Moderators and Panelists


Jackie Flowers, General Manager, Idaho Falls Power

Bio information to come.

Michael Hagood, Center for Advanced Energy Studies

Bio information to come.

John Kotek, Vice President for Policy Development and Public Affairs, Nuclear Energy Institute

John Kotek is responsible for providing policy and public affairs leadership on financial, economic, tax, electricity market and environmental issues related to the nuclear energy industry.

Kotek was appointed in January 2015 to the position of principal deputy assistant secretary for the Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE), and was nominated by President Obama in October 2015 to serve as assistant secretary for nuclear energy. In that role he was responsible for DOE’s research efforts on current and future nuclear energy systems, maintaining the government’s nuclear energy research infrastructure, establishing a path forward for the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and high-level nuclear waste management program and a host of other national priorities.

Prior to his appointment, Kotek was the managing partner of the Boise office of Gallatin Public Affairs. He advised energy, natural resources and other clients facing complex communication and government relations challenges.

From 2010-2012, Kotek served as staff director to the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, which recommended a new strategy for managing nuclear waste in the United States. He led the development of the Commission’s final report to the Secretary of Energy, engaged in regular communications with Congressional and White House staff and served as media spokesperson.

From 2003-2006, Kotek was deputy manager of the DOE’s Idaho Operations Office. He was responsible for development and management of the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) contract and interface with the INL cleanup effort. Before joining DOE in July 2003, Kotek worked for Argonne National Laboratory where he directed Argonne’s participation in the Generation IV technology roadmapping project, an international effort focused on evaluating and developing a next-generation of nuclear energy systems.

In 2002, Kotek was the American Nuclear Society’s Glenn T. Seaborg Congressional Fellow. He served in the Office of Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Kotek started his career with DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology. He held several positions during his nine years with DOE-NE, including associate director for technology, associate director for management and administration and chief of staff.

Kotek holds a bachelor of science in nuclear engineering from the University of Illinois and a master of business administration from the University of Maryland. He lives in Boise, Idaho with his wife Denise and their three children.

Dr. Mark A. Northam, Director, School of Energy Resources, University of Wyoming

Mark A. Northam is the founding Director of the School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming. He came to the university after a year and a half with Saudi Aramco in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia where he worked as a Research Science Consultant in the areas of Carbon Management and Technical Intelligence at the Research and Development Center. Prior to joining Saudi Aramco, Mark worked for over twenty years at Mobil and ExxonMobil, holding a variety of research, operations, and management positions in the US and Europe.

Mark earned a Ph.D. degree in Organic Geochemistry from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Wake Forest University. He is originally from Virginia.

 Jim Ogsbury, Executive Director, Western Governors Association

Jim Ogsbury was hired by the Governors in November 2012. He has over twenty years experience creating and implementing public policy, as well as designing successful lobbying, communications and public affairs strategies.

Prior to coming to WGA, Jim was the legislative director at the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, a voluntary association of all ninety-one municipalities in the State of Arizona. There he was responsible for development and execution of comprehensive political strategies concerning state legislation affecting cities and towns.

Jim also worked as Managing Principal, Washington Office Triadvocates, an Arizona-based public affairs firm, for Jones Walker as government relations counsel emphasizing federal appropriations and as subcommittee chief-of-staff on the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development of the United States House of Representatives, Committee on Appropriations.



Chris Colbert, Chief Strategy Officer, NuScale

Chris Colbert utilizes his extensive experience in project development to focus on the development and implementation of NuScale projects and strategic partnerships. Colbert held the position of Chief Operating Officer from September 2011 to July 2014.

Colbert joined NuScale from UniStar Nuclear Energy, LLC, where he was Senior Vice President for Projects and Services during 2007-2011. While at UniStar, Colbert was responsible for the deployment of the U.S. EPR at UniStar’s existing nuclear power plant sites at Calvert Cliffs (Maryland) and Nine Mile Point (New York). In addition, Colbert was responsible for the provision of licensing and other project development services to other U.S. EPR projects, ensuring that benefits of standardization were shared amongst the fleet of proposed U.S. EPRs.

Prior to UniStar, Colbert worked for GenPower, LLC, where he was Vice President of Coal Project Development during 2001 – 2007, focused on the development of the $2.2 Bn, 700MW Longview coal-fired power plant outside of Morgantown, WV. Prior to GenPower, Colbert held numerous positions within InterGen, and led or contributed to the development of over 6300 MW of fossil-fueled electricity generation projects during 1996-2000. Of note was his role as lead developer for the AUS$1.4 Bn, 840MW Millmerran Power Project and associated three million ton per annum coal mine located 200 km west of Brisbane, Australia.

Colbert began his career at GE Aircraft Engines as an Engineering Development Program Trainee, where he participated in a series of six-month assignments through a number of engineering areas. He then moved to General Electric Company as an audit manager, and later became a representative for Bechtel Financing Services, Inc., where he commenced work as a financial analyst, culminating in leading Bechtel’s participating in the $940 million project financing of the 740 MW Dabhol (Phase I) CCGT power project.

A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a B.S. in electrical engineering and a minor in computer science, Colbert received an M.B.A. from the Walter A. Haas School of Business in Berkeley, CA. He is also a chartered financial analyst.

Donald  Collins, CEO, Western Research Institute

Bio information to come.




Simon I


rish, CEO, Terrestrial Energy

Simon Irish is Chief Executive Officer of Terrestrial Energy Inc. He has 20 years of global investment banking and investment management experience in New York and London. He has a formal education in the quantitative sciences and quantitative finance, and has established and managed multi-billion-dollar alternative investment businesses in North America.

Mr. Irish is the former Head of Man Global Strategies (MGS) in North America, the strategic investment division of Man Group Plc, a leading global investment management business. During his tenure at Man, Mr. Irish was responsible for building and managing the largest and most active strategic investment and managed account business in North America. Mr. Irish was a member of the Investment Committee and responsible for corporate acquisition opportunities in North America for Man Group Plc. Mr. Irish began his banking career at Credit Suisse in London, and in 2001 moved to New York as Director of FRM, the London based investment firm, to establish its U.S. business.

Mr. Irish holds an MA in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University and an MSc in Finance from the London Business School.

Dan James, Deputy Administrator, Bonneville Power Administration

As deputy administrator, James is responsible for leadership, strategic planning, financial management, and regulatory affairs as well as intergovernmental and public affairs oversight. He oversees and provides direction and guidance for program execution and administration to executive vice presidents, vice presidents and managers of Corporate Strategy, Finance, Communications, Intergovernmental Affairs, the Ombudsman, and Compliance, Audit and Risk.

Prior to joining BPA, James had served as vice president of public affairs and marketing for PNGC Power since 2007.

Prior to his PNGC experience, James worked as a federal affairs representative at Pacific Northwest Waterways Association in Vancouver, Wash., and as a senior government relations specialist at Ball Janik LLP in Portland and Washington, D.C.

James is also a member of the National Preference Customer Committee of the National Electric Cooperative Association and is a senior fellow of the Oregon chapter of the American Leadership Forum.

James grew up in western Montana near Flathead Lake. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore., in 1987 and remains a faithful follower of the university’s football team to this day. He also earned a utility management certificate from Willamette University in Portland in 2015. He has served on boards for such community organizations as United Way of Columbia-Willamette, Pacific University, Oregon Wave Energy Trust and the Pacific Youth Choir. He lives in Northeast Portland with his spouse and two teenage daughters.

Dr. Mark Peters, Director, Idaho National Laboratory

Dr. Mark Peters is the director of Idaho National Laboratory with responsibilities for management and integration of a large, multipurpose laboratory whose mission focuses on nuclear energy, national and homeland security, and energy and environmental science and technology. He manages this U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory of more than 4,000 scientists, engineers and support staff in multiple nuclear and non-nuclear experimental facilities, with an annual budget of over $900 million. Peters also serves as a senior adviser to the Department of Energy on nuclear energy technologies, research and development programs, and nuclear waste policy. As a recognized expert in nuclear fuel cycle technologies and nuclear waste management, he is called upon frequently to provide expert testimony to Congress and to advise in formulation of policies for nuclear fuel cycles, nonproliferation and nuclear waste disposal. Peters was honored in 2015 as a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) for outstanding accomplishments in the area of nuclear science and technology.

Previously, Peters was the associate laboratory director for Energy and Global Security at Argonne National Laboratory. He was responsible for the management and integration of the laboratory’s energy and global security programs. As the associate laboratory director, he managed an organization of more than 800 staff with an annual budget of more than $250 million. Prior to that, in his position as deputy laboratory director for Programs at Argonne, he was responsible for the management and integration of the laboratory’s science and technology portfolio, strategic planning, Laboratory Directed Research and Development program, and technology development and commercialization. In an earlier role as a deputy associate laboratory director for Energy Sciences and Engineering, he was responsible for the development of new program opportunities at the laboratory, particularly in the area of energy storage, nuclear storage, nuclear energy, nuclear safety and waste management. He serves as an expert adviser to the DOE Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI) and as the AFCI National Campaign director for Waste Forms and Used Fuel Disposition.

Peters earned his doctorate in geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago and his bachelor’s in geology from Auburn University. He has undertaken extensive management and leadership education and training, including completion of the Strategic Laboratory Leadership Program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Douglas Sayer, Chief Business Officer, Premier Technology

Douglas Sayer is the Chief Business Officer at Premier Technology, Inc. Doug co-founded the company in 1996, with a pick-up truck and one employee. As CBO, Doug is heavily involved in the vision and future of the company. Doug offers over twenty-seven years of experience in the manufacturing industry, and he has a unique ability to create solutions to problems, which is an important aspect to Premier’s success. Doug’s combined innate engineering mind blended with his entrepreneurial spirit makes him perfect for his role in the history of Premier, as well as the future.

Doug also serves as President of the company’s Board of Directors. Doug currently volunteers his time serving as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Wild Sheep Foundation and The Idaho Governor’s Cup Scholarship Fund. He is also involved with local committees dedicated to Eastern Idaho economic development and is an advocate for higher education.

Doug enjoys restoring old cars, wildlife conservation, hunting, traveling, and being active in his local politics and community. He also has two daughters and five grandchildren.