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 master’s degree in public affairs from UT’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.
Suzanne Russo, chief operating officer
Suzanne 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 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.
Rishee Bhatt, software developer
Rishee is a software developer in charge of device communication, API development, and database architecture and administration for Pecan Street. Prior to joining Pecan Street, he worked as a test and automation engineer at National Instruments. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Ohio State University.
Don Brem, electric technician
Don is Pecan Street’s electric technician and a 26-year member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, having worked as a journeyman, foreman, general foreman, superintendent, group leader and project manger in the electrical construction and service industry. Don manages Pecan Street’s home and business research equipment installation program. He spent nine years in the semiconductor manufacturing industry and owned his own electrical services company, working for companies such as Motorola, Intel, White Oak Semiconductor and Ceitec Semiconductor.
Fisayo Fadelu, finance director & general counsel
Fisayo is Pecan Street’s finance director. Prior to joining the organization, she worked for Smith International (a subsidiary of Schlumberger Ltd.) where she led teams on Sarbanes Oxley compliance projects in U.S. and international locations. Prior to that, Fisayo worked with the Audit and Assurance Services group at the Ernst & Young’s Houston office where she supervised audit projects for public companies. She holds a master’s and undergraduate degree in accounting from Baylor University and received her J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.
Grant Fisher, data group director
Grant 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.
April Hersey, database assistant
April maintains Pecan Street’s database of participant information and equipment inventory. 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.
Rachel Jenkins, research programs coordinator
Rachel is the research programs coordinator 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. Residents interested in taking part in Pecan Street’s research projects should contact Rachel to learn more and determine their home’s eligibility.
Jackie Renner, programs manager
Jackie 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.
Richard Smith, electric technician
Richard is a licensed master electrician with over 24 years experience in electrical construction and service. Richard owned is own electrical contracting business for 13 years. In 2012, he decided to leave construction and focus his attention on electricity research and renewable energy.
Kathy Sokolic, senior project manager and technical writer
Kathy manages the smart grid demonstrations in Texas and Colorado and oversees technical documentation produced at the Pike Powers Lab. Prior to joining the organization, Kathy served as a project manager and facility assessor for an environmental consulting firm where she assisted the U.S. military with energy efficiency projects at international bases. She also managed munitions cleanup projects, coordinating the data collection, reporting, and team members. Kathy holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology from the University of Oklahoma.
Ellen Struck, director of industry programs and services
Ellen directs Pecan Street’s industry programs and services. She brings with her a decade of experience at UL, the country’s most respected product safety and certification agency. Her most recent role was leading business development efforts within the Energy and Power Technologies division, applying UL’s capabilities in new and creative ways for its customers. She has an M.B.A. from Kellogg School of Management and a B.S. in business administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.