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OCU Energy Speaker Series Continues; Prominent CEOs to Discuss Energy Transitions

OKLAHOMA CITY  Two leading experts in the energy industry will discuss energy transitions at the next Karl F. and June S. Martin Family Foundation Energy Management Speaker Series lecture at Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business.

American Clean Skies Foundation CEO Gregory Staple and American Electric Power President and CEO Nick Akins will speak from 4 to 6 p.m. April 10 in the Kerr McGee Auditorium at the Meinders School of Business, located at N.W. 27th Street and McKinley Ave. The event is free to the public.

Staple was appointed CEO of the American Clean Skies Foundation in December 2009. He succeeds the organization’s first CEO, Denise Bode, now head of the American Wind Energy Association. Prior to joining the foundation, Staple was a partner at the international law firm Vinson & Elkins LLP where he specialized in federal regulatory matters and co-directed the firm’s Washington D.C. climate change program. Staple has written widely on cap-and-trade legislation to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and related proposals. His essays on legal matters have appeared in numerous publications, including The Environmental Law Forum, Legal Times of Washington and The American Journal of International Law.

In addition to practicing law for more than 25 years, Staple has been a consultant to the World Bank and is the founder and former CEO of the TeleGeography publishing group. He received a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan and an undergraduate degree in political economy from the University of Rochester.

Akins is the 10th president and sixth chief executive officer of American Electric Power in the company’s more than 100-year history. He is a member of AEP’s board of directors and is the only management representative on the board.

Akins rose through the ranks at both AEP and the former Central and South West Corporation, which merged with AEP in 2000. Akins began his nearly 30-year tenure in 1982 as an electrical engineer before moving up to positions of increasing responsibility. Prior to being elected president of AEP in December 2010, he served as executive vice president of generation from 2006 through 2010 with responsibility for all generation activities. Akins oversaw technological advances to address climate change and a growing demand for electricity. These included the development of the world’s first fully-integrated carbon capture and storage validation project at AEP’s Mountaineer Plant in West Virginia, and construction of the nation’s only ultra-supercritical pulverized coal plant in southwest Arkansas to meet growing demand in that region. The John W. Turk Plant, which is nearly complete, will be the most efficient coal plant in the country and the only use of this technology in the United States.

Akins was president and chief operating officer for Southwestern Electric Power Company, serving approximately 439,000 customers in Louisiana, Arkansas and northeast Texas. Named to the position in 2004, he had authority for distribution operations and a wide range of customer and regulatory relationships.

Akins also served as vice president of energy marketing services and vice president of industry restructuring. Before CSW’s merger with AEP, Akins held various director and manager roles with responsibility for mergers and acquisitions, industry restructuring, fuels, system dispatch operations and system planning.

Akins received his bachelor’s degree in electric engineering and master’s degree in electrical engineering from Louisiana Tech University. Additional training includes executive management programs at Louisiana State University, the University of Idaho and the Reactor Technology Course for Utility Executives at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a professional registered engineer in Texas.

Akins currently serves as vice chairman of the board of the Electric Power Research Institute. He is a member of the boards of the National Association of Manufacturers, the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, the Greater Columbus Arts Council and the Wexner Center for the Arts. He also serves on several subsidiary boards of AEP. Akins and his wife, Donna, live in Dublin, Ohio.

For more information or to register, call Melissa Cory at (405) 208-5540, email or visit