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MEET THE SPEAKERS

Chris Norton

Keynote Speaker >

Chris Norton was a college football player who mistimed his tackle by a split second and, in an instant, lost all feeling and movement from the neck down. Norton was told he had a 3% chance to ever be able to move again. He could have let it define him, but our lives aren’t shaped by circumstance. They’re shaped by us. Perseverance isn’t about the physical act of standing: It’s about attitude and the ability to shape yourself in the face of adversity.

Brad Jones

Interim President and CEO, ERCOT >

Brad Jones joined ERCOT in May 2021 as interim president and CEO. He has over 30 years of experience in the competitive electric industry, including growing, developing, restructuring and optimizing competitive electricity businesses; designing electricity markets; and operating electricity grids across North America.

Travis Cleek

Chief Solutions Officer, SkyHelm >

Travis Cleek has over 15 years of IT experience and over 10 years of management experience. After leaving his role as IT director at a large manufacturing company, he joined an electric cooperative in Oklahoma, working on improving its network and security infrastructure while focusing on SCADA communications and smart-grid projects. While at the co-op, Cleek co-founded a fiber-to-the-home internet service provider, working on its early business development and networking. With his cooperative background, Cleek has a strong focus on cybersecurity and operational technology. 

Michael Jr. 

Comedian >

Known as one of today's most gifted communicators, Michael Jr. brings laughter and encouragement to audiences all over the world. Using comedy and dynamic storytelling he inspires audiences to discover and activate their purpose. This unique skill set has landed him on stages like The Tonight Show on NBC, TEDx talks and Jimmy Kimmel Live. His mission to make laughter commonplace in uncommon places means that he also seeks opportunities to share his gift with those in homeless shelters and prisons.

Mike Williams

President and CEO, TEC >

Mike Williams has served as president and CEO of TEC for more than 20 years and will provide an update on TEC and the electric utility industry.

Kirk Watson

Hobby School of Public Affairs, UH >

Kirk Watson has been immersed in public policy in Texas for the past three decades, serving first as an appointee of Gov. Ann Richards before being elected mayor of Austin in 1997. First elected to the Texas Senate in 2006, he represented the Austin area for 13 years. Watson has been selected to be the former Founding Dean of the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs and began his position on May 1, 2020.