Leaders of NEI
Trey McClure, PE
Technical Director – Solar Engineering
As NEI’s Technical Director – Solar Engineering, Trey is responsible for leading the electrical engineering design and analysis for large scale utility solar projects. This includes but is not limited to developing engineering packages for submittals, reviewing, and improving internal processes. He also provides guidance and meeting client requirements throughout the course of a project and managing budgets and schedules to meet project needs.
Director – Internal Communications
As NEI’s Director of Internal Communications, Anne is fulfilling her passion for keeping folks looped in, engaged, and performing at their best. By establishing, refining, and overseeing internal communications processes, she’s constantly working to devise and implement effective methods to cultivate dialogue and shared understanding with our team. Her core focus areas are delivery excellence, business partnering, and strategic advice. She leans on deep expertise in communications, change management, learning and training, and marketing to inform strategy and propel her day-to-day operations. Contributing to an organization with a people-first focus is a non-negotiable and she’s grateful to have found her tribe with NEI.
Anne is an avid reader and loves all things outdoors, all seasons. Sometimes you might find her bouncing between jiu jitsu mats and her yoga mat.
Frank Gotte, ME, PE
Vice President – Substations
Frank is NEI’s Vice President of Substations and has extensive experience managing multi-disciplinary teams on industrial, power generation, and utility projects.
In his 10 years at NEI, Frank has performed detailed design, provided planning studies, conducted power system studies, and supported field engineering services while consulting with clients and delivering high-quality solutions and client services. Frank manages remote teams and takes an active role in providing mentorship to dedicated and passionate engineers. Additionally, Frank has been involved with IEEE Power System Relaying and Control Committee since 2018 contributing to technical reports, guides, and standards on digital substations and renewable energy collector substations.
The best piece of advice given to Frank is, “Create purpose in your life every day. Use your purpose to create shared experiences with your loved ones and anyone else who will join. In doing so you will find that each day on this earth is a gift not to be taken for granted, and you will find that focusing on presence in every moment will bring you gratitude and balance.”
Director – People Services
Whitney is NEI’s Director of People Services and brings extensive experience partnering with organizations to provide strategic oversight in areas including leadership development, culture management, team member development, and training.
Whitney’s objective at NEI is to build and maintain a workplace culture of respect and collaboration, building relationships by acting with integrity, poise, and professionalism.
Whitney’s biggest accomplishment outside of NEI is making a pretty mean Zuppa Toscana and possessing Tetris skills that are “on point.” Whitney’s daughters also think her positivity and listening skills are her real superpowers.
Vice President – Client Services
Alan leads the Client Services department at NEI, overseeing proposals, business development, and marketing. Additionally, he brings extensive experience in project management, engineering, and procurement to NEI.
He has a track record of successfully executing numerous go-to-market strategies and possesses a deep understanding of business and strategy. His expertise encompasses cost estimating services for significant projects, including substations, transmission lines, MV collection and distribution, and SCADA projects.
Some of the best advice Alan has received is “Focus on what you can control and don’t worry about the rest.”
Clifton Oertli, MS, MBA, PE
President & CEO
As NEI’s President & CEO, Clifton is responsible for leading the organization in delivering seamless and high-quality power engineering solutions to clients across multiple industries. Early in his NEI career, Clifton was responsible for the engineering design and on-site commissioning of numerous utility substations, renewable generation stations, and industrial facilities.
Today, Clifton leverages this past hands-on experience to lead technical and business operational teams toward driving strategic initiatives through creating a values-based and service-oriented culture. In addition to his leadership duties, Clifton still also actively consults with clients on unique and challenging projects, providing long-term strategic direction and insight.
He is actively involved in, and gives back to, the power industry through volunteering and involvement in IEEE, RMEL, and other organizations.
Clifton is a voracious reader and purveyor of podcasts. He loves collecting words of wisdom from this content as well as his mentors. Two of the top candidates for the best advice he has received include, “Easy choices…hard life; hard choices…easy life;” and “Discipline creates opportunity.”
Director – Proposals
Jilu leads the Proposals team within NEI’s Client Services department, bringing eight years of industry experience to NEI. This experience includes three years as a transmission engineer and five years as a proposal engineer.
Jilu possesses extensive proposal expertise within the renewable and utility markets, encompassing wind, solar, battery storage, co-ops, and investor-owned utilities.
The best piece of advice Jilu received comes in the form of a quote, “The struggle you’re in today is to develop the strength you need tomorrow.”
Vice President – Renewable Generation
Tyler is the Vice President of NEI’s Renewable Generation department. He has more than 10 years of industry experience in delivering multi-disciplinary engineering designs and solutions for solar power plants totaling over 10GW+.
He oversees the management of PV electrical engineering and brings cohesive and coordinated team leadership to deliver a full solar plant design solution for NEI clients.
The best piece of advice ever given to Tyler was, “Never become the person who believes they know everything better than anyone else. Never stop being curious and never stop learning.”
Jake Wiggins, MSCE, PE
Vice President – Strategic Services
Jake is the Vice President of NEI’s Strategic Services department. In his 12 years with NEI, he has shaped the standards and processes of the civil engineering department and developed an expertise in both substations and transmission lines.
His technical experience is grounded in design of a diverse range of projects and his integrated approach ensures a complete and reliable design. Jake also invests time in the industry by serving on the ASCE 48 committee for Design of Steel Transmission Pole Structures.
Jake’s greatest accomplishment outside of NEI is free soloing the Matterhorn Liongrat route.
Manager – Marketing
Courtney is NEI’s Marketing Manager, leading the company’s external marketing efforts with a versatile skill set and a passion for design. Her expertise spans website design, brand promotion, content creation, advertising, social media marketing, and graphic design. With a double major in Business Marketing and Management from the University of Kentucky, she brings a strong foundation in business to her creative role.
If Courtney were to enhance a specific professional skill, she would choose to deepen her expertise in metalsmithing. Her vision includes establishing a dedicated workshop within her own home to transform her creative ideas into tangible works of art.
Director – System Studies
Eric is the Director for System Studies on NEI’s Renewable Generation team. He is an energy and transmission system design, planning, and operations professional with an extensive background in utility technologies, policies, and regulations.
He is recognized as a strong technical leader, strategic thinker, and trusted advisor capable of nurturing a culture of collaboration and facilitating the development of innovative solutions for a wide range of complex energy infrastructure and regulatory challenges.
Eric’s experience encompasses strategic planning, long-term transmission planning, coordination of generation interconnection studies, expertise in renewable integration, inter-utility operations coordination, emergency management, and regulatory compliance (FERC, NERC, and SERC).
Team Lead – BESS
Tanner is NEI’s Team Lead for Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS), leading a team of engineers and designers within the Renewable Generation department at NEI, specializing in BESS projects. He is responsible for ensuring accurate, timely, and high-quality completion of electrical engineering scopes assigned to the team, including the successful execution of BESS projects of varying sizes and scopes for various clients.
Tanner also brings extensive experience in LV, MV, & HV design, as well as SCADA/controls, having worked in utilities across traditional and renewable generation, and power delivery industries.
Director – Transmission
Ashley is NEI’s Technical Director for Transmission. She is a driven and innovative transmission professional with ten years of experience working with a diverse range of utility clients on projects ranging from distribution level to 345kV.
Director – Civil Substations
Brandon is the Technical Director for Civil Substations on NEI’s Strategic Services team. He manages a department of engineers and designers, focusing on the physical and structural design of electrical substations for utility and renewable projects. These projects vary in size from 25kV to 138kV single bank stations to 500kV breaker and half layout. Brandon also serves as an Owner Engineer for clients, overseeing the review of substation projects of all sizes.
Director – Chief Engineering Office
Matt is the Director of NEI’s Chief Engineering Office, focusing on collaborating with various engineering teams to identify and implement internal technical initiatives aimed at improving the operational landscape. Additionally, Matt is involved in the implementation of new project management software.
Thom Amiot, CMA
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Thom is NEI’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO). He has held various leadership positions in Finance and Accounting, including Accounting Manager, Controller, Director of Finance, and CFO. Thom’s professional experience spans several industries, notably: healthcare, software, public venue management, and engineering. He is passionate about process perfection and automation, as well as de-mystifying unnecessarily complicated financial matters for non-financial professionals.
Thom graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Valdosta State University, and is a Certified Management Accountant accredited by the Institute of Management Accountants.
A fun fact about Thom is the first flight he ever took was in a small airplane that he promptly jumped out of (with a parachute). This experience, coupled with a long family tradition of flying, ignited a desire to one day obtain his Private Pilot’s License.
Carson Bates, PhD, PE, P. Eng
Chief Engineer – Power Systems
Carson is the Chief Engineer of Power Systems at NEI, and electrical engineer for a variety of projects across the NEI’s portfolio including utility scale renewables, industrial production facilities, and utility system studies. In his role, he performs various technical studies and consults on various electrical designs from protection and control (one lines and schematics) to SCADA (architecture and programming).
Carson has written numerous technical papers and participates on several industry committees including IEEE IAS Petroleum and Chemical Industry Committee (PCIC), IEEE IAS Industrial and Commercial Power Systems (I&CPS), PES Insulated Conductors Committee and PES Renewable Systems Integration Coordinating Committee.
Carson joined NEI in 2011, and throughout his work he has received the 2018 RMEL Emerging Leader Award, and the 2021 PCIC Outstanding Young Professional Achievement Award.
His motto is, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment”
Senior Director – Business Development
Paul serves as the Senior Director of Business Development at NEI. He is a results-oriented technical sales executive with 30 years of experience in the industry. Since joining NEI in 2020, Paul has contributed his expertise in sales, marketing, and engineering to the electric power and energy markets. He possesses proven technical, analytical, and managerial skills.
Before joining NEI, Paul successfully managed and led numerous sales groups.
Director – SCADA & Automation
Keith serves as the Technical Director for NEI’s SCADA department, leveraging over 15 years of expertise in controls and SCADA systems. He also possesses programming experience in automation and power plant controls.
Keith has played pivotal roles as both project engineer and project lead on numerous renewable energy SCADA projects, spanning from small-scale to large utility projects. His expertise encompasses HMI/RTU/PLC programming, network design, and field commissioning. Keith has collaborated with diverse clients, ranging from co-ops and utilities to large-scale EPCs.
Keith’s biggest accomplishment outside of NEI came in 2014, when he finished an Ironman.
Director – Information Technology
As the leader of the IT group, David has helped to rapidly scale and maintain NEI’s diverse technology environment. He has worked to find solutions that allows NEI to embrace remote workers while still providing them with an IT experience like what in-office users expect.
David’s 20 years of leadership in the Adventure Travel industry is seen in his focus on customer service and making sure that internal IT clients have first class support. He has ability to keep a cool head during incidents- watching a network break is easy compared to broken bones in the wilderness.
If David could learn one new professional skill, he’d choose welding aluminum. He has a growing list of projects he would like to make, and he also thinks proper aluminum welding is beautiful.
Mark Lanphier, PE
Chief Operating Officer (COO) & Senior Principal Engineer
Mark is NEI’s Chief Operating Officer. His 23 of years at NEI showcases his extensive experience in designing and managing the design of power and control system design for transmission, substations, power plants, and industrial facilities. His vast experience spans studies of all types, SCADA/controls design, field commissioning, troubleshooting, equipment, relay testing, and much more.
As the head of operations Mark is a dedicated leader responsible for the overall operations of the organization including management of the power systems, civil and structural, project services, and SCADA/Automation groups.
The best advice Mark has received during his career is, “It takes time, persistence, and patience to build great things.”
Denis Litvak, PE
Director – Renewables
Denis is NEI’s Technical Director for Renewables. Over the course of nine years at NEI, he has performed a wide variety of detailed designs, power system studies, and field engineering services.
Denis possesses a strong background in power systems analysis, with a particular focus on safety, planning, reliability, and power quality. He leverages this expertise to develop companywide standards and best practices while also providing mentorship to engineers.
If Denis were to acquire one new professional skill, it would be the art of design. The ability to create designs that are both visually appealing and easy to understand, such as websites or coversheets, is something that he would love to fully capture.
Andrew Merritt, MSCE, PE
Chief Engineer – Civil & Structural
Andrew Merritt, Chief Engineer of Civil & Structural, joined NEI in 2007. Andrew received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from North Dakota State University in 2006. During his time at NDSU, he studied foundation design, highway design, water supply, and his main focus – structural engineering.
In 2010, Andrew received his Master of Science in Civil Engineering (Structural Engineering) from the University of Colorado Denver. During his time at UCD, he took courses in advanced steel design, advanced concrete design, concrete materials, and many classes in advanced structural analysis. His thesis topic was the beneficial use of ultra-fine fly ash and silica fume for concrete strength, durability, and restrained shrinkage.
In his time at NEI, Andrew has worked on the civil design of many substations. He has experience in site grading, foundation design (both drill pier and spread footings), steel design/detailing, and general arrangement layout.
Andrew has also worked on a variety of transmission/distribution line projects. He has designed electrical lines using steel, wood, and fiberglass. This experience includes line staking, pole/tower design, foundation design, and cost estimation.
Director – Project Services
Paul is NEI’s Director of Project Services, and he brings years of experience in communications, finance, technical sales, project management, sales management, and project management leadership to NEI.
Paul works tirelessly to build strong teams and provide employees and colleagues with challenging opportunities for growth with the goal of transforming strong teammates into strong leaders. He and his team are focused on delivering high-quality projects on time and on budget by collaborating with our customers and working to build a partnership approach to project management.
After being passed for a promotion early in his career, a trusted advisor told Paul, “You have no control over what other people do. You can only control your response to what they do. How you respond will tell them more about you than anything else you do.” That advice changed how he responded to the situation and ultimately changed the path of his career for the better.
Ryan Brick, PE
Director – Renewable Civil
Ryan is NEI’s Technical Director of Renewable Site Development, providing leadership for civil design and permitting support for renewable facilities, utility substations, and transmission lines. Ryan’s industry experience focuses heavily on site development as well as adapting civil designs to local codes and regulations.
He works closely with his team on civil design, environmental feasibility studies, hydrologic modeling, construction specifications, permitting, and construction support.
His biggest accomplishment outside of NEI was serving as the Commander of an engineer company in the Army.