The Team

sharing their technology

Designed to share the evolving technology trends and industry’s best practices, the COMET team brings the brightest minds across the globe together annually to educate power maintenance professionals and decision-makers on how to best deploy reliable solutions for the future.

The brightest minds in electrical asset management.

LEADING industry experts

The reliability of electric power from generation to delivery is ranked as the number one concern for any global electric power company. COMET’s host committee is comprised of top industry experts with a common goal to drive innovation and efficiency within the electrical asset industry.

Driving innovation and efficiency within the industry.

Meet the HOST COMMITTEE

Dr. Robert Hebner

Dr. Robert Hebner

COMET Conference Chair

Bob’s current projects include improved hybrid vehicles, energy storage, Smart Grid, and microgrids. Before joining the University, Bob spent a significant portion of his career at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), beginning in a postdoctoral position and ultimately serving as acting Director. He also served in the Office of Management and Budget, at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and, for a short time, did research at Sandia National Laboratory. At NIST, an early responsibility was to modify the US system for watthour meter calibration from the traditional analog meters to supporting the emerging digital metering. This reduced the cost of maintaining accuracy by millions of dollars and removed an impediment to the adoption of the smart meters that are widely used today.

In 2013, he was the vice president of the IEEE for Technical Activities. The IEEE is a global technical society in computing and electrotechnology with more than 400,000 members. In that position, he had oversight responsibility for such activities as Smart Grid, Smart Cities, and Transportation Electrification. He has had senior management experience with responsibility for an annual budget approaching one billion dollars, but maintained a technical focus. He has a Ph.D. and coauthored more than one hundred and fifty technical papers and reports.

Alan Ross

Alan Ross

COMET Conference Co-Chair

Alan Ross is the Vice President of Reliability at SD Myers, Inc. in Tallmadge, Ohio. He is responsible for developing and executing long-term reliability strategies and next generation leadership for all operating units, both domestically and internationally.

Alan often presents at industry conferences and has authored several trade publication articles on transformer maintenance and reliability, including articles featured in Solutions and Uptime magazines and has written two books: Unconditional Excellence and Beyond World Class.

He completed his undergraduate work in Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and MBA in Marketing from Georgia State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude.

Thomas Linn

Thomas Linn

COMET Conference Co-Chair

Thomas graduated from the Technical University of Dresden with a degree in Electrical Engineering, specialized in High Voltage Techniques. In 1998 he joined ABB in Switzerland and was responsible for high voltage onsite testing for GIS and cables, PD measurements onsite and PD monitoring of Gas Insulated Switchgear.

Afterwards he worked for 10 years with high voltage transformer bushings and became a senior technical expert for high voltage techniques and equipment. In March 2013 Thomas joined Qualitrol as Technical Application Specialist. As a TAS, Thomas is able to leverage 20+ years of experience in high voltage equipment such as GIS, high voltage bushings, cables, transformers, high voltage testing, partial discharge measurement and monitoring, and high voltage test equipment.

Thomas is a member of CIGRE and IEC TC42 in Switzerland and is contributing as an expert to different CIGRE Working Groups internationally.

MEET THE KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Howard Penrose

Howard Penrose

COMET 2019 Keynote Speaker

Dr. Penrose is the Chair of SMRP, the President of MotorDoc LLC, and has been involved in the electrical reliability industry since 1984 (US Navy), then as part of US Department of Energy programs starting in 1992. In 1994 he served as the Region 4 Energy Representative for IEEE USAB including hill work related to the issues associated with de-regulation. In 1997, he joined the University of Illinois’ Energy Resources Center as the Senior Research Engineer associated with industrial and utility programs and as an adjunct professor of industrial engineering in UICs mechanical engineering department. His area of interest has been electrical system and materials reliability and continued through his time as the general manager of a major test instrument manufacturer then on to independent consulting in machine forensics, energy, design, and repair.

Dr Penrose has been involved in the IEEE PES Materials standards committees since 1993, AWEA, and other organizations associated with electrical system reliability. Over his career he has been involved in hybrid vehicle and hybrid construction machinery design, as well as SAE work on electric machine hybrid aerospace systems for low pressure and vacuum environments. He is also involved in the development of cybersecurity legislation involving the utility and SmartGrid and has represented industry to all levels of government including participation on committees and panels.

Raiford Smith

Raiford Smith

COMET 2019 Keynote Speaker

Raiford and his team lead Entergy’s pursuit of new technologies such as big data analytics, Distributed Energy Resources, and the development of new products and services.

Mr. Smith has 28 years of experience in the energy industry, including various roles in analytics, smart grid, customer, regulatory, legal, planning, wholesale trading, mergers and acquisitions, and technology.

A native of Savannah, GA., Mr. Smith earned a BS degree in computer science from the University of Georgia, an MBA from the University of Virginia, and a Juris Doctor from the Charlotte School of Law.

Mr. Smith is a licensed attorney and member of the North Carolina Bar Association; holds several patents on grid technologies; has published several papers on analytics, the smart grid, energy efficiency, asset optimization, and price forecasting; is a member of the SEPA board, and is an advisory board member for Google, SAS, Intel, Tendril, and RTI.

Amir Makki

Amir Makki

COMET 2019 Keynote Speaker

Amir Makki is the Chairman and Cofounder of Softstuf, Inc. (established in 1992). Amir has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Tech University, and pursued his Ph.D. studies in Artificial Intelligence at Temple University.

His main interest is modeling and analysis of fault and disturbance conditions in bulk electrical systems. He is extensively published and holds a number of U.S. patents and trademarks. Amir is a senior member of IEEE and is an active member of the Power Systems Relay Committee of the Power and Energy Society.

His contributions include leading a number of standards development activities including IEEE Standards C37.232 (COMNAME), C37.111 (COMTRADE), and the Cyber Security Task Force for Protection Related Data Files.