Media Contact: Cortney Piper,

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (May 12, 2021) — The Tennessee Advanced Energy Businesses Council (TAEBC) has added Dr. Robert Hardin of WACKER Polysilicon and Katina Stavrou of Schneider Electric to serve on its Board of Directors.

After receiving his Ph.D. in plasma Physics from West Virginia University, Robert spent three years as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS).

As Senior Technical Manager, Robert oversees WACKER’s hyper-pure polysilicon process development department in Charleston, Tennessee. During construction of the Charleston plant, Robert was assigned to the Burghausen, Germany facility for more than three years. Since returning to Tennessee in 2015 to begin production, Robert has been responsible for all aspects of process development for the site’s polysilicon process. He currently serves on the WACKER Polysilicon Site Leadership Team.

“Robert has a proven track record of identifying and advancing collaborative technological partnerships,” said TAEBC Executive Director Cortney Piper. “We are thrilled to add Robert to our board as we look for innovative ways to support and expand the advanced energy landscape in Tennessee.”

Also joining the TAEBC Board is Katina Stavrou, Senior Manager for Schneider Electric’s North American Global Supply Chain.

Katina received her bachelor’s degree at James Madison College of Michigan State University in International Relations. With her International Relations background, Katina interned with the U.S. Department of State in Athens, Greece, and her career has afforded her the opportunity to develop a customs compliance program for Ford Motor Company in Asia, which has set her up for success as a customs and regulatory compliance expert at Schneider.

At Schneider Electric, Katina delivers initiatives to maintain a safe, secure and sustainable supply chain and also acts as an ambassador to Schneider Electric’s Government Relations team concentrating on Energy Policy in Tennessee.

“Katina brings a deep knowledge of relationship building and expertise from one of the world’s leading energy providers,” Piper added. “Our Board is excited to have her join as we all work together to broaden our board’s mission and reach.”

Additionally, Chris Bowles, Bradley, has been elected President replacing outgoing President Trish Starkey, and Steve Seifried, Ameresco, has been elected to serve as Secretary.

Chris is a partner with the Nashville law firm Bradley, which focuses on energy development and financing for project development. His work on utility and commercial scale solar energy projects includes some of the largest solar developments in the eastern United States.

Prior to joining Bradley, Chris worked for Mayor Karl Dean as the first-ever Director of the Nashville Mayor’s Office of Environment and Sustainability.

Steve is a career community and economic development industry leader, leveraging nearly three decades of experience producing results within the public, nonprofit and private sectors. He has overseen the completion of unique infrastructure and capital projects, and the design/management of complex public-private solutions for municipalities, higher education and state governments.

Currently, Steve serves as the Tennessee Solutions Executive for Ameresco, Inc. a leading cleantech integrator and renewable energy asset developer, owner and operator. This role allows him to collaborate with executive leaders to help communities discover their critical path towards renewable energy solutions, energy efficiencies, and sustainable asset/infrastructure upgrades.

Prior to joining Ameresco, Steve led the Tennessee Housing Development Agency’s Section 8 Contract Division and served as an executive for several community development entities across Tennessee. He is engaged with energy policy at the State and national levels and active in other sustainable energy industry efforts.

About Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council

TAEBC champions advanced energy as an economic development and job creation strategy. Advanced energy is technology neutral and includes electricity and transportation. Anything that makes energy cleaner, safer, more secure or more efficient is in the tent. No other entity in the state concentrates specifically on this robust sector. We educate public officials and business leaders about Tennessee’s advanced energy economy, establish strategic partnerships to connect assets with opportunities, and inform policy that expands and strengthens the industry. For more information, visit: