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Mark Safty

Mark Safty was appointed as the Wirth Chair in Sustainable Development at the University of Colorado in 2013. The Wirth Chair is housed within the School of Public Affairs at UC Denver and honors the environmental and sustainable development achievements of former U.S. Senator and Undersecretary of State Tim Wirth. Following his work with the federal government, Wirth served for nearly a decade as the President of the United Nations Foundation.

In over 25 years as a partner at Holland & Hart, LLP, companies operating on five continents turned to Mr. Safty for virtually every type of infrastructure development and financing transaction. He has extensive experience developing and financing infrastructure projects in the energy, healthcare, water, wastewater, and transportation sectors.

Mr. Safty has served as lead counsel in the development, acquisition, financing, and refinancing of dozens of power generation facilities across the spectrum of energy technologies. For nearly 20 years, Mr. Safty has focused his practice almost exclusively on development, construction, financing, and M&A activity in the renewable and sustainable energy industry. His earlier years of experience included the positions of general counsel and COO of a regional bank holding company, and he served as an outside director and chairman of the board of a $2.5 billion financial institution.

Mr. Safty currently serves as the practice group leader for Holland & Hart’s Energy & Infrastructure Group. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America® for project finance law and his practice group is recognized as a global leader by Chambers USA. He was recently selected as “Colorado’s Best Renewable Energy Attorney” by Law Week Colorado. Mr. Safty is an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado Law School and at University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, where he teaches courses on Renewable Energy Development, Regulation, and Finance. He is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences on renewable and sustainable energy topics.


Dr. Robert Stoner

After earning his Ph.D. in condensed matter physics at Brown University in 1992, Dr. Stoner joined the Microprocessor Development Group at Intel Corporation. In 1995, he formed Cooper Mountain Corporation, which developed the first commercial instruments to incorporate ultrafast pulsed lasers. These instruments, based on the picosecond ultrasonic method which he co-invented, are now extensively used to characterize computer chips during production. He subsequently founded Vinestone Corporation, a UK-based peer-to-peer database and workflow software developer. Dr. Stoner later held a number of senior executive positions and served as Chairman of the Technical Advisory Board at Zygo Corporation, a developer of precision optical systems and instruments for the global consumer electronics, aerospace and semiconductor industries.

Dr. Stoner received a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics from Queen’s University, Canada. He was a National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada Scholar, and holds US patents in the fields of semiconductor devices, optical measurement and imaging systems, optical devices, network computing, and acoustics. His current technical interests include high resolution imaging techniques, distributed computing, and energy distribution and storage technology and policy for developing countries.

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Ambassador Michael Ranneberger

Ambassador Michael Ranneberger is the President of World Insight Consulting, the firm he established following his retirement last year from the Department of State. During his distinguished diplomatic career, he represented the United States in Latin America, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

Following his graduation from Towson University with a double major in history and social science, he obtained a Masters Degree in history at the University of Virginia, and then entered the Foreign Service.  He has served as Ambassador to Mali and Kenya, and was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, in which capacity he led policy development and implementation for the African region.  Other postings included serving as Deputy Chief of Mission in Paraguay, Mozambique, and Somalia.

As the Special Representative of the Secretary of State, he helped lead negotiations which resulted in the Sudan Peace Agreement of 2005.  When crisis erupted in Kenya following the disputed presidential election at the end of 2007, Ambassador Ranneberger, working closely with African Union mediator Kofi Annan, was instrumental in ending the bloodshed and bringing about fundamental reforms through adoption of a new constitution in 2010.  For those efforts, he was dubbed “Ambassador of Peace” by the Kenyan people.  During 2011-16, he served as the State Department’s senior foreign policy adviser to three commanders of the U.S. Central Command, including now Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

He is the recipient of the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, its highest, Presidential Meritorious Service Awards, the Department’s Anti-Slavery Award for his efforts to combat human trafficking, and numerous other recognitions.  As a Career Minister at the time of his retirement, he was one of the 35 highest ranked officers in the State Department.

He is married to Ruth Konchellah.

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Derrick Hudson

Dr. Hudson is a Teaching Associate Professor of International Relations in the Division of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, where he teaches undergraduate courses in International Relations, African History and in the HASS Graduate program.  He earned his PhD in International Relations from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.  He specializes in religion and politics in Africa, with particular expertise on the role of prophetic Christianity as an agent for social change in selected historically deeply divided societies. His teaching interests also includes the role of truth commissions as societies are in transition from authoritarian to democratic rule and will teach a course on power and leadership in the McBride Honors Program at CSM.  Prior to coming to Mines, Dr. Hudson was an Assistant Professor in the Department of African and African American Studies at Metropolitan State College of Denver in which he gained valuable experience in teaching African American Studies, Social Movements, and Kenyan Politics and Culture.  He developed and led a team of students for a one-month study abroad experience in Kenya in 2007.  Prior to earning his doctorate, Dr. Hudson has worked with several Denver-based nonprofit organizations as a Program Director, Academic Director, and served as an affiliate faculty member at Colorado Christian University in which he developed a program in Urban Studies and Leadership.  His field work has been conducted in numerous countries, most notably South Africa, Kenya, Sudan, and Guatemala.  He is currently finishing an article that explores the common patterns of resistant spirituality amongst Indigenous people in Mesoamerica and Afro-Caribbean peoples in the Caribbean.  His next major project will explore the transition processes as southern Sudan declares its independence in 2011.  Prior to his academic career, Dr. Hudson served as an Air Weapons Controller with the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWCS) in the United States Air Force in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, western Europe, and Puerto Rico.


Kevon Makell

Kevon Makell is the founder and Chief Executive Officer at SEWW Energy Inc., where he leads the company’s operations to develop and deliver sustainable, smart macro and micro-grid solutions globally. Mr. Makell has over 30 years of experience in the energy industry: the majority with FirstEnergy (a Fortune 500 Utility), managing utility planning, governmental affairs, operations, new ventures, alternative energy, and regulatory compliance. Prior to starting SEWW Energy he was the Vice President & General Manager at PureNERGY Renewables Ltd, a sustainable energy technology company featuring hybrid Renewable Energy solutions for island nations, ranging from 1.5 kilowatts to 1 megawatt.

It was through Mr. Makell’s personal experience living on the island of Bermuda that the vision for SEWW Energy was born. Island nations have been the most significantly impacted by global climate change and severe weather conditions, resulting in energy reliability issues. When Kevon was faced with these issues, he leveraged his vast experience in Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Consulting, Energy Services and Electric Utility to build a smart micro-grid islanded solution to power his own home and provide energy security for him and his family. It was through this effort that he realized he wanted to provide similar solutions for other, less fortunate populations that suffer from energy access challenges.

Throughout his career Mr. Makell has successfully completed both large scale ($6.4B) and small scale energy projects throughout the United States; and Internationally in Bermuda, the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management with an emphasis in engineering from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA.


Luka Powanga

Dr. Luka Powanga is a professor in the School of Management at Regis University and the Executive Director of the Global Commerce Forum.  He is also the Managing Editor of the Journal of Global Commerce Research and the Journal of Current Research in Global Business.  He is currently the US correspondent for CargoNews Asia a trade magazine based in Hong Kong.

He holds a BSC degree in Metallurgy and Mineral Processing, Masters and PhD degrees in Mineral Economics from Colorado School of Mines with a minor in Finance from the Graduate School at Denver University.  He also holds a Masters degree in Computer Information Technology and Graduate Level Certificate in Object Oriented Programming from Regis University.  His industry and academic experience spans over thirty years at middle and senior management levels.  He consults in mining and international business management. He taught at Colorado School of Mines before transitioning to Regis University.


Rocio Perez

Rocío Pérez is the Principal of Inventiva Consulting, LLC.  Ms. Pérez is an expert with more than 20 years in developing talent and energizing teams, designing and executing business & marketing strategies.  Ms. Pérez helps companies design a strategic and profitable future by saving them time, energy and money while increasing their productivity and profits.  She is the former President and CEO, Definitive Marketing, LLC, a multicultural marketing consulting firm.

Ms. Pérez’s core competency and experience includes:

  • Guiding leaders through change management process

  • Coaching leaders and individuals with their professional development needs

  • Assessing organizational needs and implementing innovative solutions

  • Creating strategic and congruent marketing strategies

Ms. Pérez holds the following degrees: a B.S. in International Business (University of Colorado), a Dual MBA in International Business and Marketing (Regis University), and a Certificate in International Entrepreneurship (University of Colorado).


Dr. Pius Kasolo

Dr. Kasolo holds a PhD in Economic Geology from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom as well as an MSc in Mineral Evaluation from Nancy Ecole de mine, France. Dr. Kasolo also holds a BSc in Geology from the University of Zambia. He holds various other business and technical qualifications.

Dr. Kasolo has over 20 years of experience in the mining sector as a consultant and at senior management level, during which he has worked in, and provided consultancy services to, organisations with major international mining interests. He has undertaken various high level research studies, consultancy assignments and evaluations in the mining industry and other business sectors for the European Union, BHP, the University of Southampton and the Zambia Revenue Authority among others. He has held various senior positions in the mining industry including that of Exploration Manager for JCI Limited of South Africa (then Part of the Anglo American Corporation) covering various countries namely Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Ghana, Mali and Gabon. Dr. Kasolo has served as Director on several companies in Africa including Firestone an Australian Listed company.

Prior to becoming Chief Executive Officer of ZCCM Investments Holdings Plc in October 2014, Dr. Kasolo was owner and Chairman of Zambezi Holdings, a diversified investment company and Chief Executive Officer for Zambezi Mining Services (a concrete lining products firm based in South Africa).


Irene Giner-Geichl

Irene Giner-Reichl has been a member of the Austrian Diplomatic Service since 1982. Her main areas of expertise are economic and social development, women’s rights’ issues, environment, energy, and development cooperation.

Irene Giner- Reichl has held numerous international bureau functions. From 1995 to 1998 she was director of the international department of the Austrian Ministry for the Environment. From 1998 to 2001 she was Austria’s permanent representative to the UN, IAEA, UNIDO and CTBTO in Vienna. From 2001 to 2004 she headed the UNIDO office in New York in the rank of assistant director general. From 2005 to 2012 she was director general in charge of Austria’s development policy and cooperation.

Since 2012, she held the position of Austrian ambassador to the People’s Republic of China and Mongolia until recently when she transitioned to her current position.

Irene Giner-Reichl is president of the Global Forum on Sustainable Energy (GFSE), which she founded in 1999 as a multi-stake-holder platform for dialogues on energy in the service of sustainable development, and vice-president of the REN21 steering committee.

She has published books and articles on international relations and global issues. She has lectured at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna for several years on human security and development policy.


Chip Comins

Chip Comins is the Chairman and CEO of the American Renewable Energy Institute, (AREI, Inc), Founder of the AREDAY Summit, Expo and Film Festival, Managing Director of American Spirit Productions, President and CEO of WEnergy, Inc. and Co-founder of the Green Girl Minute. He has produced and directed both long and short form documentary films for educational and broadcast television markets, including The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, DOE Wind Powering America, PBS, Link TV and BET.

A long-time advocate of developing and implementing renewable energy resources to abate greenhouse gases and climate change, Comins advocates a business approach to solving both the economic and environmental crisis. In 2009, he produced 13 official side events at the UNFCCC COP 15 in Copenhagen and is now producing the 13th Anniversary AREDAY Summit featuring President Jimmy Carter “Accelerating Solutions for the Great Transition” August 10-13, 2014.

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Megan Kerns

Megan is a Senior Associate, Islands and Electricity Practices at Rocky Mountain Institute. She has worked in an engineering and program management capacity for various Bay Area solar companies, including overseeing a national solar quality assurance program with Sunrun. She has also actively participated in the funding, design, and installation of solar and micro hydropower projects in Thailand, Burma, and Ethiopia. In 2015, Megan started Solar Stewards, LLC, serving as a technical advisor to commercial-scale projects in the US and in Haiti.

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H.R.H. Princess Abze Djigma 

H.R.H. Princess Abze Djigma is a Mossi Princess from Burkina Faso and a direct descendant of Princess Yennenga, the mother of the Mossi people and a famous warrior in the 12th century. 


Chair of the H.R.H. Princess Abze Djigma Foundation;


Special Envoy of the President of Burkina Faso, Resource Mobilisation for SDG's and Climate Change;


Ambassador for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency of Burkina Faso;


President Senior Advisor External Relations and Gender for the Center Region Council of Burkina Faso (C.R.C);


Founder and CEO AbzeSolar S.A.;


Initiator and leader of the ‘MAMA-LIGHT® Initiative for Sustainable Energy”, a 
Worldwide program that provides access to affordable energy for women, small business and children. It empowers the informal sector, it drives the generation of new jobs and it creates a sound basis for gender equality and women empowerment. The program is selected by the United Nations as one of the 14 global breakthrough solutions for achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals. 


Initiator of the Global Expertise Hub for the Informal Sector. The Hub works with and on behalf of the informal sector. It is an expertise centrum that facilitates their empowerment by making information accessible for all stakeholders and by catalysing actions-oriented activities. It brings together the Bottom Up needs and challenges with the Top Down actions in a structured and integrated manner. 

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Morgan Bazilian

Morgan Bazilian is the executive director of the Payne Institute and a research professor of public policy at Colorado School of Mines. Previously, he was lead energy specialist at the World Bank. He has over two decades of experience in the energy sector and is regarded as a leading expert in international affairs, policy and investment. His work has ranged from fiscal policy, to systems analysis, to infrastructure investment, to market regulation and governance in all areas of energy policy from upstream oil and gas to power systems.

Dr. Bazilian holds two master’s degrees and a PhD in areas related to energy systems and markets, and has been a Fulbright fellow. He holds, or has held, several academic affiliations including at Columbia University, Cambridge University, the Royal Institute of Technology of Sweden, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. He is on the editorial boards of Environmental Research Letters, Energy strategy Reviews, and Energy Research and Social Science. He has published more than 100 articles in learned journals. His book, Analytical Methods for Energy Diversity and Security is considered a seminal piece in the area of energy finance and security. His work has been published in Foreign Affairs, Nature Energy, Nature Climate Change, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Dr. Bazilian is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the World Economic Forum’s Global Advisory Council on Energy, as well as the Global Advisory Council of the Sustainable Finance Programme at Oxford University. Previously, he was a Deputy Director at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and a senior diplomat at the United Nations. Earlier in his career, he worked in the Irish Government as Principal Advisor to the Energy Minister, and was the Deputy CEO of the Irish National Energy Agency. He was also the European Union’s lead negotiator on low-carbon technology at the United Nations climate negotiations.

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Neal Allen

Mr. Allen’s experience and expertise is utilized in a manner consistent with the duties that are customary and usual to those of Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.  Mr. Allen formerly served in the same capacity with Dominovas Energy, LLC. Prior to Dominovas Energy, LLC he served as the Principal Shareholder of a private Family Office, which specialized in the development and implementation of proprietary revenue models as a force multiplier ensuring optimal deployment, utilization, and management of financial resources.  Under Mr. Allen’s watch, the Family office’s endeavors included the ownership of: a “major brand” automobile dealership, several healthcare companies, waste management and disposal enterprises, land acquisition and development, and natural resource development enterprises. Mr. Allen majored in finance and studied law and is proud to be a University of Southern California Trojan.

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Lamine Sabadogo

Mr. Lamine Savadogo has dedicated his entire professional career to developing ties between Africa, his continent of origin, and the United Sates his adopted home. Mr. Lamine Savadogo glides seamlessly between the cultures of his dual world, drawing on skills, knowledge and experience garnered throughout a career that encompasses positions in government, academia and business. He is the President and Founder of Marison Energy Systems Corporation, a Massachusetts-based international business development firm specialized in US-Africa trade and investment. Since its inception, the firm has established an impressive record of achievements and has a roster of past and current clients ranging from small firms to Fortune 100 companies, as well as Federal Government Agencies, Multilateral institutions and African Government entities.

Prior to founding Marison International, he worked for the Massachusetts Port Authority as Manager of International Trade Promotion Services for Europe of Africa. In that capacity, he assisted hundreds of New England companies in developing international markets for their products and services. In recognition of his effectiveness, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts awarded him a citation for “Outstanding Performance” in 1990.


With a keen interest in issues related to cross cultural interactions and the conduct of business transactions across national boundaries, he has taught African Languages at both Boston and Harvard Universities. He is a regular speaker at international business seminars and authored articles published in several magazines. In 1993, World Trade Magazine inducted him in the World Trade Hall of Fame as “One of 11 Americans changing the way the World does business”.
Mr. Savadogo has served on the boards of several institutions, including three terms as a member of the Sub Saharan Advisory Committee of the Export Import Bank, a body mandated by the US Congress to provide guidance to the bank in developing its lending activities in Africa.


In 2001, Mr. Savadogo was elevated to the rank of Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mali, by the President of the Republic of his native Mali (Knighted). Mr. Savadogo is also a Global Ambassador for the Edison Electric Institute.


He is a native of Mali and a graduate of the University of Massachusetts. He is fluent in Bambara, French, English, and Portuguese, with a working knowledge of German.

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