AEE Staff

Executive & Administration

Bill Kent, C.E.M., Executive Director

Bill has served as Executive Director of AEE since November 2017, succeeding Al Thumann, Founder of AEE, who served as AEE's Executive Director for 40 years. Bill has been involved in the energy management industry for over 30 years and brings expertise in energy efficiency, instrumentation, automation, building systems, and executive leadership. In his 10 years at AEE, he has led many key initiatives and has been managing the day to day operations of the organization in his role as Managing Director. 

He is responsible for managing and developing programs for membership, certification, publications, and conferences. He has worked with many local, state and federal agencies to develop workforce training programs and led the initiative to gain ANSI 17024 Accreditation and U.S. DOE Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines recognition of the AEE certifications.

Bill attended the University of Georgia and is a Certified Energy Manager® (CEM®), a member of the Commercial Workforce Credentialing Council Board of Advisors, a member of the Certification and Licensure Advisory Group for Credential Engine and was previously Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Varec, a Leidos company. Bill can be reached by email or by phone at (770)447-5083.

Ruth Whitlock, Executive Administrator

Ruth has been with AEE for 32 years and has served as Executive Administrator for the last 13 years, following 19 years as Meeting Planner.  Ruth oversees the AEE Awards Programs at international, national, and regional levels, and administers programs for the AEE Energy Managers Hall of Fame and Officer nominations and elections. She is responsible for U.S. and international chapter development and relations; Corporate Member development; site selection for tradeshows and convention center and hotel contracting; and serves as liaison for the Council for Women in Energy & Environmental Leadership.  Ruth studied Business Administration at Georgia State University. Ruth can be reached by email or by phone at (770)447-5083.

Jennifer Vendola, Controller

Jennifer joined AEE in 2005 as Certification Director and assumed the position of Controller in 2007. She handles all aspects of accounting, human resources as well as database management.  Jennifer holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Chemistry and Accounting from Georgia State University. Jennifer can be reached by email or by phone at (770)447-5083.

Danielle Johnson, Information Services Director & Membership Assistant

Danielle joined AEE in 2014 as an administrative assistant to the membership department. She assumed the role of Information Services Director in 2017. She still assists in the membership and certification departments. She oversees student memberships and the Fellow program. Danielle can be reached by email or by phone at (770)447-5083.



Sharon Hewson, Executive Assistant

Sharon joined AEE in 2018 as Executive Assistant. She assists the Executive Director with day-to-tasks, as well as being responsible for company IT support, database management, credential registration and AEE webinars. Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Industrial Design Engineering from Teesside University, England. Sharon can be reached by email or by phone at (770)447-5083.



Patricia Ardavin, Membership Director

Patricia joined AEE in 2002 has served as Membership and Conference Registration Director in her 12 years at AEE. With membership’s fast growing rate, Patricia now serves solely as the Membership Director. Patricia can be reached by email or by phone at (770)447-5083.




Helen Johnson, Certification Director

Helen Johnson joined AEE in 2004 as Conference Speakers Director and assumed the role of Certification Director in the Spring of 2009. She oversees the CEM®, EMIT™, and BEP™ programs. Helen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality from Georgia State University. Helen can be reached by email or by phone at (770)447-5083.

Crystal Xiong, Certification Administrator, CEM | BEP | EMIT

Crystal joined the AEE staff in 2008, assisting the CEM Certification Department.  Her position, which includes the processing of all new CEM exam applications and assisting with questions about application statuses, Crystal can be reached by email or by phone at (770)447-5083.

Francine Seskin, Certification Director

Francine joined AEE in 2006 as Executive Assistant to the Executive Director after completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing at Georgia State University. She assumed the role of Certification Director in 2008. She is responsible for the following certification programs: CEA, CBCP, EBCP, CDSM, CIEP, CGD, DGCP, CEP, CWEP, REP, REA, GBE, CSDP, CRM, CLEP, CPQ, BESA. Francine can be reached by email or by phone at (770)447-5083.

Michelle Zakin Leclerc, Certification Director

Michelle joined AEE in 2009 as an Administrative Assistant and assumed the role of Certification Director in the summer of 2010. She oversees the CMVP®, EEP, and PCF Programs.  Michelle holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition from Clemson University. Michelle can be reached by email or by phone at (770)447-5083.

Mary Elise Cox, International Program Director

Mary Elise joined AEE in 2005 and handles all aspects of presenting AEE certification training programs with government agencies and the private sector as well as AEE chapters around the world.  She also oversees the process of qualified individuals obtaining certification outside of the United States. Mary Elise holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Consumer Economics and obtained a minor in French from the University of Georgia. Mary Elise can be reached by email or by phone at (770)447-5083.

Kate Feltgen, International Project Coordinator

Kate joined AEE in 2007 as part-time help in the Membership and Conference Registration Departments, and in 2008 she assumed the role of Executive Assistant to Executive Director and then in 2014 she took over as the Director of Information Services. She is now assisting the International Certification department. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Music Performance from the University of New Hampshire and a Masters in Music Performance from Georgia State University. Kate can be reached by email or by phone at (770)447-5083.


Teniece Price-Williams, Administrative Assistant, International Certification

Teniece started working in the AEE International department in August of 2017. She processes certifications for all programs presented by AEE International training providers. Teniece can be reached by email or by phone at 770-447-8083.

Priscila Rivere, Certification Renewal Director & Scholarship Director

Priscila joined AEE in May of 2011 to provide administrative support to various departments. She is in charge of certification renewals and the AEE Scholarship program. Priscila can be reached by email or by phone at (770)447-5083.



Marketing, Communications, & Events

Lauren Lake, Event and Marketing Director

Lauren joined AEE staff in 2003.  As AEE’s meeting planner, Lauren coordinates conferences and trade shows, including securing bids and contracts for audio-visual equipment, computers, medical services, security, photography, event services, and catering.  She oversees the design, printing and distribution of promotional materials for shows and membership.  She can also be contacted regarding show sponsorship opportunities. Lauren holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Georgia State University. Lauren can be reached by email or by phone at (770)447-5083.



Michelle Whitlock, Digital Communications Director, Public Relations, Webmaster

Michelle joined AEE in 2008 as an administrative assistant.  She assumed the role of Conference Speakers Director in spring 2009. She is now AEE's Digital Communications Director and is in charge of the AEE website, divisional newsletters, social media and PR. Michelle holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Georgia State University. Michelle can be reached by email or by phone at (770)447-5083, ext. 229.



Cheyenne Kimbrell, Conference Speakers Director

Cheyenne joined AEE in 2018 as Conference Speaker Director.  She is in charge of developing the conference programs and coordinating the speakers for each show.  Cheyenne holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management with a concentration Event Management from the College of Human Environmental Sciences at The University of Alabama.  Cheyenne can be reached by email or by phone at (770)447-5083, ext. 215.



Connie Meadows, Conference Registration Director

Connie joined the AEE staff in 2004, assisting with Membership and Conference Registration. With the separation of the Membership and Conference Department, Connie has taken on the role of Conference Registration Director. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Georgia State University. Connie can be reached by email or by phone at (770)447-5083, ext. 226.