Ken Derra 
ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) 


Wednesday, May 17, 2017 from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM CDT

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Where - Tour

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino - Harmony Room 
1611 W. Canal Street
Milwaukee, WI 53233

Driving Directions 

Dinner Menu

  • Roasted Chicken Breast
  • Vegetable
  • Rice Pilaf
  • Garden Salad
  • Rolls
  • Beverage (coffee/tea)

Parking & Directions to Meeting Room

  • Park for free in the West Parking Garage or pay $10 for valet parking in front of the hotel.
  • If using the parking garage: Go to the skywalk that takes you to the casino.  Walk straight until you hit a circular room with a fireplace.  On the opposite side is a link to the hotel.  Enter through a few sets of glass doors, head to the windows and take a left to the Harmony Room.
  • If using valet parking: Enter the hotel loby and take the elevator to the third floor and take a right.  Head to the windows and take a left to the Harmony Room.


5:00 PM Gather in the Harmony Room
6:00 PM Dinner
7:00 PM Elections & Announcements
7:15 PM Presentation & Tour



Members  $25
Non-Members  $30
Students $10
Spouses $10


ASME Elections, Presentation and Tour of the Potawatomi Casino Biodigesters on May 17, 2017

Register Now!


There is no Easy Street to Renewable Energy Development

If you live in Milwaukee, you have certainly heard of Potawatomi Casino and Hotel.  You have also likely heard of the Forest County Potawatomi Community’s (FCPC) commitment to the environment.  During this meeting we will be learning about how they are committed towards achieving energy sovereignty, and built a two megawatt cogeneration plant powered with biogas created by anaerobic digestion.  This will include a presentation by Charlie Opferman, who managed the development of the cogeneration plant, and will conclude with a tour of the digesters.

Committed towards achieving energy sovereignty, FCPC built a two megawatt cogeneration plant powered with biogas created by anaerobic digestion.  The digesters operate on liquid (pumpable) food waste.  The project is a merchant facility, diverting Potawatomi Casino and regionally derived organic waste from landfills, creating renewable energy, and reducing methane emissions.

Charlie Opferman is a licensed architect who has spent his career in the construction and development industry.  Energy conservation, management, and generation have remained a focus through his career.  He has worked in facility, district energy, and utility power plants.  He managed the development of the FCPC’s two megawatt biogas power plant. His tribal work started a decade ago, working for FCPC as owner’s representative on the Dream Catcher expansion of the Milwaukee casino.  He subsequently oversaw the construction of the Potawatomi Hotel.  As a tribal employee, he manages operations and the business of the FCPC Renewable Generation biogas plant. 

We will be in the Harmony Room of the hotel for the dinner and presentation.  Then, toward the end of the evening, we will walk a “long three blocks” outside to the biodigester building to begin our tour.  There is not enough parking at this building so please plan on using the parking structure if possible.  There are a limited number of parking spaces available for those with limited mobility.  Please remember that this is an operational Industrial Wastewater Pre-Treatment facility and operating power plant.  Personal Protective equipment is not required.  However, since the plant is an industrial environment, do NOT wear open toed shoes, Expect some wet floors and Dress for a construction site.

2017-2018 Group Leadership Team (GLT) Nominations

 The Group Leadership Team of the Milwaukee Section of ASME consists of ten (10) elected members:  chair, vice-chair, secretary, treasurer, and six (6) advisors.  This year, we will be voting for all 10 positions as required by ASME directives.

 The Nominating Committee, consisting of Ken Derra, Joe Derra, and Bob Stachowicz, propose the following ASME members be elected to the following Milwaukee Section Group Leadership Team positions.  When I call your name, please rise momentarily to be recognized.

Chair:  Bryan Eskra 

Bryan has served as an Advisor since 2014.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, emphasizing Energy Conversion, from UWM in 1970.  He is a registered Professional Engineer in 6 states, including Wisconsin.  Bryan is also a Life Member of ASME.  Currently, he is about to retire as Vice-President, Principle, of Power Engineers Collaborative, LLC, of which he is a founding partner.

Vice-Chair:  Scott Kramer

 Scott currently serves as Vice-Chair.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1984 from Northwestern University and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1992 from UWM.  Scott has been employed by Milwaukee Electric Tool, since 1993, and currently leads and manages many of the lithium ion battery projects.

Secretary:  Liam Coen

Liam currently serves as Secretary.  He is a Lead Engineer at GE Waukesha Gas Engines, and presently a member of the American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA) Materials and Metallurgy Committee.

 Treasurer:  Douglas Kiesling

Douglas currently serves as Treasurer.  He has a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering.  He currently works for GE Waukesha Gas Engines.  In 2009, he host-chaired the Spring Conference for the Internal Combustion Engine Division of ASME at Waukesha Engine.

 Advisor:  Allen Perkins

Allen currently serves as Chair.  After leaving the Navy in 1972, he joined his father’s business, Perkins Engineering Co.  He has held a PE since 1977, is still running the company, and considers himself semi-retired.

Advisor:  Gene Janikowski

Gene currently serves as Advisor, has been an ASME member since 1975, and is a Life Member.  He is a Registered PE in Wisconsin, an ISO 9000 Auditor, and a Six Sigma Blackbelt.  He is retired from C&D Technologies.

Advisor:  Subha Kumpaty

Subha currently serves as Advisor and has coordinated the Section’s efforts in educational seminars.  Since 1997, he has taught at MSOE and currently is a professor of mechanical engineering and the program director of the Master of Science in Engineering program.

Advisor:  Chris Nelson

Chris currently serves as Advisor.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Western Michigan University in 1996.  Upon graduation, he worked at Ricardo, eventually becoming the Analysis Department Manager.  In 2008, Chris joined GE Waukesha Gas Engines and currently is the Global Leader of Design and Mechanical Development for all of Distributed Power’s reciprocating engine products.  He has been an active member of our section. 

Advisor:  Carissa Petzinger

Carissa currently serves as Advisor.  She received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Electrical Engineering in 2013 from Marquette University.  Currently, she is on the College Relations Committee for our section and works at Generac.

 Advisor:  Larry Miley

Larry is new to the GLT.