Our August 2020 speakers were:

Hon Dr Megan Woods

Spokesperson for Energy
Labour Party

Hon Dr Megan Woods is a Christchurch local, and has been the Member of Parliament for Wigram since 2011. Following the 2017 election, Megan was sworn in as a Minister of the Crown with portfolio responsibilities including the Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Energy and Resources, Research, Science and Innovation, and responsibility for the Earthquake Commission.

John Clarke

General Manager Grid Development

John was re-appointed General Manager Grid Development in 2020, following a period as General Manager Operations which he held from 2014. John was General Manager Grid Development from 2008-2014, and had previously spent ten years in senior roles within our System Operator division.

His earlier career in the New Zealand electricity sector has included roles in distribution and electrical engineering consulting. John holds a BE in Electrical Engineering.

Ben Vanderwaal

Ernst & Young

Ben is a Partner in EY's Strategy and Transactions practice in Oceania, specialising in modelling technical, economic, commercial, regulatory and policy impacts in the energy sector.

Spiro Anastasiou


Spiro is a strategic communication specialist and also heads SenateSHJ’s government relations practice. His strength is his experience in building successful working relationships and a proven track record in stakeholder relations, change, issues and crisis management.

He joined SenateSHJ from the Ministry of Health, where he was Strategic Communications Manager. In this role he led the Ministry’s communication during the swine flu pandemic and was seconded to the government’s response to the Christchurch earthquakes.

Warwick O'Dell

Manager, Australia Pacific - Microgrid & Storage Solutions

With a passion for science & technology Warwick’s always been close to innovative and emerging technologies. Over the past 15 years, Warwick’s devoted himself to energy market, data analytics and renewable energy solutions with particular interest in energy storage.

Warwick Joined Aggreko in 2019 and leads the Aggreko Hybrid Microgrid & Storage initiatives throughout Australia and the Pacific.

Grenville Gaskell

Chief Executive
New Zealand Wind Energy Association

Grenville Gaskell joined the New Zealand Wind Energy Association in May 2016.

Linda Thompson

Global Sustainability Energy Manager

Linda Thompson is the Head of Operational Energy & Climate in Fonterra’s Global Sustainability team. Linda grew up on a sheep and beef farm in rural New Zealand, which embedded a passion for the land and agriculture. Linda gets to pursue both of these passions in both her professional and personal life.

Sara Carter

Adroit SEI

Sara Carter is a regulatory policy strategist with 18 years’ experience in regulated industries across both Australia and New Zealand. She has had a contrasting career having worked for both regulated suppliers and the regulator and has recently jumped into a new challenge by starting her own consultancy, Adroit SEI.

Sara is well known for her willingness to tackle the controversial head on through effective and impactful communication. 

Nigel Chang

NZ Business Manager
Century Yuasa

Nigel has been part of the battery industry for more than 10 years working predominately in markets of Utility & Distribution, Renewable Energy and UPS markets.

Joining Century Yuasa’s Power Systems division 5 years ago, Nigel was tasked with developing and strengthening their already strong position within the New Zealand energy sector with new and innovative battery technologies.

Richard Hobbs

General Manager Strategy

Richard joined Transpower in July 2019 to head up the Strategy division. Prior to this role, Richard was based in Sydney where he worked as Investment Manager for Spark Infrastructure.

Previously, he held roles at the Boston Consulting Group, Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Markets. Richard holds a Masters in Business Administration with distinction from the University of Oxford's Saïd Business School.

Graeme Peters

Chief Executive
Electricity Networks Association

Graeme Peters is the chief executive of the Electricity Networks Association. A trained electrical engineer, Graeme has 17 years’ experience in senior advocacy roles, including representing farmers, manufacturers and retailers. He is an experienced communications professional with a background in financial and political journalism.

Tina Schirr

Executive Director
Business NZ Energy Council

Tina Schirr has a broad range of international experience in the energy sector. She is the executive director of the BusinessNZ Energy Council (New Zealand member committee of the World Energy Council), where she is responsible for the development of Business New Zealand policy on all matters relating to energy, transport and innovation.

Tina is an advisor to New Zealand’s Young Energy Professional Network. Due to her passion for entrepreneurism, she is always looking out for the next game-changer in the energy sector.

Paul Goodeve

Chief Executive
First Gas

Paul joined First Gas as CEO in June 2016 after more than a decade in a variety of roles at New Zealand’s second largest electricity and gas lines business, Powerco. Paul’s last role with Powerco was General Manager Operations Support.

In this position Paul led a team of more than 100 staff responsible for developing the company’s information technology, network information, and facility management systems. Paul’s team was also tasked with corporate affairs, as well as business and technology opportunities development.

Hamish Reid

Director of Sustainability and Brand

Hamish Reid is Synlait’s Director of Sustainability and Brand. He has deep experience in food and beverage marketing, predominantly for Danone in Paris and Saatchi & Saatchi in London.

Andrew Knight

Chief Executive
Gas Industry

Andrew Knight is the Chief Executive of Gas Industry Company. 

Prior to that Andrew was the Managing Director and Chief Executive of New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZOG). He has also previously held Board or executive management roles with Powerco, Vector, Natural Gas Corporation, The Australian Gas Light Company and Fletcher Challenge Energy.  

Dr Dermott McMeel

Senior Lecturer – Design and Digital Media
University of Auckland

Dr Dermott McMeel received degrees in Architecture from the Queens University in Belfast (1995, 1999) and a PhD (The Artistry of Construction) from the University of Edinburgh (2009). He is currently a senior lecturer with the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland.

Brigitte Colombo

Chief Information Officer

Brigitte has twenty-five years of experience in the information technology industry in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia.  She joined Powerco as Chief Information Officer in 2017 and is responsible for delivering the company’s digital transformation including new ERP, ADMS and IT Transformation strategies.

Simon Skillings

Trilemma UK

Simon Skillings is Director of Trilemma UK Ltd and has over 35 years experience in the UK energy market. Much of this time has been spent developing business strategy and influencing regulatory and policy frameworks including 5 years spent as Director of Strategy and Energy Policy at E.ON UK. He can bring unparalleled insights to help companies win in the competitive market and ensure Governments and regulators implement effective policy interventions. He is currently a senior associate with environmental think-tank E3G and a teaching associate at Warwick Business School.

James T. Gallagher

Executive Director
New York State Smart Grid Consortium

James Gallagher brings more than 40 years of energy policy and power industry experience to his role as Executive Director of the New York State Smart Grid Consortium, which he joined in April 2013.  As Executive Director, he oversees the statewide implementation of a safe, secure, and reliable “smart grid,” and most recently led the consortium’s efforts to assist Puerto Rico in developing a long-term grid roadmap following the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

Marc England

Chief Executive
Genesis Energy

Marc joined Genesis in May 2016. He is responsible for the leadership, strategic direction and management of all its business interests. Prior to joining Genesis, Marc was Executive General Manager New Energy at AGL Energy in Australia and also previously held the role of Group Head of Strategy there. Marc has 12 years’ experience in the sector across three markets having also worked at British Gas, a subsidiary of Centrica Plc, in the UK from 2007.

Alison Andrew

Chief Executive

Alison joined Transpower in 2014. She has held a number of senior executive roles across various industry sectors, most recently as Global Head of Chemicals for Orica PLC.  She is a Director for Port of Tauranga, and has been a Director for Genesis Energy.  

Prior to these roles, she held a number of senior roles at Fonterra Cooperative Group and across the Fletcher Challenge Group in Energy, Forests and Paper.  Alison has a MBA from Warwick University, and studied Engineering (Chemicals and Materials) at Auckland University.

Greg Skelton

Chief Executive
Wellington Electricity

Greg has been CEO at Wellington Electricity Lines Limited (WELL) since 2009 and entered the industry in 1991 completing a variety of engineering and management roles across the distribution sector.

Greg has recently completed a transitional director role at UDL, on behalf of ENA and ERANZ and is currently a member of the Security and Reliability Council, which provides independent advice to the Electricity Authority with regard to reliability of supply, electricity system performance and system operation.

Jason Paris

Chief Executive

Vodafone New Zealand Limited operates as a telecom service provider. The Company provides mobile networks, online television, broadband, and other related services, as well as retails mobile phones and accessories. Vodafone New Zealand serves customers worldwide.  

Jason has been Chief Executive since November 2018.

Ryno Verster

General Manager: Asset Strategy and Investment

Mr Verster heads the asset management of Powerco’s electricity network business, with responsibility for the company’s asset management strategy and network investment plans.  He is also responsible for overseeing the transformation of the electricity network in response to emerging energy options and opportunities.

Toby Stevenson

Consulting Director
Sapere Research Group

Toby is a Consulting Director with international economics consulting firm Sapere Research Group. His expert area is electricity trading and risk management and he established himself as an independent energy consultant in 2004. Toby was the General Manager Electricity Trading at Contact Energy from its inception in 1996 to 2003 and has held a number of industry governance positions.

Gareth Hughes

Spokesperson for Energy and Resources
Green Party

Gareth is the Greens spokesperson for energy and resources, ICT, primary industries, commerce and consumer affairs, bio-security, food safety, tourism, animal welfare, technology & R&D and Wellington issues.
His professional background was at Greenpeace where he sailed on the Rainbow Warrior and coordinated New Zealand’s largest climate change campaign Sign On in 2009.
Gareth entered Parliament as the youngest MP in 2010 and is currently the longest-serving Green MP.

Colin Cunliff

Senior Policy Analyst
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Colin Cunliff is a senior policy analyst in clean energy innovation policy at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a non-partisan think tank and research organization. He previously worked at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on climate mitigation and energy sector resilience. At DOE, he contributed to the Quadrennial Energy Review: Transforming the Nation’s Electricity System, a national roadmap to modernize the U.S. electricity system.

Andrew Caseley

Chief Executive

Andrew has held executive leadership roles in both the public and private sectors. Previously he worked for MWH, a global engineering and environmental consultancy. For most of this time he was the Managing Director of the New Zealand business; but he was also the Operations Director for Australia and New Zealand while filling various roles in Indonesia and Fiji.

Prior to this he was Chief Executive Officer of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council for 13 years.

James Stevenson-Wallace

Chief Executive
Electricity Authority

James joined the Authority as Chief Executive in September 2018. Over the past 10 years James has held various senior public sector management and advisory roles focused on industry and resource development across the primary and extractive sectors. He is experienced in organisational development, policy formation, operational service delivery, and compliance and enforcement. Prior to the Authority James was General Manager Energy and Resources at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

David Seymour

ACT Party

David Seymour is the MP for Epsom, Leader of the ACT Party, and Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister of Education and the Minister of Regulatory Reform.

Before entering Parliament David was a researcher, speaker, and writer focusing on economic and public policy concepts while working in Canada and New Zealand. He has published op-eds in major dailies, appeared on radio and TV, and published a book on public policy.  In 2015 was offered promotion to being a minister by John Key but turned it down in order to pursue a private member’s bill on euthanasia.

Sheridan Broadbent


Sheridan was the Chief Executive of lines company Counties Power, and is currently deputy chair of Kordia, a board member of Transpower, NZTA, Timberlands and is chair of smart meter analytics company Ampli.

Sheridan’s executive career has largely been in telecommunications, contracting and the IT sectors in NZ, Australia and the Pacific region, joining the energy sector in 2010 in an executive role with Genesis Energy. 

John Hancock

Signature Consulting

John Hancock is an independent consultant to utility companies and their suppliers, drawing on his valuable combination of deep experience in both technology and deregulation as key dimensions of the strategic environment in the sector. He has a 20 year career in the utilities industry including 14 years with Ernst & Young, Capgemini and Hewlett Packard (HP) in the Asia Pacific. John has worked with over 50 clients in the utility industry across 11 countries.

Jonathan Young

Spokesperson for Energy and Resources and MP for New Plymouth
National Party

New Plymouth MP Young, regained his seat in the 2017 General Election with a majority of 7276 votes, is the energy and resources spokesperson for the National Party.

The role comprises not just oil and gas but the electrical sector, gold mining and any other extractive industry.