BEST FEST features a diverse lineup of speakers working at the frontiers of clean technology innovation and investment. These women and men range from university researchers and independent innovators, to investors, entrepreneurs, and industry experts who are collaborating in diverse ways to enable and advance a more sustainable economy for the future. 

JULIE HARRELSON | Cascade Angels
JASON CLAY | World Wildlife Foundation
KATE GORDON | Paulson Institute
KIRK WASHINGTON | Yaletown Venture Partners
JOHN MOEHL | Aquaculture Expert
ALISON SHAW | Element 8 Angels
MINAL MISTRY | Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
GREGG SEMLER | InPipe Energy
MARTIN MULVIHILL | Safer Made Ventures
JEFF DENBY | The Renewal Workshop
SIMON FOWLER | Portland State University
CLIVE KAISER | Oregon State University
GIL SYLVIA | Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station
SAL D'AURIA | Ventacity
JULIA SONG | Energy Storage Systems
PAUL EHRLICH | Pacific NorthWest National Laboratory
ERIC STEINMEYER | Focal Technologies
DAVID STONE | OSU Food Innovation Center
SERI ROBINSON | Oregon State University
MAT FRANKEN | Aunt Fannie's
CHRIS HARDER | Business Oregon

Speaker Bios


We are grateful to have Julie as our engaging Master of Ceremonies for Oregon BEST FEST 2017!

Julie Harrelson, CEO, HGI, Fund Manager, Cascade Angels is an entrepreneur and investor in Oregon’s startup community. She has navigated multiple executive roles in design, technology, and angel investing and co-founded Cascade Angels Fund in Bend in 2013 with a group of entrepreneurs and investors. Cascade Angels Fund invests in launch stage companies based in Oregon and has deployed over $2M in 15 companies.

Harrelson is invited to speak at industry conferences and events and has presented “Best Practices in Angel Investing” at the international Angel Capital Association Summit. Every month she emcees a popular Pubtalk sponsored by Economic Development of Central Oregon (EDCO) attended by 200-300 entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders. Bend's 2017 Woman of the Year and a  2014 Woman of Influence Award winner, Julie is an active member of the Angel Capital Association and serves on the board of the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator, the Board of Advisory Directors of the Central & Eastern Oregon Region of U.S. Bank,  and is a member of the honorary council of the Center for Women’s Leadership at Portland State University.

More about Cascade Angels

KATE GORDON | Paulson Institute

Fireside Chat 1: Tales From the Cleantech Frontier

Kate Gordon is a Senior Advisor at the Paulson Institute, where she provides strategic support on issues related to climate change and sustainable economic growth. She is also a nonresident Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal as one of the paper’s “Energy Experts.”

Gordon is a nationally recognized expert on the intersection of clean energy and economic development. Before joining the Paulson Institute, she was the Founding Director of the “Risky Business Project,” co-chaired by Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson, and Tom Steyer, and focused on the economic risks the U.S. faces from unmitigated climate change. Gordon took on this project in her role as Senior Vice President for Climate and Energy at Next Generation, a non-partisan think tank based in San Francisco, where she worked on California policy development as well as large-scale national communications and research projects.

Earlier in her career Gordon served as Vice President of Energy and Environment at the Washington D.C.-based Center for American Progress, where she helped develop and author policy recommendations and Congressional testimony related to the cap-and-trade negotiations, Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and American Reinvestment and Recovery Act implementation. Prior to CAP, Gordon was the Co-Executive Director of the national Apollo Alliance (now part of the Blue Green Alliance). She serves on the non-profit boards of Vote Solar, Center for Carbon Removal, and the American Jobs Project.

Gordon earned a law degree and a master’s degree in city planning from the University of California-Berkeley, and an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University.

Energy & Climate. Green Jobs Movement. Strategy

More about Paulson Institute


Fireside Chat 1: Tales From the Cleantech Frontier

Marc is a Part­ner at DBL Part­ners. Marc is a member of the firm’s investment committee and an active investor and director. Prior to DBL Part­ners, Marc was a Gen­eral Part­ner at Tech­nol­ogy Part­ners, since join­ing the firm in 2012. Marc’s ven­ture invest­ing career began early last decade where he spent 6 years as a Man­ag­ing Direc­tor at Van­tage­Point Cap­i­tal also focused in energy and advanced tech­nol­ogy invest­ments.

Dur­ing Marc’s 10 years in ven­ture invest­ing he has backed numer­ous suc­cess­ful com­pa­nies in the mate­r­ial sci­ence and energy effi­ciency land­scape such as Bridgelux, Amprius, iWatt, Kinetic, Liquid Robotics and Kaiam Inc.

Prior to his ven­ture cap­i­tal career Marc spent 25 years in both ven­ture backed star­tups and multi-national pub­lic com­pa­nies here in Sil­i­con Val­ley and abroad.

Marc is a grad­u­ate of Santa Clara Uni­ver­sity with a degree in Elec­tri­cal Engi­neer­ing with an empha­sis on high energy physics. Marc is active at Santa Clara; serv­ing on the board of the Busi­ness Schools accred­ited Cen­ter of inno­va­tion and Entre­pre­neur­ship. Marc was also recently selected to be the Chairman of the Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Board of Santa Clara’s Engi­neer­ing school and serves as an advisor to University of California at Davis’ center for innovation.

Cleantech Investments. Technology. Venture Capital. 

More about DBL Partners

CHRIS HARDER | Business Oregon

Fireside Chat 2: Innovation at the Intersection of Cleantech & Strategy Industry Sectors (Co-Moderator)

Chris Harder is Director of Business Oregon, appointed by Governor Kate Brown in March of 2016. Chris leads the agency in its work to help businesses grow in Oregon and see that economic opportunity is reaching each corner of the state. An Oregon native, Chris most recently served as economic development director at the Portland Development Commission, the city of Portland's economic development agency. He managed the Business & Industry Division and led Portland's efforts to support entrepreneurship, innovation and trade. Previously, Chris was the Director of Economic Analysis for the North Carolina Department of Commerce and a Senior Budget Analyst in the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management.

Chris has master's degrees in City and Regional Planning and Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Puget Sound.

Innovation. Economic Development. Leadership.

More about Business Oregon

JASON CLAY | World Wildlife Fund

Fireside Chat 2: Natural Resources

Jason Clay, Senior Vice President for Markets and Food at World Wildlife Fund, works with some of the world’s largest companies to reduce their impact on the environment. In addition to his work with WWF, he is the author of 20 books and is National Geographic’s first-ever Food and Sustainability Fellow. Clay created one of the first US fair-trade ecolabels and has been involved in developing many other standards for commodities such as cotton, shrimp and sugarcane. Early in his career, Clay received a PhD in Anthropology and International Agriculture as a result of his interest in sustainability from working on and then running the family farm. Over the course of his career,he worked with the US Department of Agriculture, taught at Harvard and Yale and was awarded the 2012 James Beard Award for his work on global food sustainability. He spent 15 years working on human rights with indigenous people, refugees and famine victims.

Natural Resources. AgTech

More about WWF

JEFF DENBY | The Renewal Workshop

Fireside Chat 2: Active Lifestyle

Jeff Denby is the co-Founder of The Renewal Workshop, a company offering industry-wide solutions to transform the apparel industry into a circular economy.  The Renewal Workshop partners with apparel brands to refurbish their unsellable returns and excess inventory at its own state-of-the-art factory in Oregon, creating the category of Renewed Apparel.

Renewed Apparel. Waste Solutions. Sustainability.

More about The Renewal Workshop

AARON FOX | Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership

Fireside Chat 2: Advanced Manufacturing

As OMEP's President, Aaron Fox leverages his 17 years of management and manufacturing experience to help Oregon manufacturing companies become more competitive in the global marketplace. With a proven track record of driving excellence and achievement through his shoulder-to-shoulder leadership approach, Aaron works with OMEP staff and clients to implement leading edge strategies aimed at world class performance.

Manufacturing Strategy. Innovation. Leadership.

More about OMEP

JOHN MOEHL | Realising Expectations

Afternoon Session 1: Eat, Drink, and Be Sustainable

John Moehl, a native Oregonian, has spent more than four decades working in the field of aquaculture; starting as a Peace Corps Volunteer and, prior to his current advisory role, finishing as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Senior Aquaculture Officer for the Africa Region. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State along with Masters and PhD degrees from Auburn University.

Advanced Agriculture.  Aquaculture. Advisor.

DAVID STONE | OSU Food Innovation Center

Afternoon Session 1: Eat, Drink, and Be Sustainable

Dr. Dave Stone is the Director of the Food Innovation Center, an Oregon State University Agricultural Station, located in downtown Portland. His Center is engaged with diverse clients across the World in new product development, sensory evaluation and food safety research to support the Northwest food and beverage industry.  

Food Safety. Innovation Research. Food & Beverage Industry.

More about the OSU Food Innovation Center

GIL SYLVIA | Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station

Afternoon Session 1: Eat, Drink, and Be Sustainable

Gil Sylvia is a Marine Resource Economist, Director of the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station (COMES), and Professor in the Department of Applied Economics, Oregon State University.  His research focuses on fishery and aquaculture management and policy, seafood marketing, and bioeconomic modeling.

Economics. Marine sector. Management.

More about the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station

CLIVE KAISER | Oregon State University

Afternoon Session 1: Eat, Drink, and Be Sustainable

Dr. Clive Kaiser is an applied research scientist who has lived in five countries on four continents and worked on pre- and postharvest physiology of fruit and nut crops. Throughout his career, he has pioneered several techniques that preserve fruit quality and extend shelf life of sweet cherries, macadamia nuts, avocados and litchi fruit. His research on Biofilms at Oregon State University has resulted in a US Patent and his latest research simulating xerophytic cuticles is yielding positive results for reducing irrigation water in plant production systems.

Research Science. Advanced Agriculture. 

More about OSU-Department of Agriculture

JULIA SONG | Energy Storage Systems

Afternoon Session 1: Making Big Better

Dr. Song, a co-founder of ESS, formally joined ESS in April of 2012 as the Chief Technology Officer. In this position, she has spearheaded the transition of the Iron Flow Battery technology to becoming a commercial energy storage system. Prior to joining ESS, Dr. Song was the Vice President of Research and Development at ClearEdge Power Inc., where she led over 20 cross-functional scientists and engineers on all corporate R&D projects and the commercialization of the 5kW Combined Heat and Power Fuel Cell system. Dr. Song started her career at Milliken & Co. as an Industrial Research Chemist.

Dr. Song has authored approximately 20 peer-reviewed publications and over 10 patents and patent applications. Dr. Song holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Peking University and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She specializes in fuel cells, batteries, electrochemistry and the catalysis properties of nanoparticles.

Fuel Cells. Big Batteries. Energy Solutions.

More about ESS


Afternoon Session 1: Making Big Better

Dr. Paul E. King is the co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ampere Scientific where his responsibilities include strategic, financial, operational and technical success of the VARmetric TM product line. Previously, he was the Director of Strategic Partnerships,
Outreach and Education for the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) where he led all activities related to the development of growth and partnerships for the lab, including intellectual property management, technology transfer, business development, education and international relations at all five NETL locations.

Advanced Manufacturing. Development. Tech Transfer.

More about AmpSci


Afternoon Session 1: Making Big Better (Moderator)

David Mayhew is Chief Investment Officer for GE Ventures.  As a member of the Investment Committee and Senior Leadership Team, David is responsible for portfolio management and capital allocation, providing strategic oversight and guidance for the organization, helping to minimize investment risk and maximize GE Ventures' strategic goals. David brings over 20 years of finance and risk management experience to the team, most recently as the Chief Risk Officer for GE Capital in Australia and New Zealand. Prior to that David was the global risk head for Deutsche Bank’s leveraged credit activities. David has extensive experience in private equity, structured finance and commercial finance transactions, and portfolio management. Originally from Toronto, Canada, he holds an MBA from York University and a Bachelors degree in finance from the University of Western Ontario.

Strategy. Growing Companies. Portfolio Management.

More about GE Ventures

KAITLYN MCNAUGHTON | Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center

Afternoon Session 1: Making Big Better

Kaitlyn McNaughton is Board Secretary for the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center in Scappoose, Oregon. One of the Industry partners, she is currently Director of Engineering and R&D Labs at Blount International, a global manufacturer and marketer of replacement parts, equipment, and accessories for the markets of forestry, lawn, garden, farm, ranch, agriculture, and concrete cutting and finishing.

Advanced Manufacturing. Collaboration. Industry.

More about OMIC

GREGG SEMLER | InPipe Energy

Afternoon Session 1: Be Cool

Gregg Semler, InPipe Energy’s founder, president and CEO, is a veteran entrepreneurial leader with extensive experience in the clean energy and water sectors.  He loves building companies.  Since 2000, he has led efforts to create and implement business and financing strategies for successful commercialization of products into energy markets.   In 2007, he was the co-founder of Pivotal Investments, the first venture capital fund in the NorthWest to invest in the sustainable economy.   In 2011, he was recruited to Lucid Energy, where he led the effort to commercialize the first urban-based hydro project in Portland, Oregon USA.  In 2016, Gregg founded InPipe Energy to focus on what he sees as the untapped opportunity to recapture energy in water pipelines to improve energy and water security for cities around the world.  This new source of clean, low cost electricity, helps improve the economics of water management, provides a hedge against rising energy and water costs and reduces carbon emissions.  Gregg earned his BA from Columbia University in New York and his MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School. 

More about InPipe Energy


Afternoon Session 1: Be Cool

Founding CEO and President of Northwest Renewable Energy Corp. Over 30 years of experience in the HVAC and roofing industry.

More about NorthWest Renewable Energy Corp

ALISON SHAW | Element 8

Afternoon Session 1: Be Cool (Moderator)

Alison Shaw brings her marketing savvy to Element 8’s Outreach committee. She also contributes the slightly different perspective of a fledgling angel investor learning how to translate an enthusiasm for cleantech innovations into action. This is a valuable perspective for the Board as it expands its membership, all of whom want to quickly move up the learning curve of a pretty unique investment niche.

Alison spent over a decade at Microsoft Corporation in a variety of technical, marketing, and senior management positions. Since leaving the corporate world some time ago, she served as the founding Chair of KidsQuest Children’s Museum and drove its inception – her 8 year baptism by fire into the start-up world.  Alison has been an active community volunteer with various non-profit groups, particularly Social Venture Partners and Hopelink, as well as a long-time advocate for quality public schools.

Alison has an Honours B. Math from the University of Waterloo in Canada and an M.B.A. from the University of British Columbia. Her first cleantech investment was a Tesla Sedan, and she smiles every time she plugs it in or accelerates around a curve.

More about Element 8

SIMON FOWLER | Portland State University

Afternoon Session 2: Water Re-Imagined 

Simon recently received his Ph.D. in Applied Physics for research on photocatalytic water purification. He has significant education and skills in: research, experimental design, physics, engineering, chemistry, project management, grant writing, budgeting, leadership, teaching, public speaking, documentation, data analysis, material analysis, electron microscopy, CAD drawing, and numerical simulation.

Water Purification

More about the PSU-Dr. Jiao Lab


Afternoon Session 2: Internet of (cleantech)Things

Sce started her career in the 90s in Silicon Valley, designing and developing the 1st ecommerce sites for GM, HP, Blue Cross and others. Later she helped create security protocols for the Internet at VeriSign and pioneer smart phones at Palm. In 2007, Sce started her own company, Citizen, Inc, the 7th fastest growing company in Oregon which focuses on Internet of Things (IoT) products such as connected cars and connected health. While developing IoT products for these industries, she realized that there was a lack of enterprise-level Smart Apartment solution designed specifically for the Multi-Family-Home Industry. In 2014, she founded IOTAS, a smart apartment hardware and software technology company to help the MFH industry increase revenue, save costs, gather insights & monetize data from their portfolios. IOTAS has been recognized by Fortune, Wired, Gigaom, ABC, NBC, Chicago Tribune and more as the new way of automating apartments to attract Millennials. Sce has spoken at Health 2.0, TechFest NW, WebVisions, and numerous energy and MFH related conferences such as NAA and BISNOW on the impact of to the real estate and energy industries.

Internet of Things. Multi-family Home Solutions. Energy.

More about IOTAS

SAL D'AURIA | Ventacity

Afternoon Session 2: Internet of (cleantech)Things

Salvatore D’Auria has experience in a number of technology areas  including Computers, Networking, Telecommunications, Software,  and  HVAC. He  has  held  management  positions  at Hewlett Packard and Central  Point Software,  was  CEO  of  Tut Systems Inc., and  is  currently  the CEO of Ventacity Systems Inc. a company developing new products  that  make  commercial  buildings healthier, more  efficient, and  smarter.

HVAC. Efficient Buildings. Sensor Networks.

More about Ventacity

PAUL EHRLICH | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Afternoon Session 2: Internet of (cleantech)Things

Paul has a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas. After spending 20 years in industry with leading building controls and HVAC companies, he formed the Building Intelligence Group LLC an independent consultancy, whose primary purpose was to support and promote the delivery of high performance buildings. Services included systems assessment, master planning, training, and design for intelligent and sustainable building systems with a focus is in the areas of integrated systems, facility operations and enterprise management.

Throughout his career, Paul has been actively involved with industry groups focused on the creation of new automation standards and technologies. Previous roles include chairing the BACnet sub-committee on interoperability, and acting as the inaugural chair for the oBIX committee to establish XML standards for building controls. He is currently a member of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) advisory council. Paul will be located in the PNNL offices in Portland starting in early November 2016.

Intel IoT Expert, Big Data Analytics

More about PNNL


Afternoon Session 2: Internet of (cleantech)Things (Moderator)

Rob McIntosh is the Vice President, Corporate Development at Autodesk, Inc.  Autodesk, a $2.5b+ revenue company, makes software for people who make things.  Everyone—from design professionals, engineers and architects to digital artists, students and hobbyists—uses Autodesk software to unlock their creativity and solve important challenges.  Completing over 100 acquisitions and 30 investments at Autodesk, he leads all acquisitions/integrations and also manages two $100m strategic venture funds on behalf of Autodesk.  Previously, he ran strategy, acquisitions and various operational activities for Autodesk’s largest division.  Prior to Autodesk, he was a co-founder of ArrowPath Venture Partners, a $400m venture fund investing in early-stage technology companies.  Prior experience includes roles at E*TRADE Financial and an early career in investment banking.  Rob earned his BA from Claremont McKenna College and his MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern.

Design Software. 3D Design. Advanced Manufacturing.

More about Autodesk


Afternoon Session 2: Better Products Through Green Chemistry

Minal Mistry is the business initiatives lead with the Oregon DEQ. He is working to develop approaches and tool kit that help companies to make informed choices about materials to improve product design and stewardship. This includes considering environmental and human health implications early in the design process by applying life cycle assessment (LCA) and green chemistry principles.

Life Cycle Assessment. Environmental Impact. Materials Chemistry.

More about Oregon DEQ

MARTIN MULVIHILL | Safer Made Ventures

Afternoon Session 2: Better Products Through Green Chemistry (Moderator)

Marty Mulvihill is the co-founder and a partner in Safer Made, a mission-driven venture capital fund investing companies and technologies that reduce human exposure to harmful chemicals. Marty is also a researcher and advisor at the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry, which he helped create and where he served as the founding initial Executive Director from 2010-2015. 

Marty Mulvihill received his Ph.D. in 2009 from the University of California, Berkeley in Chemistry and Nanoscience. Marty’s research and work have focused on developing technologies that help provide access to clean drinking water and the creation of safer chemicals and materials based on biological feedstocks. He has a number of publications and patents related to the detection of arsenic in drinking water, and he has developed safer chemicals and materials for the personal care, construction, electronics, and textile industries.

Safer Chemicals. Chemistry. Investment.

More about Safer Made

MAT FRANKEN | Aunt Fannie's

Afternoon Session 2: Better Products Through Green Chemistry

Mat Franken is the Founder and CEO at Aunt Fannie's. Aunt Fannie's improves the health of indoor microbiomes like homes and offices by creating biodynamic, evolutionarily adapted cleaning and pest solutions from unique, whole food ingredients.

All natural brands use synthetic plant-based or plant-derived ingredients labeled as 'natural'. Aunt Fannie's formulations are modernized, microbiomic, and millions of years in the making. Created from 95%+ unique, whole food ingredients which have evolved along with humans over millennia, our formulations are rated best in class as the healthiest and safest option for our families, friends, and colleagues.

Each of us, along with our loved ones and in our homes, are our own microbiome with billions of invisible allies that keep us safe and strong. Aunt Fannie's fosters these old friends. We help make your indoors come alive again, bringing people and health back home to the biome. 

Pest Solutions. Plant-derived Technology. Safe Chemicals.

More about Aunt Fannie's

SERI ROBINSON | OSU-College of Forestry

Afternoon Session 2: Better Products Through Green Chemistry

An Assistant Professor for OSU-College of Forestry, Dr. Robinson’s research interests include wood anatomy, fungal decay, renewable pigments, and wood sculpture. Her work bridges between art and science, retooling ancient art wood practices for modern uses such as solar cells and fabric dyes.

Art. Wood Anatomy. Science.

More about OSU's College of Forestry