northeast group, llc


Ben Gardner is President and co-founder of Northeast Group, LLC. His primary area of expertise is smart grid, having worked in this sector for more than a decade. Ben's first smart grid project was back in 2005, helping an investor-owned utility complete business cases for smart metering, distribution automation and other initiatives. In 2009, he helped a client secure more than $150m in stimulus funding under the smart grid investment grant (SGIG) program. He now primarily advises Northeast Group's clients on international opportunities. Prior to founding Northeast Group, Ben spent over five years as a management consultant in the Global Energy Practice at PA Consulting Group, based in Washington, DC. Before joining PA, he worked at DiamondCluster (now Oliver Wyman) in its Barcelona, Spain office. Ben has also been a frequent contributor to The Economist Group and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania (magna cum laude) and a master's degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where he concentrated in International Finance and Energy Policy.

Chris Testa is Research Director at Northeast Group. He manages the research and writing of each of the firm's regional and thematic studies. Chris has also worked on the ground on smart grid projects in Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Panama, among other countries. He is a frequent speaker at smart grid conferences, including the Latin America Smart Grid Forum in São Paulo, Brazil, IEEE smart grid seminar in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and Clean Energy Argentina in Buenos Aires. Chris is also a frequent contributor to The Economist Group. Prior to joining Northeast Group, Chris worked as a consultant at Garten Rothkopf, LLC focusing on global clean energy regulatory policy and renewable energy financing. He has also served as an adjunct professor of environmental policy at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. Chris earned an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins SAIS where he specialized in Energy Policy and International Economics.

Steve Chakerian is a Senior Analyst at Northeast Group. He contributes to the firm's smart grid country intelligence research and various thematic topics. Steve previously worked with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics and with the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School in New York, where he supported the center's cybersecurity program. He received his undergraduate degree from Tulane University in New Orleans. Steve also holds a master's degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where he concentrated in International Economics and Energy Policy.




Basil Allison is an advisor to Northeast Group and was previously the Chief Engineer at Pepco Holdings (PHI), an Exelon company. He has more than 40 years of engineering experience in the electric utility sector. Before retiring from PHI, Basil was responsible for the utility’s overall technical strategy, including the rollout of smart grid infrastructure. This included smart grid initiatives such as distribution automation (DA), demand response (DR) programs, electric vehicle (EV) strategy, distributed energy resources (DER), and a number of software and analytics projects. Basil is a graduate of The George Washington University, a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia and a life senior member of IEEE.

James Gale is an advisor of Northeast Group.  A lawyer licensed in Illinois, New York, and the District of Columbia, Jim applies his legal background in advising the firm on overall strategic direction.  Jim, a corporate lawyer and litigator in Washington, was a partner of Kirkland & Ellis in New York.  Jim holds an undergraduate degree from Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota, a law degree from the University of Michigan, and a master's degree from Johns Hopkins (SAIS).

Jeremy Brown is a co-founder of Northeast Group. While he has stepped back from day-to-day operations, he still helps advise the firm in strategic matters. Prior to co-founding the firm, Jeremy worked as a field analyst for the NATO International Security Assistance Force in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. Prior to his time in Afghanistan, Jeremy was a contract analyst on the Afghanistan Policy desk in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Jeremy holds a master's degree from Johns Hopkins (SAIS) where he concentrated in Political Economy.