Kern County Energy Summit

November 10, 2021

Time: 7:30AM-12:00PM

Location: Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center. 801 Truxtun Ave, Bakersfield, CA 93301




Erik Bartsch - Keynote

Erik Bartsch - Keynote

President & CEO, Aera Energy

Erik Bartsch is joining Aera in July, taking on the role of COO and CEO Designee. He will succeed Christina Sistrunk as CEO and Aera’s fourth top leader as of October 1st. His appointment at Aera builds on a 20-year career, mostly within Shell, involving a range of technical and global roles in the Upstream and Liquified Natural Gas business.

Initially, Erik worked as a geoscientist and explorer to unlock new sources of energy around the world. From there, he held several management positions including leader of the New Business Development Technical team for Canada’s in-situ steam play, General Manager for the US Mid-Continent shales business, and Exploration Manager for Shell’s successful Gulf of Mexico Deepwater business. He also served as a board member for the National Ocean Industries Association in Washington D.C.

In 2017, Erik was appointed as Vice President Safety and Environment for a division of Shell, where he has been responsible for industrial safety performance for over 50,000 workers within 40+ Liquified Natural Gas plants, gas terminals and wind energy sites worldwide. Erik also oversaw implementation of the environment agenda, including improving the business’s greenhouse gas intensity.

Erik comes to Aera during a period of tremendous change and opportunity. Given the dual crises of COVID and low oil prices, his immediate priority is to focus on working with people to support base operations and positioning Aera to thrive in an uncertain business environment. Erik has a passion for people and performance with a focus on building teams that deliver through clarity, authenticity, and willingness to experiment within a culture where people speak their mind openly. He plans to start by taking time to experience how work gets done at Aera and learning from the people who help Aera run safely and effectively every day.

Erik is proud to join Aera because of its long history of safely delivering outstanding value to customers and member companies through the Aera Way, while investing in the people who make it happen. Going forward, Erik wants to continue the effort to strengthen Aera’s operational excellence and deliver a competitive strategy to position the company for the energy transition.

He is a third-generation Californian with family roots in the state. Erik earned his degree in Geology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, prior to completing his Master’s degree at the University of Colorado. Erik and his family are relocating from northern Europe. They are looking forward to acclimating to Bakersfield’s heat, enjoying backyard BBQs and exploring fishing and hiking in the mountains. Outside of work he enjoys an active family life and early morning exercise.

Erik’s focus on people, previous experience in leading various onshore businesses, working with regulators and government leaders, along with his role in sponsoring profitable greenhouse gas efficiency solutions will all be important ingredients to his leadership, as Aera continues to deliver great todays and better tomorrows.

Alicia R. Knapp

Alicia R. Knapp

President & CEO, BHE Renewables

Alicia R. Knapp, 42, serves as president and CEO of BHE Renewables. BHE Renewables owns solar, wind, geothermal, natural gas and hydroelectric projects that produce energy for both the wholesale market and for customers under long-term power purchase agreements.

 Prior to this role, Knapp served as the vice president of renewable generation for MidAmerican Energy, where she was responsible for renewable generation operations and electric trading. Prior to this role, Knapp served as vice president of gas delivery at MidAmerican Energy, where she was responsible for gas delivery operations, gas control, compliance and integrity management, and gas supply and trading. Prior to this role, Knapp served as general manager of project development at BHE Renewables, where she managed the development and construction of wind and solar farms. She has been with the Berkshire Hathaway Energy family of businesses since 2001 and held roles in risk management, gas trading, and nuclear and renewable project management earlier in her career.

 Knapp earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and master’s degree in business administration from the University of Iowa. She lives in Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband and two teenage children.

Suzanne Noble

Suzanne Noble

Senior Director of Production Operations, Western States Petroleum Association

Suzanne Noble is the Senior Director of Production Operations with the Western States Petroleum Association.  During her tenure with WSPA she has worked throughout the state of California on environmental regulatory issues in coastal regions, San Joaquin Valley and Sacramento. She is responsible for managing and directing production priority projects, regional external affairs, research of technical issues and coordination of working issues groups and technical committees.

Prior to joining WSPA, Suzanne served as a minerals advisor to the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C.  At the Department of the Interior, a minerals advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, she was responsible for legislative and national regulatory and environmental issues related to oil and gas production on federal lands throughout the Country.

In the Bureau of Land Management, Suzanne served as Communication Coordinator for fluid minerals and then as Fluid Minerals Coordination Specialist developing strategies for outreach and marketing of the Bureau’s Oil and Gas National Performance Review and represented the Bureau on Interagency Agreements for mineral projects and publicly on environmental issues.

Suzanne is a graduate of California State University, Bakersfield, and holds a bachelor’s degrees in both communications and liberal studies.

Thank you to our Sponsors:










Kern Economic Development Corporation (Kern EDC) is a public-private partnership that brings together private businesses, education, elected officials, and non-profit organizations for the purpose of a single goal: creating a strong and diverse economy for Kern County. Kern EDC promotes the region to businesses looking for areas to expand, and works with existing local businesses to ensure they have what they need to thrive and grow here in Kern County.

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