EPIC Advisory Board

Jim LittleRetired Energy Executive

Retired Energy Executive

James L. Little as the executive vice president of commercial business development and strategy for Atkins' US nuclear energy business worked closely with Atkins’ senior leadership team, exercising his deep understanding of the commercial nuclear energy sector to support the company’s growth in North America. He has more than 40 years of leadership experience at companies including Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Washington Group International, and URS Corporation, where he has a proven record of success in business growth and performance in the domestic and international nuclear markets.

Little is also a founding advisory board member and adjunct professor for the University of North Carolina Charlotte’s Energy Production Infrastructure Center (EPIC) which was established to develop talent for the growing energy industry. He is a member of the board of directors of E4 Carolinas, an industry trade association serving the Carolinas energy industry where he also leads the Carolinas Nuclear Cluster, comprised of over 50 companies with 25,000 employees. Little serves as the industry representative on the Governor of South Carolina's Nuclear Advisory Committee, which oversees items of interest involving nuclear issues and developments. 

Little earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.


Dhiaa JamilChief Operating Officer, Duke Energy

Chief Operating Officer, Duke Energy

Dhiaa Jamil is group executive and chief nuclear officer for Duke Energy. He is responsible for the safe and efficient operation of the company’s three nuclear generating stations – Catawba, McGuire and Oconee nuclear stations. He was named to his current position in January 2008.

Jamil has more than 25 years of experience in the energy industry. Most recently, Jamil served as senior vice president of nuclear support. He led the organization responsible for plant support, major projects and fuel management for Duke Energy’s nuclear fleet. In addition, he was responsible for regulatory support, nuclear oversight and safety analysis functions.

He joined Duke Power in 1981 as a design engineer in the design engineering department. After a series of promotions, he was named electrical systems engineering supervisor of Oconee Nuclear Station in 1989 and electrical systems engineering manager in 1994. He was named maintenance superintendent of McGuire Nuclear Station in 1997; station manager in 1999; and site vice president of McGuire Nuclear Station in 2002. In that role, Jamil was responsible for all aspects of the safe and efficient operation of the nuclear site. He was appointed site vice president of Catawba Nuclear Station in 2003.

Jamil received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is a registered professional engineer in North Carolina and South Carolina. He has completed the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations’ senior nuclear plant management course and received Duke Energy’s technical nuclear certification. He has served as a senior member of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers and has completed a three-year assignment as a member of the Council of the National Academy for Nuclear Training. He is a former member of Dominion Energy Management Safety Review Advisory Committee, TVA Nuclear Safety Review Board and Pacific Gas & Electric Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee. He also served on the board of directors of the York County, SC, Chamber of Commerce.

Jamil recently completed board service as a member of the board of directors of the Charlotte Research Institute and currently serves as a member of the board for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Foundation. He is a member of the INPO Executive Advisory Group, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) New Plant Oversight Committee and the NEI Nuclear Strategic Issues Advisory Committee Steering Group.

Mark BoomgardenCorporate VP and Senior VVP, Operations Akoustis

Corporate VP and Senior VVP, Operations Akoustis

Mark Boomgarden is Senior Vice President of Operations at Akoustis, a Charlotte-based technology company that provides innovative designs and products into the mobile phone market.

Boomgarden has over 20-years of experience in high-technology fields, to include manufactured products and licensing, research and development, mergers and acquisitions, and new-company formation (start-ups). He has played key roles while in operations, engineering and business-leadership positions – both domestically and internationally.

Prior to Akoustis, Mark served as Vice President and General Manager at DigitalOptics Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tessera Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: TSRA).  Boomgarden joined DigitalOptics from Tessera, where he served as General Manager of the wafer-level optics organization, and previously as Vice President of their Wafer Level Camera business.

He came to Tessera from its acquisition of Digital Optics Corporation (separate entity), where he served 7-years as Director of Operations, Test and Metrology Manager, and Operations Manager. He provided the leadership for many capital-intensive business initiatives, technology improvement programs, and was a long-standing member of the Senior Leadership Team. Prior to Digital Optics, Boomgarden served from 1992-2000 in various operations and engineering roles at Alcatel’s North-American Fiber Optic Facility, and from 1986-1992 in the United States Navy Submarine Service.

Boomgarden holds a BSEE from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC). He is a past Chairman of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Advisory Board at UNCC, a founding member of the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) Advisory Board, and a current board member of Koyr and CLT Joules.

Mark EhrnschwenderVice President of Business Management & Engineering Services, STEAG SCR-Tech

Vice President of Business Management & Engineering Services, STEAG SCR-Tech

Mark Ehrnschwender is the Vice President of Business Management and Engineering Services of STEAG SCR-Tech and is responsible for all business activities of STEAG for the North American Market, including all development of operations and maintenance acquisitions and contracts in power generation businesses such as Wind, Biomass, Waste to Energy, Oilsands.

Mark has been in the power industry since 1981 and for the last 15 years has focused on developing environmentally friendly solutions, strategies, and technologies to meet the more stringent environmental mandates. He has patented a multi-pollutant technology which would produce CO2 sequesterable stream with conventional technologies.

Mark has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and executive business MBA. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, as well as the A&WMA.

Tim FairchildDirector, Global Energy Practice, SAS

Director, Global Energy Practice, SAS

Carl FisherVice President - Global and US; I&C and Electrical Systems, AREVA NP

Vice President - Global and US; I&C and Electrical Systems, AREVA NP

Robert E. JohnsonProfessor and Dean, Lee College of Engineering, UNC Charlotte

Professor and Dean, Lee College of Engineering, UNC Charlotte

Dr. Johnson is currently Dean of The William States Lee College of Engineering at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  He is originally from Hicksville, NY, received his B.S. degree from SUNY at Buffalo, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Caltech.

Before joining the faculty at UNC Charlotte, Dr. Johnson worked for sixteen years in the Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics at the University of Illinois. He works in the area of fluid mechanics, material processing, metal forming, race car aerodynamics and asymptotic methods.

He is the author or coauthor on more than 70 archival journal articles, and has worked on numerous projects for the National Science Foundation, Alcoa and Caterpillar. Dr. Johnson serves on the Board of Governors for NC Polymer Center of Excellence and on the Board of Advisors for the Ben Craig Center, a business incubator in Charlotte.

Kevon R. MakellCEO, SEWW Energy Incorporated

CEO, SEWW Energy Incorporated

Kevon R. Makell is the Chairman, President, & Chief Executive Officer for Sun, Earth, Wind, & Water or SEWW Energy Incorporated, and is also serving as an Executive Fellow for ProSidian Consulting LLC of Charlotte, NC. Mr. Makell has combined a 32-year career with leadership activities in the Smart-Micro Grid Development and Integration, Renewable Energy (Solar & Wind), Energy Efficiency, Electric Vehicle, Energy Consulting, Power Marketing and Trading, Energy Services, Fortune 500 Utilities, and Nuclear Construction, Project Management & Testing industries in the USA, Africa, Bermuda and The Caribbean. He and his team at SEWW Energy most recently served as an Energy Partner with Lime Energy in support of Carolinas Healthcare Systems’ – Med 1 mobile medical hospital deployment during the 2012 Democratic National Convention held in Charlotte, NC. The MED-1 team showcased Energy Efficiency retrofits and sustainable micro-grid design features that would commence efforts toward development of future sustainable mobile medical unit that would optimize future CHS disaster recovery deployments.

Mark MaranoPresident, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Westinghouse Electric Company

President, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Westinghouse Electric Company

Mark Marano brings more than 25 years of nuclear industry experience to his position as president, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Prior to his arrival at Westinghouse, Mr. Marano was the senior vice president of Business Development for Areva NP in Charlotte, North Carolina (USA). Prior to this position, he was senior vice president, New Plants. Before his positions at Areva, Mr. Marano held executive leadership roles at Burns and Roe Enterprises, Inc. and GE Hitachi. Most notably he was the senior vice president of commercial, marketing and business development for GE Hitachi in Wilmington, North Carolina.

From 2005 through 2006 Mr. Marano was vice president of financial planning for American Electric Power (AEP), and from 2001 to 2005, Mr. Marano served as president and chief executive officer of Numanco LLC, an American Electric Power subsidiary. Concurrently, he served as vice president of Generation Business Services, where he was responsible for management and oversight of all business services in support of AEP’s generation fleet of 82 plants in 11 states, inclusive of nuclear, coal, gas, and hydro.

Prior to his roles at AEP, Mr. Marano spent 10 years in successive levels of senior management positions at nuclear plant sites with several utilities where he played key roles in nuclear plant turnarounds during the 1980s and 1990s. This included Florida Power and Light, Carolina Power and Light, Public Services Electric and Gas and Florida Power Corporation.

Prior to his commercial nuclear experience, Mr. Marano worked for Grumman Aerospace and the defense industry from 1984 to 1989.

Mr. Marano graduated from Oswego State University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

Jeffrey S. MerrifieldPartner, Pillsbury Law

Partner, Pillsbury Law

Jeffrey Merrifield is a partner in the law firm's Energy practice and is located in the Washington, DC office.

Mr. Merrifield was appointed by President Clinton and reappointed by President Bush to serve on the five-member, Senate-confirmed, independent United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. During his tenure, which was from October 1998 to June 2002 and from August 2002 to June 2007, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission had a staff of 3,250 employees with a budget of $900 million and set all policies and rules that govern the safe and secure use of nuclear materials at the 104 U.S. nuclear power plants operating at that time.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Merrifield served as President of The Merrifield Group, LLC where he provided energy and environmental consulting, advocacy and strategic advice for companies, organizations and individuals. Specific areas of focus included management, energy market analysis, nuclear, fossil and alternative energy policy and deployment, radioactive and hazardous waste disposal strategies, safety and regulatory assessment and analysis, as well as public and government engagement.

Before working with the Merrifield Group, Mr. Merrifield was the Senior Vice President of Global Business Development with CB&I’s Power Business Unit. While there, he led a team of twenty-five sales and proposal staff to develop and win over $1.5 billion in annual sales, including the first competitive, EPC combined cycle gas unit in over six years.

Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President for The Shaw Group, Inc.’s Power Group. As a member of the Power Group's executive team, he was responsible for overseeing the group's external relationships including nuclear business development, customer relations, strategic planning, marketing and communications, as well as government and regulatory affairs.

Mr. Merrifield also served on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Ecology Corporation, which is one of the largest U.S. operators of both hazardous and low-level radioactive waste disposal facilities. He served as the Lead Director and Chairman of the Governance Committee, and was a member of the Compensation and Audit Committees.

Jimmy B. MorganExecutive Vice President, Allied Technical Resources

Executive Vice President, Allied Technical Resources


Jimmy Morgan was appointed Chief Operating Officer for BHI Energy in April 2012.  In his present role he oversees all of the operations for BHI Energy which is an integrated specialty maintenance and professional services provider to the Power and Industrial sectors throughout North America.  He is assimilating all of the groups and companies inside of BHI to provide a fully integrated maintenance service offering to customers.

Mr. Morgan previously worked at WEC achieving record revenue and growth and its most profitable year in recent history. Under his watch, WEC acquired Carolina Energy Solutions (CES), the foremost supplier of welding and machining services, thus creating a company that has become a leading provider of services, supplies and expert knowledge to the energy industries nationwide. Additional highlights of his tenure include the initiation of significant changes in the strategic direction of WEC and the implementation of a company-wide program to recruit, train and build the field welding workforce of tomorrow. Using his more than 20 years of experience in the energy industry, Morgan leads Westinghouse, a division of Toshiba Corporation, into an energy renaissance and building of new facilities throughout the world.  He has recently been elected to serve as a trustee on the American Welding Society Foundation Board.

Previous to this role, Morgan held the position as Managing Director, North America, AREVA T&D, a division of AREVA and the third largest T&D provider worldwide where he was in charge of EPC for turn-key substations in the United States and countries around the world.  He joined Westinghouse in 2006.

Morgan attended University of South Carolina where he graduated with a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering and went on to complete M&A coursework and MBA coursework at Darden School of Business.  Morgan began his career 20 years ago in the energy industry as a System Engineer at a nuclear power plant. Morgan, his wife, and two children currently reside in Fort Mill, SC.

Kevin PoetHead of Charlotte Plant Operations, Siemens

Head of Charlotte Plant Operations, Siemens

Mark A. PringleRetired Energy Executive

Retired Energy Executive

Mark Pringle was responsible for the turbine-generator manufacturing and service facility in Charlotte, North Carolina and the feeder plant in Fort Payne, Alabama. These facilities manufacture large electrical generators for power generation and service generator and steam turbine products for the North American market.

Pringle started his career with Westinghouse in 1981 in Pittsburgh at the large rotating apparatus division as a generator design engineer. He relocated to Charlotte as the generator design engineering manager when the product was moved there in 1987. He progressed to product engineering manager for both generator and steam turbine products at the plant. Mr. Pringle was named plant manager of the Houston Service Center for gas turbine components in 1998 and then transitioned into leading the gas turbine field services group in 2001. In 2003, he moved back to Charlotte as plant manager, taking on his present responsibilities for the entire North American generator business segment in 2006. Pringle retired from Siemens in March, 2016.

Pringle holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

He and his wife, Barb, have three children and reside in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

Wayne WilkinsChief Executive Officer, EnergyUnited

Chief Executive Officer, EnergyUnited

H. Wayne Wilkins is the chief executive officer of EnergyUnited. EnergyUnited is an electric cooperative and energy services company and was formed in 1998 from the consolidation of cooperatives Davidson and Crescent EMC. EnergyUnited has distributed electric service in 19 North Carolina counties since 1939 and its service area stretches from Virginia to northern Mecklenburg County and provides propane service in 74 North and South Carolina counties and offers other specialized energy related residential and commercial products and services.

Wilkins has more than 41 years of experience in the energy industry. Prior to 1998, Wilkins worked with Davidson EMC for 27 years, where he served in various management and leadership positions and served as its chief executive officer for 16 years.

He serves on the boards of directors of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, the Davidson County Economic Development Commission, the Statesville Regional Development Corporation, the North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation board, serves on the board and on the executive committee of the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives, serves as the chairman of the Rural Electric Action Committee, a NC Political Action Committee and serves as the chairman of Davidson Progress, a committee of 100 and served as president of the Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce.

Wilkins received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1976. He is a member of the First United Methodist Church and resides in Lexington.

Neil WilmshurstVice President and Chief Nuclear Officer, EPRI

Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer, EPRI

Neil Wilmshurst is Vice President of the Nuclear Sector at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). He has overall management and technical responsibility for the more than $130 million in annual research activities conducted by EPRI with its global nuclear membership. 

Wilmshurst joined EPRI in 2003 as a Senior Project Manager within the Plant Support Engineering (PSE) program. In 2007, he became Director of the Plant Technology department, which encompasses equipment reliability, instrumentation and controls, and risk and safety management. The Plant Technology department develops and supports the use of technology to ensure the safe, reliable and economic operation of nuclear power plant assets today and well into the future. 

Before joining EPRI, Wilmshurst worked in a variety of nuclear utility engineering and maintenance roles with AmerGen at Three Mile Island Unit 1 and British Energy at the Sizewell B plant. Prior to joining the civil nuclear program Wilmshurst served for 13 years in the Royal Navy as a Nuclear Submarine Engineer Officer. 

Mr. Wilmshurst received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical, mechanical and control engineering from the Royal Naval Engineering College, Manadon, UK, a Post Graduate Diploma in nuclear reactor technology from the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, UK and a Masters degree in defense administration from Cranfield Institute of Technology, Shrivenham, UK, he was also certified as a Naval Nuclear Plant Operator. Wilmshurst is registered as a Chartered Mechanical Engineer in the UK.

Frank YohoExecutive Vice President and President, Natural Gas Business, Duke Energy

Executive Vice President and President, Natural Gas Business, Duke Energy

Mr. Yoho joined Piedmont Natural Gas (now Duke Energy) in 2002 and is responsible for Sales and Marketing, Transportation Services, Supply Planning, Gas Supply, Wholesale Marketing, Field Customer Service and Customer Service.

Prior to joining Duke Energy, Mr. Yoho was Vice President, Business Development for CT Communications, and Senior Vice President - Marketing and Gas Supply for the former Public Service Company of North Carolina (PSNC), now a division of SCANA Corporation.

Mr. Yoho received his MBA from Ohio State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Washington and Jefferson College. Mr. Yoho serves on the Boards of the Charlotte Regional Sports Commission, The Southern Gas Association and CTN. He has served as First Vice President of the Southeastern Gas Association and was formerly on the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Gas Technology.