University of Alaska Fairbanks logo bear University of Alaska Fairbanks
Gwen Holdmann
  • Gwen Holdmann
  • Director
  • gwen.holdmann@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 888-2147 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
More

Bio:

Gwen is the Director of the Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP), which is an applied energy research program based at the University of Alaska Fairbanks focusing on both fossil and renewable/alternative energy technologies. ACEP is a highly interdisciplinary program with over 30 affiliated faculty spanning a wide range of energy-related disciplines.

Prior to joining the University of Alaska, Gwen served as the Vice President of New Development at Chena Hot Springs Resort near Fairbanks. While at Chena, Gwen oversaw the construction of the first geothermal power plant in the state, in addition to numerous other innovative energy projects ranging from hydrogen production to cooling a 10,000ft2 ice museum year-round using 150°F hot water.

Gwen moved to Alaska in 1994, shortly after graduating from Bradley University with a degree in Physics and Mechanical Engineering. Gwen is the mother of three children – Leif, Marais, and Lael. She is married to Iditarod and Yukon Quest musher Ken Anderson, and the couple maintain a kennel of about 50 dogs outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. They live off grid in a house they built themselves, and generate their own power through a combination of solar PV, wind, and diesel generator.

Gwen has been the recipient of several awards throughout her career, including an R&D 100 award, Project of the Year from Power Engineering Magazine, the Alaska Top 40 Under 40 Award.

For more information view Gwen's Researcher Showcase.

Presentations and Publications

Projects at ACEP:

Brent Sheets
  • Brent Sheets
  • Deputy Director
  • bjsheets2@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 888-2547 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Nickole Conley
  • Nickole Conley
  • Deputy Director of Operations
  • nlconley@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 474-5626 | Fax: (907) 474-7041
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
More

Bio:

Nickole joined UAF in 2003. She has been in the College of Engineering and Mines (CEM) since 2005 where she served as the CEM Chief Financial Officer. Nickole also currently holds the position of Business Director at the Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization (OIPC). She is currently working on finishing her BBA at UAF in hopes to persue her masters. Outside of work and finishing her degree she loves the outdoors, traveling and spending time with her family.

Projects at ACEP:

Amanda Byrd
  • Amanda Byrd
  • Biomass Coordinator
  • agbyrd@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 888-2516 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
More

Bio:

Amanda Byrd is the Biomass Coordinator at ACEP and serves as a team member on the Arctic Remote Energy Networks Academy project and Global Applications Program.  In her current role she 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 is helping to develop standardized application and reporting requirements for new Renewable Energy Fund biomass energy applications for funding.  She is also working with AEA and local Fairbanks North Star Borough officials to develop a high-efficiency, low-emissions commercial scale biomass energy heating project in Fairbanks.

Before working with ACEP, Amanda was the managing editor of Mushing Magazine for three years.  In addition to her current role, she is the part-time marketing manager at Goldstream Sports.  Her professional education includes a MS in Renewable Energy from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a BS Natural Resources Management from 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 Grant 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.

For more information view Amanda's Researcher Showcase.

Projects at ACEP:

Marcia Cassino
  • Marcia Cassino
  • Program Assistant
  • mcassino@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 474-5402 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
More

Bio:

Marcia Cassino has recently joined the Alaska Center for Energy and Power Team as a Program Assistant. She has 13 years of experience as an administrative assistant. Her main focus will be to assist with project administration, travel and procurement, and provide administrative assistance to the Research Manager.  

Marcia came to Alaska in 2006, when the military blessed her husband with orders to Eielson Air Force Base. She loves Alaska and has a passion for hunting, fishing, camping, and all that the great outdoors has to offer. She often volunteers in the community to include co-chairing the post-celebration at Pioneer Park for STOMP (Salute to Our Military Parade), Fairbanks Community Food Bank, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska and Santa Clearing House. She loves spending time with her family and friends. Marcia has been married to David Cassino for 24 years and has 4 grown daughters and 8 grandchildren with her 9th grandchild on the way. 

Projects at ACEP:

  • Assistance with Project Administration
  • Travel and Procurement Coordinator
  • Administrative Assistant to Research Manager

Paul Duvoy
  • Paul Duvoy
  • Research Professional
  • pxduvoy@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 474­‐7498 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
More

Bio:

Paul 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, field measurements and data analysis. He also conducts 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.

Publications:

  • Duvoy, P., and Toniolo, H. (2012). HYDROKAL: A Module for In-stream Hydrokinetic Resource Assessment. Computers & Geosciences, 39 (February): 171–181. doi:10.1016/j.cageo.2011.06.016.
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S009830041100207X
  • Johnson, J.B., Toniolo, H., Seitz, A.C., Schmid, J., and Duvoy, P. (2013). Characterization of the Tanana River at Nenana, Alaska, to Determine the Important Factors Affecting Site Selection, Deployment, and Operation of Hydrokinetic Devices to Generate Power. Alaska Center for Energy and Power, Alaska Hydrokinetic Energy Research Center, Fairbanks, AK, 130 pp.
    http://www.uaf.edu/files/acep/2013_8_8_HKD_report_with_appendices.pdf
  • Toniolo, H., Duvoy, P., Vanlesberg, S., and Johnson, J. (2010). Modelling and field measurements in support of the hydrokinetic resource assessment for the Tanana River at Nenana, Alaska. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part A: Journal of Power and Energy, 224(8) (December 1): 1127–1139. doi:10.1243/09576509JPE1017.
    http://www.uaf.edu/files/acep/Toniolo_et_al_2010_Tanana.pdf

Resume and Projects

 

 

Projects at ACEP:

  • Alaska Hydrokinetic Energy Research Center

Max Frey
  • Max Frey
  • Program Assistant
  • mefrey@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 474-1143 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
More

Bio:

Max Frey was born and raised in the Matanuska Susitna Valley of Alaska.  He came to Fairbanks to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks where he studied business and attained his bachelor’s degree in Administration with an emphasis on Marketing and a minor in the German language. He has professional experience in renewable energy concepts, administration, and event organization.

Max ’s role at ACEP is Program Assistant.  He is taking over the final stages of management of the Pilgrim Hot Springs Project from Markus Mager and he is a hard working member of the ACEP Outreach Program Team.

Max Frey is happily married to a beautiful woman named Alina as of September, 2012 and lives in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Projects at ACEP:

Nick Konefal
  • Nick Konefal
  • Research Engineer
  • nkonefal@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 888-2538 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
More
David Light
  • David Light
  • Research Engineer
  • david.light@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 888-2743 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
More

Bio:

Joined ACEP in July of 2011 from a career in the rural power industry. Employed most recently by Alaska Power & Telephone Co. designing, installing, and servicing remote diesel power plants throughout the interior and southeast. Worked on the Eagle AK  Yukon river hydrokinetic turbine pilot project. Previously in Alaska 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 the Prudhoe Bay oil industry. Prior to moving to Alaska was also employed by Caterpillar in New York, and the New England area beginning in 1983 working on large standby, and mining industry power generation systems. My home is in the Gold Stream Valley, and I greatly enjoy my time in Alaska taking advantage of all of its outdoor activities.

Current Projects:

  • Current position as project manager for the Energy Technology Facility.  Involved in the design, construction and development of our testing laboratories on the UAF campus.
  • Actively involved in research programs including diesel engine technology, energy storage systems, wind diesel integration, and advanced control systems.
  • Support of hydrokinetic research, and development projects.

Projects at ACEP:

Ben Loeffler
  • Ben Loeffler
  • Research Assistant
  • bhloeffler@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 799-6718 | Fax: (907) 786-7739
  • Office Location: Anchorage, Alaska
More

Bio:

Ben Loeffler is a Research Assistant at ACEP and serves as a data analysis and reporting specialist for several Emerging Energy Technology Fund (EETF) and Renewable Energy Fund (REF) projects. His work focuses on data collection, data management, and report writing. He studied Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech where he attained his BS and MS with his successful Master’s thesis focusing on developing an analytical model and numerical optimization of a single-phase thermosiphon for passive thermal management of power electronics.

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:

  • Data analysis and reporting for ACEP's EETF and REF projects. 

Heike Merkel
  • Heike Merkel
  • Data Manager
  • hmerkel@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 888-2539 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
More

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 and learning how to operate a saw mill, ski on glaciers, and kayak wild rivers, she went back to school and graduated with a MS in civil engineering from UAA in 2001. That was followed by more graduate work at UAF and a MS in Geophysics in 2009. She subsequently worked in institutional research and learned how to navigate the university Oracle database. Since January 2013, Heike is the data manager for the Alaska Center for Energy and Power and is responsible for quality control of incoming data and is currently working on the set up of an online database for the Alaska Wind-Diesel Applications Center. In her free time, Heike enjoys various outdoor activities and traveling.

Projects at ACEP:

  • Data Acquisition and Analysis

Luis Miranda
  • Luis Miranda
  • Research Engineer
  • luis.m@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 888-2609 | Fax: (907) 474-5475
  • Office Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
More

Bio:

Work experience:
Luis completed a Master’s degree at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, in Electrical Engineering and Computers, specializing in Automation.
He is most proficient with Matlab, Simulink and C++.
In his thesis, Luis implemented an adaptive control algorithm based in Locally Weighted Projection Regression (LWPR) using Matlab.

Areas of interest:
Machine Learning, Adaptive control, Complex Models, Parallel Computing, Computer Vision.

Projects at ACEP:

Power Systems Integration: Luis will be developing and perfecting models for each individual component of our Energy Technology Testing Facilities, ensuring their future compatibility and reliability when exposed to different scenarios.

Melody Moen
  • Melody Cavanaugh-Moen
  • Outreach and Marketing Manager
  • melody.moen@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 978-0693 | Fax: (907) 786-7739
  • Office Location: Anchorage, Alaska
More
Kara Moore
More

Bio:

Kara is a graduate of UAF most recently in 2011 with her Masters in Natural Resources Management & Geography.  After working in land management Kara found her way to ACEP and is happily working away on website needs. 

Photo Courtesy of Annie Miebs, Natural Photography.

Projects at ACEP:

  • Website Content

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

Bio:

  • Chris first came to Alaska in 2004 and quickly fell in love with the 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 the Alaska Center for Energy and Power 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 a 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:

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

Bio:

Jeremy received his B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo, Canada and his M.Sc. in Renewable Energy from the University of Oldenburg, Germany. He has worked on several solar power and micro-hydro projects in the D.R. Congo before moving to Alaska and joining the Alaska Center for Energy and Power. He is currently helping design and build a high resolution data acquisition system to gather grid data. Jeremy also runs simulations of Alaska microgrids with already gathered data to test different control schemes and the addition of generation and storage units. He loves living in Alaska and tries to take full advantage of its great backcountry. The similarity between some of the unique challenges faced by Alaska's communities to those experienced during Jeremy's years living in Africa are intriguing, including power generation. This is leading to some exciting opportunities for ACEP to partner internationally and share expertise in the growing microgrid field.

Projects at ACEP:

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

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

Bio:

Lesli Walls joins the Alaska Center for Energy and Power as Grant Manager for ACEP research awards. She has over 11 years experience and her main focus is in post award research administration and compliance management.  

Lesli is a lifelong Alaskan who is raising her 2 sons to have a love of all that Alaska can offer. She has a strong affection of photography, reading and trying to learn something new every day.

Projects at ACEP:

  • Management of ACEP research awards

Erin Whitney
  • Erin Whitney
  • Research Faculty, Data Collection & Management Program Manager
  • erin.whitney@alaska.edu
  • Phone: (907) 799-6724 | Fax: (907) 786-7739
  • Office Location: Anchorage, Alaska
More

Bio:

Dr. Erin Whitney holds the position of Research Assistant Professor and serves as the Program Manager of the Data Collection and Management Program (DC&M) at ACEP. As DC&M’s program lead, Erin supports ACEP’s research with her team of highly trained and experienced research staff and faculty in the collection and management of critical technical performance data from remote and isolated energy systems. Her current project work focuses on research into the performance and integration of solar photovoltaic technologies in remote Arctic environments, as well as the development of a statewide solar photovoltaic installation performance survey and database. She manages data collection and analysis for the state's Emerging Energy Technology Fund (EETF) and Renewable Energy Fund (REF) programs, and recently led ACEP's work on the Alaska Affordable Energy Strategy with respect to technology-specific energy developments for Alaska.

Before her time working with ACEP, Erin spent almost a decade as a staff scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) working in next generation solar photovoltaics, energy analysis, energy storage, electrochromic windows, and vehicular hydrogren storage. Erin holds a BA in Chemistry from Williams College in Massachusetts and a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Colorado.

Erin grew up in Anchorage and is happy to be back home. She enjoys commuting to work via bicycle, aspires to be a bluegrass cellist, and relishes extreme wilderness adventures with her family.

For more information view Erin's Researcher Showcase.

Projects at ACEP:

  • Research into performance and integration of solar photovoltaic technologies in remote, Arctic environments
  • Development of state solar photovoltaic installation performance survey and database, best-practices handbook, and various outreach activities, including ARENA webinars
  • ACEP project manager for Alaska Affordable Energy Strategy effort to identify technology-specific development needs for AEA
  • Railbelt utility studies
  • Data collection and analysis for Emerging Energy Technology Fund (EETF) and Renewable Energy Fund (REF) projects
  • Research into photovoltaic performance and potential in Alaska