Below are the speaker biographies for the ArcticX Kickoff: Arctic Infrastructure and Deployment Opportunities.
Secretary of Energy
Jennifer M. Granholm was sworn in as the 16th Secretary of Energy on February 25, 2021, becoming just the second woman to lead the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Secretary Granholm leads DOE in helping the United States achieve President Biden's goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 by advancing cutting-edge clean energy technologies, creating millions of good-paying union clean energy jobs, and building an equitable clean energy future.
Secretary Granholm also oversees DOE's core missions of promoting American leadership in scientific discovery, maintaining the nuclear deterrent and reducing nuclear danger, and remediating the environmental harms caused by legacy defense programs.
Prior to her nomination as Secretary of Energy, Granholm was the first woman elected Governor of Michigan, serving two terms from 2003 to 2011.
As Governor, Granholm faced economic downturns caused by the Great Recession and meltdown in the automotive and manufacturing sectors. She successfully led efforts to diversify the state's economy, strengthen its auto industry, preserve the manufacturing sector, and add emerging sectors—such as clean energy—to Michigan's economic portfolio.
Today, one-third of all North American electric vehicle battery production takes place in Michigan, the state is one of the top five states for clean energy patents, and 126,000 Michiganders were employed in the clean energy sector prior to COVID-19.
Secretary Granholm was also the first woman elected Attorney General of Michigan and served as the state's top law enforcement officer from 1998 to 2002. She began her career in public service as a judicial clerk for Michigan's 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. She became a federal prosecutor in Detroit in 1990, and in 1994 she was appointed Wayne County Corporation Counsel.
After two terms as Governor, Granholm joined the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley as a Distinguished Professor of Practice in the Goldman School of Public Policy, focusing on the intersection of law, clean energy, manufacturing, policy, and industry. She also served as an advisor to the Clean Energy Program of the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Secretary Granholm, an immigrant from Canada, is an honors graduate of both the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Law School. She and her husband, Daniel G. Mulhern, have three children.
Secretary of the Interior
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland made history when she became the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary. She is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and a 35th-generation New Mexican.
Secretary Haaland grew up in a military family; her father was a 30-year combat Marine who was awarded the Silver Star Medal for saving six lives in Vietnam, and her mother is a Navy veteran who served as a federal employee for 25 years at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. As a military child, she attended 13 public schools before graduating from Highland High School in Albuquerque.
As a single mother, Secretary Haaland volunteered at her child's preschool to afford early childhood education. Like many parents, she had to rely on food stamps at times as a single parent, lived paycheck-to-paycheck, and struggled to put herself through college. At the age of 28, Haaland enrolled at the University of New Mexico (UNM), where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and later earned her Juris Doctor from UNM Law School. Secretary Haaland and her child, who also graduated from the University of New Mexico, are still paying off student loans.
Secretary Haaland ran her own small business producing and canning Pueblo Salsa, served as a tribal administrator at San Felipe Pueblo, and became the first woman elected to the Laguna Development Corporation Board of Directors, overseeing business operations of the second largest tribal gaming enterprise in New Mexico. She successfully advocated for the Laguna Development Corporation to create policies and commitments to environmentally friendly business practices.
Throughout her career in public service, Secretary Haaland has broken barriers and opened the doors of opportunity for future generations.
After running for New Mexico Lieutenant Governor in 2014, Secretary Haaland became the first Native American woman to be elected to lead a state party. She is one of the first Native American women to serve in Congress. In Congress, she focused on environmental justice, climate change, missing and murdered Indigenous women, and family-friendly policies.
Deputy Secretary of Energy
Prior to his nomination as Deputy Secretary, Turk was the Deputy Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, where he focused on helping countries around the world tackle their clean energy transitions. He also directed reports on the digitalization of energy systems, the future of clean hydrogen, and a project tracking progress on a wide range of clean energy technologies.
During the Obama-Biden Administration, Turk coordinated international technology and clean energy efforts at Energy Department. During this time, he helped spearhead the launch of Mission Innovation—a global effort to enhance clean energy innovation.
Turk also served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director at the U.S. National Security Council, where he coordinated interagency legislative affairs efforts by the full range of national security agencies and provided legislative advice to National Security Council decision-making. He also previously worked at the U.S. Department of State, including serving as Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change and helping coordinate New Start Treaty ratification efforts in the U.S. Senate.
Earlier in his career, Turk worked in the U.S. Senate, primarily on national security issues, and as the Staff Director of the National Security Subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee.
Turk was born in Quito, Ecuador, and raised in Rock Falls, Illinois. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Virginia Law School. He and his wife, Emily Turk, have three children.
Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior for Alaska Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior
Raina Thiele serves as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior for Alaska Affairs and Strategic Priorities. She serves as the Department of the Interior's policy lead on issues related to Alaska, which comprises a large proportion of the Department's overall portfolio. She has spent her career in public service, the private sector, and the nonprofit sector. In her previous public service role she was President Obama's tribal liaison and led planning for President Obama's historic 2015 trip to Alaska.
Thiele was born and raised in Alaska, and her family hails from Pedro Bay Village on Lake Iliamna and Alexander Creek. She is Dena'ina Athabascan and Yup'ik.
Dr. Vanessa Chan
Chief Commercialization Officer and Director, Office of Technology Transitions, U.S. Department of Energy
Dr. Vanessa Z. Chan is the Chief Commercialization Officer for the Department of Energy (DOE) and Director of the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT). In this role, she is responsible for all commercialization activities across DOE, the 17 National Laboratories, and the Department's other research and production facilities across the country.
She is an innovator who has worked across a wide range of ecosystems, from academia to Fortune 1000 companies to start-ups. She has two decades of experience helping organizations grow at the interface of technology and business, across a diverse set of industries.
Chan is currently on a leave of absence from her position as the Undergraduate Chair of the Materials Science & Engineering Department and the Jonathan and Linda Brassington Professor of Practice in Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. At Penn she was redesigning how engineers are being educated by formally incorporating real-world skills (understanding of supply chains and ecosystems, presentation skills, etc.) to better prepare her students to have an impact after graduating.
Chan is a former McKinsey & Company partner, experienced Venture Board Director for Vanguard and United Technology Corporation, and a board member at multiple start-ups. Chan was the first woman and the first East Asian elected partner in McKinsey's North American Chemicals practice. She is a nationally respected educator who is the first Practice Professor at Penn's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, awarded an endowed scholarly chair.
Chan earned her Ph.D. in materials science & engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her B.S.E. in materials science & engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.
Interim Director, Arctic Energy Office, U.S. Department of Energy
George Roe has led the U.S. Department of Energy's Arctic Energy Office since September 2020. His priorities for the office include local capacity building, collaborative scientific research and earth system modeling, transregional technology development/deployment, and the ocean economy.
Previously, Roe was a research professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), affiliated with the Alaska Center for Energy and Power, where his work focused on development, adaptation, and integration of energy system (electrical and thermal) technologies. Prior to joining UAF in 2013, Roe served in various engineering and management roles at Boeing for 36 years, engaged in research and development of aerospace-related energy subsystem technologies. System applications included unmanned airborne and underwater vehicles, commercial and military aircraft, spacecraft and launch systems, and life support/crew protection.
Roe earned Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington. He has joint appointments at Idaho National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.