Program taking shape for GenForum in Columbus

American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) Executive Vice President Mark McCullough will deliver a keynote presentation to kick off GenForum at POWER-GEN-Natural Gas Aug. 23 in Columbus, Ohio.

The theme for the half-day program, is “Preparing for the Gas-fired Grid.” GenForum sets the stage for PennWell’s POWER-GEN/Natural Gas, which starts later that afternoon at the same venue, the Greater Columbus Convention Center. POWER-GEN runs Aug. 23 through Aug. 25.

During GenForum, which is organized by GenerationHub, AEP’s McCullough will discuss the “growing role of natural gas in power generation.” McCullough is Executive Vice President – Generation at AEP. He is responsible for the management of AEP’s fossil, hydro and wind generating units.

McCullough has served AEP his entire career, since 1981 and over the years has handled increasing amounts of management responsibility. McCullough serves as vice chairman for the Coal Utilization Research Council (CURC) and the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies (AEIC) Power Generation Committee. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

McCullough will be followed by PointLogic Energy President Randy Rischard. Rischard will offer regional analysis and outlook for natural gas burn and what happens to fuel switching when very low natural gas prices meet very high coal stockpiles.

Rischard was previously Vice President of Data and Analysis for Energy Central, where he built a line of energy data and analysis products now owned by PennWell. Prior to that he was Co-Director of SNL Energy, a division of SNL Financial created with SNL’s acquisition of Io Energy – an energy information company Rischard founded and ran as President and CEO. Prior to Io Energy, he was Publisher of Financial Times Energy, a global energy information and analytics company acquired by Platts in 2001.

In addition there will wide-ranging panel discussion on the impact on increased natural gas reliance on state and regional grid planning. The discussion will feature Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Director of Rates & Analysis Patrick Donlon, ISO New England (ISO NE) Director – External Affairs Eric Johnson and Midcontinent ISO (MISO) Consulting Advisor Strategy Scott Wright.

Donlon oversees electric, natural gas, telecom, and water rate cases, audits, negotiations, energy efficiency, power siting, market monitoring, forecasting and other items that fall under the jurisdiction of the PUCO, as well as, testifying before state legislative committees and the PUCO. Donlon has been with PUCO since 2012. He previously worked at AEP for almost 10 years in a couple of different roles.

Johnson maintains continuous communication with state regulators, state and federal legislators, governors, attorneys general and other consumer representatives, and environmental regulators in the six states served by ISO New England to provide information on the wholesale electricity markets and power system. Johnson has been with ISO New England since 2002. He previously worked as a research analyst with the Connecticut General Assembly.

Wright has been with MISO since 2014. He is an experienced corporate development professional with expertise in greenfield development projects, divestitures, strategic planning initiatives, and forecasting, planning and analysis. Prior to joining MISO he was vice president of business development at ProLiance Energy. He has also held key positions with A.T. Kearney and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The conference will be capped off by a panel discussion on the Opportunities and obstacles for increased construction of natural gas power generation. Industry panel will look at everything from Clean Power Plan outcomes to FERC approval of natural gas pipelines and financial issues.

The panel will include Wärtsilä North America Market Development Analyst Joseph Ferrari; Apex Power Group Managing Partner Michael P. King and Burns & McDonnell Associate Thomas Graves.

King is a managing partner and owner at Apex Power Group, LLC. He is responsible for all aspects of power plant development: From conceptual design to power plant permitting and contract negotiations.

As Business Development Manager at Burns & McDonnell, Graves has nearly 15 years of experience of planning and evaluating new power generating facilities and strategic execution. Graves also manages energy project development efforts in which Burns & McDonnell places capital or labor at risk.

At Wärtsilä, Ferrari conducts active research and analysis of all aspects of power/electricity markets, including valuation of ancillary services, dynamic grid modeling, technology reviews and marketing/outreach programs.

Ferrari has been with Wärtsilä for a total of about 10 years spread over two stints. He also worked previously for about six years at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.


About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at