Spirae’s team combines a deep and dynamic understanding of power systems with a flexible and collaborative approach to each project. With world-class talent in control design, modeling and power engineering, Spirae brings cross-disciplinary expertise and an innovative management structure to individual and cooperative projects. This combination of depth and diversity enables Spirae to provide customers with tailored solutions to meet distinct system integration needs. Our team brings significant experience including several innovative patents and technical publications related to the integration of distributed resources and the development of microgrids.
Additionally, as a company, Spirae is an active participant in an array of industry activities internationally, nationally and locally in Colorado. CEO Sunil Cherian currently sits on the Boards of the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster, the Colorado Cleantech Industry Alliance and serves on the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Smart Grid Task Force. Spirae employees regularly speak and participate in conferences such as Grid-Week, Grid-Interop, Microgrid Symposium, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Conferences and US Department of Energy Peer-Review Sessions. Spirae’s project activities have also informed standards development regarding distributed generation integration, including IEC 61850.
Spirae is also dedicated to the development of regional workforce initiatives including membership on the Larimer County Workforce Investment Board and the appointment of COO Julie Zinn, to the Colorado Workforce Development Council.
As a team, Spirae is committed to environmentally sustainable practices and has been an active member of ClimateWise since 2009.
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Sunil Cherian is the Founder and CEO of Spirae. Since founding Spirae in 2002, Dr. Cherian has built the firm into a profitable company with an emphasis on strong customer relationships and a growing intellectual property portfolio with a highly skilled team of power systems and software development professionals. Spirae currently has operations in North America, Europe and India. Dr. Cherian currently serves on the Boards of the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster and Colorado Cleantech Industry Association.
Prior to Spirae, Dr. Cherian founded Sixth Dimension, Inc. for providing networking technologies for the energy industry and served as its CEO from 1997 until 2002. Sixth Dimension was acquired by Comverge in 2003. Before founding Sixth Dimension, Dr. Cherian served as Acting Director for the Colorado Manufacturing Extension Center and as Product Realization specialist for the Mid America Manufacturing Extension Center, both at Colorado State University.
Dr. Cherian has extensive experience in distributed energy applications including distributed control systems, renewable energy integration, and distributed energy resources management for network operations, power management, and energy services delivery. He is a frequent speaker at industry events and has over 35 technical presentations and multiple publications in books, journals, conferences, symposia, and tradeshows. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from CSU in 1991 and 1995 respectively.
Chief Technology Officer
Chief Technology Officer Oliver Pacific brings more than 22 years of power generation experience in manufacturing, engineering, and field commissioning to the Spirae team. His experience is particularly extensive with Allison, GE, Kawasaki, Yanmar (gas turbines from 1MW to 300 MW), Detroit Diesel (DDC/MTU), Electric Motive (EMD), and Caterpillar engines (250 KW to 35 MW).
Oliver worked for Valley Power Systems for 13 years, where he became operations manager for the power products division. At Valley Power Systems, he managed manufacturing and engineering with more than 100 employees and annual sales of $30 million.
He later moved to Statordyne Corporation, a manufacturer of rotary UPS systems. At Statordyne – and later at GFI Energy Ventures (acquired by Statordyne) – he served as Vice President of Engineering and as a consultant. At Statordyne he led the use of CPS systems to produce peak efficiency in diesel power plants. He also led the design of a multiple unit control system that included distributed generation, peak shaving, and on-board SCADA. Statordyne's products ranged from 500KVA to 2MVA.
Since joining Spirae in 2006, Oliver has led the development and integration of an innovative grid-management technology for Energinet.dk, the Danish transmission system operator. This project, called the Cell Controller Project demonstrates hybrid system operation of a high penetration of wind and distributed energy resources with advanced distribution functions such as self-healing and islanded operations. Significant development was put forth into new island-based controls such as frequency shedding control and islanded voltage control, islanded load restoration and islanded mode management.
At Spirae, he also led the technical design of the Renewable and Distributed Systems Integration (RDSI) and FortZED projects, that aimed to modernize and transform the electrical distribution system of the downtown area of Fort Collins, Colorado. This was accomplished by developing and demonstrating a coordinated and integrated system of mixed distributed resources that targeted at least a 20% reduction of the combined annual peak load on two distribution feeders at a single substation while delivering improved efficiency and reliability to the grid and resource asset owners.
Oliver holds a degree in engineering from Idaho State University in power generation and distribution.
Chief Operating Officer
Julie Zinn, PMP®, is Chief Operating Officer of Spirae. Julie is responsible for day-to-day operations of the company, including strategic oversight across all functional areas. In this role, Julie is responsible for building the company’s infrastructure ensuring personnel recruitment, internal training, process development and project management practices align to meet the demands of a growing technology firm.
In addition, Julie is spearheading Spirae’s Center for Smart Grid Advancement initiative in collaboration with Colorado State University, Front Range Community College and other partners to support the transformation of the power systems industry. Julie brings to the Center her extensive experience in adult education, as well as active participation in local and state workforce efforts, including her membership on the Larimer County Workforce Investment Board and her appointment by Governor John Hickenlooper to the Colorado Workforce Development Council.
Prior to working with Spirae, Julie held various positions at ESI International, a global project management training and consulting firm, including Vice President of Product Development for ESI’s worldwide curriculums where she reengineered product management functions and processes to support ESI’s globalization initiatives which resulted in multiple awards from the American Society of Training and Development. She has managed many special projects including organization development initiatives that address communications, personnel reorganization, and business process reengineering.
Julie holds a B.A. in music and a B.S. in business, both from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and an M.A. in education, with an emphasis on human resources development, from The George Washington University and a Master's Certificate from The George Washington University in Project Management and a training specialist certificate from Georgetown University.
Audrey Russell is Spirae's Controller, located in Fort Collins, Colorado. In additional to financial reporting, Audrey supports the organization with contracting, intellectual property, information technology and facilities management. Prior to joining Spirae in spring 2010, Audrey spent five years in public accounting. Her previous duties included various types of auditing for privately held corporations, non-profit organizations and governmental entities. She also assisted with tax services and consulting.
Audrey recently passed the Uniform CPA exam and was licensed in July 2014.
Spirae is an innovative technology company that delivers scalable smart grid solutions to global partners and customers. Spirae specializes in the integration of large-scale renewable and distributed energy resources, the development of local and wide area controls, energy service platforms and power system simulations.
Spirae's Bill Becker attends VERGE Hawaii. Watch his interview with GreenBiz here.