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Keynote Speaker: Andy Karsner

Andy Karsner is founder and chairman of Manifest Energy and splits time as a senior executive at both Google X and the Emerson Collective. His entrepreneurial leadership has been associated with both venture capital and private equity portfolios responsible for guidance and/or holdings in some of the most successful technology startups over the last ten years, including Nest (Internet of things), Tesla (mobility), Recurrent (solar), Sensity (lighting) and Codexis (biotech). 

From 2005 to 2008, Karsner served as Assistant Secretary of Energy for Efficiency and Renewable Energy of the United States, managing the approximately $2 billion annual federal applied science, research and development portfolio. In this role, he helped assemble significant bipartisan coalitions to implement the Energy Policy Act, the Energy Independence and Security Act and the America Competes Act, all of which remain the foundation of comprehensive energy policy. In diplomacy, Karsner was a principal climate negotiator of the "Bali Roadmap" and an original architect of the Major Economies Process.

Prior to public service, Karsner held several global leadership positions, including founder and CEO of Enercorp, a windpower development firm and international agent of Vestas, involved in project development, management and financing of energy infrastructure; director and senior development manager for Wartsila Power Development and other multinational energy and development firms. Karsner sits on several prominent boards including Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT), Conservation International, the Gas Technology Institute, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and the advisory boards of MIT Medialab, Sandia National Lab and the Automotive X Prize.

He is a Precourt Energy Scholar, lecturer and Hoover Visiting Fellow at Stanford University. He has been an associate for energy geopolitics at the Belfer Center at Harvard Kennedy School, an advisor at the MIT Energy Institute and a board member of University of Chicago's Argonne National Lab. Karsner is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, and distinguished fellow at the Council on Competitiveness, life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and National Petroleum Council, and participant in the Bilderberg transatlantic dialogue. He is a recipient of the “President's Award” from the United States Green Building Council and top honors from the United States Energy Association and the Alliance to Save Energy. H.M. King Carl Gustav of Sweden knighted Karsner as “Royal Commander of the Polar Star” for his role in advancing European-US technology collaboration. 

Karsner received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Rice University, subsequently received the Hugh Scott Cameron award for distinguished alumni service, a Master of Arts degree from Hong Kong University and a fellowship from Rotary International. Karsner and his wife spent 12 years based in London and Hong Kong. They are multilingual, have visited every continent and more than 100 nations for work and pleasure and reside with their four daughters in Bethesda, Maryland.