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Our Leadership

Rajan Kapur headshot.

Dr. Rajan Kapur


Dr. Rajan Kapur started his career at Bell Labs. Since 1985 he has worked exclusively with start-ups, first on mixed signal micro-chip development in the Silicon Valley, and on liquid crystal on silicon micro-display systems in Colorado. In 2006, he transitioned to renewable energy and founded and sold a microinverter company. Now he runs a sustainability incubator in his garage, working with small dispersed teams on early stage projects, with participants from academia and the private sector. His current projects include air-conditioning with thermal storage, electric transportation in hill states in India, and working with IEEE Smart Village partners in Africa, the Americas and South Asia. He holds Electrical Engineering degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur; Rice University, Houston and the University of Texas at Austin.

Ed Rezek headshot.

Dr. Edward Rezek

Senior Vice President, Chair IEEE Smart Village Development Committee

Dr. Edward Rezek is chair of the ISV Development Committee, and is retired from being an Operations Manager at Northrop Grumman Space Technology (formerly TRW Space & Electronics Group), an entity specializing in electronics development for US Government and commercial applications. His work experience has ranged from basic research and development to manufacturing and has covered the spectrum from advanced technology development for US Government space applications to manufacturing low cost components for commercial applications. He has received 19 patents and has greater than 50 publications in refereed journals. He is the 1993 recipient of the TRW Chairman’s Award for Innovation and the 2006 recipient of the Northrop Grumman Distinguished Innovator Award. Edward received a BS degree in Electrical Engineering and an AB degree in Physics from Washington University in St.  Louis, MO in 1976. He received his MS and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL in 1977 and 1980. He is an IEEE Fellow.

Sanjay Patki headshot.

Sanjay Patki

Senior Vice President

Mr. Patki worked with Tata Power Co. with experience in various functional areas under generation, transmission and distribution of electrical power. In his career spanning 45 years, he has worked in various functions and roles including electrical testing and commissioning, power system protection and automation, operations and maintenance of transmission and distribution network, engineering procurement and technical services. In addition, he has been Involved in various organizational initiatives including process management, quality assurance, inspections and safety.

Sanjay has also held the following leadership positions: past vice president, corporate engineering, procurement and technical services, Tata Power, Mumbai, India; member of management committee and past president, Electrical Research and Development Association, Vadodara; vice president, IEEE Smart Village (ISV) and Chair ISV South Asia Working Group. He is a former nominee director on the board of Powerlinks Transmission Ltd and Yashmun Engineers Ltd. He has been recognized as a distinguished member of the International Council of Large Electric systems (CIGRE) Paris. He is also a past chairman of the National Committee of Central Board of Irrigation and Power (CBIP) on Power System Protection and Automation, India and recipient of the CBIP special recognition award for contributions to power systems protection.

Mr. Patki holds B.E. (Hons.) in electrical engineering, from BITS, Pilani (1975) and M.Tech. in power apparatus and system, from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi (1977) and participated in the certificate program on energy, environment and sustainability by the University of Delaware, USA and The Energy Resource Institute (TERI) New Delhi. He has also contributed several technical papers to national and international conferences and participated in several national and international committees/working groups.

Abdullateef Aliyu headshot.

Abdullateef Aliyu

Senior Vice President

Abdullateef is the General Manager of projects in Phase 3 Telecom, an aerial fiber-optic network infrastructure provider in West Africa, He is also a Senior Vice President of IEEE Smart Village (ISV), He founded the ISV Africa working group in 2020 that now has representatives in 44 Africa countries and currently chairs the IEEE Region 8 (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) Students Activities Committee as Vice Chair of Student activities in Region 8. He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Bayero University Kano (BUK), and master’s in ICT from the Northern University of Malaysia with Honors. He is an Alumnus of the United States telecommunication training institute (USTTI), Washington DC. He joined Phase 3 Telecom in 2013 where he helped deploy numerous high-profile projects in Nigeria and across Sub-Saharan Africa for Mobile Network Operators (MNO) and led the implementation of the Phase 3 Telecom 100G transmission network across Nigeria. He is a recipient of several awards and recognitions that include and not limited to the Leadership and Innovative Award by Phase 3 Telecom in 2022, the Best Creativity Award by Phase 3 Telecom in 2022, the Excellence in Leadership Award 2022 by IEEE Smart Village, the Award of Excellence by IEEE Nigeria Section 2022 for NIGERCON 2022, the Award of Excellence by the NSE Maitama branch 2021, MGA Board Young Professionals Achievement Award 2019, Recipient of Outstanding Volunteer of IEEE R8 ASYP Congress 2017 (EMEA), and IEEE Nigeria Section Merit Award 2017 (NG).

John Nelson headshot.

John P. Nelson

Immediate Past President

John P. Nelson (Life Fellow) received a BSEE from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, in 1970 and an MSEE from the University of Colorado Boulder in 1975. He performed post graduate studies in business administration. John has spent over fifty years as an electric power engineer and held positions with Public Service Company of Colorado from 1969-1979, Power Line Models from 1979-1984 and NEI Electric Power Engineering from 1984-Present. He was a co-founder of Power Line Models and the founder of NEI Electric Power Engineering. Mr. Nelson has been active in IEEE starting as the Student Activities Chair for the Denver Section. He later was the Denver Section Chair. Mr. Nelson has been active in the IAS Petroleum and Chemical Industry Committee (PCIC) since 1980 where he served as secretary, vice chair, chair from 2006-2012. He has received the Denver Post Honor award to service in the Colorado National Guard, the ISA/PES Denver Section Outstanding Engineer Award, the IEEE 2012 Harold Kaufman Award, the IAS/PCIC Russel W. Mills Award, the IAS Outstanding Service Award and the IAS/PCIC Safety Excellence Award.

Robin Podmore headshot.

Dr. Robin Podmore

Co-Founder and Advisor

Dr. Robin Podmore (IEEE Life Fellow) is co-founder of IEEE Smart Village. He is also founder and President of Incremental Systems Corp. (IncSys), a private company that helps organizations train system operators to ensure reliability of the bulk power system. Robin is passionately dedicated to using his own expertise and inspiring others, including industry partners to help energy-impoverished communities build toward sustainable prosperity. In the markets that IEEE Smart Village serves, he actively promotes IEEE Smart Village’s open-source products and encourages industry to participate in consensus development of technology-interoperability standards needed for market acceptance and investor confidence in ISV’s community entrepreneurs.

Ray Larsen

Co-Founder & Vice-President: Advisory & History Committee

Ray Larsen is co-founder and chair of IEEE Smart Village, which combines the talents of IEEE members with community-owned business partners in energy-impoverished regions to create self-sustaining, micro-utilities and education programs. As chair of the organization’s Executive committee, Ray is responsible for leading IEEE Smart Village’s total operation including nurturing ten new partnerships each year, each of which pledges to grow to serve a million people. Ray is past head of the Electronics Department at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University, Past President of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society, an IEEE Life Fellow and currently a part-time  Special Projects engineering manager at the SLAC in Menlo Park, California

Xiaofeng Zhang headshot.

Xiaofeng Zhang

Vice President; Chair, ISV China Working Group

Xiaofeng has worked with global leading companies in the USA for 30 years, in Smart Grids, Electricity Markets and Renewable Energy. She was a Marketing Director, Howard Industrial Inc. and JA Solar USA; Sr. Project Manager at PG&E; Product Manager at ABB Inc. Previously she worked with the Chinese Electric Power Research Institute in Beijing, where her R&D project OPF won a National Scientific Technology Award. She led “Market-Based Demand Response” go-live and is a co-author of the book “Electricity Market Operation System”. IEEE Life Senior member, IEEE PES “Voltage/VAR Optimization” working group.

Xiaofeng is Founder and President of Global Green Development Alliance. She is Chair of Silicon Valley Women Alliance (SVWA) and led SVWA team to raise funds for a charity project to build a Silicon Valley Women Primary School in Sichuan, China, in 2009. She initiated a “Smart Village” trail project in China and is founder of the ISV-CWG.

Joan Kerr headshot.

Joan Kerr

Vice President; Chair, ISV North America Working Group

Joan Kerr boasts a remarkable career spanning over 45 years as a Entrepreneur, Community Leader and Artist, who is dedicated to advancing community economic development and making the world a better place for all. Her multifaceted background includes extensive experience in ideas to interpretation skills are far reaching in project development, training, marketing, and film production, with expertise spanning the non-profit, private, and entertainment sectors.

Joan’s involvement with IEEE Smart Village since 2015 and IEEE HIC since 2009 underscores her commitment to transformative endeavors. Among her notable achievements, Joan has been honored with the United Nations WSIS Civil Society Award for Content & Creativity, as well as the Region of Durham Partnership Award and received nomination from the YWCA, Woman of Distinction and the Home &Small Business Association for Business Woman of the Year. She has a Diploma in Horticulture, and Certificates in Aromatherapy, and Community Facilitation, and she is a former Master Gardener.

Satish Chetwani headshot.

Dr. Satish Chetwani

Vice President; Chair, ISV South Asia Working Group

Dr. Satish Chetwani serves as Director at Electrical Research and Development Association (ERDA), Vadodara, India. Prior to this position, Satish was led the R&D Expert Service Division of ERDA and was responsible for the technology development in areas of renewables, product development, advanced materials and power systems. He also headed Short Circuit and Switchgear Laboratories of ERDA. He has established various testing laboratories for appliance, wiring accessories, washing machines, batteries, refrigerators, rotating machines, distribution boards, panels and DC switchgear.

His areas of expertise include rotating machines, transformers, diagnostics, product development, switchgears, solar PV, short circuit etc.

Muhammed Buhari headshot.

Dr. Mohammad Buhari

Vice President; Chair, ISV Africa Working Group

Mohammad Buhari is a Senior Lecturer of Electrical Power Systems at Bayero University, Kano (BUK), Nigeria. He also serves as Deputy Director (Solar) at the BUK Centre for Renewable Energy Research. He is an advisor to the Nigerian Electricity Regulators Commission (NERC), Engineers without Borders (EwB), and the Nigerian Integrated Power Projects (NIPP). In 2018 to 2019 he led BUK’s 1MWp and 3.5MWp Solar PV hybrid electrification projects which now provide 24/7 electricity and 40% savings on energy bills.

Dr Buhari holds a Ph.D. in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Manchester, UK, and has completed visiting fellowships at Grenoble Institute, France (2020) and MIT, USA (2017).

Mario Aleman headshot.

Mario Aleman

Vice President; Chair, ISV Latin America Working Group

Mario Aleman has more than 15 years’ professional experience and research in the field of solar technology, energy efficiency, and community development. Currently, he is the founder and president of “Ciencia y Desarrollo Nicaragua”, a non-profit social organization dedicated to the promotion of science and development in underserved communities. He has been the recipient of the following awards: 2015 IEEE MGA Leadership Award, 2014 IEEE R9 Theodore Hissey Outstanding Young Professional Award, and 2012 Ashoka’s Changemaker Award.

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