G&S Business Communications, Kiersten provides strategic counsel and campaign implementation for clean energy, advanced manufacturing, sustainability and financial clients.
In her role as Vice President, her work is focused on communicating the economic impact of smart grid, solar, energy efficiency and waste-to-energy technologies on our national clean energy economy.
Throughout her more than twenty year career, Kiersten has produced award-winning, integrated marketing programs with national media placements including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CNBC, The New York Times, CNN, Bloomberg TV and BusinessWeek, among others.
She has been recognized by industry peers as a 2013 Platinum MarCom Award winner and by the journalism community as a 2014 Silver Bulldog Award winner for Excellence in Media Relations and Publicity with “Best Green Campaign.” Her campaign was featured in the Media Relations Hall Of Fame magazine.
Prior to joining G&S Business Communications in June of 2014, she provided strategic B-to-B communications services to both national and global, privately-held and public companies through her practice, Williams Consulting PR, LLC and held communications roles at New York-based agencies including Makovsky, Spring O’Brien and The Bromley Group.
Kiersten is a graduate of Emerson College and is a long-standing member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), serving as 2014 Treasurer for the North Carolina chapter.
G&S integrates business and communications strategies, using a full range of communications services, to build sustainable relationships for clients along the entire value chain.
The firm focuses on a few key industries – Advanced Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Food, Cleantech and Energy, Consumer, Financial Services, and Home and Building – where the agency has deep experience and offers valuable insight.
Betsy McCorkle, Director of Government Affairs
Betsy directs the NC Sustainable Energy Association’s governmental affairs work. As a registered lobbyist, she works with legislators, state and local government officials, state agencies, the clean energy industry and allied organizations to educate them on clean energy issues and ensure passage of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association’s legislative agenda. Previously, Betsy managed the North Carolina Solar Center’s Economic Development Program, delivering client-based services to businesses and organizations engaging in the renewable energy industry in North Carolina.
Betsy received a Master Degree in Environmental Management from Duke University, and she holds a Bachelor Degree in Environmental Economics from the University of Georgia, where she graduated magna cum laude. Betsy was a 2013 Recipient of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Young Alumni Achievement Award and the 2012 Recipient of the J.W. Fanning Distinguished Young Professional Award. She is a member of the Natural Capital Investment Fund Advisory Committee and the NC Economic Developers Association.
Elizabeth Pratson, Adjunct Professor in Physics
Elizabeth Lewis Pratson is an adjunct professor in the Department of Physics at Elon University. Trained as a geologist, she has worked in oil and gas exploration, performed geophysical data interpretation as a consultant, and conducted research on groundwater remediation. Companies she has worked for previously include: Schlumberger Geoquest, Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory – Borehole Research Group, Sohio Petroleum, and Westland Oil and Development, among others.