Jodi BednarPresidentWest Monroe Partners - Chicago SponsorJodi Bednar is a Director within West Monroe Partners’ Energy and Utilities practice. She has nearly 30 years of experience in the telecommunications industry serving the utility, government and service provider markets. Jodi has extensive experience in strategy, business transformation and IT service management. Jodi's passion is working with clients to develop long-term strategies across the utility value chain.
Jodi served for two years as the Director of Mentorship because she is passionate about building the next generation of leaders in our industries. She is passionate about empowering women to rise higher than her generation and shift the paradigm in STEM related fields. In 2019, she accepted the challenge to lead the Chicago Chapter in 2020 as President.
Amanda PayonkPresident ElectHBK Engineering, LLC - Chicago SponsorAmanda Payonk is one of three Sector Leads within HBK’s Power Group. She has over ten years engineering consulting services experience in the Energy and Utilities industries. Amanda is responsible for project management, budget oversight, training and development, engineering oversight, electrical design, subcontractor oversight and construction management for Commonwealth Edison, one of HBK’s largest clients.
Prior to joining HBK, she worked as Senior Engineer, Project Manager and Team Leader at CSI Technologies, an energy/utilities engineering consulting and software services’ company. Amanda was involved in all aspects of project management including program initiation and planning, financial oversight and budgeting as well as team leadership and management.
Amanda is also an industry-recognized Buried Piping consultant, having analyzed approximately 40% of piping for the nuclear industry. Between 2010 and 2012, she conducted 4 formal presentations to 150 industry peers at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) nuclear industry conferences as a subject matter expert. She also worked with other industry experts to create the EPRI’s Buried Piping and Tanks Program Guidance Document.
She began her career as a Youth Program Manager for the Western Region of Habitat for Humanity® and has been actively involved with the East Village Youth Mentoring Program. Amanda earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The Illinois Institute of Technology.
Anne McKeonSecretaryAttorney, Quarles & Brady LLP - Chicago SponsorAnne (“”Annie””) McKeon is an associate in the Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Practice Group at Quarles & Brady. Her practice focuses on energy regulatory law surrounding the electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater industries.
Annie previously worked as a Legal and Policy Advisor to Commissioner Sherina Maye Edwards at the Illinois Commerce Commission (“”ICC””). She has extensive experience with state regulatory proceedings, including rulemakings, traditional rate cases, and performance-based formula rate cases. Annie is well-versed in regional transmission organization and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission matters, particularly those concerning the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (“”MISO””). She also has expertise in cybersecurity/critical infrastructure protection, energy procurement plans, Smart Grid, distributed generation, and energy efficiency.
Annie has written and spoken on several relevant industry topics. Public Utilities Fortnightly articles include the two-part “”Cybersecurity: Opportunities and Challenges for State Utility Regulators”” (February and March 2017 editions) and “”Start the Conversation: A Regulator’s Role in a World Divided by Distributed Generation”” (September 2014 edition). Presentations include “”The Acquisition of Troubled Water Systems”” to the Bipartisan Policy Center Water Taskforce Roundtable, and ICC Policy Sessions “”The Role of Government in Cybersecurity”” and “”Market Challenges to Integrating Renewables at the Regional Level.””
Annie earned her JD from Notre Dame Law School in 2015 and her BA from the University of Notre Dame in 2012.
Kelly ZacharyTreasurerProject Engineer, British Petroleum (BP)Kelly currently serves as a Project Engineer at BP’s largest refinery, BP Whiting (marking 130 years of operations in 2019). She has 15 years of energy experience in BP’s global supply and trading organization holding roles in demand planning, trading operations, distillate blending operations, commercial development and major projects. Kelly graduated from Benedictine University in 2004 with her MBA and in 2002 with her BA from BU as well. In 2017, Kelly was awarded the Benedictine “Rising Star” award which recognizes alumni whose careers and lives are on the rise. She also recently received her PMP (Project Management Professional) certification. In addition to her career at BP, Kelly is the Chief Financial Officer for her father’s family business. In her free time, she enjoys spending time on the family farm, which has been in her family for 150 years. Kelly’s interest in promoting leadership, networking and relationship building among women in our industry coupled with her experience leading an internal BP Women’s Network drew her to run for the WEN Board Treasurer seat.
Mary Elizabeth LudfordMembership DirectorVice President, Corporate Operations, Exelon CorporationMary Ludford
Vice President Corporate Operations, Exelon
Mary Ludford is an accomplished senior operating executive with 38 years of experience in the energy industry. With her substantial experience, she has been sought out to lead projects aimed at diagnosing and improving operational processes, leading to the achievement of unusually high efficiencies with impacts to revenue and profit results. As the Chief Audit Executive, she reported directly to the Audit Committee Chair of the Board of Directors and to the Chief Financial Officer, providing regular updates to the Board of Directors on the results of internal audits and the Sarbanes Oxley program. As the Deputy Chief Security Officer, she mastered the challenge and complexity of refreshing Exelon’s information technology and operational technology cyber and physical security programs, gaining a deep knowledge of what is needed to provide governance and oversight to identify, protect, detect, respond and recover from security events. She has a solid understanding of information protection and third-party risks, having managed the mitigation strategies to address these risks. Her functional experience spans Strategy, Security Control programs, Internal Audit, Financial Controls, Smart Meter/Smart Grid programs, Customer Operations, Financial Planning, Shared Services, Process Improvement, Regulatory and Governmental Affairs, and Human Resource Operations. She is passionate about attracting more women into the energy field by creating the opportunities to educate, network, and grow relationships.
Meagan MorleyMentorship DirectorStaff Attorney, Office of General Counsel, Illinois Commerce CommissionMeagan is a Staff Attorney in the Office of General Counsel at the Illinois Commerce Commission, the state administrative agency that regulates investor-owned public utilities including electricity, natural gas, telecommunications, water, and sewer utilities. In this role, Meagan represents the Commission’s technical and expert staff in administrative regulatory proceedings including contested rate cases, rulemakings, reconciliations, certifications, investigations, consumer complaints, and other docketed proceedings. Meagan is responsible for writing briefs, drafting motions, supervising discovery, and representing Commission Staff in administrative hearings. Prior to this role, Meagan served as a legal and policy advisor to Chairman Brien J. Sheahan and Special Assistant to the Executive Director at the Commission. She earned her Bachelor of Science degrees in Sociology and Justice Studies from Arizona State University and her J.D. from DePaul University College of Law.
Shelly AndersenSocial Programming DirectorTrading Operations Manager, British Petroleum (BP)Shelly Andersen has held a variety of positions at BP Global Oil Americas, Trading & Shipping, over the last decade within Trading, Operations, and Finance. She is currently responsible for leading the Crude Oil Trading Operations teams in the US and Canada. Prior to joining BP, Shelly was a trader and analyst within the Power and Natural Gas sector. She holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, WI and has held her Series 6 certification. Shelly is also a member of Women in Listed Derivatives (WILD) and is active in her community.
Elizabeth McErleanSignature Event DirectorAttorney, Steptoe & Johnson PLLCElizabeth McErlean is an energy regulatory associate at Steptoe & Johnson LLP. A former policy advisor to the chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission – the State public utility commission, Elizabeth uses her extensive knowledge of the interplay between energy law and policy at the state level to advocate for clients in a variety of regulatory and litigation matters. Elizabeth counsels some of the nation’s largest energy companies on traditional and performance-based formula ratemaking, Smart Grid, energy efficiency and renewable portfolio standards, net metering, distributed generation, energy procurement, and competitive market restructuring. She also devotes a substantial portion of her practice to drafting, analyzing, and implementing state legislation that affects energy policy and public utility regulation
In addition to her substantial experience in representing clients before state public utility commissions, Elizabeth has also represented utilities and other energy clients in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rate proceedings and counseled on a variety of other federal regulatory matters, as well as provided forward-thinking legal solutions in the area of commercial litigation.
Elizabeth regularly speaks about trends and developments affecting her practice. She was featured as a panelist at three Illinois Commerce Commission policy sessions regarding electric vehicle adoption, wind energy development, and the benefits and barriers to energy storage. Her notable publications include Are Regulators’ Heads in the Cloud? Primary Challenges to Utility Adoption of Cloud-Based Solutions in the March 2016 edition of Electric Policy and The Real Green Issue Regarding Recreational Marijuana: Federal Tax & Banking Laws in Need of Reform in the Summer 2015 DePaul Law Review.
Most recently, Elizabeth was recognized as a “2019 Rising Star” and “2020 Rising Star” in Energy & Natural Resources by Illinois Super Lawyers.
Ellery TomaszkiewiczMarketing DirectorWest Monroe Partners - Chicago SponsorEllery Tomaszkiewicz is an experienced consultant in the Energy & Utilities practice at West Monroe Partners. She has a background in Electrical Engineering, specifically focusing in transmission, distribution, and telecommunications. She has experience with project management, vendor management, leased line elimination, field area network deployments, and substation engineering and design.
Ellery joined West Monroe Partners in August 2017 as a member of the Telecommunications Energy & Utilities team in Chicago, IL. During her time at West Monroe, Ellery has been actively involved in technology selection for the deployment of a private field area network; engineering, construction, and installation management. She also has experience in the application of electric power equipment (e.g. reclosers, distribution switches, current limiting system protection, cable accessories, etc.) and its role in distribution automation. Outside of work, Ellery loves cooking, traveling, and dancing!
Marie LaPorteEducational Programming DirectorNicor Gas - Chicago SponsorMarie LaPorte is the Director of Customer Development for Nicor Gas. Customer Development is responsible for growing the business from the addition of new customers and increased utilization of natural gas from the existing 2.2M customer base, as well as developing and maintaining long-term relationships with the utility’s key customers. Joining Nicor Gas in 1998, Marie has 20 years of natural gas industry experience. She began her career as a Business Analyst in Fleet Management. Since that time, she has had numerous positions with increasing responsibility in various departments, which include Senior Gas Construction Superintendent in Construction Operations, Manager of Credit in Customer Experience, and Manager of Customer Development in Business Support.
Suzanne StelmasekImmediate Past PresidentManager, State Government Affairs, Exelon CorporationSuzanne Stelmasek is the Illinois State Government Affairs Manager at Exelon. In her role, she represents Exelon and Constellation New Energy in regulatory and legislative forums, including the Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois Power Agency, as well as local business and advocacy coalitions. Previously, Suzanne was the Policy Manager at Elevate Energy, a Chicago-based non-profit with a mission of “Smarter Energy Use for All”. At Elevate she was responsible for policy analysis and regulatory efforts related to energy efficiency, solar, dynamic pricing and smart grid programs. Prior to joining Elevate, Suzanne served as policy advisor to former Chairman Doug Scott at the Illinois Commerce Commission and was director of Policy & Marketing at Clean Energy Trust. She earned her MPP from George Washington University and her BA from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.