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Staff

Gwen Holdmann
  • Gwen Holdmann
  • Director
  • gwen.holdmann@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 474-5402 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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Bio:

Gwen is the founder and Director of the Alaska Center for Energy and Power, an applied energy research program based at the University of Alaska Fairbanks which focuses on community- scale fossil and renewable/alternative energy technologies. Specific areas of emphasis include power systems integration for microgrids, hydrokinetic energy, low temperature geothermal, and diesel efficiency.

Prior to joining the University of Alaska, Gwen worked in the private sector as a design engineer and project manager, including the design and construction of the only operating geothermal power plant in Alaska at Chena Hot Springs. This project received several awards including a R&D 100 award (R&D Magazine) and Project of the Year in the Renewable Energy Category (Power Engineering Magazine).

Gwen has been inducted into the Alaska Innovator’s Hall of Fame, and was selected as a member of Alaska’s Top Forty Under 40. In 2015-16, she served as a Fulbright Scholar as part of the Arctic Fulbright Initiative. Gwen lives in an off-grid home with her family and 35 dogs, using a combination of solar, wind, battery storage, diesel generation, and wood heat. She has competed in the Yukon Quest and Iditarod sleddog races.

For more information view Gwen's Researcher Showcase.

Presentations and Publications

Projects at ACEP:

Robert Bensin
  • Robert Bensin
  • Senior Research Engineer
Baxter Bond
  • Baxter Bond
  • Research Professional
  • bwbond@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 888-2532 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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Bio:

Baxter is Yup'ik from the village of Tununak. He received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2018, and a Bachelor of Arts in Yup'ik Language in 2017, his heritage language. Both degrees are from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

His work focuses on electrical grid modeling for estimating energy storage requirements in hybrid diesel/renewable microgrids, and the development of a fuel usage meter called the Pump Monitoring Apparatus (PuMA). The PuMA will help determine building heat loads whose main source of heat are fuel oil vented heaters.

Baxter is also a photographer, Yup'ik language instructor, and Iñupiaq/Yup'ik dance instructor. In his free time he hikes, fishes, hunts, skis, sings, tinkers, and enjoys time with his best friend, a labrakita named Ori.

Projects at ACEP:

Dayne Broderson
  • Dayne Broderson
  • Solar Test Site IT Manager
Amanda Byrd
  • Amanda Byrd
  • Chief Storyteller
  • agbyrd@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 474-7544 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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Bio:

Amanda Byrd is the Chief Storyteller at ACEP.  In her current role, she shares ACEP’s research news through the weekly newsletter ACEP This Week, films and produces short videoes that tell Alaska community energy and food stories, and provides technical support to ACEP partners at the Alaska Energy Authority by organizing quarterly biomass meetings, writing case studies on commercial scale biomass boiler projects installed around Alaska, and sits on the Alaska Wood Energy Development Task Group.

Her professional education includes an MS in Renewable Energy from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a BS Natural Resources Management from the University of New England, Australia.

Originally hailing from Australia, Amanda grew up in Sydney where prior to her college experience she trained race horses there and in Japan.  After falling in love with the North American forests through a year-long exchange program to Colorado State University and a summer experience as a Park Ranger in Grand Teton National Park, she moved to Alaska in search of adventure.  She is currently a reformed sprint dog musher who enjoys running (but don’t call her a runner) and has participated in Fairbanks' Equinox Marathon several times.  Other favorite past times include mountain and road cycling, floating rivers, baking, cooking, and writing.

 

Projects at ACEP:

Rob Cermak
  • Rob Cermak
  • PSI Programmer and Control Systems Integrator
  • cermak@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 888-2093 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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Bio:

Rob Cermak joined ACEP in 2015. He was employed most recently by the former Arctic Region Supercomputer Center in Fairbanks, Alaska, as an information systems professional.  Before he moved to Alaska, Rob was working as a programmer in New Jersey for Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, while completing undergraduate and master of science degrees in meteorology. He enjoys the challenges of off-grid living using a mix of solar, wind, diesel and gas power generation.

Projects at ACEP:

  • Energy Technology Facility information technology and control system optimization
  • In-house supervisory control and data acquisition  SCADA and data collection improvement
  • Data management process integration with future architecture updates
  • Control system enhancement for Intergrid project
  • Poker Flat data collection and monitoring
  • Oceana hydrokinetic turbine testing
  • Fault emulator commissioning

Paul Duvoy
  • Paul Duvoy
  • Research Professional
  • pxduvoy@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 888-2140 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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Bio:

Paul Duvoy earned a M.Sc. Degree in Civil Engineering at UAF in December 2010. He also holds an Engineering Degree in Systems Engineering from National Technological University in Argentina.

At ACEP his work focuses on the numerical and analytical modeling for hydrokinetic resources assessment and debris mitigation, marine and river surveying, UAV photogrammetry for mapping and 3D modeling, field measurements and data analysis. He has also conducted research modeling for discrete element simulation of geotechnical problems on Mars and the Moon at INE.

Paul lives in Fairbanks with his wife Andrea and their sons Gérard and Émile. When not working, Paul’s interests include astronomy, French cinema, philosophy, and photography.

 

 

Projects at ACEP:

Tonya Evans
  • Tonya Evans
  • Travel and Procurement Coordinator
  • tevans28@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 474-5402 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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Bio:

Evans brings a wealth of administrative experience from her seven years working at the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District and, prior to that, as an office manager for a local construction company. As part of her duties at ACEP, Tonya will coordinate all travel arrangements for ACEP researchers, manage procurement and provide administrative support to ACEP’s business manager, Marcia Cassino.

Evans moved to Alaska with her family as a teen and graduated from North Pole High School. She lives in North Pole with her husband, Brian, and their two teenage boys. When not working, Tonya enjoys traveling, lifting weights and time spent at their cabin in Central.

Projects at ACEP:

  • Travel and Procurement Coordinator
  • Administrative Assistant to Research Manager

Stephanie Jump
  • Stephanie Jump
  • Research Professional
  • sjump@alaska.edu
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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Bio:

Stephanie Jump moved to Alaska in 2014 to study at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She completed her bachelors of science degree in fisheries in 2018. During her four years as a student, Stephanie interned at ACEP as a research technician in the summers, mostly conducting work at the Tanana River test site. During the off seasons, she worked on procurement and travel in the ACEP office. In the summer of 2018, Stephanie joined the hydrokinetic team full time and now focuses the majority of her time on planning, prepping and conducting fieldwork for various projects. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys gardening, hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.

Projects at ACEP:

David Light
  • David Light
  • Energy Technology Facility Manager
  • david.light@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 474-1511 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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Bio:

David Light is the project manager for the Energy Technology Facility of ACEP. He joined ACEP in July of 2011 from a career in the rural power industry, where he was employed most recently by Alaska Power and Telephone Co. designing, installing, and servicing remote diesel power plants throughout the Interior and Southeast. He worked on the Eagle, Alaska, Yukon River hydrokinetic turbine pilot project. Previously he was employed by N.C. Machinery Co. Caterpillar Power Systems as the Fairbanks branch service manager following many years as a field technician and engineer in remote communities as well as at Prudhoe Bay. Before David moved to Alaska he was employed by Caterpillar in New York and New England beginning in 1983, working on large standby and mining industry power generation systems. David greatly enjoys taking advantage of all of Alaska’s outdoor activities.

Projects at ACEP:

  • Involved in the design, construction and development of testing laboratories on the UAF campus
  • Diesel engine technology, energy storage systems, wind diesel integration and advanced control systems
  • Support of hydrokinetic research and development projects
  • Energy Technology Facility manager
  • Energy Technology Facility research
  • Wind-Diesel Applications Center
  • Fault simulator design, construction and testing.
  • Flywheel energy storage testing
  • Solar test bed installation
  • ABB distributed control system design and installation

Ben Loeffler
  • Ben Loeffler
  • Pacific Marine Energy Center Manager
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Bio:

Ben Loeffler has worked in a number of energy-related positions in Alaska. He is currently a research professional working on ACEP's Pacific Marine Energy Center projects. He comes to ACEP after three years as the Fairbanks North Star Borough energy mangement engineer.  Before that, Ben was a research assistant at ACEP, performing data analysis and reporting for remote energy projects.

Ben studied mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech where he completed a BS and MS with a master’s thesis that developed an analytical model and numerical optimization of a single-phase thermosiphon for passive thermal management of power electronics. Ben is a registered mechanical engineer in the state of Alaska.

Before his time with ACEP, Ben worked at the Extreme Tribology Lab at Georgia Tech as a research engineer and also at DHX Electric Machines, a startup company that develops novel internal combustion engines and electric machines.

Ben came to Alaska in 2015 to coach rowing, a pastime he picked up as an undergrad at Georgia Tech. He enjoys hiking, being outdoors, and cross-country skiing.

Projects at ACEP:

  • Pacific Marine Energy Center research manager

Carolyn Loeffler
  • Carolyn Loeffler
  • ARENA Coordinator
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Bio:

Carolyn Loeffler joined the ACEP team in 2018 as a coordinator for ACEP’s webinar series and the Arctic Remote Energy Networks Academy (ARENA), an international knowledge-sharing program designed for emergent community energy leaders and development officers. Carolyn’s work at ACEP is dedicated to establishing professional networks related to microgrids and integration of renewable energy resources for remote Arctic communities.

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Carolyn moved to Alaska in 2009 and enjoyed a seven-year career with the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, first as a collections specialist and later as a program coordinator and exhibitions curator. Carolyn moved to Fairbanks in 2016 to pursue a master’s degree at UAF and graduated in 2018. In addition to working for ACEP, she also teaches as adjunct faculty for the Arctic and Northern Studies department.

Outside of work, Carolyn is an avid cross-country skier, cyclist, backpacker, mountain biker, gardener, amateur birder, and chef for her family of three.

Projects at ACEP:

  • ARENA
  • ACEP webinars

Heike Merkel
  • Heike Merkel
  • PSI Operations Manager
  • hmerkel@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (970) 718-2817 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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Bio:

Heike moved to Alaska in 1996 after graduating from an engineering school in Germany with a Bachelor’s degree in Structural Engineering. After enjoying all Alaska has to offer for a few years, she went back to school and graduated with a MS in Civil Engineering from UAA in 2001. That was followed by more graduate work on Arctic sea ice and a MS in Geophysics from UAF in 2009.

Heike joined ACEP in 2013 as a data manager and took over as the operations manager for the Power Systems Integration program in the summer of 2017. The program develops and tests technologies to increase the penetration of renewable energy sources into microgrids. Heike is responsible for personnel, business and project management of the PSI laboratory as well as data management procedures at ACEP.

In her free time, Heike enjoys various outdoor activities and traveling.

Projects at ACEP:

Tawna Morgan
  • Tawna Morgan
  • PSI Programmer
  • tmorga22@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 474-5402 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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Bio:

Tawna Morgan joined ACEP's Power Systems Integration team in November 2017. She provides general programming, software engineering and data analysis support for the PSI lab. Tawna has worked throughout Alaska designing scientific studies and streamlining data processing through the development of custom data collection solutions and automated analysis. Tawna's forte is robust and efficient software design and making use of large environmental datasets through machine learning. When not working, Tawna can be found running mountain trails, paddling with her dogs or building custom bike frames.

Projects at ACEP:

  • Power System Integration Program: programmer and data analyst
  • MiGRIDS sizing tool
  • RADIANCE
  • Intergrid

Christopher Pike
  • Christopher Pike
  • Research Engineer
  • cpike6@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 799-6731 | Fax: (907) 786-7739
  • Office Location: Anchorage, Alaska
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Bio:

Chris Pike first came to Alaska in 2004 and quickly fell in love with all things Alaskan.  Between 2004 and 2011 Chris lived in the western part of the state, only accessible by air and water. During this time, he came to realize the impact that the high cost of energy was having on every aspect of people’s lives. He began working with ACEP in 2012 and has been involved in projects ranging from studying the performance of solar thermal systems in the Arctic, geothermal exploration in Western Alaska, and working as part of the data collection and analysis team. Recently he has been working as part of the Solar Technology Program team to improve our understanding of the performance of solar photovoltaics in the state and learn more about ways to reduce the cost of this technology.

Projects at ACEP:

  • Update to fifth edition of A Solar Design Manual for Alaska
  • Bifacial photovoltaic module performance analysis in Alaska
  • Statewide irradiance monitoring

Taylor Poirrier
  • Taylor Poirrier
  • Research Technician
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Bio:

Taylor Poirrier was born and raised in North Pole, Alaska. After graduating from North Pole High School, she started her bachelor of science degree in fisheries and ocean sciences at UAF. During this time, she worked on several fisheries projects as well as working on cataloging invertebrates for the marine invertebrate collection for the Museum of the North.

After graduating with her bachelors in spring of 2019, she started working for ACEP as a research technician, where she assists with field work and data analysis. In her off time, Taylor enjoys fishing, hunting, camping, exploring the Alaskan coast and generally being outdoors as much as possible.

Projects at ACEP:

  • Central Beaufort Sea Wave and Hydrodynamic Modeling Study
  • Yakutat Wave Energy Resource Assessment

George Roe
  • George Roe
  • Research Faculty
  • gmroe@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 888-2631 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Seattle, Washington
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Bio:

George Roe is a research professor affiliated with ACEP, with joint appointments at the Idaho National Laboratory and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. His work emphasizes collaboration partnerships and development of integrated energy systems for sustainable communities and regional resilience. George’s research interests include microgrids, workforce development, energy storage (thermal and electrical), low-grade thermal energy utilization, energy efficiency, waste-to-energy systems, nuclear microreactors, electric transportation, and unmanned systems. He is currently serving as a co-chair for the Seattle Chamber of Commerce’s Alaska Business Forum.  

Before joining ACEP in 2013, George worked for 35 years at Boeing, serving in both engineering and management capacities on multiple company, industry and government-funded research, development, and integration projects (e.g., thermal management, vehicle subsystems, crew protection, energy harvesting, energy storage, alternative energy). In addition, George has been an Adjunct Professor at Seattle Pacific University since 2009, teaching courses within its General Engineering and Appropriate and Sustainable Engineering programs. He holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington.

For more information view George's Researcher Showcase.

Publications:

Projects at ACEP:

  • Arctic Remote Energy Networks Academy
  • Alaska Center for Microgrid Technologies Commercialization
  • Northwest Energy Innovation Alliance

Jeremy VanderMeer
  • Jeremy Vandermeer
  • Research Engineer
  • jbvandermeer@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 888-2632 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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Bio:

Jeremy Vandermeer grew up in a diesel microgrid and worked on nano-scale solar-battery-diesel electrical systems. After graduating with his B.Sc. in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo, Canada, he worked on several solar power and micro-hydro installations in the Democratic Republic of Congo before enrolling for a M.Sc. in renewable energy engineering at the University of Oldenburg, Germany. He worked on his thesis with ACEP to size an energy storage system for Nome, Alaska, for a proposed geothermal power plant. Since then, he hasn’t left.

Jeremy continues to focus on the challenges of integrating large amounts of renewable energy into microgrids. This includes analyzing grid data and running computer simulations and lab tests. Using the code developed in his thesis, Jeremy co-wrote the open-source MiGRIDS software, which runs simulations to determine the benefit of adding energy storage to a microgrid. He now working on a Ph.D. in engineering focusing on stability and fault protection in inverter-dominant microgrids. While Alaska is a unique and special place, many of the electrical challenges faced here are common on a global scale. It is exciting to be working on cutting-edge solutions that are relevant not just for Alaska but for the world. 

Projects at ACEP:

  • Power Systems Integration
  • BlackBox Data Acquisition Project
  • Modelling Electrical Grids

Pips Veazey
  • Pips Veazey
  • Deputy Director for Strategic Development
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Bio:

Pips Veazey is the deputy director for strategic development for ACEP.

Pips is an authentic and inclusive leader, who has developed, supported and led exceptional teams. She has worked as a deckhand on the Exxon Valdez oil spill, a longline fisherwoman in the Bering Sea, an ice core driller in Greenland and the Antarctic and a team science researcher and leader in the Arctic. Through her work in interdisciplinary team science leadership, collaboration development, strategic planning, facilitation, and data visualization, she brings a unique set of skills and experiences to her organizational leadership.

 In addition to her role at ACEP, she is the project director and principal investigator for the Alaska Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), a 5-year, $24 million, statewide research program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the State of Alaska that builds academic research capacity in Alaska in the areas of wildfire and coastal environments. 

She is a founding board member and officer for the International Network of the Science of Team Science (INSciTS), promoting team science and connecting individuals leading, managing, evaluating, and producing scholarship on team science. She is a board member for the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS), a non-profit corporation consisting of institutions organized and operated for educational, professional, and scientific purposes that facilitates cross-boundary Arctic research, communication, and education in the U.S. and with partners across the globe. She has also served as the president of the board at the non-profit Fairbanks Montessori School

Projects at ACEP:

Lesli Walls
  • Lesli Walls
  • Research Grant Manager
  • ljwalls@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 474-1930 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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Bio:

Lesli Walls joined ACEP as grant manager in 2009. She manages all research awards. She has 18 years’ experience and her main focus is in post-award research administration and compliance management. She currently has taken on management of ACEP general funds.

Lesli is a lifelong Alaskan who is raising her two sons to have a love of all that Alaska can offer. She has a strong affection for photography, reading and trying to learn something new every day.

Projects at ACEP:

  • Management of ACEP research awards

Michelle Wilber
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Bio:

Michelle Wilber is a research engineer at ACEP, working on projects ranging from bringing more rooftop solar to Anchorage to helping residents in the Bering Straits region find solutions to the high cost of energy. She has a BS in astronomy from Caltech and an MS in mechanical engineering from UAA. She has worked as an engineering geologist, an organic gardening coordinator, in energy efficiency outreach, and as a park ranger in Katmai. All of it comes together in solving the problems of finding sustainable energy sources in the Arctic, with the challenges of unstable permafrost for infrastructure foundations, finding the energy to grow food and provide fresh water, and other linkages between energy and the environment.

Michelle grew up in Alaska and is happy to be raising her son here as well. They like to take the dog hiking, camping, ice skating and skiing, but also enjoy a lot of cozy indoor time as well.  She is thrilled to be doing work that she hopes will continue to make Alaska a great place to live for her family and all Alaskans.

Projects at ACEP:

  • Helping write specifications for a grid-bridging energy storage system for AVEC for St. Mary's integration of high penetration wind (as an intern)
  • Updating solar in Alaska performance and costs study
  • Preliminary energy development guide for village of Solomon
  • Development of inexpensive, Raspberry Pi based, pyranometer/datalogger for remote communities
  • Investigation of opportunities for solar on Alaska farms with Calypso Farms
  • Statistical investigation of power cost equalization data for effect of wind power development on electricity prices (for Kawerak Energy Summit)