16th Annual Kern County Energy Summit

November 16, 2022

Time: 7:30AM-12:00PM *Registration begins at 7:00am

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



Speakers Include:

Lorelei H. Oviatt

Lorelei H. Oviatt

Director, Kern County Planning and Natural Resources

Lorelei Oviatt, AICP, is Director for the Kern County Planning and Natural Resources Department in California and has worked in both the public and private sector of land development.    Her years of professional planning experience in the public and private sectors focuses on project management of large scale, multiagency planning, moving extremely complex projects through the system under accelerated timeframes to streamline business permitting and support quality of life for communities.  She has permitted over 18,896 MW of renewable energy wind and solar projects with over 4100  MWh of battery storage in operation and 2000 MWh in progress of permitting. She led the team that produced the first comprehensive Environmental Impact Report for over 2.8 million acres of oil and gas operations and developed an ordinance that provides enhanced environmental protection for communities while providing certainty for timelines for the oil industry.  Currently she is working on permitting four Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) projects in Kern County with a total capacity of over 78 million tons of CO2 capacity as well as new carbon management industries. Her work on natural resources land use for renewable energy, mining, alternative fuels and oil and gas production as well as streamlining industrial and housing projects has made Kern County a center for business development in the U.S, while ensuring environmental protections for communities and certainty for investors.  She has a master’s degree in Public Administration from CSUB Bakersfield and is an adjunct professor in public administration policy and urban planning. 

Matthiah Larkin

Matthiah Larkin

Managing Director-Development, Clearway

Matthiah Larkin is Managing Director of Development at Clearway Energy Group, a leading IPP focused on renewable energy. Matthiah is responsible for solar and storage development across the country and he manages a team responsible for the development of Clearway’s 9 GW pipeline of wind, solar and storage projects. Matthiah has more than 15 years of experience in the renewable energy industry and has developed hundreds of projects around the country, more than 2 GWs of which are in operations. He and his team are responsible for putting all the puzzle pieces of a project together to prepare them for successful financing, construction and operations. His work has led him from China to Australia and all across the United States. Matthiah has a BA in International Relations from Brown University and when he’s not thinking about project development, he’s most likely exploring California’s great outdoors with his wife and son.

Curt Hildebrand

Curt Hildebrand

Senior Vice President-Commercial Affairs, Hydrostor

Curt Hildebrand brings over 35 years of experience and leadership in the independent power and renewable energy industries. Mr. Hildebrand has served in a wide array of highly productive management roles in project development, power sales & marketing, project finance, government & regulatory affairs and business development.

Mr. Hildebrand joined Hydrostor in October 2020 and currently serves as Senior Vice President – Commercial Affairs. His responsibilities at Hydrostor include leading the company’s commercial and business development activities in U.S. markets, as well as advancing and growing Hydrostor’s Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) project portfolio in North America.

 Mr. Hildebrand has played a pioneering role in establishing the successful merchant power industry in the U.S. He served as Senior Vice President with Calpine Corporation (1995-2006) and was instrumental in the development, finance, construction and marketing of the company’s 28,000 MW power generation portfolio.

 Mr. Hildebrand has also held various technical, finance, development and senior management roles with Western Energy Partners, Agile Energy, Inc., TSMC Solar North America, Inc., GreenWing Energy Management, Ltd, Magma Power Co. and Unocal Geothermal Corp. His accomplishments within these organizations are highlighted by his pivotal contributions that resulted in the construction of over $5 billion in new energy projects in the U.S. and internationally.

 Curt received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 1985 and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of California.

Willie Rivera

Willie Rivera

Regulatory & Legislative Affairs Manager, Aera Energy LLC

In his role, Willie is responsible for representing Aera Energy LLC on regulatory and legislative policy matters at the state level.

Prior to joining Aera, Willie served as Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for the California Independent Petroleum Association and has worked for members of the California State Legislature. He brings over 10 years of experience in Government and Regulatory Affairs. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from California State University, Sacramento. In 2013, Willie became the youngest ever elected member of the Bakersfield City Council representing Southeast Bakersfield until December of 2020.

When not working, you can find Willie pouring wine alongside his wife and business partner at their wine bar and bottle shop, Campo Bar & Bottle, in Bakersfield, California.

Ken Haney

Ken Haney

Strategic Advisor-Carbon Management, California Resources Corporation

Ken Haney is the Strategic Advisor – Carbon for California Resources Corporation (CRC).  Ken has 32 years of experience in upstream exploration and production with CRC, Chevron, Occidental and Texaco and 5 years of carbon management experience with CRC.  He has worked as an engineer, manager and VP on projects and reservoirs in California, West Texas, New Mexico, Alberta (Canada) and Columbia.  His breadth of technical focus includes miscible and immiscible gas injection, thermal EOR, waterflood and primary operations in shale, clastic and carbonate reservoirs and carbon management across the value chain from CO2 capture through transport and storage.

 Mr. Haney holds a B.S. in Geology from California State University, Bakersfield and an M.S. in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Southern California.

 Garth Reucassel

Garth Reucassel

Carbon Management Director, Aera Energy LLC

As the director of Carbon Reduction at Aera Energy, Garth Reucassel plays a critical role in the development of the company’s carbon journey to net neutrality here in California. Through his leadership since May 2021, his team has sought seeking innovative, safe solutions to meet California’s aggressive climate goals including ways to reduce our own carbon footprint and testing the feasibility of new technologies such carbon capture and storage.

 Garth developed more than 20-years of energy experience and expertise through a globetrotting career with stints in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the United States. He started his career as an operations and maintenance engineer before moving into a leadership role in the North Sea. Garth moved to the U.S. in 2011 to lead integrated projects in the Gulf of Mexico valued at more than a billion dollars.

 Garth holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering and commerce from The University of Sydney in Australia, and a master’s degree in business administration from Columbia University.

Hilary Petrizzo

Hilary Petrizzo

CCUS Commercial Development Manager, Southern California Gas Company

Hilary Petrizzo is a Commercial Development Manager in the Clean Energy Innovations group at Southern California Gas Company. She leads CCUS – Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration.  Hilary and her team are responsible for developing opportunities for carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration, with a primary focus on new CO2 pipelines, in support of SoCalGas’s ASPIRE 2045 climate commitment.  Hilary was previously part of the Hydrogen Engineering Strategy team, where she led the SoCalGas and SDG&E hydrogen blending demonstration program.  Hilary began her career as a petroleum geologist for ExxonMobil in Houston, then moving to Occidental Petroleum in Bakersfield and Long Beach.  Hilary joined SoCalGas in 2015 as the Senior Storage Field Geologist and was later promoted to Reservoir Engineering Team Lead.  Hilary has a Masters in Geology from UT Austin and Bachelors in Geology from UCLA.      

Alexei V. Vyssotski

Alexei V. Vyssotski

General Manager, Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage, Chevron

Alexei V. Vyssotski is a General Manager of Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS), as part of Chevron New Energies. In this role, he is focused on deploying CCUS solutions to accelerate progress toward the lower carbon ambitions of Chevron and its customers.

Alexei is often described as a “strategy translator” as he adeptly leads teams to convert aspirational goals into reality while working with complex technical, business, and geopolitical challenges.

Alexei has a keen interest in the environment and has a high regard for practical science that improves the quality of life. These interests were inspired by his childhood spent helping his family work the land and learning from his parents who are both geologists. This experience led him to study geology and environmental science where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Geology from Sam Houston State University and a Master’s degree in Geology from Rice University. Alexei has been fortunate to work in a variety of geologic basins while at Chevron where he led teams to recover hydrocarbon resources in North America and international locations.

Today, Alexei finds his role with Chevron New Energies to be a perfect intersection of the environment, practical science, and complexity as he works to help advance a lower carbon future. en.

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.

Brad Vieselmeyer

Brad Vieselmeyer

General Manager of Operations and Maintenance, Chevron

Brad Vieselmeyer is the General Manager of Operations of Chevron North America Exploration & Production Company’s San Joaquin Valley Business Unit, a role he assumed in July 2022. In this role, Brad oversees Chevron’s oil and gas production operations in the State of California.

After joining Chevron in 2002, Brad assumed a variety of positions of increasing responsibility, including facilities engineering and construction management in Gulf of Mexico, coal bed methane and heavy oil assets, Manager of pipeline control room operations for North America, and Global Advisor for optimization processes in upstream operations. He most recently supported Chevron’s shale & tight assets in the Mid-Continent Business Unit as an Operations Support Manger and Operations Area Manager for the Midland basin.

Brad earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, and an MBA from California State University Bakersfield. He is a member of both the Society of Petroleum and Mechanical Engineers.

Though a native of Nebraska, Brad grew up in Southern California. He and his wife, Dana reside in Bakersfield, CA with their two sons, Garin and Owen. In his free time, Brad enjoys activities with his family, backpacking, exercise and working with his hands.

John-Paul Lake, (J.P.)

John-Paul Lake, (J.P.)

Managing Partner, Kern Venture Group

John-Paul Lake, (J.P.) has a lifetime commitment to Kern County, California. Born and raised in Bakersfield, he is passionate about the community where he continues to live, raise his children and help run the family business, Rain for Rent, as a Director on the Board. He is a community leader in the development and support of Kern County’s entrepreneurial sector.  In 2018 he co-founded Kern Venture Group (KVG), the first angel/venture capital firm in Kern County. 

KVG prioritizes investments in companies and founders with origins or operations in Kern County or Central California and a vision that will benefit the region. J.P. is also the Executive Director of the Beautiful Bakersfield, Boundless Kern regional initiative for Economic Prosperity (B3K). The goal of B3K is to create 100,000 quality jobs in Kern County in the next decade with a focus on aerospace, manufacturing, renewable energy and carbon management, and B2B services.

Lake knows that good schools are a critical part of any vibrant community, and currently serves as a Trustee for the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District. A graduate of Garces Memorial High School, J.P. earned a bachelor’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from the University of Southern California, and an MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. J.P. and his wife of 20 years, Ingrid, have three children and recently established the SeedCore Foundation which provides scholarships for higher education, entrepreneurial development in Kern County via the Kern Initiative for Talent and Entrepreneurship (“KITE”), and launched Beyond Measure, an online classroom funding site for teachers at Christian schools. 

Vandana Gupta

Vandana Gupta

Vice President, Asset Development for Brookfield Renewable’s U.S. business

Vandana (Vann) Gupta is Vice President, Asset Development for Brookfield Renewable’s U.S. business, leading development activities across an array of renewable energy and transition sectors, including on-shore wind, off-shore wind, hydrogen and battery storage.

Vann joined Brookfield in early 2021 with over 20 years of energy experience.  She has led all aspects of renewable and traditional energy businesses, leveraging her legal, investment banking and commercial expertise.

Thania Burningham

Thania Burningham

Senior Manager, Project Finance, AES Clean Energy

Thania Burningham is a Senior Manager in the Project Finance Team at AES Clean Energy. In her role Thania leads all aspects of the financing process including the structuring, due diligence, economic evaluation and execution of the transaction. Prior to AES’ acquisition, Thania was part of the sPower Structured Finance team. During her time in renewables she has led transactions securing more than $600 million in tax equity commitments and over $1 billion in debt commitments.

 Before joining the renewables industry, Thania was an Investment Banking Associate at Jefferies in their Latin America coverage team where she worked on transactions valued at approximately $2.6 billion across all products including IPOs, Mergers and Acquisitions, Restructurings and Bond Offerings.

 Thania holds a B.S. in Finance from the University of Utah.

Mike Umbro

Mike Umbro

Principal, FieldView Capital

Mike Umbro is an energy entrepreneur, investor, and environmental leader with over 15 years of experience in the energy sector. Mike is an investment banker by trade and continues to operate his boutique consulting firm, FieldView Capital Advisors, which has provided mergers and acquisitions advisory services exceeding $350 MM in transaction value to upstream exploration and production companies.

In 2018, Mike joined Premier Resource Management to develop energy projects on the West Side of the San Joaquin Valley of Kern county, California.

Mike has a passion for supporting domestic energy production, proudly serving as a California Ambassador for Energy Strong and co-hosting the Energy Strong Podcast with David Ramsden-Wood.

When not working on his energy projects or spreading the good news about domestic energy, Mike can be found hanging out at local San Diego beaches with his wife Jessika and three awesome kiddos.

Erec DeVost

Erec DeVost

Vice President, Permitting at Avantus

Erec has been in the energy industry for more than 15 years, where he’s helped develop and permit several clean energy projects in Kern County. At Avantus, Erec leads the team responsible for environmental permitting and land entitlement for the company’s project portfolio across California, Texas, and the Southwest region, now totaling more than 50 gigawatts (GW) of clean, reliable energy — enough to provide power for over 30 million people. He is currently involved in industry efforts to conserve western Joshua trees while also addressing climate change and helped pioneer Avantus’ Onyx Conservation Project, one of the largest mitigation projects in the nation, providing critical, permanent protection and enhancement of Mojave Desert plants and animals. When he’s not advancing Avantus’ portfolio, you can find him on the Kern River exercising the native trout population.
David Bernhardt - Keynote Speaker

David Bernhardt - Keynote Speaker

53rd Secretary of the Interior

David Bernhardt grew up in Rifle, Colorado. He is the only person to ever be confirmed by the U. S. Senate to serve as secretary of the Interior, deputy secretary (chief operations officer) and solicitor (chief legal officer) of the Department of the Interior in its 173 year history.

While serving as the 53rd secretary of the Department of the Interior, David led a U.S. cabinet department with an asset portfolio that exceeded $300 billion, a $16 billion annual budget and nearly 70,000 employees.

 A creative problem solver, David focused his efforts to further conservation stewardship, expand opportunities for access to hunt and fish on public lands, drive regulatory change and worked to enhance our nation’s energy independence. He led the Trump administration’s effort to enact the Great American Outdoors Act and President Trump tasked him with playing a key role on initiatives such as addressing the threat to the domestic supply chain from reliance on critical minerals from foreign adversaries and serving as co-chair of the One Trillion Trees Interagency Council.

 Before serving as secretary, David served as deputy secretary at Interior, where he led many significant initiatives ranging from: creating and implementing policies and practices to address a systemic culture of harassment in the workplace; modernizing business processes related to permitting authorizations and denials; dramatically improving the ethics program; and developing one of the most diverse leadership teams in the department’s history.

 Since leaving the Department, David returned to the practice of law, and is active in various charitable and business endeavors.

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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