Winners of individual and team awards were revealed at Experience POWER as the virtual event kicked into full swing on Sept. 28. Among the recipients were a number of exceptional leaders and innovators drawn from the power industry.
Top Young Professional. Meriem Bellizim, senior manager, Business Development, ACWA Power, was chosen as 2020’s Top Young Professional. Bellizim is a 34-year-old Spanish/Algerian national, who is one of the up-and-coming leaders in the Middle East-North Africa renewable energy sector. Solar energy projects led by Bellizim have brought Dubai to the center stage of the global renewable energy map.
Clean Energy Promoter. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA’s) Large-Scale Renewables Team led by Doreen Harris was selected as the Clean Energy Promoter award winner. NYSERDA is New York’s clean energy innovation agency, and it is the cornerstone of the state’s nation-leading clean energy goals, which target 70% of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and a 100% carbon-free electricity sector by 2040.
Creative Problem Solver. Walter Haase, general manager of the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) was honored with the Creative Problem Solver award. The NTUA is a not-for-profit enterprise of the Navajo Nation, and the country’s largest multi-utility venture owned and operated by an American Indian tribe. During his tenure with NTUA, Haase has prioritized the extension of safe and reliable electricity to communities where thousands of Navajo families have lived for generations without basic services. Haase worked with several utilities from across the country to make a difference in the lives of many Navajo families.
Digitalization/Technology Adoption. National Grid’s team of Samer Arafa, Justin Woodard, and Tyler Krupa won the 2020 Digitalization/Technology Adoption award. National Grid has been partnering with industry leaders, including the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Sandia National Laboratories, and Fraunhofer, to explore unique approaches to solving the biggest problems facing the power industry. With EPRI, National Grid explored the value of customized smart inverter settings and advanced metering at the point of common coupling. With National Grid’s support, Sandia initiated Advanced Distribution Management Systems to optimize commands to allow PV penetration of 50% or greater. With Fraunhofer, a project called “SunDial” created a management system that optimally manages facility loads and energy storage charging and discharging to mitigate potential problems due to intermittency and large ramps in PV power generation.
Woman in Power. Hala Ballouz, president of Electric Power Engineers, was selected as the 2020 Woman in Power. Ballouz has developed a reputable team of engineers that is thriving on the global stage. With engineering projects completed in 42 states and 18 countries, her leadership has helped her firm stay on the cutting-edge concerning topics such as NERC compliance, transmission planning, market analysis, grid planning, and renewables integration.
Top Industry Leader. Dale Probasco, managing director with Guidehouse, was chosen as the Top Industry Leader in 2020. Probasco has spent more than 35 years in the industry, and has vast experience in multiple power technologies. As a prominent consultant and a utility leader, he has applied his experience to help utilities and other energy players become safer, more efficient, and ultimately more prepared for challenges as the industry transforms.
Real-World Safety Solutions. Consolidated Edison’s Cubicle Inspection and Repair Safety (CIRS) device team won the Real-World Safety Solutions award. The group created the CIRS device to prevent deaths resulting from accidental contact with energized bus components. The team saw the need to act based on the number of people they’ve seen harmed in these types of preventable accidents. They now have a patent pending for their invention, but more importantly, the CIRS device is being used by ConEd and is making a difference in the field, not only by improving safety, but also by reducing costs and increasing reliability. The team that designed and developed the solution includes Eric Fell, senior safety specialist with ConEd; Joe Szabo, senior engineer in ConEd’s Equipment and Field Engineering department; Matt Johnson, senior designer in ConEd’s Van Nest shop; Sergo Sagareli, senior engineer in ConEd’s Research and Development department; and Eric Davis, senior analyst in the company’s Innovation Hub.
Congratulations to all the winners!
—Aaron Larson is POWER’s executive editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine).