Our Mission

Veterans in Energy is national employee resource group that provides transition, retention and professional development support to military veterans working in energy.  Veterans in Energy will provide opportunities for outreach, networking and mentoring to support the needs of the growing population of veterans who have chosen energy careers.

In 2018, Veterans in Energy leadership filed for 501(c)(3) status as a stand alone organization and elected its board of directors.

Our Leadership

Hal Pittman – VIE Board President

Director External Communications – Arizona Public Service

Hal Pittman is a retired U.S. navy one-star admiral and corporate non-profit executive who has served as leader and spokesman in a variety of senior roles.

 

Pittman joined Arizona Public Service Company as Director of External Communications in May 2014. In this capacity, he is responsible for enterprise-wide strategic communication planning and integration for the state’s largest utility, an S&P 500 company, and also develops strategies to elevate corporate reputation and educate stakeholders on business initiatives and energy policy.

 

Previously, Pittman was President & CEO of Special Olympics Iowa in Des Moines, leading sports training and competition for 11,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Before that, he served more than 25 years on active duty as a U.S. Navy officer in assignments all over the world, rising to the rank of Rear Admiral.

 

In uniform, Pittman led communications for some of the military’s most complex operations and served as an advisor to senior civilians, military officials, and ambassadors. He commanded the Joint Public Affairs Support Element, the military’s crisis communication unit, was a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for communications in the Pentagon, and was chief communications officer at U.S. Central Command headquarters during combat operations from 2003-2005 and again from 2009-2011. In his final assignment, he led communications for NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and upon his departure from Afghanistan, was named Advisor for Life to the Afghanistan National Olympic Committee for his efforts in sports diplomacy.

 

A Maryland native, Pittman earned degrees from Appalachian State University and American University, and was an MIT Senior XXI Fellow in foreign politics and international relations. His teams have won numerous public relations industry awards, and he is a recipient of the Stevie awards as America’s Best Corporate Communicator and a past PR New Government Communicator of the Year. Pittman reseeds in Arizona with his family, and serves as president of the national Veterans in Energy Forum networking group, as well as founding co-chair of the Arizona Corporate Council on Veteran Careers. Pittman previously served as a board member of the USA Bobsled & Skeleton Federation, and is currently Vice Chairman for Amateur Athletic Union Strength Sports. He is also the 2017 recipient of the Amateur Athletic Union’s Brother Bennett Award for voluntary service.

Sean Connors – VIE Board Vice President

Plant General Manager, Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant – Tennessee Valley Authority

Sean Connors is the Plant General Manager, of Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant.  Selected in June 2014, he is responsible for the safe operation and maintenance of two Pressurized Water Reactors and associated equipment, including all aspects of plant Operations, Maintenance, Chemistry, Radiological Protection, Work Control, Human Performance and Nuclear Safety.  During his tenure, he was also responsible for the testing and safe start-up of the first commercial nuclear power plant in the United States in over 20 years.
Prior to serving as Plant Manager, Connors served in multiple positions at Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant and Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant from 2009 to 2014, including Maintenance Director and Operations Director and earned a Senior Reactor Operator Certification.
Before joining the Tennessee Valley Authority, Connors served for 24 years in the United States Navy as a nuclear trained surface warfare officer.  Awarded multiple personal and unit awards and citations, his career culminated in serving as Commanding Officer in USS MCFAUL (DDG 74) during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom and later as Reactor Officer in USS EISENHOWSER (CVN 69) during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Connors is currently serving on the national board of directors and Vice President of the Veterans in Energy and is also the executive sponsor for the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Veterans Association Employee Resource Group.  He also holds several leadership positions in the local community.
He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1986 with a B.S. in Engineering and also holds a M.S in Nuclear Physics from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

Jim Spiers – VIE Communications

Vice President of Business & Technology Strategies – National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Jim Spiers joined NRECA in June 2014 as the vice-president of business and technology strategies. Spiers came to NRECA from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association in Westminster, CO, where he served as senior vice president of business strategy/chief technology officer.
In his role NRECA, Spiers leads the department that is comprised of the Energy and Power, CRN and Strategic Analysis divisions.  These activities comprise all technical, engineering and economic support, research and technology transfer and product and services provided directly to the membership and within NRECA in collaboration with all other departments to fulfill membership needs.   This includes over $20 million in recent grant wins and awards for grid modernization and enhancements.
At Tri-State, Spiers focused on business, scientific and technical issues, technology innovation, research and development, and enterprise development.  Spiers led the development of rates and integration of a portfolio of distributed energy resources with member systems and their member-consumers, enhancing local economies and system reliability.  Spiers directed Tri-State’s engagement in several high-profile research initiatives, including carbon dioxide mitigation through inducement prize development (XPRIZE), development of an R&D test center at a coal-fired power facility and the formation of an international network of researchers focused on capturing and converting carbon emissions from industrial complexes into an asset.
Spiers’ more than 25 years of experience spans utility and infrastructure industry operations and planning, rate setting, regulation, restructuring, technology assessment, business planning and strategy and technology assessment. As an independent consultant prior to his tenure at Tri-State, Spiers helped clients on a diverse array of issues that ranged from technology assessments and business planning to rate recovery and regulatory compliance. Spiers also provided technology, market and regulatory research and consulting services to utilities world-wide through Gartner Inc.
Spiers served as director of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission from 1986 to 1991, and before that, as a hearings officer and researcher at the Colorado Department of Highways. Spiers has a law degree University of Colorado School of Law and a B.A. from Mesa College in Grand Junction, Colo.

Kelcey Brown – VIE Treasurer

Director Market Policy & Analysis – PacifiCorp

Kelcey Brown is the Director of Market Policy and Analytics and is responsible for PacifiCorp’s Energy Imbalance Market post analytics, market policy research, energy supply management contract administration and short-term load forecast.  Before becoming Director of Market Policy and Analytics at PacifiCorp she has served in various roles in the company, was a senior economist at the Oregon Public Utility Commission, Economist at Blackfoot Telecommunications and she has served on a number of state and regional technical committees.  Her educational background is in Regulatory Economics from the University of Wyoming and she served in the US Navy as a Photographer’s Mate on board the USS Nimitz for the majority of her enlistment.

 

Ray Brooks – VIE Professional Development

Manager of Renewable Energy – Arizona Public Service

Ray is the Manager of the Arizona Public Service (APS) Renewable Energy Program. Ray’s responsibilities include providing oversight of the company’s distributed energy resource policy, interconnections, representing renewable energy programs at the Arizona Corporation Commission, and interfacing with the media and other public stakeholders as the company’s principal spokesperson for the company’s 1.4 gigawatt renewable energy resource portfolio.
A lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps reserve, Ray has held multiple leadership roles as a military officer, to include two tours in Afghanistan, a congressional fellowship with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, and tours as a US defense security cooperation policy expert in the Middle East and Asia Pacific regions.  Ray is a graduate of Emory University and the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Cassandra Wheeler – VIE Employee Resource Group

Plant Manager – Georgia Power Company

Cassandra Wheeler serves as plant manager for Georgia Power’s Hammond Steam Plant. Named to that position in May 2014, her primary role is to oversee the safe, reliable and efficient generation of electricity and to ensure continued success through the growth of talented employees and leadership development.
Cassandra began her career at Alabama Power in 2001 as an engineer at Miller Steam Plant. She also served as the plant’s Maintenance Team Leader and Operations Team Leader. She was selected as the Assistant to the Executive Vice President of Generation for Southern Company in 2003, and as Assistant to the Vice President of Governmental Affairs in Washington, DC, in 2005. In 2006 and 2007, she served as the Operations Supervisor and then the Compliance and Support Manager at Plant E. C. Gaston and was selected as the Maintenance and Engineering Manager at Georgia Power’s Plant Yates in 2009. Later in 2009, she served as Maintenance Manager at Plant Miller. In April 2012 she was named Plant Manager of Gadsden Steam Plant and served in that role until taking her current position at Plant Hammond.
Cassandra is a 1999 graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and a 2007 graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Master of Business Administration degree.
Cassandra serves on the Board of Directors for the Open Door Children’s Home in Rome, GA. She also serves as a mentor for the Communities in Schools program in Rome-Floyd County. She was recently named Regional Director for Georgia Power. She will assume that position in November 2017.

Art Hudman – VIE Member at Large

Department Manager – Consolidated Edison Company of New York

Art is a Department Manager at Con Edison Company of New York and serves as a Veterans in Energy board member.  Art joined Con Edison after serving 7 years in the U.S. Coast Guard. After joining the energy sector in 2004, Art continued his service in the Coast Guard Reserve, and is currently serving in the Incident Management Division at CG Sector New York.  At Con Edison, Art has held positions in Environment, Health and Safety, Steam Power Plant Operations, Substations and Emergency Preparedness and Business Resiliency. He currently leads a team that oversees the company’s preparedness efforts which include drills/exercises, emergency planning, response training and coordination/liaison efforts between external partners and internal operating organizations. He holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and an M.B.A. in Finance. Art is dedicated to supporting Veterans, and locally serves as an Executive Director in the company’s Veterans of Con Edison Employee Resource Group, as well as, the company’s corporate Veteran’s Steering Committee.

 

Jon Smith – VIE Member at Large

Vice President & General Manager, Gas Americas – Honeywell International

Jon A. Smith is currently Vice President & General Manager, Gas Americas for Honeywell International.  Jon joined Honeywell (formerly Elster) in 2012 and has been leading the gas metering and transmission division of the Americas since.  His responsibilities include all aspects of the natural gas industry from mid to downstream consumption for the entire Western Hemisphere.  He has held positions of increasing responsibility with Ford Motors, Visteon Corporation, Johnson Electric, Federal-Mogul, Associated Materials, Inc., and has led international business with all of the above in Latin America, Asia, and Europe.  His assignments have included Operations, Sales, Quality, Product Launch and Engineering; driving improved performance for the business and exceeding results throughout his career.  Jon’s rapid ascent through the corporate ranks has been accentuated by the results driven culture of his organizations. Quick to ascertain market trends and an expertise of P&L improvement in all aspects, and a mentor to top talent, he has a diverse background in business, applying personal experience to C-level decision making.
He has led organizations through change at all levels and most recently has led Elster through the acquisition process and transformation to join Honeywell.
Jon is a retired Naval Officer with over 21 years of leadership experience throughout his service in the U.S. armed forces.  His personal commendations include Meritorious Service Medal, four Navy Commendation Medals, Navy Achievement Medal and several unit and campaign awards.  His duty stations included 3 ½ years living in Italy.
He earned his undergraduate degree in Ocean Engineering from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. He has a Master’s of Science in General Administration and Management from Central Michigan University and holds a graduate diploma from the U.S. Naval War College in Strategic International Studies. Jon is accredited in ABET (Engineering and Technology), holds an EIT Certification from the State of Maryland, and is a Six Sigma Green Belt.  He currently is a member of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Graduate of Omaha Executive Leadership, and sits on the North American Manufacturing Leadership Council, Frost & Sullivan.

 

Jon and his wife, Julie, reside in Omaha, Nebraska and have 3 children, Drew (19), Delaney (16) and Chase (13).

Steve Vaughn – VIE Member at Large

Senior Project Manager, Nuclear Generation – Nuclear Energy Institute

Born and raised in Miami, FL.  Graduated from the United States Naval Academy (USNA) in 2000 and served 7 years active duty as a surface warfare officer (SWO).  Served onboard USS PELELIU, graduated from the U.S. Navy Nuclear Power School and Training Unit, served onboard USS CARL VINSON, and was an instructor at USNA in the Seamanship and Navigation Department.  After active duty served in the Navy Selected Reserve (SELRES) for five years supporting the Commander Navy Installations Command (CNIC) and am currently in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).
After active duty I worked for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) as a reactor operations engineer and risk and reliability analyst.  Currently I work for the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and live in Annapolis, MD.