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Mark Simpson Berry

Year Inducted: 2022

An outstanding technical leader for Alabama and the Southeast, Mark Simpson Berry’s inventions, innovation, and passion for developing and fielding market-needed technology has allowed Alabama to be one of the leaders in utility-scale emissions control technologies critical for keeping the state’s air and water clean.

He serves a dual role for Southern Company as vice president of research and development for Southern Company Services and vice president of environmental and natural resources for Georgia Power. This combination allows Berry to influence foundational areas of advanced technology development, environmental compliance, and stewardship. For Southern Company Services, Berry is responsible for developing low- and no-carbon generation technologies, advancing distributed energy solutions, modernizing the grid, promoting a culture of sustainability, and developing new
business models.

Graduating in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Alabama A&M University, Berry embarked on a career as a naval officer before coming back to Alabama to pursue his lifelong desire to become an engineer. Berry left active duty and enrolled at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1997. Berry continued his studies earning a master’s degree in engineering in 2000. He would later earn a master’s degree in public and private management from Birmingham-Southern College in 2002,
and his doctorate in interdisciplinary engineering from UAB in 2012.

Berry joined Southern Company Services, located in Birmingham, in 1996 as an engineering intern, taking on increasing responsibilities. His roles included establishing Southern Company as the out-front leader of technology innovation and implementation in the areas of clean air and water and was responsible for such innovative national centers of excellence as the Mercury Research Center in Pensacola, Florida; Water Research Center in Cartersville, Georgia; the Water Resource and Conservation Center in McDonough, Georgia; Ash Beneficial Use Center in Cartersville, Georgia; and the precursor projects that led to the establishment of the National Carbon Capture Center in Wilsonville, Alabama. Berry was also instrumental in establishing Southern Company’s research program to assist the industry in developing and demonstrating the next generation of advanced nuclear reactors.

His passion for solving technical challenges led him to research and development leadership stops at Southern Research and the Electric Power Research Institute where he led teams of researchers in broad technology areas such as water, solar, energy storage, rare earth element recovery, micro grids, emission control, carbon dioxide separation, and carbon sequestration.

In 2015, Berry returned to Southern Company in his current role for Georgia Power, where he is responsible for developing an annual environmental compliance strategy, establishing the vision for sustainability and conservation programs, and overseeing strategies regarding climate-related opportunities.

Four years later, he was selected as vice president of R&D at Southern Services. His duties include developing strategic vision to deliver transformative technologies to meet the company’s 2050 net-zero carbon commitment, and he has expanded his division’s mission to include seasonal time-scale energy storage, alternate energy carriers for decarbonization in other energy sectors, direct air capture of carbon dioxide, and carbon capture and sequestration from natural systems. Berry has also been active in the technical, educational, arts and humanities, and environmental conservation communities, including time as chair of the International Society of Electrostatic Precipitation. He has served the University of Alabama at Birmingham through the
Industrial Advisory Boards, where he led the mechanical engineering board, and through his role on the engineering Dean’s Advisory Board. Berry also has served Alabama A&M University as a Corporate Chair of the Youth Motivation Task Force Program twice and served as chair of the Mentoring program for five years.

A licensed professional engineer, Berry holds four U.S. patents in emission control technologies. His numerous honors include the Senichi Masuda Award for distinguished research in the field of electrostatic precipitation. A lieutenant commander in the U.S. Naval Reserves from 1991 to 2002, he also received a Navy Achievement Medal.