EPIC Energy Seminar: Panel Discussion on Energy Innovation

EPIC Energy Seminar logo
December 4, 2019 - 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM

During the Fall and Spring semesters, EPIC presents the Energy Seminar Series with speakers from around the region. These experts share valuable information and their insight into trends and news that are related to energy. Seminars are free and are open to students, faculty, industry partners and friends of EPIC. Space is limited so please be sure to register to attend.


Energy markets are transforming globally at an accelerated pace.  According to DOE’s Energy Innovation Portfolio Plan “technology improvements in production of oil and gas, deep reductions in the cost of solar and wind technologies, increasing energy efficiency, and efforts to modernize the transmission and distribution of electric power, including deployment of energy storage, are reshaping the energy landscape for the United States and the world.” Research by the International Energy Agency supports the claim that large markets for energy technologies will develop, projecting more than $60 trillion through 2040. For the US to remain competitive and American entrepreneurs and industry to keep a competitive advantage, this rapid rate of energy innovation must be sustained.  

Join our panelists as they discuss energy innovation in the Carolinas and the US, best practices and lessons learned. The floor will be open for questions from the audience. 


Bob Irvin

Joules Accelerator
Executive Director
Bob has over 30 years of experience in the energy industry providing strategic and financial leadership to improve stakeholder value.  He led transformation efforts at three major utilities:  TVA, Duke Energy and New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG).  As an energy executive, he was responsible for the development and execution of corporate and business unit plans which drive enterprise value.  In addition, he has led merger integration, market forecasting, system planning, performance reporting and analysis, incentive programs, capital productivity and investment execution, business development, technology ventures, renewable programs, and MBA leadership programs. He is currently the Executive Director of Joules, a nonprofit clean energy accelerator.

Ryan Kennedy

Atom Power
Co-founder & CEO
Ryan is co-founder and CEO of Atom Power, Inc.  He has been in the electrical design, project leadership, and engineering industries for over 24 years.  A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Ryan began his career as an electrician and worked with hardhat and tools on large commercial projects for 5 years before starting his study of electrical engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  Once Ryan received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Magna Cum Laude from UNCC in 2004, he continued full-time in his career as a Project Manager for a large electrical contracting and engineering firm. As Project Manager, Ryan negotiated and built some of the most high profile projects in the southeast for several large corporations, having managed and built over $90-million and 4-million square-feet in electrical construction projects.  He is a licensed Professional Engineer in five US states, is an active member in IEEE and board member of UNCC Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Charles Lakeman

Product Manager
Dr. Charles Lakeman is the Product Manager in Framatome’s Nuclear Parts and Procurement business, delivering products and services to ensure safe operation of nuclear power plants. Before that, he was responsible for the business development of AREVA’s energy storage and fuel cell products and also US R&D Manager for the Renewables,  business. He has over 20 years’ experience in advanced
R&D, product development, commercialization of new technologies, business development and sales.


Laura Smailes

Eco-H2O Innovations
Laura Smailes graduated from UNC Charlotte with a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies.
Laura formed a startup (Eco-H2O Innovations, L.L.C.) with two engineers, working on a wave-powered desalination system to provide clean water to areas in need. In addition to her participation with Ventureprise, Laura currently serves as the Communications Manager for
PitchBreakfast. Laura is very eager to use her experience to assist and support other
entrepreneurs in the community.


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