We work with innovators to accelerate smarter, cleaner, more accessible solutions for communities and cities.

It is estimated that by 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. If we do nothing, this increased density, combined with constrained resources, an aging infrastructure and a growing digital divide among citizens, will result in unsustainable cities.

To address these challenges, NextEnergy works with a variety of industry partners to transform innovative technologies into solutions that will create a better quality of life for all.

Based in the center of Detroit’s growing innovation district with access to a microgrid, smart home, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and an alternative fuels platform, we demonstrate and pilot technologies in real-world environments to gather data and diverse user-experiences. This process helps us to quickly scale and deploy solutions by accelerating commercialization in two key areas:

Smart Mobility

Connected, automated, shared and electrified (CASE) mobility solutions and how they interact with the surrounding infrastructure and systems.

Smart Grid

Smart, energy-efficient solutions for buildings and homes, and how they interact with the surrounding infrastructure and systems.

Experience, Knowledge and Relationships

Our depth of experience, technical knowledge and established network of partners allow us to develop effective programs and pilots and facilitate new relationships to help our clients achieve their commercialization goals. We do this through:

Our Experience

  • 2002–2003

    Rendering of the NextEnergy building in Detroit, Michigan
    • NextEnergy announced by Governor Engler and MEDC
    • NextEnergy nonprofit formed and established temporary offices in the Fisher Building in Detroit
    • Legislation passed to create tax incentives supporting alternative energy technology research, development, and manufacturing
    • Commissioned the design and development of NextEnergy microgrid
    • Launched program to fund the development of alternative energy technology curricula for technicians and engineers at Michigan colleges and universities
    • NextEnergy Renaissance Zone approved
  • 2004–2005

    An alternative fuels platform located at NextEnergy in Detroit
    • Partnered with Big Three on DOE-funded Hydrogen Codes & Standards program to provide training and education for emergency first responders and develop permitting guidebook
    • Opened NextEnergy Center at 461 Burroughs in Detroit
    • NextEnergy microgrid goes live
    • Began construction of hydrogen fuel station/alternative fuels platform
    • Established the National Bio-Fuels Energy Lab (NBEL) and associated DOE funded research
  • 2006–2007

    Former President Bill Clinton and Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm visit the NextEnergy offices in Detroit
    • Commissioned hydrogen fueling station
    • Facilitated the deployment of the Mercedes A Class fuel cell vehicle for WSU campus police department
    • Launched a fuel cell testing program with DTE and Rolls Royce on microgrid pavilion
    • Tested first generation electronic power conditioning and control (EPCC) system for DoD
    • President Clinton visited NextEnergy to tour its Michigan energy technology showcase
    • Launched the mobile waste to energy (MEWEPS) R & D program for the DoD
  • 2008–2009

    Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to an audience at NextEnergy's offices in Detroit, Michigan
    • Tested mobile waste to energy generator (MEWEPS) for DoD
    • Launched wind, solar, battery and bioenergy supply chain analysis for MEDC
    • Launched the Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles Pilot with DTE
    • Developed the AETNetwork connection tool to link energy industry with universities
    • Began vehicle-to-grid R, D&D for the DoD
    • Vice President Biden visited NextEnergy and announced the DOE vehicle electrification program, providing $1.3B in commercialization grants to Michigan (advanced battery companies
  • 2010

    Debbie Stabenow and others next to a vehicle chargepoint
    • Launched DOE vehicle electrification R & D program with Chrysler
    • Tested electronic power and conditioning and control (EPCC) equipment at various military installations
    • Successfully helped hundreds of manufacturing firms transition into growing energy markets
    • Developed the Renewable Energy and Mobile Utility System (REMUS); deployed by the DoD
    • First ChargePoint Station in Michigan
  • 2011–2012

    FCA Bi-Directional Charging
    • Launched smart grid supply chain analysis
    • Launched Advanced Energy Storage
    • Bi-directional power from EVs with FCA
    • Commissioned DC microgrid with Nextek Power Systems
    • Launched Community Energy Storage program with DTE
    • Launched advanced lighting demos
  • 2013

    A military vehicle being recharged using high-efficiency battery chargers
    • Installed the 1st Bi-directional DC charging at NextEnergy
    • Held Workplace Charging Workshop at NextEnergy with DOE and industry
    • Commissioned NextEnergy smart home
    • Commissioned microgrid for 100th anniversary of Camp Grayling
    • Launched Michigan Advanced Lighting Conference with DTE, Consumers and IBEW
  • 2014

    Floors of the Chrysler house showing electric usage
    • Hosted the launch of the Advanced Mobility Project
    • Vehicle-to-Grid development with FCA
    • Launched DOE Clean Energy Roadmap program
    • Participated in Smart America Challenge
    • ITS World Congress EV demonstrations with FCA and Qualcomm at NextEnergy
    • Launched NextChallenge: Lighting with Ford and Recovery Park
  • 2015

    NextEnergy's vehicle-to-home charging station
    • Vehicle-to-Home and Building with FCA
    • Hosted V2B Mashup event with 3 EV charging demonstrations (GM, NREL and Qualcomm)
    • Commissioned microgrid for TARDEC GSPEL lab
    • Demonstrated community energy storage at NextEnergy with DTE
    • Hosted Global Automotive Innovation Challenge semi-finals
  • 2016

    e-scooters parked in a row
    • Facilitated MDrive EV car sharing pilot with Denso and UofM Dearborn
    • Launched NextRide E-scooter sharing pilot with Mahindra GenZe
    • Launched LiTES program with DOE, Consumers, DTE and IBEW
    • Launched NextChallenge: Smart Cities with Wells Fargo, DTE, and Denso
    • Hosted Mobility as a Service Trade Mission
  • 2017

    • Presented results of MDrive with DENSO at SAE International
    • Continued NextRide scooter share program and informed regional businesses and anchor institutions, and local community groups of key considerations
    • ISO-15118 use cases demonstration with Mercedes
    • DC smart charging with Eco-G and Ford
  • 2018

    Charin event
    • Initiated demand response demonstration with DTE and Enbala
    • EV Ride and Drive Event for Lightning Systems and BP
    • Michigan Energy Office EV strategy support
    • CharIN North American EV workshop and interoperability testing
    • 400 kW DC fast charging with Delta Products, GM, and DTE
  • 2019

    Electrician elevated in a bucket truck fixing a street light in downtown Detroit
    • Michigan Energy Office EV strategy support
    • Continuation of 400 Kw DC fast charging program
    • Manager of the PlanetM Mobility Pilot Grant Program
    • Develop programming and sustainable business models for The ChargeD Program with PlanetM, City of Detroit, GM, DTE and DDP to install EV charging in Detroit

Meet Our Team

Jim Saber

Jim Saber

President & CEO

Email: saberj@nextenergy.org
Phone: 313.833.0100 ext. 240

Jim Saber is President & CEO at NextEnergy. Saber previously lead the business and technology development and demonstration activities to support commercialization and business growth of NextEnergy’s advanced energy clients and stakeholders. Saber’s experience includes the development of over $150 million in technology development and demonstration programs within e-Mobility, Smart Grid, Buildings and Infrastructure, MicroGrids, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy, and Alternative Fuels. He has lead NextEnergy’s work in establishing new technology development and demonstration platforms within next generation energy efficiency and transportation applications. Prior to joining NextEnergy, Saber spent more than a decade in the energy-storage industry, where he held product- and business-development positions with Fortune 500 and start-up companies. Jim holds a B. S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Lawrence Technological University.

Jim Saber

President &
Chief Executive Officer

Email Jim Saber
313.833.0100 ext. 240

Angella Durkin


Email: angellad@nextenergy.org
Phone: 313.833.0100

Angella Durkin is COO at NextEnergy. Durkin joined NextEnergy in 2015 as Vice President of Finance and Administration. Since that time she has established herself as a key leader at NextEnergy with a broad capacity for operations including accounting and finance, administration, human resources, project management and program compliance. In 2018, she was named Chief Operating Officer of the organization. Prior to joining NextEnergy, she held several positions in finance and accounting during her eight years at Delphi. As manager, global liquidity & America’s treasurer at Delphi, Durkin was responsible for global financial forecasting and funding strategy. Durkin interned at Henkel Technologies, where she assisted the global sales and marketing team on a project focused on redefining customer profitability and implementing new market challenges. She also served four years at Plante & Moran where she provided clients with assurance and consulting services. Durkin holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Central Michigan University, and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. Durkin participated in the American Heritage Association Exchange Program at Universita Degli Studi de Macerata in Macerata, Italy.

Angella Durkin

Chief Operating

Email Angella Durkin

Latonya Binford

Latonya Binford


Email: latonyab@nextenergy.org
Phone: 313.833.0100 ext. 320

Latonya Binford is the Accountant at NextEnergy. Binford has years of experience in financial analysis. In the past, she served as a Budget Analyst at Wayne State University where she analyzed and created budgets for university-wide central revenue and expenditure sources. She also served as a Business Analyst at Compuware Corporation where she reported financial data used in European negotiations for a major automotive customer. Binford holds a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration in Accounting from Central Michigan University and she is currently pursuing an MBA from the University of Detroit Mercy. She is also a member of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers.

Latonya Binford



Email Latonya Binford
313.833.0100 ext. 320

Alisha Kiovanni, administrative assistant

Alisha Kiovanni

Administrative Assistant

Email: alishak@nextenergy.org
Phone: 313.833.0100 ext. 407

Alisha Kiovanni is the administrative assistant at NextEnergy. Kiovanni has years of experience as an administrative professional providing high level administrative support to managers and executives by determining their requirements along with executing tasks and projects within deadlines. Kiovanni also has vast experience in office management and project coordination while demonstrating proficient multitasking skills, exceptional communication and customer service acumen.

Kiovanni holds a certification in entrepreneurial business management, a culinary degree with a specialization in pastry arts, and was the proprietor of Alisha K’s Signature Cheesecake for over 10 years.

Alisha Kiovanni

Administrative Assistant

Email Alisha Kiovanni
313.833.0100 ext. 407

Eric McDonald, Director, Testing & Infrastructure Development

Eric McDonald

Director, Facilities & Infrastructure Development

Email: ericm@nextenergy.org
Phone: 313.833.0100 ext. 118

Eric McDonald is Director, Facilities and Infrastructure Development at NextEnergy where he is responsible for upgrades to the infrastructure and ongoing operation of NextEnergy’s campus. McDonald has over twenty years experience in management of capital improvements and infrastructure development and redevelopment for major construction managers and property owners. He has been involved on a diversity of projects including complete mechanical and electrical upgrades to industrial and commercial buildings; industrial backup power generation; civil, commercial,and industrial construction; landfill inspection and planning; and environmental remediation. McDonald has a Bachelor of Arts in Design from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Wayne State University and is a LEED Accredited Professional.

Eric McDonald

Testing & Infrastructure Development

Email Eric McDonald
313.833.0100 ext. 118

Tim Slusser smaller for web

Tim Slusser

Director, Smart Mobility Initiatives

Email: tims@nextenergy.org
Phone: 313.833.0100 ext. 120

Tim Slusser, Director, Smart Mobility Initiatives at NextEnergy, a Detroit non-profit, accelerates cleantech solutions that create smarter, healthier, more accessible communities and cities.

Prior to joining NextEnergy, he served as Business Strategy Manager for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, where he managed strategies for targeted industries.

Slusser is an accomplished technology strategist and project manager with more than 10 years of business development experience. Slusser specialized in the renewable energy and automotive industries, attracted the first $6 billion dollars of electric vehicle and energy storage investments in Michigan, and helped facilitate the early industry partnerships that formed what is now known as the Power Electronics Industry Collaborative (PEIC).

Slusser holds a bachelor’s of Mechanical Engineering and Masters of Energy Systems Engineering, both from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Tim Slusser

Smart Mobility Initiatives

Email Tim Slusser
313.833.0100 ext. 120

Meet Our Board

Lizabeth Ardisana

Board Chair

Lizabeth (Beth) Ardisana is the co-founder, principal owner and chief executive officer of ASG Renaissance, a global technical and communication services firm. As the CEO, Ardisana is responsible for the Company’s overall strategic direction and financial management while also taking an active role working directly with clients on various projects. In addition to managing ASG, Ardisana is an active business and civic leader in the Michigan and Hispanic Communities. She serves on numerous corporate and educational boards, and has received numerous awards for her contributions to the community. Prior to starting ASG Renaissance, Ardisana worked at Ford Motor Company as an engineer. During her 14 years with Ford, she quickly advanced up the ranks holding various management positions in vehicle development, product planning and marketing. Ardisana holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Detroit, a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Texas.

Lizabeth Ardisana

Marco Bruzzano

Marco Bruzzano is the Vice President of Distribution Operations for DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE), a Detroit- based diversified energy company. As one of Michigan's leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in the communities it serves in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. In his role, Bruzzano is focused on the company's multi-year effort to improve electric system reliability while also reducing costs to keep energy affordable. Bruzzano is directly responsible for overseeing the company’s engineering, technology and planning functions. Prior to this role, he was Vice President of Corporate Strategy supporting a broad range of efforts of strategic and operations improvement efforts. Bruzzano also led DTE’s cost and operational benchmarking programs. Prior to joining DTE in 2008, Bruzzano worked broadly across the energy industry for nearly 20 years, including extensive periods as a management consultant with McKinsey and Booz Allen Hamilton. During this time, he advised global energy companies, electric utilities and power producers on strategy, operations and organizational effectiveness. Bruzzano earned an MBA with distinction from Duke University. He also earned a bachelor of science degree, with honors, and a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech. Bruzzano serves on the boards of NextEnergy and Endeavor Detroit.

Marco Bruzzano

Steve Hilfinger

Steve Hilfinger is a partner and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. His experience includes corporate and finance work with companies in the energy industry, and more recently he held two senior positions with the State of Michigan where his responsibilities included regulatory and economic development activities directly impacting companies in the energy industry. In his most recent role, Mr. Hilfinger was the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the economic development arm of the State of Michigan. His oversight responsibilities at the MEDC included the Michigan Energy Office, which is a key partner with the federal Department of Energy in implementing loan and energy efficiency programs in the State of Michigan. The Michigan Energy Office also partnered with the Governor’s Office and the Public Service Commission on the development of energy policy, including in the areas of reliability, efficiency, affordability and portfolio diversification.

Steve Hilfinger

Eric Shreffler

Eric Shreffler is the Managing Director for the Automotive Office at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. In this role he works directly with automotive industry stakeholders to establish economic development opportunities for the State. His team collaborates with federal agencies to identify partnership and funding opportunities to drive innovation, commercialization, and growth. Shreffler led a cross-functional team focused on advanced energy storage that led to $6B in direct investment in the State, including $1.3B in federal investment, as well as secured state funds to support the establishment of the ALMMII/LIFT and IACMI lightweight materials manufacturing innovation centers in downtown Detroit leveraging US Department of Defense and Department of Energy grants. Prior to joining the MEDC in 2006, Shreffler was the Global Thermal Product Manager for Delphi Product & Service Solutions. He holds a BS in Applied Engineering from Michigan State University and an Executive MBA from Northwood University.

Eric Shreffler

Ned Staebler

As Wayne State University’s Vice President, Economic Development, Ned is part of the university’s cabinet with responsibility for leading economic development activities that leverage university assets across the university and the local community. His activities are designed to function as a catalyst for growth in Midtown Detroit and include interactions with TechTown, Wayne State’s Office of Technology Commercialization, and Midtown Detroit, Inc. Ned, who has private sector experience with both early stage technology ventures and Fortune 150 companies, served previously in a variety of senior roles with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, where he was most recently Vice President for Entrepreneurial and Capital Services.

Ned Staebler