About Red Clay
We’ve partnered with over 40 utilities on a multitude of projects ranging from short-term training engagements to full-scale software implementations.
When talent and passion have a solid platform of brilliance to work from, everything is possible.
As Managing Partner of Red Clay Consulting, Paul Marnell is responsible for technology partnerships, directing sales and marketing and management of strategic accounts. As a leader of a consulting firm focused serving the utilities industry, Paul has helped many utilities build the foundation needed to realize returns on AMI investments and digital customer initiatives. Marnell comments, “Red Clay is uniquely positioned in the market to enable long-term planning and support for utilities of all sizes as they transform meter-to-cash and customer operations. To help utilities adopt best-of-breed solutions into their environments, Red Clay jumped out early to define best practices for implementing meter-to-cash, metering communications, smart-asset management, advanced analytics and common integration approaches. It is now our goal to help the industry realize the return on these investments in preparation for the continued disrupters and customer demand that challenge revenue models’ old ways of conducting business.”
Marnell holds a Bachelor of Science in Management from Kettering University. Before founding Red Clay Consulting in 2001, Marnell worked with IBM, General Motors, UPS, PolyOne and Clarkston Consulting.
As Managing Partner at Red Clay, Michael Cocroft sets the strategic vision for Red Clay based on his keen sense of current trends and the real objectives of the utilities industry. Having worked in a variety of consulting roles, and the utilities industry, for nearly 20 years, Michael offers an inside-outside perspective on energy technology. “My goal is to provide the best solution for our customers, for the best price, and delivered to the best of our ability. Always.” As the visionary behind Red Clay’s utilities focus, Michael has a strong track record of building the best team and providing the singular focus that results in a hugely referenceable customer base.
Since founding Red Clay with Paul Marnell in 2001, he has led numerous first-to-market implementations in the utilities industry. “Our industry is under pressure like never before. Climate change, electric vehicles, smart grid technology, the internet of things; all of these have energy at the heart of the discussion. It’s my job to provide solutions to address these, and I take my job very seriously.”
Cocroft has served in varied technical roles throughout his 16-year career consulting for education, healthcare, manufacturing, utilities and services. He earned a BFA in Broadcasting from Savannah College of Art and Design.
Managing Director, Professional
As Managing Director of Professional Services, Leeanna Gonzalez oversees Red Clay’s professional services organization, promoting proactive client communications and the growth of our leadership teams. She is responsible for building a world class delivery organization, including scaling our organization to meet clients’ demands in a timely, affordable manner and adding new services such as Managed Services, Infrastructure, Integration, Training, and Advisory Services. Gonzalez directs the Project Management Office (PMO), ensuring our project teams are consistently delivering to the high standards our clients have come to expect from us. She is passionate about helping clients succeed by leveraging best practices Red Clay has learned from previous implementations. “I truly believe our clients should benefit from our knowledge and not pay for us to do the same thing twice,” says Gonzalez.
Since joining Red Clay in 2006, Gonzalez has excelled on countless projects by serving in lead roles that include Technical Architect, Solution Architect and Delivery Manager. Her extensive background in software development spans several industries including insurance, customer relationship management and utilities. Gonzalez is a graduate of Cleveland State University where she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Information Systems Technology. She holds multiple Oracle and Microsoft certifications and often speaks as a subject matter expert at utility industry conferences.
Managing Director, HR / Operations
Susanne Wagner has been an integral part of the leadership team at Red Clay Consulting since August 2008. In her role as Managing Director of HR / Operations, she leads many areas of the business including recruiting, performance management, coaching, compensation, learning and professional development, as well as organizational development and operational efficiency. The corporate culture at Red Clay is greatly influenced by her dedication to keeping the workplace a fun, creative environment where employees can thrive and grow in their careers.
Wagner believes the culture at Red Clay has played a key role in the company’s year-over-year growth. “New employees at Red Clay are quick to comment that the corporate culture here is refreshing and unique,” states Wagner. “We do what’s right and fair for our people, our clients and our company in a fun, non-bureaucratic environment. No politics – just hard work alongside smart people who believe that great things can be achieved through teamwork.”
Her extensive background in recruiting and human resources includes work in the hospitality and entertainment industries. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Managing Director, Finance
As Managing Director of Finance, Rick Higdon drives excellence in the areas of corporate finance, financial planning & analysis, risk management and financial strategy. Higdon has over 30 years of experience working in various finance, business development and executive management roles in the technology industry, including chief executive for two companies which he led through successful acquisitions. He has deep experience in international business development and has worked with companies in the energy, utilities, mining and transportation industries. Since joining Red Clay in 2017, Higdon has also served as a trusted advisor on subjects including account management, strategy, and contract negotiation. Prior to joining Red Clay, he was Executive Director of Advisory Services at Ernst & Young.
Global Sales Director
As Global Sales Director, Natalia Agrela is responsible for helping Red Clay’s customers fulfill their business needs through the implementation of optimized Oracle Utilities solutions. Throughout the past 20+ years, Agrela has successfully assisted many utility and energy organizations in defining their meter-to-cash, billing, settlement and B2B pricing product strategy, and gained implementation experience across the Telco, Energy and Utilities Industries.
Prior to joining Red Clay, Agrela’s roles included Project Manager, Solution Architect and Subject Matter Expert for clients in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Belgium and France. “At Red Clay we are passionate about the energy and utility market and all the innovations that are taking place in this space,” says Agrela, “but more than anything we are passionate about helping our clients succeed.” Agrela holds a BS degree in Computer Science from the Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid, her hometown.
Director of Marketing & Industry
As a nearly 20-year industry veteran, Maria DeChellis has focused her efforts in working with utilities to improve the customer experience through technology. With over 50 engagements across the US and Canada, DeChellis has specialized in looking holistically at utilities to improve community awareness, develop meaningful customer interaction, and creating business cases and budgets that help propel utilities to their future vision.
DeChellis is PMP-Certified former utility executive and IT strategic consultant with project management and stakeholder experience in AMR/AMI, Customer Information System, and ERP implementations. She is a frequently published writer and speaker on customer service experience, IT strategic planning, software design, and organizational change management for CS Week, American Water Works Association, and Western Energy Institute. DeChellis is currently the secretary of the Customer Service Subcommittee of the American Water Works Association and volunteers at community organizations discussing water affordability. She is the Director of Marketing and Industry Strategy at Red Clay.
Chief Information Security Officer
Michael is a technology executive with over 25 years of experience in internet technology companies, including notable roles in product management, business development, marketing and executive leadership. As Chief Information Security Officer, Michael Pearson oversees Red Clay’s security solutions to assist clients in assessing critical vulnerabilities within their Advanced Metering Infrastructure systems. His ongoing successes are achieved through a demonstrated approach of balancing research, industry knowledge, and real-world experience.
Additionally, Michael has extensive experience in multiple information security engineering disciplines including corporate information security leadership and management, measuring and improving organizational productivity, risk assessment, process re-engineering, application and platform controls, cryptography, and network and physical protection. He holds patents for the first intrusion prevention service and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional and a Certified Ethical Hacker.