Keynote Events

The Better Buildings Summit brings together some of the best minds working to further energy efficiency opportunities and technologies in the built environment. Don’t miss a moment of the conversation. Make sure to check out our keynote speakers and our panels on all the latest innovations coming from Better Buildings partners and industry experts! 

A Keynote Address from the Secretary of Energy

9:00 AM

Secretary of Energy

Rick Perry is the 14th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy. He leads an agency tasked with maintaining a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent and reducing the threat of nuclear proliferation, overseeing the nation’s energy supply, carrying out the environmental clean-up from the Cold War nuclear mission, and managing the 17 National Laboratories, home to the country’s best scientists and engineers.

Prior to joining the Administration as Secretary of Energy, Perry served as the 47th Governor of Texas and was the longest-serving governor in the state's history, leading the world's 12th-largest economy from 2000 to 2015. As Governor, Perry championed conservative principles that helped Texas become America’s economic engine. 

His leadership proved that economic growth and protection of the environment can be achieved simultaneously. While adding population and more than 2.2 million jobs during his tenure, Texas also experienced major reductions in carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide emissions. Despite having a rapidly growing population and one of the largest petrochemical refining industries in the world, Texas saw its air quality improve. 

Perry grew up the son of tenant farmers in the tiny West Texas community of Paint Creek. He is a veteran of the United States Air Force and a graduate of Texas A&M University.

Efficiency & Sustainability Leadership at the Executive Level

9:30 AM

Ready to be informed? Enlightened? The stage is set for the year's most engaging conversation on energy and sustainability. The Summit's opening plenary will feature three of the leading sustainability executives in the U.S. from L'Oréal, Hilton, and the City of Orlando, discussing a whole host of subjects including industry trends, the future of energy, resiliency, and how their organizations are able to maintain a strong commitment to energy efficiency.

Head of CSR and Sustainability

Danielle Azoulay oversees the implementation of L’Oréal’s global sustainability program Sharing Beauty With All, which addresses environmental and social impacts across L’Oréal’s value chain. Prior to joining L’Oréal USA, she established the environmental sustainability program at Marc Jacobs International and worked on supply chain sustainability issues at PVH. Throughout her career, Danielle has developed and executed sustainability strategies to reduce supply chain impacts, drive positive change upstream, create business value, and increase stakeholder engagement. She has an M.A. in Environmental Conservation and Education from New York University.


CHRIS CASTRO, City of Orlando
Director of Sustainability and Resilience

Chris Castro leads the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability & Resilience in developing cross-sector partnerships, policies, and programs that accelerate Orlando’s sustainability, clean energy, and climate resiliency goals. He helped create the comprehensive "Smart ORL" initiative to better use data and technology to improve government operations and enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors. He founded the U.N.-accredited IDEAS For Us, an international NGO working to develop and fund environmental solutions around the world. Chris was named a 'Champion of Change' by President Obama and Governing Magazine recently named him a Public Official of the Year.


RANDY GAINES, Hilton Worldwide
SVP of Operations and New Project Development

Randy Gaines has a wealth of experience in hospitality and served as Hilton’s Vice Present for Engineering, Housekeeping, and Laundry Operations, as well as for Leasing and Retail before taking on his current role. He previously worked at Host Hotels and Resorts as Vice President for Engineering Technical Services and has held many positions with Marriott and White Lodging Services over the past 30 years.


Hearing from the Experts: Emerging Technologies & Things to Watch

12:30 PM

Join us for a conversation with leadership from three of DOE’s National Labs about trends, technologies, and ideas to watch for that will impact your organization.

DANIEL SIMMONS, U.S. Department of Energy
Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Daniel Simmons leads EERE to promote affordable and reliable energy to enhance America’s economic growth and energy security. He oversees technology development in the energy efficiency, renewable power and sustainable transportation sectors. Before joining DOE, Daniel served as the Institute for Energy Research’s Vice President for Policy, overseeing its energy and climate policy work at the state and federal level. He previously served as the director of the Natural Resources Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council, was a research fellow at the Mercatus Center, and worked as professional staff on the Committee on Resources in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a graduate of Utah State University and George Mason University School of Law.


DR. CRAIG BLUE, Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL)
Director of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs, Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorate

Craig Blue's portfolio at ORNL represents significant DOE program investments in the Advanced Manufacturing, Building Technologies, and Vehicle Technologies Offices. He has over 21 years of experience in materials and manufacturing technologies research, holds 15 U.S. patents, and has received 10 R&D 100 Awards. Craig has served on review panels and committees for the National Science Foundation, the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, and others. He is a Battelle Distinguished Inventor, ASM International Fellow, and holds faculty appointments at University of Tennessee, University of North Texas, and the Colorado School of Mines. He served as CEO of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, part of the White House Manufacturing USA initiative to increase domestic production capacity, grow manufacturing, and create jobs.


DR. MARTIN KELLER, National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)

Martin Keller has been the Director of NREL since 2015. He previously served as Associate Laboratory Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he was asked to lead the newly-formed Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorate. In this role he was responsible for the energy, biological, and environmental research programs supported by DOE, EPA, and the National Institutes of Health. Martin served as the Founding Director of the DOE BioEnergy Science Center and as the Director of the Biosciences Division. Before joining the National Labs, he held a series of research management positions within Diversa Corporation, a publicly-traded biotechnology company. Martin received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Regensburg, Germany.


DR. JUD VIRDEN, Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL)
Associate Laboratory Director, Energy and Environment Directorate

Jud Virden joined PNNL in 1991, where he leads 1,000 scientists, engineers, and staff who are delivering science and technology solutions for the nation’s complex energy and environmental challenges—including modernizing the power grid, advancing energy storage technologies, increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and lighting, developing biofuels, and resolving complex issues in nuclear science and environmental management. He earned his Ph.D. and B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Washington.