Little Rock – Arkansas’s advanced energy business leaders, utility executives, policy makers and regulators, and other industry stakeholders will meet Tuesday, October 8, to examine advanced energy policy issues and market trends, and to recognize innovative industry leaders at emPOWERing Arkansas 2019, the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association’s 8th annual meeting and policy conference. 

“The deployment of advanced energy technologies is growing across the state, as homeowners, agricultural producers, business and educational leaders, and local officials recognize the benefits these innovations offer,” said Katie Laning Niebaum, AAEA Executive Director. “Advanced energy technologies generate cost savings, job creation and economic development. The fast-growing advanced energy industry is well-positioned to help power Arkansas’s economy for years to come.” 

Program Highlights 

  • Arkansas Public Service Commission Chairman Ted Thomas and Secretary of Energy and Environment Becky Keogh will provide their perspectives on Arkansas’s energy landscape and the roles their respective agencies are playing.
  • Karl R. Rábago, a former Texas Public Utility Commissioner with 30 years’ experience working with regulatory, technology and business issues associated with solar energy, energy efficiency, wind energy and utility regulation, will deliver keynote remarks during the luncheon program.
  • Two in-depth panel discussions featuring energy experts, business leaders and local officials will explore policy decisions and market trends impacting Arkansas’s energy sector.
  • The 2019 Arkansas Advanced Energy Awards finalists will be recognized and the winners announced during the luncheon program (meet the awards finalists below).
  • Event sponsors include Audubon Arkansas, Energy Efficiency Design & Development, Entegrity, Stitt Solar and Today’s Power.

Members of the media are invited to attend. Registration is requested in advance to, or (501) 537-0190.


emPOWERing Arkansas 2019: AAEA’s 8th Annual Meeting & Policy Conference

Tuesday, October 8, 2019, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Heifer International, 1 World Avenue in Little Rock

Heifer Village Conference Room

Program Schedule

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Check-in / Coffee & Networking

10:00 – 10:15 a.m.

Welcome Remarks

Katie L. Niebaum, Executive Director, AAEA

Douglas Hutchings, Chair, AAEF Board of Directors

10:15 – 10:55 a.m.

Regulatory Perspective: The rules of the road of a new competitive market

Ted J. Thomas, Chairman, Arkansas Public Service Commission

11:00 a.m. – 11:50 p.m.

Game-Changing Policy: Examining the impact of the Solar Access Act

Daniel Dawson, General Manager, Searcy Water Utilities

Lisa V. Perry, Senior Manager of Energy Services, Walmart

Senator Dave Wallace, Arkansas General Assembly

Gary Moody, Director of State & Local Climate Strategy, National Audubon Society, moderator

12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch Program    

Annual Report to Members, Katie L. Niebaum, Executive Director, AAEA 

Keynote Remarks, Karl R. Rábago, Senior Policy Advisor, Pace Energy and Climate Center 

Arkansas Advanced Energy Awards (meet the awards finalists below) 

1:30 – 1:45 p.m. Networking Break 

1:45 – 2:45 p.m.

A Smart Bet: How Arkansas utilities are deploying advanced energy technologies
Brian Bond, Vice President of External Affairs, SWEPCO

Kurt Castleberry, Director of Resource Planning & Market Operations, Entergy Arkansas

Michael W. Henderson, AECC EVP/CFO and Today’s Power President

Scott D. Hamilton, AAEA Board Director, moderator 

2:50 – 3:15 p.m.

Agency Outlook: Becky W. Keogh, Secretary, Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment 

3:20 – 3:30 p.m.

Closing Remarks: Douglas Hutchings, Chair, AAEF Board of Directors


Meet the 2019 Arkansas Advanced Energy Awards Finalists 

Ron Bell Advanced Energy Leadership Award Finalists: Recognizing outstanding and consistent contributions to Arkansas’s advanced energy industry by an individual business leader, research/education leader, or public servant in Arkansas. 

  • Kurt Castleberry, Director of Resource Planning & Market Operations, Entergy Arkansas
  • Lioneld Jordan, Mayor, City of Fayetteville
  • Ed Tinsley, CEO, Bernhard
  • Dave Wallace, State Senator, Arkansas General Assembly

Advanced Energy Rising Star Award Finalists: Recognizing a “rising star” within the industry for contributions to his/her organization and growing impact on the industry. 

  • Beau Blankenship, Project Manager, Entergy Arkansas
  • Jennah Denney, Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator, Today’s Power
  • Keaghan Economon, Electrical Engineer, Today’s Power
  • Nick Gorden, CEO, Shine Solar & Shine Home Energy Solutions
  • Francisco Jung, Regional Business Development Manager, Solar & Renewable Power Systems
  • Gary Moody, Director of State & Local Climate Strategy, National Audubon Society
  • Adam Ness, Inside Sales and Marketing Leader, Entegrity

Advanced Energy Business Innovation Award Finalists: Recognizing an AAEA member company for courage, savvy and innovation to expand the market for its products and/or services. 

  • Entergy Arkansas
  • Shine Solar
  • Today’s Power