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Biographies: Ambassadors for the Minorities in Energy Initiatve

Biographies: Ambassadors for the Minorities in Energy Initiatve

The Ambassadors of the Minorities in Energy Initiative are senior-level leaders who have committed to lending their voice to the mission of the Minorities in Energy Initiative through outreach and strategic planning. These Ambassadors are passionate about engaging minorities in all aspects of the energy sector, with a special focus on energy economic development, STEM education, and climate change. Download the full list here.

Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America 2014.  Nina became the second consecutive contestant from New York and the first contestant of Indian descent to win the Miss America Competition.  As Ms. America 2014, she will travel approximately 20,000 miles each month speaking to audiences about her platform, Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency. As part of this campaign, she has launched "a new social media campaign to encourage constructive and civil dialogue on diversity issues." Nina is a graduate of University of Michigan and plans on attending medical school. During her year as Miss America she will serve as spokesperson for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).  Davuluri has asked people to "forward representative thoughts and stories about their experiences on how we as a nation can advance cultural awareness." Nina hopes to encourage other to be proud of their heritage, while accepting each and every culture.

Emily Duong is the 2013 Pacific Miss Asian America entering the international platform for the Miss Asia World Pageant representing the United States. She received degrees in Communications and Business Administration from George Mason University’s School of Social Science and Humanities and plans pursue a career in medicine. Ms. Duong is highly involved in the national Asian-American community holding executive and leadership position run by students and alumnus to promote academia, cultural awareness, empowerment, and philanthropy for humanity through scholarships and cultural exchange. She is an active community organizer for the Mid-Atlantic Union of Vietnamese Students Association (MAUVSA) and has been invited to speak at universities and conferences across the country. Her goal to bridge the gap between diverse cultures of the world serves to spread a positive influence for the next generations to come. 

Sarah EchoHawk is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) and is an enrolled member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. Before joining the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), she worked for First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) for six years. During her tenure with First Nations, she served as the Director of Development and Communications and most recently held the position of Executive Vice President.  Prior to her tenure at First Nations, Ms. EchoHawk worked for the American Indian College Fund, raising support for tribal colleges. During her tenure Ms. EchoHawk worked in program management, communications, foundation relations and individual giving.   Ms. EchoHawk holds a Master of Nonprofit Management (M.N.M.) degree from Regis University and earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Native American Studies from Metropolitan State University of Denver. She attended law school at the University of Colorado and has completed graduate coursework in applied communication at the University of Denver.

Senator Rodney Ellis representing District 13 in the Texas State Senate.   Senator Ellis has passed over 600 pieces of legislation and is recognized nationally for his leadership on increasing greater access to college for high-achieving Texas students, championing criminal justice reforms to protect the innocent and hold the guilty accountable, and fighting to provide quality affordable health care to the most vulnerable Texans, and many other issues.  Senator Ellis is the proud founder of the Texas Legislative Internship Program (TLIP). Since TLIP’s inception, it has become the largest legislative internship program in the state and has provided nearly 400 young people the opportunity to develop hands-on skills while making a difference in Texas politics and public policy.  Senator Ellis is the current Chairman of the Senate Committee on Open Government, which investigates how to improve the transparency of state government. He is a member of the Senate State Affairs, Natural Resources, and Transportation committees. In past sessions, he chaired the Senate Finance, Jurisprudence, Government Organization, and Intergovernmental Relations committees.

Robert W. Gee is President of the Gee Strategies Group LLC, a consulting firm providing policy analysis, advocacy, and litigation support services for the energy, utility and critical infrastructure industries based in Washington, D.C. His diverse client base includes investors, trade associations, utilities, and public sector institutions.  From 1997 to 2000 he served as Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs and as Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy of the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C.  He chaired the Energy Department’s Central Asia/Caspian energy strategy, and oversaw the national research program for oil and gas and advanced clean coal technologies. He currently serves as President of Asian Americans in Energy, the Environment, and Commerce (AE2C); as a member of the Development Advisory Board of C12 Energy; and as member of the Board of the Northeast-Midwest Institute. He is also a member of the National Petroleum Council, a federal advisory committee to the US Secretary of Energy.

Randa Fahmy Hudome has more than twenty-five years of legal and public policy experience. In 2003, Randa launched Fahmy Hudome International (FHI), a strategic consulting firm which provides critical advice and counsel to Fortune 500 companies, foreign governments, media organizations, and private sector entities with an interest in international business transactions and energy policy.  Prior to founding FHI, Ms. Fahmy Hudome was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as the United States Associate Deputy Secretary of Energy. Working with the White House and the Departments of State and Commerce, she developed and implemented international energy policy. Randa was also the point person at the Department of Energy for increased advocacy on behalf of American energy companies seeking business around the globe.  Prior to government service, Randa was a practicing attorney with the law firm of Willkie, Farr and Gallagher, where she specialized in the areas of international trade and corporate litigation.

Robert W. Gee is the President of Gee Strategies Group LLC, a consulting firm providing policy analysis, advocacy, and litigation support services for the energy, utility, and critical infrastructure industries based in Washington, D.C. His diverse client base includes investors, trade associations, utilities, and public sector institutions. From 1997 to 2000 he served as Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs and as an Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy of the U.S. Department of Energy. He chaired the Energy Department's Central Asia/Caspian energy strategy, and oversaw the national research program for oil and gas and advanced clean coal technologies. He currently serves as President of Asian Americans in Energy, the Environment, and Commerce; as a member of the Development Advisory Board of C12 Energy; and as a member of the Board of the Northeast-Midwest Institute. Mr. Gee is also a member of the National Petroleum Council, a federal advisory committee to the U.S. Secretary of Energy.

Jack Gerard is President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, the national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Mr. Gerard has led API since November 2008, expanding its membership and influence in all 50 states and globally, adding offices in Dubai and Singapore to its operations in Beijing, enabling API to better inform the public and policymakers on important energy issues. API's Washington presence is the foundation for the oil and natural gas industry's advocacy and outreach at state, federal and global levels on public policy, standards and certification programs, and as the source for information on industry best practices. Prior to joining API, Mr. Gerard served as president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council, and earlier held the same position at the National Mining Association. Mr. Gerard also spent close to a decade working in the U.S. Senate and House.

Mauro Gregorio is president of the Energy Solutions business of The Dow Chemical Company, which includes Energy; Oil, Gas & Mining; and Alternative Energy.  He is responsible for driving profit and growth strategies across those four global business units. Previously, Gregorio served in a dual role in Dow’s Performance Plastics division.  He was business vice president for the global Hygiene & Medical business and commercial vice president for North America. Since then, he has served in numerous leadership roles, including vice president for Plastics in Europe, global business director for Alternative Feedstocks; global business director for Engineering Plastics; director of the Plastics Commercial Distribution Channels in North America and product director for High Density Polyethylene and Propylene in Latin America.  Gregorio earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Escola de Engenharia Maua in Brazil and a Master of Business Administration degree from Northwood University in Michigan.

Michelle L. Holiday is the founder and president of Michelle Holiday and Associates, a Native woman-owned consulting company specializing in tribal energy and economic development, stakeholder relations, government relations/federal affairs, permitting and siting transmission projects, public affairs and communications, project management, and strategic planning.  Michelle has had an expansive career advising senior executives as their subject matter expert on energy policy, utilities, business strategy and tribal matters. During her time with Edison International and Southern California Edison (SCE), she held various management positions in their government affairs, public affairs, customer service, and equal opportunity departments allowing her to work on energy policy, large transmission and renewable projects, stakeholder engagement and diversity initiatives. Today Michelle is at the forefront of tribal energy development and works with a number of Native American tribes and organizations, utilities, and energy industry organizations. She also sits on the board of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) and serves on the board of Walking Shield Inc.

Janice Bryant Howroyd is the Founder and CEO of the ACT•1 Group, a global leader in deploying talent and resource management solutions.  A North Carolina native, Janice left her hometown in 1976 armed with $900. Since then, she has dedicated her efforts to building an organization that is committed to keeping the humanity in human resources. She is a strong advocate for balance of education and entrepreneurship in the workforce. Active industry involvement gives her a unique understanding of the challenges faced by global workers and business owners alike. Her expertise on the subjects of workforce optimization and entrepreneurship has made her a much sought-after speaker. She is also the author of The Art of Work: How to Make Work, Work for You!, in which she distills over 30 years of experience into a work/life balance guide for individuals wishing to further their personal and professional success.

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, has served as President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) since 1992. His research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. He chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the recent report, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. He also was recently named by President Obama to chair the newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.  In 2008, he was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked UMBC the nation’s #1 “Up and Coming” university the past five years (2009-13).  In 2012, he received the Heinz Award for his contributions to improving the “Human Condition” and was among the inaugural inductees into the U.S. News & World Report STEM Solutions Leadership Hall of Fame.

Marie C. Johns has been a leader in business, civic and government service for more than 30 years.  Throughout her career, Ms Johns focused her community service in the areas of education and economic development.  She held senior positions in the telecommunications industry, including serving as President of Verizon Washington.  She is highly regarded for her corporate citizenship including the SEEDS (Students Educated for Economic Development Success) program.  The SEEDS program leverages corporate resources for greater community good and allows drop outs to complete their high school requirements and receive technical training for jobs in the telecommunications industry.  Over 200 students were employed as a result of the SEEDS program.  In 2009, Marie was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  Following her Senate confirmation, she was responsible for management of the nearly $1 billion agency and development of SBA programs and policies.

Irving Pressley McPhail, Ph.D. is the sixth president and Chief Executive Officer of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME). He joined NACME in 2007 as executive vice president and Chief Operating Officer.  Dr. McPhail founded and served as principal of The McPhail Group LLC. He also served 15 years as a college president or chancellor of colleges and universities in Baltimore, MD, Saint Louis, MO and Memphis, TN. Under his leadership, The Community College of Baltimore County was named one of 12 Vanguard Learning Colleges in the U.S. and Canada in 2000 by the League for Innovation in the Community College and was awarded the PBS O’Banion Prize for Leading the Way to Change in Teaching and Learning in 2003. He earned a bachelor’s degree in development sociology at Cornell University and a master’s degree in reading at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He earned the doctorate in reading/language arts at the University of Pennsylvania as a National Fellowships Fund Fellow.

The Honorable Hazel R. O’Leary served as the President of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee from 2004 through February 2013 and currently serves on the boards of directors of the Nashville Alliance for Public Education, Nashville Business Community for the Arts, World Wildlife Fund, Arms Control Association and CAMAC Energy Inc. Ms. O'Leary served as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant Prosecutor in the state of New Jersey and was appointed to the Federal Energy Administration under President Gerald Ford and to the United States Department of Energy under President Jimmy Carter. In 1989, she became Executive Vice President for Environmental and Public Affairs for the Minnesota Northern States Power Company and in 1992 she was promoted to President of the holding company's gas distribution subsidiary. Ms. O'Leary served as the United States Secretary of Energy from 1993 to 1997 and as President and Chief Operating Officer for the investment banking firm Blaylock and Partners in New York from 2000 to 2002.

Michael Rencheck was appointed the president and chief executive officer of AREVA Inc. in March 2012.  In January 2010, Mike was named the Chief Operating Officer of AREVA Inc., as part of AREVA's new global structure. Mike came to AREVA in January 2009 as the President and CEO, AREVA NP Inc. He successfully led the turnaround of AREVA NP Inc., improving performance, achieving profitability, and establishing sustainable growth.  Earlier in his career, Mike worked at Public Service Electric & Gas Company Salem Nuclear Station as Director of Engineering and Duquesne Light Company's Beaver Valley Power Station. Mike earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio Northern University in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in management and information systems from Robert Morris University in Coraopolis, PA. 

The Honorable Bill Richardson sought the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 2008.  He recently completed his second term as Governor of New Mexico in January 2011.   Richardson was elected Governor in 2002 and re-elected in 2006 with the support of 69 percent of voters, representing the largest margin of victory for any Governor in state history.  Prior to being elected governor, Richardson enjoyed a very successful and fulfilling career in public service; academia and the private sector-few can match his wide-ranging experience and his level of dedication to protecting the rights and improving the quality of life of people in New Mexico, the United States and around the world.  Richardson served for 15 years in northern New Mexico representing the 3rd Congressional District. Richardson served in 1997 as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and in 1998, he was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Carmichael Roberts, Ph.D. joined North Bridge Venture Partners in 2007. His scientific expertise positioned the firm to capitalize on breakthroughs in chemistry and materials.  Carmichael Roberts started his career as a technologist. He moved into business and subsequently to entrepreneurship and venture capitalism, exploring ways to finance those businesses. As co-founder and chairman of the nonprofit Diagnostics For All, one of a series of collaborations with Harvard professor George Whitesides, he is developing paper-based diagnostics to provide inexpensive options to marginalized patients globally.  Previously, Carmichael co-founded and served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Arsenal Medical, a company that develops foam and fiber materials that heal localized trauma to tissues and organs. He has co-founded several other ventures, including Nano-Terra, an electronics and industrial materials company and 480 Biomedical, a medical materials company that makes a bioresorbing product to treat arterial disease. In 1999 he was named one of the world's top 100 young entrepreneurs by MIT's Technology Review. 

Susan L. Taylor is the founder and CEO of the National CARES Mentoring Movement.  After 27 years at the helm of Essence magazine, Taylor left publishing to devote her life to building the National CARES Mentoring, founded as Essence CARES. The National CARES mission is to help end inter-generational poverty by securing and transforming the lives of under-resourced Black children. National CARES affiliates recruit caring adults to serve as mentors and role models at local youth-serving organization.  The national group-mentoring programs focus on the emotional, social and academic development of children and the wellness of the adults who parent and mentor them.  National CARES is piloting The Rising: An HBCU–Public Schools Literacy and STEM- Mentoring Initiative®. Now in development at Clark Atlanta University and funded by the National Science Foundation, Verizon, AT&T, Coca-Cola and the Department of Energy, the initiative is designed to increase middle-school students’ self-esteem, reading comprehension, STEM competencies and critical-thinking skills. Once refined, The Rising will be offered for replication throughout the HBCU system.

Trent Tucker, known as one of the great 3-point shooters in the NBA, played for several teams including the World Champ Chicago Bulls in 1993.  Trent attended the University of Minnesota on a basketball scholarship and went on to lead “the Gophers” to a big 10 Conference Championship in 1982.  He played in 61 playoff games during his career. Trent holds the Chicago Bulls record for most 3-pointers in one game and ranks fifth in 3-point field goal percentage in the history of the entire NBA.  After retiring from the NBA in 1993, Trent got involved with the communications industry working as a broadcast analyst for the Minnesota Timberwolves and is currently heard on KFAN radio.  Trent has been very active in the Minnesota communities for over 20 years. His basketball camp (named after him) had its 24th Annual camp session this past year in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1998 he started his own non-profit dedicated to empowering youth to make positive choices, increase self-respect, and develop a vision for the future. 

Christine Todd Whitman is the Former Governor of New Jersey and EPA Administrator. Christine Todd Whitman served in the cabinet of President George W. Bush as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from 2001 to 2003.  She was the 50th Governor of New Jersey, serving as its first woman governor from 1994 until 2001. Prior to becoming Governor, she was the President of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and served on the Somerset County board of Chosen Freeholders. Since leaving the EPA, Gov. Whitman has served as President of The Whitman Strategy Group (WSG), a consulting firm that specializes in energy and environmental issues. WSG offers a comprehensive set of solutions to problems facing businesses, organizations, and governments; they have been at the forefront of helping leading companies find innovative solutions to environmental challenges.In 2006, Governor Whitman was named a Co-Chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, an organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of nuclear energy.  She is also co-chair of the Republican Leadership Council (RLC), which she founded with Senator John Danforth, and is the author of a 2005 New York Times best seller, “It’s My Party Too.” Governor Whitman serves on the Board of Directors of S.C. Johnson and Son, Inc., Texas Instruments Inc., and United Technologies Corporation. She also serves on a number of non-profit organizations including the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee of the Eisenhower Fellowships.  She is a member of the board of directors of the American Security Project and Americans Elect.  She is a co-chair of the Aspen Health Stewardship Project and a member of the advisory boards of Reform New Jersey Now and the Institute of Politics at Harvard University. Governor Whitman has a BA in government from Wheaton College in Norton, MA.

Daniel Wildcat, Ph.D., is a professor at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, and an accomplished scholar who writes on indigenous knowledge, technology, environment, and education. He is also co-director of the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Center, which he founded with colleagues from the Center for Hazardous Substance Research at Kansas State University. A Yuchi member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma, Dr. Wildcat is the coauthor with Vine Deloria, Jr., of Power and Place: Indian Education in America (Fulcrum, 2001), and coeditor with Steve Pavlik of Destroying Dogma: Vine Deloria, Jr., and his Influence on American Society (Fulcrum, 2006). Known for his commitment to environmental defense and cultural diversity, Dr. Wildcat has been honored by the Kansas City organization The Future is Now with the Heart Peace Award. His newest book, Red Alert! Saving the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge will be released this year.


The Honorable Joe Garcia was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2012. He is a dedicated public servant who has called South Florida home for his entire life. Congressman Garcia put himself through Miami Dade College and later the University of Miami (UM) where he completed his undergraduate studies. After graduating UM Law School, Governor Lawton Chiles appointed Congressman Garcia to the Florida Public Service Commission, the state agency regulating utilities. Serving under both Democratic and Republican governors, he helped usher in the single largest energy rate cut in Florida's history - meaning lower electricity bills for Florida's families through the 1990's. In 2009, President Obama appointed Garcia to serve as a director in the Department of Energy where he focused on lowering energy costs for America's families and greater access to renewable sources of energy.

The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson is serving her 11th term representing the 30th Congressional District of Texas. In December 2010, Congresswoman Johnson was elected as the first African-American and first female Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. From 2000 to 2002, she was the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education. Congresswoman Johnson continues to emphasize the need to invest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. Congresswoman Johnson is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and has been since being elected in 1992. Congresswoman Johnson also serves on the Aviation Subcommittee, Highways and Transit Subcommittee, and Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee. Congresswoman Johnson received a bachelor's degree in nursing from Texas Christian University in 1967. She received a master's degree in public administration from Southern Methodist University in 1976. Congresswoman Johnson is the first nurse to be elected to the U.S. Congress.

The Honorable Lisa Murkowski is the first Alaskan-born Senator and only the sixth United States Senator to serve the state. Since joining the Senate in 2002, Senator Murkowski has been a strong advocate for Alaska on the important issues facing the state, including energy, health care, education, military/veterans' affairs, and infrastructure development. Only the 33rd female to serve in the United States Senate since its founding in 1789, Senator Murkowski has assumed leadership roles quickly. She is the senior Republican member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and also serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, where she is the ranking Republican of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee - the first Alaskan to serve on that panel - and also is a senior member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. She earned a B.A. in economics from Georgetown University in 1980 and a law degree from Willamette University in 1985.

The Honorable Bobby Rush has spent most of his life fighting for everyday people. He believes that the constitutional promise of equality, liberty, and justice for all Americans must be upheld to make our nation strong. He has represented the First Congressional District of Illinois for almost two decades. U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush is a transcendent American leader who keeps his legislative and policy interests sharply focused on the needs of his constituents - especially the most vulnerable. He believes in the redemptive power of the human spirit. He believes in human ingenuity and tenacity. He knows the power of a made up mind. As a member of Congress, Rush stands on the shoulders of a long line of patriots and public servants who have gone before him and who are ardent believers in our Constitution. His life is an example of our nation's fundamental promise and his work reflects a deep determination to bend the arc of government resources and innovation towards the needs of every American.