The research and development at Pecan Street Inc. is carried out in cooperation with the organization’s partners and participants. All work is overseen and managed by the staff members below. Review their bios below, or contact them by email. Email addresses are first-initial-last-name @pecanstreet.org (John Smith = jsmith).
Brewster McCracken, president and CEO
Brewster McCracken is president and CEO of Pecan Street Inc., a smart grid research and commercialization consortium headquartered at The University of Texas at Austin. Mr. McCracken was one of three global smart grid project leaders invited by the government of Japan to present at the one-year anniversary conference for the reconstruction of Fukushima in March 2012, and he was the lead author of Pecan Street’s successful smart grid stimulus application in 2009. He was elected to two terms on the Austin City Council, serving in a city-wide at large position. Through his elected position, he served as a board member of Austin Energy, founded and chaired the city council’s Emerging Technologies Committee and led the city’s collaboration with The University of Texas to establish technology incubators in bioscience and wireless technologies.
Prior to holding elected office, he practiced commercial litigation for nearly a decade with two large international law firms. He is an honors graduate of The University of Texas School of Law and of Princeton University, and he holds a masters degree in public affairs from UT’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.
Suzanne Russo, chief operating officer
Suzanne Russo is chief operating officer for Pecan Street. Prior to joining the organization, she was director of sustainability initiatives for New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development where she led the development of green building and sustainable retrofit standards for municipally-funded affordable housing. Suzanne holds a master’s degree in community and regional planning from The University of Texas at Austin.
Bert Haskell, chief technology officer
Bert Haskell is Pecan Street’s CTO. He has been working in technology and product development since starting his career in 1984 with Eastman Kodak, where he worked for 5 years as an electronics manufacturing process development engineer while earning his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Rochester. Bert then worked for 9 years at the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corp. (MCC) in Austin, concluding his tenure there as vice president of portable electronics product research. Since 2000, he has held product development, product marketing and advisory rolls at a number of start-up companies including Stellar Display Corporation, Wireless Age, Motion Computing, Portelligent and most recently, Heliovolt, where he was director of product development for CIGS based thin-film photovoltaic modules.
Matthew Crosby, research division manager
Matthew Crosby is research division manager at Pecan Street Inc., where he is responsible for utility research development and implementation. He was previously a program manager at Austin Energy, where he led program development and residential program operations with the Electric Vehicles and Emerging Technologies business unit. Before that, Matthew was the lead energy division analyst at the California Public Utilities Commission, working on proceedings related to plug-in electric vehicles and smart grid issues. Matthew received a master’s degree in science in urban planning from Columbia University.
Grant Fisher, data group director
Grant Fisher manages Pecan Street Inc.’s data group. Prior to joining the organization, he was a project manager for Sony Electronics where he led the installation efforts of Sony Home Energy Management Systems within the Mueller neighborhood. Grant has also worked as a Technology Project Manager where he worked on big data, visualization, and technology efforts for governmental agencies.
Scott Grantham, client relations specialist
Scott leads the development of Pecan Street Consortium’s technical documentation and implementation roadmaps for consumer, utility and data products and systems. Prior to joining Pecan Street, he led the development of technical documentation for transportation engineering projects. His professional experience encompasses project management, analysis and technical writing, including preparation of zoning codes, planning documents and textbooks. Scott earned a master’s degree in community and regional planning from The University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in history and education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Ed Hattrup, finance director
Ed Hattrup is the finance director for Pecan Street. Prior to joining the organization, he spent over six years working as an accountant with public accounting firms in both Washington, D.C. and Austin where he specialized in not-for-profit auditing. Ed received his bachelor’s degree in business administration / accountancy from the University of Notre Dame.
April Hersey, database assistant
She previously worked on improving online document accessibility at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. April holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Lewis & Clark College.
Scott Hinson, lab director, Pike Powers Laboratory and Center for Commercialization
Scott leads the development of the Pike Powers Commercialization Lab. He worked at a thin film CIGS solar module manufacturer where he led module packaging, performance, certification and reliability efforts. Prior efforts include work in the military, medical, consumer and oil industries developing power supplies, precision measurement equipment and inductive heating technologies. Scott received his B.S.E.E. from The University of Texas at Austin with undergraduate specializations in both communications systems and power distribution.
Chris Holcomb, data scientist
Chris Holcomb manages and evaluates the data being collected for Pecan Street’s research. This includes validating the data collection, coordinating with the Texas Advanced Computing Center where Pecan Street’s data is housed, and conducting the organization’s data simulations and analyses. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Texas A&M and a dual master’s in energy and earth resources and public affairs from the University of Texas. He has previously worked on energy efficiency, renewable energy, water quality, and water supply projects.
Rachel Jenkins, executive assistant
Rachel Jenkins is the executive assistant for Pecan Street. She received her B.A. in Anthropology from The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining Pecan Street, Rachel worked as a legal assistant and served as a property manager in the greater Austin area for four years. Companies or individuals interested in scheduling a meeting with Pecan Street staff should contact Rachel.
Jackie Renner, programs manager
Jackie Renner is the programs manager for Pecan Street. She received a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College with a concentration in public relations. Jackie also has a background in public-private research collaborations.
In 2009, she worked on a research project in Chicago studying the effects of Art & Dance on inner city under-privileged youth.
Jim Shead, general counsel and director of data and analytics
Jim Shead is Pecan Street Inc.’s general counsel and director of data and analytics. Jim handles Pecan Street’s legal affairs and product offerings. Before joining Pecan Street, Jim worked as an attorney whose practice mainly involved complex commercial litigation in the technical arts, and is licensed to practice in both New York and Texas. Prior to law school, Jim worked as a software analyst at Southwest Research Institute, specializing in realtime data collection and analysis. Jim received his J.D. from UCLA School of Law and holds a B.S. in computer sciences from The University of Texas at Austin.
Cate Smithson, research programs manager
Cate Smithson is research programs manager for Pecan Street. A journalism graduate from The University of Texas at Austin, Cate manages the organization’s grant program and participant relations. She has written for a number of news publications, including The Daily Beast and ABC News. Austin homeowners interested in taking part in Pecan Street’s research projects should contact Cate to learn more and determine their home’s eligibility.
Jason Wilder, technology project manager
Jason Wilder helps manage Pecan Street Inc.’s grant-funded projects. Prior to joining the organization, he served as technical manager for an environmental consulting firm where he specialized in implementing large-scale geographic information systems projects. He also served as project manager for the Austin Independent School District school bus fleet global positioning system monitoring and tracking project where he led procurement, project coordination and installation efforts. Jason holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Houston and a master’s degree in geographic information science from Northwest Missouri State University.