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MconneX logo - padded medium versionDavid Sandalow, Inaugural Fellow, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University. Photo: Jesse Meria, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing

America’s energy sourcing has changed dramatically over the past five years. With guest speakers from industry, academia and government, this symposium will explore the ripple effect this change produces on the global economy, the pursuit of viable renewables, the evolution of energy providers, and the American environmental, political, and transportation landscape. This event will also serve to dedicate the recently completed, LEED-Gold certified home of the Energy Institute.


Our Energy Future: Change, Challenge, and Opportunity


Mark Barteau, Director, Energy Institute

Symposium Speakers


About the Speakers

  • David Sandalow, Inaugural Fellow, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University
    • David Sandalow joined Columbia directly from the U.S. Department of Energy, where he served as Under Secretary of Energy (Acting) and Assistant Secretary for Policy & International Affairs. As Under Secretary (Acting), he helped manage the Department of Energy’s renewable energy, energy efficiency, fossil energy, nuclear energy and electricity delivery programs, with an annual budget of more than $3.5 billion. As Assistant Secretary for Policy & International Affairs, he helped coordinate policy and manage international activities at the Department. Prior to serving at DOE, Mr. Sandalow was Energy & Environment Scholar and a Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program of the Brookings Institution, as well as Energy & Climate Change Working Group Chair at the Clinton Global Initiative. He is the author of Freedom from Oil (McGraw-Hill, 2008) and editor of Plug-In Electric Vehicles: What Role for Washington? (Brookings Press, 2009). Mr. Sandalow has written widely on energy and environmental policy, including op-eds in the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times and other publications. Previously, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment & Science, a Senior Director on the National Security Council staff, an Associate Director on the staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and Executive Vice President, World Wildlife Fund – U.S. Mr. Sandalow is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School (JD) and Yale College (BA Philosophy).

  • Phyllis Cuttino, Director, Clean Energy, The Pew Charitable Trusts
    • Phyllis Cuttino is director of Pew’s Clean Energy Program, which works to accelerate the clean energy economy in order to seize its economic, national security and environmental benefits for the nation. Pew advocates for national energy policies that enhance industrial energy efficiency, expand energy research and development and deploy advanced transportation and renewable technologies. She joined the Pew Charitable Trusts in 2007 as project director for the Pew Campaign for Fuel Efficiency, which played a critical role in passage of the first increase in federal fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks in more than 30 years. Cuttino has a background in policy, strategic communications and campaigns. In the policy arena, Cuttino worked on the senior staffs of two United States senators. In philanthropy, she served as vice president of public affairs for Ted Turner’s $1 billion gift to U.N. causes. As a senior vice president at a consulting firm in Washington, Cuttino helped Fortune 500 companies and nongovernmental organizations to influence public policy and increase awareness of critical issues. Cuttino has directed issue advocacy campaigns and served in various roles for political campaigns. Cuttino holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Furman University.

  • Russ Ford, Executive Vice President Contracting and Procurement, Royal Dutch Shell
    • Russ Ford is Executive Vice President, Contracting and Procurement for Royal Dutch Shell. Contracting and Procurement is responsible for worldwide annual spend of $65 bln across Shell’s Upstream and Downstream operations. Ford assumed his present position in January 2013 after having served as Executive Vice President for Onshore in the Americas, a role that included subsurface engineering, drilling, and producing operations for the Onshore business mainly centered in the lower 48 states and western Canada. Prior to that, he was responsible for all onshore and offshore development in the Western Hemisphere. Ford started with Shell in New Orleans as a production engineer in Onshore operations in 1981. Since then he has served in a variety of technical, research, operations and commercial assignments in Texas, New Orleans, California, and The Netherlands. Ford holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from California State University.

  • Gary Cowger, Chairman and CEO, GLC Ventures, LLC
    • Gary L. Cowger is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GLC Ventures, LLC. He retired as Group Vice President of Global Manufacturing and Labor Relations for General Motors in December 2009, a position he had held since April 2005. Mr. Cowger began his career with GM in 1965 and held a range of senior leadership positions in business and operations in several countries, including President of GM North America, Chairman and Managing Director, Opel, AG, and President of GM de Mexico. In 2006, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his contributions to the GM Global Manufacturing System, which has dramatically improved flexibility, quality, and productivity in automotive manufacturing. In 2004, he was named Automotive Industries’ Executive of the Year; and the prior year, Mr. Cowger received the Society of Automotive Engineers’ Manufacturing Leadership Award. He currently serves as Co-Chair of the Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation’s executive Leadership Cabinet. Mr. Cowger received a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering from GMI in 1970 and a Master of Science Degree in Management from MIT in 1978.

  • Kevin Self, Vice President, Strategy & Corporate Development, Johnson Controls, Inc.
    • Kevin Self is responsible for global strategy development for the $15 billion Building Efficiency business of Johnson Controls. This includes leading external/competitive analysis, collaboration to assure the company’s business portfolio and technology developments align with its strategy, and continuing to build relationships with external partners. Kevin also leads BE’s inorganic processes, including acquisitions, integrations and divestitures. Prior to joining Johnson Controls, Kevin led the integration of MillerCoors, and also directed corporate strategy for Miller Brewing Company. He has also held leadership positions at GE Healthcare, McKinsey & Co. and Baxter Healthcare Corporation. Self has an MBA from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in Bioengineering and a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Science from the University of Michigan.


Sponsored by the University of Michigan Energy Institute and MconneX.

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