2022, April 15

FSEC Advisory Board Meeting

April 15, 2022
9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
In Person Meeting with Remote Option via GoToMeeting


Time Description Speaker
9:30 a.m. Welcome Watch the recording Chris Castro, Chair, FSEC Advisory Board; Director, Office of Sustainability & Resilience, City of Orlando
Introductions – Advisory Board Members Roll Call
Recognition of UCF President Cartwright
Sherri Shields, Director, Communications & Marketing, FSEC
9:50 a.m. Approval of October 21, 2021 Meeting Minutes Chris Castro, Chair
9:55 a.m. Status of FSEC Programs [PDF, 6.3 MB] Watch the recording Jim Fenton, Director, FSEC
10:20 a.m. Florida Energy Office Report, Infrastructure Bill [PDF, 203 KB] Kelley Smith Burk, Director, Office of Energy, FDACS
10:35 a.m. Networking Break
10:45 a.m. Energy Storage Research at FSEC [PDF, 2.2 MB] Adje Mensah, A.F. Mensah, Inc.
11:05 a.m. Overview of the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations [PDF, 364 KB] Melissa Klembara, U.S. Department of Energy Demonstration Office
11:35 a.m. Workforce Programs/Solar Apprenticeship [PDF, 661 KB] Watch the recording Colleen Kettles, Director, Workforce and Business Development Division
11:45 a.m. Election for New Chair and Vice-Chair
11:55 a.m. New Business/Discussion
Date and Agenda for Next AB Meeting (TBD)
Chris Castro
12:00 p.m. Adjourn to Lunch Chris Castro

Meeting Minutes


Chris Castro, Brian Donnelly, Michael Faas, Bill Grieco, Jeff Juger, Elizabeth Klonoff, Bruce Lindsay, Helda Rodriguez, Louis Rotundo, Jennifer Schaffer, Kelley Smith Burk, Jennifer Szaro, Justin Vandenbroeck, Kristy Walson

Virtual Attendees

Alex Parlato, Amour Djaho, Anthony Norrow, Ashraf Mahmoud, Dean Bushey, Charles Withers Jr, Cheryl Thorn, Chris Jannuzzi, Chu-Tzu Hsu, Colleen Kettles, Curt Wade, Dana Fischer, Dave Chasar, Dave Click, Dave Robau, David Dunn, Doug Kettles, Dylan Colvin, Peter Hoeflich, Hubert Seigneur, James Barkaszi, Jeff Sonne, John Sherwin, Justin Kramer, Justin Vandenbroeck, Karen Kicinski, Kathy Wilson, Keith Coelho, Kelly Stevens, Marlin Vaughn, Melanie Macklin, Melissa Klembara, Michael Hess, Nasser Kutkut, Nick Waters, Paul Johnston, Richard Raustad, Rob Rickman, Scott McWhorter, Susan Schroen, Wei Sun, William Mize, Yara Watson

Invited Guests

Issa Banerjee, UCF Joint Research Faculty; William Bradford, Hanson Inc.; Alexander Cartwrights, UCF; Thomas Forchert, Microvast; Zeneida Gonzalez, UCF; Janet Owen, UCF; Winston Schoenfeld, UCF; Paul Yelvington, Obantarla; Edwin Yik, Obantarla

FSEC Staff

Carlos Colon, Philip Fairey, Karen Fenaughty, James Fenton, Safvat Kalaghchy, Mengjie Li, Eric Martin, Manjunath Matam, Nazim Muradov, Elizabeth Myron, Jeff Myron, Bereket Nigusse, Stephanie Salmon, Susan Schleith, John Sherwin, Sherri Shields, Robin Vieira, Sai Vudata, Yifan Wang, William Young


  1. Chris Castro called the meeting to order at 09:30 and welcomed everyone to the in-person meeting. He announced it was his last meeting as Chair, summarized the agenda, and turned the meeting over to Sherri Shields for roll call.
  2. Board members and guests briefly introduced themselves.
  3. UCF President Alexander Cartwright was introduced and asked to say a few words. Dr. Cartwright told everyone how appreciative he is of the work FSEC does, how UCF is connected to the needs of society, how he values partnerships, that UCF is breaking down barriers, and he believes UCF will be best public metropolitan research university in the next decade.
  4. Chris Castro made a motion to approve the minutes of the previous meeting, held on October 21, 2021. Kelley Smith Burk seconded the motion.
  5. Dr. James Fenton gave a presentation on the Status of FSEC Programs. Dr. Fenton spoke about the potential for irreversible change, the importance of partnerships, goals to achieve net zero emissions and the role that hydrogen may play in achieving net zero emissions, and that FSEC will be soon celebrating 50 years. Dr. Fenton summarized current contracts FSEC is actively working on and highlighted the FSEC employees working on them. Dr. Fenton also highlighted the EnergyPlus software, SunSmart Schools Program, and PV GEMS. Obantarla was introduced and Dr. Fenton spoke about their ability to capture and convert methane to liquid methanol.
  6. Chris Castro introduced Kelley Smith Burk from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Office of Energy, who was presenting on the Department of Energy’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.  Kelley Smith Burk explained the responsibilities and functions of her office: evaluate energy related studies, advocate for the use of renewable energy resources, promote energy efficiency technologies, alternate fuels, and alternate vehicle technologies. This office serves as the State clearinghouse for all energy information. The State Energy Program is projected to receive an estimated $500,000,000, and additional funding will come from Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund Grant Program, Weatherization Assistance Program, and the Energy Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan. She stressed the importance of collaboration from all levels including state, local, utilities, and workforce development. Ms. Smith Burk briefly discussed additional funding opportunities available: Energy Auditors Grant Training Program, Public School Facilities – Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Grant, Building Energy Codes Technical Assistance and Training, Rural and Municipal Utility Advanced Cybersecurity Grant, Smart Manufacturing Technology, and Grants for Charging and Fueling Infrastructure.
  7. Chris Castro asked Louis Rotundo to give a high-level legislative update of what was happening in the Florida Legislature. Mr. Rotundo said there were two major bills, the net metering bill and floating photovoltaics. The Altamonte Springs was heavily involved in floating photovoltaics since they have a 1MW facility, the largest in the state. Cities, counties, and water utilities should be looking at the pace of technology. There are opportunities for cities in solar, similar to what Altamonte Springs has done. Working with your local utility or own your own powering your building.
  8. After a short break, Dr. Fenton brought up Issa Batarseh to introduce guest speaker, Adje Mensah. Mr. Mensah provided a brief history of his company, A.F. Mensah, Inc, and current projects they are working on: the Public Service Electric and Gas in New Jersey Solar Integration project was one of their original projects and is still ongoing; the battery and solar storage systems for the Baltimore Resiliency Hub Program are at various stages of operation and implementation. Mr. Mensah is excited to collaborate with UCF as we step into the next generation of technology. Presentation: A.J. Mensah: Solar Energy, Battery Storage, Electric Microgrids.
  9. Melissa Klembara joined the meeting remotely to discuss the  U.S. Department of Energy and the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations. The office was established in December 2021 and has been appropriated $21.5B. The office will fill a critical innovation gap on the path to carbon-free electricity in the U.S. by 2035 and net-zero economy by 2050. Their programs will include billions of dollars to invest in clean hydrogen, carbon capture and removal, advanced nuclear, and demonstration projects in rural areas and economically hard-hit communities. Ms. Klembara stressed the importance of stakeholder engagement, program design, and asked for any potential candidate referrals for staffing this office. Presentation: Overview of the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations.
  10. Chris introduced Colleen Kettles who spoke on the Solar Energy Technician Apprenticeship Program, the first and only in the country registered with the US Department of Labor. It was developed by FSEC and the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FLSEIA). This curriculum will align with Florida Career Technical Education frameworks in the energy career cluster, and will be usable for state and community colleges in their workforce and credited courses.
  11. Chris Castro announced the election for the new Chair and Vice-Chair of the advisory board. Dr. Fenton announced that there were candidates who volunteered to take these positions: William Grieco and Jennifer Szaro, respectively. A motion was presented by Chris, made by Kelley Smith Burk and seconded by Michael Faas. The motion was approved unanimously to appoint these candidates to Chair and Vice-Chair.
  12. William Grieco said a few words and thanked Chris Castro for his service to the FSEC Advisory Board and opened the meeting up to comments and questions. Dr. Fenton introduced Thomas Forchert from Microvast, who provided a brief summary of the company’s history and current projects.
  13. Chris Castro thanked everyone for coming and expressed his appreciation to President Cartwright for attending and his continued support of the current and future endeavors of FSEC.
  14. Meeting was adjourned at 12:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Chris Castro
Chair, FSEC Advisory Board