Sunday, April 14, 2024


The shift from fossil fuels to greener solutions such as wind and solar continues in North Carolina. The goal: carbon neutrality by 2050. Duke Energy, one of the largest U.S. electric utilities, is a key force in many industry affairs.

executive vice president, CEO | North Carolina's Electric Cooperatives


The Lehigh University and Pennsylvania State University graduate became CEO in 2012 after working as chief operating officer for six years. The coops provide energy to 2.5 million people in 93 N.C. counties.

Key to industry success: Having a passion for what you do is most important in work and life. Always remain grounded, focused and committed to something that will allow you to contribute to society and your workplace.

Best advice: People have a tremendous desire to do things better and that drives change. You’re always going to be surprised. The key is to be ready.

Three people to share a meal: Jesus, Albert Einstein and Paul McCartney.

Proud family accomplishment: I’ve been blessed with how much I’ve been able to be involved with both of my sons and spend time with them. They’ve grown into tremendous young men.

CEO | Pine Gate Renewables


The Indiana University graduate has been CEO since 2017. The business has been involved in more than $3.7 billion of project financing and manages more than 1 gigawatt of renewable assets. Pine Gate ranked 37th on the Inc. 5000 list in 2021.

clean energy director | N.C. Department of Environmental Quality


Republican legislators voted down Gov. Roy Cooper’s nominee to serve as secretary of environmental quality, so he instead named her to another post. She helped negotiate bipartisan energy legislation signed into law last year. Before joining DEQ, Delli-Gatti worked at the Environmental Defense Fund and for EPA in Atlanta. The Air Force veteran has a master’s degree in environmental science from the University of North Texas.

Pre-workday motivation: Looking at my son and knowing the work I do every day is in service of ensuring that he and all of our children have the opportunity for a safe, healthy environment and a thriving economy.

Key to industry success: Establish intentional goals and an approach to deliver desired outcomes that are informed by diverse perspectives. This is only possible with a foundation of sustained investment in meaningful relationships built on sincere and honest communication.

Best advice: Know your value and remember that it doesn’t decrease based on someone else’s inability to see your worth.

Three people to share a meal: DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman and Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert.

Proud family accomplishment: I’m proud that we live in gratitude and do our best to contribute to our community in meaningful ways on issues we are passionate about, including health, fitness, poverty, sustainability, adoption, addiction and equity.

Favorite hobby: Watching my son play hockey and hiking.

Where to entertain a visitor: The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, Umstead Park, and Cucciolo Osteria in Durham.

state president | Duke Energy, North Carolina operations


He’s been the utility’s top executive for North Carolina since 2018, following stints as treasurer and senior vice president of tax. He joined the company in 1990 and has degrees from UNC Chapel Hill and Queens University in Charlotte.

Three people to share a meal: Abraham Lincoln, Bruce Springsteen and the cast of Seinfeld.

Favorite hobby: Hiking in western North Carolina and most travel destinations.

Where to entertain a visitor: Live music at The Orange Peel in Asheville and other uniquely North Carolina music halls.

chair, president, CEO | Duke Energy


The Miami University of Ohio graduate was promoted to CEO in 2013 after working as chief financial officer. She joined Duke predecessor Cinergy in 2002. Fending off activist investors, tilting the company to more alternative energy production and maintaining consistent service for 7.7 million customers consumes her time. Forbes has named her one of the “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.”

Three people to share a meal: Abraham Lincoln, Claude Monet and Alexander Hamilton.

Favorite hobby: Golf and reading.

Where to entertain a visitor: Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.

country holding officer, U.S. | ABB


Before joining ABB in 2008, Michael worked for International Paper and AutoZone. The University of Memphis graduate has deep experience in mergers, project management and global taxation. The Swiss company employs 20,000 people in 25 U.S. states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.

CEO | Carolina Solar Energy


The Brown University and New York University graduate became CEO in 2018. She previously worked with GE Energy on various international projects.

Pre-workday motivation: I view climate change as the defining challenge of my lifetime, and I feel very grateful to be able to work to be part of the solution, and to do so in a way that allows communities, municipalities and companies to benefit from economic development and feel good about being part of the solution.

Key to industry success: Finding niche areas that are newly opening up to utility scale solar. Another key area is community engagement. Carolina Solar Energy has a very strong focus on listening to and collaborating with the communities where our projects are based.

Best advice: Warren Buffett said the most important thing he does is say “no” to most of the opportunities that come across his desk. That way, when the right opportunity comes along, he can say yes. I try to not worry too much when things aren’t as busy.

Proud family accomplishment: We have kept each other company during the last two years of Covid. I’m proud that we still get along.

Favorite hobby: Planting things in our garden and watching them grow and bloom.

Where to entertain a visitor: I live in Hillsborough and our riverwalk is truly special. We can walk from my house along the Eno River to downtown, the farmer’s market, playgrounds and the state park.

executive vice president, chief operating officer | Duke Energy


Jamil holds an electrical engineering degree from UNC Charlotte and received the Bonnie E. Cone Lifetime Achievement Award from the institution. With more than 40 years of energy industry experience, he oversees environment, health and safety, project management and more. He became chief nuclear officer in 2008 and chief generation officer in 2009.

Three people to share a meal: Jürgen Klopp, Mo Salah and Lionel Messi.

Favorite hobby: Anything that has to do with soccer, particularly Liverpool Football Club.

Where to entertain a visitor: The Blue Ridge Parkway.

executive vice president, CEO | Duke Energy Carolinas


A University of Cincinnati College of Law graduate, Janson leads legislative and regulatory initiatives in the Carolinas. Her former roles include executive vice president of external affairs, chief legal officer and president of Duke Energy’s utility operations in Kentucky and Ohio. She started with the company as a lawyer at predecessor Cinergy in Cincinnati.

Three people to share a meal: The Queen of England, Angela Merkel and Jacinda Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand.

Favorite hobby: Walking and pickleball.

Where to entertain a visitor: U.S. National Whitewater Center.

CEO | ElectriCities North Carolina


With more than 40 years of electric utility industry experience, Jones was named CEO of the Raleigh-based company in 2015. He has an electrical engineering degree from LaSalle University.

Key to industry success: Be open-minded to changes in the industry and the opportunities they bring.

executive director | N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center


Kalland has led the center since 2006, when it was known as the N.C. Solar Center. He’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary and the University of Rochester.

Pre-workday motivation: I always take a long walk in the morning with my dog to clear my mind and think through my tasks for the day.

Key to industry success: Collaboration is the key — energy touches everything in our lives so everyone has a stake in it — sometimes that is good, sometimes it is a complicating factor. We have to collaborate with lots of folks with different perspectives to get anything done.

chief impact officer | Southern Energy Management


The N.C. State University graduate co-founded the solar power system installer with her husband Bob in 2001. She has helped promote independent solar power companies nationally.

president | Southeastern Wind Coalition


Kollins advocates for wind energy development in 11 states. Before joining the coalition in 2015, she served as a finance lead at RTI International as well as First Wind and The Wind Alliance. She’s a graduate of Duke University’s schools of business and environment.

Pre-workday motivation: Coffee is always the best morning motivator. After getting my two kids off to school, I try to get outside or exercise before I start my workday.

Key to industry success: Perseverance. Wind hasn’t always been a popular technology in the Southeast, so sticking with it even has allowed us to be here advocating when everyone wants to talk about it.

Best advice: There is no such thing as “having it all,” but you can allow different things to take top priority at different points in your life. As a working parent, and especially a woman, it is so important to recognize the demands society places on us to succeed in our professional space, but still be a primary caregiver at home.

Three people to share a meal: Roy Cooper, Jess Simms (Peloton instructor) and Lynn Good.

Proud family accomplishment: My husband and I have been together for 20 years and have two crazy kids, two crazy dogs, and we host au pairs.

Favorite hobby: Running, camping, backpacking and cycling. And getting together with friends.

Where to entertain a visitor: Local Triangle Land Conservancy trails at Brumley Forest followed by food at Vimalas or Glass Half Full.

general counsel and director of policy | N.C. Sustainable Energy Association


The Wake Forest University law graduate serves as the key lobbyist for the trade association at the legislature and the N.C. Utilities Commission. He joined the advocacy group in 2014 and previously served as a legislative staff attorney.

vice president of governmental affairs & external relations | Duke Energy


The utility company’s top lobbyist in Raleigh helped score a big victory last year with bipartisan energy legislation that will allow electric utilities to seek multi-year rate increases. The Wake Forest law school graduate joined Duke in 2020 after stints at SAS Institute and in Gov. Bev Perdue’s administration.

Three people to share a meal: Pete Jones, the founder of Skylight Inn barbecue restaurant in Ayden; Warner Stamey, considered by many as the Godfather of Lexington-style barbecue; and Arthur Bryant, founder of Arthur Bryant’s barbecue in Kansas City. We’ll decide once and for all that whole-hog barbecue is the best.

Favorite hobby: Spending time with family on the Pamlico River in eastern North Carolina.

Where to entertain a visitor: The Roast Grill, a downtown Raleigh staple since 1940. I always smile when my guests ask for ketchup on their hot dog.

chair | N.C. Utilities Commission


The Houston native came to UNC Chapel Hill to play collegiate soccer and she later earned a Duke University law degree. Gov. Roy Cooper appointed her to the state’s utility regulatory agency. She previously worked at the K&L Gates and Styers, Kemerait & Mitchell firms.

owner | Parker Gas Company


Parker has led his family’s propane dealership with six locations across eastern North Carolina for more than three decades. The East Carolina University business school graduate also owns Rapid XChange, a business that handles propane tank exchanges in 10 states.

CEO | Pike Corp.

Mount Airy

Pike has been chair and CEO since 2002. While private equity group Lindsay Goldberg bought a 50.1% stake in 2020, Eric Pike maintains a material minority stake. The company employs 10,000 people who provide engineering, repair and other services for utilities and telecommunications companies.

CEO | Powerhome Solar


The solar-system installer launched in 2014 with 15 employees and now has more than 2,100 in 15 states. It ranked 520th on the 2021 Inc. 5000 list of fast growing companies. Waller grew up in Cabarrus County and started an alarm sales company before changing to solar.

president | GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy


Wileman has three decades of experience as he manages the nuclear services company co-owned by Boston-based GE and Japan’s Hitachi. The graduate of Mississippi State University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham worked in several leadership roles since joining GE in 1994.

co-founder, CEO | Strata Solar


Wilhelm and his wife, Cathay, founded the solar power company in 2009 after working for media giants Bertelsmann and Time Warner. Strata has shifted from residential to commercial and now utility-scale solar projects. Private equity giant Blackstone in February said it was backing Strata projects with $150 million in capital.