2024 EFBC Conference Presentations

Michelle Bloodworth

President and CEO

Our Reliability Message is Getting Through


Michelle Bloodworth is President and Chief Executive Officer of America’s Power, the only national trade association whose sole mission is to advocate at the federal and state level on behalf of coal-fueled electricity and the coal fleet. Bloodworth represents coal electricity and its supply chain before Congress, state and federal regulatory agencies, and the Administration. She has provided testimony before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Congress, legislative bodies, and utility commissions on matters that impact the bulk power system, the coal fleet, and its supply chain. Bloodworth holds a leadership position in the Affiliates Sector of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator’s (MISO) Advisory Committee. Prior to America’s Power, she served in positions at MISO, America’s Natural Gas Alliance, and Energen/Alabama Gas Corp. She has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Auburn University.

Joe Forkum

Vice President of Coal

One CSX Coming to Life


Joe Forkum is Vice President of Coal. His responsibilities span across various domestic coal sectors including utility, steel and industrial segments. Forkum also oversees the export coal segments and leads the company’s coal development initiatives.

Prior to his current role, Forkum served as the Head of Merchandise Sales, a position he held until March 2023. In this capacity, he successfully spearheaded sales efforts for multiple business segments at CSX, including Agricultural and Food Products, Chemicals, Fertilizers, Forest products, Metals and Minerals.

Forkum has served with CSX for more than 20 years. He joined the company as a member of the Finance team in 2000 and later moved into Sales and Marketing, where he took on roles of increasing responsibility on the Coal team. He was named Senior Director of Merchandise Sales in 2021 before being promoted to Head of Merchandise Sales in January 2022.

Forkum holds a bachelor’s degree in International Finance from the University of North Florida and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida.

Jared Kaiser

CEO and Co-Founder


Jared Kaiser is a recognized leader in the natural gas industry with 28 years of experience. Before building PathPoint Energy in 2021, he had proven success serving in bp’s North American Gas & Power business unit as COO, Natural Gas Origination and Operations. He held responsibility at bp for all commercial customer facing activity conducted through eight regional offices including activity in Canada and Mexico. Immediately before that, Jared served as COO, Global Natural Gas Liquids responsible for trading and marketing teams in Houston, London and Singapore.

Earlier in his career, he served as Senior Vice President – Gas Origination covering the bulk of North American geography through multiple roles where he was responsible for leading teams focused on developing and executing commercial strategy including trading, origination and asset management. The teams were substantially focused on originating solutions for producers and consumers.

Jared has spoken at many industry events, including the LDC Forums. He believes developing talent and supporting the team first is the main driver of success along with a focus on customers.

As a native of Houston, he earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston, and a Bachelor of Business Administration in both Accounting and Finance from Texas A&M University. Jared has always been active in recruiting and continues his involvement with the Trading, Risk and Investments Program at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School.

Joe Craft

Chairman, President and CEO


Joe Craft is Chairman, President and CEO of Alliance Resource Partners LP, a diversified natural resource company headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Alliance Resource Partners LP (ARLP/Alliance) is the largest coal producer in the eastern United States, operates mining complexes in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, and West Virginia, and sells coal principally to major domestic and international utilities and industrial users.
Alliance also generates income from mineral interests it owns in premier oil and gas producing regions, primarily the Anadarko, Permian, Williston and Appalachian basins. In addition, ARLP is positioning itself as an energy provider for the future by leveraging its core technology business and operating competencies to make strategic investments that support the advancement of safety products, energy reliability, and related infrastructure.

A native of Hazard, Kentucky, Mr. Craft holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Kentucky. He is also a graduate of the Senior Executive Program of the Alfred P. Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Throughout his career, Mr. Craft has served in many industry and community leadership positions and currently serves as a director of BOK Financial Corporation, America’s Power, and the National Mining Association. A champion of free enterprise, he has pledged to give the vast majority of his resources to philanthropic causes and charitable endeavors targeted to people and organizations that embrace individual responsibility and economic freedom.

Melinda Montgomery

Sr. Director, Engineering & Advanced Analytics

SERC Regional Long-Term Assessment & Risk Trend Overview


Melinda Montgomery serves as the Sr. Director of Engineering & Advanced Analytics for SERC Reliability Corporation. This includes developing and implementing the strategy and vision for data management and analytics, stakeholder engagement through the extensive SERC technical committees, as well as developing the models, studies, and engineering assessments to evaluate the overall reliability of the SERC region going forward.

Her background includes more than 25 years of industry experience in real-time system operations and long-term transmission planning.

Melinda holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering, as well as a Master of Science in Engineering from Tulane University in New Orleans. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree from Christian Brothers University in Memphis.

Lars Schernikau


Why are Coal, Solar and Wind Power so Interlinked


Dr. Lars Schernikau – With two decades immersed in the commodity industry, his journey began at The Boston Consulting Group in the USA and Germany from 1997 to 2003, shaping his deep understanding of global markets. Lars also managed a Germany based wind farm from 2003 to 2006.

As a co-founder, shareholder, and former board member of the supervisory board at both HMS Bergbau AG and IchorCoal NV – German-based, publicly listed, international commodity marketing and mining companies – Lars´ experience spans across Europe, Asia,Africa, and North America. He has founded, steered, and advised enterprises across the global raw material sector, leaving a lasting imprint.

Currently, Lars directs his expertise towards further enhancing HMS’ global commodity operations and driving energy and commodity marketing across Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe and the Indian subcontinent. Notably, HMS has been a key player in coal, ore, and cementitious product marketssince 1995. The company develops and operates various logistics and mining assets.

Beyond the commodity business, Dr. Schernikau is a renowned energy economist and keynote speaker at global energy and commodity forums world-wide. His counsel on macro and energy economics extends to governments, banks, educational institutions, and conglomerates, shaping energy policies. With published books, scientific research, and press articles on energy policy and raw materials, his insights are held in high esteem. Lars has also peer-reviewed energy related books and research paper.

His latest book, “The Unpopular Truth… about Electricity and the Future of Energy,” discusses the energy transition and how to meet global growing energy demand from an energy economic point of view.

Learn more here – www.unpopular-truth.com

Other books and research are available at www.energeia-publishing.com

Lars studied Finance at New York University, received his MBA from INSEAD in France, and earned his doctoral degree in economics with focus on energy, commodities, and coal at the Technical University Berlin, Germany. He currently lives primarily in Switzerland and Singapore.